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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


340 OLD AND ?NEW EDINBURGH. [George Square. Centenary celebration in 1872 was a ?? Contract between James Brown, architect in Edinburgh, and Walter Scott, W.S., to feu and bui!d a dnellinghouse, with cellars, coach-house, &c., on the west side of the great square, called George Square (No. 25), at the annual feu of &s 14s.~ the first payment to commence on Whit Sundayl 1773. Six pages, each signed WaZfeer Scoft.? In this house, then, with its back windows overlooking the Meadow Walk, beneath its happy my infirmity (his lameness) as she lifted me coarsely and carelessly over the flinty steps which my brother traversed with a shout and bound. I remember the suppressed bitterness of the moment, and, conscious of my own infirmity, the envy with which I regarded the elastic steps of my more happily-formed brethren.? In No. 25 Scott received, from private tutors, the first rudiments of education ; and he mentions that ?our next neighbour, Lady Cumming, sent THE BLIND ASYLUM (FORMERLY THE HOUSE OF DR. JOSEPH BLACK), NICOLSON STREET, 1820. (AficrStom.) parental roof, were spent the bright young years of Scott, who there grew up to manhood under the eye of his good mother. Among his papers, after death, there was found a piece of verse, penned in a boyish hand, endorsed in that of his mother, ? My WaZter?sJfrst lines.? ?My father?s house in George Square,? says Scott, ?continued to be my most established place of residence (after my return from Prestonpans in 1776) till my marriage in 1797.? Writing of an incidentof his childhood, he says:- ?? Every step of the way (the Meadow Walk, behind George Square) has for me something of an early remembrance. There is the stile at which I recollect a cross child?s maid upbraiding me with to beg that the boys might not be all flogged at the same hour, as though she had no doubt the punishment was deserved, yet the noise was dreadful !? There, too, he had that long illness which confined him to bed, and during which the boy, though full of worldly common sense, was able to indulge in romantic and poetical longings after a mediad age of his own creation, and stored his mind with those treasures of poesy and romance which he afterwards turned to such wondrous account. During the weary weeks of that long illness he was often enabled to see the vista of the Meadow Walk by a combination of mirrors so arranged that while lying in bed he could witness the troops marching out to exercise in the Links, or any other
Volume 4 Page 340
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