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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


The City Cross. - acute, intelligent, and also faithful to any duty entrusted to them. A stranger coming temporarily to reside in Edinburgh got a caddie attached to his service, to conduct him from one part of the town to another, and to run errands for him; in short, to be wholly at his bidding. A caddie did literally know everything of Edinburgh, even to that kind of knowledge which we now expect only in a street directory; and it was equally true that he could hardly be asked to go anywhere, or upon any It is difficult now to understand the gross perversion of taste and the barbarous absence of all veneration that prevailed in the Scotland of the eighteenth century, and how such a memorial as the inoffensive cross of Edinburgh was doomed to destruction; but doomed it was, and on the night before its demolition began there came a bacchanalian company, probably Jacobites, and with a crown bowl of punch upon its battlements, solemnly drank ?? the dredgie of the auld mercat cross.? THE CITY CROSS. mission, that he would not go. On the other hand, the stranger would probably be astonished to find that, in a few hours, his caddie was acquainted with every particular concerning himseg where he was from, what was his purpose in Edinburgh, his family connections, tastes, and dispositions. Of course for every particle of scandal floating about Edinburgh the caddie was a ready book of reference. We sometimes wonder how our ancestors did without newspapers. We do not reflect on the living vehicle of ? news which then existed ; the privileged beggar for country people ; for towns-folk the caddies.? But now, the Iatter, like the City Guard, the Tronmen, Bedesmen, town-piper and drummer, are all numbered with the things that were. On one side of the cross there stood, of old, the Dyvours sfane, whereon might be seen seated a row of those unfortunates, who, for misfortune or roguery, were, by act of the Council, compelled to appear each market day at noon in the bankrupt?s garb-in a yellow bonnet and coat, oRe half yellow and the other brown, under pain of three months? imprisonment. The origin of this singular mode of protecting public credit was an Act of Sederunt of the Court of Session in 1604, wherein the seat is described as ?ane pillery of hewn stone, near to the mercat croce,? and from 10 AM. till one hour after dinner, was the time for the Dyvours sitting thereon. The Luckenbooths, an extinct range of pic
Volume 1 Page 152
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