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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Bristo Street. 328 1837. ?? We found her sitting in the parlour, with some papers on the table. Her appearance at first betrayed a little of that languor and apathy which attend age and solitude; but the moment she comprehended the object of our visit, her countenance-which even yd retains the lineaments of what Clarinda may be supposed to have beenbecame animated and intelligent ? That,? said she, rising ~ p , and pointing to an engraving over the mantelpiece, ?is a likeness of niy r.elative at his death in York Place, in 1813, left her an annuity, and thirty years after still found her living in Edinburgh. ?? She is now nearly eighty years of age, but enjoys excellent health,? says Kay?s editor in February, that is ; it was presented to me by Constable and Co., for having simply declared what I know to be true-that the likeness was good.? We spoke of the correspondence between the poet and Clarinda, at which she smiled, and pleasantly remarked on the great change which the lapse of so many years had produced in her personal appearance. Indeed, any observation respecting Burns seemed to afford her pleasure. Having prolonged our intrusion to the limits of courtesy, (Lord Craig), about whom you have been inquiring. He was the best friend I ever had.? After a little conversation about his lordship, she directed our attention to a picture of Bums by I Horsburgh, after Taylor, (You will know who THE MERCHANT MAIDEN?S HOSPITAL, BRISTO, 1820. (AjtmStorw.)
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Bristo Street.] ALISON RUTHERFORD. 329 and conversed on various topics, we took leave of the venerable lady, highly gratified by the interview. To see and talk with one whose name is so indissolubly associated with the fame of Bums, and whose talents and virtues were so much fare, where, in the days of her widowhood, as Mrs Cockburn of Ormiston, resided Alison Rutherford of Fahielee, Roxburghshire, authoress of the modem version of the ?? Flowers of the Forest ? and other Scottish songs-in her youth a ?forest flower esteemed by the bard-who has now (in 1837) been sleeping the sleep of death for upwards of forty years-may well give rise to feelings of no ordinary description. In youth Clarinda must have been about the middle size. Bums, she said, if living, would have been about her own age, probably a few months older.? Off Bristo Street there branches westward Crichton Street, SO named from an architect of the time, a gloomy, black, and old-fashioned thoroughof rare beauty.? She removed hither from Blair?s Close in the Castle-hill, and her house was the scene of many happy and brilliant reunions Even in age her brown hair never grew grey, and she wore it combed over a toupee, with a lace band tied under her chin, and her sleeves puffed out in the fashion of Mary?s time. ?She maintained,? says Scott, ?that rank in the society of Edinburgh which French women of talent usually do in that of Paris ; and in her little parlour used to assemble a
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