« PoprzedniaDalej »
At the foot of the castle, looking up, it appears like a mere cap on the head of a giant mountain of rock; but when you get up to the cap, lo! it covers seven acres, and contains a little village of barracks and ramparts. There is a big gun in the yard, nine feet in circumference, and twenty feet long-which is called Mons Meg, and thereby hangs a tale. The ancient Scottish regalia is exhibited in one of the rooms of the castle. Going down High-street, there was a crowd around a zealous itinerant preacher, who was holding forth somewhat in the Muckleraith strain. I saw announced, in glaring letters, a Panorama of Jerusalem and of New-York! and Herschel's Wonderful Discoveries in the Moon, which I found were really believed, with credulous simplicity, by many in this city of science, twelve months after that ingenious hoax had been invented and laughed over in New-York.
Friday, 10th. Called on Mr. W an intimate friend of Sir Walter Scott's, of whom he had much to tell me. 'No man,' he observed, 'could have worn his honors so meekly. Unassuming to all, he never affected literary character or distinction. He had always at command an exhaustless fund of anecdote and humor, and made every one about him feel quite at home, and at their ease. His principles of honor were worthy of imitation. Involved largely in debt, by unforeseen circumstances, for which he could not be blamed, he labored night and day, at his advanced age, at the drudgery of revising the new edition of his works, from the profits of which, his own share being 67,000l., he honorably paid every penny; but
the exertion cost him his life. The present publisher of his works has also himself amassed from them a handsome fortune.
Having a packet to deliver to the celebrated Sir DAVID BREWSTER, I called at his lodgings in Dundas-street. The worthy and learned knight, who is well known as the editor of the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, and one of the ablest scientific writers of the age, is a good-looking man, about fifty; his hair being quite white, he looks older. He speaks with a slight Scotch accent, and his manners are quiet, easy, and gentlemanly. He received me very kindly, suggested the best tours, and gave me an introduction to an antiquarian gentleman of Perth, an order for the Royal Institution, etc. He is said to be very retiring, and even bashful, in public.
Among other curious things, I passed to-day the house where John Knox lived, in High-street. It has a projecting window, from which he used to preach to the populace. His rooms are now used for a barber's shop.
You have seen pictures of this same High-street, and the other parts of the old town, and are aware that many of the buildings are from seven to eleven stories high. They are of dark coloured stone, and have a gloomy aspect. The upper stories were formerly considered the most genteel and fashionable for the drawing-rooms of the wealthy, and the lower floors were usually occupied by the poorer classes! How changeable is this arbitrary dame Fashion! You will suppose I was little interested even in the printing office of the Waverley Novels. It is
in the Canongate, a continuation of High-street, toward Holyrood palace. The old Tolbooth is now no more: it stood near the Parliament square.
After a walk through the splendid streets, squares, and gardens of the 'new town,' with an admiring glance at the classic taste of the Grecian 'Institution,' and at the noble University; with a visit to the blood-stained apartments of Mary and Darnley, and the hall where Prince Charlie gave balls and kept court at Holyrood, with its one hundred and thirty-one portraits of Scottish kings, back to three hundred and thirty years before Christ, including Macbeth, Duncan, etc., all painted at the same time! I proceeded to the old Parliament House, now fitted up for the courts of law. The hall where the Scottish parliament assembled, is very large, and has a curious oak ceiling, It is now a sort of public ''change' for ' limbs of the law' and their clients. The advocates, and 'writers to the signet,' alias attorneys, were pacing about, or reclining on the benches, talking to their customers. Adjoining this hall, are the minor courts, in small rooms, where causes are decided by single judges without juries; but from their decisions appeal can be made to the general court, where all these judges officiate together with a jury. On one of the doors was inscribed Lord Jeffrey,'-and stepping in, I was fortunate enough to see on the bench, in his wig and red gown, this celebrated character, for many years editor of the Edinburgh Review, and exerting more influence on the literature of the day than any other person living. His famous critique on Byron's Hours of
Idleness, which called forth the biting satire of English bards, contributed, no doubt, to make Byron a poet. Jeffrey's physiognomy indicates all the acuteness, penetration, and ability, for which he is distinguished. His very glance is enough to silence all duplicity and prevarication. He sifted the argument of the pleader in a cool, business-like style, worthy of his station.
Dined with Mr.
No visiter here from the United States, escapes an attack on the subject of Slavery. Mr. Thompson has made us all appear such cruel brutes to the poor blacks, that the kind-hearted Scotchmen have taken up the matter with the warmest and most disinterested benevolence, and think they are called upon to move in their behalf. They seem to marvel greatly that we should not consider the blacks quite on an equality with ourselves; and when they have one here, which is but rarely, they treat him with all sorts of respect and attention-give him dinner parties, and escort him about in their carriages.*
I had an opportunity of seeing the appurtenances of a city dwelling-house of the better class, which, in many respects, would be a model for our builders. Every thing seems intended for use and comfort, rather than for mere show, in the residences of the trading classes of England and Scotland. The buildings are substantial, the walls varying from eighteen to thirty inches in thickness. The walls of
I was told of several such instances-though perhaps they occurred under peculiar circumstances.
some of the old castles are from five to even nine feet thick. They were not designed to tumble down, as an Irishman would say, before they were up. Hence the reason why fires are here so unfrequent, and so easily subdued. I was in London three months, and had not a single opportunity of seeing a fire, and only one of seeing a fire-engine. There is evidently much less destruction per annum by the devouring element, in all that vast metropolis, than there is on an average in New-York. Insurance in London costs next to nothing.
Saturday.-Rusticated a little, over to ROSLYN, etc. Stepped into a rail-road car at St. Leonard's Hill, where a Jeannie Deans was spreading her newly-washed linens on the grass; passed the ruins of Craigmuller Castle, and the seat of the wealthy Marquis of Abercorn, and in twenty minutes was at Dalkeith, where I stopped to see the beautiful and extensive parks, gardens, and palace, of the Scottish Cræsus, the Duke of Buccleugh-the Walter Scott, at the request of whose mother, a greater man of the same name wrote the 'Lay of the Last Minstrel.' The parks, inclosed with the palace, cover eight hundred acres, in a picturesque spot; the rivers North and South Esk both flowing, or rather tumbling in water-falls, through the centre. Near their banks in a grove, and 'far removed from toil and strife,' is a rustic bower, in a capital place for students or rhymsters, or philosophers of the school of Jacques, who read the brooks and trees. From thence, passing through Springfield, (where there is a paper-mill,