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The one was a low, flat-built, antiquated mansion, with slanting roof, deep embayed windows, and a front strengthened and intersected by stout beams of wood, crossing and recrossing one another like ingenious darning: according to the good old fashion, too, each floor, as it rose above its supporter, stepped out considerably beyond the old limit; so that, in former times, when both sides of the street were alike, and close together, he who dwelt in the garret might well deny himself to unwelcome inquirers, being always and truly "over the way."
The next-door neighbour to this house was a tenement of a different date and disposition: it was tall, and straight, and angular, of a stone-white complexion, and abounding with what some people facetiously term "windows!"
While we thus minuted the appearances of these houses, the moon suddenly shone full upon them, and her beams were reflected from all the glass in front, with an appearance like that of the eyes of a cat in the dark. We felt, as it were, stared out of countenance, and, closing our eyelids, gave ourselves at once up to quiet reflection on the past in general, and the mutations undergone by the city around us in particular. It was not long, however, before our own speculations on the subject were curtailed, by an incident which, however remarkable it may appear, will be allowed to have afforded us matter more worthy of record than our own inexperienced thoughts. We heard a voice, clear as a bell, proceed, as it were, from the White House opposite!-the Old House replied; and, after the first compliments, as near as we can recollect, the following was the substance of the conversation that ensued between the two:
"Last night," observed the younger of the two houses, "the conversation was about to turn on our tenants, when we broke off. How do you find it? for my part, I am an observer of mankind; but no one stays long enough within my doors for me to read half his disposition: you may have observed this, that no man who has any character worth contemplation, ever trusts himself even to the solitude of a new residence. The timorous and suspicious rascals have no confidence in a wainscoting which they have not known for half a year. If familiarity between man and man breeds contempt, between house and man it nurtures confidence. I always find that these human creatures are strangers to themselves in a strange place. And my misfortune is, as I said before, that folks no sooner enter here, than they give warning, or receive warning, or-in short, they go."
"What you say is very true, I have no doubt, worthy Mr. ; but, I beg pardon, under what name am I to address you this evening?"
"Victoria House; yesterday I went under the title of Navarino. You remain where you were, I presume, and jog on under the plebeian appellation of
"The Golden Fleece, at your service, sir. I have borne that name for one hundred and
"A great many more years, no doubt; but come, I like personal anecdote. You were about to talk of your folks within." Ay, ay, so I was; that is very true, so I was. Well, well, well,-my folks and I have grown old together, and we shall never be parted, I do think, till I see them carried out of my doors to the churchyard. There be many within my walls who will give up their last breath where they drew their first. Have you observed the old man who sits under my porch, these fine afternoons, to warm him in the sun? Ah! well; it is just seventy years since he first toddled out on the pavement to catch the shadows of the birds, as they flew over. Poor old soul! for all I have seen or heard, he has done little better all his life. To-day he was at his old tricks; counting his guineas in the cellar, till the cold pierced him to the core: a few days more, and he will lie deeper than his gold."
"Ah, ah!" cried the White House, "if some people knew all, the Golden Fleece would soon give up the ghost."
Ugh!-you make one shake to one's foundations; all the souls within me will leap up in their beds!-you shouldn't talk so, my dear friend. La! I hope to be spared for a little while yet. What would my friend, the hosier, do, who came to business when he was no taller than the picture of the long stocking on the shutters? He has lived here long enough, as he says, to see the world leave off knit-leggings. Then there are the old couple on my second floor, whom I remember coming in forty years since, after their first week of marriage: then my staircase creaked, though it was not with the weight, but with a delicious sense of the young bride's pretty foot. Her little figure haunted me, for a time, like a deceased lodger! (You see I have caught the love-sick jargon of the race.) But times are changed: the pair are still here; and, Heaven help us, how many bearing their name have they sent forth from my doors into the world! When the lady comes in, or goes out, now, my stairs tell a different story. She tries their strength as she mounts; besides, the old girl has never done "getting up." Again, what would become of the old Roman lady in the third floor back, who has made
my walls glow with pictures of saints, and martyrdoms, and Magdalens? - She has placed, too, the shrine of her patroness in one recess of her room, and a tall sculptured cross in the other; and has taken a quiet oath, which she will keep, never to quit my roof except to mass! The tones of her organ, attuned to a solemn hymn, thrill, at times, through every rafter in my frame. How could we two be parted? Confound those carts, how they make one quake! Not that I object to a shake in a good cause, even now. My timbers are firm-never fear it. Christmas is coming, my boy, and I'll give them leave to turn me out of my own windows, if it will do their hearts good. They may dance, and shout, and frolic, till every inch of glass in my sashes quivers like a hackney-coach window!"
"Don't mention Christmas, and its snows, old gentleman;" here interposed the younger speaker. "I dread the seaI have not got a single waterproof tile to my head; and the rain runs in such hideous streams down my long melancholy white face, that I look worse than a blubbering schoolboy. . . . to revert to what you were observing: it is well for you to have such old friends for lodgers; with me, it is quite different. But, after all, what is your experience to mine? During my brief existence of seven years, I have ruined, down below, three chemists, a pastry-cook, and a pretty milliner, though the last was backed by a serious Society, and dispensed tracts. Then, who can say what ruination has not gone on in the garrets ?-Pray don't compare your experience with mine; though I must own that I do envy you the spider-like attachment with which the human race cling to your walls. Dear me, they take down their pictures from my sides without regret, and tear away my property, even with a glee proportionate to the loss I suffer. I have not got a friend or a fixture left in the world!"
"Ha, ha!" quoth the elder gentleman, "not so I. I am cherished by my tenants, am kept in thorough repair by a young fellow, who calls himself my landlord, (though he was born but t'other day in the garret!) and live universally admired for my veteran and picturesque appearance. People think I wear well. They have taken my likeness; and there I hang, in a dozen places, in my own rooms, under twenty different aspects -in profile, in full-face, by daylight, and by moonlight; besides an interesting fragment of my porch. But the portrait that likes me best, is the one taken in my youth; say, when not above seventy years of age. At that time, I stood surrounded by gardens,
and was fanned and shaded in the rear by a fine mulberry: besides, I had just come from under the hands of the painter, who, by order of a Dutch tenant, had daubed me all over of a lovely ochreous complexion, pointed with green and black. Ah! those were the days, as Mynheer very politely observed, I looked like a beautiful barge!
At this moment the noise of a marketwagon in the street became stunning; we opened our eyes with a start, and, after the interruption had rolled slowly past, fixed them on the two speakers, in expectation of a continuation or reply; but none was forthcoming: this interesting and communicative pair of premises had relapsed into their every-day silence! A CORRESPONDENT.
(Prefixed to Howel's Epistola Ho-Elianæ, Sixth Edition, 1688.)
LOVE is the life of Friendship, Letters are The life of Love, the Loadstones that by rare Attractions makes Souls meet, and melt, and mix, As when by Fire exalted Gold we fix.
They are those wing'd Postillions that can fly
They can the Cabinets of Kings unscrue,
The lucky Goose sav'd Jove's beleagred Hill,
It twice prevented Rome, was not o'rerun
Lawyers as Vultures had soar'd up and down:
Credential Letters, States and Kingdoms tye, And Monarchs knit in Leagues of Amity; They are those golden Links that do enchain Whole Nations, those descended by the main ; They are the soul of Trade, they make Commerce Expand it self throughout the Universe.
Letters may more than History inclose
May be their Subject, and their Themes enrich,
weaver, who, evening after evening, for nearly forty-five years, was always to be found in his place, and during the entire period was much distinguished for his severe, and often able strictures, on the events of the day. He had thus debated through the days of Wilkes, of the American war, and of the French war, and, being on the side of liberty, was constantly in opposition. His mode of arguing was Socratic, and he generally applied to his adversary the reductio ad absurdum, often creating bursts of laughter.
Speech is the Index, Letters Idæas are, Of the informing Soul, they can declare, And shew the inward man, as we behold A Face reflecting in a Chrystal Mold: They serve the Dead and Living, they become Attorneys and Administers: In sum, Letters like Gordian Knots, do Nations tye, Else all Commerce, and Love 'twixt Men would dye. happened to be disputed. It was often
The register, or chronicle of the box, was a Mr. Murray, an episcopal Scotch clergyman, who generally sat in one place from nine in the morning till nine at night, and was famous for having read, at least once through, every morning and evening paper published in London during the last thirty years. His memory being good, he was appealed to, whenever any point of fact within the memory of man
remarked, however, that such incessant daily reading did not tend to clear his views.
Tully makes his the secret symptoms tell,
Words vanish soon, and vapor into Air,
THE LATE SIR RICHARD PHILLIPS. (Continued from p. 104.)
Or the literati and politicians who frequented the Chapter Coffee-house, from 1797 to 1805, Mr. Alexander Stephens left some very interesting reminiscences among his MSS., which, at his death, were purchased by Phillips; and, coupled with his own contemporaneous recollections, were printed, many years since, under the head of Stephensiana, in the Monthly Magazine. Indeed, the staple of these anecdotes were furnished by Phillips, in place of reliance upon Stephens's almost illegible hand-writing. The box in the north-east corner of "the Chapter" used to be called the Wittinagemot. Early in the morning it was occupied by neighbours, who were designated the Wet Paper Club, as it was their practice to open the papers, as brought in by the newsmen, and read them before they were dried by the waiter. A dry paper they viewed as a stale commodity. In the afternoon, another party enjoyed the wet evening papers, and it was these whom the writer met. Dr. Buchan, author of the Domestic Medicine,* generally held a seat in this box; and, though he was a Tory, he heard the freest discussion with good humour, and commonly acted as a moderator. His fine physiognomy and white hairs qualified him for this office. But the fixture in the box was one Mr. Hammond, a Coventry
This celebrated work was offered to every principal bookseller of Edinburgh and London for £100, without obtaining a purchaser; and, after it had passed through twenty editions, it was sold in thirtytwo shares at fifty pounds each.
Among those from whom I constantly profited, was Dr. Berdmore, master of the Charter-house; Walker, the rhetorician; and Dr. Towers, the political and historical writer. Dr. B. abounded in anecdote; Walker, to the finest enunciation united the most intelligent head I ever met with; and Towers, over his half-pint of Lisbon, was sarcastic and lively, though never deep.
Among our constant visitors was the celebrated Dr. George Fordyce, who, having much fashionable practice, brought news which had not generally transpired. He had not the appearance of a man of genius, nor did he debate, but he possessed sound information on all subjects. He came to the Chapter after his wine, and usually staid about an hour, or while he sipped a glass of brandy and water. It was then his habit to take another glass at the London, and a third at the Oxford, before he returned to his home in Essex
Dr. Gower, the urbane and able physician of "the Middlesex," was another pretty constant visitor, and added much to our stock of information. It was gratifying to hear such men as Fordyce, Gower, and Buchan, in familiar chat. On subjects of medicine they seldom agreed; and when such were started, they generally laughed at each others' opinions. They seemed to consider Chapter punch as aqua vitæ : if any one complained of being indisposed, Buchan would exclaim: "Now, let me prescribe for you without a fee. Here, John, or Isaac, bring a glass of punch
for Mr. unless he like brandy and water. Take that, sir, and I'll warrant you'll soon be well-you're a peg too low --you want stimulus, and if one glass wont do, call for a second."
There was a growling man, named Dobson, who, when his asthma permitted, vented his spleen upon both sides; and a lover of absurd paradoxes, named Heron, author of some works of merit, but so devoid of principle, that, deserted by all, he would have died from want, if Dr. Garthshore had not placed him as a patient in the empty Fever Institution.
Robinson, the King of the Booksellers, was frequently of the party, as well as his brother John, a man of some talent; and Joseph Johnson, the friend of Priestley, and Paine, and Cowper, and Fuseli. Alexander Chalmers, the workman of the Robinsons, and, through their introduction, editor of many large books, also enlivened the box by his sallies of wit and humour. He always took much pains to be distinguished from his namesake George, who, he used to say, carried "the leaden mace;' and he was much provoked whenever he happened to be taken for his namesake.
Cahusac, a teacher of the classics; McLeod, a writer in the newspapers; the two Parrys, of the Courier, then the organ of Jacobinism; and Captain Skinner, a man of elegant manners, who personated our nation in the procession of Anacharsis Clootz, at Paris, in 1793; were also in constant attendance.
One Baker, once a Spitalfields manufacturer, a great talker, and not less remarkable as an eater, was constant; but, having shot himself at his lodgings, in Kirby-street, it was discovered that, for some years, he had no other meal, per day, besides the supper which he took at the Chapter; where, there being a choice of viands at the fixed price of one shilling, this, with a pint of porter, constituted his subsistence, till, his last resources failing, he put an end to himself.
Lowndes, the celebrated electrician, was another of our set, and a facetious man. Buchan, jun., a graduated son of the Doctor, generally came with Lowndes; and, though somewhat dogmatical, yet he added to the variety and good intelligence of the discussion, which, from the mixture of company, was as various as the contents of the newspapers.
Dr. Busby, the musician, and a very ingenious man, often obtained a hearing, and was earnest in disputing with the Tories. And, Macfarlane, the author of the History of George the Third, was always admired for the soundness of his views: but this worthy man was killed by the
pole of a coach, during a procession of Sir Francis Burdett and his friends, from Brentford. Mr. W. Cooke, author of Conversation, constantly exemplified his own rules in his gentlemanly manners and well-timed anecdotes.
Kelly, an Irish schoolmaster and gentlemanly man, kept up warm debates by his equivocating politics; and was often roughly handled by Hammond and others, though he bore his defeats with constant good humour.
There was a young man, named Wilson, who acquired the name of Long-bow Wilson, from the number of extraordinary secrets of the haut ton, which he used to retail by the hour. He was a good-tempered and amusing person, who seemed likely to be an acquisition to Wittinagemot; but, having run up a score of thirty or forty pounds, he suddenly absented himself. Miss B., the keeper of the house, begged of me, if I saw him, to tell him that she would give him a receipt for the past, and further credit, if he would only return to the house; "for," said she, "if he never paid us, he was one of the best customers we ever had, contriving, by his stories and conversation, to keep a couple of boxes crowded the whole night, by which we made more punch and more brandy and water, than from any other single cause whatever."
Jacob, afterwards an alderman and M.P., was a frequent visitor, and then as remarkable for his heretical, as he was, subsequently, for his orthodox opinions in his speeches and writings.
Waithman, the active and eloquent Common Councilman, often mixed with us, and was always clear-headed and agreeable. One James, who had made a large fortune by vending tea, contributed many good anecdotes of the age of Wilkes.
Several stockbrokers visited us, and, among others of that description, was Mr. Blake, the banker, of Lombard-street, a remarkably intelligent old gentleman; and there was a Mr. Patterson, a North Briton, a long-headed speculator, who had the reputation of being a skilful mathematician, and taught mathematics to Pitt.
Some young men of talent came among us, from time to time, as Lovett, a militia officer; Hamell, a coal-merchant; and some others; and these seemed likely to keep up the party. But, all things have an end: Dr. Buchan died; some young sparks affronted our Nestor, Hammond, on which he absented himself, after nearly fifty years' attendance; and the noisy box of the Wittinagemot, was, for some years previously to 1820, remarkable for its silence and dulness. The two or three
last times I was at the Chapter, I heard no voice above a whisper; and I almost shed a tear on thinking of men, habits, and times gone by for ever.
The Chapter Coffee-house will, nevertheless, always be attractive, by its good punch, its collection of scarce pamphlets, and its liberal supply of town and country newspapers. (To be continued.)
INCHKEITH, in Fifeshire, is an elevated rocky island, covered, in many places, with fine earth, and lying towards the middle of the Frith of Forth. Brantome calls it L'Isle des Chevaux; and it was, probably, a safer stable" than many others in his time. It appears that, in the year 1497, it was allotted for the reception of those who had a certain disorder, of Spanish origin, which was regarded as a species of plague amongst the ancient good folks of Edinburgh, to whom the Privy Council sent a letter, in which occurs the following curious piece of orthography: they ordered" that all manner of persons, being within the freedom of this burgh, guhilk are infectit, or has bene infectit, and uncurit of this said contagious plage, callit the grand gore, devoyd, red, and pass furth of this toun and compeir, upon the sandis of Leith, at ten houris before none, and thair sall have and fynd botis reddie in the havin, ordanit to thame be the officaris of this burgh, reddelie furneist with victualls to have them to the Inch, and thair to remain quhill God provyde for their health." This island anciently belonged to the noble family of Keith, but became forfeited to the Crown, in consequence of the head of the family having joined the rebellion in 1715.
Inchkeith is now employed for a much better purpose than formerly, and is a most delightful and healthy spot; it has some good pasture upon it, but no trees. The entrance to the island is by a small bay, protected by a low pier; and, after passing over a good road, by a tank for supplying ships with water, we reach the elegant lighthouse, which crowns the lofty summit of the island.* An inscription above the doorway states it to have been completed on May 18, 1803, and first
This lighthouse was, in part, constructed with the materials of a fort, which formerly stood upon the island, and bore the inscription, "Maria Re:" (Queen Mary) “1564." It was minutely inspected by Dr. Johnson, in his visit to the Hebrides, in the year 1773, and, accordingly, figures in Boswell's entertaining Life.
lighted on September 1, 1804. From the top, or lantern, there is a charming view of the city of Edinburgh; the sea, its islands, and the shore on either side.
Upon reference to the Report of the Select Committee on Lighthouses, printed by order of the House of Commons, in 1834, we find some interesting details of "the Inchkeith Light." In the previous year, it was resolved to fit up this lighthouse with polyzonal lenses, and quadruple Argand burners, in place of a reflector and single Argand burner. This is stated by Mr. Stevenson, in his evidence before the Parliamentary Committee, to have been the first trial at a British lighthouse. These lights had been previously used upon the French coast; and, upon Mr. Stevenson's recommendation, the Board of Commissioners ordered two lenses from Paris, in 1824 with those lenses, there were a number of experiments made, from which it was thought advisable to make further trial in an establishment of the magnitude of the Inchkeith Light; which was likewise suggested as the fittest place, from its being near Edinburgh, and, of course, under the constant view of the Board of Commissioners for Northern Lighthouses. In the Appendix to the above Report, the expense of the Inchkeith Light, in the year 1833, is stated at £371:9s. 7d. In this time there were consumed 300 gallons of sperm oil; the rent of the lighthouse ground was thirty-five pounds; salaries of two light-keepers, eighty pounds; clothing for the same, about twenty-three pounds; cost of the attending boat, and its crew, twenty-one pounds; of the lighthouse flag, £1:2s. 6d. The light-keepers are provided with a medicine chest, an almanack for the tides, and a newspaper, weekly. The light has only seven burners.
In the above Report and Evidence are many interesting details of the lamented Mr. Drummond's Oxyhydrogen Light, and its application to Lighthouses. Mr. C. Cunningham states that, in a series of experiments between the Calton Hill and Gulan, from the last station, the Drummond Light was so strong as to reflect on the road in Porto Bello, twelve miles and a half distant. The Board considered, that could Mr. Drummond's Light be rendered of practical utility in lighthouses, it would be a great improvement; but, in 1834, Mr. Maconochie thought "he would be a very bold person indeed who would recommend the general adoption of it in lighthouses." This opinion coincides with Mr. Drummond's own opinion, politely addressed to ourselves, in reply to an inquiry as to the We are practical value of the invention. not aware that Mr. Drummond was ever