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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


325 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Bristo Sheet. g died; but Scotland was not then, nor for long after, susjected to the incessant immigration of the Irish poor, The government of this house was vested in ninety-six persons, who met quarterly, and fifteen managers, who met weekly. There were also a treasurer, chaplain, surgeon, and other officials. This unsightly edifice survived the Darien House for some years, but was eventually removed to make way for the handsome street in a line with George IV. Bridge, containing the Edinburgh Rifle Volunteer Hall, and the hall of the Odd Fellows. At the acute angle between Forrest Road and Bristo Street is the New North Free Church, erected in 1846. It presents Gothic fronts to both thoroughfares, and, has a massive projecting front basement, adorned with a small Gothic arcade. In 1764 we first hear of something like a trade strike, when a great number of journeyman masons met in July in Bristo Park (on the open side of the street, near Lord ROSS?S house), where they formed a combination ?not to work in the ensuing week unless their wages were augmented. This, it seems, they communicated to their masters on Saturday night, but had no satisfactory answer. Yestcrday morning they came to work, but finding no hopes of an augmentation, they all, with one consent, went oft The same evening the mastermasons of the city, Canongate, Leith, and suburbs, met in order to concert what measures may be proper to be taken in this affair.? (Edin. Adnert., They resolved not to increase the wages of the men, and to take legal advice ?to prevent undue combinations, which are attended with many bad effects.? The sequel we have no means of knowing. The same print quoted records a strike among the sweeps, or tronmen, in the same park, and elsewhere adds that ? an old soldier has lately come to town who sweeps chimneys after the English manner, which has so disgusted the society cif chimneysweepers that they refuse to sweep any unless this man is obliged to leave the town, upon which a number of them have been put in prison to-day. They need not be afraid of this old soldier taking the bread from them, as few chimneys in this place will admit of a man going through.them.? (Edin. Adverf., Vol. 111.) In the Bristo Port, or that portion of the street so called, stood long the Old George Inn, from whence the coaches, about 1788, were wont to set forth for Carlisle and London, three weekly-fare to the former, AI IOS., to the latter, A3 10s. 6dand from whence, till nearly the railway era, the waggons were despatched every lawful day to Vol. 11.) London and all parts of England ; ?? also every day to Greenock, Glasgow, and the west of Scotland.? Southward of where .this inn stood is now St. Mary?s Roman Catholic school, formerly a church, built in 1839. It is a pinnacled Gothic edifice, and was originally dedicated to St Patrick, but was superseded in 1856, when the great church in the Cowgate was secured by the Bishop of Edinburgh. Lothian Street opens eastward from this point In a gloomy mZ-de-sac on its northern side is a circular edifice, named Brighton Chapel, built in 1835, and seated for 1,257 persons. Originally, it was occupied by a relief congregation. The continuation of the thoroughfare eastward leads to College Street, in which we find a large United Presbyterian church. In a court off the east side of Bristo Street, a few yards south from the east end.of Teviot Row, is another church belonging to the same community, which superseded the oldest dissenting Presbyterian church in Edinburgh. In a recently-published history of this edifice, we are told that early in the century, ?when the old church was pulled down, within the heavy canopy of the pulpit ? (the sounding- board) ?( were found three or four skeletons of horses? heads, and underneath the pulpit platform about twenty more. It was conjectured that they had been placed there from some notion that the acoustics of the place would be improved.? The church was built in 1802, at a cost of &,o84, and was enlarged afterwards, at a further cost of A1,515, and interiorly renovated in 1872 for A~,300. It is a neat and very spacious edifice, and was long famous for the ministry of the Rev. Dr. James Peddie, who was ordained as a pastor of that congregation on the 3rd April, 1783. On his election, a large body of the sitters withdrew, and formed themselves into the Associate Congregation of Rose Street, of which the Rev. Dr. Hall subsequently became minister ; but the Bristo Street congregation rapidly recruited its numbers under the pastoral labours of Dr. Peddie, and from that time has been in a most flourishing condition. In 1778, when six years of age, Sir Walter Scott attended the school of Mr. Johu Luckmore, in Hamilton?s Entry, off Bristo Street, a worthy preceptor, who was much esteemed by his father, the old Writer to the Signet, with whom he was for many years a weekly guest. The school-house, though considerably dilapidated, still exists, and is occupied as a blacksmith?s shop. It is a small cottage-like building with a red-tiled roof, situated on the right-hand side of the court called Hamilton?s Entry, No. 36, Bristo Street. As to the identity of the edifice there can be no doubt, as it was
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? CLARINDA.? 327 Bristo Strht.] pointed out by Sir Walter himself to the late Dr. Robert Chambers. In 1792 Mr. Luckmore was appointed one of the four English masters of the High School on the city?s establishment, and continued to hold that office till his death, in 181 I. Sir Walter Scott, on leaving his school in Hamilton?s Entry, was placed under the domestic tutelage of Mr. James French, who prepared him to join Mr. Luke Fraser?s second class at the High School, in October, 1779. Another interesting locality in Bristo Street, at its junction with the Potterrow, was long known as the General?s Entry, No. 58, thoughhow it exists but in name. This was a desolate-looking court of ancient buildings. The south and east sides of the quadrangle were formed by somewhat ornate edifices. The crowstepped gable at the south-east angle bore an antique sun-dial, with the quaint legendand beyond this was a row of circular-headed dormer windows, in the richly decorated style of James VI, One of these bore a shield, charged with a monkey and three mullets-in-chief, surrounded by elaborate scroll-work of the same reign and bearing the initials J.D. Unvarying tradition has assigned this mansion to General Monk as a residence while commanding in Scotland, but there is not much probability to support it. The house was furnished with numerous out-shots and projections, dark, broad, and bulky stacks of chimneys, reared in unusual places, all blackened by age and encrusted by the smoke of centuries. It is said to have been built by Six James Dalrymple, afterwards first Viscount Stair, one of the Breda Cammissioners, and who continued his practice at the bar with great reputation afte1 the battles of Dunbar and Worcester. That he was a particular favourite with General Monk, and even with Cromwell, to whom the former recommended him as the fittest person foi the bench in 1657, is well known; and under such circumstances, it may be supposed ?that Monk would be his frequent visitor when he came from his quarters at Dalkeith to the capital. Tradition has assigned the house as the permanent residence in those days of the Commander of the Forces in Scotland. But there is sufficient proof that it was the town abode of the Stair family, till, like the rest of the Scottish nobility, they abandoned Edinburgh, after the Treaty of Union. ? I t is not unlikely,? says Wilson, ?? that the present name oj the old court is derived from the more recen! residence there of John, second Earl of Stair, wha served during the protracted campaigns of the ? WE SHALL DIE ALL ; ? Duke of Marlborough, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general after. the bloody victory of Malplaquet. He shared in the fall of the great duke, and retired from Court until the accession of George I., during which interval it is probable that the family mansion in the Potterrow formed the frequent abode of the disgraced favourite.? But Generalk Entry is perhaps now most intimately associated with one of Burns?s heroines, Mrs. McLehose, the romantic Clarinda of the notorious correspondence, in which the poet figured as Sylvander. He was introduced to her in the house of a Miss Nimmo, on the first floor of an old tenement on the north side of Alison Square. A little parlour, a bed-room, and kitchen, accord. ding to Chambers, constituted the accommodation of Mrs. Agnes McLehose, ?now the residence of two, if not three, families in the extreme of humble life.? In December, 1787, Burns met at a tea-party this lady, then a married woman of great beauty, about his own age, and who, with her two children, had been deserted by a worthless husband. She had wit, could use her pen, had read ? Werther? and his sorrows, was sociable and fl.irty, and possessed a voluptuous lovelines% if we may judge by the silhouette of her in Scott Douglas?s edition of thepoet?s works. She and Burns took afancy to each other on the instant. She invited him to tea, but he offered a visit instead. An accident confined him for about a month to his room, and this led to the famous Clarinda and Sylvander correspondence. At about the fifth or sixth exchange of their letters she wrote: ? I t is really curious, so much fun passing hetween two persons who saw each other only once.? During the few months of his fascination for this fair one in General?s Entry, Bums showed more of his real self, perhaps, than can be traced in other parts of his published correspondence. In his first letter to her after his marriage, he says, in reply to her sentimental reproaches, ?? When you call over the scenes that have passed between us, you will survey the conduct of an honest man struggling successfully with temptations the most powerful that ever beset humanity, and preserving untainted honour in situations where the severest virtue would have forgiven a fall.? But had Clarinda been less accessible, she might habze discovered eventually that much of the poet?s warmth *as fanciful and melodramatic. From their correspondence it would appear that she was in expectation of Bums visiting her again in Alison Square in 1788. She was the cousin-german of Lord Craig, who,
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