Edinburgh Picturesque Notes eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 66 pages of information about Edinburgh Picturesque Notes.
grey and silent in a workman’s quarter and among breweries and gas works.  It is a house of many memories.  Great people of yore, kings and queens, buffoons and grave ambassadors, played their stately farce for centuries in Holyrood.  Wars have been plotted, dancing has lasted deep into the night, — murder has been done in its chambers.  There Prince Charlie held his phantom levees, and in a very gallant manner represented a fallen dynasty for some hours.  Now, all these things of clay are mingled with the dust, the king’s crown itself is shown for sixpence to the vulgar; but the stone palace has outlived these charges.  For fifty weeks together, it is no more than a show for tourists and a museum of old furniture; but on the fifty-first, behold the palace reawakened and mimicking its past.  The Lord Commissioner, a kind of stage sovereign, sits among stage courtiers; a coach and six and clattering escort come and go before the gate; at night, the windows are lighted up, and its near neighbours, the workmen, may dance in their own houses to the palace music.  And in this the palace is typical.  There is a spark among the embers; from time to time the old volcano smokes.  Edinburgh has but partly abdicated, and still wears, in parody, her metropolitan trappings.  Half a capital and half a country town, the whole city leads a double existence; it has long trances of the one and flashes of the other; like the king of the Black Isles, it is half alive and half a monumental marble.  There are armed men and cannon in the citadel overhead; you may see the troops marshalled on the high parade; and at night after the early winter even-fall, and in the morning before the laggard winter dawn, the wind carries abroad over Edinburgh the sound of drums and bugles.  Grave judges sit bewigged in what was once the scene of imperial deliberations.  Close by in the High Street perhaps the trumpets may sound about the stroke of noon; and you see a troop of citizens in tawdry masquerade; tabard above, heather-mixture trowser below, and the men themselves trudging in the mud among unsympathetic by-standers.  The grooms of a well-appointed circus tread the streets with a better presence.  And yet these are the Heralds and Pursuivants of Scotland, who are about to proclaim a new law of the United Kingdom before two-score boys, and thieves, and hackney-coachmen.  Meanwhile every hour the bell of the University rings out over the hum of the streets, and every hour a double tide of students, coming and going, fills the deep archways.  And lastly, one night in the springtime — or say one morning rather, at the peep of day — late folk may hear voices of many men singing a psalm in unison from a church on one side of the old High Street; and a little after, or perhaps a little before, the sound of many men singing a psalm in unison from another church on the opposite side of the way.  There will be something in the words above the dew of Hermon, and how goodly it is to see brethren dwelling together in unity.  And the late folk will tell themselves that all this singing denotes the conclusion of two yearly ecclesiastical parliaments — the parliaments of Churches which are brothers in many admirable virtues, but not specially like brothers in this particular of a tolerant and peaceful life.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Edinburgh Picturesque Notes from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook