« ForrigeFortsett »
her mother to be present at the handling.
pass for a lady in the Trongate, among the best and the brawest, ony day. As for the feuars and subfeuars of Greenock, every body knows what a pith of talent is in them, and how cleverly they can see through the crooks and the crevices of all manner of difficulties. I need, therefore, only say, that our fellow-passenger had no small portion of the ability common among his townsfolk. I should remark by hands, that on the outside of the coach there was a man from Port-Glasgow in the volunteering line, watching a bit box with his cleeding, and hadding on by the rail like grim death-what he was going to do at Edinburgh, or whether he was gawn o'er the seas or further, he kens best himself.
In the course of our journey to the capital town of Scotland we met with no accident, but had a vast deal of very jocose conversation. Twice or thrice Mrs Gorbals paukily tried to pick out of me where I was going, and seemed to jealouse that I was bound on a matrimonial exploit; but I was no so kittly as she thought, and could thole her progs and jokes with the greatest pleasance and composure, by which she was sorely put to in her conjectures.
As it was not my intent to stay any time in Edinburgh at the outgoing of my jaunt, as soon as the coach stopped, I hired a porter from the Highlands, and he took my trunk on his shoulder, and we walked both together on to Leith. Luckily for me it was that I had been so expeditious, for we reached the pier in the very nick of time, just when the new steam-boat, the City of Edinburgh, was on the wing of departure. So on board I steppit, where I found a very jovial crew of passengers. Among others, Doctor and Mrs Pringle from Garnock, who were going up to London, as the reverend Doctor told me himself, on account of their daughter, Mrs Sabre, Miss Rachael that was, being at the down-lying, and wishing
I said to him, considering what he had suffered in his first voyage, that I was surprised he would have ventured on water again, especially as he had his own carriage. But both he and Mrs Pringle declared that the tribulation and extortioning of travelling by land was as ill to abide as the sea-sickness, which I can well believe, for at every house, when we changed horses in coming from Glasgow in the stagecoach, there was the stage-driver begging his optional; to say nothing of what Mrs Pringle herself remarked concerning the visible comfort of such a steam-boat, where every thing was on a neat genteel fashion, and no sort of commodity neglected.
I told her, however, that I was not sure but from the boiler there might be a danger, when we were out on the ocean sea; whereupon the Doctor, who, in his first voyage to Glasgow, had got an insight of the method of enginery, took and showed me all how it worked, and how the boiler, when the steam was overly strong, had a natural way of its own of breaking the wind off its stomach, as he said, in his pawkie and funny way, which was very diverting to hear. I need not therefore say that I was greatly delighted to find myself in such good company as the Doctor and that clever woman his lady, who is surely a fine patron to wives throughout the whole west country, especially in the shire of Ayr.
Nothing could be more facetious than our voyage; every body was just in the element of delight; the sea rippled, and the vessel paddled, as if she had been a glad and living thing, and sailed along so sweetly, that both Dr Pringle and me thought that surely the owners had some contrivance of a patent nature for creeshing the soles of her feet..
A JEANIE DEANS IN LOVE.
AMONG the passengers was a Mrs Mashlam, from the vicinity of Mineybole, whom I knew when formerly she was servan lass to Bailie Shuttle, before she gaed into Edinburgh. She was then a bonnie guileless lassie, just a prodigy of straight-forward simplicity, and of a sincerity of nature by common; indeed, it was all owing to her chaste and honest demeanour, that she got so well on in the world, as to be married to her most creditable gudeman, Mr Mashlam, who is not only of a bein circumstance, but come of a most respectable stock,
having cousins and connections far advanced among the genteelity in Edinburgh. He fell in with her on her return from her great adventure with the Duke of York at London, which made such a great noise throughout the West at the time, and which, but for her open-hearted innocency, would have left both cloors and dunkles in her character.
At the first I did not know Bell again, but she knew me, and made up to me, introducing her gudeman, and telling me that they were going up on a jaunt to London, because she had been for some time no in very good health, but chiefly to see the King crowned, the which, I have a notion, was the errand's end of most of us, notwithstanding what Doctor and Mrs Pringle said about their daughter's lying in. After some change of conversation, we sat down on stools on the deck,—a great convenience, and most pleasant in such fine weather as we had; and on my speering at Mrs Mashlam anent her former journey to London, of which I had heard but the far-off sough of rumour, she blushed a thought in the face, and then said, "Noo, that a's past, and my folly of teen love cured, I need na be ashamed to tell the particulars be fore the face of the whole world, and the fifteen Lords.
"When I was servan with Captain MacConochy, Serjeant Lorie of his company had a wark with me. He came often about the house, and as he was of a serious turn like mysel, I thought the mair o' him that he never spoke of love, for he wasna in a way to marry. But ae night as I lay on my bed, it was, as it were, whispered in my ear, that if I could do a thing for him that would mak him hae a pride in me, he would master the doubts of his fortune, and make me his wife. Wi' this notion I fancied that I might hae the power to persuade the Duke of York, if I could get a word of his Royal Grace, to gie the serjeant a commission. The road, however, is lang between Edinburgh and the Horse Guards, but a woman's love will travel farther than horses; so I speered at the serjeant, without letting on to him o' what was in my head, about the way of going to London, and how to see the Duke, and when I got my half year's fee, I got leave frae my mistress for a fortnight to see a frien', and set out for the Horse Guards.
"When I reached London, I dressed mysel in my best, and speered my way to the Duke's office. The first day I lingered blately about the place. On the second, the folk and soldiers there thought I was nae in my right mind, and compassionated me. A weel-bred gentleman, seeing me hankering at the gate, inquired my business, and when I told him that it was with his Royal Grace, he bade me bide, and he would try what could be done; and shortly after going into the house, he came out, and said the Duke would see me.
Up to that moment I felt no want of an encouraging spirit; but I kenna what then came o'er me, for my knees faltered, and my heart beat, as I went up the stairs; and when I was shewn into the presence, in a fine room, with spacious looking-glasses, I could scarcely speak for awe and dread. The shawl fell from my shoulders, and his Royal Grace, seeing my terrification, rose from his sittee, and put it on in the most ceeveleezed and kindly manner. He was in reality a most well-bred gentleman, and, for discretion, would be a patron to mony a Glasgow manufacturer, and Edinburgh writer. He then encouraged me to proceed with my business, asking me in a hamely manner, what it
"Please your Royal Grace," said I, " there's a young lad, a friend o' mine, that I would fain get promoted'; and, if your Royal Grace would like to do a kind turn, he would soon be an officer, as he's a serjeant already. He has no
body to speak a word for him, so I hae come from Scotland on purpose to do it mysel.
"The Duke looked at me with a sort of kindly curiosity, and replied,'Well, I have heard and read of such things, but never met with the like before.'
"He then inquired very particularly all about what was between the serjeant and me, and if I was trysted to marry him; and I told him the plain simple truth, and I could see it did not displease him that I had undertaken the journey on the hope of affection. He said there were, however, so many claims, that it would not be easy to grant my request. I told him I knew that very well, but that others had friens to speak for them, and the serjeant had nane but mysel. Upon which he looked at me very earnestly, with a sort of mercyfulness in his countenance, and putting his hand in his pocket, gave me three guineas, and bade me go away back on the Sunday following by the smack to Leith. He gart me promise I would do so; and then as I was going out of the room he bade me, after I had taen my passage place, to come again on the morn, which I did, but on that morning he had broken his arm, couldna be seen. I saw, however, one of his Lords. They told me since syne, it was no doubt my Lord Palmerston, and his Lordship informed me what had happened to the Duke, and gave me two guineas, obliging me, in like manner as his Royal Grace had done, to promise I would leave London without delay, assuring me in a most considerate manner, that my business would be as well attended to in my absence as if I were to stay. So I thankit him as well as I could, and told him he might say to the Duke, that as sure as death I would leave London on the Sabbath morning, not to trouble him any more, being content with the friendship of his royal spirit.
“Accordingly, on the Sabbath, I gaed back in the smack, and the serjeant would hardly believe me, when I said whar I had been, and what I had done for him. But when he was made an ensign, he turned his back on me, and set up for a gentleman. I thought my heart would have gurged within me at this slight; and a very little would have made me set out a second time to the Duke, and tell him how I had been served; but, after greeting out my passion and mortification on my secret pillow, I thought to mysel, that I would let the serjeant fall out in some other's hand; and that I was none the worse for the good I had wised to him as a soldier, though, by altering his vain heart, it had done himself none as a man ; and when I cam into this contentment, I got the better of my pining and sorrow."—And in saying these words, she took Mr Mashlam in a loving manner by the hand, and said, “ I ha'e no reason to rue the disappointment of my first love; and I only hope that Mr Lorie, for the kind-natured Duke's sake, will prove true to his colours, lightly though he valued my weak and poor affection."
Every body in the Steam-boat was greatly taken with Bell, and none in all the company was treated with more respect than her and her gudeman. So on we sailed in the most agreeable
Doctor Pringle and the Mistress having visited London before, were both able and most willing to give me all sort of instruction how to conduct myself there, which the Doctor assured me was the biggest town by far
that he had ever seen in his life; and certainly, when I saw it myself, I had no reason to doubt the correctness of his judgment, although, in some edificial points, it may not be able to stand a comparative with Edinburgh or Glasgow. But notwithstanding the experience which they had of the ways of managing in London, we were sorely put to it on our disembarking at Wapping. For the Doctor, to shew me how well he could set about things,
left me and Mrs Pringle standing on the wharf, and went himself to bring a hackney for us and our luggage. They were, in their way to Captain Sabre's in Baker Street, to set me down at the lodging-house in Norfolk Street, Strand, where they had been civilly treated while living there when up about their great legacy," but ance awa aye awa." Long and wearily did Mrs Pringle and me wait, and no word of the Doctor coming back. The Mistress at last grew uneasy, and I was terrified, suffering more than tongue can tell, till the Doctor made his appearance in a coach, as pale as ashes, and the sweat hailing from his brow. He had lost his road; and, rambling about in quest of it, and likewise of a coach, was mobbit by a pack of ne'erdo-weels and little-worth women in a place called Ratcliffe Highway, and in the hobbleshow his watch was picket out of his pocket by a pocket-picker, and his life might have been ta'en, but for the interference of a creditable looking man, who rescued him out of their hands.
This was a sore sample to me of the Londoners; and I quaked inwardly when, as we drove along the street in the hackney, I saw the multitudes flowing onward without end, like a running river, thronger than the Trongate on a Wednesday, especially when I thought of the crowd that was expected to be at the Coronation. However, nothing happened, and I was set down with my trunk at the door of
the Doctor's old lodging in Norfolk Street, Strand, where the landlady was most glad to see the Doctor and the Mistress looking so well, but her house was taken up with foreigners from different parts of the country come to see the King crowned, and she could not accommodate me therein. However, as I was a friend of the Doctor's, she invited me to step into her parlour, and she would send to a neighbour in Howard Street that had a very comfortable bed-room to let. So I bade my fellow-passengers good day, and, stepping in, was in due season accommodated, as was expected, in the house of Mrs Damask, a decent widow woman, that made her bread by letting lodgings to sin gle gentlemen.
Having thus narrated the occasion and voyage of my coming to London, I will now pause, in order to digest and methodize such things as it may be entertaining to the courteous reader to hear, concerning my exploits and observes in the metropolitan city; for it is no my intent to enter upon the particularities of buildings and curiosities, but only to confine my pen to matters appertaining to the objects of business that drew me thither, with such an account of the coronation as may naturally be expected from one who had so many advantages at the same as I had; not, however, would I have it supposed, that I paid any greater attention to the pageantry thereof, than was becoming a man of my years and sobriety of character.
PART. II-THE PREPARATIONS.
London being, as is well known, a place of more considerable repute than Greenock, or even Port Glasgow, upon which I have so fully enlarged in my foregoing voyages, it seems meet that I should be at some outlay of pains and particularities in what I have to indite concerning it; and, therefore, it is necessary to premise, by way of preface, to appease critical readers, that my observations were not so full and satisfactory as they might have been, because of the hubbub of his Majesty's royal coronation, which happened to take place while I was there. It's true that I had an inkling, by the newspapers, before my departure from Glasgow, that the solemnity might be performed about the time I counted on being in London, but every body knows
it was a most uncertain thing; and as for the King's own proclamation anent the same, is it not written in the Bible, "Put not your trust in princes ?” However, scarcely had Mrs Damask shewn me the bed-room that was to be mine, and I had removed our sederunt, after settling terms, to her parlour, where she was to get me a chop of mutton for my dinner, than she began to inquire if I wasna come to see the coronation. But I said to her, which was the fact," I am come on business; no that I object to look at the crowning the King, if its possible, but it would be an unco like thing o' a man at my years of discretion to be running after ony sic-like proformity."
She was, however, very much like: my own landlady, Mrs M'Lecket, a
thought dubious of my sincerity on that point, and the mair I said to convince her that I had a very important matter in hand, the less did she look as if she believed me. But she said nothing, a thing which I must commend as the height of prudence, and as a swatch of good breeding among the Englishers; for there is not a Scotch landlady, who, in such a case, would not have shaken her head like a sceptic, if she did na charge me with telling an even doun lee.
When I was sitting at my dinner, there arose a great tooting of horns in the street, most fearful it was to hear them; and I thought that an alarm must be somewhere; so ringing the bell, Mrs Damask came into the room, saying it was but the evening newspapers, with something about the coronation, the which raised my curiosity, and I thought that surely the said something must be past ordinaire, to occasion such a rippet; and, therefore, I sent out and paid a whole shilling for one of the papers, but it contained not a word of satisfaction. It, however, had the effect of causing me, when I had finished my chack of din ner, to resolve to go out to inspect the preparations that were making at Westminster Hall and the Abbey. Accordingly, Mrs Damask telling me how I was to direct myself, I sallied forth in quest of the same; and after getting into that street called the Strand, found that I had nothing to do but flow in the stream of the people; and I soon made an observe, that the crowd in London are far more considerate than with us at Glasgow-the folk going one way, keep methodically after one another; and those coming the other way do the same, by a natural instinct of civilization, so that no confusion ensues, and none of that dinging, and bumping, and driving, that happens in the Trongate, especially on a Wednes day, enough to make the soberest man wud at the misleart stupidity of the folk, particularly of the farmers and their kintra wives, that have creels with eggs and butter on their arms.
On entering the multitude, I was conveyed by them to the Cross, where there is an effigy of a king, no unlike, in some points, our King William; and winding down to the left, I saw divers great houses and stately fabrics, of various dimensions, suited to their VOL. X.
proper purposes, as may be found set forth in "The Picture of London," book which I bought on the recommendation of Mrs Damask, and in which there is a prodigality of entertainment. But the thing which struck me most, as I passed by, was the cloth-shop of one Mr Solomon, a Jew man, in the window of which were many embroidered waistcoats, and other costly but old-fashioned garments; with swords of polished steel, and cockit hats, and a parapharnalia sufficient to have furnished the best playhouse with garbs for all the ancient characters of the tragedies and comedies.
Seeing such a show of bravery, I stoppit to look; and falling into a converse with a gentleman, he told me when I said that surely Mr Solomon did not expect to get many customers for such old shop-keepers-that what I saw were court dresses, and were lent with swords and buckles, and all other necessary appurtenances to the bargain, for five guineas a-piece to gentlemen going to the levees and drawing-rooms, and that they were there displayed for hire to those who intended to see the ceremonies in Westminster Hall. This I thought a very economical fashion, but it did not make so much for the cloth trade as the old custom of folks wearing their own apparel, and it seemed to me that it would have been more for the advantage of business had the Privy Counsellors, and those who had the direction of the Coronation, ordered and commanded all gentlemen to wear new dresses of a new fashion, instead of those curiosities of antiquity, that make honest people look like the pictures of Philip, Earl of Chesterfield, Knight of the Garter, which may be seen in one of the volumes of my very old Magazine, wherein there is a full and particular account of the late coronation, the which was the cause of my bringing the book in my trunk from Glasgow, in order to enable me to make comparisons.
I had not travelled far towards the Abbey of Westminster, when I had good reason to see and note, that, considering all things, it was very lucky for me to have got to London when I did, for there was such a vast preparation that it could not, I think, have been in the King's power, with any sort of respect for his people, to have post poned his royal Coronation. The sight,