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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


238 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [High Street. other, Willielmina, became the wife of John Lord Glenorchy. The fate of the Earl of Sutherland, and of his countess, whose beauty excited the admiration of all at the coronation of George III., was a very cloudy one. In frolicking with their first-born, a daughter, the earl let the infant drop, and it sustained injuries from which it never recovered, and the event had so serious an effect on his mind, that he resorted to Bath, where he died of a malignant fever. For twenty-one days the countess, then about to have a babe again, attended him unremittingly, till she too caught the distemper, and predeceased him by a few days, in her twenty-sixth year. Her death was sedulously concealed from him, yet the day before he expired, when delirium passed away, he said, I am going to join my dear Wife,? as if his mind had already begun to penetrate the veil that hangs between this world and the next. In one grave in Holyrood, near the north-east corner of the ruined chapel, the remains of this ill-fated couple were laid, on the 9th of August, 1766. Lady Glenorchy, a woman remarkable for the piety of her disposition, was far from happy in her marriage j but we are told that she met with her rich reward, even iii this world, for she enjoyed the applause of the wealthy and the blessings of the poor, with that supreme of all pleasures-the conviction that the eternal welfare of those in whose fate she was chiefly interested was forwarded by her precepts and example.? In after years, the Earl of Hopetoun, when acting as Royal Commissioner to the General Assembly, was wont to hold his state levees in the house that had been Lord Alva?s. To the east of hfylne?s Square stood some old alleys which were demolished to make way for the North Bridge, one of the greatest local undertakings of the eighteenth century. One of these alleys was known as the Cap and Feather Close, immediately above Halkerston?s Wynd. The lands that formed the east side of the latter were remaining in some places almost intact till about 1850. In one of these, but which it was impossible to say, was born on the 5th of September, 1750, that luckless but gifted child of genius, Robert Fergusson, the poet, whose father was then a clerk in the British Linen Company; but even the site of his house, which has peculiar claims on the interest of every lover of Scottish poetry, cannot be indicated. How Halkerston?s Wynd obtained its name we have already told. Here was an outlet from the ancient city byway of a dam or dyke across the loch, to which Lord Fountainhall refers in a case dated zIst February, 1708. About twenty years before that time it would appear that the Town Council ?had opened a new port at the foot of Halkerston?s Wynd for the convenience of those who went on foot to Leith; and that Robert Malloch, having acquired some lands on the other side of the North Loch, and made yards and built houses thereon, and also having invited sundry weavers and other good tradesmen to set up on Moutree?s Hill [site of the Register House], and the deacons of crafts finding this prejudicial to them, and contrary to the 154th Act of Parliament, I 592,?? evading which, these craftsmen paid neither scot, lot, nor stent,? the magistrates closed up the port, and a law plea ensued between them and the enterprising Robert Malloch, who was accused of filling up a portion of the bank of the loch with soil from a quarry. ?The town, on the other hand, did stop the vent and passage over the loch, which made it overtlow and drown Robert?s new acquired ground, of which he complained as an act of oppression.? Eventually the magistrates asserted that the loch was wholly theirs, and ?( that therefore he could drain no part of it, especially to make it regorge and inundate on their side. The Lords were going to take trial by examining the witnesses, but the magistrates prevented it, by opening the said port of their own accord, without abiding an order, and let the sluice run,? by which, of course, the access by the gate was rendered useless. Kinloch?s Close adjoined Halkerston?s Wynd, and therein, till about 1830, stood a handsome old substantial tenement, the origin and early occupants of which were all unknown. A mass of curious and abutting projections, the result of its peculiar site, it had a finely-carved entrance door, with the legend, Peir. God. in . Luzy., 1595, and the initials I. W., and the arms of the surname of Williamson, together with a remarkable device, a saltire, from the centre of which rose a crosssymbol of passion. Passing Allan Ramsay?s old shop, a narrow bend gives us access to Carrubber?s Close, the last stronghold of the faithful Jacobites after 1688. Episcopacy was abolished in 1689, and although from that period episcopal clergymen had no legal provision or settlement, they were permitted, without molestation, to preach in meeting-houses till I 746 ; but as they derived no emolument from Government, and no provision from the State, they did not, says Arnot, perplex their consciences with voluminous and unnecessary oaths, but merely excluded
Volume 2 Page 238
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