« 前へ次へ »
had the education of two children, from ten to twelve years old. The young tutor, although of austere and puritanical manners, could not see, without involuntary emotion, the pretty femme de chambre belonging to the mansion.
One day, while passing through the anti-chamber, abandoning himself to an irresistible impulse, he approached the young damsel, gave her a kiss and fled. Unhappily, he had been perceived by the youngest of his pupils, who told the tale to his brother, and he again to his mother. The lady allowed herself to make a joke of it, which drove the tutor to despair. In the delirium of his rage, he resolved to be revenged on the poor children, who, as he thought, had dishonoured him.
The following Sunday, in coming from church, he took them to walk according to custom ; but on arriving at the spot now called Gabriel's Road, and which, at that time, in lieu of houses, exhibited no object but a vast extent of fields, he drew a knife and plunged it into the heart of the eldest of the children; the other screamed, and tried to escape ; but the assassin pursued him with the bloody knife in his hand, murdered him like his brother, and then sat down, astounded, doubtless, by his own rage, and renouncing flight after having accomplished his vengeance. Great numbers of the inhabitants of Edinburgh were witnesses of this frightful revenge ; for nothing limited the view from the old town, as far as Gabriel's Road; but the ravine presented a barrier which prevented the inhabitants from giving sufficiently prompt assist
ance to the second victim. The people seized the ferocious murderer and hurried him before a magistrate. An old law of Scotland, prescribes, that instant justice shall be done on a murderer surprised flagrante delicto, or red hand, according to the Scotch expression. The application of this law was immediately enforced.
Gabriel was hanged with the knife suspended from his neck and with his hands still bathed in the blood of his two innocent victims. *
EDINBURGH, in proudly proclaiming herself the Athens of Great Britain, does not alone refer to the analogies of her site, to her Piraeus (Leith), her Acropolis, with its citadel (the castle), to her future Parthenon, (the projected temple on Calton Hill), &c: Edinburgh is still more proud of aspiring to the designation, on the score of her philosophers, orators, critics, and poets, or rather of her learned
* It is not improbable, that this may be a tradition invented gra. tuitously, although unfortunately characterised by an appearance of truth; but I refer to my authors, who are, Mr. J., Wilson, and Mr. Lockhart, Sir Walter Scott's son-in-law. The tradition, in fact, is only an appendage to that which is referred to in the first volume of The Heart of Midlothian. I yesterday paid a visit to Muschats Cairn; that is to say, the site not far from Arthur's Seat
societies, which are not all, unfortunately, Academies. But every body here occupies himself more or less with literature and science ; every body conceives himself to derive some importance as a Scotchman, from the formidable Edinburgh Review. Even the ladies aspire to the exertion of their little literary influence.
“Nous sommes tous d'Athenes sur ce point.” You will tell me that I am about to sketch a somewhat pedantic city, and, with some exceptions, you have guessed correctly. I shall therefore commence with generalities before I proceed to the consideration of individuals.
I forget who it is that has called Edinburgh a large book market; more books, in proportion to its size, are published there, than in any city of the world ; but does that not also prove, that there only the booksellers set themselves up for oracles; that is to say, the echoes of some literary coterie. It is from the shop of Constable, the most considerable of all, that the Edinburgh Review governs the learned and political world. Its editors are accused of assuming an arrogant and disdainful air ; accustomed to impose their opinions tyrannically in Scotland, they become irritated at the slightest contradiction, and tremble at a joke cut at their expense, more than a serious refutation; but at table, they sometimes banter each other; and over the bottle become tolerable companions enough. Besides his little shop in Highstreet, Archibald the great has one of the most
elegant houses in the Old Town. That critical giant, the Edinburgh Review, is constantly harassed by a hostile dwarf, Blackwood's Monthly Magazine; a tory journal, anti-philosophical, occasionally religious, or, rather, slanderously devout. Its criticism is distinguished by a singular combination of enthusiasm and satirical buffoonery, of wit and bad manners. It is the champion of the lakists; for Mr. Wilson is one of the editors; it is still more specially the champion of Sir Walter Scott; since his son-in-law, Lockhart, the barrister, is one of the most active contributors. Mr. Constable is a skilful man of business ; but simple in his manners, comprising all he has learnt in a few phrases, and content with being the richest bookseller in Scotland.' Mr. Blackwood aspires to the character of being the wittiest. There is an air of bonhomie in the figure and deportment of Constable; Blackwood has at once a hard and crafty look : his smile is habitually sardonic; he reads the manu. script which he purchases, and dictates his opinions to the editors; so he, at least, himself, gave me to understand, on my politely asking him whether he did not write himself, and on his replying in the negative. His library, in the middle of Princes-street, is elegant; in an interior room, at a table well supplied with journals, books, and prints, I passed an hour occasionally in reading and observing. Mr. Blackwood and his journal are much dreaded in Edinburgh ; ridiculum acri, &c.; for otherwise the Blackwood Magazine writes for the minority. The presbyterian
church is whig ; the bar is whig ; commerce is whig; and the people whig also; the King of England is no where held in so much contempt as here; they do not do him even the honour to hate him; that feeling is reserved for Lord Castlereagh; after the queen's trial, there was a general illumination in honour of her acquittal. The magistrates alone are ministerial at Edinburgh. They all depend on the patronage of Lord Melville, and Lord Melville, at each new election of members of parliament, or municipal magistrates, pays or sells all the consciences of the placemen to the English ministry ; but we shall return to this subject.
Two booksellers of the Old Town, exhibit another kind of contrast. Messrs. Laing and Son, in College-street, have a superb classical library, where there is a meeting of all such Scotch and other amateurs, who prefer to the snow-white pages of the modern library, an Elzevir or an Aldus, discoloured by learned dust. I have sometimes thought of my friend, C. Nodier, in this sanctuary of Caledonian bibliography, and only yesterday purchased for nim the last copy of Sallust, stereotyped by Geddes, in 1765. So little attention is, however, paid in Edinburgh to classical literature, that the coterie of Bibliopoles is the least numerous of all. Messrs. Laing and Son's cellar bears, nevertheless, a high reputation. The antiquary, Sir W. Scott, is naturally a friend of Messrs. Laing. Mr. Laing the elder, who is an old gentleman of superior manners, speaks to me always in French, and sometimes transfers into