Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker: Ch. 56

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The sea-port is Leith, a flourishing town, about a mile from the city, in the harbour of which I have seen above one hundred ships lying all together. You must know, I had the curiosity to cross the Frith in a passage boat, and stayed two days in Fife, which is remarkably fruitful in corn, and exhibits a surprising number of fine seats, elegantly built, and magnificently furnished. There is an incredible number of noble houses in every part of Scotland that I have seen. — Dalkeith, Pinkie, Yester, and lord Hopton's [Hopetoun's], all of them within four or five miles of Edinburgh, are princely palaces, in every one of which a sovereign might reside at his case. — I suppose the Scots affect these monuments of grandeur. — If I may be allowed to mingle censure with my remarks upon a people I revere, I must observe, that their weak side seems to be vanity. — I am afraid that even their hospitality is not quite free of ostentation. I think I have discovered among them uncommon pains taken to display their fine linen, of which, indeed, they have great plenty, their furniture, plate, housekeeping, and variety of wines, in which article, it must be owned, they are profuse, if not prodigal — A burgher of Edinburgh, not content to vie with a citizen of London, who has ten times his fortune, must excel him in the expence as well as elegance of his entertainments.

Though the villas of the Scotch nobility and gentry have generally an air of grandeur and state, I think their gardens and parks are not comparable to those of England; a circumstance the more remarkable, as I was told by the ingenious Mr Phillip Miller of Chelsea, that almost all the gardeners of South-Britain were natives of Scotland. The verdure of this country is not equal to that of England. — The pleasure-grounds are, in my opinion, not so well laid out according to the genius loci; nor are the lawns, and walks, and hedges kept in such delicate order. — The trees are planted in prudish rows, which have not such an agreeable natural effect, as when they are thrown into irregular groupes, with intervening glades; and firs, which they generally raise around their houses, look dull and funereal in the summer season. — I must confess, indeed, that they yield serviceable timber, and good shelter against the northern blasts; that they grow and thrive in the most barren soil, and continually perspire a fine balsam of turpentine, which must render the air very salutary and sanative to lungs of a tender texture.

Tabby and I have been both frightened in our return by sea from the coast of Fife — She was afraid of drowning, and I of catching cold, in consequence of being drenched with sea-water; but my fears as well as hers, have been happily disappointed. She is now in perfect health; I wish I could say the same of Liddy — Something uncommon is the matter with that poor girl; her colour fades, her appetite fails, and her spirits flag — She is become moping and melancholy, and is often found in tears — Her brother suspects internal uneasiness on account of Wilson, and denounces vengeance against that adventurer. — She was, it seems, strongly affected at the ball by the sudden appearance of one Mr Gordon, who strongly resembles the said Wilson; but I am rather suspicious that she caught cold by being overheated with dancing. — I have consulted Dr Gregory, an eminent physician of an amiable character, who advises the highland air, and the use of goat-milk whey, which, surely, cannot have a bad effect upon a patient who was born and bred among the mountains of Wales — The doctors opinion is the more agreeable, as we shall find those remedies in the very place which I proposed as the utmost extent of our expedition — I mean the borders of Argyle.

Mr Smollett, one of the judges of the commissary court, which is now sitting, has very kindly insisted upon our lodging at his country-house, on the banks of Lough-Lomond, about fourteen miles beyond Glasgow. For this last city we shall set out in two days, and take Stirling in our way, well provided with recommendations from our friends at Edinburgh, whom, I protest, I shall leave with much regret. I am so far from thinking it any hardship to live in this country, that, if I was obliged to lead a town life, Edinburgh would certainly be the headquarters of

Yours always,
MATT. BRAMBLE
EDIN., August 8.