« ForrigeFortsett »
himself; for I could see he was now and then like to lose his temper at the stupidity of some of the attendants. But it's no new thing for kings to be ill-served; and our Majesty might by this time, I think, have been used to the misfortune,—considering what sort of men his ministers are.
Shortly after the King had taken his place on the throne, the crown, and the other utensils of royalty, were brought, with a great palavering of priesthood and heraldry, and placed on the council-table before him, and when he had ordered the distribution thereof, the trumpets began to sound, and the whole procession to move off. His Majesty, when he reached the head of the stairs, was for a time at some doubt as to the manner of descending, till a noble in scarlet came and lent him his arm, for the which his Majesty was very thankful at the bottom. Meanwhile a most idolatrous chaunting and singing was heard, as the procession slided slowly down the Hall, and out at the door, and along the platform to the Abbey. Those who had places for the Abbey as well as the Hall then hurried out; and, while the King was absent, there was but little order or silence in the company, people talking and moving about.
I now began to weary, and to grudge at not having got a ticket to the Abbey likewise; but trusting to Doctor Pringle and the Mistress for an account of what was doing there, it behoved me to be content: so, with others, I stepped down from where I was sitting, and looked at the preparations for dressing the royal table, which had a world of pains bestowed on it-divers gentlemen measuring with foot-rules the length and the breadth thereof that was to be allowed for the dishes, no jooking the tithe of an inch in the placing of the very saltfits. But there was one thing I could not comprehend; which was a piece of an old looking glass, in a green painted frame, with four gilded babies, about the size of a bairn's doll, at the corners, placed flat in the middle. Surely, it was not for the intent to let the King see how he looked with the crown on his brows; and, if it was not for that purpose, I wonder what it was there for?-but truly it was a very poor commodity. In the mean time, golden vessels, flag
gons, and servers, and other dunkled and old-fashioned articles of the like metal, were placed in shelves on each side of the throne for a show, like the pewter plates, dripping pans, pöt lids, and pint stoups in a change-house kitchen. Some thought it very grand; but, for me, I thought of King Hezekiah shewing his treasures to the mes sengers of Berodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, King of Babylon;-for the foreign ambassadors, whose names are worse to utter than even that of the son of Baladan, and to spell them is past the compass of my power, sat near to this grand bravado of ancient pageantry.
By this time I had got some insight into the art of seeing a Coronation, so that, after satisfying my curiosity with the internals of the Hall, I strayed out upon the platform, partly to get a mouthful of caller air, and partly to get a drink of porter, for the weather was very warm, and I was very dry, by reason of the same, with the help of a biscuit in my pocket. And while I was about the porter-job in one of the two public-houses before spoken of, a shout got up, that the procession was returning from the Abbey, and I got up and ran to get back to my seat in the Hall; but as the crowd was easy and well bred, before I reached the door I halted, and thought I might as well take a look of the procession, and compare it with our King Crispin's Coronation, which took place on the 12th of November, A.D. 1818; and the order of which I will state herein, with annotations, to the end and intent, that posterity, in reading this book, may have a clear notion of what it was; and the more especially that his Majesty's ministers,-I mean those of King George IV,-may have a proper pattern for the next ceremony of the kind-for it was most manifest to me, that the shoemakers' affair was a far finer show than the one that I had come so far afield to see. But this is not to be wondered at, considering how much more experience the craft have; they being in the practice of crowning and processing with King Crispin, according to law, every year; by which they have got a facility of hand for the business, as is seen in their way of doing the same; the form and order whereof follows.
ORDER OF THE PROCESSION OF KING CRISPIN.
As it moved from the Barrack-Square, Glasgow, on Thursday the 12th of Nov. 1818, about 12 o'clock.
A party of Caledonians, with two
Supported by two Bashaws. (11)
Standard-Bearer, supported by two
Supported by two Aldermen.
Supported by two Aides-de-Camp.
Standard-Bearer, supported by two
(1) There was no Champion in the procession of his Sacred Majesty.-Surely it was a great omission to leave him out.
(2) There was no such Band of Music, as at King Crispin's-four fiddlers, three clarionets, with drums and fifes-but only Popish-like priests, and callants in their father's sarks, singing, and no good at it.
(3) Music again. His Sacred Majesty had no such thing.
(4) Band of Music the Third-It was the regiment's from the Barracks. What had King George to compare with that?
(5) King George IV. had but six pages-King Crispin had nine, bearing up his train. (6) Music again. O what scrimping there was of pleasant sounds, compared to our show at Glasgow !
(7) Music again. Think of that, Lord Londonderry, and weep-no wonder you delight in stratagems and spoils-I'll say no more.
(8) I didna approve, at the time, of this show of the late King, being myself a loyal man, and the Radicals then so crouse; for I thought, that the having the King of the past-time in the procession was like giving a hint to the commonality, that it would be a great reform to have Annual Kings as well as Annual Parliaments.
(9) A Cossack.There was, to be sure, a Russian Ambassador; but what's an Ambassador compared to a Cossack?
(10) "A party of Caledonians, with two Pipers."-There was no such thing. (11) "Indian King, supported by two Bashaws."-O, Lord Londonderry, but have made a poor hand o't what had ye to set beside an Indian King, supported by two Bashaws?
(12) "Ten White Apron Boys."-For them we must count the Band of Gentlemen Pensioners.
But it's really needless to descend thus into particulars-the very order of King Crispin's Procession is sufficient to put the whole Government to the blush-to say nothing of the difference of cost.
Indeed I was truly mortified with the infirmities and defects of the whole affair, and was hurrying away from it when I happened to see Mrs Mashlam with her husband on a booth, and I stoppit to speak to her, but she had seen nothing in the whole concern save only her old friend the Duke of York. "When she saw him going to the Abbey with the lave, she rose up as he passed," said Mr Mashlam, pawkily, "and made him a courtesy, and the tear shot in her e'e."
I thought by the glance she gave the master at this jibe, that he had treaded rather hard on a tender corn, but she smiled, and taking him by the hand, made it all up by saying in a kind manner in the words of the song, "For auld Robin Gray is ay kind to me." I hadna, however, time to spend with them, but hurrying back to the Hall, I was almost riven to pieces among a crowd of bardy ladies of quality, that had drawn up with gallants when they were in the Abbey and brought them with them, and insisted on taking them in whether the door-keepers would or no. It was surprising to hear with what bir and smeddum they stood up to the door-keepers, not a few of them carrying their point with even down flyting, to the black eclipse of all courtly elegance. Among them I beheld, at last, Dr Pringle in his gown and bands, with Mrs Pringle holding by his arm, toiling and winning by the sweat of their brows their way towards the door. They were rejoiced to see me, and the moment they got within the door, the Doctor whispered to me with a sore heart, "O, yon is a sad remnant of the beast! Far better it were had a man of God, like Samuel with a pot of ointment in his hand, gone alone to the king in the secrets of the desert, and anointed and hallowed him with prayer and supplication."
"This is Babylon!-this is Babylon!" cried Mrs Pringle gaily, and aloud out at the same time; "but it was a very fine sight, that must be allowed."
The crowd began now so to press upon us, that I was glad to hasten them in, and to get them up beside me in the gallery, where we were scarcely seated when the whole show, as I had seen it on the outside, but in a more confused manner, came into the Hall; VOL. X.
a stately maiden madam, in a crimson mantle, attended by six misses carrying baskets of flowers, scattering round sweet smelling herbs, with a most majestical air, leading the van. She was the King's kail-wife, or, as they call her in London, his Majesty's herbwoman; and soon after there was a great clamour of trumpets and sonorous instruments, proclaiming as it were, "God save the King," all the spectators standing, and the very rafters of the hall dirling in sympathy, for truly it was a wonderful and continuous shout of exultation; and my fine garb of sky blue, and the ladies' dresses suffered damage by the dust that came showering down from the vibrating imagery and carvings of the roof, as the King's Majesty passed on under his golden canopy of state, and ascended the steps leading to his throne, looking around him, and bowing to every body. Both me and Doctor Pringle, as well as the Mistress, thought he cognised us in a most condescending manner; and here I must say for his Majesty, that he certainly did his part in a more kingly manner than Andrew Gilbert, who performed King Crispin, never forgetting himself, but behaving throughout most stately and gracious, though often grievously scomphisht with the heat and the crowd; the which was not the case with Andrew, poor fellow, as I saw myself from Mrs Micklewraith's windows in the Gallowgate, where in passing, having occasion to blow his nose, instead of applying to the page that carried for him a fine white pocket-napkin, he made use of his fingers for that purpose, which was surely a very comical outbreaking of the natural man from aneath the artificial king.
As I was looking at his sacred Majesty with his crown and robes, I thought of a worthy lady that told me of what she had herself once witnessed, of his father's behaviour in the House of Parliament-"I was there," said Mrs Clinker, "with Mr Clinker and our five dochters, to see the solemnities of the robing room in the House of Lords; and there was a great congregation of other ladies with some gentlemen to keep them in countenancea most genteel company we were, and all sitting in the greatest composity, waiting, like the ten virgins in the parable, some of us wise and some C
foolish, but we had no lamps, when the cry arose that the King was coming. Then first came ae lord, and syne another, and then the Duke of York bounced among us with a troubled countenance, walking backwards and forwards like a ramping lion, which made us all sit with quaking hearts, as you may well think; next came the King himsel, honest man, talking to his nobles, and they had all faces of great terror. It was just a prodigy to see what a fear they were in; but his Majesty was never dismayed, keeping up a blithe heart. However, we began among ourselves to dread that surely something was the matter; and by and by it spunkit out that the King had been shot at, with a treasonable gun that went off without powther. Oh! what I suffered, to know and hear that we were sitting on a Gunpowder Plot, and that Mr Clinker, with me and my five dochters, might be flying in the air, clapping our hands in despair, like peelings of onions, before we kent whar we were. But the King saw the distress that all the ladies were in, and put on a jocose demeanour, and talked to his lords as they put the robes about his shoulders,-the crown he put himsel on his own head with his own hands, and when he had done so, he turned round to let us all see him, and he really looked like a king as he was, and his tongue never lay.'
I'll no take it upon me to say that the behaviour of his present Majesty, in the latter particular, was like his father's, for he is a newer fashioned man, and hasna yet had such an experience of kingcraft; but if in other and more serious concerns, he can port himself as much to the purpose as the auld King, we can thole with him, though he should na just speak so much to the entertainment of his people.
In the mean time, the Peers and Prelates, and the minuter members of the procession, took their seats at the table; and I could see that the Bishops and Aldermen soon began tomake long arms towards the eatables, which me and Doctor Pringle thought a most voracious thing of them, and not well bred towards his sacred and anointed Majesty, who was undergoing such a great fatigue that day for their advantage and renown to all parts of the earth. I likewise observed a Peeress from her seat in the front of the laft opposite to me, speaking vehemently to
a fat Lord at the table below. I suppose he was her gudeman, by the freedom of her speech, for she was plainly making a remonstrance to him on her being so neglected, for among all the ladies round her, both right and left, to a great expanse, there was not a single gentleman, because they were Peeresses, and placed there to sit in state for a help to the show; and then I saw his lordship put some eatable article on a trencher, and it was handed up to pacify her ladyship, and some of her adjacent kimmers.
In this stage of the procedure, during his Majesty's absence, I had leisure for a conversation with the Doctor and the Mistress anent what they had seen in the Abbey, the which I will set down in their own words, my faculty of memory not being of that sort which enables me to give a compendious narration, but, as Mr Sweeties said, by way of encouragement to me to proceed with the enditing of this book-" a great talent in transcribing the personalities of my heroes and heroines."
"Aweel, Doctor," quoth I, "and what did you see, and how were ye entertained with the anointing?" The Doctor shook his head in a solemn manner, and cogitated some time before he made reply, then he answered and said, "It would not become me, Mr Duffle, to find fault with what the King did in the midst of all his government, as he can do no wrong, and may be, in my presbyterian simplicity and ignorance, I am no of a capacity to judge; but if yon doing was not popery-the seven-headed ten-horned popery, that rampauged over the back of common sense so long in this land the darkness of night is the light o day to my eyes, and we are not sitting here in the earthly bunkers of this grand auld ancient Hall, but are the mere bubbles of a vision of sleep, and all this pomp and garniture around of no more substance than the wrack of vanity that floats in some poo dreaming natural's fantastical imagi nation. O Mr Duffle, a heavy han has been laid on my spirit this fore noon; to see and witness the Protest tant King of a Protestant people, cross ed and creeshed with such abomina tions of idolatry, and a paternostring c rank and henious papistry, that ough to have been stoned out of the midst o the Christian congregation that wa
I may see religion and this kingdom flourish in happiness,'-the which was as good a speech as King David himself could have made to the Children of Israel, and far better than a profane liturgy out of a book. Then King Charles, having made an end of speaking, was conveyed by his nobles to the Kirk of Scone, which was fittingly prepared for the occasion, and Mr Robert Douglas, a minister of Edinburgh, and Moderator of the General Assembly, preached a most weighty sermon from Second Kings, chap. xi. verses 12 and 17; and, after the blessing, the King renewed the Covenants. First, the National Covenant, then the Solemn League and Covenant were distinctly read; at the close of which the King, kneeling down upon his bended knees, and holding up his right hand, did take upon him, as it were, at the footstool of his Maker, the solemn vows anent the same.
sinning by witnessing the same. I tried to the uttermost of my ability to keep the wonted composure of my mind, and to note in my remembrance the circumstantialities, but one new head of the beast made its appearance after another, till Iquaked with terror. I could scarcely abide to look at that speaking horn the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, after all, said no.' great things: as for the prelate that preached, I think he read every word, although holding forth in the very presence of the King's Majesty, who, oppressed with the burden of his royal robes, endured all as well as he could. Two or three times I could plainly see, by the help of a pocket spy-glass a lady lent me, that his Majesty was not overly content with some of the doctrines, which gave me pleasure, although, considering they were but matter of morality, I think he need not have fashed himself about ony such feckless ware of the episcopalian inefficacy, than which nothing can be more innocent in a temporal point of view, although, as you know, and every true believer knows, it is as deadly venom in a spiritual. In short, Mr Duffle, I have no broo of this Coronation. But let the sin of it rest at the doors of them that advised it; as for me and my house, we will fear God, and honour the King. But of one thing I am most thankful, to wit, that the papistry of this doing is an English work, and can bring neither sin nor disgrace upon the Canaan of Scotland, where the Coronation of the Kings was ever a most devout and religious solemnity, as I have specially read in the account of what was done at Scone, on the new year's day of Anno Domini 1651, at the crowning of King Charles, the second of that name,-a prince who, according to all history, was not one of the soundest Protestants, but who never theless conducted himself on that occasion in a most sincere manner, say ing to the Lord Chancellor, when that pious man told him, with all due formality, how his good subjects desired he might be crowned as the righteous and lawful heir of the crown and kingdom, 'I do esteem,' said King Charles, the affections of my good people more than the crowns of many kingdoms, and shall be ready, by God's assistance, to bestow my life in their defence; wishing to live no longer, than
"When this was done, he then ascended a stage in the middle of the kirk, and the Lord Lyon presented him as the King of Scotland to the people; and the people having testified their acceptance of him as such, he again descended from the stage, and, falling on his knees, the great coronation oath was administered in an awful manner; to the which his Majesty replied,' By the Eternal and Almighty God, who liveth and reigneth for ever, I shall observe and keep all that is contained in this oath,—at which there was silence and dread in the kirk, and a sensible manifestation of the devout simplicity of our true and reformed religion.
"Having taken the oath, King Charles was then invested with the types and symbols of royalty; but there was no creeshy papistry practised there, every thing was done in a spirit of meaning and of understanding, the nobles, one by one, touching the crown on the king's head, and saying aloud, to the hearing of the people, By the Eternal and Almighty God, who liveth and reigneth for ever, I shall support thee to my uttermost; and then, holding up their right hands towards heaven, swore to be loyal and true subjects, and faithful to the crown.
"But what ensued was the grandest solemnity of all, and to the which there was no comparison in the wearysome paternostering of this day. When the nobility had sworn their allegiance,