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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


The edifice that forms the west side of Mylne?s Court belongs to an earlier period, and had once been the side of the close. The most northerly portion, which presents a very irregular but most picturesque fapade, with dormer windows above the line of the roof, was long the town mansion of the Lairds of Comiston. Over the entrance is a very common Edinburgh legend, BZissif. be . God in. al. his. Gz&%s, and the date, 1580. Bartholomew Somerville, a merchant and burgess, was one of the earliest inhabitants of this edifice, and his name appears conspicuously among those to whose liberality Edinburgh was indebted for the establishment of her University on a last?? ing basis. Here also resided Sir John Harper of Cambusnethitn. . In 1710, Lord Fountainhall reports a case connected with this court, in which Bailie Michael Allan, a proprietor there, endeavoured to prevent the entrance of ? I heavy carriages,? which damaged his cellar under the pend thereto. The last person of rank resident here was Lady Isabella Douglas, who had a house on the west side of it in 1761. Robert, the son of still more illustrious Dr. Johnson, when, in 1773, he was on his way to the Western Isles. James?s Court occupies the site of some now forgotten closes, in one of which dwelt Sir John Lauder, afterwards Lord Fountainhall, author of the famous ?Decisions? and other works. ? At the +d of the Earl of Argyle, in 1681, for an alleged illegal construction of the Test, Lauder acted as counsel for that unfortunate nobleman, together with Sir George Lockhart and six other advocates. These having all signed an opinion that his explanrt. THE ORATORY OF MARY OF GUISE. Mylne, the builder, who was born in 1734, settled in London as an architect, and his plan for constructing a bridge at Blackfriars was preferred to those of twenty other candidates,* and on its completion he was appointed surveyor of St Paul?s Cathedral, with a salary of A300 per annum. Eastward of Mylne?s Court is James?s Court, a more modern erection of the same kind, associated, in various ways, with some of the most eminent men in the Scottish capital ; ,for here resided David Hume, after his removal from Jack?s Land in the Canongate, in 1762; in the same house afterwards dwelt Boswell, and here he welcomed Paoli, the Corsican chief, in 1771, and the - -_ * ?Old and New London,? vol. i, pp. 205-5 13 tion of the Test contained nothing treasonable, were summoned before the Privy Council, and after being examined on oath, were dismissed with a warning and censure by the Duke of Albany. Though it is so long ago as September, 1722, since Lord Fountainhall died, a tradition of his residence hascome down to the present time. ?The mother of the lateMr. Gilbert Innes of Stow,? says Chambers, ?was a daughter of his lordship?s son, Sir Andrew Lauder, and she used to describe to her children the visits she used to pay to her venerable grandfather?s - house, situated, as she said, where James?s Coui-t now stands. She and her sister always went with their maid on the Saturday afternoons, and were shown into a room where the aged judge was sitting- room covered with gilt leather, and containing many huge presses and cabinets, one of which was ornamented with a death?s head at the top, After amusing themselves for an hour or two with his lordship they used each to get a shilling from him, and retire. . . . It is curious to think that the mother of a gentleman living in 1839 (for only then did Mrs. Innes of Stow leave this earthly scene) should have been familiar with a lawyer who entered at the bar soon after the Restoration (1668)? and acted as counsel for the unfortunate Earl of Argyle in 1681-a being
Volume 1 Page 97
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