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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. 1st. teona& 384 bat in St. Leonard?s Hill, and upon the 23rd the said Robert was put in ward in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. In the meantime of his being in ward, he hung me cloak without the window of the Iron House, and another within the window there, and saying that he was sick, and might not see the light, he had acquafortis continually seething at the iron window, while (till) at last the iron was eaten through.? Then, one morning, he desired his apprentice- boy to watch when the town guard should be dismissed, and to give him a sign thereof by waving his handkerchief. This was done, and tying ?? ane tow,? or rope, to the window, he was about to lower himself into the street; but the guard ? spied the wave of the handcurch, and sae the said Robert was disappointit of his intention and device.? On the 10th of April he was conveyed down to the Market Cross, and there beheaded on the scaffold, by the Maiden probably. In 1650, when Cromwell?s army was repulsed by the Scottish under Leslie, he made an attempt to turn the flank of the latter at this point. ?Encircling Arthur?s Seat, a strong column of infantry, a brigade of cavalry, and two pieces of cannon attempted to enter the city by the southern road that led from the Pleasance. On this Campbell of Lawers brought his regiment of musketeers at dou5le-quick march up the glen by the base of Salisbury Craigs to the ruins of St. Leonard?s chapel, and taking an alignment behind the hedges and walls of the King?s Park, poured from thence a deadly fire, which drove back the infantry in disorder. They threw aside their muskets, pikes, and col lars of bandoliers, and fled, abandoning their cannon, which were brought off by the horse brigade.? St. Leonard?s Hill corresponds somewhat in pdsition, but not in contour, with the locality of Davie Deans? story in Sir Walter Scott?s ? Heart 01 Midlothian,? and an ancient cottage is actually indicated as being his in the Post-office maps. Eastward of this, the ridge of the hill bears the name of Kaim Head, indicating that of old a camp had been there. St. Leonard?s coal depBt and railway station have destroyed all the old and picturesque amenities of the locality. The station was erected here on the formation of a railway from Edinburgh to Dalkeith in 1826, but the traffic did not begin until 1831. It is still in existence, but has undergone great changes. . To see the train start by successive carriages for Dalkeith was then one of ?the sights? of Edinburgh. ?Towards the close of its ?horsy? days,? says Brenlner (in his ? Industries of Scotland ?), ?? when railways worked by locomotives became common, this railway, with its lumbering carriages, slow-paced steeds, and noisy officials, was laughed at as an old-fashioned thing; but many persons have pleasant recollections of holiday trips made over the line. Then, as now, people took advantage of the fast days to spend a few hours outside the city, and it was no uncommon thing for the Dalkeith railway to bear away four or five thousand pleasure-seekers on such occasions.?? No accident ever having occurred on this line, it bears the name of the ?? Innocent Railway,? under which title it appears in one of Robert Chambers?s pleasant essays. St. Leonard?s Hill and all its locality are inseparably connected with the boyhood of the celebrated philosopher and phrenologist, George Combe, who spent the summer months of his earlier years with his aunt, Mrs. Margaret Sinclair, whose husband was proprietor of a brewery, a garden, and other ground there. At the junction of the Pleasance with St. Leonards, an old street, known as the East Cross Causeway branches north-westward. Here was to be found the latest example of the legendary doorhead so peculiar to Edinburgh :-? 1701 GOD?S PROVIDENCE? It was over the door of a house in which Lady Jane Douglas, wife of Sir John Stewart, of Grandtully, is said to have resided during some of the years of her long-contested peerage case with the Duke of Hamilton ; and where she-the sister of the last duke of the grand old Douglas line-was in circumstances so reduced that.she was compelled to work at the wash-tub while rocking with her foot the cradle wherein lay her son, who became Lord Douglas of Douglas in 1790. In this quarter of the city there was founded in West Richmond Street, in 1776, the first public dispensary in Edinburgh, chiefly througb the exertions of Andrew Duncan, M.D., whose portrait, painted by Raeburn, now hangs in the hall. The good doctor lived long enough to see his generous labours crowned with complete success. CAssmL & COMPANY, LIMITED, BELLXI SAUVAGE WORKS, LONDON, E.C.
Volume 2 Page 384
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