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woman with charming manners, reminding one of the line of Pope
I was introduced to Dr. John Brown, who is reckoned one of the best exegetical scholars in Europe. He is small of stature, sprightly, and pleasant in manners, with a high, bald forehead and snow-white hair.
There were also many members of the faculty of the university. I talked a little with Dr. Guthrie, whom I described in a former letter. I told him that one thing which had been an agreeable disappointment to me was, the apparent cordi
, ality between the members of the Free and the National church. He seemed to think that the wounds of the old conflict were, to a great extent, healed. He spoke in high terms of the Duchess of Sutherland, her affability, kindness, and considerateness to the poor. I forget from whom I received the anecdote, but somebody told me this of her — that, one of her servants having lost a relative, she had left a party where she was engaged, and gone in the plainest attire and quietest way to attend the funeral. It was remarked upon as showing her considerateness for the feelings of those in inferior positions.
About nine o'clock we left to go to the temperance soirée. It was in the same place, and conducted in the same way, with the others which I have described. The lord provost presided, and one or two of the working men who spoke in the former soirée made speeches, and very good ones too. The meeting was greatly enlivened by the presence and speech of the jovial Lord Conynghame, who amused us all by the gallant manner in which he expressed the warmth of Scottish
welcome towards 6 our American guests.” If it had been in the old times of Scottish hospitality, he said, he should have proposed a bumper three times three; but as that could not be done in a temperance meeting, he proposed three cheers, in which he led off with a hearty good will.
All that the Scotch people need now for the prosperity of their country is the temperance reformation; and undoubtedly they will have it. They have good sense and strength of mind enough to work out whatever they choose.
We went home tired enough.
The next day we had a few calls to make, and an invitation from Lady Drummond to visit “classic Hawthornden.” Accordingly, in the forenoon, Mr. S. and I called first on Lord and Lady Gainsborough; though she is one of the queen's household, she is staying here at Edinburgh, and the queen at Osborne. I infer therefore that the appointment includes no very onerous duties. The Earl of Gainsborough is the eldest brother of Rev. Baptist W. Noel.
Lady Gainsborough is the daughter of the Earl of Roden, who is an Irish lord of the very strictest Calvinistic persuasion. He is a devout man, and for many years, we were told, maintained a Calvinistic church of the English establishment in Paris. While Mr. S. talked with Lord Gainsborough, I talked with his lady, and Lady Roden, who was present. Lady Gainsborough inquired about our schools for the poor, and how they were conducted. I reflected a moment, and then answered that we had no schools for the poor as such, but the common school was open alike to all classes.*
* Had I known all about New York and Boston which recent examinations have developed, I should have answered very differently. The fact is, that we in America can no longer congratulate ourselves on not hav
there being about twenty thousand volumes. A small room opens from the library, which was Scott's own private study. His writing table stood in the centre, with his inkstand on it, and before it a large, plain, black leather arm chair.
In a glass case, I think in this room, was exhibited the suit of clothes he last wore; a blue coat with large metal buttons, plaid trousers, and broad-brimmed hat. Around the sides of this room there was a gallery of light tracery work; a flight of stairs led up to it, and in one corner of it was a door which the woman said led to the poet's bed room. One seemed to see in all this arrangement how snug, and cozy, and comfortable the poet had thus ensconced himself, to give himself up to his beloved labors and his poetic dreams. But there was a cold and desolate air of order and adjustment about it which reminds one of the precise and chilling arrangements of a room from which has just been carried out a corpse ; all is silent and deserted.
The house is at present the property of Scott's only surviving daughter, whose husband has assumed the name of Scott. We could not learn from our informant whether any of the family was in the house. We saw only the rooms which are shown to visitors, and a coldness, like that of death, seemed to strike to my heart from their chilly solitude.
As we went out of the house we passed another company of tourists coming in, to whom we heard our guide commencing the same recitation, “this is,” and “this is,” &c., just as she had done to us. One thing about the house and grounds had disappointed me; there was not one view from a single window I saw that was worth any thing, in point of beauty ; why a poet, with an eye for the beautiful, could have located a house in such an indifferent spot, on an estate where Our next visit was to Sir William Hamilton and lady. Sir William is the able successor of Dugald Stewart and Dr. Brown in the chair of intellectual philosophy. His writings have had a wide circulation in America. He is a man of noble presence, though we were sorry to see that he was suffering from ill health. It seems to me that Scotland bears that relation to England, with regard to metaphysical inquiry, that New England does to the rest of the United States. If one counts over the names of distinguished metaphysicians, the Scotch, as compared with the English, number three to one — Reid, Stewart, Brown, all Scotchmen.
Sir William still writes and lectures. He and Mr. S. were soon discoursing on German, English, Scotch, and American metaphysics, while I was talking with Lady Hamilton and her daughters. After we came away Mr. S. said, that no man living had so thoroughly understood and analyzed the German philosophy. He said that Sir William spoke of a call which he had received from Professor Park, of Andover, and expressed himself in high terms of his metaphysical powers.
After that we went to call on George Combe, the physiologist. We found him and Mrs. Combe in a pleasant, sunny parlor, where, among other objects of artistic interest, we saw a very fine engraving of Mrs. Siddons. I was not aware until after leaving that Mrs. Combe is her daughter. Mr. Combe, though somewhat advanced, seems full of life and animation, and conversed with a great deal of warmth and interest on America, where he made a tour some years since. Like other men in Europe who sympathize in our progress, he was sanguine in the hope that the downfall of slavery must come at no distant date.
we saw the figure of Scott's favorite dog Maida, with a Latin inscription
“Maidæ marmorea dormis sub imagine, Maida,
Ad januam domini: sit tibi terra levis.”
Which in our less expressive English we might render
At thy lord's door, in slumbers light and blest,
One of the most endearing traits of Scott was that sympathy and harmony which always existed between him and the brute creation.
Poor Maida seemed cold and lonely, washed by the rain in the damp grass plat. How sad, yet how expressive is the scriptural phrase for indicating death! “He shall return to his house no more, neither shall his place know him any more.” And this is what all our homes are coming to; our buying, our planting, our building, our marrying and giving in marriage, our genial firesides and dancing children, are all like so many figures passing through the magic lantern, to be put out at last in death.
The grounds, I was told, are full of beautiful paths and seats, favorite walks and lounges of the poet; but the obdurate pertinacity of the rain compelled us to choose the
shortest path possible to the carriage. I picked a leaf of the Portugal laurel, which I send you.
Next we were driven to Dryburgh, or rather to the banks of the Tweed, where a ferryman, with a small skiff, waits to take passengers over. The Tweed is a clear, rippling river, with a white, pebbly