Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker: Ch. 55

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All the remarkable places in the city and its avenues, for ten miles around, we have visited, much to our satisfaction. In the Castle are some royal apartments, where the sovereign occasionally resided; and here are carefully preserved the regalia of the kingdom, consisting of a crown, said to be of great value, a sceptre, and a sword of state, adorned with jewels — Of these symbols of sovereignty, the people are exceedingly jealous — A report being spread during the sitting of the union-parliament, that they were removed to London, such a tumult arose, that the lord commissioner would have been torn to pieces, if he had not produced them for the satisfaction of the populace.

The palace of Holyrood-house is an elegant piece of architecture, but sunk in an obscure, and, as I take it, unwholesome bottom, where one would imagine it had been placed on purpose to be concealed. The apartments are lofty, but unfurnished; and as for the pictures of the Scottish kings, from Fergus I. to king William, they are paultry daubings, mostly by the same hand, painted either from the imagination, or porters hired to sit for the purpose. All the diversions of London we enjoy at Edinburgh, in a small compass. Here is a well conducted concert, in which several gentlemen perform on different instruments — The Scots are all musicians — Every man you meet plays on the flute, the violin, or violoncello; and there is one nobleman, whose compositions are universally admired — Our company of actors is very tolerable; and a subscription is now on foot for building a new theatre; but their assemblies please me above all other public exhibitions.

We have been at the hunters' ball, where I was really astonished to see such a number of fine women — The English, who have never crossed the Tweed, imagine erroneously, that the Scotch ladies are not remarkable for personal attractions; but, I can declare with a safe conscience, I never saw so many handsome females together, as were assembled on this occasion. At the Leith races, the best company comes hither from the remoter provinces; so that, I suppose, we had all the beauty of the kingdom concentrated as it were into one focus; which was, indeed, so vehement, that my heart could hardly resist its power. Between friends, it has sustained some damage from the bright eyes of the charming miss R[ento]n, whom I had the honour to dance with at the ball — The countess of Melville attracted all eyes, and the admiration of all present — She was accompanied by the agreeable miss Grieve, who made many conquests; nor did my sister Liddy pass unnoticed in the assembly — She is become a toast at Edinburgh, by the name of the Fair Cambrian, and has already been the occasion of much wine-shed; but the poor girl met with an accident at the ball, which has given us great disturbance.