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From Fraser's Magazine.
VIEWS OF EDINGURGH.
TRAVELLING, like charity, should begin at our Queen, in graceful robing, enthroned home. Let no one lament that he is cut off upon it; then that beautiful gothic strucfrom the delightful foreign tour which “ the ture starting up like a tall sprouting plant, state of the Continent" has forbidden, if he or graceful jet d'eau, all sparkling still with have still to become acquainted with the the freshness of newly-hewn stone, with the beauties and treasures of his own dear land. thoughtful head of Sir Walter Scott seen There is more altogether to be seen in Great beneath ; and catch between them as we Britain, whether of the historical, the ro- proceed glimpses of towers, and spires, and mantic, the wonderful, or the picturesque, old houses, and rich foliage, till our vision than in any other country on the surface of rests on the Calton Hill, with its airy Parthe globe. We leave Ireland out of the thenon pillars traced against the early eastern question, for even tourists have become Re
Or again, to place ourselves north and pealers now. Let no one especially lament south, looking up on one side at that extrahis hard fate who intended this summer to ordinary pile of gray Old Town, with its have become acquainted with St. Petersburg, giddy houses, eleven stories high ; its ragged or Constantinople, or Cairo, or Pesth, if he outline of wall and chimney, with tower, have not seen a city nearer home as singular and spire, and coroneted steeple, seen above ; as any of these, and more beautiful, viz., the and, nearer and lower, those grand arches of fair capital of Scotland. We are not Scotch the North Bridge, spanning a very city in ourselves, nor, singular to say, could we their length; and, higher and further, the have been, even had we been born in the very blue line of Salisbury Craigs, with huge Ben heart of Mid-Lothian. Edinburgh is not Arthur presiding, like a lion couchant, over “our own romantic town,” except in love, the scene;—and then down on the other gratitude, and adoption, yet we envy every side, on those splendid rows of palatial editraveller his first impressions of her wondrous fices, terrace below terrace, embosomed in beauties; that is, if it be possible to envy rich gardens, with the blue Forth beyond, another that of which we ourselves with a and the long sweeping lines of the Fife hills long and close acquaintance have never lost beyond that, till the old song comes into our the freshness. Still it is a pleasure to live heads, and we involuntarily exclaim, in a these impressions over and over again with rhapsody of enthusiasm,any sensible and susceptible companion who will intrust himself to our guidance; and, Auld Reekie greet ye well ; after a hard day's work, to earn the thanks
And Reekie New beside ; that are due to a kind and patient cicerone
Ye're like a chieftain old and gray, ship, when all the time we have been trotting
Wi' a young and bonny bride. our companion about quite as much for our own good pleasure as for his.
Or how we delight to stand with him at How we enjoy, for instance, sallying out the top of the Lawn Market, looking up at with him the first morning into Princes strange old houses with their gables towards street, that our eyes may wander in admira- the street; their open stairs mounting above tion and astonishment through the whole our heads; their dark cellars and cavities length of that unrivalled causeway from west disappearing beneath our feet; with those to east. Beginning with that pile of Castle dark, dirty, winding passages, like deep rents rock, and its towers and guériles standing between the houses, sloping into misty darkbold against the sky; we pass, in rapid ness, or giving momentary glimpses of glance, first the classic portico and rich pillar- | woods, and hills, and turreted mansions, like ed perspective of the Royal Institution, with Paradise, beyond them; and to wonder in
what part of the world we can possibly be, back is, that there is too much in one feast till the dress or physiognomy of the people even for the veriest gourmand in scenery to —not their speech, for that's all Greek to us do justice to. One is almost distracted with still—or the names on the many boards,-- the variety. You feel that, while you are Kenmore, Grocer; Porteous, Tailor; or Mac- enjoying some paragon of Art, you are losing Beth, Flesher; or the buzz of a distant bag. some marvel of Nature; that while you are pipe, or a whiff of Scotch broth, struggling gloating on a Canaletti, you are neglecting a with less agreeable perfumes, or, most sig. Turner: that you can nowhere place yournificant of all, a sting of sharp east wind, self before one grand object without turning convince us that we are in no other than the your back on another ; that, in short, if you “ Land o' Cakes.”
are in Edinburgh but a few days, you are Or how we love to loiter with him on the gorged with an over-abundance of good grand road beneath the Calton Hill, looking things; and that if you live there all your on the one side at all the crowded forms of life, you can never be satiated. both towns, and over and under those bridges We English are especially entitled to a and bands of communication which the old kind of fatherly pride at the sight of the New chieftain has extended like loving arms to Town. It was the prosperity resulting to his bride, and on the other at old Holyrood Caledonia by her alliance with England which with her massive towers and delicate but built this city of palaces. It was the friendly, ruined chapel ; beyond which lies the glori- though at first hated, hand of the Union, ous expanse of land and sea, where the cone which
the bride. The same deed, of North Berwick Law overtops the coast, signed, as tradition reports, in a cellar in the and even the Bass on a clear day is distin- High street, which gave Scotland finally to guishable; and, casting all comparisons to England, gave also some eighty years later the wind, while it happens just here to blow the New Town of Edinburgh to Scotland. so hard that we can hardly keep our hats on, One cannot but feel, on looking round, how to vow before heaven and earth that Edin- puzzling it must have been for the first buildburgh has not her equal in the whole world. ers to know where to place their houses, for
It were strange if it had, for what other very embarras de belles sites. There were city can boast of such a concurrence of mountain, and sea, and river, and hill, and natural advantages ? Situated on a quasi wooded knolls, and verdant slopes, and sunsets peninsula, having the sea, with its islands, and sunrises, such as are seen nowhere else, all and the Forth with its hills, as its east and spread out to choose from; for front or back north boundaries; with Salisbury Craigs view, or both. Not that we should have flanking like a wall of defence the approach doubted long. The centre of Princes street to Arthur's Seat on the south-east ; and the would have been our final choice: for mounrugged knolls of the Braed Hills, and the tain and sea, hill and river, verdant slopes bold lines of the Pentlands stretching round and wooded knolls, may be had in other counfrom the south to the west; and, lastly, in tries: but where else is there to be found an the centre of all that splendid mass of rock, object so strange, so various, so inexhaustibly inaccessible on three sides, and sloping down fascinating, as that wonderful, gray, lofty, on the fourth with a high rocky ridge, in- jagged thing, conglomerate of innumerable viting a warlike race to perch their nests dwellings, and yet apparently all of one piece, upon it; Auld Reekie, even when single, spread out before us from east to west, which must have been the wonder of the world. is known by the name of “the Old Town ?" And then to see that “ bonny bride," whom The wonder is how any mode of life, which he has taken to his arms rather late in life- requires abstraction of thought and closeness for the old chieftain, like a true cautious Scot, of application, could ever be carried on in did not encumber himself with a better-half rooms commanding this view. Lawyers, clertill he could afford it—and whom he has gymen, and especially authors, unless so fornot only placed in a position which would tunate as to be blind, must have been ruined alone give grandeur to the meanest building, here. This accounts for the general passing but also clothed in a splendor of architecture of these houses in Princes street, originally which would make a better St. Petersburg built for gentlemen's families, into the occuof her, even if, like that much over-praised pation of shopkeepers, who, it may be recity, she lay etched out on a swamp. Truly marked, borrow a leaf from out of our book, there is no city like Edinburgh.
and are more civil than most others in escortTwenty cities might be endowed with the ing their customers to the door, just for an superfluity of her beauties. The only draw excuse to get a peep of that exquisite Old
Town, and go back refreshed to their coun- | huge mass is returning to its misty monotony, ters. One of the chief haberdashers in Princes though not for long. For even before the street assured us, in true trading language, last gold from without has passed away, the that he would not sell that view before his first spark from within has begun to shine ; door for a thousand pounds; and, in the sym- and here and there a ray is seen feebly piercpathy of our souls, we believed him. How ing the gloom, irregularly placed, like the the tourists who take up their abode at Gibb's sentinel lights upon a huge scattered fortress; Ilotel can manage to get dressed of a morn while window after window, faint and pink, ing is a perpetual enigma. That Old Town dawns into view, and little earth-born stars must have made many a poor man too late twinkle in the clouds above, and brighter glowfor the railway.
worms emerge in the depths below; and the How grand is the first morning view of it, illumination spreads upward and downward, as it rises from its high pedestal of rich foli- and brightens as it goes. And now may be age !-one huge gray mass, all jagged in out- discovered, more clearly than by any daylight line, like an enormous granite ruin; till grad- view, the distinction between the different ually a thousand windows--some scattered classes of occupants; how the comfort diup and down, others in level rows eleven minishes as the light spreads upward, “small times repeated-glimmer murkily in the early by degrees and dimly less." Those elevenlight; and a thousand chimneys send forth storied houses especially are regular gauges their slender pennons of smoke in beautifully of social distinctions. Below, the burners of waving lines at every stage of altitude; some gas, brilliant and glowing, for two or three floating into the clouds above, others wending stories; then very respectable long-sixes ; up their way from the very base as if sent then the modest poverty of the dip; and, forth by subterranean fires; and then, as the lastly, a little twinkle from garret and lucum sun mounts higher, (if we have any sun at all,) which savors miserably of the rushlight. and light and shadow fall upon this maze of Not that any of the lights are very brilliant monotonous confusion, to see how those now, for a cold mist has shrouded the whole eleven-storied patriarchs stand forward, with scene, and they glimmer mysteriously and smaller structures clustering at their roots, ghostily; and the whole mass looks larger throwing deep shadows into endless entan- and loftier than ever; for, in the general glements of roof, and wall, and gable, and gloom, the lights in the more modern houses dark hollows, and strange antiquated forms; which nestle in the hollow seem to be all one till more murky windows glimmer, and more portion of the great façade; while, in the smoking pennons wave, and we feel that this darkness which hides every object between is not only the accumulated erection of many us and it, the huge and dimly-illuminated past ages, but the present residence of a monster seems to start from a bottomless crowded people.
abyss. We have doubted whether the sun would And now this is surely enough of the Old shine upon
the traveller, but we are not sure Town front. But no, we have one aspect that we even wish it for him. There is a more to show our companion. He has shut mysterious affinity between the Old Town the window and left it, for the night is raw, and the prevailing skies of Scotland which con and who cares to look at the beautiful or the stitutes one of its greatest charms; there is picturesque through spectacles ? But he rean exquisite harmony of tint which, like a turns for one glance between ten and eleven, picture painted in the fewest colors, is always throws up the sash in hot haste to be sure acceptable to the eye. Everything partakes that the wondrous object he has just caught of that beautiful rusty tone-the green gray sight of is not a phantasmagoria of his senses, rocks, the gray green trees, the blue gray and then stands transfixed. The night is sky; and then that pure gray Old Town, dark, the fog has all cleared away, and a dense which, like a veritable Rembrandt etching, black curtain hangs from heaven to earth. has a coloring all its own, which nothing else studded with lights innumerable, like the can attain.
fullest firmament of stars we have seen in the And now we should advise our traveller clearest tropical sky. Like the stars, too, in to tear himself from the window, if he can, irregularity', —here a “burning row,” there a and bestow his enthusiasm elsewhere for a Pleiades cluster ; some twinkling like planets ; time. It can come nowhere amiss in Edin- others steady and distant as fixed orbs; some burgh. But let him return to his post at the moving slowly ross a space, others dancing gloaming, or just before it, as the last glitter like Jack-o'-lanterns, a few going out as he of the evening sun is dying away, and the gazes : and he could stand and gaze
The longer he looks, the more he wonders. that gray crust, and penetrate deeper into its It is a transparency on a scale Vauxhall never mysteries. Let us ascend one of those elevendreamt of. It is an enormous grim spectre, storied piles we have been admiring under with lights innumerable in its hollow eyes. such diversity of aspect. Take that massive It is a robe blacker than night, spangled with front, with its high-peaked lucums to the orbs brighter than the stars. It is a wall right, near that exquisite green slope from pierced with countless holes, with a world the Castle Esplanade. It was here Johnson blazing behind it. What should he liken visited Boswell; and here also David Hume that to, of which he has never seen or im- resided many years, till he removed into the agined the likeness before ?
of the New Town. We cross The Old Town is doing his best to turn the Earthen Mound, or rather climb it, for it night into day. Thousands of candles are is a steep ascent, and enter an open doorthere, shining forth on a naughty world. way, looking like a burrowing-hole at the Just about the centre may be seen three lights, base of the great pile above it. A broad framed in crimson, telling of a more luxuriant stone staircase is before us, regularly abode than any other behind that black wall, zig-zagging up, nine steps at a time. At and leading the eye suddenly down to two every alternate flight are two sashless winred fiery balls, shooting horizontally across dows looking out into the world, or a door the base, which betray the railway-line deep leading into the warren. Other walkers are in the hollow.
'following us,—women, and children, and baIt is worth arriving at night by that rail- kers' boys, meet us,-for this stair is a reguway, the North British, to be taken by sur lar thoroughfare into Milne Court, and so prise by this radiant phenomenon; and taken through to the High street, which sets on to by surprise the traveller must be, or he won't it behind at about the fifth story. So far it look at all. For there is no being so per- is not only “a common stair,” as the Scotch versely indisposed to see what he has pur- significantly call it, but a positive street ; conposely come to see as an Englishman just ducting between rows of houses which lift arrived by a train, and that an hour and themselves one above another, each having a half behind time. Curiosity and love of its own private door, with their brass plates novelty are strong passions in the human and iron scrapers, as if in the open air, inbreast; but there is one stronger still, at least stead of being side by side. One of these in an English one, and that is love of lug- doors is open ; we peep into a long, dark vesgage! The traveller has thought of nothing tibule, leading right and left, with more doors else all day but the first impressions of Edin and more brass plates leading off that ;burgh. Anticipations of Auld Reekie and houses within houses, each having its parlor, New Reekie have beguiled a day-long jour- bedrooms, kitchen, garret, and cellar, all on ney; but once arrived in the very hollow of
The warren is full, indeed! But their mighty embrace, his thoughts have re we mount higher and higher—Heaven pity turned to their grovelling with his luggage. those who live at top; half way is treadmill We see him in imagination toiling up that sufficient !—and the brass knockers and plates steep road which leads directly to Gibb's of gentility vanish as we ascend, and the Hotel, turning round every moment to see doors look poorer, and the wind whistles that the porter who is carrying his “three about us through the open windows, and our pieces,” foreign travel has taught him to companion feels very much as if he were designate his portmanteau, hat-case, and car- mounting a church steeple, or climbing the pet-bag,—is not absconding with them behind winding branches of a lofty silver fir to steal his back; when turning again, just as he the nest that lies at top. At length we reaches the level of Princes Street, that won are at the last flight; and toiling slowly up, drous transparency suddenly bursts upon with a pail of water in her hand, is a pour him. He stands in perfect amazement ; and old woman, who goes groaning and grunportmanteau, hat-case, and carpet-bag, may bling, and looks as if she would have been go on to Aberdeen, or back to London, for much more comfortable on a broomstick. We aught he cares !
take the pail off her hands, beg in return to But now morning is come again, fresh and see her domicile, and are, in a few minutes, hlowy, with plenty of that dust which Edin comfortably resting ourselves in a little cotburgh so unnecessarily scatters in her visit- tage in the clouds. The room is lined with ors' eyes. The Old Town is once more in old smoke-dried panelling. A little fire is its usual rusty suit, with waving smoke and smouldering on an open hearth; a few odds glimmering window. We must break through and ends of primitive-colored prints are hung
around; there is a bedplace in the wall, to those we are going to see, although she with a rug for the covering. In short, her hnows nothing of David Hume. We emerge little abode might have been a biggin nestled five stories higher than we entered, into a in some nook of the Highlands, instead of a gloomy court, with high, blackened, grim garret perched on the top of brass plates and houses round it, and, following a dirty alley to cast-iron scrapers; at all events, it would not the right, are soon upon the broad expanse of have seemed further removed from the rest the Castle Esplanade. Here, where the statue of the world. But the view is one which the of the Duke of York now looks down on a Highlands themselves could not have offered. few loitering soldiers, or an occasional pasThe only window is in the recess of one of senger, all the beauty and fashion of the old those lucums we had seen from below. This city used to promenade. But the view is unrecess is evidently the old lady's scullery, altered. On the one side that never-tiring wash-house, and back-kitchen. Here she Forth, with the Ochills lying in a different inhas been washing out rags and gutting her- clination to any other hills in Scotland, as if rings, with a view of heaven and earth be- purposely to fill up the circular boundary to fore her one would have thought she could the eye; on the other the Braed Range, with not have turned her eyes from. New Edin- the Blackford Hill, renowned in Marmion, burgh, with all her magnificence of square, and wood and villa beneath; and in the censtreet, monument, garden, ard public build- tre, standing apparently on the very tops of ing, lies spread out beneath us,—with field the houses in the Grass Market, that exquiand homestead, and green slope beyond, and site specimen of the architecture of the sevsmoking Leith, and smiling Granton; and enteenth century, Heriot's Hospital.
But, as villages and country-houses, and the broad usual, there is too much to admire at once; Forth speckled with vessels, and the grand for that stupendous Castle rock, of which you Fife hills, which have risen higher and higher only perceive the real height now that you with us, and a sky above the whole which is are yourself on an eminence, is alone all-sufalone worth climbing eleven stories to see. ficient to engross the eye. With its ancient
From this window the birth and progress fortifications, too, on this side; archways,
Dawvid Hume is no on same sense of strangeness, wonder, and doubt, this stair.” To which he gently replies, in as to time and place, is sure at first to beset us. Toots' phraseology, that it is “of no conse Those lofty houses, with their gables towards quence,” and we beat a retreat.
the street, with their rows of double lucums, But this is hardly a fair specimen of an surmounted here and there with that of Old Town abode; or rather, too fair an one. which no time or climate can obliterate the eleThat old lady is of a different order of beings gance—the fleurs-de-lis-with their tablets