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AUSTIN, I am domiciled once more under your roof -I have my appointed chair at your hospitable board and I walk at eventide in the shade of the ancestral trees that embower your mansion. Your Laura, matronized in her beauty, hails me every morning with her benignant smiles; and your two fair children daily disport in innocent gaiety around my knees. You ask me what has become of that sister of whom I used to speak so often, when we were sojourners in the American wilderness her whom I was wont to regard as the only star that beckoned me back to my native country. The subject is a sad one; but to you, faithfullest of friends, I can refuse nothing. Pardon me, if you find my pen dwell too long on a few simple incidents. Some allowance may surely be made for the prolixity of chastened grief.
Alice was my only sister the sole survivor of all my kindred; and it was therefore no marvel that I felt deeply distressed when intelligence of her illness reached me in a distant land. Nearly ten years had elapsed since our separation. She was then a fair-haired, bright-eyed child, in her seventh year-I a heedless and, perhaps, somewhat headstrong youth, fifteen years her senior-and feverishly eager to exchange my quiet home for the tented field. I soon forgot, amid the turmoil of war, the solemn farewell of our widowed mother: but I never lost remembrance of the tearful eyes and last gentle embrace of the darling of our household hearth.
Five years afterwards, my brother followed me to the army. You may remember, Austin, that it was soon after we had driven the French beyond the Ebro, that he joined our banner-as brave and generous-hearted a youth as Britain ever sent forth to fight her battles. Before the expiration of a month, you saw him stricken down lifeless at my side. Green, for ever green be the Navarrese valley in which his young bones moulder! A brother's hand wiped the last drops of agony from his blood-dewed brow-a brother's glance alone could now discover his stoneless grave.
sels in which mine had embarked, but to which you, Austin, fortunately no longer belonged, stood away for the waters of St Lawrence; and for three years I was condemned to vegetate in a remote fortress in the forests of Canada. There I received intelligence that I was motherless-that Alice, just rising into womanly beauty, and despoiled of her little patrimony by legal chicane, stood alone in the wide world—and, saddest of all, that merciless consumption-the disease that had bent down the parent stem-threatened also to lop away the tender scion that had flourished under its shade. I could bear expatriation no longer. In less than a month after the receipt of this information, I was on my way across the Atlantic to give her succour.
Alice had dated her last letter from the Isle of Wight, whither she had been carried, after her mother's death, by an amiable lady, who, commiserating her forlorn situation, and won upon by her many rare and endearing qualities, had generously resolved, that a creature so formed to be loved should not be left to die without an effort being made to save her. Need I say, therefore, that to my homeward-turned eyes the white headlands of that island were objects of intense interest, or that I availed myself of the first opportunity to debark? I question much whether the certainty of irremediable woe is so harassing to the heart, as the apprehension of impending evil-that “hope that keeps alive despair.” I entertained a presentiment that I should find Alice on her bier; and my trembling lips could scarcely give utterance to the inquiries necessary to acquaint me with the place of her residence. I found it vacant, and there was a temporary relief even in that vacancy. Unaware of my movements, and sanguine that a change of scene would contribute to her restoration to health, her protectress had resolved on trying the effect of the air of France. They had been gone barely a fortnight, and I determined to follow them without delay. I had business of some consequence, regarding our small patrimony, to transact in England; but I was contented that it should remain undone till I had indulged the bent of fraternal affection, and tried whether a brother's presence could not re-invigorate my poor Alice's sinking frame.
Avranches, a small town in the south-western corner of Normandy, was the place where they intended to reside. The most expeditious way for me to reach it was to embark in one of the packets plying between Southampton and Jersey, and from that island run across in a French market-boat to Granville. In accordance with this plan, I boarded the first vessel that passed through the Solent for St Helier; and ere the sun went down beyond the waves we were ploughing, the English shore was barely visible on the northern horizon.
Our voyage was tedious, and it was the morning of the third day before we came in sight of Jersey, and The Spanish war terminated triumphantly for our doubled the perilous Corbiere. The wind blew stiffly country. Thin as reeds, and dusky as Moors, from five from the south-east, and we made the bay of St Aubin years' exposure to a burning sun-honoured, too, with with some difficulty. On landing at St Helier, I made some memorials of our services, we looked forward, Aus-immediate inquiry for a vessel to carry me to Granville; tin, with pride and joy to the day that should restore us to our kindred. In the very midst of these anticipations at the very moment when we heard the shouts of thousands of our home-returning soldiers, sweeping over the blue-waved Garonne, the vision of peace departed. Our regiment was ordered to America; and at such a juncture we could not with honour forsake its standard. We saw blood shed in the west as the shores of the Potomac and Mississippi testified ;-and there we buried many of the bravest of our band-men who had survived no less than five victorious campaigns against the chivalry of France, and who deserved a prouder fate than to be struck down in the wilderness by Yankee bullets. Dreams of home again took possession of us when that war ended; but for me they were as shortlived as before. While other corps sailed homewards, the ves
but though several barks belonging to that port lay moored in the harbour, and groups of Norman marketgirls, with their plaited petticoats and picturesque coifs, were lingering on the quay anxious to depart, none of the skippers would undertake to put to sea, until the wind should chop about into a favourable quarter. Convinced, by their representations, that delay was absolutely requisite, I tried to curb my impatience; and, to beguile the interval, set off on a ramble to the eastern side of the island.
It was the middle of September. The harvest had been some time reaped, and the orchards, for which Jersey is so famed, resounded with the jocund laugh of the young villagers, employed in gathering the abundant produce. I wandered as far as Mont Orgueil, and from the ramparts of that ancient fortress, spent an hour in
gazing on the French coast, which is visible almost from Cape de la Hogue to Mont St Michel. The rock-strewn channel that intervenes, was covered with breakers, and I saw that the French boatmen had sound reasons for declining to put to sea in such adverse weather. I thought of Alice-my dying Alice and wished for the wings of a bird to bear me like an arrow across the foamy strait.
Near Mont Orgueil-half buried among leaves and blossoms is a humble village church-the church of Granville. Groves of richly-foliaged trees embower it, and in summer the smiling parsonage is literally covered with the fragrant parasitical plants that climb its walls, and wreath round even its highest lattices. I paused at the white gate that opens into the small burying-ground, and gazed listlessly at the head-stones that crowd it. The vicissitudes of my life passed in brief review before me. Here, after a combat of fifteen years with the world, I stood a solitary man. My whole youth had been spent in exile-my knowledge of happiness was limited to the suavity of a barrack-room, and the turmoil of a camp. The friends of my younger years-saving you, Austin-had departed. Some had fallen in battle by my side-some the yellow plague had smitten in our canvass-homes-some had pined and died in captivity-and a few, a very few, had forgotten me in the sunshine of their paternal hearths. I had gained some distinction in my profession, but who was left to take pride in my honours? No one, save Alice, and she too was on the eve of being called away. My heart grew sad even unto death.
I was roused from my moralizing mood by the sound of wheels, and a small travelling car drove up to the gate at which I was stationed. It was occupied by two females one a grave benevolent-looking matron-the other, one of those sylphid visions of feminine beauty, that linger on earth but for a brief season, and then pass away for ever into the grave. She was pale-very pale but it was the paleness of perfect loveliness-that purity of complexion, which belongs not to earth but to heaven. The young eloquent blood was visible in every vein that traversed her polished forehead; and there was a gentle fire in her dark-blue eyes, and a smile of innocent meekness on her lips, that might have become a seraph.
The car was attended by a coarse-looking hind, and politeness required me to assist the ladies to alight-for such I perceived to be their intention. They frankly accepted of my services; and when I learned that their object was to visit a grave in the cemetery, I further took upon me to find it out. The task was not a difficult one, and the elder lady knelt down upon the green tumulus in silent prayer. I gathered that it was the grave of a daughter who had been torn from a wide circle of friends, at the very moment when fortune shed its best blessings round her. The pale girl wept when she saw her companion weep-wept, it may be, at the certainty of her own approaching fate. "If I die in the strange country we are going to," I heard her murmur, as I led them back to their vehicle, “let me be buried in this quiet spot; and my brother-when he returns" Her voice grew tremulous and indistinct. I reseated them in their car, and they drove away.
For many succeeding hours the features of that pale girl haunted me like an apparition. I saw her darkly fringed lustrous eyes perpetually fixed on me my ear recognised in every gentle sound the melody of her plaintive voice. Even in the watches of the night, she flitted like a beatified vision around my couch. I was glad when the morning came-doubly glad, for it relieved me from uneasy dreams, and brought the master of a Granville boat, who announced that the wind was fair, and that he intended to put to sea. I hastened down to the quay, and there, to my surprise, found the two strangers who had occupied so prominent a place in my
midnight cogitations, preparing to embark in the same vessel. The younger one looked even more pale and drooping than when I had seen her on the previous evening. They had been roused at what was for an invalid an unseasonable hour; and the morning breeze, as it swept in gusty puffs over the fortified height commanding the harbour, seemed to pierce through her delicate frame, though closely enveloped in a fur-lined mantle. I saluted them on the faith of our former introduction, and they gratefully accepted of my assistance in embark. ing.
Le Curieux was a decked shallop of about twenty tons, miserably found in sails and cordage, and manned by four of a crew-all Frenchmen-but only two of them able seamen. Vidal, the master, was a fine-looking young fellow, with black eyes and florid cheeks, and a bright crimson-coloured handkerchief tied round his sinewy neck. We got on board under the lee of Elizabeth Castle, and in a short time the anchor was weighed, and we stood out to sea. The breeze was northerly, consequently we easily weathered the labyrinth of submarine rocks that fence the south-eastern shore of the island. The broken clouds that covered the firmament, and a long line of breakers about ten miles to the lee ward, occasioned by the surf beating on the perilous Minquais, presaged a boisterous voyage. I looked with some alarm at my female charges, especially the younger, who could not be prevailed upon to take shelter in the horrid hole called a cabin, but Vidal reassured me, by asserting that if the wind held for six hours in a favourable quarter, he would, at the end of that time, land us at Granville, of which a bluff promontory, visible on the eastern horizon, indicated the site. The old lady soon became sadly affected with the malady incidental to novices at sea, but her companion, as is not unusual with invalids, was not tormented by it. She sat down under the shelter of the weather bulwark, and I exerted myself to make her forget the discomfort of her situation by cheerful converse. I experienced an undefinable happiness in this employment. There was a sympathetic tie that drew me insensibly towards the stranger, at once indescribable and delicious. I had seen thousands of beautiful eyes in my wanderings, and you, Austin, can bear testimony that they shot not their glances at me always in vain; but hers were eyes that spoke a language that no others had ever spoken. She was eloquent, too, and many of her remarks indicated the perfection of feminine intelligence. "If I am doomed never to see Alice more," thought I, "here I have found her image.”
At noon, notwithstanding the prediction of Vidal, we had only accomplished something more than half our voyage, for the wind had been hourly falling off, point after point. Chausey-a cluster of bare rocky islets in the mouth of the great bay of Mont St Michel-was behind us, and slowly but steadily we gained upon the precipitous headland on which Granville is perched. An additional hour of favourable weather would have brought us safe into port, when suddenly the wind chopped round due east, and blew directly adverse, with all the fury of an autumnal gale. The sea became a sheet of foam, furrowed by dark valleys, and our vessel, barely sea-worthy, rode heavily through the waves. Still, with our destined port so near, we did not like to yield to the elements, and though only one of his crew stood by our gallant captain, he kept her prow to the weather in at least ten successive tacks. The invalid suffered much, for the deck was momentarily washed by the billows from stem to stern. I saw her strength was waning rapidly, and entreated her to go below, and seek shelter beside her friend. She shook her head in token of dissent. "I shall suffocate there," was her answer; "and since I am to die under any circumstances, let my last breath be the pure air of heaven."
At length our steersman saw that it was useless to contend with the head-wind that annoyed us. The helm
was put about, and we stood away direct for Chausey, among whose rocks Vidal expected to find shelter for the night an adventure rarely attempted, but still our only hope, seeing that we could not, with the smallest prospect of safety, approach Jersey after sunset. I now tried to encourage my charge, by holding out a prospect of a speedy termination to our disaster. "Before darkness sets in," said I, "we shall be snugly moored among yonder rocks; and Vidal assures me that there is a hut on them inhabited by a kelp-burner, where you can safely pass the night."
I am grateful for your anxiety to quiet my apprehensions," said she; "but, in reality, I am not afraid of the sea, whatever may be the construction you put on my deportment. What does it signify, since God wills that I am speedily to die, whether I perish in the waves, or by the sure progress of disease? It is here"-she laid her hand on her heart" that I feel the monitor of death. What a strange fate is mine-an orphan girl indebted to strangers for the kind offices that are so grateful to the sickly and the dying-and destined, perhaps, to close my eyes on a rock amid these turbulent waves!" "An orphan," said I, and I took her hand, and looked steadily on her face how deeply-how very deeply these words affect me! I too am an orphan, but I am a man, and can struggle bravely through the world, though I have no paternal hearth. But I have a sister-young, fair, and desolate as yourself-one who at this very moment is perhaps gasping her last in the same insidious disease that makes you tremble, unconscious that her wandering brother is almost at her side."
"Happy girl," she rejoined, "how amply will she be blessed if she only lives to lie down in death on your breast! My brother is far far distant a thousand leagues beyond these foaming billows. He is joyous in his tent by the rushing waters of Niagara and joyous may his brave heart be, long long after that of his poor Alice is stilled for ever."
"Alice !" I ejaculated-emotion stifling my words "Powers of Mercy! is it possible? Tell me, gentle one, or I shall die tell me that brother's name. "Talbot Bland !"
I clasped her to my breast, and wept, as I exclaimed "Alice, dear Alice, Talbot Bland holds you to his heart."
Until this was done, I made no disclosure of our consanguinity to her kind protectress, who had been brought ashore by Vidal and his sailors. Her congratulations I pass over. She subsequently found that I was not ungrateful. It is of Alice alone that I would speak.
We had some sea-stores on board the vessel, and part of them, together with dry clothes for Alice, were landed. I dipped a rusk in wine, and put it to my sister's lips. It partially revived her, and I had at length the satisfaction of seeing her drop into a quiet sleep. Her friend lay down beside her; and the crew of Le Curieux, and the kelp-burner's family, gathered round the fire of dried fuci which had been kindled at my request, and endeavoured to beguile the hours with legends of the dangerous gulf in which we were isolated. I caught, occasionally, a few sentences of these wild tales; but what mattered it to me that the Livre Noir of Coutances told of a Seigneur de Hambye having slain a huge serpent in Jersey-or that the annals of the state prison of Mont St Michel recorded a thousand and one tales of crime and death? I sat by my sister's couch, listening to her gentle breathings, and watching the flight of the imperishable spirit that already hovered on her lips.
An hour before day-break Alice became restless, and her respiration irregular and obstructed. The fire had died away, and a dim lamp, brought from the shallop, alone lighted the cabane. All my fellow-voyagers were asleep, stretched on the bare earth; and though I saw that the finger of death was already pointed at my sister, I felt it useless to disturb them. They could give no relief. She was passing placidly into eternity, and I cared not that they should see my tears. Nevertheless, I longed earnestly for the light of the morning, and, for a moment, went to the threshold to look for its first beam, The storm had passed away, and the sun was just lifting his broad disc above the Norman hills. I heard a deep sigh proceed from the cabane, and hastened back to my sister's side. Her hand returned not my pressure-the lids of her eyes were half unclosed; but the spirit of life lighted no longer the orbs they shaded. I pressed my lips to hers, but they were cold and breathless. Alice was dead.
on her virgin breast!
Austin, her story is told. From the shelterless rock on which she died I carried her remains to St Helier's; and, in compliance with the wish I had heard her exThe joyful surprise was too much for her attenuated press when I knew not the deep interest I had in her exframe. She lay powerless in my arms, and a faint pulsa-istence she was buried at Granville. Soft lie the turf tion alone told that she was alive. At intervals she opened her mild eyes, and gazed tenderly on my face; but when she tried to speak, her words died away in sighs. I saw, when it was too late to rectify my error, that my abrupt communication had had a fatal influence on her strength. How dear-how unutterably dear did I hold her at that moment! How gladly would I have bartered the rank and honours that years of perilous service had won to have insured her life-nay, to have merely placed her on a comfortable couch, where her spirit might calmly pass away!
THE UNLUCKY PRESENT.
"Timeo dona ferentes."
By the Author of the "Histories of the Scottish Rebellions," the Traditions of Edinburgh," &c.
THE Rev. Mr L, minister of C, in Lanarkshire, (who died within the present century,) was one of those unhappy persons, who, to use the words of a wellknown Scottish adage, “can never see green cheese but their een reels." He was extremely covetous, and that not only of nice articles of food, but of many other things which do not generally excite the cupidity of the human heart. The following story is in corroboration of this assertion, Being on a visit one day at the house of one of his parishioners—a poor, lonely widow, living in a moorland part of the parish-Mr L became fasci
At the twilight we ran under the lee of Chausey, and anchored in a little inlet. Alice was numbed in every joint by the spray that had drenched her, and her articulation continued to be confined to indistinct murmurs; but her looks expressed the depth of her sisterly affection. I carried her ashore, through the surf, to the hovel in which we had been taught to look for shelter; but my heart sank in despair when I saw the miserable accommodation it afforded. It was a rude hut, formed of planks, and almost destitute of furniture; for the fa-nated by the charms of a little cast-iron pot, which hapmily that inhabited it only made it their abode during the summer half of the year, and were contented with the simplest conveniences. They were hospitable, however-as all French peasants are-and readily gave us the shelter we solicited. Situated as we had lately been, I felt thankful to see my dying Alice laid upon a pallet no matter how humble.
pened at the time to be lying on the hearth, full of potatoes for the poor woman's dinner, and that of her children. He had never in his life seen such a nice little pot. It was a perfect conceit of a thing. It was a gem. No pot on earth could match it in symmetry. It was an object altogether perfectly lovely. "Dear sake! minister,' said the widow, quite overpowered by the re
verend man's commendations of her pot; "if ye like the pot sae weel as a' that, I beg ye'll let me send it to the manse. It's a kind o' orra [superfluous] pot wi' us; for we've a bigger ane, that we use oftener, and that's mair convenient every way for us. Sae ye'll just tak a present o't. I'll send it ower the morn wi' Jamie, when he gangs to the schule."-" Oh!" said the minister, "I can by no means permit you to be at so much trouble. Since you are so good as to give me the pot, I'll just carry it home with me in my hand. I'm so much taken with it, indeed, that I would really prefer carrying it myself." After much altercation between the minister and the widow, on this delicate point of politeness, it was agreed that he should carry home the pot himself.
Off, then, he trudged, bearing this curious little culinary article alternately in his hand and under his arm, as seemed most convenient to him. Unfortunately, the day was warm, the way long, and the minister fat; so that he became heartily tired of his burden before he had got half-way home. Under these distressing circumstances, it struck him, that if, instead of carrying the pot awkwardly at one side of his person, he were to carry it on his head, the burden would be greatly lightened; the principles of natural philosophy, which he had learned at college, informing him, that when a load presses directly and immediately upon any object, it is far less onerous than when it hangs at the remote end of a lever. Accordingly, doffing his hat, which he resolved to carry home in his hand, and having applied his handkerchief to his brow, he clapped the pot in inverted fashion upon his head; where, as the reader may suppose, it figured much like Mambrino's helmet upon the crazed capital of Don Quixote, only a great deal more magnificent in shape and dimensions. There was at first much relief and much comfort in this new mode of carrying the pot; but mark the result. The unfortunate mini. ster having taken a by-path to escape observation, found himself, when still a good way from home, under the necessity of leaping over a ditch, which intercepted him in passing from one field to another. He jumped; but surely no jump was ever taken so completely in, or, at least, into, the dark, as this. The concussion given to his person in descending, caused the helmet to become a hood: the pot slipped down over his face, and resting with its rim upon his neck, stuck fast there; enclosing his whole head as completely as ever that of a new-born child was enclosed by the filmy bag with which nature, as an indication of future good fortune, sometimes invests the noddles of her favourite offspring. What was worst of all, the nose, which had permitted the pot to slip down over it, withstood every desperate attempt on the part of its proprietor to make it slip back again; the contracted part or neck of the patera being of such a peculiar formation as to cling fast to the base of the nose, although it had found no difficulty in gliding along its hypothenuse. Was ever minister in a worse plight? Was there ever contretems so unlucky? Did ever any man-did ever any minister, so effectually hoodwink himself, or so thoroughly shut eyes to the plain light of nature ? What was to be done? The place was lonely; the way difficult and dangerous; human relief was remote, almost beyond reach. It was impossible even to cry for help. Or, if a cry could be uttered, it might reach in deafening reverberation the ear of the utterer; but it would not travel twelve inches farther in any direction. To add to the distresses of the case, the unhappy sufferer soon found great difficulty in breathing. What with the heat occasioned by the beating of the sun on the metal, and what with the frequent return of the same heated air to his lungs, he was in the utmost danger of suffocation. Every thing considered, it seemed likely that, if he did not chance to be relieved by some accidental wayfarer, there would soon be DEATH IN THE
The instinctive love of life, however, is omni-prevalent; and even very stupid people have been found, when put to the push by strong and imminent peril, to exhibit a degree of presence of mind, and exert a degree of energy, far above what might have been expected from them, or what they were ever known to exhibit or exert under ordinary circumstances. So it was with the potensconced minister of C. Pressed by the urgency of his distresses, he fortunately recollected that there was a smith's shop at the distance of about a mile across the fields, where, if he could reach it before the period of suffocation, he might possibly find relief. Deprived of his eye-sight, he could act only as a man of feeling, and went on as cautiously as he could, with his hat in his hand. Half crawling, half sliding, over ridge and furrow, ditch and hedge, somewhat like Satan floundering over chaos, the unhappy minister travelled, with all possible speed, as nearly as he could guess in the direction of the place of refuge. I leave it to the reader to conceive the surprise, the mirth, the infinite amusement of the smith and all the hangers-on of the smiddy, when, at length, torn and worn, faint and exhausted, blind and breathless, the unfortunate man arrived at the place, and let them know (rather by signs than by words) the cir. cumstances of his case. In the words of an old Scottish song,
"Out cam the gudeman, and high he shouted;'
The merriment of the company, however, soon gave way
THE first plays acted in Scotland were performed in the open air, and there was a piece of ground attached to most towns, known by the designation of the "Playfield." In the year 1555, one of these plays was acted at Cupar in Fife, composed by Sir David Lindsay of the Mount. In general, the dialogue and plot were little superior to those which still draw crowds round caravans at fairs. The incidents and dramatis persona were such as are now to be met with only in Harlequinades. There was a father, a daughter, and two lovers, one of these being commonly an old fool who ran away with the lady, and she was not rescued from his clutches till many practical jokes had been played upon him. During the trou
blous times of Mary and James, and afterwards during the civil war which raged between Charles I. and the Covenanters, little attention was pa d in Scotland to amusements of any kind, and least of all to the drama. The Duke of York, afterwards James II., who held his Court at Holyrood from 1680 to 1684, in imitation of his brother Charles, kept a set of players who constituted a part of his household, and called themselves "the Duke's servants," as in England they were termed his Majesty's servants." Some jealousy seems to have existed between the English and Scotch companies; and Dryden was expressly employed to satirize the northern actors, which he has done with considerable tact in these lines:
"Our brethren have from Thames to Tweed departed,
And of our sisters all the kinder hearted
Laced linen there would be a dangerous thing;
At this period the drama must have been at a sufficiently low ebb. The ferment excited by the Union, in the reign of Queen Anne, prevented the Augustan literature of that age from extending itself to Scotland; and it was not till after the rebellion of 1715 that we began seriously to cultivate the arts of peace, or give any encouragement to stage representations.
The Taylors' Hall, in the Cowgate, was used for the first plays which were publicly and regularly performed in Edinburgh. The price of admission was two shillings and sixpence for pit and boxes, (which anciently seem always to have been charged the same,) and eighteenpence for the gallery. These prices, considering the greater cheapness of the times, were far from being very low; and the Taylors' Hall, when full, held about fortyfive pounds. At this period, however, players were, by act of Parliament, classed with common rogues and vagabonds, and were liable to imprisonment as such. An attempt was therefore made to get a bill passed, licensing a theatre in Edinburgh; but as petitions were presented against it from the Lord Provost and Magistrates, the professors of the University, and many of the clergy, the attempt failed. A new theatre, however, was built in 1746, by an opposition manager, in an alley which branches off the Canongate, and is now designated the "Auld Play-house Close." This rival establishment soon knocked up the performances at the Taylors' Hall, and continued for two-and-twenty years, obscure and mean as its situation was, the only theatre of which Edinburgh could boast. One of the first pieces performed here was Allan Ramsay's "Gentle Shepherd," which drew crowded houses for a whole season. To evade the law, which forbade the receiving of money for the representation of stage-plays, the bills and advertisements always announced, " a concert of music, with a play between the acts," which last was understood to be given gratis.
The poor players had many difficulties to contend with, and none greater than the feelings of superstitious fear, with which the more bigoted clergy made it their business to inspire the common people, teaching them to believe that Satan himself was in league with the
actors, and that the commonest stage-tricks were the work of supernatural agency. On one occasion," Hamlet" struck this enlightened audience as so horrid and profane a play, that they tumultuously left the theatre, and, collecting on the outside, began to set it on fire, To quell the riot, the Town Guard was called out, and in the course of discharging their duty, they had to enter the house and cross the stage. This appeared to them rather a hazardous undertaking; for though many of them had fought at Blenheim and Dettingen, they did not by any means choose to encounter the Evil One. However, the captain placed himself at their head, and, summoning up all his courage, said resolutely, "Follow me, my lads." But he had scarcely advanced two steps, till one of the trap-doors, on which he happened to tread, gave way, and in a moment he vanished from the sight of his men. This was too much; the Town Guard fled in disorder; and though their captain afterwards returned to them, they were never quite sure but that it was only his ghost. In 1756, however, the production of the tragedy of "Douglas," and the success it met with not so much on account of its own merits, (which had to Garrick appeared so small, that he rejected the piece,) as on account of the unjust opposition it experienced-tended much to overcome the national prejudice against the theatre. Yet there was nothing stable in its establishment, and continual riots were taking place within its walls. One affray arose out of a party of loyalists, calling on the band to play the air of "Culloden," on the anniversary of that battle,-a demand which was immediately met by a call from the Jacobites for, "You're welcome, Charlie Stuart." The band complied with the latter requisition, and a very desperate rencontre between the two parties was the consequence. Another memorable affair of a similar kind took place, when "High Life below Stairs" was produced. The footmen, sent thither by their masters who occupied the boxes, were the preponderating part of the gallery audience, and they determined, in a body," to sacrifice fame, honour, and profit,' to prevent the toleration of so glaring an insult upon their profession. The consequence was, that the gentlemen had to unite against their own servants, and it was not till they had been turned out of the gallery by main force, and after making a very stout opposition, that the piece was allowed to proceed. In the course of these repeated disturbances, all the theatrical property was destroyed, and the very walls of the house came at last to be demolished.
But peace and prosperity, and the happy effects of the Union, were by this time beginning to open up better prospects for Scotland. A new town was about to be added to old Edinburgh, upon a comprehensive and magnificent plan; its wealth and population had greatly increased, and a desire for public amusements was in consequence increasing also. To the bill for the extension of the Royalty, a clause was added, enabling his Majesty to license a Theatre. The rights accruing from the patent which was thus obtained, were made over to Mr Ross, an actor of celebrity at Covent Garden, for eleven hundred pounds. Ross immediately proceeded to raise L.2500, in shares of L. 100 each, for which he gave security on the new Theatre, wardrobe, and patent, agreeing to pay three per cent interest on each share, besides giving the holders the privilege of free admission at all times. The shares were also declared transferable, but the capital was not exigible from the patentee. These preliminaries being adjusted, the building of the present Theatre Royal was begun in March 1768, and finished towards the end of the following year. The site chosen, we learn from the "Traditions of Edinburgh," was "nearly upon the place where the celebrated Whitefield used to harangue the populace, when he visited Edinburgh in the course of his evangelical tours. On coming to the city for the first time after the extension of the Royalty, and preparing, as usual,