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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [High Street 5748 an interesting page in popular literature, and been the theme of more than one work of fiction. She was Rachel Chiesley, the daughter of that Chiesley of Dally who, in a gust of passionate resentment, shot down the Lord President Lockhart, and she inherited from him a temper prompt to ire. She and her husband had been married upwards of dislike, and would live with her no longer ; while he, on the other hand, asserted that he had long been tortured by her ? unsubduable rage and madness,? and had failed in every effort to soothe or bring her to reason. She was a woman of more than common beauty, Another account has it 1 that in her girlhood Grange had seduced her, and GEORGE BUCHANAN. (From a Print that brfoqed to tke fate David Lainf.) twenty years, and had several children, when a separation was determined upon between them. ?Some portion of her father?s violent temper appears to have descended to the daughter,? says the editor of Lord Grange?s Letters, ?and aggravated by drunkenness, rendered her marriage for many years miserable, and led at last, in the year 1730, to her formal separation from her husband.?? According to Lady Grange?s account there had been love and peace for twenty years between her and Lord Grange, when he conceived a sudden she compelled him to marry her by threatening to pistol him, and reminding him that she was Chiesley?s daughter. . In effecting the separation, he allowed her EIOO a year so long as she lived peacefully apart from him; but his frequent journeys to London, and rumours of certain amours there, inflamed her jealousy, and after being for some time in the country, she returned and took a lodging near her husbands house in Niddry?s Wynd, as she herself touchingly relates, ?that I might have the pleasure to see the house, he was
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High Sir=er.] ABUUCTlON OF LADY GRANGE. 2.19 in, and to see him and my children when going out ; and I made his relations and my own speak to him, and was always in hopes that God would show him his sin of putting away his wife contrary to the laws of God and man; and this was nc secret, for the President of the Session, and sonit of the Lords, the Solicitor-General, and some oi the advocates and ministers of Edinburgh, know all this to be truth, When I lost all hopes, then I resolved to go to London.? Lord Grange?s account is somewhat different. She tormented him and the children by reproachful cries from her windows; and he states, that ?in his house, at the bottom Qf Niddry?s Wynd, where there 5 a court, through which one enters the house, one time among others, when it was full of chairs, chairmen, and footmen, who attended the company that were with himself, or his sister Lady Jane Paterson (wife of Sir Hugh Paterson of Bannockburn), then keeping house together, she came into this court, and among that mob shamelessly cried up to the windows injurious reproaches, and would not go away, though h e a t e d , till hearing the late Lord Lovat?s voice? she would seem then to have retired. He also asserts that one day she assailed him in church ; on another, she compelled him to take refuge in a tavern, and threatened even to assault him on the Bench. Tradition asserts that Lord Grange was dissipated, restless, intriguing, and was concerned in some Jacobite plots subsequently to the battle of Sheriffmuir ; that in revenge his wife threatened to inform the Government; and there is proof, from one of his own letters, that she had actually taken her seat in one of the occasional stages which then ran between Edinburgh and London, and he bribed her to give her seat to another traveller, after which he would seem to have resolved upon ?sequestrating her,? as he phrased it ; and in a long Ietter written by herself, and dated January 26th, 1741, she gives an ample detail of how this was effected. The plot was concerted between Lord Grange and some west Highland chiefs, among whom was the unscrupulous old Lord Lovat. A party of Highlanders, wearing the livery of the latter, made their way into her lodgings in Niddry?s Wynd on the evening of the zznd January, 1730, seized her with violence, knocking out some of her teeth, and, tying a cloth over her head, bore her forth, as if she had been a corpse. ?I heard voices about me,? .she relates ; ? but being blindfolded I could not discover who they were. They had a [sedan] chair at the stair-foot, which they put me in ; and there was a man in the chair who took me on his knee, and I made all the 32 struggle I could; but he held me fast in his arms, and hindered me to put my hands to my mouth, which I attempted to do, being tied down. The chair carried me off very fast, and took me without the ports; and when they had opened the chair and taken the cloth OK my head to let me get air, I perceived, it being clear moonlight, that I was a little way from the Multer?s Hill,* and the man on whose knee I sat was Alexander Foster, of Carsebonny, who had there six or seven horses and men with him, who said all these were his servants, though I knew some of them to be my Lord Lovat?s servants, who rode along. One of them was called Alexander Frazer, and the other James Frazer, and his groom, whose name I know not.? From that night Niddry?s Wynd knew her no more. She had two sons grown to manhood at the time she was so mysteriously spirited away; her daughter was married to John Earl of Kintore; yet none of her relations ever made the slightest stir in the matter, though the Aberdeenshire seat of the Earl was once suggested as a place of residence for her. Leaving the vicinity of Edinburgh by the Lang Gate, a ride of twenty miles brought her, with her captors, to Muiravonside, where she was secured, under guard, in the house of John hfacleod, advocate; but a man being posted near her bed, she could neither enter it nor take repose. Next night she was secured farther 0% in an old solitary tower, at Wester Polmaise, where for fourteen weeks she was kept in a room, the windows of which were boarded over, access to the garden even being denied her. On the 12th of August a Highlander named Alexander Grant suddenly appeared, and announced that she must prepare for the road again ; and by her captors, who gave out that she was insane, she was conveyed by rough and secluded ways, where she could neither ride nor walk, but had to be borne in their arms, sleeping at night in bothy, till she found herself on the shore of Loch Hourn, an arm of the sea, in the land of Glengarry. Then ?bitterly did she weep and implore compassion, but the Highlanders understood not her language, and though they had done so, a departure kom the orders which had been given them was lot to be expected from men of their character,? tnd she was hurried on board of a ship. There she learned that she was now in the cus- :ody of Alexander Macdonald, tacksman of Heiskar, t small island three leagues westward of North Uist, belonging to Sir Alexander Macdonald of __I.- * Where now the Register House stands,
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