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burgh, bathed in the sombre light of evening. The very castle looks like an image of repose, as it silently looms up amid the smoke and hum of the busy city. Signs of peace and prosperity are every where around us, indicating, if we have not yet reached, that at least we are approaching that happy time when "men shall beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning hooks."
"O scenes surpassing fable, and yet true,
Scenes of accomplished bliss! which who can see,
Journey to Peebles-Characters-Conversation on PoliticsScottish Peasantry-Peebles-"Christ's Kirk on the Green”— A Legend-An old Church-The Banks of the Tweed-Its ancient Castles-The Alarm Fire-Excursion to the Vales of Ettrick and Yarrow-Stream of Yarrow-St. Mary's Lake and Dryhope Tower—"The Dowie Dens of Yarrow”—Growth of Poetry-Ballads and Poems on Yarrow by Hamilton, Logan and Wordsworth.
On a cold, drizzly morning we start, in a substantial stage-coach, well lined with cushions inside, for the ancient town of Peebles, which lies to the south of Edinburgh, some twenty-five miles or more. The 'outsides' are wrapped in cloaks and overcoats, and literally covered in with umbrellas; and from their earnest talking seem to be tolerably comfortable. The "Scottish mist," cold and penetrating, would soon reach the skin of an unsheltered back; all hands, therefore, and especially the driver in front, and the guard behind, are muffled to the neck with cravats and other appliances. Eyes and mouth only are visible, not indeed to the passers by, but to the denizens of the stage-coach, who cling together for warmth and sociability. Our travelling companions inside are a Dominie from Auchingray, fat as a capon, with face round, sleek and shiny, little gray eyes glancing beneath a placid forehead, and indicating intelligence and good
nature; and a south-country laird, a large, brawny man, with a huge face and huger hat, corduroy breeches and top boots, a coat that nearly covers the whole of his body, and a vest of corresponding dimensions. A mighty cravat is tied neatly around his capacious throat, and a couple of large gold seals dangle from beneath his vest. In addition to these two, a little man, thin and wrinkled, but with a clear, quick, restless eye, is sitting in the corner, squeezed into a rather straight place by the laird and the dominie. From his appearance and conversation, we should take him to be a lawyer. With some little difficulty we get into conversation, but once set agoing, it jogs on at a pretty fair pace. Insensibly it glides into politics, and becomes rather lively. The lawyer is evidently a whig, the laird a tory of the old stamp, and the dominie neither the one nor the other, but rather more of a tory than anything else, as he is dependent, in some sense, upon 'the powers that be.'
"For my part," says the laird, taking hold of his watch-seals, and twirling them energetically, “I do not believe in your two-faced radicals, who have more impudence in their noddles than money in their pockets, and who go routing about the country, crying up democracy and all that sort of stuff, to the great injury of her majesty's subjects."
"But, my dear sir," replies the lawyer, "you forget that money is not the summum bonum of human life, and that the gentlemen to whom you refer are not impudent radicals, but clear-headed and patriotic whigs."
"All gammon, sir ! all gammon !" is the rejoinder of the laird, "I wouldn't give a fig for the whole pack. One or two of them, I admit, are tolerably respectable men. Lord John Russel belongs to the old nobility, and is a man of some sense, but sadly deceived, full of nonsensical plans and dangerous reforms. As to Dan. O'Connel, he is an old fox, a regular Irish blackguard, who has not heart enough to make a living by honest means, but fleeces it out of the starving Irish, in the shape of repeal rent! Hang the rascal, I should be glad to see him gibbeted! Hume is a mean, beggarly adventurer. And even Sir Robert Peel, with all his excellences, has made sad mistakes on the subject of reform and the corn laws. He's not the thing, after all! Sadly out of joint, sir, sadly out of joint !"
All this is said with such terrible energy, and such a menacing frown, that even the lawyer cowers a little, and the dominie is almost frightened. We think it best, upon the whole, to say little. But, plucking up courage, the lawyer replies:
"Sir, you come to conclusions that are too sweeping. That Lord John Russel is a man of clear intellect and admirable forethought no one will think of denying. His plans are well matured, and, moreover, aim at the good of his country. Hume is a great political economist: Sir R. Peel is a man of the highest order of mind; and Daniel O'Connel, with all his faults, possesses uncommon
powers of eloquence, and, doubtless, seeks the good of his country."
"The good of his country! All humbug, sir! If you had said his own good, you would have come nearer the mark. He's a rascal, sir, rely on it, a mean cowardly rascal, who, pretending to benefit the poor Irish, fills his own pockets with their hard earnings. I appeal to Mr. Cooper here, my respected friend, the parish schoolmaster of Auchingray."..
To which the dominie replies demurely:
"As to my opinion, gentlemen, it is not of much consequence, but such as it is I give with all candor. In the first place I opine that we are liable somewhat to yield to our prejudices in estimating the characters of public men; for, as my old friend, the Rev. Mr. Twist, used to say, they have 'twa maisters to serve, the government and the public, and it's unco difficult sometimes to sail between Scylla and Charybdis.' Moreover, these are trying times, and much of primitive integrity and patriotism are lost. For myself, I do not approve altogether of the course of the whigs, and especially of the radicals. Daniel O'Connel is a devoted Catholic, with no generous aspirations, or enlarged conceptions of the public weal. A great man, certainly, a wonderful orator, no doubt, but much tinctured with selfishness, and carried away by wild and prurient schemes. Lord John Russel is a man of decided talent and fine character, but I have not much confidence, after all, in his practical wisdom, and good common sense. Sir Robert