« AnkstesnisTęsti »
id not on this occasion break his windows.
great, that I did not venture into St ames's-street, but stepped into Ridgeay's, where I heard that Lord **** was aranguing the people from Brookes's, and hat Mr Cam, mounted upon a lamp post, ave the signal to applaud. Mr ****, hat brilliant saveall of oratory, stood with is new silver cider tankard, and as often s Mr ****** got warm in his effusions, nd was like to lose his temper, supplied im with a cool sip.
After listening to the gratulations of the Whigs at Ridgeway's, I went over to Albemarle-street-never shall I forget the imression up stairs-Hugo Foscolo was enHeavouring to look sentimental, exclaiming, 'che cosa che cosa!" The great publisher imself was sitting writing notes at his tale, unable to join in the conversation. Mr Milman was more afflicted than with the all of Jerusalem. Gifford sat by the bust of Byron, which some wag, whom we do not know, was slyly crowning with laurel. D'Isaeli, in the meantime, had appropriately eiled Sir Walter's with crape. But it is n vain for me to depict the several varied expressions of sorrow which darkened he visages of all those sons of light. But the most extraordinary occurrence of the day was the conduct of the Cockney poets. They all ran fluttering like so many lewdish sparrows, to the Examiner's office, where it was agreed they should commemorate the event. About halfpast five in the evening, they began to assemble at White-Conduit House; and
being resolved to evince a philosophic temperance in their good fortune, agreed indulge only in tea and muffins, while the organ played, "Taste life's glad mo ments." But, after tea, some of the more jovial spirits among them proposed, that, according to the good old times of England, before port and punishment came into fashion, they should indulge in a crown bowl of punch, with which, as their heads are rather weakly, they soon became so disguised, that, forgetting their philosophic resolutions, they became so mad with mirth, that the landlord was
obliged to send them all to the watchhouse. The moment I learn farther particulars, you shall hear from me again.— Yours, &c.
Our first impression on perusing the above letter, was, that it contained an exaggerated picture of the state of the public mind in London. But a mo
ment's reflection shewed us the folly of any such suspicion. For we had only to compare the account therein given, with the reality before our eyes in Edinburgh, to be assured that every syllable of it was true, human nature being the same in Edinburgh and London, and, indeed, all the world over, except in Caffraria and Cockaigne. Edinburgh was drowned in tears. The windy suspiration of forced breath swept along the bridges-and the ankles of the young ladies were displayed in all their native and massive beauty, by gales swollen by the congregated sighs of the loveliest of their sex. The first day of the Rumour was like a general Fast-not a soul to be seen from Nicholson Street to Coates Crescent. Every window was shuttered, and many families, needlessly afraid of being disturbed by visits from others, at that time domesticated like themselves by the common affliction, had used the idle precaution of tying up the bell at the front door, as in cases of lyings-in. At the corner of a cross street would some solitary caddie appear for an instant on the look-out, and then taking a "sneesh out of his mull," dive down in despair into an area, and evanish among a heap of oyster shells. When the Glasgow mail drove along Prince's Street, it looked as if it had been bringing letters from the living to the dead;
and the faces of four insides from the West Country, beaming of boiled beef, and redolent of the punchbowl, seemed a strange mockery of human suffering. Had all the people been dead or dying, it would have been nothing. What made it so shocking, was to know that they were all in excellent health, but that in the hey-day of their happiness, a cloud had come across them, and that they knew and felt that the gaiety of nations was eclipsed for ever. In the midst of all this stillness of sorrow, as if to render that sorrow more ghastly, the old pensioner whose business it is to play on the music bells in St Giles Steeple, at the stated hour of One, played up Maggy Lauder; nor could any thing be more thrilling than when, at the close of that idle air, was heard executed, with tolerable skill and spirit, "The Devil among the Tailors." On that day we understand the Court of Session did not sit-neither judge, advocate, agent, nor client having ap
peared, and the door-keepers being
Comets, importing change of times and
Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky;
That have consented unto Blackwood's
Blackwood the First, too famous to live
Scotland ne'er lost a king of so much worth.
His arms spread wider than a dragon's wings;
His sparkling eyes, replete with wrathful
More dazzled and drove back his enemies,
What should I say? his deeds exceed all speech :
He ne'er lift up his hand, but conquer'd." Several days passed by; and, as it is not easy for any national calamity to put a final stop to the movements of a considerable metropolis like Edinburgh, after it has been set a-going for some centuries, things got again upon their usual footing, and the inhabitants, though sad, seemed resigned. We watched them sedulously
through a telescope, and the calm, deep, solemn expression of their after sorrow, to speak the truth, was more gratifying, we will not say flattering, to our feelings, than their first burst of outrageous grief. Many wore mournings. Not a few had crape on their hats; and some sported weepers. The general rate of walking was reduced, by an unpremeditated social compact, about one mile an hour; and the arms of the young ladies, which, when they are in ordinary spirits, keep swinging like flails, now depended languidly, and with a graceful fecklessness,* by their sides. The Theatre, which, with a proper regard to public feeling, had been closed during the week, re-opened with the sentimental comedy of Mirandola; and the churches began again to fill. The price of butcher meat, which, during this fast of sorrow, had fallen to twopence a-pound, began to look up-so did cod's head and shoulders; while the intention of the Magistrates and Town Council to reduce the price of the quartern loaf, was relinquished. Nay, such is the inconsistency of human nature, that many, who at first were stricken deaf and dumb with have forgotten the blow they had suscontrition, now seemed entirely to tained, and were abroad, going about their usual avocations, with the same air of stupidity and vulgar indifference, as if Blackwood's Magazine, instead of being about to cease, had never began to exist.
The public feeling, however, in Scotland soon began to express itself in a manner more becoming, and more natural to the genius of the people, than idle lamentation and querulous regret. The PEOPLE OF SCOTLAND were determined that we should not retire from the 'EDITORSHIP, which, in their minds, was equivalent to the death of the WORK itself, if it was in their power to prevent it.
Accordingly, a general meeting of freeholders and inhabitants of the city was called on the Calton Hill, "to consider of the best means to be adopted of inducing Christopher North, Esq. to continue Prime Editor of Great Britain," HIS GRACE in the Chair. It is calculated that upwards of twenty thousand persons were present; and, after several most eloquent speeches
* Vide Jamieson.
from some of the most distinguished members of the Scottish Bar, and some of the clergymen of the city, the following resolutions were put and carried. I. Resolved unanimously, That Blackwood's Magazine is the best publication
II. Resolved unanimously, That, in the present alarming crisis, it is expedient that Blackwood's Magazine should be continued.
III. Resolved unanimously, That Christopher North, Esq. is the best of all pos
IV. Resolved unanimously, That Mr Christopher North's Resignation of the Editorship of Blackwood's Magazine is premature, and must not be accepted.
V. Resolved, That a Committee be appointed to represent the feelings of the Meeting to Christopher North, Esq.
Two days afterwards, deputations from Committees of the landed and commercial interest, and also of the naval and military service, waited upon us, and earnestly, but respectfully, requested us to continue in office. Overpowered by these expressions of national gratitude and regret, we at last were prevailed upon to relinquish our intention, which, perhaps, we had never seriously entertained;-and so, not to endanger the safety of the country, we permitted an advertisement to be inserted in all the Edin
burgh newspapers, and several provincial ones, that our resignation had been returned, and graciously by us committed to the flames ;-so that the danger was past as soon as we had burned that letter.
Orders were immediately issued by the proper authorities for a general illumination of the city, on Monday, the 2d of December, and, though there was little time to prepare, several of the devices were at once ingenious and beautiful. No. 17, Prince's Street, was a perfect star. Under the silver cross of Scotland appeared a transparency of ourselves, seated in our armchair, with our foot on the beautiful soft padded stool, presented to us some years ago by Lady Morgan, while a bright circle enveloped us, composed
of the letters
Early in the evening the whole city was attracted to the North Bridge, by the most splendid preparations at Ballantyne's Printing Office. Every VOL. X.
window, almost as soon as the sun himself disappeared, poured forth a stream of triumphal glory, that produced the finest effects of mass and profile on every object within the scope of their radiance. The upward shadow of the castle spread into the abyss of night like that of the earth, which causes the lunar eclipses; but, in a moment, every turret and battlement was lighted up with blue fires, and Roman candles, Majesty visits Edinburgh; and a magexactly in the style intended when his nificent display of fire-works, as bright and roaring as a volcano, bade all the hills, from the Pentlands to the Ochils and the Grampians, lift up their heads in the splendour, and rejoice.
The office of the Scotsman had a farthing rush-light in its one single window, to save its panes from popular indignation.
Manners and Miller's shop was highly creditable to their loyalty and patriotism, having a very tasteful display of Gas, with the appropriate motto, "For a' that and a' that, and twice as muckle's a' that."
The demonstration on the opposite side of the street was rather hazy. The Blue and Yellow lamps seemed to lack oil, and to want trimming; and Mercury appeared duller than usual.
The Writers' Library was late of lighting up; but towards midnight it shone out in a manner worthy of the fraternity of the Signet. The Advo cates' did not light at all; and it was only by the utmost address on the part of Captain Brown, that a riot was prevented.
Large placards were exhibited by three hundred and sixty-five constables, to inform the mob, that the Faculty were deliberating on the best means of testifying their joy; and that no doubt their decision would be satisfactory to the people. This would, doubtless, have been the case, but certain Whig orators, by one of these tricks peculiar to the party, made such long speeches, that the whole night was consumed in debate.
At Ambrose's the contributors supped; and that respectable broiler of steaks exhibited his literature and loyalty, by a beautiful star surmounting C. N. surrounded by a wreath of Thistles, Roses, and Shamrocks, of coloured lamps, in the most tasteful manner. The Register Office exhibit
ed a row of flambeaux, and the Magistrates, in a most splendid manner, illuminated the front of the Exchange, and regaled the populace with five hundred hogsheads of ale. The Fountain and Cross Wells were pyramids of light, and the reservoir on the Castle Hill having been made into punch, every pipe and cock in the city supplied the inhabitants with that delicious Glasgow beverage to their supper. But it is impossible
for us to describe the scene. Imagination alone can do it justice. The testimonies of private rejoicing baffle all description. One circumstance, however, we ought not to neglect. The cocks began to crow at ten o'clock, believing they had overroosted themselves. The canary birds in their cages sung out rejoicing, and Nature, like Tom Campbell's Andes, giant of the Western Star, unfurled a meteor flag from Nelson's Monument, which reached to Kirkaldy, and actually set fire to the house where the smuggler lived, whose execution occasioned the Porteous mob.
The effects produced by the Rumour all over Scotland, were as remarkable as those of which we were ourselves eye and ear witnesses in the Modern Athens. The Tontine at Glasgow was immediately hung with black velvet; and one illustrious gentleman, who disturbed the uniformity of the West Country sorrow, by daring a grin, was forthwith kicked by a hundred feet into the Outer Exchange. The sharpshooters, a fine body of 700 men, were drawn up in a hollow and silent square in the green near Nelson's pillar, (over which was hung a banner, with the arms of the city upside down ;namely, the tree that never grew, the fish that never swam, and the bell that never rung,) while a suitable discourse was delivered to them by their incomparable Colonel, during which not a man in the corps refrained from tears. The troops had wooden flints in their firelocks, signifying that all our scintillations were gone, and the great muffled drum was heard sounding all night through the city. The boilers in all the steam-boats at the Broomielaw were instantly mum-the callenders stood still-and a thousand spinning-jennies did disconsolately hang down their heads. Several of the Professors were too much affected to lec
ture on that day; and such was the stupor of grief at Harley's, that a hundred cows went supperless to bed. The theatre was open, but only one young lady in the upper boxes, and one country minister in the bottomless pit. Had Catalani been there, she would have sung in solitude-had the Rumour been delayed till next summer, the King must have put off his visit to Scotland till the year 1823.
Paisley was in despair, from Maxweltown to Gauze-street,-from the Snedden to the Seedle. Red were the eyes of the brown-duffled tambourers, and every weaver wept. Port-Glasgow vied with Greenock in grief. For one day, no allusion was made to the unfortunate steeple of the first, and the great question of the stools in the Assembly Room of the second was set at rest.
"A deep distress had humanized their souls," and there was a general shaking of hands, in the reconcilement of a wide and general affliction.
The Rumour crossed the Devil's Bowling-Green, and into the heart of the Highlands. A thousand stills were sad in the Moor of Rannoch, and the herring-fishing on Loch-Fyne lost a day. A drove of black cattle coming across the hill road from Spey-side to Bræmar, was met by the Rumour, and Captain Macdougall, formerly of the 79th, who had become a great grazier, fell off his shelty, and has remained senseless ever since. The sensation at Inverness was much stronger than that occasioned by their earthquake; and the countenance of John-a-Groats was troubled. Many families talked of emigrating, in consequence of this sudden blow; and nothing but delicacy prevents us from mentioning the names of three clergymen-one a Catholic, one an Episcopal, and one a Presbyterian, who, in a rash moment, committed suicide, when they heard we had resigned. The good old Presbyterian left strict injunctions to have a complete set of the Magazine, neatly bound and lettered, laid on his breast in the coffin, and buried along with him-injunctions which were scrupulously fulfilled by his son-a contributor.
But this article threatens to become lengthy; so we have given you all we could, and shall let you dream the rest. But how felt Scotland when the Rumour
was contradicted? Precisely as a man under sentence of death would feel on receiving an unexpected reprieve the night before execution, or rather, on the scaffold. Scotland was on the scaffold. She felt as if the rope were round her neck, and she were about to play swing. All at once Rumour changed his tone, and Scotland could bear to live. The effect was like magic. No dead body on a dissecting table ever played such absurd pranks with foot, hand, or mouth, under a galvanic battery, as did old Scotland, when she heard that our resignation was all a bam. Grimaldi or Kean was a joke to her. She took her foot in her hand, and so kept dancing about on the heather, in many a rigmarole. Then would she give a most indecorous slap upon her back settlements, accompanied with a yelling gaffaw; then she would speak Gaelic; and lastly, putting herself in an attitude of profound meditation, she would whip off a quaich of the mountain dew, as if it had been so much whisky, and, with a convulsive shudder of exulting joy, shriek out our name" Christopher North, Christopher North," till jovial Echo flung back the dear, dear name in her face, from the rocky brow of Glenevis, or the stone-girdled bosom of Cairngorum. Loud lowed the cattle on a thousand hills-the red deer in the forest of Dalness knew that all was right-the eagle, to shew he was up to it, stooped down from a thunder-cloud, and gave a great gander on a common near Fort-William such a drive on the posteriors, that he drove him into the Linnhe Loch in a shower of feathers; while a noble, surly, sable, grim bull, coming slowly from his mountain pasture, and meeting a questionable sort of animal, with a Galloway stot appearance, ran him into a quagmire, in which he sunk down inch by inch, till he entirely disappeared-the last snort of his nostril blasting out a quantity of mud, and the red tuft of his tail peering out, as a mark where the unfortunate steer had been thus prematurely ingulphed.
Such is an unadorned adorned the most account of the Rumour, its rise and fall. And now that the Public must feel tolerably easy and composed in her mind, let us entreat her, for goodness sake,
not to give way to these sudden ebullitions of feeling, which must sooner or later prove ruinous to her, even though she should have the constitution of a horse. However, the Public certainly might have a crow to pluck with us in private, if she chose; for, had we not given in our resignation, she would have been spared all this worry. But we have found how dear we are to each other. Henceforth our lives are united, and the day on which any thing is amiss with the one, will be indeed a black day to the other. May the Public live for ever! for never never could we outlive the hour on which she was gathered to her fathers. We should just see her publicly buried, and then lie down by her side.
The day has been when alternate fits of pity, indignation and contempt, permeated our minds on seeing and hearing the occasional fooleries of worthy men anent Blackwood's Magazine. Now every thing of the kind is at an end, and if popularity had ever been an object with us, we might indeed point to the laurels on our brow, and hold our tongues. But we allude to this, not on our own account, but for the sake of those well-meaning men who recoiled from our patronage, and endeavoured to look shocked at the monthly murders we kept conscientiously perpetrating on the souls and bodies of the traitorous and blasphemous Whigs. When we laid the axe to the root of" the wicked, great in pride, spread like the green bay-tree, "and brought him crashing to the ground with all his branches, could not the terrified Tories have quietly stepped aside out of the reach of the ruin, and then returned and danced upon the fallen trunk? No. They were frightened at the concussion, and took like rabbits to their holes; and, what was worse, pretended hypocritically to lament the fall of the tree whose noxious drippings had withered every thing beneath them, and which was alike destitute of shelter and of shade. That time is over. The true Tories always loved us ;the half-breeds never did; and they now see, in their unprotected feebleness, that they must endure, as best they can, "not the tyrannous breathing of the North," but that calm and settled chill, beneath which expires the last