up almost entirely by young gentlemen, many of them of the very first condition, who took these menial characters to gain admission to the show. When I saw many of my young acquaintance thus attending upon their fathers and kinsmen, the Peers, Knights, and so forth, I could not help thinking of Crabbe's lines, with a little alteration :

'Twas schooling pride to see the menial wait,

Smile on his father, and receive his plate. It must be owned, however, that they proved but indifferent valets, and were very apt, like the clown in the pantomime, to eat the cheer they should have handed to their masters, and to play other tours de page, which reminded me of the caution of our proverb not to man yourself with your kin' The Peers, for example, had only a cold collation, while the Aldermen of London feasted on venison and turtle ; and similar errors necessarily befell others in the confusion of the evening But these slight mistakes, which indeed were not known till afterwards, had not the slightest effect on the general grandeur of the scene.

“ I did not see the procession between the Abbey and Hall. In the morning a few voices called Queen! Queen! as Lord Londonderry passed, and even when the Sovereign appeared. But these were only signals for the loud and reiterated acclamations in which these tones of discontent were completely drowned. In the return, no one dissonant voice intimated the

least dissent from the shouts of gratulation which poured from every quarter ; and certainly never Monarch received a more general welcome from his assembled subjects.

“ You will have from others full accounts of the variety of entertainments provided for John Bull in the Parks, the River, in the Theatres, and elsewhere. Nothing was to be seen or heard but sounds of pleasure and festivity; and whoever saw the scene at any one spot, was convinced that the whole population was assembled there, while others found a similar concourse of revellers in every different point. It is computed that about FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE shared in the Festival in one way or another; and you may imagine the excellent disposition by which the people were animated, when I tell you, that, excepting a few windows broken by a small body-guard of ragamuffins, who were in immediate attendance on the Great Lady in the morning, not the slightest political violence occurred to disturb the general harmony —and that the assembled populace seemed to be universally actuated by the spirit of the day—loyalty, namely, and good-humour. Nothing occurred to damp those happy dispositions ; the weather was most propitious, and the arrangements so perfect, that no accident of any kind is reported as having taken place. — And so concluded the coronation of George IV., whom God long preserve. Those who witnessed it have seen a scene calculated

to raise the country in their opinion, and to throw into the shade all scenes of similar magnificence, from the Field of the Cloth of Gold down to the present day. I remain, your obedient servant,


At the close of this brilliant scene, Scott received a mark of homage to his genius which delighted him not less than Laird Nippy's reverence for the Sheriff's Knoll, and the Sheffield cutler's dear acquisition of his signature on a visiting ticket. Missing his carriage, he had to return home on fout from Westminster, after the banquet—that is to say, between two or three o'clock in the morning ;— when he and a young gentleman his companion found themselves locked in the crowd, somewhere near Whitehall, and the bustle and tumult were such that his friend was afraid some accident might happen to the lame limb. A space for the dignitaries was kept clear at that point by the Scots Greys. Sir Walter addressed a serjeant of this celebrated regiment, begging to be allowed to pass by him into the open ground in the middle of the street. The man answered shortly that his orders were strict — that the thing was impossible. While he was endeavouring to persuade the serjeant to relent, some new wave of turbulence approached from behind, and his young companion exclaimed in a loud voice, “ Take care, Sir Walter Scott, take care!* The stalwart dragoon, on hearing the name, saik, * What! Sir Walter Scott? He shall get through anyhow!" He then addressed the soldiers near him_* Make room, men, for Sir Walter Scott, our illustrious countryman!" The men answered, * Sir Walter Scott—God bless him!” — and he was in a moment within the guarded line of safety.

I shall now take another extract from the memoranda, with which I have been favoured by my friend Allan Cunningham. After the particulars formerly quoted about Scott's sitting to Chantrey in the spring of 1820, he proceeds as follows:

“ I saw Sir Walter again, when he attended the coronation, in 1821. In the meantime his bust had been wrought in marble, and the sculptor desired to take the advantage of his visit to communicate such touches of expression or lineament as the new material rendered necessary. This was done with a happiness of eye and hand almost magical: for five hours did the poet sit, or stand, or walk, while Chantrey's chisel was passed again and again over the marble, adding something at every touch.

"• Well, Allan,' he said, when he saw me at this last sitting, were you at the coronation? it was a splendid sight. • No, Sir Walter,' I answered, — • places were dear and ill to get: I am told it was a magnificent scene: but having seen the procession of King Crispin at Dumfries, I was satisfied. I said this with a smile: Scott took it as I meant it, and laughed heartily. “That's not a bit better than Hogg,' he said. "He stood balancing the matter whether to go to the coronation or the fair of Saint Boswell — and the fair carried it.

“ During this conversation, Mr Bolton the engineer came in. Something like a cold acknowledgment passed between the poet and him. On his passing into an inner room, Scott said, “I am afraid Mr Bolton has not forgot a little passage that once took place between us. We met in a public company, and in reply to the remark of some one, he said, “. That's like the old saying, -in every corner of the world you will find a Scot, a rat, and a Newcastle grindstone.” This touched my Scotch spirit, and I said, “ Mr Bolton, you should have added — and a Brummagem button.There was a laugh at this, and Mr Bolton replied, “ We make something better in Birmingham than buttons—we make steamengines, sir.”

6. I like Bolton,' thus continued Sir Walter; "he is a brave man, and who can dislike the brave?He showed this on a remarkable occasion. He had engaged to coin for some foreign prince a large quantity of gold. This was found out by some desperadoes, who resolved to rob the premises, and as a preliminary step tried to bribe the porter. The porter

« ElőzőTovább »