SCENERY OF THE DISTRICT.

Among all the Highland villages in Scotland, there is not perhaps one that has a more picturesque or beautiful situa­tion than Dufftown. Tomintoul and Grantown both com­mand a wider landscape. The clear and rapid Avon winds past Tomintoul through valley and gorge, on its way to Ballindalloch, and the Spey rolls in majesty past Grantown, through vast forests of pine, that seem to cover the shoulders of a hundred hills. From both these villages the huge mass of the Cairngorms seem near, and, spotted with snow in mid-summer, gives an Alpine charac­ter to the scene, which is imposing, but bleak and dreary.

In architectural beauty Grantown is far superior to Tomintoul, but it stands on the side of a strath, and not in a glen, neither do Aberlour, Keith, nor Huntly. Dufftown alone occupies this position, and completely realizes to the mind of a spectator the spot where his fancy has placed a village among the mountains of Scotland. He sees before him a complete Highland glen, without a feature awanting, with the brown hills propping the sky all around him, and mountain streams winding through a fertile valley, adorned with ruined castles, by churches, by a fine village, and the uplands covered with everything that bespeak agricultural industry and enterprise. A minute description of the glen might be tedious to the general reader, and we shall, there­fore, only mention the more striking features of it, which will now be seen by many visitors from the South, and, when the Fiddich-side Railway is finished, also by many from the North.

On landing at the Dufftown Railway Station, and look­ing round him, the traveler will see the tops of brown mountains meeting the sky in every direction. Looking up the glen, Benrinnes will be seen towering over the Convals like a giant, the Scurran of Lochterlandoch on the top of the mountain appearing like some vast fortress, command­ing the whole country around, at an elevation of about 2700 feet above the level of the sea, and 1800 feet above the base of the mountain. The Conval hills, of less altitude, will also arrest attention. They are three in number, and may be called a chain of hills merely separated from Ben­rinnes by a narrow pass, and, together with that mountain, may be said to extend from Avon to the Fiddich, below Dufftown, a distance of twelve or fourteen miles. At the east end of the Convals, and apparently shutting in the glen in that direction, a hill higher than any of the Convals is seen—Benaigen, with an elevation of some 1G00 or 1800 feet, wooded almost to the summit, and washed at the base by the Spey and the Fiddich. Further to the east is the hill of Kininvie, not lofty, but cultivated to the top.

HOUSE OF KININVIE.

Here, upon a holm formed by the Fiddich, stands the fine mansion house of Kininvie, the property of Geo. A. Young Leslie, Esq. Looking down the Fiddich upon it, it seems to be nestled in a cosie nook or hollow among the hills, and has all the appearance of being at the foot of Benaigen, whose brown and bald top above the zone of wood seems to have been flattened by some convulsion in nature. Even by the naked eye one can discover that the mansion house of Kininvie has a castellated appearance, and that it stands in the center of fine wood, with large cultivated fields descending towards it, separated by thorn and beech hedges, as in the park-like scenery at Forres. Part of the House of Kininvie is very old, but, like many others, it has been enlarged and modernized, and is now a very fine residence. The villa of Hazelwood beside it is esteemed one of the finest and most picturesque cottages in the country.

GLENFIDDICH, ACHINDOWN, &C.

The east side of the glen, like the west, is bounded by hills, but they are less striking. The scenery is more tame in that direction. South of Kininvie is to be seen the hills of Tullich and Parkbeg, closing in a portion of the glen, and between which the railway passes before it crosses the Fiddich at the Castle of Balvenie. Extending the view still farther to the south east, the pass is seen through which the Fiddich finds her way into the valley of Mortlach from Glenfiddich, the great deer forest of the Duke of Rich­mond, in which there are only two or three keeper’s houses for a distance of ten or twelve miles. In this splendid forest it has been estimated that there are not less than three or four thousand head of deer ; and every season the Richmond family, along with their distinguished visitors, find excellent sport in what may be called the wilderness of Glenfiddich. Between this forest and Mortlach, on the course of the Fiddich, lies Achindown, famous in the song-

“ As I cam in by Auchindune,

A little wee bit fae the toon ;

Unto the Heelans I was boon.

To see the Haughs o’ Cromdal. ”

We are not very sure of the quotation, and shall pretend to say that Dufftown was the “toon” mentioned, but the district of Achindown is a rich one in agricultural pro­duce, there being many fine farms in it. And here we may notice that one of these, Keithmore, now occupied by Mr Cantlie, was at one time tenanted by Marshall, the famous composer of Strathspeys. Some of the other principal farms in this district are Tallochallum (Mr Geo. Gordon), Glencorie (Mr Petrie), Pitglassie (Mr Tod), Laggan (Mr Murray), Raws (Mr Duncan), Tomnon (Mr Thompson), Clunymores (Mr Simpson and Mr Keltnan), Clunebeg (Mr Nicol), Parkhead (Mr Sellar), Auchenhandoch (Mr Stewart), Enoch (Mr Moir), &c., &c.

CASTLE OF ACHINDOWN.

But there is one object more interesting to the general reader than any farm in the district, and that is the famous Castle of Achindown, situated upon a green knoll overlook­ing the Fiddich. This castle is said to have been built in the reign of King James the Third, by Cochrane, a great favorite of the king. It was long part of the Lordship of Deskford, and from the Ogilvies passed to the Gordons in the beginning of the sixteenth century. Achindown Castle is famous in story, having been often besieged and plundered in the days of clan war. It is even said to have been burned with thirty-seven persons in it. Another story tells of a noble lady who struck off a chieftain’s head with a sword at Achindown ; but these and other tales must not in the meantime make us linger here.

RAILWAY BRIDGE ACROSS THE FIDDICH.

Having now glanced at the hills and valleys surrounding the glen, we come to speak of nearer objects that will at­tract the attention of travelers. About a mile before ar­riving at the railway station in coming from Keith, they will suddenly find themselves on a high embankment, and before they have time to look at it they will be upon a stone bridge of two arches, some fifty feet above the bed of the Fiddich. This bridge, they may be told, along with the cutting and embankments on each side of it, cost not less than £12,000. It was a heavy work, but it is now a com­plete one. The engineers, and also the contractor, Mr Brand, have done their work in such manner that, wild as the Fiddich is, not even a flood of ’29 in her would be dangerous to the strong pillars and wide arches that have been erected.


OLD CASTLE OF BALVENIE

Crossing this bridge, and while in a deep cutting, the traveler, in looking up a wooded knoll, will see among trees the ruins of the Castle of Balvenie, from the top of which a stone might be thrown across the line. This castle, like that of Achindown, is an object of much interest, and students of history who have an hour to spare should pay it a visit. It is now some years since we described the Castle, and since that time it has been so frequently described by some others that even the people of Dufftown have become weary of it. At present we claim their indulgence, for the Keith and Dufftown Railway has just been opened, and, as it passes close by the foundations of the Castle of Balvenie, we cannot allow the ruin to pass with­out observation. When or by whom the first castle was built it is useless to conjecture, but it has evidently been the work of more than one age, and tradition would have it that the oldest part of the castle has been a Pictish tower. History, as well as architecture, gives some support to this idea, for old historians mention a fort as being near the spot where Malcolm II. defeated the Danes in the great battle of Morthlac in the year 1010. In later times the Comyns, Douglases, Stewarts, and Abernethys successively held the Castle, no doubt all altering and repairing their stronghold to be proof against assault in a barbarous age. It now belongs to the Earl of Fife, and above the iron gate we read the barbarous motto of the Stewarts, Earls of Athole, “ Forth Fortuine and Fill thi Fettris.” This is an instructive lecture on the time when the Castle of Balvenie was in all its glory. The stranger standing within the ivy- covered ruins of Balvenie Castle is reminded of powerful sad turbulent barons, and of the ravages of time, whose subduing band conquers everything and consigns it to oblivion.

THE HOUSE OF BALVENIE.

At a short distance down the Fiddich from the old Castle of Balvenie, a new Castle of Balvenie was built in 1724, by William Duff of Braco and Dipple, who became Earl of Fife. A worse spot could not have been easily chosen for a baronial residence, and the new castle was inhabited only for a short time. The castle, as Shaw says in his his­tory, and as any one may see, is built on “a moist, low, and unwholesome soil,” almost on a level with the bed of the Fiddich. It now appears a square block of unorna­mented building, neither of castellated form nor apparently belonging to any order of architecture. It has still its doors and windows, and the paneling of the walls inside seems yet to have suffered but little. The top is covered with lead. How long the builder of this misplaced castle lived in it we cannot say, but it could only have been for a few years, for he removed to the House of Rothiemay, and, we believe, died there. His son James, second Earl of Fife, allowed the new Castle of Balvenie to remain tenantless, never paying any attention to it, and it has been closed for nearly one hundred years.

THE BATTLE OF MORTLACH.

After going up and looking at this relic of antiquity, we shall suppose the traveler to descend and take a walk up Fiddichside to Dufftown. In doing this, we had almost said, he will be treading upon consecrated ground, for he will be going over the very spot where the last terrible on­slaught of the Battle of Mortlach took place. There a King of Scotland stood in the midst of his panic-stricken army, that had lost three generals ; there he prayed and vowed to the Blessed Virgin, and, rallying his troops, led them again to battle—to victory over the terrible Danes, who were then the scourge of the North of Scotland. Vestiges of the great battle still remain. The spot where many of the killed lie buried is pointed out, and stones commemorative of the event may still be seen.

THE CHURCH OF MORTLACH.

Religion, as well as war, makes the spot where the Dullan and Fiddich meet very interesting. Long before the Battle of Mortlach in 1010 there was a church here, dedi­cated to St Moloch. Like the Abbey of Kinloss, it may have originally been a cell of the Culdees; but, be this as it may, there was a bishopric of Mortlach, which made the glen sacred in the days of old. The bishops transferred their seat to Aberdeen, as those of Spynie did to Elgin, and now not a vestige of their residence remains, the dam of the distillery covering part of the garden once belonging to the bishops of Mortlach. The parish church near this spot, is of great antiquity, it has been modernized — the skulls of Danes were once built into the walls as trophies of victory. Two of the windows are quite unique—they are the original ones; and the walls, said to have been built in the beginning of the eleventh century, might stand other 850 years. The story about the length of Malcolm’s spear being added to the church has little to support it but the mark that is seen in the wall. Nor can we stop to inquire into the tale of the Dullan being dammed up with ox hides near the Giant’s Chair, before the Battle of Mortlach.

DUFFTOWN.

The village situated in the midst of the scenery we have sketched, and close to ground so famous for war and religion in early ages, is quite of modern date. In the year 1814 there were only some thatched cottages on the spot where Dufftown stands, and the place was called Laichie. In 1816, Lord Fife, through his factor, Mr Watt, gave off feus, previously fixing the plan of a village. These feus were given for 999 years—perpetual feus, as they are called, and consisted each of three acres—one half of it in-land and the other out-land, besides one-fourth of an acre for a house and garden. Many feus were taken off, the terms being liberal, and in 1817 many feuars began to build. They did not like the name “ Laichie,” and, as there was now to be a village, they applied to Lord Fife for a name to it, recommending, we believe, the famous word “ Water­loo.” The reply of his Lordship is said to have been to the effect that everything in the kingdom would be called Waterloo—even fisher’s creels—and for that reason he would just call the place Dufftown, after his family. The plan of the village was four streets running at right front a common centre, forming a wide area, and the building, we may say, has gone on without interruption until there is now a population of more than 1200 in Dufftown. Many of the houses are of two storeys, and all are well built. There’s no sandstone in the district, but lime rock is abundant, besides different species of primitive rock. In the centre of the area mentioned, a tower was built by subscription in the year 1832- intended as a kind of jail or lock-up for vagrants. It was, however, converted to another purpose, and there is now a druggist’s shop in the basement floor of the Tower of Dufftown. It is a very conspicuous object, four storeys high, besides a spire covered with zinc, surmounted by a vane, the whole height being about ninety feet. Dr Menzies, one of the most enterprising gentlemen in Dufftown for public improvements, and Mr Findlater, factor for the late Lord Fife in the district, both took a deep interest in the erection of the tower, and, by means of subscription and their own liberality, got a fine clock that cost £150, and a bell that cost other £50, thus completing what may be called the Steeple of Dufftown.

Except this tower, there is not, strictly speaking, a public building in the village, for the public hall of the town, as an Irishman would say, is private property, and belongs to Mr Shand, merchant, one of the most extensive Proprietors in the village. With one exception, that of ex-Provost Macdonell, who is solely a draper, all the other merchants have general businesses, and their number is twelve. Having begun to speak of merchants, we may continue, and notice that the principal among them are Mr Shand, already mentioned, Mr Morrison, and Mr Innes, both of whose shops are in Mr Shand’s property, Mr Robert Eyval, Mr John Walker, Mr Robert Eyval Junior, Miss Gordon, Mr James Smith, &c., &c. There are two saddlers in the village- Messrs Symon & Son and Mr George Grant; three blacksmiths- Mr William Grant, Mr Peter Fraser, and Mr Stronach; two joiners- Messrs J. & J. Macpherson and Messrs James Dey & Son; one cabinetmaker- Mr John Yeats; three builders- Messrs Craib & Shiach, Mr Wm. Mackay, and Mr Findlater Coutts.

It may naturally be asked, how, in a small place, all these merchants and tradesmen can be supported? For they all carry on extensive businesses, turning over more money in the course of the year than any one could believe. The reason of this is to be found in the fact that a number of Highland glens have, as it were, a common centre in Dufftown, and that a better spot could not have been selected for a village. Lord Fife knew this and acted accordingly, and the result is that Dufftown shares largely in the trade of Achindown, Cabrach, Glenrinnes, Morange, Glenlivet, Boharm, Botriphnie, and Glass. This is the secret of Dufftown’s success and the reader will not be surprised when we state that of late years the value of property has risen greatly in it- fully one-third, it is said; and the number of houses presently building also shows the prosperity of the place. Within the last two or three years a number of very fine houses have been added to the village, fine villas with gardens beautifully situated upon the rising ground above the confluence of the Fiddich and Dullan- really charming residences in a spot combining all the features of rural beauty. The same spot was chosen more than 800 years ago by the Monks for a monastery, and, as at Kinloss, they pitched upon a spot of the richest soil to be met with in the whole country. Long ago, however, the foundations of the monastery have been ploughed up, and one fine house after another is rising upon lands that were once consecrated.

            Among the first of the fine villas erected on this once hallowed, and still beautiful spot was “The Cottage,” which was built by Mr Macintosh of the Mortlach Distillery, and which has for many years past been inhabited by Mr Petrie, banker, who lately made a large addition to it for the accommodation of his branch of the North of Scotland Bank, and his other business. The roman Catholic Chapel, Schools, and Parsonage are near the same spot, within little more than a stone-cast of the site of the old monastery. Next, we may notice here a large house lately erected by Mr Cowie, Mortlach Distillery, a most commodious residence with a fine garden, and close by it another new building appears very much in the same style, and of about equal dimensions, belonging to Mr Gordon, Mortlach Distillery. Here all the houses have fine hanging gardens facing the rising sun.

Up the valley the Manse of Mortlach has a very fine appearance. It’s Elizabethan architecture, and beautiful situation on a green holm embosomed in wood, render it to the eye of the beholder one of the sweetest spots on the banks of the Dullan. The house of Pittyvaich is seen in the background, peeping from amongst the trees by which it is very pleasantly surrounded. Near Fife’s Mills, Mr Gordon of Tallochallum built a fine residence a few years ago, and since he resigned his farm in favour of his son, Mr Gordon, land surveyor, he has lived in it. Close by, Miss Gordon has erected a house very similar in dimensions and style. We have already alluded to the new Female School, and we should also notice a new house built on the opposite side of the street by Mr Shiach, mason.

TRADE OF DUFFTOWN.

The village can support two banks. There has been a branch of the North of Scotland Bank in it for twenty-four years conducted by Mr Petrie, and some five or six years ago, a branch of Aberdeen Town and County Bank was established in Dufftown, and Mr Cantlie, Keithmore, appointed agent. On market-days the banks are thronged, and all men of business in the district now seem convinced of the value of banking establishments. Depositors are becoming gradually more numerous, even from the most remote corners of the glens, where the chest was wont to be the “ safe,” there being a strong suspicion that banks were not altogether to be trusted. For a long time past there have been seven cattle markets in the year at Duff­town, and there will now be twelve, besides a weekly corn market. Monthly cattle markets have just been established in order that the farmers of the district may the more fully reap the advantages of the railway communication now opened to Dufftown. This is one proof of the stimulus that the opening of the railway is to give to the trade of the dis­trict, and, as a farther proof of this, we may mention that Messrs Gordon & Cowie, distillers, are to establish a coal depot at the railway station ; that Messrs G. & G. Kynoch, Keith, are to build manure stores and have an agency at it; that Mr Gordon Robertson, Keith, is to do the same ; that Mr Alexander G. Bremner, Keith, is to have a coal depot, and an agent also at the station ; and it is more than likely the corn dealers of the district— Messrs Macdonald, of the steam mills, Dufftown ; Mr John Innes, Bregach, Glenrinnes, and others- will forthwith erect grain stores.

MORTLACH DISTILLERY

While speaking of the trade of the town, we must not omit to notice the public works, and the first of these that claims attention is Mortlach Distillery, which was built by Messrs Gordon, Mackintosh, & Co. It was ultimately ac­quired and wrought for some years by A. T. Gregory, Esq. of Buchromb. it was then purchased by Messrs J. & J. Grant of Glengrant, then distillers at Aberlour. This firm took away the distillery apparatus, and the distillery was unoccupied for some years, the barley granary in the interval serving as a Free Church until one was erected in Dufftown. Mr John Gordon then bought the distillery, and for some years conducted a brewery business in it. In a short time, however, he commenced distilling, and, by and bye. assumed as a partner Mr George Cowie. The works have been greatly enlarged and improved. The granary is now 150 feet in length, and capable of holding more than 600 quarters of barley. The malt barns are beneath, and, as the work is situated on a slope, the dis­tillery premises are on a lower level still. The supply of water is abundant and fine, and the whole machinery is driven by an overshot wheel, twelve feet in diameter. Eight men are employed at the distillery, and about forty quarters of barley are used weekly. The works are most compact and convenient, and the spirits produced are of excellent quality. They are mostly sold in Leith and Glas­gow, but have attained some celebrity in the district trader the name of “The real John Gordon.” In byres adjoining the distillery there are generally about twenty-four cattle kept, and fattened upon burnt ale and draff, the ale being conveyed to them from the distillery in pipes, so that nothing more is necessary than to turn a cock in the byre and let it flow into their troughs. Besides this bestial about 150 pigs are fed upon the refuse of the distillery.

LIME WORKS.

Next in importance to the distillery, and in its immediate neighborhood, are two lime works, one of them situated on the Duke of Richmond’s property on the east side of the Dullan, and called the Richmond Lime Works, while the other is on the west side of the stream, and is known as the Tininver Lime Works. As the ladies must always have the preference, we are bound first to notice the Tininver Works, of which the ostensible manager is Mr Gordon, late of Tullochallum, but the management in reality devolves upon Miss Gordon, a young lady that combines shrewd business habits with all the feminine tenderness and amia­bility that distinguishes her sex. She is now supplying the contractor on the Strathspey railway with lime, and has engaged to furnish 3000 bolls to the Forres and Dunkeld Railway ; and we may add that Miss Gordon is establish­ing another lime work in Botriphnie, on the Drummuir estate, where there is very fine rock. The Richmond Lime Works, east of the Dullan, of which Mr Cantlie, Keithmore, is tenant, also turn out a great quantity of lime, supplying it to builders and farmers over the whole district. Lime is driven from these works, on either side of the Dul­lan, to Cabrach, Rhynie, Auchindown, Kildrummie, Towie, and Strathdon, on the one side, and to Glenlivet, Inveraven, Aberlour, Knockando, Rothes, and Dallas, on the other— a proof of the excellence of the material.

STEAM MILLS.

The steam mills erected at the east end of Balvenie Street, about eighteen months ago, by Mr M‘Donald, Bal­venie Mills, have brought a valuable addition to the trade of the town. They are threshing and meal mills, driven by steam power, built upon the most improved principles, and furnished with first-class machinery. The mills are 63 feet long, 20 wide, and 18 high, and the kiln is 18 feet square. No improvement has been neglected so far as shifting the ma­terial is concerned, and the onlooker sees a novelty in the drum of the threshing mill striking downwards, a plan that does not throw the corn among the straw. The engine driving the whole is of ten horse power, and is a fine piece of workmanship. The contrast between such mills and the “flail, and sheelin’ hill, and the quern” – all used to make the sheaf into meal in the olden time—is great indeed, for the sheaves go in at the one door of the mill, and the meal in sacks comes out at the other.

The wool mills belonging to Mr Stewart also deserve no­tice. They are called Fife’s Mills. Hitherto they have only prepared the wool and spun it, but arrangements are now being made for weaving as well as spinning—weaving, we believe, in power-loom fashion, which would be a novelty in the district. There is a large dye-work connected with the mills, and an extensive trade carried on. While thus noticing manufactures, we must not forget the one that supplies Dufftown with gas. The distillery has had a gas work of its own for many years, and some nine or ten years ago the village was illuminated for the first time with the new light. The manufacturing of it has not paid the shareholders, although the price to the consumers is 15s per 1000 cubic feet. The causes of this we leave others to ex­plain.

In a village of so much trade, in the centre of an impor­tant district, there is of course much buying and selling, and much sold under the auctioneer’s hammer. Dufftown, by the way, has long been rather famous for its auctioneers. The late Mr John Grant was almost inimitable as an auctioneer, and was the great land measurer and valuator of the district, and known extensively for a valuable work he published on land measuring, &c. As an auc­tioneer he was succeeded by Mr Cantlie, also a first-class salesman, having an exhaustless fund of wit and humour, that put buyers on good terms with themselves and all the world. Mr James Grant, son of the first mentioned auc­tioneer, followed Mr Cantlie in the business, and is one of the most extensively employed and smartest salesmen in the whole country.

So much for the trade of Dufftown. Now for its tempe­rance. Dufftown, being situated in the centre of a district where “ ewies wi’ the crookit horn” were once common, had the unenviable character of being rather on the wrong side of teetotalism. About a dozen years ago, when there were only 800 to 900 people in the village, there were twenty- three public houses in it, or about one to every thirty inha­bitants, and as families are averaged to consist of six, every six families would seem to have had an inn of their own. What a field for a teetotal lecturer! But this is taking Dufftown proper rather at a disadvantage, as the country round was, no doubt, as drouthy as the village, and was nearly all supplied from the same source. These days, how­ever, are past, for now the number of public houses and inns together is only sixteen, to a population of more than 1200. The chief innkeepers are- Mr Wm. Wilson, Fife Arms Hotel; Mr John Mitchell, White Horse Inn ; Mrs Craib ; Mr David Craib ; Mr James Coutts, Star Inn ; Mr George Stewart, Plough Inn, Mr George Taylor, Black Bull Inn, &c.

Coming to speak of learning and the learned professions, we must first notice that there are three medical gentlemen in the village—Dr Menzies, Dr Ritchie, and Dr Keir. All are well employed, owing to the extent of the district, in addition to the town population. It is invidious to make comparisons in any profession, but in one department—as an accoucheur—Dr Menzies is really eminent, and is readily acknowledged to be so by the profession.

CHURCHES.

The Catholic Chapel and the buildings connected with it, as seen from the street, do not appear to be very extensive, but when examined more closely, they completely surprise a stranger. Here we find a boy’s school, attended by sixty scholars, and taught by the laborious and kind-hearted priest, the Rev. John Kemp. The school is hung with maps ; and the children are taught most efficiently by an accomplished scholar. Besides this school, the premises has within the past two years been greatly enlarged. In fact, a great establishment has been built for a girl’s school, with every accommodation for boarding them— public rooms, dormitories, and everything necessary for such an institution being fitted up, and far advanced towards completion. In a short time there will probably be well nigh two hundred, boys and girls together, receiving education at the seminaries of the Catholic Church of Duff­town. Passing from these schools to the door of the chapel, we find a neatly kept garden and a large green-house. The Rev. Mr Kemp is not only his own gardener, but his own joiner, for the green-house (and a splendid one it is) was all made by him during the vacations of the school; and the new girl’s boarding establishment is built after the plan of Mr Kemp, who certainly fulfils the command of being diligent in business as well as being a fervent in spirit. The Catholic Chapel was built in 1824, when the place of meeting for the congregation was transferred from Achin­down to Dufftown. The members gather from a distance of ten miles round, and the attendance is large. The church in which they worship is a perfect model of its kind : and, to an enlightened mind, nothing is more pleasant than to see beauty and ornament in a temple dedicated to the worship of the God of Israel, whose house on Mount Zion had both the one and the other. Presbyterians until the present age have been contented with churches as plain as barns, there being a stupid superstition against ornate church architecture, but the Catholics have held to the Gothic; and in Dufftown we find a church with groined arches supporting the roofs in Cathedral form, but without looking attentively at the ribs of these are seen to be beautifully gilded, and imitation marble walls correspond with the splendour above. The organ is too powerful for the church, so much so that it would break the glass in the windows were the tones not subdued. It is in reality a splendid instrument. The altar however, deserves more attention, there not being its equal in the whole North of Scotland. On the left side of it is a painting of St Moloch, the Patron Saint of Mortlach, and on the right St Bean, and the “Assumption” in the centre. Over the altar is to be seen a gorgeous canopy. Gothic in form, and surmounted by a dome, on which the armorial bearings of twelve bishops are represented, the number of dioceses into which Scotland was at one time divided. The coat of arms of the Bishop of Mortlach is more conspicuous than the rest, being engraven in brass.

The splendour of this church is due in a great measure to the late Rev. Mr Gordon, a gentleman that combined fine taste with superior talents for his office. He was, as a composer in music, second perhaps to none in the kingdom, in of which his pieces are sung through all the Catholic chapels in Scotland. He was the intimate companion of Mr Marshall, the famous composer of Strathspeys, and in the parsonage- may still be seen the old organ on which Mr Gordon played when composing his tunes. The chapel has, however, been farther decorated by the present incumbent, Mr Kemp, who has established the schools already men­tioned, and whose amiable character, as well as his diligence, makes him, we mav say, the favourite of all.

The Church of Mortlach, whose antiquity we have al­ready noticed, is seated for about 1000 of a congregation, and it may be said she is filled every Sabbath. The Sabbath School is also well attended, the scholars being about 110. and the pastor, the Rev. Mr Cruickshank, is ably assisted in managing the school by his amiable partner in life, by his family, and various members of the congregation. The Free Church is not a large building, but is very conspicu­ously situated, and there is a very fine manse close beside the church. The Rev. Mr Shoolbraid, the minister, belongs to Elgin, and labours with much zeal and acceptance.

SCHOOLS, &c.

After churches, schools naturally come under our notice, and with them Dufftown is certainly well supplied. The parish school, situated at the top of the village, and only at a short distance from the church, has been much en­larged of late, and is attended by about 100 boys. All mo­dern improvements in education have been adopted in the school, which is taught successfully by Mr M’Pherson, a certificated teacher. Last year a girl’s school was erected near the parish school, and is now attended by nearly 100 girls. The two seminaries have no connection with each other ; but the Rev. Mr Cruickshank has been most active in getting up the female school, collecting subscriptions for it, along with a number of other gentlemen who have taken an interest in the matter. The building has cost nearly £600, about one-half of which was got from government, and the other half raised, as we have said, by subscription. Miss Gill, who has been appointed teacher, is, we believe, a native of Montrose, in Forfarshire. She is, of course, a certificated teacher, and is giving, we are told, great satis­faction. Besides these two schools, there are others in the village. There is one under the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, attended by about forty girls, and ably thought by Miss Menzies; and another girls’ School, with an attendance of about fifty-five, among whom Miss Hector labours also with diligence and success. To these female schools we must add a boys’ school, kept by Mr Da­vidson, who is now advanced in years, but is still an excel­lent teacher, and has about sixty scholars under his tuition. We have already mentioned the Catholic schools, and have only to state the interesting fact that one in every five of the population of the parish is at school—a very large pro­portion indeed, and highly honourable to the district.

While speaking of educational institutions, we may state that there is a Subscription Library in the village—a large one for the place. Mr James Grant is librarian, and readers have ample choice among bonks of science and lite­rature, and a number of periodicals are taken in by the readers. Psalmody is now greatly improved in the parish by means of an association, under the leadership of Mr Ingram, precentor of the Parish Church, who labours with unremitting diligence, and has infused a spirit among the people for church music. A taste for instrumental music has also been spread by the Dufftown Juvenile Instrumen­tal Band, taught by John Walker, Esq., accountant. North of Scotland Bank. His is purely a labour of love, and, by his musical talent and diligence, the band has made great progress.

The interesting village and district we have just described will soon become better known throughout Scotland, now that railway communication has reached it, and the fa­cilities will stimulate every branch of industry carried on in the district.