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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


244 OLD AXD NEW EDINBURGH. IHkh Street. humble trade, she went up to him, and without the least deference to his fine laced coat, taxed liim with presumption in coming there, and turned him out of the room.? shopping, just as people perform these duties before that meal now. Then gentlemen wore the Ramillies wig or lied hair, small three-cornered hats laced with gold or moderate time was never protracted. When the hour of departure came even the most winning young couples would crowd about her throne, petitioning for ?one dance more,? but the inexorable MissNjcky vacated her seat, and by a wave of her fan silenced the musicians and summoned the candle-snuffers. The evening was then the fashionable time for receiving company in Edinburgh, when people were all abroad upon the streets, after dinner calling and cuffs, and square-toed shoes; and the dresses of the ladies, if quaint, gave them dignity and grace. ?How fine it must have been to see, as an old gentleman told me he had seen,? says Dr. Chambers, ? two hooped ladies moving along the Lawnmarket in a summer evening, and filling up the whole footway with their stately and voluminous persons ! ? Ladies in Edinburgh then wore the calash, a kind of hood formed of cane covered with silk,
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High Street. NIDDRY?S WYND. 245 to protect the powdered head of loftily-dressed hair, when walking or driving, and it could be folded back flat like the hood of a carriage ; they also wore the capuchin or short cloak tippet, reaching to the elbows, usually of silk. trimmed with velvet or lace. In walking, they camed the skirt of the long gown over one arm, a necessary precaution in the wynds and closes of 1750, as well as to display the rich petticoat below ; but on .entering a room, the full train swept majestically behind them ; and their stays were SO long, as to touch the chair before and behind when seated. The vast hoops proved a serious inconvenience in the turnpike stairs of the Old Town, when, as ladies had to tilt them up, it wa5 absolutely necessary to have a fine show petticoat beneath; and we are told that such ?? care was taken of appear- .ances, that even the gartxs were worn fine, being either embroidered, or having gold or silver fringes and tassels. , . . Plaids were worn by ladies to cover their heads and muffle their faces when they went into the street ; ? and we have already shown how vain were the fulniinations of magistrates .against the latter fzshion. In 1733 the silk stockings worn by ladies and gentlemen were so thick, and so heavily adorned with gold and silver, that they could rarely be washed perhaps more than once. The Scottish ladies used enormous Dutch fans ; and all women high and low ,wore prodigious busks. Below the Old Assembly Close is one named from the Covenant, that great national document and solemn protest against interference with the Teligion of a free people having been placed for signature at a period after 1638 in an old mansion long afterwards used as a tavern at the foot of the alley. Lower down we come to Bell?s Wynd, 146, High Street, which contained another Assembly Room, for the Edinburgh fashionables, removed thither, in 1758, to a more commodious hall, and there the weekly reunions and other balls were held in the season, until the erection of the new hall in George Street. Hair Street, and Hunter?s Square, which was built in 1788, occasioned the removal of more than one old alley that led down southward to the Cowgate, among them were Marlin?s and Peebles? Wynds, to which we shall refer when treating of the North and South Bridges. The first tenement of the former at the right corner, descending, marks the site of Kennedy?s Close, on the first floor of the first turnpike on the left hand, wherein George Buchanan, the historian and poet, died in his 76th year, on the morning of Friday the 28th of September, 1582, and from whence he was borne to his last home in the Greyfkiars? churchyard. The last weeks of his life were spent, it is alleged, in the final correction of the proofs of his history, equally remarkable for its pure Latinity and for its partisan spirit. He survived its appearance only a month. When on his death-bed, finding that all the money he had about him was insufficient to defray the expense of his funeral, he ordered his servant to divide it among the poor, adding ?that if the city did not choose to bury him they might let him lie where he was.? The site of his grave is now unknown, though a ?throchstone ? would seem to have marked it so lately as 1710. A skull, believed to be that of Buchanan, is preserved in the hluseum of the University, and is so remarkably thin as to be transparent; but the evidence in favour of the tradition, though not conclusive, does not render its truth improbable. From the Council Records in 1701, it would seem that Buchanan?s gravestone had sunk into the earth, and had gradually been covered up. In the En?inburph Magazine for 1788 we are told that the areas of some of the demolished closes westward of the Tron Church and facing Blair Street, were exposed for sale in April, and that ?? the first lot immediately west of the new opening sold for _f;z,ooo, and that to the southward for A1,500, being the upset price of both.? Niddry?s Street, which opens eastward of the South Bridge, occupies the site of Niddry?s Wynd, an ancient thoroughfare, which bore an important part in the history of the city. ? It is well known,? says Wilson, ? that King James VI. was very condescending in his favours to his loyal citizens of Edinburgh, making no scruple, when the larder of Holyrood grew lean, and the privy purse was exhausted, to give up housekeeping for a time, and honour one or other of the substantial burghers of his capital with a visit of himself and household ; or when the straitened mansions within the closes of old Edinburgh proved insufficient singly to accommodate the hungry train of courtiers, he would very considerately distribute his favours through the whole length of tlie close ! ? Thus from Moyse?s (or Moyses?) Memoirs, page I 82, we learn that when James was troubled by the Earl of Bothwell in January, 1591, and ordered Sir James Sandilands to apprehend him, he, with the Queen and Chancellor (and theirsuiteof course), ?withdrew themselves within the town of Edinburgh, and lodged themselves in Nicol Edward?s house, in Niddry?s Wynd, and the Chancellor in
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