صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

show themselves, and where scandal can never thrive. The tail, he would have sunk like his horses, beneath the cold ladies dress very well, and seem to have a considerable quan- casement of the river, to be seen no more. If the horses are tity of conceit; their dresses here are not so plain and so allowed to plunge much, there is no chance of saving them: elegant as with you; they have too great a profusion of they have, therefore, to hang them, to keep them quiet unflounces, feathers, and ruffes ; few of them are to be met til they are pulled out, when the noose on the neck is slackwith very good-looking; the climate robs their complexions ened, and life permitted to return."-Vol. I. pp. 67-8. of all the beautiful colours, leaving bebind the sallow, dun, and yellow; no pure red and white in Canada, and dimples and elevated in his composition than is usual with him :

In the subjoined passage, our author is more poetical and smiles are rare. I endeavoured to fall in love once or twice, and Aung my old heart quite open to the little archer; the boundless forests of Canada. How different from a

CANADIAN FORESTS." The bush is the native title of but the frost, or something or other, would not allow the arrows to penetrate. I have met with girls from my own from the French, bois (wood)? or what is its root? The

mere shrub, as the English language has it! Is the term old Scotland that I liked to spend the day with

very mucho matter is worthy philosophical consideration. To the bush but they had no pretensions to beauty; we could talk of goes the settler, hungered out of the old world, and there witches, and quote Burns together. But this love proceeds he finds food for his family. To the bush goes the lumberfrom many causes, which have but small connexion with beauty of person; it is to be traced to the affinity of mind man, and there is a supply of timber for the Quebec mar-Humph!

ket forever and a day.” To the bush goes the furrier, and «• Do not let yourself be any longer deceived with the In exploring the bush, a person fancies

at times

that he has

there are his otters and beavers, the muffs and the tippets. tale, that there are no unmarried ladies here, for there are in the greatest abundance; and also more bachelors than I got into complete solitude: he bustles along, and the rustlike to live among, having boarded in a house for a few days his ears to other sounds, while musquitoes, &c. are too apt

ling he makes in getting through the brush wood, deafens where there were above thirty bachelors, between twenty to obscure the functions of the eyes; but let him listen a and forty years of age, every day at dinner. What do you little,

and various singular sounds meet the ear, as do also think ot' this? Canada is not a place for people to get married in. What is the cause, it is not easy to assign: me- strange prospects the eye. Birds fly about screaming pitethinks it proceeds from the bachelors being chiefly foreign- ously, as if their nests had been lately robbed-these remind ers-people badgered up and down this world, who forget tribe in the

woody wilderness

perch upon boughs, and war

us of the lapwings in England. None of the feathered that there is such a state as matrimony. Those who are long without a home get careless about finding one. The

ble sweet notes. No linnetsuno nightingales there: the patives, however, and settled residents, wed as becomes music is melancholy, the cadence is sorrow, creating simithem; and at their weddings they have what are called lar sensations in the wanderer. Partridges there sit on the spireverees, a parading kind of show, with sleighs, if in branches, and there is the robin red-breast as large as a winter, or a two-wheeled kind of gig, if in summer. Round thrush, yet a much greater coward than the British robin; the towns they fly-What a set-out :-fiddles playing, pis he turns tail on the proffered crumb, and fears to enter the tols firing,—altogether composing lots of fun : a true Cana

most hospitable mansion, although the doors may be flung dian spree is worth the looking at. In Montreal, the snow open to receive him. In the bushy hemlock the owl is accumulates to a great depth in the streets during winter; bitterns. During the cold frosty nights, the trees creak,

found dozing, while the swamps croak with bull-frogs and rendering the walking very precarious ; people wear a kind of cramp on their feet, called creeper, and the ladies move

as if ten thousand bûcherons were at them with their hatabout with stockings drawn over their boots. The Scotch chets. On the banks of the wild rivers, are curious trodbrogue here is not only conceived vulgar, but highly offen- &c. These roads the Indians always adopt when on their

den paths—these are the walks of the wolves, foxes, deer, siren_Vol. I. pp. 38-42.

Istian Modesty.“ The modesty of the Indians is journeys. Places called deer-licks are also freqnent : these very great. Their noble chief, De Campsie, being at a

are sali-marshes, where the deer assemble to lick the saline party once where English ladies were showing

off their soil. Hunters looking for the animals await them at these szowy necks, and lovely heaving bosoms, on being asked marshes with their guns, and shoot scores of them. what he thought of them, replied, shaking his head, . They

The bush is an interesting scene. There is, as Byron show much too great face for me.'

?"_Vol. I. p. 65.

says, WINTER TRAVELLING IN CANADA._" In the winter of

• A pleasure in the pathless woods.' 1826, the ice of Lake Ontario, when at the thickest, was When a man loses his way, he follows down the first raniwithin half an inch of two feet; the Lake of Chaudiere was ning brook he comes to, and this never fails to conduct him three feet and a half: they are not so thick, by about half to the banks of some river, where he generally may obtain a foot, towards the middle, and begin to take (that is, freeze) information of his situation. The Indian writes his letters round the sides first, before the middle; sometimes towards on the bark of a tree, and places them in some post-office the centre they will not freeze at all,' unless the frost be well known to his tribe; which post-office is generally an very severe. The road for sleighs is therefore round the old hollow cedar. Thus they conduct their business in the sides. The Canadian adopts this

for two substantial rea- bush, and breathe sighs to their squaws from Lake Simcoe sons; first, that the ice is more safe there; and secondly, perchance, to beyond the Rocky Mountains. Think what that should it break in, he has a better chance to get out.

ye will, ye denizens of gay luxuriant cities ; ye who boast of Often horses and sleighs will break smack through, sink your wealth, your wives, your comforts, your society,--give beneath the ice, and be seen no more: the drivers generally an honest Canadian a bit of pig, his wife, and his pipe, arid contrive to escape, although sometimes they get entangled he is happy in the bush as you are, and treads his brushor confused, and sink with the rest. An honest settler and wood way as pleasantly as you do a Turkey carpet: ” his wife were cantering along the Ottawa to hold their Vol. 1. pp. 100-2. merry New-year in Montreal: what a gay set-out! and Sportsmen often meet with strange adventures; we what a span of beautiful American bay horses !--they went should like to know how some of our August and Seplike the wind; while the cutter (an elegant species of sleigh) tember friends would relish a wild goose, obtained after tilted over the cracks and cahots in glorious style. My the following fashion, with a gun whose powers of peraboard;—who would not have had his

interesting company cussion were so tremendous : if it were to be obtained ?--a profound connoisseur in the Duck-SHOOTING.-" The Camerons were the best huntnews and manners of Canada, deeply read in the periodical ers I ever knew in Canada. They were brothers, of Highliterature of the old country, a great traveller all over the land extract, hardy fellows, and extremely fearless : they world, ever retaining a good and cheerful disposition. Often would go out a-deer-hunting, and sometimes bring home would he warn the farmer to take care of the ice, as about fifteen in a couple of days. As for shooting ducks, they the eddies of Long Island it was never to be fully depended were unmatched, and filled the canoe with large fat fowis on; but the other still replied there could be no fear, seeing when nobody else could get a shot: they would go out on a by the track that two laden traineaux had lately passed be morning and procure four or five dozen with ease. The fore them. Thus gliding along with a swift and smooth black wood-duck is the best of all the wild duck tribe ; it velocity, down they went with a plunging crash. My hu- is of a sooty colour, with a dirty yellow speckled breast, morous friend, whose presence of mind never forsook' him, and nearly as large as a goose. They feed on the wild rice, vaulted on to the solid ice, and very politely handed out the which grows plentifully in the small streams in the remote lady; while her husband, poor fellow, kept touching up the woods ; they are not met with in large flocks ; many of cattle slightly with the whip, unconscious of his dangerous them remaining during summer, and are met with large situation, and, had my friend not caught him by the coat- broods following after them.

[ocr errors]

“ One of the Camerons having observed a large flock of We cannot resist adding the following anecdote, which wild geese on the Lake of the Chaudiere, used every means bears a kind of relation to the above subject : in his power to have a shot at them, but could not : he crawled round the rushy banks from one point to another, NELLY BURXSIDE.-" When the question was put in the but it would not do,-still the flock kept aloof, and vexed forum of Edinburgh, respecting the objects of nature in him with their shyness. At length he took his canoe, and beaven above and earth beneath, which were likely to fill having cautiously got into it, allowed himself to drift out man with the greatest awe;- Those in the heavens,' quoth into the Big Bay towards his prey; and when he had got,

one of the speakers, for there are the sun and the stars.' as he considered, within shot, he let fly, and, dreadful to —No, no,' replied another, they are not so awful as the relate, the canoe upset from the percussion of the musket, stormy ocean, or the Falls of Niagara.'— You are both and launched the keen sportsman into the deep. This, how- wrong,' cried out a Galloway poet in the gallery; ' there is ever, did not concern him much ; instead of clinging to the nought in heaven above, nor earth below, can half match canoe, or even catching a paddle, as many others would, he Nelly Burnside !""_Vol. II. p. 46. quietly swam ashore, without saying a word, with the gun

We shall conclude our selections from this work with in his hand, a distance nearly of a mile. His brothers on the bank did not seem at all alarmed: they got out on a

a passage, which we recommend to the serious attention point, and rode a tree to the canoe; that is, took a branch of all persons who may ever indulge any thoughts of leaof some one or other that had tumbled down—these are al-ving their native country, and settling on the other side ways in superabundance—sat on it as we would on a saddle, of the Atlantic : and paddled away in the water to the canoe, which having uprighted, they easily succeeded, with

the aid of the branch friends in Britain are not to be entirely depended upon ; few

CAUTION TO EMIGRANTS._" Letters from settlers to their in embarking by the stern, when away they hunted the

They wish woanded wild-geese, and brought a good shot ashore, where, of them are exactly true, and for these reasons: on arriving, they found their brother had prepared a fire, as many of their friends to follow them as possible, for it is

natural in man to have his friends about him; and to do was drying his clothes, and broiling something to eat," Vol. I. pp. 231-3.

this, he must paint the beauties of Canada in glowing colours; he must dwell upon the fertility of the soil, the cheap

ness of farms. If they cause them to forsake a comfortable Mr Mactaggart's account of one of the greatest won- home and come out to Canada, they commit no small crime. ders of the natural world is graphic and interesting : By remaining as they are, they benefit their own country,

according to their station; by leaving it, they in some de The Falls or NIAGARA.-" Now you expect a degree do it an injury; and, after being deceived in going scription beyond the poetic quill of Howison, or statistical abroad, they blame their friends, themselves, and the counone of Gourlay; but this, my good fellow, I cannot do try they are brought to adopt. They may, it is true, reYou must come and see them with your own eyes. They turn home again if they are able; but this, by a family of are certainly sublime, awful, and beautiful, beyond my spirit, will not be thought of-they will wear away life highest expectations. Think

of the Great St Lawrence with vexation; and in this state they are too frequently coming over a precipice of 150 feet, divided in the middle met with. There is nothing like travellers telling the ho by Goat Island More than one half of the water rolls

nest truth, and letting people judge for themselves. There down on the Canada side of the island, the rest on the Ameri- are certain classes of emigrants that might do well, but can-both falls are nearly one height. The grand horse- these must not be poor, nor yet very rich-such as have shoe fall is that on the Canadian side. The noise is deafen- been in the school of adversity, and are no strangers to difing, but not disagreeable ; and the smoking, spume, though ficulties. Such letters do much injury; they not only bring it obscures the bottom, and hinders the eye from penetrating out people to be deceived, and so become discontented, but into the awful cauldron, makes the whole more awfully from being friends at home, they are foes ever afterbeautiful. Look at them every day of the year, and every wards. All the noise about cheap provisions, plenty to hour of the day, and new scenes will present themselves. eat and drink, and but little to do, is nonsense ; and inSometimes the noise lulls—sometimes the spray is full of deed if any one out of the country would consider it, rainbows and haloes. The waters at times seem green, and they might see it at once. I can only say, that I have seen the next instant they are black. The frost adorning them more distress in Canada than ever I saw out of it; and with fringing icicles and furbelows of snow, while the sun if we used as much exertion to live at home as we are paints them with streaks and circles of coloured light. obliged to do when there, few of us would go there. Though were a Milton, they would laugh at my muse; But we are slow of belief; and probably it is as well; the and being only a very humble individual, of course it is high truth is generally disbelieved. Any thing that gratifies presumption for me to speak; but triflers must be gabbling. the imagination is easily imposed on us, while that which As I examined, I could not but reflect on the numbers of detracts from the ideal is abhorred, and will not be received. mankind who have wandered far to see this wonderful They who invite their friends extol the absence of taxes, spectacle, and of the far greater numbers who have beard the salubrity of the climate, the pleasures, amusements, of the Falls, but have not been so fortunate as to have seen pastimes, &c. They must not say a word about the diffithem. I then considered myself extremely lucky, and said culty of clearing the woods, the toils of the batchet, the this was well worth leaving Britain for; for this, what is a heavy lifts, rheumatic complaints, &c.; they must not say voyage over the broad

Atlantic? I went down Jacob's lad- that only a mere speck of the country is yet cleared, and der-a ladder which hangs from the ledge of the table rock that they may get land almost for nothing; for what is its over which the waters fall; and, after descending about value, remote from towns and places where it may be two hundred steps, found

myself at the bottom of the Falls. brought to some account? Not one of the logs that are seen Now for ye! I looked upon the face of the descending ele- landed on our shores is cut on the farm of any settler.

I crept along by the side of the limestone precipice, There is no cleared land within 300 miles of where they and looked through the foaming surge into the cauldron

are obtained. There are no taxes of any extent, because itself. Heavens ! - Not yet satisfied, I got in between the there are very few who could pay them were they imposed. Falls and the precipice, and looked through the descending Where there is little taxation in a country, there is often torrent. Speak not of thrones and happiness! could a soul little wealth."-Vol. II. pp. 254-6. at that moment be more happy than I was? I was alone! I was curtained by the Falls of Niagara. Nature in her We can easily conceive a much superior book to the greatness was before me, in a majesty of splendour ! Could one we have now noticed, being written about Canada ; I then think of any thing else than her Author, my own insignificance, and the trust to repose in Him through time that most extensive and interesting colony, we feel in

but, in the present state of our information regarding and eternity.

« Returning towards the ladder, I espied a duck which debted to Mr Mactaggart for what he has done, and willhad been swept over the Falls ; she was alive, but seeming-ingly confess that, upon many points, he has extended ly more than three-fourths dead; from her l'inferred, that our previous stock of knowledge, and thereby done us a it one hundred good swimmers, such as the surf-gambollers service, for which we, in common with all right-thinking of the South Sea Isles, were to be swept over, one-fourth of men, should be thankful. them would come out alive. Had Lord Byron been with me, I daresay he would have attempted it and made a coward of me, for I should not have liked to accompany him." -Vol. II. pp. 42-4.

ment.

[ocr errors]

THE MARCHIONESS OF STAFFORD.

National Portrait Gallery of Illustrious and Eminent Per. Prize List - Public Exhibition Day of the Edinburgh
sonages of the Nineteenth Century. Engraved on Steel. Academy, Wednesday, 29th July 1829.
With Memoirs, by the Rev. Henry Stebbing, M. A.
London. Fisher and Co., Colnaghi and Co., Jones and

This little pamphlet contains, besides the names of the Co., and Ackerman. Published Monthly. Parts I. young gentlemen who distinguished themselves during II. and III.

the last year in the seven different classes of the EdinThis is a work of a very different stamp from the nu

burgh Academy, several specimens of their abilities in

the shape of exercises in English and Latin verse and in merous catchpenny publications, connected with the fine French composition. We think it should also have incluarts, which are at present over-running the country. The ded a specimen or two of Latin prose, as it did last year, portraits it contains, and which are taken either from

when Mr Williams was Rector. We observe, also, that original paintings, or from rare and valuable engravings, to the “ Prize List” for 1828 there is the following are executed in a style to entitle them to a place on the preface :-“ These exercises are printed without any cortables, or in the libraries, of all patrons of the arts. Each rections on the part of the Rector or Masters, and withpart furnishes three of these, together with judiciously out any suggestions as to the mode in which passages written biographical notices ed. The series is to embrace all those of our own times might be amended. They have been printed from the who are distinguished either for their exalted rank, their the errors of the press have been corrected by the authors.

manuscript copy delivered in for competition, and even professional celebrity, or their literary and scientific at- J. Williams, Rector.” No similar statement has been tainments. It has already presented us with the Duke made this year by the present Rector, the Rev. Thomas of Wellington, Lord Byron, the Marquis Camden, Earl Sheepshanks, and we are therefore left in the dark upon Amherst, her Royal Highness the late Princess Charlotte, the subject, which ought not to have been the case. Dr Wollaston, Lord Grenville, the Marchioness of Stafford, and Earl St Vincent. As a specimen of the simple Andrew Ramsay Campbell ; and we observe that prizes

The Dux of the highest Latin class this year was Mr and useful manner in which the accompanying memoirs have been awarded to the same gentleman for the “ Best are executed, we select that of our countrywoman, Eliza-Latin Verses," the “Best English Verses,” the “ Best beth Sutherland-Gower,

French Composition," and for being the “ Best Grecian,"

and the “ Best French Scholar.” This indicates a degree « This noble and illustrious lady is descended from the of industry and talent deserving of no mean praise, and most ancient house in Scotland, and represents a family we hope that these distinctions are only the avant-couriers whose nobility has passed through many of the most dis- of others still more desirable. From a Latin poem, entinguished personages in the history of the country. The titled “ Holyrood,” by Mr Campbell, we have pleasure first of her ancestors, of whom we find mention, was Thane in making the following short extract : of Sutherland, and his name is rendered interesting to us by bis having fallen a victim to the revenge of Macbeth. Ut juvat hic vacuum me solas ire per aulas, The earldom of Sutherland was bestowed by King Mal- Quas tenuit dudum formâ præstante Maria, colm upon the son of this nobleman, who was in his turn A bjectique Itali fuscum spectare cruorem succeeded by his son, who built the ancient seat of the fa- Hærentem tabulis, detergerique negantemmily, Duprobin Castle. William, the fourth Earl of Su- Hic, a reginâ multo dignatus honore, therland, married the eldest daughter of King Robert the Primores, ipsumque ausus contemnere regem, First, whose son David is recorded to have erected the earl- Demens ! sic fastus expendit sanguine pænas. dom into a royalty, in the year 1345. On the decease of Hic quoque Reginam solitus gravis ille sacerdos the ninth Earl, the titles and estates of the family descend- Hortari, vitæ culpas delictaque poscens, ed, as in the instance of the present Countess, to a female Romanæ fidei promptus reprehendere sacra, possessor, married to the second son of the Earl of Huntly, Atque Dei verum menti defigere cultum. who assumed the title in right of his wife.

0! nimis infelix, funestis casibus acta, “ The present inheritor of the honours which have de- Ter vacuos thalamos plorasti, conjuge rapto ; scended through this long line of noble ancestry, is the only Carcere te, hospitium quærentem, clausit Eliza, daughter of William, the seventeenth Earl, who married Et tandem ferrum cognato sanguine tinxit; the eldest daughter and co-heiress of William Maxwell, Perfida! si formæ non ulla moveret imago Esg of Preston. Her ladyship was born May 24th, 1765, Corda tibi sæva, triplici circumdala ferro, and her father died on the 16th of June, in the year follow- Si non hospitii leges violare timeres, ing. Her right of succession, as a female, was immediately Nec consanguineæ dextram maculare cruore ; strongly disputed by Sir Robert Gordon, baronet, of Gor- Nonne tamen mentem memoris praeconia fama donstown, and by George Sutherland, Esq. of Force. A Moverunt, læsi nec vivax numinis ira? long and difficult discussion was entered into on this im- Munera dum Phæbus diffundet grata diei, portant point, but her ladyship's guardians succeeded in Dumque reget tacitam bijugis Latonia noctem, proving her clear and distinct claim as heiress to the earl- Restabit semper terris infamia cædis. dom; and, on the 21st of March, 1771, her right was settled by a decision in the House of Lords. When only four years old, she thus became possessor of the most honourable title, and of the richest domain, of any of the Scottish no- Thoughts on Union with Christ, and Abiding in Him. By bility.

Sosthenes. Edinburgh. W. Whyte and Co. 1829. “In the year 1785, the Countess of Sutherland married the first and present Marquis of Stafford, distinguished not We can safely recommend this little work to the devout, more for his wealth and exalted rank, than for his splendid as one of great piety and sound Christian doctrine. patronage of the Fine Arts. Her ladyship has issue, Earl Gower, who was born August 8th, 1786; Francis, born January, 1800; and the ladies Charlotte and Elizabeth, born, the former on June 8th, 1788, and the latter in No- The Youth's Instructor. Nos. I. and II. Berwick. Fember, 1797.

Thomas Melrose. 1829. “ The high nobility of the Countess of Sutherland received, on his Majesty's visit to Scotland, in 1822, the royal THESE little books, which contain reading lessons for distinction.—her son, Lord Leveson Gower, being ap | very young children, are upon a simple and judicious plan. pointed to carry the sceptre before the King, as representa- Had we a large family in Berwick, we would purchase a tive of the Earls of Sutherland, to whom that honour was determined to belong."

bundle of them from Mr Thomas Melrose. We have only to add, that this work is amazingly cheap, the price of each Part being so low as two shillings. . We doubt whether these three lines convey a just view of Rizzio's

character. ED.

[ocr errors]

MISCELLANEOUS LITERATURE.

the keeper instantly involved the entrant in darkness by

re-closing the gloomy portal. A flight of about twenty TRADITIONARY NOTICES OF THE OLD TOLBOOTH steps then led to an inner door, which, being duly knock AND ITS TENANTS.

ed, was opened by a bottle-nosed personage denominated

Peter, who, like his sainted namesake, always carried two By the Author of the Histories of the Scottish

or three large keys. You then entered the hall, which, Rebellions."

being free to all the prisoners except those of the east end, Whosoever is fortunate enough to have seen Edin- was usually filled with a crowd of shabby-looking, but burgh previous to the year 1817—when as yet the greater very merry loungers. This being also the chapel of the part of its pristine character was entire, and before the jail, contained an old pulpit of singular fashion,—such a stupendous grandeur, and dense old-fashioned substan- pulpit as one could imagine John Knox to have preached tiality, which originally distinguished it, had been swept from ; which, indeed, he was traditionally said to have away by the united efforts of fire and foolery-must re- actually done. At the right-hand side of the pulpit, was member the Old Tolbooth. At the north-west corner a door leading up the large turnpike to the apartments of St Giles's Church, and almost in the very centre of a occupied by the criminals, one of which was of plate crowded street, stood this tall, narrow, antique, and iron. This door was always shut, except when food was gloomy-looking pile, with its black stancheoned windows taken up to the prisoners. On the north side of the hall opening through its dingy walls, like the apertures of a was the Captain's Room, a small place like a counting. hearse, and having its western gable penetrated by sun- room, but adorned with two fearful old muskets and a dry suspicious-looking holes, which occasionally served - sword, together with the sheath of a bayonet, and one or horresco referens for the projection of the gallows. The two bandeliers, alike understood to hang there for the defabric was four stories high, and might occupy an area fence of the jail. On the west end of the hal hung a of fifty feet by thirty. At the west end there was a low board, on which—the production, probably, of some inprojection of little more than one story, surmounted by solvent poetaster-were inscribed the following emphatic a railed platform, which served for executions. This, as

lines : well as other parts of the building, contained shops. On the north side, there remained the marks of what had

A prison is a house of care,

A place where none can thrive, once been a sort of bridge communicating between the

A touchstone true to try a friend, Tolbooth and the houses immediately opposite. This

A grave for men alivepart of the building got the name of the Purses, on ac

Sometimes a place of right, count of its having been the place where, in former

Sometimes a place of wrong, times, on the King's birth-day, the magistrates delivered donations of as many pence as the King was years old

Sometimes a place for jades and thieves,

And honest men among. to the same number of beggars or blue-gowns. There was a very dark room on this side, which was latterly The historical recollections connected with the hall ought used as a guard-house by the right venerable military not to be passed over. Here Mary delivered what Lind police of Edinburgh, but which had formerly been the say and other old historians call her painted orations. fashionable silk-shop of the father of the celebrated Fran- Here Murray wheedled, and Morton frowned. This cis Horner. At the east end, there was nothing remark- was the scene of Charles's ill-omened attempts to revoke able, except an iron box attached to the wall, for the re- the possessions of the Church ; and here, when his conuception of small donations in behalf of the poor prisoners, missioner, Nithsdale, was deputed to urge that measure, over which was a painted board, containing some quota- did the Presbyterian nobles prepare to set active violence tions from Scripture. In the lower flat of the south and in opposition to the claims of right and the royal will. sunny side, besides a shop, there was a den for the ac- On that occasion, old Belhaven, under pretence of incommodation of the outer door-keeper, and where it was firmity, took hold of his neighbour, the Earl of Dumnecessary to apply when admission was required, and the fries, with one hand, while with the other he grasped a old grey-haired man was not found at the door. The dagger beneath his clothes, ready, in case the act of reva main door was at the bottom of the great turret or turn- cation were passed, to plunge it into his bosom. pike stair which projected from the south-east corner. It

From the hall a lobby extended to the bottom of the central was a small but very strong door, full of large-headed staircase already mentioned, which led to the different nails, and having an enormous lock, with a fap to con- apartments about twelve in number-appropriated to ceal the keyhole, which could itself be locked, but was the use of the debtors. This stair was narrow, spiral, generally left open. One important feature in the exter- and steep-three bad qualities, which the stranger found nals of the Tolbooth was, that about one-third of the but imperfectly obviated by the use of a greasy rope that building, including the turnpike, was of ashler work— served by way of balustrade. This nasty convenience that is, smooth freestone—while the rest seemed of was not rendered one whit more comfortable by the incoarser and more modern construction, besides having a telligence, usually communicated by some of the inmates, turnpike about the centre, without a door at the bottom. that it had hanged a man! In the apartments to which

The floors of the west end, as it was always called, were this stair led, there was nothing remarkable, except that somewhat above the level of those in the east end, and in in one of them part of the wall seemed badly plastered. recent times the purposes of these different quarters was This was the temporary covering of the square hole quite distinct—the former containing the debtors, and the through which the gallows tree was planted.

We relatter the criminals. As the east end contained the hall member communing with a person who lodged in this in which the Scottish Parliament formerly met, we may room at the time of an execution. He had had the cosafely suppose it to have been the oldest part of the build- riosity, in the impossibility of seeing the execution, to try ing-an hypothesis which derives additional credit from if he could feel it. At the time when he heard the the various appearance of the two quarters—the one ha- psalms and other devotions of the culprit concluded, and ving been apparently designed for a more noble purpose when he knew, from the awful silence of the crowd, that than the other. The eastern division must have been the signal was just about to be given, he sat down upon of vast antiquity, as James the Third fenced a Parlia- the end of the beam, and soon after distinctly felt the ment in it, and the magistrates of Edinburgh let the motion occasioned by the fall of the unfortunate person, lower flat for booths or shops, so early as the year 1480. and thus, as it were, played at see-saw with the crimi

On passing the outer door, where the rioters of 1736 nal. thundered with their sledge-hammers, and finally burnt The annals of the Old Tolbooth would, we have often down all that interposed between them and their prey, I thought, form a curious and instructive volume. If it were not rather our province to communicate scattered as a crowd collected immediately, and the City Guard e traits than to compose regular history, we might be per- were not long in coming forward, there was of course no

suaded to attempt such a work. The annals of crime farther chance of escape. The prisoner did not revive are of greater value than is generally supposed. Crimi- from his swoon till he had been safely deposited in his old nals form an interesting portion of mankind. They are quarters. But, if we recollect aright, he eventually esentirely different from us_divided from us by a pale caped in another way. which we will not—dare not overleap, but from the safe Of Porteus, whose crime-if crime existed—was so side of which we may survey, with curious eyes, the sufficiently atoned for by the mode of his death, an anecstrange proceedings which go on beyond. They are in- dote, which has the additional merit of being connected teresting, often, on account of their courage on account with the Old Tolbooth, may here be acceptable. One of their having dared something which we timorously day, some years before his trial, as he was walking up and anxiously avoid. A murderer or a robber is quite Libberton's Wynd, he encountered one of the numerous as remarkable a person, for this reason, as a soldier who hens which, along with swine, then baunted the streets has braved some flesh-shaking danger. He must have of the Scottish capital. For some reason which has not given way to some excessive passion and all who have been recorded, he struck this hen with his cane, so that ever been transported beyond the bounds of reason by the it immediately died. The affair caused the neighbours to violence of any passion whatever, are entitled to the won- gather round, and it was universally thought that the case der, if not the admiration, of the rest of the species. was peculiarly hard, inasmuch as the bird was a clocker, Among the inmates of the Old Tolbooth, some of whom and left behind it a numerous brood of orphan chickens. had inhabited it for many years, there were preserved a few Before the Captain had left the spot, the proprietrix of legendary particulars respecting criminals of distinction, the ben, an old woman who lived in the upper flat of a who had formerly been within its walls. Some of these house close by, looked over her window, and poured down I have been fortunate enough to pick up.

upon the slayer's head a whole Gardeloo of obloquy and One of the most distinguished traits in the character reproach, saying, among other things, that “she wished of the Old Tolbooth was, that it had no power of reten- he might have as many witnesses present at his hindertion over people of quality. It had something like that end as there were feathers in that hen."* Porteus went faculty which Falstaff attributes to the lion and himself-away, not anaffected, as it would appear, by these idle of knowing men who ought to be respected on account of words. On the night destined to be his last on earth, their rank. Almost every criminal of more than the he told the story of the hen to the friends who then met ordinary rank ever yet confined in it, somehow or other in the jail to celebrate his reprieve from the execution contrived to get free. An insane peer, who, about the wbich was to have taken place that day; and the protime of the Union, assassinated a schoolmaster that had phetess of Libberton's Wynd was honoured with general married a girl to whom he had paid improper addresses, ridicule for the failure of her imprecation. Before the escaped while under sentence of death. We are uncer- merry-meeting, however, was over, the sound of the deadtain whether the following curious fact relates to that drum, beat by the approaching rioters, fell upon their nobleman, or to some other titled offender. It was con- ears, and Porteus, as if struck all at once with the certrived that the prisoner should be conveyed out of the tainty of death, exclaimed, “ D-n the wife ! she is right Tolbooth in a trunk, and carried by a porter to Leith, yet!" Some of his friends suggested that it might be the where some sailors were to be ready with a boat to take fire-drum; but he would not give ear to such consolahim aboard a vessel about to leave Scotland. The plot tions, and fairly abandoned all hope of life. Before anosucceeded so far as the escape from jail was concerned, ther hour had passed, he was in eternity. bat was knocked on the head by an unlucky and most Nicol Brown, a butcher, executed in 1753, for the ridiculous contretemps. It so happened that the porter, murder of his wife, was not the least remarkable tenant in arranging the trunk upon his back, placed the end of the Tolbooth during the last century. A singular which corresponded with the feet of the prisoner upper- story is told of this wretched man. One evening, long most. The head of the unfortunate nobleman was there before his death, as he was drinking with some other fore pressed against the lower end of the box, and had to butchers in a tavern somewhere about the Grassmarket, sustain the weight of the whole body. The posture was a dispute arose about how long it might be allowable to the most uneasy imaginable. Yet life was preferable to keep flesh before it was eaten. From less to more, the case. He permitted himself to be taken away. The argument proceeded to bets ; and Brown offered to eat porter trudged along the Krames with the trunk, quite a pound of the oldest and “worstflesh that could be unconscious of its contents, and soon reached the High produced, under the penalty of a guinea. A regular bet Street, which he also traversed. On reaching the Nether- was taken, and a deputation of the company went away bow, he met an acquaintance, who asked him where he to fetch the stuff which should put Nicol's stomach to the was going with that large burden. To Leith, was the It so happened that a criminal--generally affirmed answer. The other enquired if the job was good enough to have been the celebrated Nicol Muschat had been reto afford a potation before proceeding farther upon so long cently hung in chains at the Gallowlee, and it entered into a journey. This being replied to in the affirmative, and the heads of these monsters that they would apply in that the carrier of the box feeling in his throat the philosophy quarter for the required flesh. They accordingly proviof his friend's enquiry, it was agreed that they should ded themselves with a ladder and other necessary articles, adjourn to a neighbouring tavern. Meanwhile, the third and, though it was now near midnight, had the courage party, whose inclinations had not been consulted in this to go down that still and solitary road which led towards arrangement, felt in his neck the agony of ten thousand the gallows, and violate the terrible remains of the dead, decapitations, and almost wished that it were at once well by cutting a large collop from the culprit's hip. This over with him in the Grassmarket. But his agonies they brought away, and presented to Brown, who was were not destined to be of long duration. The porter, in not a little shocked to find himself so tasked. Neverthedepositing him upon the causeway, happened to make the less, getting the dreadful “ pound of flesh” roasted after end of the trunk come down with such precipitation, the manner of a beef-steak, and adopting a very strong that

, unable to bear it any longer, the prisoner fairly and drunken resolution, he set himself down to his horrid roared out, and immediately after fainted. The consternation of the porter, on hearing a noise from his burden, It is but charity to suppose Porteus might, in this case, be only was of course excessive ; but he soon acquired presence formerly prevailed. It is not many years since the magistrates of

endeavouring to introduce a better system of street police than had of mind enough to conceive the occasion. He proceeded a southern burgh drew down the unqualified wrath of all the good to unloose and to burst open the trunk, when the bapless which had been privileged to grace the causeway from time imineDobleman was discovered in a state of insensibility; and morial.

[ocr errors]

test.

« السابقةمتابعة »