Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2

Search

470 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. the head, and was styled the Provost's Officer, it being his chief duty to wait upon that civic dignitary. This with hini was truly a labour of love ; and indeed towards all the Magistrates his civility and attention were unremitting. Whatever occurred of a public nature, during their absence, was sure to be made known to them by a note in the hand-writing of this devoted servant, at all hours of the day, and frequently before they had risen out of bed. He was a steady advocate for giving honour to whom honour was due ; and whoever happened to be in office for the time was with him a most especial object of respect. In his eyes the reigning Lord Provost was the greatest man upon earth. Nor did this enthusiastic feeling originate in any slavish or mercenary motive-it owed its existence solely to his innate desire to fulfil to the uttermost his humble, but highly useful and honourable duties. If he happened to meet two of his mastcrs together, his salutation of " Gentlemen-both," with a strong emphasis on the latter word, seemed to imply that he reckoned no one but a Magistrate fully entitled to that appellation. The dialect of his native-mountains never entirely lcft poor Archie, who was a sad murderer of the King's English ; and his ludicrous mistakes and mispronunciations of words mere a source of infinite amusement at the Council Board. At the fencing of the Magistrates' Court, after -an election, when he had to repeat 'after the clerk certain Latin words, his mode of doing so was extremely characteristic and amusing. For instance, when he came to the legal phrase " in. statu quo," he pronounced it with a sonorous emphasis thus :-$' In stutter quoh."' When the Lord Provost or any of his brethren were called on public business to London, Archie, and none but he, was their faithful satellite ; and if any Scotsman happened to inquire at their hotel for admission to speak with these functionaries, Archie's kindly feelings towards his countrymen, rendered more acute by his distance from home, broke out into most exuberant welcome, while he 'would address the applicant thus :-" Ou ay, sir, walk in; ta Lord Provost and Bailies, and a' the Council's here. They'll be unco glad to see Besides his situation of City Officer, Archie held numerous subordinate appointments. He was officer to-the Society of High Constables, to the Convention of Royal Burghs, to the Highland Club, and latterly to the Dean of Guild Court. He was King's Beadle at the meetings of the General Assembly, etc.; also a Justice of Peace Constable, and officer to the Stent-masters of Edinburgh ; and, in short, he monopolised almost every office of a like nature in the city. At one time, as Officer to the Bailie Court, he had nearly the whole business of summoning parties and witnesses, and executing other matters of form before that Court. His duties in this department were so very The following specimen of Archie's &$ish was found among the papers of the late Dr. M'Cleish ; the manuscript in the Doctor's handwriting :-"The Mag. of Edinrs. Proclamation for an iluination on account of au aledgel victory in Rusia over the French Grand Army, 6th Nov. 1813, by Archd. Campbell, their Chief Officer.-'This days gud news caus lumination, but no till mouday, because the Lord's Supper is to be dispeilued-the moma night frae 7 OG to 10 luminate weel."' you."
Volume 9 Page 628
  Enlarge Enlarge  
Volume 9 Page 629
  Enlarge Enlarge