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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


NioiLson Street.] JOHN MACLAREN. 337 spend a portion of each day in education, often passing an hour or more daily in learning to read by means of raised letters, under the direction of the chaplain. One of the most remarkable inmates here was John Maclaren, who deserves to be recorded for his wonderful memory. He was a native of Edinburgh, and lost his sight by small-pox in infancy. He was admitted into the first asylum ir. Shakespeare Square in 1793, and was the last survivor In West Richmond Street, which opens off the east side of Nicolson Street, is the McCrie Free Church, so named from being long the scene of the labours of Dr. Thomas McCric, the zealous biographer of Knox and Melville. Near it, a large archway leads into a small and dingy-looking court, named Simon Square, crowded by a humble, but dense population ; yet it has associations intimately connected with literature and the fine arts, for there a poor young student from Rnnandale, named SURGEONS? HALL. of the original members. With little exception, he had committed the whole of the Scriptures to memory, and was most earnest in his pious efforts to instruct the blind boys of the institution in portions of the sacred volume. He could repeat an entire passage of the Bible, naming chapter and verse, wherever it might be opened for him. As age came upon him the later events of his life eluded his memory, while all that it had secured of the earlier remained distinct to the last. Throughout his long career he was distinguished by his zeal in promoting the spiritual welfare and temporal comfort of the little community of which he was a member, and also for 3 life of increasing industry, which closed on the 14th of November, 1840. 91 Thomas Carlyle, lodged when he first came to Edinburgh, and in a narrow alley called Paul Street David Wilkie took up his abode on his arrival in Edinburgh in 1799. He was then in his fourteenth year; and so little was thought of his turn for art, that it required all the powerful influence of the kind old Earl of Leven to obtain him admission as a student at the Academy of the Board of Trustees. The room he occupied in Paul Street was a little back one, about ten feet square, at the top of a common stair on the south side of the alley, and near the Pleasance. From this he removed to a better lodging in East Richmond Street, and from thence to an attic in Palmer?s Lane, West Nicolson Street, where hq
Volume 4 Page 337
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