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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. has 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 com→ posed 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 prospect, without having seen a single column of Ba salt."
My inquiries, though unsuccessful, had exhibited a curious specimen of the characteristic manners of our Bibliopolists. I resolved to pursue the investi gation. 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," Kir wan! 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 civility, "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 counterj "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 an swer 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 ser mons, 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
of a theory of the earth, furnish me with a notable practical specimen of the characteristic manners of our booksellers here; and as I have set down nought in malice, I hope they will be flattered with this view of their general portraits, and I doubt not but they will readily recognise themselves.
SCOTS MAGAZINE, Vol. LXV.
Edinburgh, Feb. 12, 1802.
THE TWA BOTTLES, BY HECTOR M'NIELL, ESQ. A Dialogue on a late Parliamentary Decision.
HEH! neighbour, but you're wond'rous crouse!
What's a' the news that's steering?
Has ony thing come late frae France,
France! deil than France was in a low !
That wadna try to trick her ;
Has owre lang join'd wi' browsts o' thine, etee To stap our good Scots liquor.
Aye, man! it sets you weel, I trow!
I fain wad ken what turn o' late
I thought fast bound in fetters?
Ask my dumb doup! if lugs ye've nane, Gae read, the news will gar ye grane! They've plaid a bonny plisky!
Our PARLIAMENT (God bless them a'!) Has gi’en, at last, proud chiels a fa', And hoiz'd up honest whisky!
I'm sorry for't, wi' a' my heart!
Gin a' be true that now ye tell,
Ha ha! I kent 'twad mak' ye wae !
Ye'd better leave off preaching
Hearts that are happy ken few fears, De'il haet ye'll get but taunts and jeers For a' your thankless teaching.