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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


High Street.] THE STREETS OF EDINBURGH. I93 case with the High Street. -The mansions in the diverging streets, narrow, steep, gloomy, and illventilated, became perilous abodes in times of fire or pestilence. Those who dwelt in the upper storeys avoided the toil of descending the steep wheel-stairs that led to the street, and the entire dkbris of the household was flung from the windows, regardless of who or what might be below, especially after nightfall ; hence the cries of ? Haud your hand ! ? ? Get lanterns, were ordered to be hung up, by such persons and in such places as the magistrates should appoint, there to continue burning for the space of four hours--i.e., from five till nine o?clock in the evening. In consequence of the great assiduity oi the Provost (Archibald Douglas of Kilspindie), the Town Council added to his annual allowance 6100 Scots for his clothing and spicery, with two hogs. heads of wine for his greater state ; and soon after THE OLD TRON CHURCH. (From am Engraving itr Amt?s ?Nistwy ozEdinbrrwh.?) out 0? the gait!? or ?Gardez Peau!? a shout copied from the French, were incessant. Another source of filth and annoyance was the circumstance that every inhabitant had his own dunghill in the street, opposite his own door j while the thoroughfkes were further encumbered and encroached upon by outside stone stairs, many of which still remain. Under these were kept swine, which were allowed to roam the streets (as in old Paris). and act the part of scavengers, and be alternately the pets and the terror of the children. By Acts of Council, 15th October, 1553-5, the mounds of household garbage were ordained to be removed, the swine to be prevented from being a pest in the streets, in which buwefs or 25 another Act was passed, ordaining that the (male) servants of the inhabitants should attend him with lighted torches from the vespers or evening prayers to his own house. But despite the Acts quoted the streets were not thoroughly cleared or cleaned for more than sixty years after. WhenKing JaniesVI., having celebrated his marriage with Anne of Denmark, on the zznd October, 1589, was about to return home, he wrote one of his characteristic epistles to the Provost, Alexander Clark of Balbirnie :-? Here we are drinking and driving in the add way,? and adding, ?for GoZs sake see n? things are nulf at our hanucoming.? James did not wish to be exposed in the eyes of his foreign attendants, and he alludes
Volume 2 Page 193
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