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forms of business. He fights well on the field of battle, but he makes a sorry figure at drill. His speaking wants some of those qualities which are generally deemed essential to eloquence he is deficient in imagination, and totally devoid of humour-and, what is still more unfortunate for an orator, he does not appear to possess the art of commanding the attention and carrying along with him the sympathy of a mixed assembly. His oratory is rather forensic than popular. He never speaks without exciting a general impression of his strong intellectual power; but he is not the person whom the lounger delights to hear.
XII. THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL.
The reason which we stated in our slight sketch of Sir James Moncrieff, must be our apology for mentioning Mr Hope so briefly, and for mentioning him at all. His official station ensures him at all times a respectful hearing in the General Assembly, and the more readily that he is the son of the Lord President of the Court of Session, a gentleman who has ever distinguished himself by a steady adherence to our national Church, and by the faithful discharge of his duty as one of its elders. The Solicitor-General is not a fluent speaker, but his advice is often valuable; and were it not that he aspires to somewhat more of authority, than it is proper for a layman to possess in an ecclesiastical court, he would be a powerful acquisition for the party to which he attaches himself, and with which, we believe, he generally votes. Mr Hope is gentlemanly in his address, understands well what he is about, is an excellent lawyer, and possesses a large share of political sagacity, which, united as it is in his case, with steadiness of principle, will, no doubt, raise him to a high, if not the highest, rank in his profession.
TRADITIONS OF THE PLAGUE IN EDINBURGH.
who had lived a good deal more than eighty years in Edinburgh, that, when she was a girl, there were some houses in the close where she resided (Allan's, first east from the Exchange,) said to be shut up on account of the plague, with all the furniture within, precisely in the same state as it had been left by the owners when they died. Though it was known that coin, plate, and other things of value, were deposited in one or more of these houses, they had been permitted to remain undisturbed for a century, and might have continued shut for a much longer period, but for a particular circumstance. When the Highland army came to Edinburgh in 1745, many of the soldiers, at the risk of military punishment, as is well known, committed such acts of rapacity as gave that gallant enterprise but too much of the appearance of a predatory invasion. Some, hearing of the treasures supposed to be concealed in the pesthouses of Allan's close, and entertaining no fear of an enemy so long dead as the plague, resolved to break them open, and possess themselves of whatever they found an innocent species of plunder, as they thought, which neither "ta law nor ta Prince" could be expected to visit with the punishment promised to the robbery of the living. They did break open the houses, and, as was expected, found many valuable articles, though, contrary to the anxious apprehensions of the neighbours, no fatal consequence ensued. The plate, which was all marked with engraven coats-of-arms, and the other things worth taking, were divided among the adventurers; and after the spell was thus broken, the houses were inhabited by poor people, who willingly encountered all the danger that could be supposed to remain, for the sake of a free habitation. What was very remarkable, one of the Highlanders, when the army afterwards visited Glasgow, lodged in the house of a relation of my informant, who discovered, by the arms engraved on a silver drinking-cup in the man's possession, that the plundered house from which it was taken had belonged to his ancestor, and accordingly made an effort IN Edinburgh, various superstitious ideas were che- to take by force, and finally was glad to purchase, the rished among the common people respecting the plague, said piece of plate, which he retained all his life afterwhich scourged the city for the last time in 1645, when wards as a family-piece. The old lady from whom I it was also threatened by the Marquis of Montrose, and derived this singular story, had also a tradition, that the only saved from the plunder of that cruel though gal- ancestress of a certain wealthy family in Edinburgh had lant commander by the dread which he entertained of accumulated a vast quantity of money and things of infection. Throughout the Old Town, various places value, by attending those who were dying of the plague, used to be shown where it was said the plague was shut which she was enabled to do with perfect safety on acup, and one in particular was pointed out as its burial- count of her having had the distemper before, and being, place. The former were certain old houses in Beth's therefore, incapable of taking it again. The sick-nurses Wynd, Mary King's Close, &c. the doors and windows and cleansers, it seems, were usually the heirs of the of which were either almost altogether buried beneath dead, and many of them, like this person, laid the the adjacent ground, or covered up with such a thick foundations of vast fortunes, which were, however, it layer of dust and mud, as it appeared they could only was remarked, for the most part dissipated by their imhave contracted during the lapse of several centuries. mediate successors. Thus, when Stirling was last ra. When the old pest-houses of Beth's Wynd were remo-vaged by the plague, two particular men, who alone ved in 1808, to make way for the extension of the Ad- performed, or could perform, the duties of attending the vocates' Library,-for that storehouse of learning now sick, became, as is known from authentic records, prooccupies the site of the said dwelling-places of supersti- prietors of much more than the half of the town; yet, so tion, serious apprehensions were entertained by the little does this seem to have affected the distribution of gossips of the wynd, lest the plague should burst forth property in the long run, that the only descendant of from its place of confinement, and do as much mischief any of these two men, known to exist some years ago, in the neighbourhood as before it had been bound over was an old woman who did not possess an inch of land, to keep the peace. No result of any importance fol- built or unbuilt, and there has been, ever since the oldlowed the destruction of the houses, however, except est inhabitants can remember, just as plentiful a variety that, beneath the floor of one of them, two workmen of "lairds" at Stirling as in any other town of its exfound a pot full of gold and silver coins, which had pro- tent. The memory of the circumstance is preserved by bably been buried there by an infected person, under certain tenements and pieces of ground, which, though the dread of being spoiled during his illness (which is now in the hands of various proprietors, still retain the said to have often been the case) by the Cleansers, and names of those who inherited them in the singular way never recovered by the unfortunate owner. I have not mentioned.* learned that any other valuables were found in these houses at their demolition; but can, with not the less safety, avouch that it was customary, when a house was shut up for the plague, to leave the whole of the furniture within. I was once informed, by an aged lady,
By Robert Chambers, Author of the "Histories of the
In Stirling, such were the ravages of the distemper, that all the magistrates and town-council died. The executioner also died. A mound is shown in the churchyard of Stirling as the burial-place of those who perished. It is said to be a vault of stone-work, but is now covered over with soil.
One of the most picturesque anecdotes of the plague which I have collected in Edinburgh, bears that, during the calamitous period, when the town was abandoned to the rapacious and the dying, the awful silence which pervaded the streets, quite as much by day as through the night, used to be only broken in the dusk of the evening by a cart going through the city, attended by a man, who rung a bell, and cried with a loud and solemn voice, "Throw out your deid!" Scarcely any thing could be conceived more awful than such a ceremony, performed under such circumstances.
The place in Edinburgh where" the Plague was buried" is situated in Leith Wynd. This ancient, though much modernized street, as may be well known to some readers, is skirted on one side by a fragment of the wall of the city, which, Heaven and the magistrates long preserve! In the inside of this memorial of a former age, the soil rises almost to the very top, and is, for the most part, employed in the capacity of a garden. Towards the bottom of the wynd, which, by the way, is very interesting, a small part of the ground seems enclosed as a sort of bleaching-green, being bounded on the west by a peculiarly tall house, in which there was once a Ro man Catholic chapel, (burnt by the Protestant mobs of 1779.) From the wynd, the place is marked by a bulge, and peculiar blackness in the external wall, as if occasioned by the press and nature of the mould within and by one or two spectre-like trees, which throw their dismal forms half over the rampart, apparently bleached by the dews which would have nourished them in their younger days, and not bearing any leaves even in summer. Beneath these trees, which seem to have been brought to their marrow-bones by the dreadful juxtaposition," lies the Plague." It was buried here, says an old female informant, by candle-light, at three o'clock in the morning, by Mr Gusthart, minister, long ago of the Trinity or College kirk, in presence of two witnesses, and not without ceremonies, such as praying and the like," the aversion of the Scottish Church to the burial-service having been apparently done away with in the extraordinary case of the Plague." What "the Plague" was, this worthy lady did not well know; but she promised to enquire. At a second visit, she informed our ignorance, that it was a thing which long ago used to come into people's houses, in the shape of long silken threads, palpable to the eye, but not to the touch, and which, flying about hither and thither in the air, cut the breaths of all with whom they came in contact. That her account of the funeral of the plague was true, she was quite certain; for she herself had been at the sewing-school, when a girl, with two Misses Gusthart, who were the grand-daughters of the minister, and who told her the story. Her great-grandfather, moreover, who died at a most advanced age while she was very young, "had seen the Plague!" So, there was no occasion for incredulity.
burial-place of a last-infected person, or of the whole who died of the malady on one particular occasion.
By the people of the wynd, whose sentiments were perhaps general in the vicinages of all places where" the Plague was buried," the awful area, the goblin trees, and the black bulge in the wall, used to be regarded in the last age as objects of fearful interest, and even horror. What was beneath that thin sward, or within that dark wall, there was no saying. Did it contain the simple relics of mortality-the mouldering bones, the large over-fed worms, and the soft and sable mould, which had once thought and breathed? Or did it cover, as some said, the Plague itself? Was this the prison of that old awful malefactor, or his grave? Did he, the fiend the scourge of humanity-not still dwell here, in chains, perhaps, and confined within the incumbent soil, but still alive, possessed of all his faculties, and instinct with quite as violent a disposition as ever? Heaven and the magistrates long preserve that wall! If it were to be broken down, the inconceivable monster would burst forth from his den, demolish the whole wynd with one stroke of his tail, and swallow half of the people of the town at a mouthful!
BEFORE descending to the common Theatrical affairs of the week, we wish to lay before our readers one or two original unpublished letters of great interest relating to the affairs of the Drama. It was stated in our "Theatrical Gossip" last Saturday, that the London Managers proposed reducing the salaries of the leading performers, seeing that their exorbitant demands have had the very worst effect on the prosperity of the stage. Three original letters which now lie before us, place this abuse in a very strong light, by bringing it into contrast with what was customary fifty years ago, in the golden age of the British Drama. The first letter is from Gar. rick to Mr Siddons, who was then a member of the Gloucester Theatre, and the husband of the afterwards so celebrated Mrs Siddons. It was in consequence of this letter that she made her first appearance in London, and it must, therefore, be considered in every point of view a great literary curiosity. Boaden, when he published his life of Mrs Siddons, was not aware of its existence. We present our readers with an accurate copy. MR GARRICK to MR SIDDONS.
Adelphi, Nov. 13, 1775. SIR, I wish you joy of Mrs Siddons's safe delivery, and I hope she continues well.
I am obliged to Mr Dinwoody for his politeness, and shall return him the money upon the first notice of his return to town. And now about your coming to London; the sooner I see you here, with convenience to Mrs Siddons, will be of more consequence to her and to Seriously, it is by no means improbable, that some me. She may have something to do if I see her soon, persons who died in Edinburgh of the plague were bu- which may not be in my power to give her if she comes ried here; for this spot seems to have been part of the later;-nay, indeed, if she cannot safely set out before burying-ground anciently attached to the collegiate the time you mentioned in a former letter, it would be church in the immediate neighbourhood-bones having better for her not to appear this season, but put off her been found in making excavations in a wood-yard adjoining us till the next opening of our theatre; but this jacent. A vast number of people, who died of the I leave to your own determination. And now let me dedistemper on Burntsfield Links, whither they were re- sire you to give me the earliest notice when you and Mrs moved from the town by order of the magistrates, lie Siddons can be here, and what part or parts she would interred in the precincts of St Roque's chapel, a reli- rather choose for her onset, that I may prepare accord. gious building, the ruins of which remained, till with-ingly. I should have no objection to Rosalind, as Mr in the last few years, in a field to the south-west of the Grange. Yet the small secluded area, within the townwall at Leith Wynd, may still have been the peculiar
There really were both a Mr and Misses Gusthart, at different times, in Edinburgh. The minister, who seems to have lived about the end of the seventeenth century, is mentioned in a letter by Thomson the poet; and the Misses Gusthart are inserted in Peter Williamson's Directory for 1784.
Bute thought it your favourite part, but that a Mrs King has made her first appearance in that character. If you will set down three or four that you and she think her most capital parts, I will make the choice. In the meantime, I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
Mr Siddons, belonging to the
Mrs Siddons lost no time after the receipt of this letter in proceeding to London, and on Friday the 29th December of the same year, she made her appearance on the metropolitan boards, having been announced as “a young lady." Her salary was to depend on her success; and as Garrick does not seem to have estimated her talents very highly, we may suppose it was small enough, particularly as she was discharged at the end of the season, and was not re-engaged for several years. In 1776, Garrick and the other proprietor, Mr Lacy, sold their interest in Drury-Lane Theatre. The new managers were, the celebrated Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Linley, an eminent composer, whose daughter Sheridan married, and Dr Ford, a physician. By the year 1781, Mrs Siddons' fame had so increased, as once more to attract the attention of the London managers; and our second letter is from Mr Linley to Mr Siddons, offering Mrs Siddons an engagement for three years, at £10 per week for the first year, £11 for the second, and £12 for the third. It is couched in the following terms:
MR LINLEY to MR SIDDONS.
The engagement was concluded on the above terms; but as Mr Palmer, the Bath manager, would not release Mrs Siddons from an engagement she had entered into with him, her appearance in London was delayed till the following year. On the 10th of October 1782, she came out as Isabella in the "Fatal Marriage," and at once established herself as one of the first tragedians of the age. Between the 10th and 30th of October, she repeated Isabella eight times to crowded houses, and for the whole season continued to work equally hard,-for ten pounds per week. Though all the best actresses at fall far short of Mrs Siddons; yet the stars, both male present on the stage were made into one, they would and female, now demand from L.20 to L.30 a-night in London; and when they visit the provinces," accord
Drury-Lane Theatre, June 15, 1781. SIR,-As you desire an immediate answer to your letter, I write (with Doctor Ford's concurrence) without loss of time, Mr Sheridan not being in London; for, as the difference of demand in point of salary is the only point (I think) we could disagree in, and as we wishing to the fashionable phrase of the day, they insist upon to convince you of the sincerity of our inclination to en-L-50 a-night, or half the entire receipts. The bad congage Mrs Siddons, we agree to your proposal of an article for three years, commencing in September 1782, at L.10, L.11, and L.12 per week; and such part of the ensuing season as she may be with us, at L.10 per week, &c. &c., as per former letter.
sequences which must result from yielding to such exorManagers must not only starve their ordinary company, bitance are too obvious to require to be pointed out. short allowance, thin their orchestra, and even tax their cut off their supernumeraries, put their scene-painters on orange-women, but, what is still worse, they must drive Mrs Siddons' benefit, in course of salary, must come hard and niggard bargains with authors, and instead of early. It is true that, in some very few instances, we encouraging, they will be more inclined to repress and have agreed to pay a certain sum in lieu of a benefit, at blight dramatic genius. And all this because a few inthe option of the performer; but we have 1 ng since flated fellows, presuming on the public favour, grossly come to a resolution not to do so in any future engage-over-estimate their own value, and do not care a farthing ment. Mrs Siddons' benefit, if she succeeds (as I doubt though the British drama go to the deuce, provided they not she will) to answer ours and your expectation, must, themselves are pampered into fatness. Their offence in the general course of things, be worth more than L.100 ought to be made a matter of popular cognizance. They to her. She may rely upon every kind of justice from should be hissed, hooted, and pelted off the stage, until us; and as we have the warmest expectation that her they are brought to a just sense of their own impudence, merit will entitle her to the encouragement of the public, and become worthier followers in the footsteps of the consequently our obligation and interest will impel us illustrious Mrs Siddons, her hardly less illustrious broto give her every assistance in our power. ther, and a host of others, who "knew their own worth, and reverenced the stage." Until a reform takes place in this particular, a millstone will hang forever round the neck of the drama; and though we are at some dis
We trust this letter will close the business betwixt us; and your answer, as soon as convenient, will much oblige us. I am, Sir, (with our best wishes to Mrs Siddons,) your most obedient and humble servant,
Theatre Royal, Bath.
The third letter is from the same to the same, written only ten days after the former, and contains some curious remarks on the subject of benefits:
MR LINLEY to MR SIDDONS. 'SIR, We have experienced that performers, being made certain of a stipulated sum at their benefits, it has made them neglect their interest among their friends; and, under these circumstances, the profits of their nights may fall short of what they ought to be. It is not the difference of money, when this happens, that is the object to us; but where there is not an acquaintance and interest cultivated by performers of rank, it lessens their value to the general welfare of the theatre, in proportion as they have less personal influence. There is the greatest likelihood that Mrs Siddons will make much more than L.100 by her night; and in the good faith we have of her promoting her own and our interest by doing so, we agree to your proposal of making good the deficiency on the average of the time of her engagement, should it prove otherwise.
tance from the root of the evil, we are determined to return again and again to the charge, until we win over all the most influential part of the press to our sentiments, and do a great good to the literature of our country.
We have had Madame Caradori here for two evenings this week. She is a very finished and beautiful singer, and has been very rapturously received in Edinburgh.. With the exception of Pasta and Catalani, it is long since we heard a finer singer than Caradori. Her style is at once soft and brilliant, delicate and expressive.. We regret much that she has not been able to join acting with singing, for there is so much passion and energy. in Italian music, that it never can produce its full effect, unless when connected with some dramatic personation. We hope Caradori will visit us again with De Begnis, or others.
The benefits have been going on prosperously. An actor should ever be ready to say, with the Roman patriot
"'Tis not in mortals to command success; But we'll do more, sweet public,-we'll deserve it." Pritchard takes his benefit on Monday, and certainly deserves that patronage which, from the state of the box-plan, it is evident he will receive. No one is more
essentially useful in the company, works harder, or with more good-will. In private life, too, Pritchard is very generally and justly esteemed for his gentlemanly manners and most obliging disposition. Old Cerberus.
EPISTLE TO MR WILLIAM BERWICK.
By the Ettrick Shepherd.
[A few years ago, Mr Berwick sent the Ettrick Shepherd a present of a half hogshead of his best ale, with directions, written in plain prose, how to use it; but the Shepherd, forgetting or misunderstanding these, made some mistakes-the consequence of which was, that the one-half of his bottles burst; and what was saved of the ale was so thick, that about a third of each bottle was lost. This year Mr Berwick sent him another cask, and, that he might pay a little more regard to the directions, wrote them in verse, which had the proper effect; and the ale turned out such a beverage as never before was tasted in Ettrick Forest,
"So pure, so genuine, and so bright,
One turns to 't aye with new delight."]
BRAVE Berwick! best of breath's renewers,
I thought I scann'd thy heart-thy head-
I long knew this, have watch'd and noted it,
And, though I grieve the world should know it,
I knew thee, too, a horseman good,
With bladds of eloquence about thee,
As for Dunlop, when hardly press'd,
Stand to them, Berwick! yield to none!
I have so long been aiming at ;
Yet, when a rhyme with friendship mellows,
Of law, of gospel, love and lasses,
That whether I try to laud or scoff them,
However, all know these things true;
I've been presented oft with rhyme,
The first of all the rhyming lore.
'Twas wrote in friendship-men may crave it, The world may beg, but shall not have it; But whae'er comes with thy permission, I'll trust it to his fair decision,
And ten to one that he'll agree
In the same sentiment with me,
All bards that e'er have climb'd Parnassus.
Informs him, to his consternation,
It suits not the old Shepherd's tongue
To this same friend whom I address,--
TELL ON THE MOUNTAINS.
ONCE more I breathe the mountain air; once more
Thou choicest gift of Heaven; and wanting which
These beetling cliffs. Some hearts yet beat for thee,
Upon the mist that wreathes yon mountain's brow,
Of freedom o'er the world? Hear me then, bright
By Henry G. Bell.
THEY tell me that I cannot write as when
Young feeling lent its freshness to each thought,
* An American poet of great promise is the author of these spirited and vigorous lines. As the LITERARY JOURNAL crosses the Atlantic, we are glad that he will have an opportunity of pointing out his contributions to his countrymen, in one of the periodicals of the Modern Athens.-Ed. Lit. Jour.
They tell me that I ne'er shall know again, Now I have mingled as a man with men,
Hopes that for me were fraught
With wealth, which vulgar gold has never bought.
Perchance it is too true;-this filmy world
Is ever weaving cobwebs round the heart; From his cloud-castle, with his banners furl'd, The spirit of romance too soon is hurl'd, And his young votaries start
To see his meteor light so soon depart.
Yet will I combat with realities,
And with bright hues of my own choice invest These emerald fields, and yonder sapphire skies; And more than aught external will I prize Each thought that builds its nest
In the quiet shelter of my peaceful breast.
Let me not yield-and I may find even yet
I will not waste my days in vain regret ;
The ever-shining stars come forth the more.
I'll worship nature still-and there shall be
And mid the dark world's noise,
I'll hear a music which shall say-Rejoice!
SONNET TO PRUDENCE.✶
PRUDENCE! thou cold and calculating thing,
LITERARY CHIT-CHAT AND VARIETIES.
NEW PLAN OF EDINBURGH.-We have seen a New Plan of Edinburgh, entitled, "The City Directory; or, Stranger's Guide to Edinburgh, Leith, and their Environs," which, for its distinctness, accuracy, and completeness, we have no hesitation in recommending to our readers. It contains, besides, an alphabetical list of all the streets, squares, places, public buildings, churches, villas, &c., and exhibits both the roads in the vicinity, and all the new and intended improvements. It is put up in a neat case, and is sold at a very moderate price.
WHIST-To those who love whist, and, after chess, it is probably the best game extant, Mr Arnaud's neat little work, which has just been published, called, "An Epitome of the Game of Whist, Long and Short," will be very acceptable. It is written in a more popular and agreeable style than Hoyle's Treatise, and contains many instructions which Hoyle has omitted.
• In the common acceptation of the term.