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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


Inverleith.] MRS. ROCHEID OF INVERLEITH. s 95 to the estate of?his maternal grandmother, took the name of Rocheid. His son, James Rocheid .of Inverleith, was an eminent agriculturist, on whose property the villas of Inverleith Row were built. He died in 1824 in the house of Inverleith. He was a man of inordinate vanity and family pride, and it used to be one of the sights of Stockbridge to see his portly figure, in a grand old family carriage covered with heraldic blazons, passing through, to or from the city; and a well-known anecdote of how his innate pomposity was humbled, is well known there still. On one occasion, when riding in the vicinity, he took his horse along the footpath, and while doing so, met a plain-looking old gentleman, who firmly declined to make way for him; on this Rocheid ordered him imperiously to stand aside. The pedestrian declined,saying that the otherhad no right whatever to ride upon the footpath. ?DO you know whom you are speaking to ?? demanded the horseman in a high tone. ? I do not,? was the quiet response. ?Then know that I am John Rocheid, Esquire of Inverleith, and a trustee upon this road ! ? I am George, Duke of Montagu,? replied the other, upon which the haughty Mr. Rocheid took to the main road, after making a very awkward apology to the duke, who was then on a visit to his daughter the Duchess of Buccleuch at Dalkeith. He had a predilection for molesting pedestrians, and was in the custom of driving his carriage along a strictly private footpath that led from Broughton Toll towards Leith, to the great exasperation of those at whose expense it had been constructed. It is of his mother that Lord Cockburn gives us such an amusing sketch in the ?? Memorials of his own Time,?-thus: ICLacly Don and Mrs. Rocheid of Inverleith, .two dames of high and aristocratic breed. They had both shone at first as hooped beauties in the minuets, and then as ladies of ceremonies at our stately assemblies ; and each carried her peculiar qualities and air to the very edge of the grave, Lady Don?s dignity softened by gentle sweetness, Mrs. Rocheid?s made more formidable by cold and severe soleinnity. Except Mrs. Siddons, in some of her displays of magnificent royalty, nobody could sit down like the Lady of Inverleith. She would sail like a ship from Tarshish, gorgeous in velvet or rustling silk, done up in all the accompaniment of fans, earrings, and finger-rings, falling-sleeves, scent-bottle, embroidered bag, hoop and train, all superb, yet all in purest taste ; managing all this seemingly heavy rigging with as much ease as a full-blown swan Who are you, fellow ? ? does its plumage. She would take possession of the centre of a large sofa, and at the same moment, without the slightest visible exertion, cover the whole of it with her bravery, the graceful folds seeming to lay themselves over it, like summer waves. The descent from her carriage too, where she sat like a nautilus in its shell, was a display which no one in these days could accomplish or even fancy. The mulberry-coloured coach, but apparently not too large for what it carried, though she alone was in it-the handsome, jolly coachman and his splendid hammer-cloth loaded with lacethe two respectful livened footmen, one on each side of the richly carpeted step, these were lost sight of amidst the slow majesty with which the lady came down and touched the earth. She presided in this imperial style over her son?s excellent dinners, with great sense and spirit to the very last day almost of a prolonged life.? This stateliness was not unmixed with a certain motherly kindness and racy homeliness, peculiar to great Scottish dames of the old school. In InverleithTerrace, oneof thestreetsbuilt on this property, Professor Edmonstone Aytounwas resident about 1850 ; and in No. 5 there resided, prior to his departure to London, in 1864, John Faed, the eminent artist, a native of Kirkcudbright, who, so early as his twelfth year, used to paint little miniatures, and after whose exhibition in Edinburgh, in 1841, his pictures began to find a ready sale. In Warriston Crescent, adjoining, there lived for many years the witty and eccentric W. R. Jamieson, W.S., author of a luckless tragedy entitled ?Timoleon,? produced by Mr. and Mrs. Wyndham, at the old Theatre Royal, and two novels, almost forgotten now, ? The Curse of Gold,?? and ? Milverton, or the Surgeon?s Daughter.? He died in obscurity in London. Inverleith Row, which extends north-westwards nearly three-quarters of a mile from Tanfield Hall, to a place called Golden Acre, is bordered by a row of handsome villas and other good residences. In No. 52, here, there lived long, and died on 6th of November, 1879, a very interesting old officer, General William Crokat, whose name was associated with the exile and death of Napoleon in St. Helena. ?So long ago as 1807,? said a London paper, with particular reference to this event, ? William Crokat was gazetted as ensign in the 20th Regiment of Foot, and the first thought which suggests itself is, that from that date we are divided by a far wider interval than was Sir Walter Scott from the insurrection of Prince Charlie, when in 1814, he gave to his first novel the title of ?Waverley, or ?Tis Sixty Years Since.? There is
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96 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Inverleith. something at once strong and startling in the consciousness that His Royal Highness the Conimander- in-Chief, during his recent official visit to Edinburgh, might have shaken hands with a veteran who landed with his regiment in Portugal about the middle of 1808, who took part in the battle of Vimiera, in the advance into Spain, in the disastrous retreat upon Corunna, and in the battle before that town in 1809. It is now (in 1879) seventy years to a day siiice Lieutenanthearts of half-a-dozen predecessors-their orders being that twice in every twenty-four hours they should ascertain by ocular demonstration that the Emperor was at Longwood. The latter died while Captain Crokat was installed in the office, and he was sent home by Sir Hudson Lowe with the dispatches, announcing that event j and after serving in India, he retired in 1830, and in spite of war, wounds, and fever, lived for nearly half a century before he passed away at n VIEW IN BONNINGTON, 1851. (From a Drawing by WilZiarn Chnnirrg.) General Crokat, had ?down with fever? written against his name in the medical report, which told the same tale of about three-fourths of those soldiers sent to perish at pestilential Walcheren.? General Crokat had served in Sicily, in 1807, before he served in Spain, and received the war medal with four clasps for Vimiera, Corunna, Vittoria, and the Pyrenees, where he was severely wounded. When peace came, the 20th Regiment was ordered to St. Helena, and with it went then Captain Crokat, to take part in transactions to a soldier more trying than the bullets of the recent war, for as orderly officer he had charge of ? the caged eagle of St. Helena,? the captive Napoleon; a task which is said to have well-nigh broken the green old age, in his villa at Inverleith Row, a hale old relic of other times. In this street are the entrances to the Royal Botanic Gardens, on the west side thereof, when they were first formed in 1822-4, in lieu of a previous garden on the east side of Leith Walk, from which establishment the shrubs and herbs were transferred without the eventual injury to a single plant. They are connectedwith the University, in so far as the Professor of Botany is Regius Keeper, and delivers his lectures in the class-room in the gardens, which extend to twenty-seven Scottish acres, and contain an extensive range of greenhouses and hothouses, with a palmhouse, 96 feet long, 70 feet high, and 57 feet broad. There is an
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