Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 143 Martin, however, waa certainly more “ at hame” in some instances than he was either in French, Latin, Greek, or Hebrew. On one occasion, at the time Manfredo was performing in Edinburgh, Martin, in the course of his night’e labour, came across the ‘‘ Life of Robinson Crusoe.” Holding up the volume, and pointing to the picture of Robinson’s man Friday, he exclaims, Weel, gentlemen, what will ye gie me for my MaeFredo /-worth a dieen 0’ the Italian land-louper.” Manfredo, who happened to be present, became exceedingly moth at this allusion to him. Call nzs de land-loupeur I ’) Nothing disconcerted by this unexpected attack, Martin, again holding up the picture replied-“ I’ll refer to the company if my Man- Fredo is no worth a dizen 0’ him !” The Italian fumed and fretted, but, amidst the’general laughter, was obliged to retire. In these days “ rockings” in the country, and parties in the town, were very frequent. On such occasions the auctioneer was wont to be extremely merry, and seldom failed to recite in his best style “The Edinburgh Buck,” by Robert Fergusson. He used also to sing tolerably well the ballad of “Duncan Gray.” This seldom failed to be forthcoming-more particularly when a teaparty surrounded his own fireside. In this there was perhaps a little touch of domestic pride-at least the second Mrs. Martin always thought so. During courtship some trifling misunderstanding had taken place- “Vat do you say about Manfredo! “ Maggie coost her head fu’ heigh, Look’d asklent and unco skeigh, Gart poor Duncan staud abeigh.” But Martin, like the famed Duncan, cooled, and discontinued: his visits for some time, till Katherine “grew sick as he grew heal,” and at last condescended to let the bookseller know her surprise why he had discontinued his visits. Martin, who had been like his favourite, ‘‘ a lad 0’ grace,”- ‘‘ Could na’ think to be her death ; Swelling pity smoor’d his wrath.” So he accordingly resumed his visits and Kattie became his d e , being ‘‘ crouse an’ canty baith ;” but she never could endure the song of I‘ Duncan Gray.” Of Mr. Martin’s social habits, perhaps the best proof is the fact of his having been a member of the “Cape Club.”’ His diploma of knighthood is as follows :- The Cape Club comprised amongst its numerous membem many men of talents and of private worth. Fergusson (who alludes to the Club in his poem of “Add Reekie”), waa a member ; as were Mr. Thomaa Sommers, his friend and biographer ; Wood, the Scottish Roscius aa he WBS called ; and Runciman, the painter. The Club derived ita name from the following circumstance :-“A person who lived in the suburbs of Calton waa in the custom of spending an hour’ or two every evening with one or two city friends ; and being sometimes detained till after the regular period when the Netherbow-Port waa shut, it occasionally happened that he had either to remain in the city all night, or WBS under the necessity of bribing the porter who attended the gate. This difticult pass, partly on account of the rectangular corner which he turned immediately on getting out of the Port, 88 he went homewards down Leith Wynd, and partly, perhaps (if the reader will pardon a very
Volume 8 Page 203
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