+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

"Once," says Mr. Chambers, "this
was the court end of the town, and occupied
by persons of distinction. It is now
abandoned to the meanest of the mean;
several of the houses are dilapidated, and
the street flutters in rags and wretchedness."
At the foot of a wretched wynd,
now happily demolished, stood the palace
of Cardinal Beaton, once the temporary
residence of James the Fifth. Moray
House, the palace of the famous Regent of
Scotland, is still standing, and is used as a
training college for teachers of the Free
Church. Further down the street is
Queensberry House, formerly the town
residence of the dukes with that title, and now
a house of refuge for the destitute poor, who,
however destitute they may be on the
"Sabbath," are warned by a notification on the
gate not to expect relief upon that day.

At the foot of the Canongate, which
through its whole course suggests to the
visitor the saying of the Scotsman who
returned to his native country after a long
.absence in India, "Ah, Edinburgh, I smell
ye noo!" we enter the precincts of Holy-rood
or the Holy Cross. A mournful palace
it is. The ghost of David Rizzio seems to
haunt the whole place, even although the
greater portion of the building was erected
long after his murder, and long after poor
Queen Mary had ceased to inhabit it.
Cromwell battered down a great portion of the
building. It was restored in harmony with
the original design in the reign of Charles
the Second. The old portion which Mary
inhabited still excites the greatest interest
among visitors, and the supposed blood-
stains in the little chamber where the savage
Scotch lords, with the queen's husband at
their head, coming up by a secret stair,
slew the poor Italian while clinging
abjectly to his mistress's robes for protection,
are among the first objects which every
stranger hastens to see. In fact, there is
little in Holyrood of any interest whatever
except those portions of the building which
are associated with Queen Mary's history.
This and an adjoining room contain some
undoubted relics of the unhappy lady, and
some pieces of mouldering tapestry wrought
by her own hands. The antique bedsteads
and furniture, shown as having belonged
to her, are generally believed to be spurious.
Cold must be the heart and uninformed
the intellect of either man or woman who
can visit these sad chambers without melancholy
reflections on the old, yet ever new,
subject the instability of human greatness
and the sole sufficiency of virtue to produce

In a long disproportioned apartment in
the palace, which is dignified with the name
of a picture gallery, the Scottish peers
assemble to elect to each British parliament
sixteen of their number to represent them
in the House of Lords. Many, however, of
the Scottish peers of the highest rank are
English peers also, such as the Dukes of
Sutherland, Buccleuch, Argyll, Montrose,
Hamilton, and others. This gallery
contains what are called the "portraits" of a
hundred and sixteen kings of Scotland,
including Old King Cole, or "Coil,"
Macbeth, Duncan, and scores of others who
probably never had any real existence.
These daubs, for the greater portion of
them are little better, all appear to be the
result of the not very praiseworthy industry
of one workman. In the earlier portraits of
the traditionary monarchs it is palpable
that he must have drawn upon his
imagination for his likenesses. The later
portraits, from the first of the Stuarts down-
wards, are as authentic as the artist's skill
in copying could make them.

Holyrood Palace is still nominally a
royal residence, and Queen Victoria
occasionally resided there, on her visits to
Scotland, in those comparatively early days,
when the railway system was not com-
pleted far enough towards Balmoral to
enable the journey from London to be
comfortably made within the twenty-four hours.
After the French Revolution of 1830, when
Charles the Tenth, the Charles le Simple
of the poet Beranger, slunk out of his
throne, as Louis Philippe did eighteen
years afterwards, apartments in Holyrood
Palace were placed at his disposal by the
more fortunate monarch of Great Britain.

Adjoining the palace are the ruins of the
Abbey, once, next to Melrose and Elgin, the
most splendid structure of its kind in
Scotland, and that, even in dilapidation, shows
how beautiful it must have been when it
stood perfect, as it came from the hands of
the builders. Within its precincts the
members of the royal house of Stuart were
formerly buried, and many of the ancient
Scottish families still enjoy and claim the
privilege of sepulture within its walls.


GREY, dimly outlined 'neath the sullen skies,
Lies the half-frozen mere, its silver face
Veiled by the wintry gloaming: silent voiced,
Cold, calm, and still as soft sweet maiden sleeps,
A dreamless slumber, in her virgin shroud.

The alder boughs are fringed with diamond drops,
Rich pendent sparks that in the gloaming glint,
And glow, and glitter with a thousand fires,
Nature's unsullied gems, chaste icicles.