Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


castle Stratl CATHERINE SINCLAIR. 165 principal duty as clerk in court was to sit below the bench, watch the progress of the suits, and record the decisions orally pronounced, by reducing them to technical shape. Prior to living in No. 39 he would appear to have lived for a time in ig South Castle Street (1798-g), and in the preceding year to have taken his bride to his lodging, 198 George Street. In 1822 Lord Teignmouth visited Edinburgh, and records in his (? Diary? that he dined here with Sir Walter Scott, who on that occasion wore the Highland dress, and was full of the preparations for the forthcoming visit of George IV. To Lord Teignmouth the dinner in all its features was a novelty; and he wrote of it at the time as being the most interesting at which he ever was present, as ?( it afforded a more complete exhibition of Highland spirit and feelings than a tour of the country might have done.? Four years afterwards saw the melancholy change in Sir Walter?s life and affairs, and from his ?? Diary? we can trace the influence of a darker species of distress than mere loss of wealth could bring to a noble spirit such as his. His darling grandson was sinking apace at Brighton. The misfortunes against which his manhood struggled with stem energy were encountered by his affectionate wife under the disadvantages of enfeebled health ; and it would seem but too evident that mental pain and mortification had a great share in hurrying Lady Scott?s ailments to a fatal end. He appears to have been much attached to the house referred to, as the following extract from his ?(Diarf? shows:-(?March 15, 1826.-This morning I leave No. 39 Castle Street for the last time! ?The cabin was convenient,? and habit made it agreeable to me. . . . So farewell poor No. 39 ! What a portion of my life has been spent there ! It has sheltered me from the prime of life to its decline, and now I must bid good-bye to it.? On that daythe family left Castle Street for Abbotsford, and in Captain Basil Hall?s ?( Diary? he records how he came, by mistake, to 39 Castle Street, and found the door-plate covered with rust, the windows shuttered up, dusty and comfortless, and from the side of one a board projected, with the ominous words ?( To Sell ? thereon. ?( The stairs were unwashed,? he continues, ?and not a footmark told of the ancient hospitality which reigned within, In all nations with which I am acquainted the fashionable world moves westward, in imitation, perhaps, of the civilisation ; and, vice vend, those persons who decline in fortune, which is mostly equivalent to declining in fashion, shape their course eastward. Accordingly, by involuntary impulse I turned my head that way, and inquiring at the clubs in Princes Street, learned that he now resided in St. David Street, No. 6.? On the occasion of the Scott Centenary in 1871 the house in Castle Street was decorated, and thrown open to the public by its then tenant for a time. It became the residence of Macvey Napier, editor of the seventh edition of the He died in 1847, and his Life and Correspondence? was published in 1879. Early in the century, No. 49, at the corner of Hill Street, was the residence of Ochterlony of Guynd, in Forfarshire, a family of whom several members have since those days settled in Russia, and a descendant of one, Major-General Ochterlony, fell in the service of the Emperor at Inkerman, after bearing a flag of truce to the British head-quarters. Charlotte Street and Hope Street lie east and west respectively ; but the former is chiefly rernarkr able ?or having at its foot on the north-west side a monument, in the shape of a lofty and ornate Eleanor cross, to the memory of Catherine Sinclair, the authoress of (? Modem Accomplishments? and many other works, She was born April 17th, 1800, and died August 6th, 1864. Her sister Margaret, one of the best known members of old Edinburgh society, and one of the last survivors of the Abbotsford circle, died on 4th August, 1879, in London, in her eighty-seventh year. She had the curious fortune of being the personal friend of Anne Scott, Sir Walter?s daughter, and in her extreme youth of being presented at Court bythe beautiful Duchess of Gordon. Miss Margaret Sinclair was intimate with the princesses of the old royal family of (( Farmer George,? and retained to the last a multitude of recollections of the Scottish world of two generations ago. Encyclopadia Britannic&?
Volume 3 Page 165
  Shrink Shrink   Print Print