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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


Canongate.1 THE EARL OF DRUMLANRIG. 37. -~ to an enormous stature, as his leaden and unornamented coffin in the family vault at Durisdeer attests at this day. This monstrous and unfortunate creature was always confined in a groundfloor room of the western wing of Queensberry House; and ?till within these few years the boards still remained by which the windows of the dreadful receptacle were darkened to prevent the idiot from looking out or being seen.? stripped and spitted him, and he was found devouring the half-roasted body when the duke returned with his train from his political triumph, to find dire horror awaiting him. ?The common. people, among whom the dreadful tale soon spread,. in spite of the duke?s endeavours to suppress it,. said that it was a judgment upon him for his odious, share in the Union. The story runs that the duke,. who had previously regarded his dreadful offspring THE CANNONGATE, LOOKING WEST; SHORING, ON THE IMMEDlATE RIGHT, THE HOUSE IN WHICH GAY RESIDED, AND ON THE LEFT THE GATE OF MILTON HOUSE. (FYOI~ a Drawing by Shphad, @blis&rd in 1829.) On the day the Treaty of Union was passed all Edinburgh crowded to the vicinity of the Parliament House to await the issue of the final debate, and the whole household of the duke-the High Commissioner-went thither en mmse for that purpose, and perhaps to prevent him from being tom to pieces by the exasperated people, and among them went the valet whose duty it was to watch and attend the Earl of Drumlanrig. Hearing all unusually still in the vast house, the latter contrived to break out of his den, and roamed wildly from room to room, till certain savoury odours drew him into the great kitchen, where a little turnspit sat quietly on a stool by the fire. He seized the boy, took the meat from the fire, with no eye of affection, immediately ordered the creature to be smothered. But this is a mistake; the idiot is known to have died in England, and to have survived his father many years, though he did not succeed him upon his death in 1711, when the titles devolved upon Charles, a younger brother.? The latter, who was born in Queensbeny House, had been created Earl of Solway in 1706, says- Douglas, ? when very young, his elder brother being then alive.? He married Catharine IIyde,. the second daughter of Henry Earl of Clarendon and Rochester, and they frequently resided in the old Canongnte mansion. The duchess was alto gether an extraordinary woman, whose eccentricity.
Volume 3 Page 37
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