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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


G d Stuart St~et.1 PROFESSOR AYTOUN. 207 of sixteen feet there spring curves which bend round into the arms, while between those arms and the upright shaft are carried four arcs, having a diameter of six feet. On each of its main faces the cross is divided into panels, in which are inserted bronze basreliefs, worked out, like the whole design, from drawings by R. Anderson, A.R.S.A. Those occupying the head and arms of the cross represent the various stages of our Lord?s Passion, the Resurrection and the Ascension; in another series of six, placed thus on either side of the shaft, are set forth the acts of charity, while the large panels in the base are filled in with sculptured ornament of the fine twelfth-century type, taken from Jedburgh abbey. Three senators of the College of Justice have had their abodes in Ainslie Place-Lord Barcaple, raised to the bench in 1862, Lord Cowan, a judge of 1851, and George Cranstoun, Lord Corehouse, the brother of Mrs. Dugald Stewart, who resided in No. 12. This admirable judge was the son of the Hon. George Cranstoun of Longwarton, and Miss Brisbane of that ilk. He was originally intended for the army, but passed as advocate in 1793, and was Dean of Faculty in 1823, and succeeded to the bench on the death of Lord Hermand, three years after. He was the author of the famous Court of Session jeu rFespn2, known as ?The Diamond Beetle Case,? an amusing and not overdrawn caricature of the judicial style, manners, and language, of the judges of a bygone time. He took his judicial title from the old ruined castle of Corehouse, near the Clyde, where he had built a mansion in the English style. He was an excellent Greek scholar, and as such was a great favourite with old Lord Monboddo, who used to declare that Cranstoun was the only scholar in all Scotland,? the scholars in his opinion being all on the south side of the Tweed. He w& long famed for being the beau-ideal of a judge; placid and calm, he listened to even the longest debates with patience, and was an able lawyer, especially in feudal questions, and his opinions were always received with the most profound respect. Great Stuart Street leads from Ainslie Place into Randolph Crescent,which faces the Queensfeny Road, and has in it3 gardens some of the fine old trees which in former times adorned the Earl of Moray?s park. In No. 16 of the former street lived and died, after his removal from No. I, Inverleith Terrace, the genial and. patriotic author of the Lays of t h e . Scottish Cavaliers,? a Scottish humourist of a very high class. William Edmondstoune Aytoun, Professor of Rhetoric in the University of Edinburgh, was born in 1813, of a fine old Fifeshire family, and in the course of his education at one of the seminaries of his native capital, he became dis tinguished among his contemporaries for his powers of Latin and English composition, and won a prize for a poem on ?( Judith.? In his eighteenth year he published a volume entitled Poland and other Poems,? which attracted little attention ; but after he was called to the bar, in 1840, he became one of the standing wits of the Law Courts, yet, save as a counsel in criminal cases, he did not acquire forensic celebrity as an advocate. Five years afterwards he was presented to the chair of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres in the University, and became a leading contributor to Blackwoofls Magazine, in which his famous LL Lays,? that have run through so many editions, first appeared. Besides these, he was the author of many brilliant pieces in the Book of Ballads,? by Bon Gaultier, a name under which he and Sir Theodore Martin, then a solicitor in Edinburgh, contributed to various periodicals. In April, 1849, he married Jane Emily Wilson, the youngest daughter of Christopher North,? in whose class he had been as a student in his early years, a delicate and pretty little woman, who predeceased him. In the summer of 1853 he delivered a series of lectures on ?Poetry and Dramatic Literature,? in Willis?s Rooms, to such large and fashionable audiences as London alone can produce ; and to his pen is ascribed the mock-heroic tragedy of Firrnilian,? designed to ridicule, as it did, the rising poets of ?? The Spasmodic School.? With all his brilliance as a humourist, Aytoun was unsuccessful as a novelist, and his epic poem ?Bothaell,? written in 16 Great Stuart Street, did not bring him any accession of fame. In his latter years, few writers on the Conservative side rendered more effective service to their party than Professor Aytoun, whom, in 1852, Lord Derby rewarded With the offices of Sheriff and Vice-Admiral of Orkney. Among the many interesting people who frequented the house of the author of ?The Lays? few were more striking than an old lady of strong Jacobite sentiments, even in this prosaic age, Miss Clementina Stirling Graham, of Duntrune, well worthy of notice here, remarkable for her historical connections as for her great age, as she died in her ninety-fifth year, at Duntrune, in 1877. Born in the Seagate of Dundee, in 1782, she was the daughter of Stirling of Pittendreich, Forfar
Volume 4 Page 207
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