« PreviousContinue »
by an infinity of stalls, which are well stored with all that vegetable nature produces. The cauly-flowers with their fringed luxuriant tops -the love-apples bursting with the healthful juices which tinge them with the deepest vermillion—and the speckled gourd jutting from the leaves like a basking snake-are arranged with a very pleasing symmetry. The lover of the Scotch dialect should visit this place; he will hear the native language spoken in all its original sweetness!
Proceeding onwards, you will find yourself surrounded with butchers' stalls, from which the meat is suspended. The poor animal which is to be sacrificed to human voracity, is hauled before the axe which is to terminate his existence; dogs, almost as brutal as their masters, tear the checkered face and trembling sides of the devoted victim, whilst the butchers' boys goad him on to the house of death, which is always streaming with blood. I have often thought that many an assassin has “ stopped up
th? access and passage to remorse” in walking through a slaughter-house, and coming home with his shoes covered with blood. He had heard the groans of the dying animal, without feeling for its sufferings; and perhaps he was on that account less troubled with compunctious visitings, when the stifled screams of his victim rose to avert" the murderous faulchion smoking in his blood.”
Below the slaughter-houses is the Fish Market. Edinburgh and Scotland generally,
greatly excels in this delicacy: the haddock, turbot, salmon and trout are the principal fish seen on the long tables of this market. The Scotch poissardes appear to form a variety in the human species. The “ wrinkled hag with age grown double" of Chamont, and the " weird sisters” of Macbeth, have their prototypes in the markets of Edinburgh. The old hags, who preside at this establishment, do not seem aught that man may question;"
“ So wither'd, and so wild in their attire;
I do not think that I will ever forget the impression which one of these hoary matrons made on me, when I suddenly met her near Edinburgh. She looked so much like one of those horrid beings who "yell in the midnight storm, or ride infuriate in the flood,” that her appearance made me shudder:-her face was not simply wrinkled, but ploughed into innumerable furrows; her jaws could not boast of one remaining tooth, and she was dressed as if her clothes had been flung on her with a pitchfork!
Most of these fish-women come from the villages of New-haven and Fisherrow, from whence they arrive with their commodities at early dawn; and after disposing of their fish, return home in the evening, with their empty recipients. They are said to be very strong; indeed three or four of our negroes together,
could not carry such a weight as one of these picturesque Amazons. Their costume is so outlandish, that I will not pretend to describe it; some modern Hogarth would do well to give a representation of it, as a pendant to
some of those exquisite delineations of the : great painter, which I read with as much plea
sure as I would a novel of Lesage or Madame Darblay!
The ladies and gentlemen of Edinburgh send their stewards or cooks to market for their families. The keepers of taverns and eatinghouses are the earliest buyers; they come from all parts at the dawn of day, and carry off the cheapest and best things, which they metamorphose into very expensive dinners. When the rich man's steward comes “creeping like snail,” he must content himself with the tavern-keepers' leavings-but he knows who has to pay for the contents of his basket-he is well aware that his master does not deign to inquire into the price of market articles. As the day advances, those unfortunate beings who are condemned, by the last night's debauch, to spin out the morning on their miserable beds, advance in their dishabilles to purchase food for the day. They are insulted, cheated, and sent back with the refuse of the stalls. See the wretch making her way through the crowd! Her looks are haggard, her cheeks sunk with care and disease; her countenance is no longer dressed up with delusive charms, nor imitates the hue of health with meretri
cious cosmetics. Alas! can there exist men vile enough to purchase from misery, that which the heart alone can bestow, and receive from famished lips the tender embraces of love
Enough of war the wounded earth has known;
Edinburgh, April 9, 1819. The public papers will inform you of the atrocious attempt made in the French House of Peers, to change the election law and shake the security of national property. The upshot of success in that scheme, would be another bloody struggle between those pestiferous wretches, the Ultras, and the liberaux, terminating infallibly in the victory of the latter, who are implicated with every thing that is young, stable and prosperous in France. Should such a struggle take place, and Bonaparte happen to die in the course of it, young Napoleon might be whistled over from Austria and placed on the throne, in the twinkling of an eye. The conduct of Louis in this dilemma has shown great wisdom; indeed much more than even his admirers suspected him of. He saw the necessity of thwarting the efforts of a de
tested faction, whose proceedings have been alike hostile to his own interests and those of the nation. He had recourse, for a good purpose, to the same expedient resorted to by queen Anne, for a very bad one: you recollect that she created, in one day, 30 peers, in order to obtain a majority in the House of Lords. The creation of 59 new members of the Chambre des Pairs, was the easiest and most effectual method by which the designs of the Ultras could be defeated; and the effect of this wise measure on all France, has proved how well it was relished. The existing institutions of that country have all grown out of the Revolution-and Louis has had the good sense to perceive, that, as the restoration of the ancient regime, even if it were desirable, (which most certainly it is not,) is impracticable,-it was
necessary that he should put himself at the : head of the new order of things, and that he · shouid attach to himself those whose interests are identified with the existing system.
One cannot behold without pleasure the spirit of liberty which gains ground in France,
and which all the struggles of its enemies will e never suppress.
Louis has found himself i obliged to submit to the temper of the age, and
the people of France, under their election law, bid defiance to corruption, and have obtained a national blessing, the effect of which has struck the grand supporters of errors and pre
judices with an apprehension bordering on deÚspair. The election of La Fayette has been a