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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


114 BIOGRA’PHICAL SKETCHES. pensities, have become popular. He had some pretensions to the character of a wit, and was withal a person well fitted for rendering himself agreeable at the table of those in the upper ranks of life, while he possessed various qualities equally calculated to gain the esteem of the rudest and most uncultivated among the numerous miners of his parish. He was a man of great muscular power, and of a disposition not easily to be intimidated. On returning home one evening from a party, he was insulted by a band of colliers, one of whom swore that, if it were not for “his coat,” he would give him a sound beating. Lapslie, who was in no mood to be trifled with, immediately doffed the sable habiliment, saying, as he threw it into the ditch, “ Lie you there, divinity-here stands Jamie Lapslie ! The belligerents instantly set to work, and the collier was severely chastised for his impertinence.‘ ’ From circumstances, as to the origin of which we shall not speculate, Mr. Lapslie appeared always to be in a condition more ready to receive than to bestow. In settling accounts he was ranked amongst the dreighest of the dreigh, and nothing in the shape of a gift came amiss to him. He held his incumbency upwards of forty years, having been presented to the living, which is in the gft of the Crown, in 1783, in the room of the Rev. William Bell, who had been thirty-six years minister of the parish. In the pulpit Mr. Lapslie possessed a very energetic style of delivery, and was, at least externally, a perfect enthusiast in religion. In Peter’s Letters to his Kinsfolk, the oratory and personal appearance of Mr. Lapslie, abaut the year 181 6, are graphically described. Peter is detailing the procedure of the General Assembly, and the case under consideration was that of a minister from the Hebrides, who had been accused of illicit intercourse with his housekeeper :-- “The more conspicuous of the clerical orators mere Dr. Skene Keith, a shrewd, bitter, sarcastic humorist from Aberdeenshire, and Mr. Lapslie, an energetic rhapsodist from the West of Scotland. The last mentioned individual is undoubtedly the most enthusiastic speaker I ever heard. He is a fine, tall, bony man, with a face full of fire, and a bush of white locks, which he shakes about him like the thymus of a bacchanal. He tears his waistcoat open-he bares his breast, as if he had scars to show-he bellows-he sobs-he weeps-and sits down at the end of his harangue, trembling all to the fingers’ ends, like an exhausted Pythoness. . . . The poor minister was at last found innocent; and for how much of his safety he might be indebted to the impassioned defence of Mr. Lapslie, I shall not pretend to guess.” He was succeeded by the Rev. Dr. Norman M‘Leod, of Glasgow, Mr. Lapslie died on the 1 lth of December 1824.’ 1 The collier had been refused baptism to his child, Mr. Lapslie accusing him of drunkenness. a Of his family, we have heard that a son is still alive, somewhere in the West Indies. From a letter in the possession of the Publisher of this Work, addressed to his father, it appears that Mr. Lapslie had been very anxiouq to have one of his 8ons indentured with him to a mechanical profession.
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