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the journey chills the spirit of inquiry, damps curi-→ osity, and extinguishes that ardour which ought to animate a literary man. Could any person, a priori, have thought it possible, that lately, all my inquiries after a copy of Kirwan's Geological Essays would have been ineffectual. I first called at a very elegant shop in the Parliament Close, and asked for Kirwan's Geological Essays. There was only a little boy behind the counter, and while he retired to examine his shelves, I was accosted by a very civil intelligent gentleman, who informed me the book was not in the shop; but who appeared very willing to enter into a discussion of its philosophic principles, in which I could only regret my inability to join him. While I lingered, we were joined by the other gentleman of the shop, who had not hitherto perceived me, having been assiduous in his attention to half a dozen of young ladies. When I entered, I had been extremely puzzled with the words Mammy, Lammy, Tammy, which I overheard frequently repeated by the party; but I soon perceived that this gentleman was a connoisseur in music and poetry, and had been eagerly contending for the comparative merit of John Anderson my Jo, and the Lammie.
I immediately left this seat of the Muses, and next proceeded to a shop on the right hand side of the Square. The gentleman who, I presume, was Major Domo here, was standing in the middle of the shop, and superintending the packing of a large bale. He went round it and round it repeatedly, without ap
pearing to see me; and when at last he came forward, and I asked for my book, he stood silent for some time, then looking askance, but not to me, abruptly answered, "We hav'nt the book!"-stepped back to his packing business, and I packed myself off, afraid that I had popped into a Temple of Silence instead of a Temple of Science.
My next attempt to procure the volume, was at a conspicuous shop near the Cross. Behind the counter I found a handsome little boy. When I inquired for my book, his eyes flashed eagerness to furnish it; he looked over the shelf appropriated to such books, and brought down Kirwan's Mineralogy, two volumes. By this time a good looking little gentleman advanced from the back apartment, half bowing, with his hands in his breeches pockets. Turning to Mr. who was coming down the interior staircase, I informed him of the object of my research. "O! Kirwan! the very best author we have on Mineralogy. When he was in Scotland, I had the honour of introducing him to Dr. Black, and was highly entertained with their conversation. They had a long discussion concerning TRAP, our whinstone, you know, and on the formation of the Giant's Causeway. We really, sir, have no author who describes things, as they are in the specimens, so well as Mr. Kirwan. I have a good many specimens myself, sir, and am highly delighted with his descriptions. No Mine¡¡¡ralogist should be without Mr. Kirwan's books. Boy,
show the gentleman Mr. Kirwan !" It is not the Mineralogy, but the Geological Essays I want. “I really believe we have not got it; Mr. — neglected to send it down, but we shall certainly have it soon. A propos of Mr. Kirwan, I'll tell you an admirable story. He wished to see our columns: of Basalt. You know the Giant's Causeway is composed of Basalt, and so is Arthur's Seat, and so is Salisbury Craigs, and so, I suppose, is Stonehenge, which is situated on Salisbury Plain. We sent the learned Dr. R-m to conduct him. He studied under the great Linnæus, sir. Now where do you think the learned Dr. conducted him, sir? Why, to the top of Salisbury Craigs, sir; and Mr. Kirwan returned highly delighted with the pros→ pect, without having seen a single column of Basalt."
My inquiries, though unsuccessful, had exhibited a curious specimen of the characteristic manners of our Bibliopolists. I resolved to pursue the investigation. The next shop I entered, was at no great distance; and I found the master engaged in a vio lent discussion concerning the important topic of city politics. From the first moment, I augured badly for my Geological Essays; and my conjecture was confirmed by the answer to my inquiry, " Kirwan! I never keep such d-d trash." This courteous retort staggered me completely, and I immediately left him to descant on the merits of the
measures of Tam Smith, a late member of the town council, whose attempts, like those of many other modern reformers, have proved quite unsuccessful.
I proceeded down the street to another shop, and asked for the same book; "Sir," said the gentleman behind the counter, with the most complacent civi lity, "I have not the book, but I'll commission it for you; I am just sending off an order for London, and in ten or twelve days you shall have it." I mentioned the inconvenience of the delay. "Sir," said he, "I sent over the whole town for it yesterday; it is not to be had, but I'll commission it for you." Then taking up a book from the counter, "Have you seen this, sir; this is by a gentleman of your profession." "I have seen it."" But here is one which you cannot have seen, though you must have heard of it. Much is expected, and it will answer expectation; it only arrived last night. There is not another copy in town." The entrance of another gentleman gave me time to read the titlepage; when the facetious gentleman again accosted me, “They have been a queer set of folks, these Border gentry; Lady Harden's Clear Spurs, and the Laird's Hay Stack, is the finest story I ever read. Shall I send you a sight of the book. We are all becoming Scotish again, sir; Scotish poems, Scotish history, Scotish antiquities-every thing is Scotish, sir; we may overhaul the Union itself, some of these days: and here is the Scots Magazine, sir; the title ought to have been Scotish, as a great antiquary
says, who is going to throw great light on Scotish history, and will certainly demolish Pinkerton the Pict; and here is his list of Desiderata in Scotish song, sir; we are going to fill up all these Desiderata." Upon this I pocketed the Magazine, and retreated rapidly from the overwhelming civility of this gentleman, resolving, by your means, Mr. Editor, to appeal to the public against this general deficiency of new publications of merit, in the shops of the Edinburgh booksellers, against their devoting themselves exclusively to individual branches of literature: and against this very summary method of condemning or applauding books of merit, according as they fall in with their peculiar taste for philosophy,' for music or poetry, for literary anecdotes, for city politics, or for Scotish, English, or Irish publications. But my inquiries did not terminate here. Two gentlemen, I found, had been in possession of the book; but one of them had exchanged it for Manson's sermons, which he had again exchanged for "The Dance of Death ;" and the second had sent his copy to Denmark, to be deposited in the King's library. I was, therefore, necessitated to forego my book, and derive very little consolation from being presented, instead of it, with various articles, Icelandic literature, which I was carefully assured had been duplicates in the King of Denmark's library. If Scotish literature was too deep for me, Icelandic literature was still deeper. My researches, however, if they did not enable me to proceed in my investigations