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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


When all is considered, and we further know that the building was strong enough to have lasted many more ages, one cannot but regret that the palace of Mary de Guise, reduced as it was to vilebess, should not now be in existence. The site having been purchased by individuals connected with the Free Church, the buildings were removed in 1846 to make rodm for the erection of an academical institution, or college, for that body.? The demolition of this mansion brought to light a concealed chamber on the first floor, lighted by a narrow loophole opening into Nairne?s Close. The entrance had been by a movable panel, affording access to a narrow flight of steps wound round in the wall of the turnpike stair. The existence of this mysterious chamber was totally-unknown to the various inhabitants, and all tradition has been lost of those to whom it may have afforded escape or refuge. The Duke of Devonshire possesses an undoubted portrait of Mary of Guise, It represents her with a brilliantly fair complexion, with reddish, or auburn hair. This is believed to be the only authentic one in existence, That portrait alleged to be of her in the Trinity House at Leith is a bad copy, by Mytens, of that of her daughter at St. James?s. Some curious items connected with her Court are to be found in the accounts of the Lord High Treasurer, among them are the following :- At her coronation in 1540, ?Item, deliverit to ye French telzour, to be ane cote to Serrat, the Queen?s fule,? &c. Green and yellow seems to have been the Court fool?s livery; but Mary of Guise, seems to have had a female buffoon and male and female dwarfs :-? 1562. Paid for ane cote, hois, lyning and making, to Jonat Musche, fule, A 4 5s. 6d.; 1565, for green plaiding to make ane bed to Jardinar the fule, with white fustione fedders,? &c.; in 1566, there is paid for a garment of red and yellow, to be a gown ?( for Jane Colqu-, houn, fule;? and in 1567, another entry, for broad English yellow, U to be cote, breeks, also sarkis, to James Geddie, fide.? The next occupant of the Guise palace, or of that portioli thereof which stood in Tod?s Close, was Edward Hope, son of John de Hope, a Frenchman who had come to Scotland in the retinue of Magdalene, first queen of James V., in 1537. It continued in possession of the Hopes till 1691, when it was acquired by James, first Viscount Stair, for 3,000 guilders, Dutch money, probably in connection with some transaction in Holland, from whence he accompanied William of Orange four years before, In 1702 it was the abode and property of John Wightman of Mauldsie, afterwards Lord Provost of the city. From that period it was the residence of a succession of wealthy burgesses -the closes being then, and till a comparatively recent period, exclusively occupied by peers and dignitaries of rank and wealth. Since then it shared the fate of all the patrician dwellings in old Edinburgh, and became the squalid abode of a host of families in the most humble ranks of life. CHAPTER X THE LAWNMARKET. The Lawnmarket-RispE-The Weigh-house-Major Somerville and Captain Crawfod-Anderson?s Pills-Mylnc?s Court-James?s Court- Su John Lauder-Sir Islay Campbell-David Hum-?? Corsica? Boswell-Dr. Johnson-Dr. Blair-?? Gladstone?s Land?-A Fue in 1771. THE Lawnmarket is the general designation of that part of the town which is a continuation of the High Street, but lies between the head of the old West Bow and St. Giles?s Church, and is about 510 feet in length. Some venerable citizens still living can recall the time when this spacious and stately thoroughfare used to be so covered by the stalls and canvas baoths of the lawn-merchants,? with their webs and rolls of cloth of every description, that it gave the central locality an appearance of something between a busy country fair and an Indian camp. Like many other customs of the olden time this has passed away, and the name alone remains to indicate the former usages of the place, although the importance of the street was such that its occupants had a community of their own called the Lawnmarket Club, which was famous in its day for the earliest possession of English and foreign intelligence. Among other fashions and customs departed, it may be allowable here to notice an adjunct of the first-floor dwellings of old Edinburgh. The means of bringing a servant to the door was neither a knocker nor bell, but an apparatus peculiar to Scotland alone, and still used in some parts of Fife, called a risf, which consists of a slender bar of serrated or twisted iron screwed to the door in an upright position, about two inches from it, and furnished with a large ring, by which the bar could be rasped, or risped, in such a way as secured attention. In many instances the doors were also furnished with two eyelet-holes, through which the
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Tine Lawomarket.1 MAJOR SOMERVILLE. 9s visitor could be fully visCd before admission was accorded. In many other instances the entrances to the turnpike stairs had loopholes for arrows or musketry, and the archways to the closes and wynds had single and sometimes double gates, the great hooks of which still remain in some places, and on which these were last hung in 1745, prior to the occupation of the city by the Highlanders. The Lawnmarket was bounded on the west by the Butter Tron, or Weigh-house, and on the east by the Tolbooth, which adjoined St. Giles?s, thus forming in earlier times the greatest open space, save the Grassmarket, within the walls. The Weighhouse, built on ground which was granted to the citizens by David II., in 1352, was a clumsy and hideous edifice, rebuilt in 1660, on the site of the previous building, which Gordon of Rothiemay, in his map of 1647, shows to have been rather an ornate edifice, two storeys in height, with a double #outside stair on the south side, and a steeple and vane at the east end, above an archway, where enormous quantities of butter and cheese were continually being disposed of. In 1640 the Lawnmarket was the scene of a remarkable single combat, of which we have a very clearly-detailed account in ?? The Memoirs of the Somervilles.? In that year, when Major Somerville of Drum commanded the garrison of Covenanting troops in Edinburgh Castle, a Captain Crawford, who, though not one of his officers, deemed himself privileged to enter the fortress at all times, walked up to the gates one morning, and, on finding them closed, somewhat peremptorily demanded admission. The sentinel within told him that he must ?( before entering, acquaint Major Somerville with his name and rank.? To this Crawford replied, furiously, ? Your major is neither a soldier nor a gentleman, and if he were without this gate, and at a distance from his guards, I would tell him that he was a pitiful cullion to boot! ? The irritated captain was retiring down the Castle Hill, when he was overtaken, rapier in hand, by Major Somerville, to whom the sentinel had found means to convey the obnoxious message with mischievous precision. ?Sir,? said the major, ?you must permit me to accompany you a little way, and then you shall know more of my mind.? ? I will wait on you where you please,? replied Crawford, grimly; and they walked together in silence to the south side of the Greyfriars churchyard, at all times a Ionely place. ? Nazi," said Somerville, unsheathing his sword, ?I am without the Castle gates and at a distance from my guards. Draw and make good your threat I ? Instead of defending himself like a man of honour, Crawford took off his hat, and begged pardon, on which Somerville jerked his long bowlhilted rapier into its sheath, and said, with scorn, (? You have neither the discretion of a gentleman, nor the courage of a soldier ; begone for a coward and fool, fit only for-Bedlam !? and he returned tb the Castle, accompanied by his officers, who had followed them to see the result of the quarrel. It is said that Crawford had been offended at not being invited to a banquet given in the Castle by Somerville to old General Ruthven, on?the day after the latter surrendered. As great liberties were taken with him after this in consequence of his doubtful reputation for ? courage, he resolved, by satisfaction demanded in a public and desperate manner, to retrieve his lost honour, or die in seeking it. Thus, one forenoon, about eleven o?clock,? when the Major was on his way to visit General Sir Alexander Leslie, and proceeding down the spacious Lawnmarket, which at that hour was always thronged with idlers, he was suddenly confronted by Captain Crawford, who, unsheathing both sword and dagger, exclaimed, ?? If you be a pretty man-draw f ? With a thick walking cane recently presented to him by General Ruthven, the Major parried his onset and then drew his sword, which was a half-rapier slung in a shoulderbelt, and attacked the Captain so briskly, that he was forced. to fall back, pace by pace, fighting desperately, from the middle of the Lawnmarket to the goldsmiths? booths, where Somerville struck him down on the causeway by the iron pommel of his ? sword, and disarmed him. Several of Somerville?s soldiers now came upon the scene, and by these he would have been slain, had not the yictor protected him; but for this assault upon & superior officer he was thrown into prison, where he lay for a year, heavily manacled, and in a wretched condition, till Somerville?s wife,who resided at the Drum House, near Gilmerton, and to whom he had Written an imploring letter, procured his liberation. Here in the Lawnmarket, in the lofty tenement dated 1690, on the second floor,? is the ?shop? where that venerable drug, called the ?Grana . Angelica,? but better known among the country people as (?Anderson?s Pills,? are sold. They took their origin from a physician of the time of Charles I., who gave them his name, and of whom a long account? was given in the University Magazine, and locally their fame lasted for nearly 250 years. From his daughter Lilias Anderson, the patent, granted by James VII., came ??tg Thomas Weir, chirurgeon, in Edinburgh,? who left the secret of preparing the pills to his daughter, Mrs. Irving, who died in ~837, at the age of .
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