THE HIGH STREET. 239 and Gillies, with other men eminent for learning and rank. Nr Smellie may be regarded as in some degree the genius loci of this locality ; the distinguished printing-house which he established is still occupied by his descendants,’ and there the most eminent literary men of that period visited, and superintended the printing of works that have made the press of the Scottish capital celebrated throughout Europe. There was the haunt of Drs Blair, Beattie, Black, Robertson, Adam Ferguson, Adam Smith, Lords Monboddo, Hailes, Kames, Henry Mackenzie, Arnot, Hume, and, foremost among the host, the poet Burns ; of whom some interesting traditions are preserved in the office. The old desk is still shown, at which these and other eminent men revised their proofs ; and the well used desk-stool is treasured as a valuable heir-loom, bearing on it an inscription, setting forth, that it is “ the stool on which Burns sat while correcting the proofs of his Poems, from December 1786 to April 1787.” Not even the famed Ballantyne press can compete with this venerable haunt of the Scottish literati, whose very ‘‘ devils ” have consumed more valuable manuscript in kindling the office kes, than would make the fortunes of a dozen modern autograph collectors 1 It need not surprise us to learn that even the original manuscripts of Burns were invariably converted to such homely purposes ; the estimation of the poet being very different in 1787 from what it has since become. Of traditions of remote antiquity, the Anchor Close has ita full share; and the numerous inscriptions, as well as the general character of the old buildings that rear their tall and irregular fronts along its west side, still attest its early importance. Immediately on entering the close from the High Street, the visitor discovers this inscription, tastefully carved over the first entrance within the pend: THE * LORD * IS ONLY - MY - SVPORT -; and high overhead, above one of the windows facing down the close, a carved stone bears a shield with the date 1569, and, on itB third and fourth quarters, a pelican feeding her young with her own blood. Over another doorway a little further down is this pious legend: 0 * LORD * IN THE - IS AL ’ MY - TRAIST Here was the approach to Daunie Douglas’s tavern, celebrated among the older houses of entertainment in Edinburgh as the haunt of the Crochal1a.n corps. It is mentioned under the name of the Anchor Tavern in a deed of renunciation by James Deans of Woodhouselee, Esq., in favour of his daughter, dated 1713, and still earlier references allude to its occnpants as vintners. The portion of this building which faces the High Street, retains associations of a differeut character, adding another to the numerous examples of the simpler notions of our ancestors who felt their dignity in no way endangered . when It is styled in most of the title deeds (‘ Lord Forglen’s Land,” 80 that on one of the stories of the same building that furnished accommodation to the old tavern, resided Sir Alexander Ogilvie, Bart., one of the Commissioners of the Union, and for many years a senator of the College of Justice under the title of Lord Forglen. Fountainhall records some curious notes of an action brought against him by Sir Alexander Forbes of Tolquhoun, for stealing a gilded mazer cup ’ out of his house, but which was at length accidently discovered in the hands of a goldsmith at Aberdeen, to whom Sir Alexander had himself entrusted it some years before to be repaired; and he having forgat,, it lay there unrelieved, in security for the goldsmith’s the toe of the peasant came so near the heal of the courtier.” This printing-office, together with the other objecta of interest here described in connection with Anchor Cloae, waa taken down on the construction of Cwkburn Street in 1859. ’ h f m Cup, a drinking cup of maple.
240 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. charge of half-a-crown I It finally cost its rash, and, as it appears, vindictive owner, a penalty of 10,000 merks, the half only of the fine at first awarded against him. A confused tradition appears to have existed at an early period as to Queen Mary’s having occupied a part of the ancient building within the close at some time or other. The Crochallan Eencibles were wont to date their printed circulars from “ Queen Mary’8 council-room,” and the great hall in which they met, and in which also the’ Society of Antiquaries long held their anniversary meetings, bore the name of the CROWN. In a history of the close, privately printed by Mr Smellie in 1843, it is stated as a remarkable fact, that there existed about forty years since a niche in the wall of this room, where Mary’s crown was said to be deposited when she sat in council! We shrewdly suspect the whole tradition had its origin in the Crochallan Mint. The building has still the appearance of having been a mansion of note in earlier times; in addition to the inscriptions already mentioned, which are beautifully cut in ornamental lettering, it is decorated with such irregular bold string-courses as form the chief ornaments of the most ancient private buildings in Edinburgh, and four large and neatly moulded windows are placed so close together, two on each floor, as to convey the idea of one lofty window divided by a narrow mullion and transom. In the interior, also, decayed pannelling, and mutilated, yet handsome oak balustrades still attest the former dignity of the place. Over a doorway still lower down the close, where the Bill Chamber was during the greater part of last century, the initials and date W-R C-M - 1616, are cut in large letters ; and the house immediately below contains the only instance we have met with in Edinburgh, of a carved inscription over an interior doorway. It occurs above the entrance to a small inner room in the sunk floor of the house; but the wall rises above the roof, and is finished with crow-steps, so that the portion now enclosing it appears to be a later addition. The following is the concise motto, which seems to suggest that its original purpose was more dignified than its straitened dimensions might seem to imply :- W. F. ANGVSTA. AD. VSVM. AVGSVTA. B. G. The initials are those of William Fowler, merchant burgess ; the father, in all probability, of William Fowler, the poet, who was secretary to Queen Anne of Denmark, and whose sister was the mother of Drummond of Hawthornden? At a later period this mansion formed the residence of Sir George Drummond, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, in the years 1683 and 1684, and probably a descendant of the original owner, in whose time the lower ground appears to have been all laid out in gardens, sloping down to the North Loch, and adorned with a summer-house, afterwards possessed by Lord Forglen. We are disposed to smile at the aristocratic retreats of titled and civic dignitaries down these old closes, now altogether abandoned to squalid poverty ; yet many of them, like this, were undoubtedly provided with beautiful gardens and pleasure grounds, the charms of which would be enhanced by their nnpromising and straitened access. There is reason for believing that the elder William Fowler, born in 1531, was also a poet (vide Archaeol. Scat. vol. iv. p. 71), so that the burgeae referred to in the text is probably the author of “ The Triumph of Death,” and other poem4 referred to among the original Drummond MSS. in the library of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, in a fragment dated, “ From my house in Erlr. the 9. of Jan. 1590.” The initials B. Q., which are, no doubt, those of his wife, may yet ierve to identify him as the owper of the old tenement in Anchor Close.