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asked permission to cross his grounds to the old tower. This he readily granted, telling me at the same time that the farm on which we stood was "Sandyknowe," the place at which Sir Walter lived for many years when he was a boy, and the scene of the earliest efforts of his genius. The scenery around is very rough and striking: the poet himself has thus described it:—
"It was a barren scene, and wild,
The Tower consists of a lofty square building, and as it stands on an eminence, it can be seen from a great distance. Irregular piles of picturesque rocks lie scattered around, among which it is difficult even to walk; so that when its walls were perfect, and before the discovery of gunpowder, it is easy to conceive that this fortress may have been impregnable. Fastening the bridle of my horse to one of these rocky fragments. I clambered up to the base of the Tower, whence I ascended by a narrow winding stair, built in one corner of the thick wall, to the top. There is just one room in each story ; the top of the lower one being arched, forms the floor of the next above. The roof has fallen in, but the walls seem likely long to withstand the blasts of winter. Having read Sir Walter's ballad in boyhood, as well as often since, I could easily conjure up the Baron of Smaylholm and his lady gay, English Will, and Sir Richard of Coldingham, to people once more the desolate halls of this mouldering but venerable ruin.
"Edina! Scotia's darling seat f
Ail hail thy palaces and towers,
Sat legislation's sovereign pow'rt!
As busy trade his labor plies;
Bids elegance and splendor rise."
After satisfying my curiosity with reference to the places around the scene of my childhood, I mounted the old-fashioned stage coach, to make my thirty miles journey to Edinburgh; eschewing railroads and locomotives as modern interlopers, jarring sadly with old associations, and not in keeping with my present romantic frame of mind.
On my way, I passed through the borough of Lauder, the antiquated town of Dalkeith, and over the barren summit of Soultra Hill. Of all the cities in Europe, the metropolis of my native land was the one which, from childhood, I had been most anxious to see. Its historical associations had long been impressed on my memory; the great men to whom it had given birth, or whose genius it had fostered, I knew to be legion; so that when its lofty spires at last burst upon my sight, I felt a thrill of pleasurable emotion vibrating in every vein. And truly no other city presents such a view to the eye of a stranger. Most cities seem to owe their origin to accident, but the locality of Edinburgh must have been selected _ For picturesque appearance and panoramic effect, the new town of Edinburgh stands unrivaled.
Immediately on my arrival, I called on a gentleman to whom I had a letter of introduction. After glancing over the letter, he extended to me his hand, and instead of saying, as we are only.too apt to do here, that he would be happy to see me when I found time to call, with all the cordiality of a Scotchman and the politeness of a citizen of her metropolis, he invited me to make his house my home during my stay. I accepted the invitation, and the pleasure of my visit was no little heightened by the kind attentions and Christian intercourse of that gentleman and his most excellent lady. Another letter introduced me to an old resident, and withal an antiquarian—a man to whom all the. old buildings and interesting localities about Edinburgh are as familiar as the alphabet. Many a stroll we had together. I caught eagerly from him a portion of his enthusiastic love of antiquity, as in company we scrambled up the old stone stairs, to the fourteenth story of some of those high houses, which are the relics of another age—houses once the mansions of knights and earls, and now occupied by the lowest class of society.
The general architecture of the city is very imposing, whether as regards the picturesque disorder of the buildings in the old town, or the symmetrical proportions of the streets and squares in the new. There is none of that squalid misery in its suburbs which is so often found in the neighborhood of large cities; but the approach to Edinburgh, from every side, is over fine roads, which are lined with suburban villas, the residences of those doing business in the city. Some of the squares in the new town are truly magnificent, and the uniformity, insisted on by law, adds much to the general effect.
It is curious to see how characteristic of the people are the placards posted up around the city. Instead of theatre bills, you will find notices of seme missionary meeting; instead of the adver