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nately of the backs of the houses themselves, of the "head-dykes" enclosing the yards (gardens) attached to them, or, where both of these failed, a dilapidated dyke to protect the interval. Presenting ourselves at the gates, we should probably find them "auld and failzet," as were those of Edinburgh in 1557. Intimating our presence at the wicket attached to the main port, by which foot-passengers entered, we should as likely as not find the guardian asleep in his lodge, for the records bear ample evidence that the port-keepers were but perfunctory in the discharge of their duties. This, however, would be only the case when the town had no reason to dread the sudden attack of some declared enemy. In times of alarm we should find that due precautions had been taken to guard against treachery or surprise. At any of the ports by which we chose to enter there would be two or three watchers encased in leathern jacks, and armed with hagbut and axe, one of whom would shoulder us to the bailie of the nearest quarter, whose business it was to satisfy himself that no suspicious person should harbour in the town. Admitted through the portal we should note the apparatus for the weighing of imported commodities, the duties on which made up the petty customs that went to the common good. If any goods happened to be entering at the time, we should probably be entertained by a lively altercation between the owner and the official, who had a bad habit of overreaching the trader, and making
a favourable bargain for himself by admitting contraband goods.
Supposing it were the early morning when we put foot in the street, our ears might be greeted by the dying sounds of the "swesch" or drum, which summoned the inhabitants to their daily avocations, since, watches and private clocks being unknown, the town had to be publicly reminded of the march of time. In Aberdeen, however, the townsfolk were more pleasantly roused from their slumbers than by the unmelodious drum. In the records of that burgh we read that one John Cowper was hired "to pass every day in the morning at four hours, and every night at eight hours at even, threw all the rewis (streets) of the town playing upon the almany (German) whistle, with a servant playing on the tabour, whereby the craftsmen, their servants, and all other laborious folk, being warned and excited, may pass to their labours and from their labours, in due and convenient time." 23 It will be remembered that Montaigne's father was of opinion that children should be wakened from their sleep by the sound of sweet music; and the good people of Aberdeen would appear to have been of the same mind.
If our ears were thus pleasantly greeted, assuredly it would be otherwise with our senses of sight and smell. Except it were a Sunday morning, even the principal thoroughfare would be diversified with the middens reared to the height
of mounds from the accumulated refuse of the adjoining households. It was in vain that the town authorities denounced and penalised the objectionable custom. Every Saturday afternoon the town-crier went round with his bell to remind the indwellers that the hour was come for the removal of the heaps which by the end of the week had grown to mountains, but even this reminder was but imperfectly heeded. Besides the odour
from middens there would be the exhalation from the numerous pig-sties which, even in the principal street, abutted on the fronts of the houses. Swine were indeed a source of perennial vexation to the town authorities. They could not be dispensed with, as they largely contributed to the subsistence of the inhabitants, but, in addition to the unpleasantness arising from their sties, they were the cause of more serious annoyance. They would escape from their sties, stroll about the street, overturning children, and entangling the legs of adults, with the result apparently of frequent damage to the unheeding passenger. The records of all the burghs abound with legislation against the nuisance, but its very frequency proves how little it availed. The burghal laws dwelt movingly on the perils that attended the lieges from the ambulatory habits of the swine, and insisted that, since they were a necessary evil, their owners should see that they were led about "in band"; but the trouble was too great, and in the Scottish
burghs generally, the valuable, though embarrassing animals continued to peregrinate at their pleasure. In passing, however, it should be noted that it was not only in Scottish towns that the nuisance prevailed. In German towns every burgher kept his cattle in his house, and swine were as numerous and as domestic as in Scotland. In Leipzig in 1556 an attempt was made to suppress pig-sties in the inner part of the town, but it was not till 1645 that this very necessary reform was accomplished."5
Casting our eyes around as we pass on, we should receive one general and yet vivid impression -the impression that the town as a whole was in an alarming state of dilapidation. From the records of the different burghs, it would almost seem as if the whole energies of the community were required to keep their houses from tumbling about their ears. As for public buildings-churches, tolbooths and the rest-it must often have been at the peril of their lives that the lieges ventured under their roofs. The following injunction of Queen Mary to the magistrates of Edinburgh illustrates the length to which the dilapidation, even of a public edifice, was allowed to go: "The Queen's Majesty, understanding that the Tolbooth of the burgh of Edinburgh is ruinous, and able hastily to decay and fall down, which will be very damnable and skaithful to the people dwelling thereabout, and repairing toward the same, not
only in destruction of their houses but as great slaughter, if sundrie persons happen and chance therethrough, without hasty remedy be provided therein, therefore her highness ordains a macer to pass and charge the provost, bailies and council of the said burgh of Edinburgh to cause put workmen to the taking down of the said Tolbooth." 26 In 1567, the last year of Mary's reign, the following public structures were in such a state of disrepair that the town was forced to make a desperate effort to rehabilitate them: the causeways between Leith and Edinburgh, the pier, bulwark and harbour of Leith, and the great windows and larger part of the roof of the Kirk of St Giles." Bad materials, bad workmanship, and the general poverty of the Scottish burghs were doubtless the causes of the ruinous condition of public and private buildings; but again we have to note that this state of things was not peculiar to Scotland. In the sixteenth century the decay of towns in England was the subject of grave alarm to her statesmen. evidence of statutes must always be taken with some reserve, but after every legitimate abatement the following words from a statute of Henry VIII. must imply that the towns of England were in little better case than those of Scotland. "Divers and many beautiful houses of habitation," this statute runs, "built in times past within their walls and liberties, now are fallen down and decayed, and at this day remain unre-edified, and do lie as desolate