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fessor of ethics. Instead of epigrammatic dialogue, he as a set of banditti would almost blush for,”—and as only meets with inconclusive arguments and prejudiced guilty of making the Bible itself “ food for low puns and epinions regarding the ritual of some peculiar sect. In wretched witticisms." It would be ridiculous to refute the great majority of cases he can recognize no glowing such aspersions. They are levelled against men whose delineations of female loveliness or of manly virtue no respectability and talent as a body cannot be disputed ; bold developement of the darker lineaments of humanity and we only pity the imbecility, and smile at the maligni-no indications of humour-no masterly strokes of sa-ty, of the vituperator. tire--no touches of pathos -no graphic descriptions.no To complete the dramatis persona, we meet with a elegant fluency of diction. In short, every page is full of Miss Jessy M‘Fie, a half-crazed Scottish Dissenter, and a dull monotonous cant; and it is, in general, difficult to Dr Campion and his son, who have some scrambling for determine, whether the work ought to be despised for its the hand of Florence; which, however, is interrupted by insipidity, or for the profane allusions with which it the apoplectic demise of the old gentleman. abounds.
Such are the main features of this novel (erroneously The volumes now before us were written for the pur- so called); and we submit to our readers whether or not pose of elucidating certain tenets of the Roman Catholic they substantiate our verdict regarding it. creed. We have expressed our general opinion regarding publications of this calibre, and certainly the present work tends to confirm that opinion. It may contain an
MISCELLANEOUS LITERATURE. accurate exposition of Catholic Theology ; but, as a norel, it has no merit, and it is exclusively as a novel that
A FEW REMARKS ON WORDS. it appears before the public. Indeed, we can hardly con- By William Tennant, Author of “ Anster Fair,” &c. ceive a more ridiculous story than the one here unfolded. It would seem that the heroine, originally an Episcopa
-επεα πτερούντα:lian, visits a Catholic chapel with her mother. On her
Wing'd words that fly, with eye-confounding speed,
From Greece to France, from Tiber to the Tweed; return home, the young lady is taken violently ill, and a From Babel first they flew, as from their nest; doctor having arrived, he receives the fearful intelligence
And ever since they fiy, and find no rest. that the amiable Miss Florence Stanhope, the paragon of Of all the vocables uttered by man, the word shta, beauty and perfection, had actually “ shivered after having isonpus
, sro, stand, is the most universal, and has the most eaten half an egg;" although, as it is extremely important multitudinous family of derivatives. We find it in an and instructive to observe, “ she often cats a whole one immense variety of shapes in every modern and ancient without injury;" on which account, opines the sagacious language. It is to be seen in maps of the south of Asia, Mrs Stanhope, “ I should rather imagine, that the previous in Hindoostan, Cafferistan, &c. ; in maps of the north of state of the stomach caused the aversion, than that it was Europe, in Carlstad, Jacobstad, &c.
We hear it every occasioned by the food I speak of." This, however, day in Scotland in farm-steadin', house-stance, &c. We thongh a very plausible supposition, and highly creditable cannot read a single page of a Greek, Latin, English, to the gastronomical research of the author, is not the Italian, Spanish, or German book, without meeting it in real cause of the malady. Florence has been impressed one or other of its multiplied phases. A little volume by the priest's eloquence—she wishes to become a con- might be made up of the many words formed, through-. Fert to his principles, and her desires in this respect are out the various languages, from this single syllable. Its ultimately gratified. The process by which her conver- root is to be found in Sanskrit and Hebrew. sion takes place, constitutes the sole materials of the plot. And who are the principal actors that contribute to the What is the termination pen in the names of the months advancement of this noble denouement? We are first September, October, &c. ? An eminent philologist sugintroduced to the heroine, who possesses those attrac- gests, that it may be the latter fragment of IMBER, as showtions with which puling sensibility can invest her. Her er—as if regular rains characterized the Latin months, mother occupies a more prominent part in the scene. which is not the case. As the Romans and Greeks took She relates her history at full length ; and, judging from all their astronomical notions from the Ægyptians and its incidents, the propriety of her deportment seems some- Orientalists, it is more likely, that, with the division of what questionable. By her own confession, even before the year into twelve months, and the division of the day marriage, her mysterious seclusion from society for seve into twelve hours, they adopted also the Oriental word ral weeks, without any apparent reason, tended to cast a BAR or Ber, signifying time, turn, or revolution, and ansuspicion over her conduct; and after marriage, she is nexed it, as the Orientalists did, to their own cardinal rather awkwardly found in an arbour with another wo- numbers, to denote the revolutions or turns of the moon. man's husband, who, with all the ardour of impassioned To this day (as the Indians did in Sanskrit) the Persians love, beseeches her to be “ his guardian angel.” “And yet say YAK-BAR, DO-BAR, &c. one-time, two-times, writing them, this worthy matron can spiritualize, like Hervey, on a not as two words separate, but as one word, just as the green gooseberry.
She has a sister, whose great delight Latins did in the names of their months. consists in field sports in angling-in taking long journeys alone in public vehicles and in sometimes assuming It is curious to observe how the same vocable, with the masculine attire. Her appearance awakens the amorous same signification, is current in countries separated by propensities of a Mr Ashburn, a Catholic divine,
who is great distances ; one or two instances only of such identiconsulted on all occasions, as the infallible oracle of Scrip-ties are sufficient to prove, that such nations must, at some tural knowledge. While in one page he inculcates obedi- period or other of their history, have been connected. Our ence to God's law, he, in the next page, eloquently describes Scottish word dochter, after gliding, like another Alpheus, the graces of the fair nymph ; and, as he gazes on her through the German ocean, pops up its head,
somewhat well-proportioned feet and ankles, adorned in the Diana distorted and disguised, in Saxony, in the shape and sound style," he candidly declares that she is “ an extraordinary of Tochter ; and, after an immense hiatus of separation,
Albeit such expressions, in such circum- reappears, in the very same shape and guise, on the plains stances, are somewhat unsuitable to the clerical character, of Persia and Baloochistan. Our English word tree is they are, perhaps, more excusable than the bigoted senti- to be found in Sanskrit. Our homely word palaver is, ments contained in a letter from a friend of his, who is on with short intervals of interruption, found current nearly a visit to Edinburgh. In it the Scotch clergy are repre- in the same meridian line from pole to pole ; it is a classisented as licentious in their conduct—as lamentably
defi- cal word, as we all know, in the Doric of Scotland ; it cient in intellectual attainments—as exhibiting in their passes subterraneously through the soil of England—-rechurch courts, " such rancour, backbiting, and forebiting, appears in Spain and Portugal-crosses the straits of
Hercules, and reigns predominant throughout all the nothing between them. Of the Latin word asinus, the gold-besmeared, semi-barbarous courts of Western Africa. English language has appropriated to itself the ass, and The words wine, linen, sack (a bag), have been always the Greek has contented itself, we know not how, with current throughout ancient and modern Europe. The the oros. Of the Egyptian word phirom, (a man,) the Phænician traders, probably, exported these commodities Latins have made two, chopping it down, like a polypus, to the various countries, and, with the commodities, ex- into two animated and current words, vir and homo; ported also their names ; just as the words shawl and tea and, by the by, the former word vir, a hero, occurs in are now current throughout the world.
Sanskrit. In old Scythian, Herodotus says, aor denoted
From the Egyptian word, probably the Greek In all cultivated languages, saving one, the substantive évoqwros was likewise derived. verb, unless used in the intinitive mood, has a nominative after it as well as before it. In the Arabic language, the Of the words denoting parts of the human body, the substantive verb governs an accusative, like other active nose appears to be the most cosmopolitan and prevalent. verbs. Our common people follow the Arabic idiom, and It occurs in Sanskrit in nais, Latin Nasus, Greek (by say, It is me, It was him, &c.
Metathesis) 'gavos, whence naris, French NEZ, Italian
Naso, German NASE, &c. We have it in maps, denoting The word barbarus is, probably, of Ægyptian or Pho- a cape or promontory, in Fife-ness, Buchan-ness, Nase of nician origin, and means only a foreigner. Herodotus Norway; even up in Russia, beyond Archangel, in says, the Agyptians called all those Beegouegos who spoke Nanin-Noss, Sviator-noss, &c. The foot, too, is very prenot their own language. Plutarch says it is a Spartan valent ; in Sanskrit pad, Persic Pa, Greek pous, Latin word, which strengthens our suspicion of its Ægypt origin, as the Spartans regarded themselves as a colony from the Nile, and claimed cognation not only with It is worthy of observation, that in several languages, Ægypt, but also with the Jews, as we learn from the the word denoting town is either the same with, or obsecond Book of Maccabees. Bápengopwvos therefore means, viously deduced from, that denoting a hill or mountain. not those (as Strabo thinks) who stutter, speak negligent-In Sanskrit they differ only in one letter ; the German ly, or barbarously, but merely those who speak a foreign burg (whence comes our word borough) is evidently derived language. The word barbar occurs in the Old Testa- from berg, a mountain. The Latin word pagus, a counment, and is there used, I imagine, in its radical signifi-try-town, is the Greek Fayos; and our word town itself is cation. It is translated by our interpreters “ fatted fowl;" nothing else than pun, an eminence or hill, which we but, as Michaelis suggests, it more probably means wild prefix to our terms, as in Dun-edin, Dun-fermline; but fowls in opposition to tame—so that the primary meaning the Latins postfixed, (as the Greeks did somis,) as in Carof this word may be found to be—wild in opposition to rodinium, Ebrodinium, and a multitude of otber names, tame-foreign in opposition to native,
from Spain to Scythia. Either the first builders of cities
might have chosen such elevated situations for the sake of In the Latin language, the word opus—in the Greek, greater security and defence; or, we may adopt Plato's sgyos--and in Persic, KAE—all signifying work or business notion, that, immediately after the flood, men, still trem-are used in the sense of need and necessity. The Latin bling at that dreadful catastrophe, and yet not quite seGrammarians have absurdly made of opus, used in this cure against its recurrence, chose the tops of hills as being sense, an indeclinable substantive and indeclinable adjec- less in danger of being surmounted by the waters. tive.
The Sanskrit word Pet, signifying motion, is the origin The Phænicians and Ægyptians, who seem to have of the Latin verb petere, whose primary meaning Dr had many words in common, appear to have given the Hunter, with his usual acuteness, considers to be merely first names to many islands, mountains, and countries. motion. This meaning of the verb, which ought to be Mount Ætna, (a furnace,) Scylla, (destruction,) Charyb- its first and leading one, Ainsworth has made the eledis, (hole of perdition,) Gades or Gadin, (fence or bound,) venth and most remote. From this word are derived Ida, (a pillar or column,) are, in all likelihood, the names also the Greek words TeTomas, atstdouces, vaiętetns, dumETES, given to these places by the first Phænician or Ægyptian &c., and, perhaps, FITTW, contracted from 717!Tämall navigators. If the Ægyptian word olb signified an including the idea of motion. Of the Latin verb, used island, it is perhaps the origin of Albion, a name given to in the sense of aiming at, moving towards, (as in the phrase, our island, not by the natives, but by foreigners. One “ Taurus petit cornibus,") the English have made, "the of the kings of Ægypt, according to Ilerodotus, construct- bull butts with his horns ;" but our Scottish forefathers ed, in a marsh, an artificial island for his residence, which have stuck closer to the Sanskrit orthoepy, and said, “the he called Olb. The island Elba, the river Elb, from bull putts with his horns." some island in its course, have, perhaps, had the same origin.
Devongrove, Dollar, 4th June, 1829.
Words, in emigrating from one country to another adjoining, and thence to others more distant, suffer such
A TALE OF THE PLAGUE IN EDINBURGH. dreadful mutilations and distortions, as scarcely to be re-By Robert Chambers, Author of " The Traditions of Edincognized. Who, without knowing how much it has suf
burgh,” the “ Histories of the Scottish Rebellions," fc. fered in gliding to us through the French and Italian, could detect, in our English word surgeon, the two Greek In several parts of Scotland, such things are to be found words xaiz and gyor? Who could discover the dwarfish as tales of the Plague. Amidst so much human suffering word alms to be the gigantic sasnposurn ? kirk to be rupicxn? | as the events of a pestilence necessarily involved, it is of strange to be extraneus ? Even when the sounds and course to be supposed that, occasionally, circumstances the syllables are the same, their senses are utterly deflect- would occur of a peculiarly disastrous and affecting deed. Of KNECHT, a hind or slave, we have made a scription,—that many loving hearts would be torn asunder, knight, one of our highest dignities. Of BANCO, a poor or laid side by side in the grave, many orphans left desoplain plank for sitting, we have made banker, bank, late, and patriarchs bereft of all their descendants,—and bench of Bishops. KATHEDRA, a chair, is converted into that cases of so painful a sort as called forth greater coma huge church. Of the Hebrew negative, AIN, (not, passion at the time, would be remembered, after much of nothing,) the Greeks have stolen the a, the Latins the ordinary details was generally forgotten. The cele the in, thus dividing, like most conscientious thieves, brated story of Bessy Bell and Mary Gray, is a case in point. So romantic, so mournful a tale, appealing as it effect among the thin congregations of haggard and terridoes to every bosom, could not fail to be commemorated, fied scarecrows, who persisted in meeting regularly at even though it had been destitute of the great charm of places of worship. The learned puzzled themselves with locality. Neither could such a tale of suffering and horror conjectures as to its probable causes and cures ; while the as that of the Teviotdale shepherd's family (already al- common people gave way to the most wild and fanciful luded to in a former article upon this subject) ever be for- surmises, almost all of which were as far from the truth. gotten in the district where it occurred,—interesting as it The only popular observation worthy of any attention, is, has been, and will be, to every successive generation of was, that the greater part of those who suffered from this mothers, and duly listened to and shuddered at by so new disease died during the night, and all of them while many infantine audiences. In the course of our researches, unattended. we have likewise picked up a few extraordinary circum- Not many days after the alarm first arose, a poor wostances connected with the last visit paid by the plague man arrested a physician in the street, and desired to to Edinburgh ; which, improbable as they may perhaps confer with him a brief space. He at first shook her appear, we believe to be, to a certain extent, allied to truth, off, saying he was at present completely engaged, and and shall now submit them to our readers.
could take no new patients. But when she informed When Edinburgh was afflicted, for the last time, with him that she did not desire his attendance, and only wishthe pestilence, such was its effect upon the energies of the ed to communicate something which might help to clear citizens, and so long was its continuance, that the grass up the mystery of the late premature deaths, he stopped grew on the principal street, and even at the Cross, and lent a patient ear. She told him that on the previ. though that Scottish Rialto was then perhaps the most ous night, having occasion to leave her house, in order to crowded thoroughfare in Britain. Silence, more than visit a sick neighbour, who lay upon a lonely death-bed that of the stillest midnight, pervaded the streets during in the second flat below her own garret, she took a lamp the day. The sunlight fell upon the quiet houses as it in her hand, that she might the better find her way down. falls on a line of sombre and neglected tombstones in As she descended the stair, which she described as a turnsome sequestered churchyard-gilding, but not altering, pike, or spiral one, she heard a low and inexpressibly their desolate features. The area of the High Street, on doleful moan, as if proceeding from the house of her being entered by a stranger, might have been contempla- neighbour,—such a moan, she said, as she had never ted with feelings similar to those with which Christian, in heard proceed from any of the numerous death-beds it the Pilgrim's Progress, viewed the awful court-yard of had been her lot to attend. She hastened faster down Giant Despair ; for, as in that well-imagined scene, the the stair than her limbs were well able to carry her, unvery ground bore the marks of wildness and desolation ; der the idea that her friend was undergoing some severe every window around, like the loop-holes of the dungeons suffering, which she might be able to alleviate. Before, in Doubting Castle, seemed to tell its tale of misery with however, she had reached the first landing-place, a noise, in, and the whole seemed to lie prostrate and powerless as of footsteps, arose from the house of pain, and caused under the dominion of an unseen demon, which fancy her to apprehend that all was not right in a house which might have conceived as stalking around in a bodily form, she knew no one ever visited, in that time of desolation, leisurely dooming its subjects to successive execution. but herself. She quickened her pace still more than be
When the pestilence was at its greatest height, a strange fore, and soon reached the landing-place at her neighperplexity began, and not without reason, to take posses- bour's door. Something, as she expressed it, seeming to sion of the few physicians and nurses who attended the swoof down the stair, like the noise of a full garment sick. It was customary for the distempered to die, or, brushing the walls of a narrow passage, she drew in the as the rare case happened, to recover, on a particular day lamp, and looking down beyond it, saw what she conafter having first exhibited symptoms of illness. This ceived to be the dark drapery of the back of a tall huwas an understood rule of the plague, which had never man figure, loosely clad, moving, or rather gliding, out been known to fail. All at once, it began to appear that of sight, and in a moment gone. So uncertain was she a good many people, especially those who were left alone at first of the reality of what she saw, that she believed in their houses by the death or desertion of friends, died it to be the shadow of the central pile of the stair gliding before the arrival of the critical day. In some of these downwards as she brought round the light; but the state cases, not only was the rule of the disease broken, but, of matters in the inside of the house soon convinced her, what vexed the physicians more, the powers of medicine to her horror, that it must have been something more Seemned to have been set at defiance ; for several patients dreadful and real—the unfortunate woman being dead; of distinction, who had been able to purchase good at- though as yet it was three days till the time when, actendance, and were therefore considered as in less than cording to the old rules of the disease, she might have ordinary danger, were found to have expired after taking lived or died. The physician heard this story with salutary drugs, and being left with good hopes by their astonishment; but as it only informed his mind, which pbysicians. It almost seemed as if some new disease was not free from superstition, that the whole matter were beginning to engraft itself upon the pestilence—a was becoming more and more mysterious, he drew no new feature rising upon its horrid aspect. Subtle and conclusions from it, but simply observing, with a profesfatal as it formerly was, it was now inconceivably more sional shake of the head, that all was not right in the 59. It could formerly be calculated upon ; but it was town, went upon his way, now quite arbitrary and precarious. Medicine had lost The old woman, who, of course, could not be expected its power over it. . God, who created it in its first mon- to let so good a subject of gossip and wonderment lie idle strous form, appeared to have endowed it with an addi- in her mind, like the guinea kept by the Vicar of Waketional sting, against which feeble mortality could present field's daughters, forthwith proceeded to dissipate it no competent shield. Physicians beheld its new ravages abroad among her neighbours, who soon (to follow out with surprise and despair; and a deeper shade of horror the idea of the coin) reduced it into still larger and was spread, in consequence, over the public mind. coarser pieces, and paid it away, in that exaggerated form,
As an air of more than natural mystery seemed to ac- to a wider circle of neighbours, by whom it was speedily company this truly calamitous turn of affairs, it was, of dispersed in various shapes over the whole town. The course, to be expected, in that superstitious age, that many popular mind, like the ear of a sick man, being then pewould attribute it to a more than natural cause. By the culiarly sensitive, received the intelligence with a degree ministers, it was taken for an additional manifestation of of alarm, such as the news of a lost battle has not always God's wrath, and as such held forth in not a few pulpits, occasioned amongst a people; and, as the atmosphere is Recompanied with all the due exhortations to a better life, best calculated for the conveyance of sound during the which it was not unlikely would be attended with good time of frost, so did the air of the plague seem peculiarly well fitted for the propagation of this fearful report. The the eastward, namely, Halkerston's Wynd.*
This whole of the people were impressed, on hearing the story, house was, at the time we speak of, crammed full of with a feeling of undefined awe, mixed with horror. valuable goods, plate, &c. which had been deposited in The back of a tall figure, in dark long clothes, seen but the provost's hands by many of his afflicted fellow-citifor a moment! There was a picturesque indistinctness zens, under the impression that, if they survived, he was in the description, which left room for the imagination; honest enough to restore them unimpaired, and, if othertaken in conjunction, too, with the moan heard at first wise, he was worthy to inherit them. His daughter, by the old woman on the stair, and the demise of the who had been seized before it was found possible to resick woman at the very time, it was truly startling. To move her from the town, lay in a little room at the back add to the panic, a report arose next day, that the figure of the house, which, besides one door opening from the had been seen on the preceding evening, by different per large staircase in the front, had also a more private entry sons, fitting about various stairs and alleys, always in communicating with the narrower and obsolete turnpike the shade, and disappearing immediately after being first behind. At that time, little precaution was taken any perceived. An idea began to prevail that it was the where in Scotland about the locking of doors. To have image of Death, Death, who had thus come in his im- the door simply closed, so that the fairies could not enter, personated form, to a city which seemed to have been was in general considered sufficient, as it is at the present placed so peculiarly under his dominion, in order to exe-day in many remote parts. In Edinburgh, during the cute his office with the greater promptitude. It was time of the plague, the greatest indifference to security of thought, if so fantastic a dream may be assigned to the this sort prevailed. In general, the doors were left unthinking faculty, that the grand destroyer, who, in ordi- locked from within, in order to admit the cleansers, or nary times is invisible, might, perhaps, have the power of any charitable neighbour who might come to minister rendering himself palpable to the sight in cases where he to the bed-rid sick. This was not exactly the case in approached his victims, under circumstances of peculiar Sir John Smith's house ; for the main-door was scrupuhorror; and this wild imagination was the more fearful, lously locked, with a view to the safety of the goods cominasmuch as it was supposed that, with the increase of unitted to his charge. Nevertheless, from neglect, or the mortality, he would become more and more distinct- from want of apprehension, the posterior entrance was ly visible, till, perhaps, after having dispatched all, he afterwards found to have been not so well secured. would burst forth in open triumph, and roam at large The Barbary physician had administered a potion to throughout a city of desolation.
his patient soon after his admission into the house. He It happened, on the second day after the rise of this po- knew that symptoms either favourable or unfavourable pular fancy, that an armed ship, of a very singular con- would speedily appear, and he therefore resolved to restruction, and manned by a crew of strangely foreign- main in the room in order to watch the result. About looking men, entered Leith harbour. It was a Barbary midnight, as he sat in a remote corner of the room, lookrover; but the crew showed no intention of hostility to ing towards the bed upon which his charge was extended, the town of Leith, thongh at the present pass it would while a small lamp burned upon a low table between, he have fallen an easy prey to their arms, being quite as was suddenly surprised to observe something like a dark much afflicted with the pestilence as its metropolitan cloud, unaccompanied by any noise, interpose itself slowneighbour. A detachment of the crew, comprising one ly and gradually between his eyes and the bed.
He at who appeared to be the commander, immediately landed, first thought that he was deceived,—that he was beginand proceeded to Edinburgh, which they did not scruple ning to fall asleep,—or that the strange appearance was to enter. They enquired for the provost, and, on being occasioned by some peculiarity of the light, which, being conductrd to the presence of that dignitary, their chief placed almost directly between him and the bed, caused disclosed their purpose in thus visiting Edinburgh, which him to see the latter object very indistinctly. He was was the useful one of supplying it in its present distress soon undeceived by hearing a noise-the slightest poswith a cargo of drugs, approved in the East for their sible—and perceiving something like motion in the illefficacy against the plague, and a few men who could defined lineaments of the apparition. Gracious heaven! undertake to administer them properly to the sick. The thought he, can this be the angel of death hovering over provost heard this intelligence with overflowing eyes ; his victim, preparing to strike the mortal blow, and ready for, besides the anxiety he felt about the welfare of the to receive the departing soul into the inconceivable recity, he was especially interested in the health of his cesses of its awful forin? It almost appeared as if the daughter, and only child, who happened to be involved in cloud stooped over the bed for the performance of this the common calamity. The terms proposed by the Africans task. Presently, the patient uttered a half-suppressed were somewhat exorbitant. They demanded to have the sigh, and then altogether ceased the regular respirations, half of the wealth of those whom they restored to health. which had hitherto been monotonous and audible throughBut the provost told them that he believed many of the out the room. The awe-struck attendant could contain most wealthy citizens would be glad to employ them on himself no longer, but permitted a sort of cry to escape these terms; and, for his own part, he was willing to him, and started to his feet. The cloud instantly, as it sacrifice any thing he had, short of his salvation, for the were, rose from its inclined posture over the bed, turned behalf of his daughter. Assured of at least the safety of hastily round, and, in a moment contracting itself into their persons and goods, the strangers drew from their | a human shape, glided softly, but hastily, from the apartship a large quantity of medicines, and began that very ment. Ha! thought the African, I have known such evening to attend as physicians, those who chose to call personages as this in Aleppo. These angels of death are them in. The captain—a man in the prime of life, and sometimes found to be mortal themselves--I shall purremarkable amongst the rest for his superior dress and sue and try. He, therefore, quickly followed the phanbearing—engaged himself to attend the provost's daughter, tom through the private door by which it had escaped, who had now nearly reached the crisis of the distemper, not forgetting to seize his semicircular sword in passing and hitherto had not been expected to survive.
the table where it lay. The stair was dark and steep ; The house of Sir John Smith, the provost of Edin- but he kept his feet till he reached the bottom. Casting, burgh, in the year 1645, was situated in the Cap-and-then, a hasty glance around him, he perceived a shadow Feather close, an alley occupying the site of the present vanish from the moon-lit ground, at an angle of the North Bridge. The bottom of this alley being closed, there was no thoroughfare or egress towards the North
This miserable place possesses an interest of which the most of
our readers cannot be aware. It received its name from the circumLoch; but the provost's house possessed this convenience, stance of a brave young man, by name David Halkerstoup, the brobeing the tenement which closed the lower extremity, ving been killed in it in 1514, when defending the town against the and having a back-door that opened upon an alley to English under the Earl of Hertford.
house, and instantly started forward in the pursuit. He criticism, what must be apparent to the meanest capacity, soon found himself in the open wynd above-mentioned, and what none but a frothy nincompoop would ever be along which he supposed the mysterious object to have at the trouble of gravely setting down on paper. We gone. All here was dark ; but being certain of the love to pry into abuses as much as most men,-it is flatcourse adopted by the pursued party, he did not hesitate tering to our own discrimination to make them apparent, a moment in plunging headlong down its steep profun- and to have them rooted out; and as all mortal managers dity. He was confirmed in his purpose hy immediately are fallible creatures, it will be a long while before any afterwards observing, at some distance in advanice, a small of them find us telling them that we can see nothing jet of moonlight, proceeding from a side alley, obscured about their establishment which demands improvement. for a second by what he conceived to be the transit of a Nevertheless, surly, rough, and sturdy though we be, large dark object. This he soon also reached, and find continually snuffing out hidden imperfections with all our ing that his own person caused a similar obscurity, he three noses,—we have a touch of a softer nature about us ; was confirmed in his conjecture that the apparition bore and we are well aware that no man is entitled to attempt a substantial form. Still forward and downward he criticism, who has not an eye as apt to perceive merit, boldly rushed, till, reaching an open area at the bottom, and a heart as ready to feel it, as a tongue and pen prepart of which was lighted by the moon, he plainly saw, at pared and willing to expose blundering imbecility, and the distance of about thirty yards before him, the figure check presumptuous ignorance. Criticism is not the art as of a tall man, loosely enveloped in a prodigious cloak, of finding fault ;-it is the art of nicely discriminating gliding along the ground, and apparently making for a between what is good and what is bad, of praising the small bridge, which at this particular place crossed the former, and of deprecating the latter. drain of the North Loch, and served as a communication On the whole, we are decidedly prepared to support with the village called Mutries Hill. He made directly the present management of our theatre. There is, occafor the fugitive, thinking to overtake him almost before sionally, a little humbug in the system, and perhaps rahe could reach the bridge. But what was his surprise, ther too great a leaning to parsimony,-a certain timidity wheu in a moment the flying object vanished from his and caution in the finance department, which leaves more sight, as if it had sunk into the ground, and left him room to laud the prudence than the spirit of the patentee; alone and objectless in his headlong pursuit.
but take it for all in all, and we can state safely, and possible that it had fallen into some concealed well or from some experience in these matters, that it would be pit, but this he was never able to discover. Bewilder- ditficult to point out a provincial theatre,—especially one ed and confused, he at length returned to the provost's which is not over-liberally encouraged,—better regulated house, and re-entered the apartment of the sick maiden. in all its departments. To make this the more apparent, To his delight and astonishment he found her already in let us recur, for a moment, to what we stated at the outa state of visible convalescence, with a gradually deepen- set. At present the stage over the whole country is at a ing glow of health diffusing itself over her cheek. Whe- low ebb. If we except a few respectable comedians, and ther his courage and fidelity had been the means of these almost exclusively of the male sex, whom have we scaring away the evil demon it is impossible to say; but to boast of? Kean is a man of genius, but his own folcertain it is, that the ravages of the plague began soon lies render that genius little to be counted on ;-Young afterwards to decline in Edinburgh, and at length died is falling into the sear and yellow leaf ;-Charles Kemble away altogether.
was always pleasing and graceful, but rarely any thing The conclusion of this singular traditionary story more ;– Macready is good only in a very few characters; bears, that the provost's daughter, being completely re- -Wallack, Ward, Cooper, Pemberton, Vandenhoff, are, stered to health, was married to the foreigner who had at the best, only dii minorum gentium. With the exception saved her life. This seems to have been the result of an of the two last named, all these persons belong to some of affection which they had conceived for each other during the theatres in London ; and there is scarcely such a the period of her convalescence. The African, becoming thing as provincial celebrity, either in England or Irejoint-heir with his wife of the provost's vast property,
land. But even in London we have at Drury-Lane no abandoned his former piratical life, became, it is said, a
Othello but Young, who is quite unfit for the part now, douce Presbyterian, and settled down for the remainder and no Iago but Cooper, who never was fit for it at all; of bis days in Edinburgh. The match turned out ex
and at Covent-Garden, when “ Venice Preserved” was ceedingly well; and it is even said that the foreigner be performed the other evening, the character of Pierre was came so assimilated with the people of Edinburgh, to sustained by Mr C. Kemble, and that of Jaffier by an whom he had proved so memorable a benefactor, that he unknown individual named Cathcart. As for a Belviheld at one time an office of considerable civic dignity dera, there is confessedly no such thing upon the stage
Certain it is, that he built for his re- for Miss Phillips is merely respectable, and Miss Smithsidence a magnificent land near the head of the Canon- son seems to be a failure. Now, this being the state of gate, upon the front of which he caused to be erected a matters in the metropolis, with what kind of justice are statue of the Emperor of Barbary, in testimony of the
we entitled to accuse a provincial manager of having no respect he still cherished for his native country; and this tragedians of eminence, or of great ability, in his company? memorial yet remains in its original niche, as a subsi- We presume a provincial mavager cannot make tragedians diary proof of the verity of the above relation.
as Dutch potters make images. And if he cannot make them, where is he to find them? Before we get into a
rage with deficiencies of this sort, let us point out an eviTHE DRAMA.
dent method by which these deficiencies might be supplied.
We do not know of one tragedian worth having out of In forming an estimate of the general respectability of London, with the single exception, perhaps, of Vandenthe Edinburgh company, two things are to be taken into hoff—and even in London, there is scarcely one we would consideration ; first, the present state of the British stage; go much out of our way to see. And all last season the and second, the comparative rank which, as belonging to worst houses here were invariably on the nights on which a provincial theatre, our company ought to hold. To Vandenhoff performed; which showed, either that the put these two things out of view, and then to launch people had got tired of him, or that, in these light fantasforth into pompous commonplaces, which tend to prove tic times, tragedy was considered a drug. Vandenhoff that our resident performers are not the very best under was, therefore, not re-engaged this season ; but, if our the sun, and that a considerably better corps dramatique citizens wish it, we take it upon our responsibility to prois to be met with in the metropolis of the country, is mise that he shall be brought back next, that is to say, merely to state, under the pretended garb of impartial if he will come ; for it is a remarkable fact, too litt