brarian, Mr. Laing, after having asked me the same question as he asked me the following day, and the day following that; “Have you seen the chevalier?” made a rapid transition to the subject which occupied all the thoughts of the Scotch,-the approaching visit of the King. Our landlord of the Black Bull apprized us that our apartments, considering the influx of strangers, must cost us for the future two guineas a day. But without saying any thing, we sought and found an apartment in the town, which the worthy hostess, who seemed bent on not taking advantage of our circumstances, let to us, almost against our protest, for two guineas a week. In wandering from house to house till we reached that of this unparalleled hostess, we traversed a great portion of the town. After dinner we went to the theatre, in order to rest ourselves on the benches of the pit. We shall probably find something of Sir Walter Scott, thought I. The play bill announced Rob Roy. I have before remarked that the theatre was merely that of a provincial town, but we must not literally apply to its actors the verses which Dryden applies to such gentry in his epilogue to the Deserter. In that Dryden ridiculed a detachment from a troop of strolling players, the better portion of which was to be found at Oxford. The principal actress at Edinburgh, Mrs. Siddons, bears a name difficult to sustain ; but she sometimes sustains it well. She is endowed with grace, dignity, and much susceptibility. Mr. Murray represents the English officer in Rob Roy well; but the illusion is complete when the actor Mackay is on the stage; that actor is the Baillie Jarvie himself, with his mistrust, and his bonhomie, his plebeian generosity, and all his provincialisms of accent and manner. Next to the Baillie, the creature Dougal, a personage eminently local, is almost as comical a character on the stage as in the romance; but the Rob Roy of Edinburgh will not bear competition with that of Macready, whom I have seen so energetically express at Covent Garden, the various sentiments which alternately agitate the bosom of that outlaw chief in the prison of Glasgow, or on the shores of Loch Katrine. The scenic decorations of Rob Roy cannot fail of being faithful pictures on a stage so close to the little kingdom of Macgregor: they are fine; but I shall not stop to describe them. In fifteen days we shall be enabled, from the eminences of Ben Lomond, to command all the localities which the Lady of the Lake has rendered classical, like the mountains and vallies of Switzerland. These localities were conjured up where we sat, as if by magic; for at the moment that the curtain drew up, the gas, by which at other times the theatre is so perfectly illuminated, that the most distant spectators may converse with the eyes and lips, suddenly failing in the reservoirs, left us void of its radiant enlightenment. A general murmur of surprise arose; but the darkness with which we were enveloped was happily “the darkmess visible” of Milton ; and in order to sooth the impatience of the public during the intervening quarter of an hour, the orchestra played those airs called strathspeys, which occasion unaffected delight in Scotland. Under the veil of the theatrical twilight several choruses from the boxes and the pit joyously chimed in with the strains of the national music, till at length the chandelier and the stage lamps again illuminated the house with their sudden radiance. I have already stated how aukwardly the dramas borrowed from the romantic narratives of the author of Rob Roy are got up. Notwithstanding all the truth alleged respecting the difficulty of extracting a good theatrical piece from a good romance, it seems to me, while re-perusing on the spot these dramatic romances, that they contain all the elements of true tragedies and comedies, calculated to regenerate both the English and the French stage. I would point out to any friend who wanted a subject, that of a piece which might constitute an excellent appendage to Pinto and William Tell. It would compose a drama, generally more serious, but which would not possess the less animation and variety,+that of Old Mortality. It would be requisite perhaps to discard a little of the law of the unity of place for the development of it; but what a development! The first scenes should pass in the inn of Niel the Piper. Niel would give his instructions to his daughter. The dialogue is entirely constructed to hand. Moliere would have scarcely changed a word. The incidents of Wappenshaw might be added in the form: of narrative; and the narrator might therein cha

racterise some of the personages who are subsequently to make their appearance; young Morton, with his mirthful rivals in the birdbolting scene; Brigadier Bothwell with his detachment, and the gloomy Burley placing himself in one corner. The insolence of the Dragoons should be made to interrupt the carouse ; Burley should drink with a sinister and prophetic air the health of the Archbishop of St. Andrew’s ; Morton would generously take the side of the oppressed ; the wrestling contest between Bothwell and the fanatical puritan would follow as a prelude to that final death struggle destined one day to leave breathless on the ground the soldier king-descended, on whom are found those love letters and verses which render him so interesting. Morton and Burley next retire; the dragoon officer enters, and announces the murder of the Primate. Suspicions instantly fall on the ferocious Unknown, who so effectually replied to the defiance of the dragoon. This is the signal for a succession of grand events; parties and opinions assume a menacing air. The curtain falls, and on its rising we are conveyed to the castle of the old miser Milnwood. We are now to become acquainted with that Harpagon whom Moliere would himself acknowledge was worthy of competing with his own. Who will not laugh at the airs of the servant-mistress of the worthy Alison 2 While we deplore the dependance and humiliations of the nephew of Milnwood, we are bound to esteem him for respecting his uncle in his follies as well as in his wrongs; VOL. II. Z

although he is under no obligations to him. The son of Harpagon ridicules his father ; that was a true characteristic of the manners of the age; and we find associated with other manners another relative truth. Cuddy and his mother are already established in the family of Milnwood; for we are impatient for the production of the scene where the dragoons come to make their search, and carry away Morton and his protegés as prisoners. Here then must be another violation of the unity of place ; but it will be easily pardoned when it occurs for the sake of introducing personages so true and so original, as those which expect us at Tillietudlem. Lady Bellenden will apprize us of her devotion to the royal cause and of the grand day when his majesty King Charles deigned to partake of a breakfast at her house. Major Bellenden will entertain us with his campaigns, and Lord Evandale deport himself like a generous rival. Claverhouse, brave as an antient knight, polished as a courtier, cruel as the head of a faction, will interest us by his strikingly epic character. My friend became enthusiastic in favour of these characters, some good and noble; others purely comic. He prepares to transport us into the camp of the rebels under the walls of Tillietudlem; and calculates on great effect for his last act from the scene, where, after the unhappy affair of Bothwell bridge, Morton is about to be sacrificed as a traitor. Nor will he forget to employ the discourse of the fanatical preacher, who rushes towards the bell in order to hasten

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