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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


summons (said Sir Walter Scott, in the [email protected] Revkw,) instead of rousing the hearts of the volunteers, like the sound of a trumpet, rather reminded them of a passing knell. Most pitiful was the bearing of the volunteers, according to Dr. Carlyle of Inveresk, who was one of them on this occasion. ? The ladies in the windows treated us very variously; many with lamentation, and even with tears, and some with scorn and derision. In one house on the south side of the street there was a row of windows full of ladies, who appeared to enjoy our march to danger with much mirth and levity.? He adds that these civic warriors were about to fire on these ladies; but they pulled their windows down. Summoned from Leith, the 14th Dragoons came spurring up the street, huzzaing and clashing their swords in silly bravado ; the volunteers began their march, with wives and children clinging to them, imploring them not to risk their lives against wild Highland savages ; but resolutely enough their The preposterous idea of meeting the Highlanders in the open field was abandoned; the remains of the force were led to the College yards and dismissed for the evening ; but the City Guard, the men of the Edinburgh Regiment, and the cavalry, went out to reconnoitre as far as Corstorphine. Seeing nothing of the enemy, the famous ~ and pious Colonel Gardiner of the 13th Dragoons, who commanded the whole, halted in the fields between Edinburgh and Leith, leaving a small party OLD HOUSES, WEST now. (From a MeawredDrazuing by T. Hamilton, pirUiskd in 1830.) commander ex-Provost Drummond led the way, till the most ludicrous cowardice was exhibited by all. ?? In descending the famous West Bow, they disappeared by scores under doorways or down wynds, till, when their commander halted at the West Port and looked behind him, he found, to his surprise and mortification, that nearly the whole of his valiant followers had disappeared, and that only a few of his personal friends remained. The author of a contemporary pamphlet-alleged to be David Hume-afterwards compared their march to the course of the Rhine, which at one place is a majestic river, rolling its waves through fertile fields, but being continually drawn off by little canals, dwindles into a small streamlet, and is almost lost in the sands before reaching the ocean.* It was said that the volunteers rushed about in the sorest tribulation, bribing with sixpences every soldier they met to take their arms to the Castle. to watch the west road, while fresh volunteers came into the city from Musselburgh and Dalkeith. That night Brigadier Fowkes arrived from London to assume the command, and he at once led the cavalry towards Coltbridge, which spans the Leith, about two miles distant from the then city. Here a few Highland gentlemen, forming the Prince?s van, fired their pistols, on which adreadful panic at once seized the 13th and 14th Dragoons, who went ?threes about,? and, laden with all the property they could ?? loot ? from Corstorphine and Bell?s Mills, were seen from the Castle and the city, flying in wild disorder eastward by the Lang Gate. At Leith they halted for a few minutes till a cry was raised, in mockery, that the Highlanders were at hand, when again they resumed their flight as far as Preston Pans. Then a cry from one of their comrades, who fell into a disused coalpit, filled these cravens with such ungovernable terror, that they fled to North Berwick. The road by which they galloped was strewn, according to Dr. Carlyle, with their swords, pistols, carbines, and skull-caps, which the mortified Colonel Gardiner, who had passed the night at his own house at Bankton, caused to be gleaned up and sent in covered carts to Dunbar. General Guest sent a detachment into the city to spike the cannon, which in his heart he had no wish should be used against the Prince, tG save them for whom the Provost declined all
Volume 2 Page 324
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