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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 441 consequence of which many were injured, and Mr. Smith, banker in Edinburgh, unfortunately killed. Lord Eldin died a bachelor; and, old maid-like, he had formed such an attachment to cats, that his domestic establishment could always boast of at least half-a-dozen feline indwellers. When called on by a client, he was generally found seated in his study, with a favourite Tom elevated on his shoulder, and purring about his ears.' Throughout the whole of his career as a barrister Mr. Clerk took infinite delight in ridiculing the bench. To one amiable individual, now no more, he was invariably rude ; and whilst his lordship acted as an ordinary in the Outer- House, he suffered a species of torture that required great natural sweetness and kindness of disposition to endure. Lord Craigie, the person alluded to, being himself a most excellent feudal lawyer, highly respected the talents of Mr. Clerk ; and although many occasions occurred, which a man of vindictive feeling would eagerly have seized on, to punish his tormentor, still he uniformly passed them over. Clerk, however, did not come off so well with the Inner-House. On one occasion: having used rather strong language towards one of the bench, the presiding judge most properly called him to order, and required him instantly to make a suitable apology to the venerable and excellent individual whom he had insulted. It was a bitter pill to swallow j but, as there was no alternative, the discomfited lawyer-who did not aspire to the honour of judicial martyrdom -was compelled to succumb. Mr. Clerk was of a convivial disposition, and the contrast between the crabbed lawyer and the good-natured Zlon vivant was great. Being a member of the Bannatyne Club, he invariably attended the anniversary dinner ; and no one could enjoy with greater zest the good things which Mr. Barry unsparingly lavished on such occasions. Until within a year or two of his death, Sir Walter Scott, as president, uniformly took the chair ; and it is not surprising that, in the witchery of his company, libations to Bacchus should have been more frequent than perhaps was beneficial to the health of the assembled members. At the termination of one of these feasts, where wit and wine contended for the mastery, the excited judge (for Mr. Clerk had then been raised to the bench), on the way to his carriage, tumbled down stairs, and, miserabile &tu, broke his nose-an accident which compelled him to confine himself to the house for a day or two. He re-appeared, however, with a large patch on his olfactory member, which gave a most ludicrous expression to his face. On some It is said he was so much disturbed, when pondering over a very long law paper 01: one occasion, by a number of these animals making a hideous noise in the green at the back of his house, that he rose up, and throwing open the window, endeavoured viva voce, to quell the disturbance. His efforts, however, were to little purpose ; but before adopting more effectual measures, he generously resolved to give the four-footed caterwaulem the full benefit of law as provided in the case of tumultuous bipeds. The riot act was accordingly read by his lordship with all due form and deliberation ; but even this solemn intimation waa disregarded ; and it was not until he had fired a pistol among them that the disturbers of his quiet were put to flight. [Tb is understood to have occurred late in life, when the faculties of Lord Eldin had become somewhat impaired.] His lordship then resumed his studies. VOL 11, 3 L
Volume 9 Page 590
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