Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


232 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [High Street. The death of his second countess left the earl free to win the prize and fulfil the nursery predictions. ? Admirers of a youthful, impassioned, and sonnet-making cast might have trembled at his approach to the shrine of their divinity, for his lordship was one of those titled suitors who, lifetime, it is not surprising that many interesting particulars concerning her have been preserved and handed down to us. She had a grace and bearing all her own; hence the Eglinton air and the Eglinton manner were long proverbial in Edinburgh after she had passed away. Her seven FLESHMARKET CLOSE. (From a Vicurpvhishd in 1845.) however old and horrible, are never rejected except in novels and romances ;? and though Sir John Clerk had declared his passion, he did so in vain, and his lovely Susanna became Countess of Eglinton about the year of the Union. To the charms of her personal appearance were added the more powerful attractions of genius and great accomplishments. Possessing these, in the elevated position which she occupied during a?long daughters were all handsome women, and it was deemed indeed a goodly sight to see the long procession of eight gilded sedans issue from the Stamp Office Close, bearing her and her stately brood to the Assembly Room, amid a crowd that was hushed with respect and admiration, ?to behold their lofty and graceful figures step from the chairs on the pavement. It could not fail to be a remarkable sight-eight singularly beautiful women, conspicuous
Volume 2 Page 232
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures
for their stature and camage, all dressed in the splendid, though formal, fashions of that ? period, and inspired at once with dignity of birth and coilsciousness of beauty ! Alas! such visions no longer illuminate the dark tortuosities of Auld Reekie ! ? By his three countesses the Earl had twelve daughters, and he was beginning to despair of an heir to his title, when one was born to him. He died in 1729. Shortly before his death he wrote a SUSANNA, COUNTESS OF EGLINTON. (From t h Portrait k the ?Memoirs of the Mo#fgome*&s.?v under the misery and slavery of being united to England,a Scotsman,without prostituting his honour, can obtain nothing by following a Court but bring his estate under debt, and consequently himself to necessity,? The Countess was a great patron of authors. Boyse dedicated his poems to her, as Allan Ramsay did his ?? Gentle Shepherd,? and in doing so enlarged in glowing terms upon the virtues of his patroness, letter to his son, the tenth Earl, in which he advised him never to marry an Englishwoman, and wherein the following passage occurs :- ?You came to live at a time, my chiefest care, when the right to these kingdoms comes to be a question betwixt the House of Hanover, in possession, and the descendants of King James. You are, in my poor opinion, not to intermeddle with either, but live abstractly at home, managing your affairs to the best advantage, and living in a good understanding with your friends; for since we are 30 ? ?If it were not for offending your ladyship here, I might give the fullest liberty to my muse, to delineate the finest of women by drawing your ladyship?s character, and be in no hazard of being deemed a flatterer, since flattery lies not in paying what is due to merit, but in praises misplaced.? William Hamilton of Bangour, an elegant poet and accomplished man, had recommended Allan Ramsay to her notice in an address, in which he eulogises her and her daughters. After referring to
Volume 2 Page 233
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures