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Edinburgh Past and Present


MUSSELBURGH. 125 plishment conducts to Carberry Hill, ever memorable as the place where the beauteous Mary, after her unhappy marriage with Bothwell, surrendered herself into the hands of the confederate lords, wlience she was conveyed to Edinburgh, amid the taunts and reproaches of the populace, giving vent to her deep grief and despair in blinding tears and bitter lamentations ; while to the north again, and down near the shore to the distance of a mile or twa, is the scene of the battle between the half-armed Highlanders of Prince Charles and the thoroughly equipped forces of Sir John Cope, and where the latter suffered such a complete and disgraceful overthrow, numbering among the slain on the occasion one daring and distinguished officer, 'the good and the gallant Gardiner,' who, 'disdaining to save his life at the expense of his honour,' fell, fighting bravely on foot, pierced by shot and covered with wounds, in sight of his own threshold. Musselburgh of late years does not seem to have .undergone much change. It presents very nearly the same appearance that it did when Charles Stuart, passing through it on his march southward, bowed to the ladies who surveyed him from their windows, bending to the young and beautiful among them till his hair even mingled with the mane of his charger. Here and there indeed a dwelling of a more spacious and imposing kind has been erected in the principal thoroughfare; and in the outskirts or suburbs, villas and mansions of a very ornate and handsome style, beautified with tree and shrubbery and flow-er-plot, the abodes of wealth and luxury, with a fine row of neat, comfortable, picturesque cottages, running parallel with the west bank of the river, the happy homes of fortunate merchants or retired seacaptains, have recently sprung up. With all this, however, Musselburgh for centuries has altered but little. We feel, as we saunter through it, from the unevenness or irregularity of its architecture, as well as from the many blind closes, and narrow and divergent lanes and alleys, that it is a place of great antiquity. Still, Musselburgh is a clean, tidy, .interesting town ; finely situated, surrounded with scenery for richness, variety, and extent rarely surpassed ; and connected with historic incident of a national character and importance, which stirs the blood and fires the heart of every leal-souled Scotsman. Randolph, thenoble brother of the royal Bruce, lived and died here ; here Dugald Stewart, the genial gentleman and learned sage, thought out his ' Philosophical Essays' and prepared 'them for the press ; Dr. Carlyl?, the Jupite~ Tomm of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland-a brave old soul in many ways, of a half-Christian half-pagan type-here preached a sort of moral essays, made bad puns, and entertained at his hospitable table all the wit, the learning,
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I25 QUEENSFERRY TO MUSSELBURGH. - ~~ ~ __~ ~ and the poetry of his times; and here too the kindIy-hearted and richlygifted Delta, the fast friend of the brilliant Christopher of Noctes Ambrosium fame, and a regular contributor to the immortal Muga, lived, and laboured, and sung-dividing his time very much between healing the sick and glorifying the belZt-s lettrt-s, and to whose memory ‘ the honest toun ’ has done well in raising that fine statue of him, by Brodie, at the south end of the new bridge. Musselburgh truly is a grand old town. We know few places we should like better to spend the afternoon of our lifeday in, if we should ever be so fortunate as to have such an afternoon, which, to say the least, is very problematical. ‘ 0 bless’d retirement ! friend to life’s decline, Retreat from care, that never may be mine ! A youth of labour with an age of ease ! ’
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