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disturb sleepers and warn thieves to get out of the way of that infirm patrol. The North Loch was then a marsh in wet weather. The inhabitants of the old town used to cross it at certain points instead of going round by the North Bridge. I have often heard a story about Hume, the historian and doubting philosopher, whose person was well-known to the washerwomen who dried their clothes on the banks of the lake which was formerly beneath the castle rock. He sank in the marshy ground, and being in what the Americans call a fix, called for help to one of the washerwomen. She came, and it was said, she gave him an earnest and reproachful exhortation to piety from her pulpit on the solid ground before she stretched forth her brawny arms to pull the philosopher out of the mire.
The earthen mound was completed when I first saw it in 1813, but not consolidated so as to be built upon, and there was a wall with occasional openings to afford some shelter in crossing that much frequented thoroughfare.
The New Town of Edinburgh is built on one of the best sites that can be imagined, considering the extent, beauty and grandeur of the views of sea and land—the Calton Hill, the Salisbury Crags, Arthur's seat, the Forth, its noble bay and Islands, the Ochils and the Grampians, the Braid and the Pentland Hills. Those who planned it have certainly avoided the narrow streets of our old cities, and of many foreign towns, but they have also avoided their picturesque variety of form and colour.
The uniformity of Prince's Street was originally a complete contrast to the old town opposite, not less remarkable by night than by day. It was very strikingly brought out at the time of the visit of George the Fourth, in August, 1822, when the candles put in the windows of the lofty tenements in the Old Town inhabited by the working classes were the best part of the illumination.
At that time the New Town mainly consisted of Prince's Street and its extension westward, George Street, Queen Street, and York Place, Heriot Row,
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Albemarle Row, and Northumberland Street with the streets that intersect them at right angles; and St. Andrew's and Charlotte Squares at either end of George Street.
Miss Mary Stewart, who lived at that time in Heriot Row with her mother and two of her sisters, being cousins of the Misses Stewart of Afton, was a very skilful sketcher of panoramic and other extensive views with the reed pen. In 1820 and 1822, she made a series of accurate and clever views of Edinburgh and the surrounding country, dedicated by permission to the King. She and her sisters were actively useful and highly respected in Edinburgh, and having first met them in early boyhood at Afton Lodge and very often during my residence in Edinburgh, I had the pleasure of renewing that long acquaintance with Miss Mary Stewart after she married Sir Abraham Elton, Baronet, of Clevedon Court, Somersetshire, when she gave me that series of lithographed sketches which I value highly as a memorial of herself, as a work of art, and an accurate delineation of the Edinburgh of 1822, when it was visited by George the Fourth.
During my last happy visit, in 1873, I saw that 51 years had made great changes for the better in some respects since the royal visit, but not in all. In the three principal streets of the New Town the houses were built originally nearly all of one pattern. The material from the grand inexhaustible quarry of Craigleith was of first-rate quality. But while boon nature with rocks, hills, woods, fields, sea and shores had bestowed endless variety around the New Town the desire for an unnatural uniformity seems to have possessed the architects. Their best excuse was that Napoleon had practically closed the continent against them, and that to carry on the war, our Chancellors of the Exchequers had actually taxed Light. The abolition of the window tax was an era in British architecture. The famous attempt of an ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer to tax lucifer matches, which made such an outcry, was as nothing to that financial policy which made every
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hole in the wall of a cellar liable to duty, and every window beyond a certain size subject to a double tax.
The old leases of houses in the New Town with their restrictions against building shops and hotels must have become inoperative, as always happens in a few generations.
Prince's Street has been greatly improved by its public gardens, Scott's monument, and the buildings on that original deformity the “Earthen Mound," and by numerous hotels, extending far westwards, which have changed for the better the uniform character of the street, which is further enlivened by a railway instead of the quagmire of the old Loch.
In George Street, some houses have been sold for double their original cost, to be changed into shops and large hotels, so that the same transformation is going forward there. But alas for the west end of Queen Street! Moray Place, Ainslie Place, with first class houses in a better style of architecture, cover the site of the once beautiful park, and have shut out the view we so much enjoyed and admired, which is still more effectually done by high buildings and houses on the opposite side of Queen Street. A house where Sir Patrick Murray of Ochtertyre, and his family used to live was made a shop—and another shop for the sale of some kind of provisions was within a door or two of the house of the Earl of Wemyss.
The houses of the New Town were formerly supplied by water from a large reservoir on the Castle Hill, by gravitation, for which purpose each house was provided with a leaden cistern in the area. Those leaden cisterns and the use of new bread whitened by the bakers with alum, were found during my residence in Edinburgh to be so injurious to health, that it is to be hoped both have been discontinued.
NOTE 4.—Early Kings of Norway, p. 127
The derivation and meaning of my grandfather's name was always a puzzle to me, until my valued friend
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John Beddoe, M.D., F.R.S., &c., who is not only eminent in his noble profession but skilled in other kinds of lore relating to the human race, told me that it had a Norwegian origin. His reasons for that opinion are stated in the following note.
Clifton 15th October, 1875. My Dear Mr. Aiken,
There is no doubt that the surname of Aiken comes from the Scandinavian forename (or latterly christian name) Hakon or Haco, which was borne by numerous distinguished warriors of the north, e. g. by Hacon jarl (Earl Haco), the ruler of Norway previous to King Olaf, sometimes called by the christians Hakon the bad, also by one or more Earls of Orkney, and by the noble but unfortunate King Hakon of Norway and the Isles, who fought the battle of Largs, against the Scotch King Alexander about the year 1260. Kyle Akin in Skye is named, I believe from this last Haco (or Hakon or Aikin) and means the ferry or passage or strait of Hakon who sailed through it. I believe that the Scottish names of Aitken and Aitchison, and the north English ones of Atkins and Atkinson have all the same derivation, but in the case of some of these there may be some doubt.
P.S. Hakon, Earl of Orkney, is reputed to lie under a large barrow or tumulus on the shore of the little lake of Stennis, near to Stromness. The name Hakon was borne by several other Norsemen of mark in history.
The subject here referred to by Dr. Beddoe, so far exceeds in interest, the derivation of a few names, that I am the more obliged to him for his kind letter. The hardy Norsemen were not the least remarkable and heroic of the various races from whom the inhabitants of the British Isles are descended. Svein, King of
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Norway, was also King of Denmark and of England. Mr. Carlyle has lately published what he calls Rough Notes of the early Kings of Norway, chiefly derived from Snorro-Sturleson's history of them, and aided by the German Professor Dahlmann's Geschichte von Dannemark; and doubtless the Heimskringla or Chronicle of Norwegian Kings, which Mr. Laing has translated.
What little our English historians have written concerning them is chiefly under the name of Danish invaders of our island, when it was in a state of misrule, weakness, disorder, turbulence and crime; therefore a few notices of these Olafs and Hakons of the olden time will be a pardonable and not unpleasing digression as the last note in this appendix, which may be passed over by all who are not interested in the subject
Harald, the fairhaired, who died at the age of eightythree, first united several petty Sovereignties or Jarls into one kingdom of Norway, under his own dominion, about the year 933 of the christian era. He had a son named Hakon, who was sent to England, was adopted by our King Athelstan, baptised and carefully.educated. very shining youth” says Mr. Carlyle, “as Athelstan saw with just pleasure.” So soon as the few preliminary preparations had been settled, Hakon, furnished with a ship or two by Athelstan, suddenly appeared in Norway; got acknowledged by the Peasant Thing (little Parliament) in Trondhjem; the news of which flew over Norway like fire through dead grass, says an old chronicler. The youth of fifteen proved “a brilliant "and successful King; regulated many things, public “law among others, and on the whole gained for him“self the name of Hakon the Good.”
He had two great evils to contend against, invading Danes and heathen idolatry in Norway To extirpate that and to establish the christian religion was the chief object of his reign, and in spite of opposition from the idolaters he did “thoroughly shake asunder the old “edifice of heathendom and fairly introduce some