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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


Cpormgate.1 SIR THOMAS DALYELL. I9 Often did her maid go with morning messages to her friends, inquiring, with her, compliyents, after their per cats. Good Miss Ramsay was also a friend to horses, and indeed to all creatures. When she observed a carter ill-treating his horse she would march up to him, tax him with cruelty, and by the very earnestness of her remonstrances arrest the barbarian?s hand. So, also, when she saw one labouring in the street with the appearance of defective diet, she would send rolls to its master, entreating him to feed theanimal. These peculiarities, though a little eccentric, are not unpleasing; and I cannot be sony to record those of the daughter of one whose head and heart were an honour to his country.? . The hideous chapel of ease built in New Street in 1794 occupied the site of the houses of Henry Kinloch and the Earls of Angus, the latter of which formed during the eighteenth century the banking office of the unfortunate firm of Douglas, Heron, and Co., whose failure spread ruin and dismay far and wide in Scotland. Little Jack?s Close, a narrow alley leading by a bend into New Street, and Big Jack?s Close, which led to an open court, adjoin the thoroughfare of 1760, and both are doubtless named from some forgotten citizen or speculative builder of other days. In the former stood the hall of the once wealthy corporation of the Cordiners or Shoemakers of the Canongate, on the west side, adorned with all the insignia of the craft, and furnished for their convivalia with huge tables and chairs of oak, in addition to a carved throne, surmounted by a crowned paring-knife, and dated I 682, for the solemn inauguration of King Crispin on St. Crispin?s Day, the 25th of October. This corporation can be traced back to the 10th of June, 1574, when William Quhite was elected Deakon of the Cordiners in the Canongate, in place of the late Andrew Purvis. It was of old their yearly custom to elect a king, who held his court in this Corporation Hall, from whence, after coronation, he was borne in procession through the streets, attended by his subject souters clad in fantastic habiliments. Latterly he was conducted abroad on a finelycaparisoned horse, and clad in ermined robes, attended by mock officers of state and preceded - 1s Geordie Cranstoun, who figures twice in Kay?s memarkable portraits. In Big Jack?s Close there was extant, until within a few years ago, the town mansion of Seneral Sir Thomas Dalyell of Binns, commanderm- chief of the Scottish forces, whose beard remained mcut after the death of Charles I., and who raised the Scots Greys on the 25th of November, 1681, ind clad them first in grey uniform, and at their head served as a merciless persecutor of the outlawed Covenanters, with a zest born of his service in Russia. The chief apartment in this house has been described as a large hall, with an arched or coach root adorned, says Wilson, with a painting of the sun in the centre, surrounded by gilded rays on an azure dome. Sky, clouds, and silver stars filled up the remaining space. The large windows were partially closed with oak shutters in the old Scottish fashion. ? The kitchen also was worthy OF notice, for a fireplace formed of a plain circular wch, of such unusual dimensions that popular credulity might have assigned it for the perpetration of those rites it had ascribed to him of spitting and roasting his miserable captives! . . . . . A chapel formerly stood on the site of the open court, but all. traces of it were removed in 1779. It is not at all inconsistent with the character of the fierce old Cavalier that he should have erected a private chapel for his own use.? It was to this house in Big Jack?s Close that the Rev. John Blackadder was brought a prisoner in 1681, guarded by soldiers under Johnstone, the town major, and accompanied by his son Thomas, who died a merchant in New England, and where that interview took place which is related in ? Blackadder?s Memories,? by D. A. Crichton :- ? I have brought you a prisoner,? said Major- Johnstone. ?Take him to the guard,? said Dalyell, who was about to walk forth. On this, the poor divine, whose emotions must have been far from enviable in such a terrible presence, said, timidly, ? May I speak with you a little, sir ? ? ?? You have already spoken too much, sir,? replied Dalyell, whose blood always boiled at the sight of a Covenanter, ?and I should hang you with my own hands over that outshot ! ? On this, Major Johnstone, dreading what might
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