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immortalizes them in the works of Sir Walter Scott—
“Dun Edin's cross, a pillar'd stone,
To the left, a little higher, are the courts of justice. On the right, the only house worthy of interesting us (the bank is in a neighbouring street), is Archibald Constable’s shop, one of the least brilliant of the Scottish book trade, but which issues quarterly twelve thousand copies of the Edinburgh Review, and twice a year thirty thousand copies of a new romance by the author of Waverley. We are now at the castle gate, after having scaladed a last division of the street called the Lawn Market, and an esplanade called the Castle Hill. The castle exhibits nothing worth describing in its interior, nor the barracks, nor the arsenal, nor the chamber where James Stuart was born, nor even the regalia, the crown, sceptre and sword of Scotland, lately discovered by a miracle, and proudly shewn to visitors in token of ancient national independence. The view of the castle from a distance, and that which is enjoyed from its terrace, are worthy more than all it contains.
Descending some tortuous streets to the south, we enter the oblong square called the Grass Market, where criminals were formerly executed. They were conducted in procession from the Tolbooth; the gibbet was erected and carried away during the night.” The spot is still shewn, where, in the sedition of 1786, the populace inflicted such terrible reprisals on Captain Porteus, while religiously observing all the forms of punishment according to law. When, on adverting to this riot, one raises the eye towards the castle on its scarped rock, one is astonished at the audacity of the people, who might have been so easily quelled by the cannon of that commanding citadel. I have slightly referred to the Scotch Bank, an entirely modern edifice, and contrasting by the whiteness of its walls with the old masonry which masks its entrance from the High - street, but which is undergoing rapid removal. The bank is also partly situated in the ravine of North Loch, and it is seen from the New Town, which is accessible by a kind of pier, which leads to Princesstreet. This magnificent terraced street, the rendezvous of lounging dandies, and the favourite resort of Scottish belles, who have no objection to their survey, protracts itself to the foot of the Calton Hill, in a parallel direction with Georgestreet and Queen-street, handsome streets, with broad pavements. Here we enter the New Town, where all persons comme il faut reside, and which
* As the apparatus of punishment was prepared before day-light, it appeared, Sir W. Scott tells us, as if the gibbet had issued from the earth during the night, by the incantation of some evil demon; and he adds that he remembers the fear with which his school-fellows surveyed those sinister preparations of death.
is composed of fine squares, circuses, or quadrants, rectangular streets, Greek or gothic temples, houses with peristyles, public buildings, columns, &c.; but, it must be confessed, that in so many fine squares, the general effect of which is so magnificent, and which do not boast a higher date than forty years, one is disagreeably surprised to meet with so ungraceful a style of architecture, so many residences regularly ill-constructed, so many casements without entablature, a church which may be compared to a porridge pot reversed, and other exhibitions of bad taste in all that concerns detail. There is a talk of raising a national temple on Calton Hill, and it is proposed, for that purpose, to make it a copy of the Parthenon; this will, perhaps, be the only edifice truly worthy of the designation of Athens; but, as I have before said, the tout ensemble of the city astonishes the stranger at first sight; I can easily conceive the admiration of those, who, having merely passed through it, have only had time to admire. Unfortunately for the New Town, if it possess Sir W. Scott, it is also the residence of our consul, from whom I have just borrowed the comparison of a church to a porridge pot, and I will defy any enthusiast to traverse Edinburgh twice in Mr. Hug—'s company, without being disenchanted. There is also something of a melancholy character in the silence which reigns in the New Town, when you have passed Princes-street. The chief animation
and bustle is confined to the Old Town, where.
every floor of its colossal houses has its inhabitants;
in general, each of the large mansions of the New Town are occupied by a single family. The students, the lawyers, the men of business, as soon as morning arrives, hurry from the other side of North Loch. These immense streets then remain unpeopled. Edificaverunt sibi solitudines; the wealthy of Edinburgh may be said, in scriptural language, to have built themselves a vast solitude. These wealthy classes no longer consist of the descendants of the Douglases and the ancient feudal barons. Whose noble mansion is this? you inquire.—A lawyer's. And this ?—the same. And this other?—that is his also. It reminds one of the history of the Marquis of Carabas, applied to fifty of those writers of the signet, (or W. S.'s). The higher class of solicitors are so named, because they alone enjoy the privilege of signing certain acts subscribed with the royal seal. These gentry having become the stewards, or hommes d'affaires to the Scottish nobility, manage all the revenues of proprietorship, make advances to noblemen, &c. &c.; and these, &c. mean, that they conclude by ennobling themselves on becoming proprietors in their turn. Although Edinburgh, in a more especial manner, may be considered a town of nobility and lawyers, commerce, however, has also its Croesuses. The port of Leith constitutes a portion of the town, and in Great Britain it may be said, that there is not a wave which does not bring a guinea. At Leith is to be found a new, numerous, active, and bustling population. There are as many contrasts in the manners of the various inhabitants of Edinburgh, as there is in the aspect of each quarter of that singular capital. All these classes have had their illustrious men, whose monuments are to be met with among those which adorn the town; the column dedicated to Lord Melville, the round turret, the mausoleum of Hume, the statue of the president Blair in the courts of justice, &c. He was only a jeweller, who, having become the banker of the princes and their creditor, devoted the landed property which they were compelled to cede to him, to establishments of public benevolence. George Heriot figures in the Adventures of Nigel; but as a still greater honour,” his name remains attached to the Heriot hospital, one of the finest edifices of his native city. This asylum was endowed by him with an income of 5000l. sterling ; and, according to his intentions, it was to be a gratuitous college for the children of poor traders. This hospital, situated near the Grass Market, has property even in the modern town. Heriot’s Row was doubtless built on ground appertaining to it. Behind Heriot’s Row, the inhabitants of Edinburgh shew you Gabriel’s Road, and tell you a tragic event to which the name of Gabriel refers. This Gabriel was a young presbyterian minister, attached as tutor to a rich family, in which he