« PreviousContinue »
the mistake re-echoed by the most sensible, prayer-meeting ; and yet these good people, sedate, and dance-abhorring Presbyterians put them fairly into a reel, can frisk it about one meets with. If the only test of good with all possible demonstrations of hilarity. dancing were activity, there is indeed no They prefer the quadrille, I imagine, upon question, the northern beaux and belles something of the same principle which leads might justly claim the pre-eminence over a maid-servant to spend her two shillings on a their brethren and sisters of the south. In tragedy rather than on a comedy. I could not an Edinburgh ball-room, there appears to help in my own mind likening these dolobe the same pride of bustle, the same glory- rous pas seuls performed in rotation by each ing in muscular agitation and alertness of the quadrillers, and then succeeded by the same “ sudor immanis,” to use the the more clamorous display of sadness in poet's phrase, which used of old to distin their chaine Angloise, &c.. to the account guish the sports of the Circus or the Cam which Miss Edgeworth gives us of the Irish pus Martius. But this is all ;--the want of lyke-wake, wherein each of the cousins grace is as conspicuous in their perform chaunts a stave of lamentation, solo, and ances, as the abundance of vigour. We de. the whole generation of them join in the siderate the conscious towerlike poise--the screaming treble of the choral ulululuh! hu! easy, slow, unfatiguing glide of the fair pu 66 Why did you leave the potatoes ?" pils of D'estainville. To say the truth, the “ What ailed thee, Pat, with the butter. ladies in Scotland dance in common pretty milk !” &c. &c. &c. much like our country lasses at a harvest • The waltz has been even more unfor. home. They kick and pant as if the devil tunate than the quadrille ; it is still entirely were in them; and when they are young an exotic in the North. I do not at all find and pretty, it is undoubtedly no disagreeable fault with the prejudices which have checked thing to be a spectator of their athletic dis. the progress of this fascinating dance among play ; but I think they are very ignorant of the disciples of John Knox and Andrew dancing as a science. Comparatively few Melville. I really am of opinion, that it of them manage their feet well, and of these might have been as well, had we of the few what a very insignificant portion know South been equally shy of the iinportation.” any thing about that equally important part Vol. i. pp. 400. 406. of the art-the management of the arms. We break off our quotations rather And then, how absurdly they thrust out abruptly, but, in truth, as the waltz their shoulder blades ! How they neglect has never become naturalized here, we the undulation of the back ! One may compare them to fine masses of silver, the little
do not exactly comprehend upon what awkward workmanship bestowed on which pretence the doctor thought fit to swell rather takes from than adds to the natural a book professedly descriptive of Scotbeauty of the materials. As for the gentle tish manners, with seventeen pages of men, they seldom display even vigour and abuse ethical, political and medical, animation, unless they be half-cut--and of this Saxon dance. We shall, howthey never display any thing else.
ever, make room for å few extracts • It is fair, however, to mention, that in which the doctor has inserted from a the true indigenous dances of the country, above all in the reel (the few times I saw
poem entitled “ Waltzman Apostroit), these defects seemed in a great measure
phic Hymn, by Francis Hornem, Esq.” to vanish, so that ambition and affectation a production which we do not reare after all at the bottom of their bad dan member ever before to have heard of. cing in the present day, as well as of their Like the editors of the Delphin bad writing. The quadrille, notwithstand classics, the doctor seems to have found ing, begins to take with the soil, and the it necessary to make use of asterisks girls can already go through most of its' at times;—with what reason, we, of manquvres without having recourse to their course, possess no means of deciding. fans. But their beaux continue certainly to perform these new-fangled evolutions, in a “ Borne on the breath of Hyperborean way that would move the utmost spleen of a gales, Parisian butcher. What big, lazy, clumsy From Hamburgh's port (while Hamburgh fellows one sees lumbering cautiously, on yet had Mails): toes that should not be called light and fan- Ere yet unlucky Fame-compelled to creep tastic, but rather heavy and syllogistic. It To snowy Gottenburgh-waschilled to slep;seems that there goes a vast deal of ratiocina. Or, starting from her slumbers, deigned arise, tion to decide upon the moves of their game. Heligoland ! to stock thy mart with lies ; The automaton does not play chess with While unburnt Moscow yet had news to send, such an air of lugubrious gravity. Of a Nor owed her fiery exit to a friend, surety, Terpsichore was never before wor She came-Waltz came and with her cershipped by such a solemn set of devotees.
tain sets One of our own gloomy Welsh Jumpers, Of true despatches, and as true Gazettes ; could he be suddenly transported among Then flamed of Austerlitz the blest despatch, some sets that I have seen, would un Which Moniteur nor Morning Post can doubtedly imagine himself to be in a saltatory match;
And-almost crushed beneath the glorious O say, shall dull Romaika's heavy round, news,
Fandango's wriggle, or Bolero's bound;
Each tourist pens a paragraph for • Waltz.' Of Heynē, such as should not sink the packet. “ Shades of those belles, whose reign be
Fraught with this cargo and her fair gan of yore, est freight,
With George the Third's and ended long Delightful Waltz, on tiptoe for a mate,
before; The welcome vessel reached thegenial strand, Though in your daughters' daughters yet And round her flocked the daughters of the
you thrive, land.
Burst from your lead, and beyourselves alive!
Back to the ball-room speed your spectered Not lovelorn Quixote-when his Sancho
Fools' Paradise is dull to that you lost ;
Goats in their visage, women in their shape); Beheld thee twirling to a Saxon tune !
No damsel faints when rather closely pressed, “ To you-ye husbands of ten years ! But more caressing seems when most carwhose brows
scenes ; Always the ladies' and sometimestheir lords'; Wide and more wide thy witching circle To you—ye single gentlemen! who seek
Endearing Weltz—to thy more melt. Gods! how the glorious theme my strain
exalts, Bow Irish jig-and ancient rigadoon ; And rhyme finds partner rhyme in praise of Scotch reels avaunt !-and country dance
• Waltz.' forego
We have already quoted a few of Your future claims to each fantastic toe;
the doctor's remarks on the state of Waltz-Waltz-alone both arms and legs political, or rather party feeling in
demands, Liberal of feet-and lavish of her hands ;
Edinburgh; and we observe with saHands which may freely range in public tisfaction, that the severe and sarcastic sight,
manner in which he has ventured to Where ne'er before-but-pray
comment on some parts of " False the light.”
opinion's fickle sheen,” has given in.: Methinks the glare of yonder chandelier finite uneasiness to the clamourous Shines much too far-or I am much too near;
rag-tag-and-bobtail of our northern And true, though -strangeWaltz whispers Whigs. The doctor, nevertheless, is
this remark, • My slippery steps are safest in the dark.'
as far as possible from carrying the But here the Muse with due decorum halts, prejudices of his political creed with And lends her longest petticoat to Waltz. him, into matters with which politics
“ Observant travellers ! of every time, have no necessary connexion. He has Ye quartos ! published upon every clime; too much perception of talent not to
respect it wherever and by whomso- their sphere. Do not suppose, however, ever it is manifested. The tone of his that I mean to represent any part of the re. disquisitions concerning our universi- spect with which these gentlemen treat their ties and their professors might be ad- senior, as the result of empty prejudice. duced as furnishing the most ample Mr Clerk ; the very essence of his character proof of this liberality; but we prefer is scorn of ornament, and utter loathing of to quote a part of his chapter “on the affectation. He is the plainest, the shrewd. Scottish Bar,” as more likely to afford est, and the most sarcastic of men; his the pleasure of novelty both to our sceptre owes the whole of its power to its northern and our southern readers. weight-nothing to glitter. After explaining at considerable length " It is impossible to imagine a physiognothe origin of that great and unques- my more expressive of the character of a
The features tionable ascendancy which the bar of great lawyer and barrister. Scotland exerts over the whole of our
are in themselves good—at least a paint
er would call them so; and the upper. nation, and devoting several interesting part of the profile has as fine lines as could pages to an enumeration of some of be wished. “But then, how the habits of the those illustrious men, whose characters, mind have stamped their traces on every and attainments, and exertions, have part of the face! What sharpness, what been the principal means of founding, razor-like sharpness has indented itself about confirming, and adorning this authori- the wrinkles of his eyelids ; the eyes themty; the doctor descends to the
present selves, so quick, so gray, such bafflers of day, and proceeds to describe the par-, they change their expression—it seems al
scrutiny, such exquisite scrutinizers, how. liament-house of Edinburgh, (our most how they change their colour-shiftScottish Westminster-hall) as he saw ing from contracted, concentrated blackness, it with his own eyes, A. D. 1813. We through every shade of brown, blue, green, shall omit the first part of this descrip- and hazel, back into their own open, gleamtion, as being rather too bitter for our ing gray again. How they glisten into a pages. The wits of “ the Stove School smile of disdain !-Aristotle says, that all seem indeed to have found small fa. laughter springs from emotions of conscious vour in our traveller's eyes; and he superiority. I never saw the Stagyrite so
well illustrated as in the smile of this gencharacterizes, in a way which we fear
tleman. He seems to be affected with the would bring him into much bad odour
most delightful and balmy feelings, by the in certain pretty important quarters, contemplation of some soft-headed, prosing many of the most noisy apostles of that driveller racking his poor brain, or bellowcelebrated sect. But it is our opinion, ing his lungs out all about something that the doctor always writes best when which he, the smiler, sees through so thohis subject is a good one, and we there- roughly, so distinctly. Blunder follows fore proceed to his sketches of some of brain of the bewildered hammerer; and every
blunder ; the mist thickens about the the true living ornaments of our bar.
plunge of the bogtrotter-every deepening It is astonishing with what precision shade of his confusion-is attested by some he has caught the distinguishing and more copious infusion of Sardonic suavity characteristic traits both of manner into the horrible, ghastly, grinning smile of. and of merits. His portraits are, in the happy Mr Clerk. How he chuckles fact, so just and spirited, that we have over the solemn spoon whom he hath fairly no doubt,
got into his power,
When he rises at the
conclusion of his display, he seems to col“ The eyes that see them now shall be their lect himself like a kite above a covey of praisers
partridges; he is in no hurry to come down, To them that shall come after.”
but holds his victims with his glittering
eye,' and smiles, sweetly, and yet more By the unanimous consent of his breth- sweetly, the bitter assurance of their coming ren, Mr John CLERK is the present Chory- fate; then out he stretches his arm, as the phæus of the bar Juris consultorum sui kite may his wing, and changing the smile seculi facile princeps.' Others there are that by degrees into a frown, and drawing down surpass him in a few particular points both his eyebrows from their altitude among the of learning and of practice, but on the whole, wrinkles of his forehead, and making them his superiority is entirely unrivalled and un to hang like fringes quite over his diminishdisputed. Those who approach the nearest ing and brightening eyes, and mingling a to him are indeed so much his juniors, that tincture of deeper scorn in the wave of his he cannot fail to have an immense ascen.' lips, and projecting his chin, and suffusing dancy over them, both from the actual ad. his whole face with the very livery of wrath, vantages of his longer study and experience, how he pounces with a scream upon his prey and, without offence to him or them be it and may the Lord have mercy upon their added, from the effects of their early admi., unhappy souls ! ration of him, while he was as yet far above “ He is so sure of himself, and he has
the happy knack of seeming to be so sure had a certain cast of elegance even in its of his case, that the least appearance of la utmost breadth. But the truth is, that the bour, or concern, or nicety of arrangement, matter of his orations is far too good to al. or accuracy of expression, would take away low of much attention being made to its from the imposing effect of his cool, careless, manner; and after a little time I scarcely scornful, and determined negligence. Even remarked that he was speaking a dialect dif. the greatest of his opponents sit, as it were, ferent from my own, excepting when, rebuked before his gaze of intolerable deri- screwing his features into their utmost bitsion. But careless and scornful as he is, terness, or else relaxing them into their what a display of skilfulness in the way of broadest glee, he launched forth some mysputting his statements; what command of terious vernacularism of wrath or merriment, intellect in the strength with which he deals to the tenfold confusion or tenfold delight of the irresistible blows of his arguments those for whose use it was intended. blows of all kinds, fibbers, cross-buttockers, " I had almost forgot to mention that this but most often and most delightedly sheer old barrister, who at the bar has so much facers choppers. · Ars est celare artem,' is his the air of having never thought of any thing motto; or rather, Usus ipse natura est ;' for but his profession, is, in fact, quite the rewhere was there ever such an instance of the verse of a mere lawyer. Like old Voet, certain sway of tact and experience? It is who used to be so much laughed at by the truly a delightful thing, to be a witness of this Leyden Jurisconsults for his frequenting the mighty intellectual gladiator, scattering every town-hall in that city (where there is, it thing before him like a king upon his old seems, a very curious collection of paint. soccustomed arena; with an eye swift as ings), Mr Clerk is a great connoisseur in lightning to discover the unguarded point of pictures, and devotes to them a very
consi. his adversary, and a hand steady as iron to derable portion of his time. He is not a direct his weapon, and a mask of impene mere connoisseur however, and indeed, I trable stuff that throws back like a rock the suspect, carries as much true knowledge of prying gaze that would dare to retaliate the art in his little finger, as the whole reupon his own lynx-like penetration-what a porting committee of the Dilettanti Society champion is here! It is no wonder that do in their heads. The truth is, that he every litigant in this covenanting land should is himself a capital artist, and had he given have learned to look on it as a mere tempting himself entirely to the art he loves so well, of Providence to omit retaining John Clerk. would have been, I have little doubt, by far
“ As might be expected from a man of the greatest master Scotland ever has prohis standing in years and in talent, this duced. I went one day, by mere accident, great advocate disdains to speak any other into my friend John Ballantyne's sale-room, than the language of his own country. I at the moment when that most cunning of am not sure, indeed, but there may be some all tempters had in his hand a little pen and little tinge of affectation in his pertinacious ink sketch by Mr Clerk-drawn upon the adherence to both the words and the music outer page of • a reclaiming petition'-proof his Doric dialect. However, as he has bably while some stupid opponent supposed perfectly the appearance and manners of a himself to be uttering things highly worthy of gentleman, and even, every now and then, Clerk's undivided attention. I bought the (when it so likes him), something of the scrap for a mere trifle-but, I assure you, I air of the courtier about him,- there is an value it very highly. It hangs, at this moimpression quite the reverse of vulgarity ment, over my chimney-piece, just under produced by the mode of his speaking; and, your old favourite, the blister-piece, by in this respect, he is certainly quite in a dif- Jack. I have shewn it to Mrs
and ferent situation from some of his younger Tom
and several others of my brethren, who have not the excuse of age friends, and they all agree it is quite a Bi. for the breadth of their utterance, nor, what jou. The subject is Bathsheba, with her is perhaps of greater importance still, the foot in the water. The David is inimitable. same truly antique style in its breadth. Of -Mr Clerk is a mighty patron of artists, this, indeed, I could not pretend to be a and has a splendid gallery of pictures in his judge ; but some of my friends assured me
own possession."-Vol. i. pp. 502-510. that nothing could be more marked than the difference between the Scotch of one who
But we reserve the doctor's descriplearned it sixty years ago, and that of the tion of Mr Clerk's admirable collecyounger generation. These last, they ob- tion, to be printed at the bottom of served, have had few opportunities of' hav- the page, by way of a running coming Scotch spoken, but among servants, &c. ' mentary on Mr Wastle's Sixth Canto, so that there clings to all their own expres, which we expect ere long to have put sions, when they make use of the neglected into our hands, and in which, as the dialect, a rich favour of the hall or the poet has already promised, we are all stable. Now, Mr Clerk, who is a man of excellent family and fashion, spent
to be led “ upon a Dilettante tour" all his early years among ladies and gen- through Mr Clerk's gallery, the exqui. tlemen, who spoke nothing whatever but site collection of Mr Thomson Martin
Scotch ; and even I could observe (or so, at (the finest, it is probable, ever exhileast, I persuaded myself), that his language bited by any picture-dealer either at
home or abroad), and indeed through tually into its circle. The stream of his all the pictoric riches of this ca
discourse flowed on calmly and clearly ; the pital, and its environs. The doetor voice itself was mellow yet commanding; then returns to a more minute and the pronunciation exact, but not pedantitechnical consideration of Mr Clerk's cally so; the ideas rose gradually out of
each other, and seemed to clothe themselves legal qualifications ; but we shall in the best and most accurate of phraseolotake the liberty to omit the whole gy, without the exertion of a single thought of the ten pages which he devotes in its selection. The fascination was ere to this interesting subject. As the long complete ; and, when he closed his doctor cannot be suspected of have speech, it seemed to me as if I had never ing any jurisprudential learning him- before witnessed any specimen of the true self, it is evident that he has modestly
“ Melliflua Majestas” of Quinctilian.
“ The only defect in his manner of speakgiven up his judgment into the hands; of some of his Whig acquaintances of ing (and it is, after all, by no means a con.
stant defect), is a certain appearance of the Northern bar; and to make a long coldness, which, I suspect, is nearly insestory short, we prefer Dr Morris's parable from so much accuracy. Mr Cranown eyes to these thick spectacles. stoun is a man of high birth and refined haHe had made good use of his eyes be- bits, and he has profited abundantly by all fore he drew the following happy the means of education which either his own sketch, but certainly not better than or the sister country can afford. His sucthe subject deserved.
cess in his profession was not early, (al
though never was any success so rapid af“ There cannot be a greater contrast be- ter it once had a beginning); and he spent, tween any two individuals, of eminent ac- therefore, many years of his manhood in quirements, than there is between Mr Clerk the exquisite intellectual enjoyments of and the gentleman who ranks next to him an elegant scholar, before he had either in. at the Scottish bar—Mr Cranstoun. They clination or occasion to devote himself enmutually set off each other to great advan- tirely to the more repulsive studies of the tage; they are rivals in nothing ; potwith- law. It is no wonder, that in spite of his standing their total dissimilitude in almost continual practice, and of his great natural every respect, they are well nigh equally eloquence, the impression of these delightadmired by every one. I am much mista- ful years should have become too deep ever ken if any thing could furnish a more un to be concealed from view ; and that, even equivocal testimony to the talents of them in the midst of the most brilliant displays both.
of his Forensic exertion, there should min. “ It was my fortune to see Mr Cranstoun gle something in his air, which reminds us for the first time, as he rose to make his that there is still another sphere wherein reply to a fervid, masculine, homely ha- his spirit would be yet more perfectly. at rangue of my old favourite ; and I was home. To me, I must confess, although never less predisposed to receive favourably I am aware that you will laugh at me the claims of a stranger upon my admiration. for doing so, there was always present, There was something, however, about the while I listened to this accomplished speaker, new speaker which would not permit me to a certain feeling of pain. I could scarcely refuse him my attention, although I con- help regretting that he should have become fess I could scarcely bring myself to listen a barrister at all. The lucid power of into him with much gusto for several minutes. vestigation--the depth of argument,the I felt, to use a simile in Mr Clerk's own richness of illustration-mall set forth and way, like a person whose eyes have been embalmed in such a strain of beautiful and dazzled with some strong, rich, luxuriant unaffected language, appeared to me to be piece of the Dutch or Flemish school, and almost too precious for the purposes to who cannot taste, in immediate transition, which they were devoted—even although, the more pale, calm, correct gracefulness in this their devotion, they were also mi. of an Italian Fresco ; nevertheless, the eyes nistering to my own delight. I could not become cool as tlley gaze, and the mind is help saying to myself, what a pity, that he gradually yielded up to a less stimulant, wlio might have added a new name to the but in the end a’yet more captivating and most splendid triumphs of his countrysoothing species of seduction. The pensive who might perhaps have been equal to any and pallid countenance, every delicate line one as historian, philosopher, or statesman, of which seemed to breathe the very spirit should have been induced, in the early and of compact thoughtfulness-the mild con inconscious diffidence of his genius, to give templative blue eyes, with now and then a himself to a profession which can never afflash of irresistible tire in them the lips, ford any adequate remuneration, either for so full of precision and tastefulness, not per the talents which he has devoted to its serhaps without a dash of fastidiousness in the vice, or the honour which he has conferred compression of their curves _thegentle, easy, upon its name. but firm and dignified air and attitude Having this feeling, I of course could "every thing about him had its magic, and not join in the regret which I heard expressthe charm was not long in winning meettec- ed by all my friends in Edinburgh, in con