« PreviousContinue »
After the champion and his compa- ming forth of the high Lords on horse nions had made their "exeunt omnes," back, followed by their retinue of poor as it is written in the Latin tongue, in Gentlemen, that have pensions, carrythe play-books, there was another co- ing up the gold dishes for his Majes.
give to that expression of her alarm by means of your paper, I should have treated with the indifference due to such mock heroics in one of the fair sex, but that it has been copied into other papers, with comments and additions which seemed to me to reflect both upon my conduct and the Highland character. I trust therefore to your sense of justice for giving to the public the real history of the mysterious circumstance,' as it is term. ed. I had the honour of a Royal Duke's tickets for my daughter and myself to see his Majesty crowned, and I dressed upon that magnificent and solemn occasion in the full costume of a Highland Chief, including of course a brace of pistols. I had travelled about 600 miles for that purpose, and in that very dress, with both pistols mounted, I had the honour to kiss my Sovereign's hand at the levee of Wednesday last, the 25th instant. Finding one of our seats in the Hall occupied by a lady on our return to the loser gallery, (whence I had led my daughter down for refreshments,) I, upon replacing her in her former situation, stepped two or three rows further back, and was thus deprived of a view of the mounted noblemen, by the anxiety of the ladies, which induced them to stand up as the horsemen entered, whereupon I moved nearer the upper end of the gallery, and had thereby a full view of his Majesty and the Royal Dukes upon his right hand. I had been standing in this position for some time, with one of the pilasters in the fold of my right arm, and my breast pistol in that band pointing towards the seat floor on which I stood, when the Champion entered, by which means I hung my body forward in any thing but seemingly as if going to present it :' in fact, I bad taken it into my hand in order to relieve my chest from the pressure of its weight, after having worn it slung till then, from four o'clock. It was at this instant that a lady within a short distance exclaimed, O Lord, O Lord, there is a gentleman with a pistol ! to which I answered, "The pistol will do you no harm, madam ;' but a second time she eried out, O Lord, O Lord, there is a gentleman with a pistol !' This last I answered by assuring her that the pistol was not loaded, but that I would instantly retire to my place, since it seemed to give her uneasiness ;' and I was accordingly preparing to do so, when accosted by a young knight-errant, and closely followed by two others, likewise in plain clothes, one of whom, the first that began to mob me, for it merits no other term, laid his hand on my pistol, still grasped, under a loose glove, in my right hand ; and, observing the numbers increase on his side, he asked me to deliver him the pistol. Need I say that, as a Highland chieftain, I refused his demand with contempt? The second gentleman then urged his friend's suit, but was equally unsuccessful ; a Knight of the Grand Cross was then introduced with all due honours, by the name of Sir Charles, into this petty contention, and he also desired me to give up my pistol to that gentleman ; which I flatly refused, but added, that understanding him by dress, &c. to be a Knight of the Grand Cross, he might have it if he chose with all its responsibility ; for, as I had already said, it was not loaded, and pistols were a part of my national garb in full dress."
“ Again, Sir Charles desired me to give it to that gentleman ;' but my answer was, * No, Sir Charles. You, as a soldier, may have it, as the honour of an officer, and a man of family, will be safe in your hands ; but positively no other shall, so take it, or leave it, as you please.' Soon after the Knight Grand Cross had come up, I perceived the gentleman in the scarlet frock (who appeared to be sent by Lady A- y), but his conduct was not prominently offensive in this affair. Sir Charles, after the conversation above referred to, took possession of that pistol, the other being always worn by me in its place; and the Knight Grand Cross, having first declined my turning up the pan to shew that there was no powder in it, I told him I had a daughter under my protection in the hall, and consequently proceeded in that direction, on his signifying a wish that I should retire, adding, I have worn this dress at several continental courts, and it never was insulted before. I begged the favour of his card, (which he had not upon him), at the same time gave him my name, and the hotel where I lodged, expressing an expecta. tion to see him. Sir Charles at this time begged I would move forward, and I begged of him to proceed in that direction, and that I would follow; this he did a short way, and then halting, requested I would walk first. I said, • I had no objections, if he followed :' however, he and the Squire remained a little behind, probably to examine the pistol I had lent Sir Charles, which the latter shortly came up with and restored. Soon after I was seated, I missed my glove, and returned in search of it to the close vicinity of Lady A., wbren her gallant Squire pledged himself to fetch it to me if I retired to my seat, and he soon after redeemed his pledge : mean time, Sir Charles must recollect that I spoke again to him, on my way back, and that I then mentioned to him the name of a near ty's table, in a most humiliated man- there assembled looking on. But when ner, bowing their heads three times, I pointed him out to the Doctor, the and coming away backward ; and when Doctor was terrified at our ignorance, the King had eaten of the dishes, there and told us that it was the Lord Chanwas a great shew of loyalty and regal- cellor. I could not, however, believe ity, performed by divers dukes and this, as it is well known the Lord lords of mauors; among others, I was Chancellor is a most venerable characpleased to see his Grace of Argyle per- ter, and knows better how to behave forming the ancient part of his Scot- himself with a gravity when within tish progenitors, and getting a golden the light and beam of the royal eye. cup for his pains.
But the best part of the ploy was afI think it was in this crisis of the ter his Majesty had retired, for, when entertainment, that Mrs Pringle point- he departed, every one, according to ed out to me, sitting by the head of immemorial privilege, ran to plunder the Peers' table, an elderly man, with the table, and the Doctor and me and a most comical wig, and having a co- Mrs Pringle made what haste we ronet over it on his head, just a sport could to join the hobbleshow below, to see. Both the mistress and me won- in order to get a share of the spoil. dered exceedingly what he could be, The Doctor, at the first attempt, got a and when we heard him propose to golden cup, as he thought, but, och drink the King's health, with one-and. hon ! honest man ! on an examine, it eighty hurras, we concluded he could proved to be only timber gilt; as for * te no other than the King's George me, I was content with a piece of a
Buchanan on this occasion; and what most excellent bacon ham, and a corconfirmed us in this notion, was his dial glass or two of claret wine, and a soon after going up as one privileged, bit seed-cake, having fasted for so long and saying something very funny to a period. Mrs Pringie would fain have his Majesty, at which we could see had a rug at the royal nappery on the his Majesty smiled like a diverted per- King's table, but it was nailed fast. son. Over and above this, he took great She, however, seized a gilded image of liberties with his royal highness the a lady, like what is on the bawbees, Duke Clarence, at the King's left hand, with a lion by her side, and not a little shaking hands with him in a joke-fel- jocose the Mistress was with it, for it low like manner, and poking and kit- was almost as big as a bairn, wondertling him in the ribs with his fore-fin- ing and marvelling how she would get ger, which was a familiarity that no it carried home. But, as the Doctor man in his right mind at the time would observed on the occasion, most uncer, have ventured to practise at the royal tain are all earthly possessions.- Mrs table, and before the representatives of Pringle happened just for a moment all the monarchies of Europe, as was to turn her back on her idol to take a
connexion of mine, well known in command of the Coldstream Guards; and as neither of these gentlemen have called for me since, I presume they are satisfied that the blunder was not upon my side, and that my conduct would bear itself through. The conclusion of the day went off very pleasantly, and when satiated therewith, my daughter and I drove off amidst many marks of civility and condescension even from strangers, as well as from our own countrymen and acquaintances in the highest rank. ' “ This, sir, is the whole history of the absurd and ridiculous alarm. Pistols are as essential to the Highland courtier's dress, as a sword to the English courtier's, the Frenchman, or the German, and those used by me on such occasions are as unstained with pow. der, as any courtier's sword with blood: it is only the grossest ignorance of the Highland character and costume which could imagine that the assassin lurked under their bold and manly form.
" With respect to the wild fantasy that haunted Lady A.'s brain of danger to his Majesty, I may be permitted to say, that George the Fourth has not in his dominions more faithful subjects than the Highlanders; and that not an individual witnessed his Majes. ty's coronation who would more cheerfully and ardently shed his heart's blood for him than
" Your humble Servant, not “ Macnaughton,' but " ARD-FLATH SIOL-CHUINN MAC-MHIC ALASTAIR, which may be
anglified • Colonel Ronaldson Macdonell of Glengarry and Clapronald.'” “ Gordon's Hotel, Albemarle Street, July 29.”
glass of wine with me, when a bold " But we ken," cried Mrs Pringles duchess-looking lady laid hands on “ that ye are the author, though ye the darling Dagon, and carried it away may have reasons, in black and white, to another part of the table, where she o' your ain, for the concealment." sat down triumphing among judges “ Na," quoth the Doctor, “ that's, I and other great personages, and expa- must say, a hame push; but, no tiated over her prize. Poor Mrs Pringle doubt, when a decent man denies was confounded, and turned up the a charge o' the kind, it ought to be white of her eyes like a dying doo believed.” In this easy manner we with disappointment, and had not the stood conversing for a season, and then courage to demand back her property, we sat down on the steps leading up being smitten with a sense, as she af- to the King's throne, and had some terwards said, of not having come very jocose talk anent what we had seen, honestly by it; so the lady carried off and other sights and shows of regal the image, as her prize, to her chariot, pageantry, the which, by little and and a proud woman I trow she was, little, led us on to speak of past times, demonstrating over its beauties to all and the doings of Kings and Queens, her acquaintance, as she bore it along who have long departed this life, till in her arms, and on her own great at last we entered upon the connection good luck in getting it.
and pedigree of his Majesty with the As we were thus employed, Mrs old tyrannical House of Stuart; my Pringle gave me a nodge on the elbow, new acquaintance, however, did not and bade me look at an elderly man, much relish the observe that I made about fifty, with a fair gray head, and concerning the prelatic nature of the something of the appearance of a gau- princes of that line. sey good-humoured country laird. After this sederunt we rose, and the " Look at that gentleman," said shé. disappointment of the golden image -“Wha is't?" quo' I.-" That's the was not the only dejection that Mrs Author of Waverley," was her answer; Pringle was ordained to meet with that “a most comical novel, that the Doc- night:-Both the Doctor and her had tor read, and thought was a true his- forgotten to make proper regulations tory book.”
about Captain Sabre's carriage, which Seeing myself so nigh to that great was to take them home; so that, after literary character, and understanding waiting till the Hall was almost skailthat there was some acquaintance be- ed, and many of the lights out, we tween him and my friends, I sideled three, in all our finery, were obligated gradually up towards him, till he saw to walk outinto the streets, and no hackthe mistress and the doctor, with whom ney was to be seen or heard of. What he began to talk in a very conversible with the gravel hurting her feet, and manner, saying couthyand kind things, the ruin it was of to her satin shoes, complimenting the Doctor on his ta- Mrs Pringle was at the greeting, and lents as a preacher, and sympathizing some drops of rain beginning to fall, with Mrs Pringle, whose new gown her new gown was in the very jaws of had suffered great detriment, by rea- jeopardy. But she is a managing wos son of the stour and the spiders' webs man, and pot often at a loss ;--- seeing that had fallen down, as I have re- the Doctor and me standing overcome hearsed, from the rafters.
with perplexity, and in a manner des By this time some familiar inter- mented, she happened to observe & change of the eye had taken place be gentleman's carriage at a door, and, tween him and me; and when he un- without more ado, she begged the serderstood that my name was Duffle, and vants to ask their master to allow them that I corresponded in a secret manner to take her home, which he very reawith Mr Blackwood, the bookseller in dily did, and thus extricated us all Edinburgh; he said that he had been from a most unspeakable distress, for just like to die at some of my writings, both the Doctor and me got into the which I was very well pleased to hear; chaise beside her, and arrived safe at and then I speered at him if he was Captain Sabre's, where there was a really and truly the author of Waver- great assemblage of friends, and . ley, “ Mr Duffle,” said he, “I just wonderful speer and talk about what hae as little to say to the book as you we had all seen that day at the Corohae." -To the which I replied, “ that nation. if a' tales be true, that could be nae lie.” When we had rested ourselves a
short space of time, and taken some re- tor to the skin, but made my sky-blue freshment, the doctor and me (he ba- silk clothes cling like wax to my skin; ving put off his gown and bands) went and, in the race from the rain, the sword out by ourselves on our feet, it being gaed in between my legs, and coupit no length of a walk from Baker-Street me o'er in the glar of the causay with to Hyde-Park, to see the fire-works, such vehemence, that I thought my things which the doctor had never very een were dinted out: the knees seen, but which were no unco to me, of my silk breeks were riven in the as we have had sic-like at Glasgow, fall. Some civil folk that saw my misfrom riders and equestrian troops. fortune, helped me in with the doctor But this, at that time of night, was to an entry mouth, till a hackney could not a very judicious adventure, con- be got to take me home. In short, the sidering that I was in my sky-blue sufferings I met with are not to be recourt-dress, with a cockit-hat and a lated, and I had an experience of what sword; for it brought the voices of it is to be stravaiging after fairlies at the commonality. 1, however, could the dead hour of the night ; for when have put up with them, but just as I reached Mrs Damask's house, she we got into the crowd, there was a was gone to bed, and nobody to let me great flight of sky-rockets, with a in, dripping wet as I was, but an ashyfearful rushing noise, which so ter- pet lassie that helps her for a servant. rified Doctor Pringle, that he thought No such neglect would have happened it was a fiery judgment breaking out with Mrs MLecket in the Saltmarket. of the heavens upon London, for the She would have been up to see to me idolatries of the day and uttered such herself, and had the kettle boiling, that I a cry of fright, that every body around might get a tumbler of warm toddy af, us roared and shouted with laughter ter my fatigues. But I was needcessia and derision ; insomuch, that we were tated to speel into my bed as well as I glad to make the best of our way home- could, shivering with the dread of haward. But our troubles did not then ving got my death of cold, or of being end. Before we were well out of the laid up as a betheral for life, with the Park, an even-down thunder-plump rheumateese. came on, that not only drookit the doc
ACCOUNT OF A CORONATION-DINNER AT EDINBURGH,
ductions, I made a piece of business I PROMISED to write you from this with the gentlemen, put on a brazen boasted city, and my destined route face, and favoured them with a call. having landed me in it at a most im- It is a fact, that I waited on MrJ_ y portant juncture, I haste to fulfil my with a political French novel in MS. engagement. But this letter shall written by a lady. He received me neither be about business, which you rather haughtily, with his back stretchdetest; nor the appearance of this ed up at the chimney, and his coat small eastern metropolis, which you turned to one side; but I held him despise. No, sir : this letter, I am excused, for I perceived that he was resolved, shall be about the men of thinking on something else. I made genius here, the only thing worth no- him a present of the work, however, tice in this their city, and the only ar- and have been proud to see what use ticle in which we cannot excel those he has made of it. I also waited on who are destined to live in it. You Sir
W S with a few Saxon are well aware that my attachment to coins, and two Caledonian brass javeliterature, or rather to literary men, is lins; on Mr
C N with a song such, that with unwearied perseve. from Dr Scott; on Mr — with a rance I have procured introductions to specimen of Glasgow ice, and the Gorall such of them as verged on the cir- bals weaver's theory on the mean temcle of my uttermost acquaintance. But perature of the globe; on
P W perhaps you do not know, that when with some verses to the moon, said to I could in noways attain such intro- be written by Finlay; on with
a German dialogue of Paisley manue whom to deliver my letter, save a young facture, and on the E S - on well-favoured lad with a Roman nose, pretence of buying his wool. But of busily engaged at one of the windows all the introductions I ever had in my with his day-book, and to him I shewlife, the most singular took place here ed the back of my card ; but he only last night, which, as you will see by nodded his head, and pointed to an the post-mark, (should I forget to inclosed desk on the opposite side. To date this,) was the celebrated 19th of that I went ; and, shoving aside eight July.
or nine spacious subscription-boards ? I came from Stirling to this place in for painters, poets, artificers, and all the morning, in order to attend at the manner of rare and curious things, I. great public dinner ; but being inform- set my nose through the spokes, and ed by chance, that a club of literary perceived the bald head of a man and social friends were to dine toge- moving with a quick regular motion, ther at a celebrated tavern, at which from the one side to the other alterthey have been accustomed to meet for nately, and soon saw, on gaining a litmany years, I was seized with an in- tle more room for my face among the describable longing to make one of the subscription cards, that he was writparty, and immediately set all my wits ing, and tracing the lines with no comto work in order to accomplish this. mon celerity. I named him, and at Accordingly, I went to the commercial the same time handed him my letter ; correspondent that was deepest in ar- on which he cocked up his eyes with rears with our house, and besought a curiosity so intense, that I could his interest. He introduced me to scarcely retain my gravity, and thought another, and that one to another, who to myself, as he perused the lines, promised, if practicable, to procure me “ This must be an extraordinary feladmission; and the manner of this ad- low !" mission being not the least singular When he had finished reading the part of my adventure, I must describe note, he beckoned me to meet him at it to you the more particularly. an opening in the counter, near the
This last- mentioned gentleman, farthest corner of the shop. I obeyed (who was a jeweller,) after writing a the signal; but as he passed the two card of considerable length, gave it lawyers, he could not help pricking up me, with a direction where to find his his ears to the attestations of one of friend, who was a mercantile gentle- them, who was urging the case with man whose name I had often heard more fervency than the matter appearmentioned: therefore, when I threw my ed to require. When he came to a eye on the direction, I was greatly de- pause, the Merchant of Venice, for so lighted. I soon found his shop, and, I always felt inclined to denominate the door being open, popped in; where, him, only said to him,“ Well, it may bebold, the first face I saw was that of be all very true that you are saying, an elderly reverend-looking divine, a my dear sir ; but, for God's sake, don't man of the most benevolent aspect. get into a passion about it. There can Behind him was a tall dark squinting be no occasion at all for that." And politician, at a hard argument with an having given him this sage advice, he artist whose picture I had seen at an passed on, shook me by the hand, and exhibition or two, and knew him at conducted me down stairs. first sight. I do not know his name; “So you are for this private dinner, but he wears spectacles, bas a round in place of the great public one, with quizzical face, and a very little mouth, my Lord Provost, and all the nabbs in out at which the words come pouring the country to preside?" said he.-"I in flights, like well-ground meal out would prefer it a great deal,” said I, of a mill. But that meal had some " and would take it as a particular fapoignancy of taste about it ; for it vour, if you could procure meadmission made the politician writhe and wince, into a company made up of gentlemen, and almost drove him beyond all pa- whose characters I hold in the highest tience. Beyond the counter, at the admiration."-" Ay! God bless the fire-place, stood two celebrated law- mark !" said he, taking a hearty pinch yers, with their fore-fingers laid across, of snuff with one nostril, and quite arguing a lost process over again with neglecting the other; “ so you admire great volubility. I could see no mer- them, do you? I should like, an it be cantile-looking person whatever to your will, to know what it is for. I