Page:Pleasant Memories of Pleasant Lands.djvu/138

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THE PAST AXD PRESENT. 113

The past stands forth with peculiar distinctness in Edinburgh. It has been so well defined by her his torians, that it mingles with the current of passing things. You can scarcely disentangle, from the web of (he present, the associations that throng around you, while standing on the radiated spot in the pavement where the " old cross of Dun-Edin " once reared itself; walking in the purlieus of the Grass-Market, so often saturate with noble blood ; or musing amid the corridors and carved ceilings of the Old Parliament- House, you pause at the trap-door, which from the " lock-up-house," eighty feet beneath, gave entrance to the haggard prisoners into the criminal court, and im agine the tide of agonizing emotions, which from age to age that narrow space has witnessed. A similar dreaminess and absorption in the past, steal over you, when, in the rock-ribbed Castle, you gaze on the ancient regalia, so bright, yet now so obsolete ; or while explor ing the Register-Office, with its strong stone arches, enter the circular room, with its richly carved and sky lighted dome, where repose, in state, the many massy volumes of Scotland s annals ; or see, in other apart ments, the decrees and signatures of her kings, for seven hundred years ; the illuminated folio, where the articles of Union, in the reign of Queen Anne, were inscribed ; and the repository of the crests, autograph?, and seals of the ancient nobles and Highland chieftains, many of whose hands were less familiar with the pen than with the good claymore. In the archives of the Antiquarian Society, which are kept in a noble build- 8

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