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From the library I proceeded to visit the apartments of the first floor. I remarked there several portraits, one of which represents Mrs. Lockhart and her sister, with Maida near them, and another, the critic Jeffrey, a striking resemblance!
An exterior terrace led me to a square turret, which constitutes part of the chateau, and is distinguished by an old iron door, immoveable, and as it were, incrusted in the wall. I asked the use of it. It is the door of the old prison of Edinburgh called the Tollbooth; the same which was substituted for that which the populace burnt, in order to take their revenge on Porteous; the door, in short, which was closed on Effie Deans. When the Tollbooth was pulled down, this door was presented by the magistrates of Edinburgh to the " Castellan" of Abbotsford. I went out on the roof of the tower, and enjoyed an enchanting prospect. The music of a bagpipe suddenly resounded from the adjacent mountains; and whether the distance modified its shrieking accents, or the poetry of the spot I occupied communicated itself to the instrument, I for the first time in my life discovered a degree of charm in the music. I moreover indulged in the imagination that it might perhaps be the bagpipe of Roderic of Skye, an old musician, who finds, as I have been told, a hospitable and munificient chief in the castellan of Abbotsford.
In descending from the tower, I took my leave of the obliging housekeeper, not omitting to make her a little present, which she gratefully received. She left me to lounge by myself in the garden, and in a little wood planted on the banks of the Tweed, after having pointed out to me an alcove, constructed out of pinewood, and furnished with chairs, benches, and a table of bark. The dogs had by this time made their peace with me, and suffered themselves to be familiarly caressed. I passed a delicious hour under the shade of the shrubbery, and along the banks of the Tweed. At the moment of my departure, with the intention of renewing my visit, I committed a little theft, which I am bound to confess. A last rose of summer still decorated with its blushing corolla the decaying foliage of a rose tree. I gathered it, not without smiling to myself at the association which came to my mind, connecting the palace of Azor with the garden of the Scotch magician. I concealed this trophy of my excursion to Abbotsford between the leaves of a volume which I had in my pocket, and I carried off besides some oak leaves.*
* Our friend C. Nodier has become my accomplice in this rose larceny by gratefully accepting it. The oak leaves I presented to' C. Gosselin the bookseller, who is as happy in reading Scott's novels as in selling ten thousand copies of them.
TO M: JULES SALADIN.
If ever I write a romance, I shall certainly confer on my hero some of my peculiar tastes; but I shall take care not to make him one of those imaginary personages who only exist in an element of enthusiasm, and whom the romance writer never introduces but on the stage of an ideal world, through fear of degrading him by connection with the prosaic territory of ordinary life. I will make him occasionally sit down to table and describe, as Sir Walter Scott does not fail to do, the good or bad dinners which may be served up to him. If, for instance, he travels in Scotland, and passes Melrose, I should wish him on returning from Abbotsford Castle, to find ready for him at the inn a rich hocM-pot,* an excellent roast fowl, a juicy rump steak, a rich pudding, cream, a gooseberry tart, the whole moistened with ale or beer, which is always exquisite in Scotland, accompanied with a bottle of port, of which, on invitation, his host will seat himself to partake his fair proportion. The landlord should be of ajolly disposition, chatting freely, and forgetting all his national reserve, in order to laugh and even sing,
• Soup consisting of beef, mutton, and other viands, served up with the broth.
if it be only to demonstrate that his wine is really made from the fragrant grape of Portugal. As soon as the bottle is empty, and the history of the neighbourhood told, the landlord should pay his respects to some other traveller, and a lively attentive barmaid, sufficiently well dressed to appear like the landlord's daughter, shall reply to the summons of the bell, clear the table, guarantee that the bed is well made,* smile from the corner of her eye at the incredulity with which this assertion is received, and smile still more engagingly at the compliment which all Scotch damsels will receive in her person, and by degrees become sufficiently familiar to relate the history of her father. My hero should then visit Melrose by " pale moonlight;" return and have an excellent sleep till the next day; make a good breakfast the following morning ; and be greatly surprised to find that the charge for this good cheer, good bed, and instructive conversation, is no more than the moderate sum of seven shillings. The best of all is that 1 can write at the end of the chapter—-fact!
When visiting the Abbey, I missed the company of Captain Clutterbuck.f In default of his attendance I once thought of resorting to the sexton, when the innkeeper introduced me to a cicerone, who supplied the place of both; one Mr. John
* This is the weak side of the inns, not only in Scotland, but throughout Great Britain; but a traveller sleeps well in them when he has employed his day well.
f This is the half-pay officer O n, of Melrose.—See* the introduction to the Motuutcry.
Bower, whose house is adjoining to the Monastery itself. But in the first instance I strayed thither alone, and consigned myself to the indulgence of my own reflections in the cemetery, in the midst of which the august ruins of Melrose arise. These remains are so sublime and beautiful that one is surprised into an admiration of them, fragments as they are, as if they were complete, without reference to the past. Suddenly a solemn voice resounded among them; the voice of the clock, whose silent hands I had not till then perceived. Nothing can be more seriously impressive than this voice of Time, which seems confined to the duty of counting the hours for solitude, and for the defunct whose ashes lie beneath one's steps. The children of the village, however, come and play on the turf of the cemetery of Melrose. There were still some there when I arrived, but they all quickly retired, excepting one, whom I had not at first perceived, at some paces from me, asleep on the fragment of a tomb, and who suddenly rising, ran off in haste, no doubt for fear of being scolded by his mother. Anon, the imagination began to demand an account of Time of all that he had destroyed, and endeavoured to fill up the gap by divining the magnificence of that which exists no longer from that which still remains. The church alone, in its fallen state, covers a space of 258 feet in length, by 137 in width, and embraces in its entire precinct a circumference of 94/9. The grand turret or belfry may still possibly be about 88 feet in height; but it is