Inverness is an interesting, good-sized town, with an intellectual and pleasing countenance, of somewhat aristocratic and self-complacent expression. It is considered the capital of the Highlands, and wears a decidedly metropolitan air. It is well situated on the Ness, just at its debouchement into the Moray Firth,—a river that runs with a Rhine-like current through the town and is spanned with a suspension bridge. It has streets of city-built and city-bred buildings, showing wealth and elegance. Several edifices are in process of erection that will rank with some of the best in Edinburgh and Glasgow. It has a long and pretentious history, reaching back to the Romans, and dashed with the romance of the wild ages of the country. Oliver Cromwell, or Sledgehammer II., Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor, Queen Mary, Prince Charlie, and other historical celebrities, entered their names and doings on the records of this goodly town.
On Monday, Sept. 21st, I set out with a good deal of animation on the last week-stage of my journey, which I was anxious to accomplish as soon as possible, as the weather was becoming unsettled with frequent rain. Reached Invergordon, passing through a most interesting section of country, full of very fertile straths. It was the part of Ross-shire lying on the Moray and Beauly Firths and divided by rivers dashing down through the wooded gorges of the mountains. I saw here some of the most productive land in Scotland. Hundreds of acres were studded with wheat and barley stooks, and about an equal space was covered with standing grain, though so near the month of October. Plantations, parks, gentlemens’ seats, glens deep and grand, fir-clad mountains, villages, hamlets and scattered cottages made up the features of every changing view. Indeed, one travelling for a week between Perth and Inverness comes upon such a region as this with pleasant surprise, as upon an exotic section, imported from another latitude.
The next day I held on northward, though the weather was very unfavorable and the walking heavy and fatiguing. Passed what seemed the bold and ridgy island of Cromarty, so associated with the venerated memory of Hugh Miller. The beating rain drove me frequently to the wayside cottages for shelter; and in every one of them I was received with kind words and pleasant looks. One of these was occupied by an old woman in the regular Scotch cap—a venerable old saint, with her Bible and psalm-book library on her window-sill, and her peat fire burning cheerily. When on leaving I intimated that I was from America, she followed me out into the road, asking me a hundred questions about the country and its condition. She had three sons in Montreal, and felt a mother’s interest in the very name America. The cottage was one of a long street of them by the sea-side, and I supposed it was a fishing village; but I learned from her that the people were mostly the evicted tenants of the Duke of Sutherland, who were turned out of