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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


Newhaven.] ?OUR LADY?S PORT OF GRACE.? 295 1815 it was changed to a revolving light, as at present. Its elevation is 235 feet above the waterline. On the 1st October, 1835, thereflecting light was discontinued, and a dioptric light was put in its place, It consists of seven annular lenses, which circulate round a great lamp having three concentric wicks and produce brilliant flashes once in every minute, and of five rows of curved mirrors, which, being fixed, serve to prolong the duration of the flashes from the lenses. The appearance of the new light does not, therefore, differ materially from that of the old one-save that the flashes which recur at the same periods, are considerably more brilliant, and of shorter duration. In clear weather the light is not totally eclipsed between the flashes at a distance of four or five miles, and it is visible at the distance of eighteen nautical miles. . The expense of this lighthouse in 1839 was The old light of 1803~ with all its apparatus, was purchased by the Government of Newfoundland, and is still in use on Cape Spear, near the Narrows of St. John. A467 14s. sd. C H A P T E R XXV. NEWHAVEN. Cobbett on Edinburgh-Jam- IV.5 Dockyard -Hi Gift or Newhaven to Edinburgh-The Gnat Mick&Embarkation of Mary of G b Works at Newhaven in the Sixteenth Century-The L i V k u n t Newhaven-The Feud with Preston-The Sea Fencibles- Chain Pier-Dr. Fairbairn-The Fishwives-Superstitions. IT may not be uninteresting to quote, the ideas entertained of Edinburgh by an English visitor in the first years of the nineteenth century, as he was -in his time-considered a typical John Bull, I now come back to this delightful and beautiful city,? wrote William Cobbett in his RegWr. I thought Bristol, taking in its heights and Clifton with its rocks and river, was the finest city in the world; but it is nothing to Edinburgh, with its castle, its hills, its pretty little seaport detached from it, its vale of rich land lying all around, its lofty hills in the background, its views across the Firth. I think little of its streets and its rows of fine houses, though all built of stone, and though everything in London and Bath is begary to these ; I thing nothing of Holyrood House ; but I think a great deal of the fine and well-ordered streets of shops ; of the regularity which you perceive everywhere in the management of business ; and I think still more of the absence of that foppishness and that affectation of carelessness and insolent assumption of superiority in almost all the young men you meet in the fashionable parts of the great towns in England. I was not disappointed, for I expected to find Edinburgh the finest city in the kingdom. . . . The people, however, still exceed the place; here all is civility; you do not meet with rudeness, or with the want of disposition to oblige, even in the persons of the lowest state of life. A fiend took me round the environs of the city ; he had a turnpike ticket, received at the first gate, which cleared five or six gates. It was sufficient for him to tell the gate-keepers that he had it. When I saw that, I said to myself, ?Nota bene: gate keepers take people?s wordin Scotland,? a thing I have not seen before since I left Long Island.? Now its seaport is no longer (? detached,? but has become an integral part of Edinburgh, and all the vale of rich land? between it and the Forth to Granton, Trinity, and Newhaven, is covered by a network of fine roads and avenues, bordered by handsome villas. Newhaven now conjoined to Leith, and long deemed only a considerable fishing village, lies two miles north of Princes Street, and yet consists chiefly of the ancient village \;hich is situated, quoad civilia, in the parish of North Leith, and whose inhabitants are still noted as a distinct community, rarely intermarrying with any other class. The male inhabitants are almost entirely fishermen, and the women are employed in selling the produce of their husbands? industry in the streets of the city and suburbs. Intermarriage seems to produce among them a peculiar cast of countenance and physical constitution. The women, inured to outdoor daily labour in all weathers, are robust, active, and remarkable for their florid complexions, healthy figures, and regular features, as for the singularity of their costume. In the fifteenth century this village was designated ? Our Lady?s Port of Grace,? from a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. James, some portions of which still exist in the ancient or unused burial-ground of the centre of the village. The nearly entire west gable, with a square window in it, can still be seen in the Vennel, a narrow
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Volume 6 Page 296
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