76 JAMES'S COURT.
reverence," lie wrote to Mrs. Thrale. It has all utterly passed away ; Forbes himself has been Sir Walter Scott's "lamented Forbes" ' for more than fourscore years. All has passed away ; not only the talk about Burke, and Garrick, and Hume, and Whitefield, and genius, and witchcraft, and the comparative difficulty of verse-making and dictionary-making ; but even the very walls which might have caught it in its echoes. Where this famous old house once stood now stands a modern bank, contrasting but ill in its more elaborate architecture with the severe, and even stern, simplicity of the ancient buildings. Nevertheless we are at no loss to picture to ourselves the home of Hume and Boswell. Their land occupied one half of the northern side of the Court ; the other half, which no doubt corresponded with it in almost every respect, happily escaped the flames. It is so solidly built that if it is spared by the rage of fire and of modern improvement, it has little to fear from time. Its situation, looking down as it does with its northern front on the Mound, and the pleasant gardens in the valley below, has kept it from sinking in public estimation so much as most of the neighbouring buildings. It has indeed seen better clays, but it has not lost all the outward signs of respectability ; its panes are neither broken nor patched. The ground-floor, which was, we may assume, on the same plan as Boswell's house, is occupied by a book- binder, 2 who courteously showed me all over it. There were traces left in this busy workshop of past splendour, and I could see how handsome and spacious the rooms had once been. In the windows were deep recesses, where it must have been pleasant enough on a bright summer's day to sit in the cool shade and look out over the heads of the elm trees waving below, across the sparkling waters of the Forth, on the hills of Fife in the far distance. A stone staircase, furnished with iron gates, led clown from the level of the Court to the street four storeys below, where the foun- dations of this lofty pile are laid in the rock. The staircase had its occupant, for at one of the windows a mat-maker was busy at
There is no memorial to remind passers-by of the men who have made James's Court so famous. The stranger, as he climbs up the Lawnmarket to the Castle, is little likely to notice the obscure
1 Marmion. Introduction to Canto iv. 3 For my authorities for some of the state -
a Mr. Alexander Grieve. I find a bookbinder ments in this note see my Letters of David Hume
of the same name living in Bell's Wynd in 1773. to ll'illiaiu Strahan, pp. 116-9.
Edinburgh Directory for 1773-4, Appendix, p. 5.