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IMPRESSIONS OF EDINBRO', BY P. ROONEY, ESQ.

LETTER FIRST,

TO THADEUS M'VANE, ESQ. GLO'STER STREET, DUBLIN.

DEAR THADY,-I promised when last we parted, to send you my first impressions of "Auld Reekie." In the name o' God take them then, but let me beg that you will give me all credit for candour, and believe that I, at least, set down nought in malice, I am well aware that this might be doubtful to you, unaccompanied by the above profession, when you call to mind our last long talk over this subject-matter, You cannot have forgotten your incredulity on that occasion, or my half sneer over the Scotch description of the Hyperborean Athens, which we perused to. gether, and our recapitulation, by way of comparison, of all the splendid points of our own Duab-lin.

I need not say to you, Thady dear, how I doat upon every foot of that most glorious amphitheatre, within whose capacious bosom our island's pride lies nestled; nor to you need I speak of the love I cherish for every green valley, dark loch, and bold hill, from Wexford to "Ould Howth;"-apropos of hills, we'll e'en begin with them, because on that head we beat this country hollow. I'm not going, mind, to say a word about elevations, or the number of feet above sea level; to the devil or any other engineer with all such formalities! When I once fix my eyes upon the mountain top, it never oc curs to me to regulate my admira tion, by trigonometrical survey, or calculate the sum of my admiration to a foot.

In my mind, then, Thady, these Scottish hills are tame, when compared with those tossed so plentifully about the counties of Wicklow and Dublin, lacking their rich verdure when clothed, their decided and iron aspect when naked. Here, no tall trees shoot up, as with us, green, bright, and living, from every cleft; nor do you see any of our masses of unleavened perpendicular

EDINBURGH, April 3, 1832.

swart rock, glowing against the sun like walls of solid metal.

These hills, too, lack the endless variety of outline, the Asiatic aspect, which those of Wicklow so strikingly display, where one sees some, lifted towards heaven graceful and spire-like, bearing their sharp cone crowns proudly erect,-others, well canted over to one side, as if reeling from a debauch-some, saddle-backed, undulate along, green, smooth, and soft,-others, in the same group, flat and table-topped, cut the bright blue sky with their hard level lines. It occurred to me, Thady, as I compared these hills of ours, so well remembered, with those of Lothian, amongst which I journeyed in approaching Edinburgh-it struck me, I say, as I gazed upon those before me, and recalled the others so far away, that they afforded no such ill example of the widely differing characteristics of the two nations. Our hills, taken separately, offering a thousand charms, a thousand attractions, to the passing stranger, when more closely viewed are found to be unlinked and riotous, fantastic and loose in the detail, having one common origin, it is true, but seemingly but ill adjusted for any common purpose.

Those of Scotland, on the other hand, although far less pleasing, and also, on a first glance, far less imposing, being each more like the other, are yet felt, upon closer inspection, to be true part and parcel of one well-jointed design. Like their sons in their awakened might, they rise, dark, stern, and stubborn, the immovable guardians of the soil that bears them; little attractive, if taken in detail and singly viewed, but most admirable indeed, when contemplated in their banded majesty. Mind, I speak only of my impressions, and that these are strictly limited to what fell beneath my ken,

on the line of march I followed, which was by way of Carlisle, and across the Esk, through Ewesdale, to Hawick, &c.

One grateful word I must give in passing to the Esk, for but rarely have I looked on any more attractive river. In some places its bed is even, and its banks verdant to the very water edge; in others, a deepcut, rugged course, strewn with the wreck of ages, giving to the stream an altered character at each short

turn.

Here, it sweeps by, smooth, deep, and dark, shadowed by its antique trees; a little way further on, it ruffles hurried, and vexed, over a high bank of small round pebbles, that shine through the limpid ripple like any diamonds. Again, a few yards onward, and you meet the river rushing towards you with a changed aspect. It now foams and roars in its anger, cumbered, like other conquerors, by its own triumphs; it now boils against, and whirls about, huge masses of fallen rock, the proud trophies of many a winter war, when, in its gathered strength, it battles with the mountains, through which it ever "bearlike" must fight its seaward course. You cannot imagine, my dear Thady, any thing more lovely, more lonely, than some bits about this river. God forgive me, but, as we journeyed by it, I caught myself inwardly wishing, more than once, that four red wheels, picked out black, had never yet rattled over its course; and truly, in this, I found that the bridges at least sympathized with my feeling, for nothing can well be more determined than the opposition they offer to these newfangled machines, for which, it is plain to be seen, they never were designed.

I involuntarily blessed their old grey Tory faces, for their sturdy rejection of this Reform, and again wished that the ground was yet debateable, and Johnny Armstrong's grey tower in his own good keeping. Õh, Thady! man, Thady! what a glorious sight it must have been, in the wild manfu' days of raid and reft, to have beheld on a spring morning a band of hungry Scotch Borderers, hurruishing a drove of fat Saxon cattle through some ford of this same stream!

In the valley, the night dew, yet sprinkling chilly from every shaken leaf and blade, and overhead the newly risen sun, changing the lifted mist on the mountain to a mantle of silver-whilst, hurrying through the pass, come Home and Heron, Maxwell and Scott, braid bonnets and bared legs, waving plaids, and glittering pikes.

The wild gillies, scrambling about in the water, fiercely pricking onward the weary unwilling kine, yet looking anxious back, and lowing mournfully for their native pasture; the gentler horsemen closing up the rear, and making many a careful cast behind, well knowing that keen eyes and ready hands were on their spur.

Picture to yourself at such a moment a sudden clatter of fast coming riders, and then the shout of “a Thirlwall," or an Armstrong," or other bold Border name, ringing from the English bank, and right promptly answered by the Scottish Horns, and the various slogan of the septs, till the mountain echoes, startled in their caves, shriek back the fierce defiance.

Fancy the-but where the devil am I galloping to? I. set out by promising, and intending simply to give you my impressions of "Edinbro' town," and here I am, dashing through the waters of the Esk, yelling barbarous cris de guerre, and striking in, with close-set teeth, amidst a Border onslaught, where for every bullock to be knocked in the head, two tall men were presently brained.

Marry, were oxen as high-priced in these degenerate days, it would be needful to lengthen Lent, since I fear me there would be few bidders. Beef would, doubtless, be a great rarity amongst us peaceable folk; or, as Mr Hood would say, we should soon fall short of even a short-rib.

But to go onward-having paid tribute to the fair Esk, the which I could not resist. If old surly Sam o' Litchfield marched into the land by this route, I could almost pardon the learned Bear his jaundiced picture of Scotia's barrenness; for surely nothing, in appearance, can be less fertile than the succession of bare mountain and bleak valley, which, if we except the passage of

the Ettrick, is little varied from hence to "Fushie Inn," where, by the way of nota, let me say there is to be seen a very pretty Scotch lassie, a very picturesque-looking old landlady, with Whiggery enough for the whole Covenant, devoted to posting and reform, and bearing for her sign a very quaint conceit, for painted thereon is a dog, by name " Buck," who is made, nothing loath, to wish Fushie "Good-luck," a wish which every looker-on is, at least, sure to repeat.

From the hill above this place the pulse begins to increase its action, and every added mile gives birth to some new interest. To the right towers Arthur's lofty seat, up comes on the mind, Holyrood, Anthony's Chapel, and the hundred other images they conjure in their train. To the left darkles the Castle, recalling the Bruce-the Douglas-Kirkaldy's loyal defence and luckless end.

Beyond range the Pentlands, the stern witness of Clavers' murders, and the eternal monument of his victims. I wonder did the Church's Captain ever dream that time might come when the humble Covenanters' graves would be remembered and famous, whilst that of the proud Dundee should afford a subject of dispute to the antiquary alone?

But I must pull in, and not dilate so; the fact is, Thady, a man feels fairly inspired in this region,at least I pity him who does not so feel. It is a land of romance, and one yields helplessly and wholly to its influence.

Nearing the city, I was at first hugely reminded of dear Dublin; the low stone-cabins, cherished dirtheaps, and duck, or pig-puddles, light-haired unkempt maidens, and sturdy shoeless urchins, all filth and frolic, together with the lofty garden-walls, and square-built houses of the better sort, all came in aid of the resemblance; but, once within the suburb of Newington, the comparison would be "odorous," as Mrs

M. says.

Such plain good taste in design, such neatness, such cleanliness, such a general air of comfort, in short, is, in my mind, offered by no other entrance to any capital city it has been my lot to visit, and they have not been few. Well, from this onward

VOL. XXXI. NO. CXCIV.

the scene gradually changed, becoming more and more striking, and also more inspiring; for it was Sabbath-day, and hitherto all had been quiet, voiceless, and even solitary; but, as the Mail drove leisurely on, the churches were pouring forth their congregations!-Oh, Thady, my dear fellow, when shall we feast our eyes and hearts, in our own city, on such an unmixed assemblage of well clad people, as that which I then beheld crowding the wide streets of this!

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I turned to all sides; I lifted my eyes from one well-dressed group, and they lighted only upon the like. I was sensibly moved by this air of general and equal ease and comfort. "Where," I asked of a person seated behind me, who had been civilly pointing out the lions," where," I asked, are your poor? "They're just here, about you!" he replied, accompanying his answer, as I thought, with a smile of pride, which I at once envied and admired. "These," he went on, 66 are all, or mostly, artisans, and work-people of one kind or other; we are not yet come to the fashionable end of the town."

Well, on we rolled. We passed along the vast dry bridge that crosses the North Loch, connecting the Old with the New Town. We turned short by the right, halting at the Post-office.

Full before me rose the Caltonhill. My eyes swept upwards along the noble street, glanced by the monument of Dugald Stewart, and rested on the front of the Parthenon; they were feasted, filled full with beauty. Nelson's Monument I might also have seen; but, after one glance, I would not again see it-I forgot it

I shut it out from my soul's sight, and the retina refused again to reflect the only blot on a scene so perfectso matchless. 'Twas the only fault, and, like the Recording Angel, (not to speak it profanely,) I feel that I ought to drop a tear upon the page, and blot out its remembrance for ever; but, alas, I am no angel, Ted, as you well know; besides, I promised you my true impressions, and false recorder you shall never call me,-tasteless you may, perchance, when one day look on this object of my dislike. To which I answer, each man

you

3 E

to his humour; and perhaps I may yet return to this same monument, when in one more reasonable than at present,

Well, I at length was set down at the coach-office. I clomb the steep hill, stared at the Record-hall, wended at the heels of my Hielan porter up Prince's Street, looking mighty like a Kerry cow in the middle of College-green, all dust and bewilderment, and at length was safely housed at Mackay's Hotel, after bumping against several gude folk, through star-gazing at the near Castle, and thinking of "Oliver Cromwell, that did it so pummel," as he did poor Lady Jeffries, "till he made a great breach, right into her battlement."

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So ends my first chapter; and whether I go an,” or no, must depend upon your gratitude, my hu mour, Scottish sunshine, and a few other chances, all equally uncertain and undependable.

Adieu, Thadeus, darlin'-Excuse much of this, as, in serious truth, I'm not yet quite sane; I'll strive to sober me down by my next, making this strange gay garment cleave better to me" by the aid of use." Always yours,

PATRICK ROONEY.

Mackay's Hotel,
Prince's Street.

LETTER II.

DEAR THADY,-Since writing my last, I have become as familiar with Edinbro', as a man may well be with so large a space in so short a time. But with cities as with men, an agreeable first impression mightily facilitates intercourse, ripening the acquaintanceship of a day into an ease and cordiality which a knowledge of years fails to produce, when, on the other hand, coldness or formality chances to cloud the introduction.

It is pleasant, either in the case of men or cities, to feel that closer acquaintanceship has failed to undo the charm, which novelty at first, perchance, helped to weave; and still more pleasant to be able to assert, that familiar intercourse has but served to confirm the predilection.

In the first place, my own quarters-most happily situated-in no slight degree, as it chanced, served to keep the flame alive, which a first glance on Edinburgh had kindled. Immediately opposite my window, but at some distance, stand groups of buildings, which one might fancy belonging to some Italian city of the middle ages-when each family residence was a stout fortress, planned and raised in contemplation of a siege from Guelph or Ghibelline, where all showed solid, stern, and safe, the citizens' only aim space and security; and when the church alone, sanctified and shielded by its holy purpose, could venture safely to indulge the genius of the architect, and revel in luxuriant external ornament, fearless and fancy free-such were my first impressions, as, on the evening of my arrival, I stood at my window communing with all which it commanded.

Just in this humour, then, do I sit down to pen for you, my second batch of Impressions. I have, then, Thady, wandered about here according to my restless habit, and have seen more to admire than might justly be described under the head I have selected, as best suited to a flying traveller: comprehending a light but vigorous glance, that, aided by an imagination alive to the subject, and prepared to deal with it, snatches most of what is boldest and most attractive, and if fearlessly and fairly transferred to paper, often affords a sketch as satisfactory as more la- roofs were barely visible-ran en boured efforts, checked, as these must be, by that weight of responsibility which pretension always incursBut to my task.

The country, at this point, was wholly shut out. On my left hand the North Bridge, crossing the loch, with the tall houses which form the tête du pont, limited my view in that direction. Immediately in front, looking across the deep chasm of the once loch-half veiled in the growing mist of evening, and by the smoke of the houses below, whose

echéllon, a succession of towering gables, marking the course of the old High street; broken at certain distances by long lines of heavy ma

sonry, pierced with small square windows; in many of which lights already glimmered; some, as it were, rising brightly from out the very earth, others twinkling pale and starlike, at an elevation of fifteen stories. Here and there a conical roof, together with numberless stacks of chimneys, chequered the line, and, marked against the clear sky, produced the effect of crenelled battlements.

On the extreme right, the view was flanked high overhead by the Castle, a more picturesque mass than which it would be difficult to find. Below, on the same line of sight, I could just include the building of the Society of Artists, looking like some temple of antiquity, escaped from the ravages of Goth and Frank; the solitary evidence of a happier ageall else speaking more of security than beauty, except, as I before remarked, in the church's case; for on the middle ground of this very pic ture, at once giving birth to, and confirming the recollection, the old Tower of St Giles proudly reared its head, imperially crowned, and rich in the most florid Gothic tracery, imparting a finish and relief to the dense group, which no single object less happily appropriate could have done. Fancy, in addition to the whole, my dear Ted, the last rays of a heavenly day yet lingering in a cloudless sky, giving brightness to the more prominent points, and investing the numerous deep shadows with a breadth and grandeur, that was most admirably in keeping with the character with which my imagination had invested this striking scene.

On these objects, of which my hasty sketch will, at best, afford you but a very meagre impression, I continued untired to speculate, until forms became gradually indistinct, and the various and brightly dotted lines of lamps alone remained, marking the singular irregularities of the site, and giving no ill idea of just such a rude city, suddenly illuminated for the night entrée of its feudal lord and his array.

In the morning of next day, which was happily a fine one, I strolled about the New Town, which offers a succession of nobly planned streets, terraces, and squares, all stone-built, and deriving from that circumstance

a

solid air of grandeur and durabi lity on which the eye rests with pleasure, and which mere brick and mouldy stucco never can impart.

From every point here, the blue waters of the Forth are seen rolling; beyond, a wild background of mountains, over all of which, in a fine day, the lofty Ben Lomond may be clearly distinguished, braving the sun with his snowy head, and looking down on the fleecy clouds, where they sleep upon the summits of his less ambitious compeers.

I find I must confine my notices to what most especially struck me, else you will have no end to my impressions, and they will weary, instead of, as I design, amusing you. One word more, therefore, only, to the New Town.

With St Andrew Square I was especially taken, as I looked across it, and along the vast line of George Street, closed by the noble dome of St George's Church, for I pass over the equivocal-looking statue standing at the head of Hanover Street, since, although it in reality cuts this fine line, it hardly interferes with the effect, the eye willingly passing it by, and reposing only on the nobler and true termination. There can be nowhere, I think, a street more finely imagined than this, and how the plague the designer contrived to select, or carve out, such a continuous level at such an

elevation, does hugely perplex my simplicity. Viewed from the Church of St George, Melville's column in St Andrew's Square offers a termination equally to be admired. Near to the latter object one is less satisfied; the base appears too mean and insecure for its great office, standing as it does upon the soft green-sward, whilst the ill-looking birds which preside over the corners have plaguily the air of attendant harpies, roosting under the auspices of the ex-great man.

But I must hurry away from this noble quarter, where all things, however presently grand, serve only to impress one with a sense of the growing greatness of the Scottish capital; the which I trust may be fairly viewed as typical of that of the whole nation; and next give you my impres sions of that quarter, which as plainly speaks to its former, and if less

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