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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


6 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. porch of the Parliament House, '' for she has stood lang i' the outside, and it mad be a treat for her to see the inside, like other strangers !'I He was of a kindly and inoffensive disposition, and, in keeping with this character, was extremely fond of children, and of those young persons generally who treated him with becoming respect. For these he always carried about with him in his pocket a large supply of tops, peerks, and tee-totums, of his own manufacture, which he distributed liberally amongst them ; while to adults he was equally generous in the articles of snuff and tobacco, giving these freely to all who chose to enter into conversation with him. The Laird was thus a general favourite with both young and old. He resided on the Castlehill, and was most frequently to be seen there, and in the Grassmarket, Lawnmarket, and Bow-head. He wore a cocked Highland bonnet, as represented in the picture, which is an admirable likeness, was handsome in person, and possessed of great bodily strength. He retained to his dying hour his allegiance to the House of St,uart ; and, about two years before his demise, gave a decisive instance of it, by creating a disturbance at Bishop Abernethy Drummond's chapel, in consequence of the reverend gentleman and his congregation, who had previously been Nonjurants, praying for King George 111, He died in J d y 1790. JOHN DHU, the centre figure on the Print,'was, in the days of Mr. Kay, a distinguished member of the Town-Guard, a band of civic militia, or armed police, which existed in Edinburgh till 1817, and of which some notice will be subsequently presented. John, a Highlander by birth, was conspicuous for his peculiarly robust and rough appearance, which was of itself as effectual in keeping the younger and more mischievous part of the population in awe, as any ten Lochaber axes in the corps. The Author of Waverley speaks of him somewhere as one of the fiercest-looking fellows he had ever seen. In facihg the unruly mobs of those days, John had shown such a degree of valour as to impress the Magistrates with a high sense of his utility as a public servant. That such an image of military violence should have been necessary at the close of the eighteenth century, to protect the peace of a British city, presents us with a singular contrast of what we lately were, and what we have now become. On one occasion, about the time of the French Revolution, when the Town-Guard had been signalising the King's birthday by firing in the Parliament Square, being unusually pressed and insulted by the populace, this undaunted warrior turned upon one peculiarly outrageous member of the democracy, and, with one blow of his battle-axe, laid him lifeless on the causeway. With all this vigour in the execution of his duty, John Dhu is represented as having been, in reality, a kind-hearted man, exceedingly gentle and affectionate to his wife, and of so obliging a disposition, that he often did the duty of lis brethren as well as his own, thereby frequently exposing himself to an amount of fatigue that few men could have borne.
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