« VorigeDoorgaan »
glass of wine with me, when a bald “ But we ken," cried Mrs Pringle, duchess-looking lady laid hands on " that ye are the author, though ye the darling Dagon, and carried it away may have reasons, in black and white, to another part of the table, where she o' your ain, for the concealment.”sat down triumphing among judges “ Na," quoth the Doctor, “ that's, I and other great personages, and expa. must say, a hame push; but, no ziated over her prize. Poor Mrs Pringle doubt, when a decent man denies was confounded, and turned up the a charge o' the kind, it ought to be white of her eyes like a dying doo believed." In this easy manner we with disappointment, and had not the stood eonversing for a season, and then courage to demand back her property, we sat down on the steps leading up being smitten with a sense, as she af, to the King's throne, and had some terwards said, of not having come very jocose talk anent what we had seen, honestly by it ; so the lady carried off and other sights and shows of regal the image, as her prize, to her chariot, pageantry, the which, by little and and a proud woman I trow she was little, led us on to speak of past times, demonstrating over its beauties to all and the doings of Kings and Queens her acquaintance, as she bore it along who have long departed this life, till in her arms, and on her own great at last we entered upon the connection good luck in getting it.
and pedigree of his Majesty with the As we were thus employed, Mrs old tyrannical House of Stuart; my Pringle gave me a nodge on the elbow, new acquaintance, however, did not and bade me look at an elderly man, much relish the observe that I made about fifty, with a fair gray head, and concerning the prelatic nature of the something of the appearance of a gau- princes of that line. sey, good-humoured country laird. After this sederunt we rose, and the " Look at that gentleman," said she disappointment of the golden image "Wha is't?" quo' L.-" That's the was not the only dejection that Mrs Author of Waverley," was her answer; Pringle was ordained to meet with that “a most comical novel, that the Doc- night:-Both the Doctor and her had tor read, and thought was a true his- forgotten to make proper regulations tory book."
about Captain Sabre’s carriage, which Seeing myself so nigh to that great was to take them home; so that, after literary character, and understanding waiting till the Hall was almost skailthat there was some acquaintance ben ed, and many of the lights out, we tween him and my friends, I sideled three, in all our finery, were obligated gradually up towards him, till he saw to walk outinto the streets, and no hacks the mistress and the doctor, with whom ney was to be seen or heard of. What he began to talk in a very conversible with the gravel hurting her feet, and manner, saying couthyand kind things, the ruin it was of to her satin shoes, complimenting the Doctor on his ta Mrs Pringle was at the greeting, and lents as a preacher, and sympathizing some drops of rain beginning to fall, with Mrs Pringle, whose new gown her new gown was in the very jaws of had suffered great detriment, by rea- jeopardy, But she is a managing Wor son of the stour and the spiders' webs man, and not often at a loss;
mseeing that had fallen down, as I have re- the Doctor and me standing overcome hearsed, from the rafters.
with perplexity, and in a manner de By this time some familiar inter« mented, she happened to observe a change of the eye had taken place be gentleman's carriage at a door, and, tween him and me; and when he un- without more ado, she begged the ser. derstood that my name was Duffle, and vants to ask their master to allow them that I corresponded in a secret manner to take her home, which he very reawith Mr Blackwood, the bookseller in dily did, and thus extricated us all Edinburgh; he said that he had been from a most unspeakable distress, for just like to die at some of my writings, both the Doctor and me got into the which I was very well pleased to hear; chaise beside her, and arrived safe at and then I speered at him if he was Captain Şabre's, where there was a really and truly the author of Waver- great assemblage of friends, and
“ Mr Duffle," said he, “ I just wonderful speer and talk about what hae as little to say to the book as you we had all seen that day at the Corohae.”—To the which I replied, “ that nation, ifa' tales be true, that could be nae lie." When we had rested ourselves a VOL. X.
short space of time, and taken some re- tor to the skin, but made my sky-blue freshment, the doctor and me (he ha- silk clothes cling like wax to my skin; ving put off his gown and bands) went and, in the race from the rain, the sword 1 out by ourselves on our feet, it being gaed in between my legs, and coupit no length of a walk from Baker-Street me o'er in the glar of the causay
withi to Hyde-Park, to see the fire-works, such vehemence, that I thought my things which the doctor had never very een were dinted out: the knees seen, but which were no unco to me, of my silk breeks were riven in the as we have had sic-like at Glasgow, fall. Some civil folk that saw my misfrom riders and equestrian troops. fortune, helped me in with the doctor But this, at that time of night, was to an entry mouth, till a hackney could not a very judicious adventure, con- be got to take me home. In short, the sidering that I was in my sky-blue sufferings I met with are not to be recourt-dress, with a cockit-hat and a lated, and I had an experience of what sword ; for it brought the voices of it is to be stravaiging after fairlies at the commonality. I, however, could the dead hour of the night ; for when a have put up with them, but just as I reached Mrs Damask's house, she we got into the crowd, there was a was gone to bed, and nobody to let me great flight of sky-rockets, with a in, dripping wet as I was, but an ashyfearful rushing noise, which so ter- pet lassie that helps her for a servant. rified Doctor Pringle, that he thought No such neglect would have happened it was a fiery judgment breaking out with Mrs MʻLecket in the Saltmarket. of the heavens upon London, for the She would have been up to see to me idolatries of the day—and uttered such herself, and had the kettle boiling, that I a cry of fright, that every body around might get a tumbler of warm toddy afus roared and shouted with laughter ter my fatigues. But I was needcessiand derision ; insomuch, that we were tated to speel into my bed as well as I glad to make the best of our way home- could, shivering with the dread of haward. But our troubles did not then ving got my death of cold, or of being end. Before we were well out of the laid up as a betheral for life, with the Park, an even-down thunder-plump rheumateese. came on, that not only drookit the doc
ACCOUNT OF A CORONATION-DINNER AT EDINBURGH,
ductions, I made a piece of business I PROMISED to write you from this with the gentlemen, put on a brazen boasted city, and my destined route face, and favoured them with a call. having landed me in it at a most im- It is a fact, that I waited on Mr J portant juncture, I haste to fulfil my with a political French novel in MS. engagement. But this letter shall written by a lady. He received mo neither be about business, which you rather haughtily, with his back stretchdetest; nor the appearance of this ed up at the chimney, and his coat small eastern metropolis, which you turned to one side ; but I held him despise. No, sir : this letter, I am excused, for I perceived that he was resolved, shall be about the men of thinking on something else. I made genius here, the only thing worth no- him a present of the work, however, tice in this their city, and the only ar- and have been proud to see what use ticle in which we cannot excel those he has made of it. I also waited on who are destined to live in it. You Sir W. S- with a few Saxon are well aware that my attachment to coins, and two Caledonian brass javeliterature, or rather to literary men, is lins;
MrC_Nwith a song, such, that with unwearied perseve- from Dr Scott; on Mr
with a rance I have procured introductions to specimen of Glasgow ice, and the Gorall such of them as verged on the cir- bals weaver's theory on the mean temcle of my uttermost acquaintance. But perature of the globe; on P - W perhaps you do not know, that when with some verses to the moon, said to I cculd in noways attain such intro- be written by Finlay; on Go with
a German dialogue of Paisley manu. whom to deliver my letter, save a young facture; and on the E-Š- on well-favoured lad with a Roman nose, pretence of buying his wool. But of busily engaged at one of the windows all the introductions I ever had in my with his day-book, and to him I shewlife, the most singular took place here ed the back of my card; but he only last night, which, as you will see by nodded his head, and pointed to an the post-mark, (should I forget to inclosed desk on the opposite side. To date this,) was the celebrated 19th of that I went; and, shoving aside eight July
or nine spacious subscription-boards ? I came from Stirling to this place in for painters, poets, artificers, and all the morning, in order to attend at the manner of rare and curious things, I great public dinner; but being inform- set my nose through the spokes, and ed by chance, that a club of literary perceived the bald head of a man and social friends were to dine toge- moving with a quick regular motion, ther at a celebrated tavern, at which from the one side to the other alterthey have been accustomed to meet for nately, and soon saw, on gaining a litmany years, I was seized with an in- tle more room for my face among the describable longing to make one of the subscription cards, that he was writparty, and immediately set all my wits ing, and tracing the lines with no comto work in order to accomplish this. mon celerity. I named him, and at Accordingly, I went to the commercial the same time handed him my letter; correspondent that was deepest in ar- on which he cocked up his eyes with rears with our house, and besought a curiosity so intense, that I could his interest. He introduced me to scarcely retain my gravity, and thought another, and that one to another, who to myself, as he perused the lines, promised, if practicable, to procure me “ This must be an extraordinary feladmission; and the manner of this ad- low!" mission being not the least singular When he had finished reading the part of my adventure, I must describe note, he beckoned me to meet him at it to you the more particularly. an opening in the counter, near the
This last- mentioned gentleman, farthest corner of the shop. I obeyed (who was a jeweller,) after writing a the signal; but as he passed the two card of considerable length, gave it lawyers, he could not help pricking up me, with a direction where to find his his ears to the attestations of one of friend, who was a mercantile gentle, them, who was urging the case with man whose name I had often heard more fervency than the matter appearmentioned: therefore, when I threw my ed to require. When he came to a eye on the direction, I was greatly de- pause, the Merchant of Venice, for so lighted. I soon found his shop, and, I always felt inclined to denominate the door being open, popped in; where, him, only said to him, “ Well, it may behold, the first face I saw was that of be all very true that you are saying, an elderly reverend-looking divine, a my dear sir; but, for God's sake, don't man of the most benevolent aspect. get into a passion about it. There cau Behind him was a tall dark squinting be no occasion at all for that." And politician, at a hard argument
with an having given him this sage advice, he artist whose picture I had seen at an passed on, shook me by the hand, and exhibition or two, and knew him at conducted me down stairs. first sight. I do not know his name; “So you are for this private dinner, but he wears spectacles, has a round in place of the great public one, with quizzical face, and a very little mouth, my Lord Provost, and all the nabbs in out at which the words come pouring the country to preside ?” said he.-“I in flights, like well-ground meal out would prefer it a great deal,” said I, of a mill. But that meal had some “and would take it as a particular fapoignancy of taste about it; for it vour, if you could procure meadmission made the politician writhe and wince, into a company made up of gentlemen, and almost drove him beyond all pa- whose characters I hold in the highest tience. Beyond the counter, at the admiration.”—“ Ay! God bless the fire-place, stood two celebrated law. mark!” said he, taking a hearty pinch yers, with their fore-fingers laid across, of snuff with one nostril, and quite arguing a lost process over again with neglecting the other ;
so you admire great volubility. I could see no mer- them, do you? I should like, an it be cantile-looking person whatever to your will, to know what it is for. I
hope it is not for their detestable po- to introduce me, that whatever I said, litical principles ? If so, I have done wrote, or published, I was to give no with you, friend ; let me tell you that." names, that having becomeoflate a most
" I suppose our principles are all dangerous experiment. I gave him my much the same in the main,” said I; woril, which I will not break, though " and I hope you intend to be of the it will cramp me very much in my letparty, for one. -“Me? not I-I love ters; but the ample field of descripthe fellows personally, and should cer- tion is left free and open to me, and to. tainly have been there, but then one that will I resort, as a general that hears such blarney; so much syco- feels himself cramped in the plain phantic stuff, it makes one sick, and makes his retreat to the mountains. affects one like an emetio after a good We shall begin with the president, hot dinner. By the bye, I have no great who was an old man with long grey objections to their mode of dining ;" locks, prominent features, and a great (at this part, he took another hearty deal of vivacity in his eye; a little lame snuff, still with the same nostril, and of both feet, and tottered as he walk-ra gave two or three dry smacks with his ed, so that I instantly recognized him lu lips ;) “but the truth is, I do not know as one who, of late years, has been, like if I can be admitted myself."-"I the cuckoo, often heard of bat seldom Hy thought you and they had been all seen. You will understand well enough one," said I.-" Why, so we are, in who I mean. The gentleman next to some respects," replied he ; “ as I said, the president, on the right hand, was I love the blades personally, but as to young, sprightly, and whimsical ; with their political creed, I say, God mend hawk's eyes, and dark curled hair. He it. But so it is, that I am so often with spoke so quick, and with so short a them, that my own party have almost clipped tongue, that I, who sat at a cut me; and the others, who know my distance from him, scarcely ever could sentiments well, view me with a jealous distinguish a word that he said. He eye, and would as soon, I fear, want on the president's left hand was a me as have me, so that, at present, I country-looking man, well advanced in am an alien from both parties. But, I life, with red whiskers, strong lightmust say this for these luminaries whom coloured hair that stood upon his you profess to admire, that badness of crown like quills upon the fretful porn heart is none of their faults. There cupine, and a black-silk handkerchief will be some more of the artists herë about his neck tied over a white one. immediately. I will speak to them These two appeared to be intimate you shall be sure of a ticket of admis- acquaintances, and were constantly consion."- " Shall I likewise have the versing across the table. The countrypleasure of meeting with the Edin man appeared to be often jealous of the burgh artists too?" said I." All of other, and at a great loss to understand them who prétend to be literary men the ground of his jokes, but he would and tories," said he. “ But, heaven not let him have a minute's peace. I be praised, we have not many of shall give you one single instance of the them !”
sort of conversation that was passing beWell, to make a long tale short, to tween them, so much to the amusement the meeting we both went, where nine of the president, and the friends next to and-twenty of us sat down together to them. The young gentleman had been dinner ; and as I was merely introdu- telling the other some literary anecced by name to two of the stewards as dote about the author of a book called the friend of this Merchant of Venice, Marriage, (which I once saw adverlittle farther notice was taken of me, tised) but I could not hear distinctly so that I had time to note down a few what he said. The other raised his things that passed, which I subjoin eyes as if in great astonishment, and for your amusement, and that of Tod I heard perfectly what he said, which and
Finlayson, should they meet you was as follows:" Weel, man, that's at Dugald's to-morrow evening. In extraordinar! I never heard ought the meantime, I shall describe two or like it a' my days afore. Hech, but it three of the leading members of this wad be a queer job, if ane but kend literary club, that you may have a that it was true !" “ What !” said the guess who they are; for I forgot to tell president, sure you don't accuse you, that the obliging Merchant bound your friend of telling you falsehood, me by a promise, before undertaking or indeed suppose that he would tell
you aught that is not strictly true?"- This last I do not know, for some calle & Whisht, callant. It as a' that ye ed him by one name, and some anken about the matter," said the coun- other. He is a stout boardly gentletryman. "I am only speaking for man, with a large round whitish face, mysel. Let every man ride the ford
a great deal of white round the puas he finds it. He may have always pil of the eye, and thin curled hair. told the truth to you, and every body A most choice spirit; and you must else. I'll never dispute that. But let either have known or heard of him me think; as far as I min', he never when you were in Campbell's house in a' his life tauld me the truth but here. I took him at first for a well ance, and that was by mere chance, educated substantial merchant; afterand no in the least intentional." I was wards for a sea-captain ; but I now petrified, but those who knew the two suspect that he may move in a higher only laughed, and the accused party circle than either of these would do. laughed the most heartily of any. The next most remarkable man of
The croupier was likewise a young the party in my eyes was a little fat gentleman, tall, fair, and athletic ; and Gibbon-faced scholar, with a treble hada particular modeof always turning voice, and little grey eyes. He is inup his face like a cock drinking
out of a deed a fellow of infinite wit and huwell when he began to speak. Though mour, but of what profession I could rather fluent after he began talking, not devise. He may be a doctor of be seemed always to commence either physic, a dominie, a divine, a com with pain or difficulty, and often in median, or something more extraorthe middle of a dispute between others, dinary than any of these; but I am when he disapproved of a sentiment sure his is an artless and a good heart, on either side, then he held up his and that he is not aware of the powface, and made his mouth like a round ers of his own mind in the delineation hole, without engaging any farther in of human characters, perhaps (and it is the debate. I could not help obser- a pity) too careless of what he says, ving, however, that one very inge, and too much addicted to the ludinious gentleman, with whom I was peculiarly happy to meet, but who is There was also a tall elegant old now so publicly known, that I dare gentleman, from whom I expected not even describe him, kept his eye something highly original. There were ever and anon upon the croupier's mo- two or three attitudes of body, and tions; and though he sometimes laugh- expressions of countenance, that he ed at them, if ever the said croupier assumed in confuting a young imperturned up his face, he held it as good tinent advocate, that were quite inas if he had sworn that the speaker was imitable ; but he was placed by some wrong. And this celebrated charac- individuals that he seemed not to like, ter restrained himself, or rose into and in a short time drew himself up. double energy exactly in proportion I hope I shall have an opportunity of to the attitude of the croupier's nose, describing some more of them by and which he failed not to consult as mi. by; in the mean time I must proceed nutely as a farmer does the state of with regularity, which leads me at prebis barometer.
sent to something by no means unsubThere were also two, who, by way stantial, namely the dinner, a thing of precedency, sat opposite to each which I have always accounted an exother in armed chairs at the middle of cellent contrivance wherewith to be the table; the one a facetious little gin the commemoration of any great gentleman, with an Irish accent; the event. drollest being, without effort or pre- The dishes were exclusively Scotineditation, that I ever heard open a tish. There was the balmy Scots kail, mouth. Indeed one would have thought and the hodge-podge, at the two ends that he often opened his, and let it of the table to begin with ; and both say what it liked. I was a grieved of these backed by a luxurious healthyman when he got so drunk at an early looking haggies, somewhat like a rollhour that he fell under the table.. ed up hedgehog. Then there were His fellow was nothing behind him two pairs of singed sheep heads, smiin either good humour or fun, but I ling on one another at the sides, all of thought they were sometimes trying them surrounded by well scraped trotwho could speak the greatest nonsense. ters, Jaid at right angles, in the same