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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


257 . - High Street.; LADY LOVAT. She was received by Lord Lovat with an extravagant affectation of welcome, and with many assurances of the happiness his lady would receive from seeing her. The chief then went to the lonely tower in which Lady Lovat was secluded, without decent clothes, and even without sufficient nourish. ment. He laid a dress before her becoming her rank, commanded her to put it on, to appear and to receive her friend as if she were the mistress of the house in which she was, in fact, a half-starved prisoner. And such was the strict watch he maintained, and the terror which his character inspired, that the visitor durst not ask, nor LadyLovat communicate, anything respecting her real situation.? Long after, by a closely-written letter, concealed in a clue of yarn dropped over a window of the Castle to a confidant below, she was enabled to let her relations know how she was treated, and means were taken to separate her judicially from her husband. When, years after, his share in the Jacobite rising in 1745 brought him to the Tower of London, Lady Lovat thought only of her arrears, &so0 of which she spent in furnishing her house at the head of the Blackfriars Wynd; and small though her income she was long famous in Edinburgh for her chanty and. goodness to the poor. In her gloomy house, on the first floor of the turnpike stair, with a cook, maid, and page, she not only maintained herself in the style of a gentle- BLACKFRIARS WYND. duties as a wife, and offered to attend him there ; but he declined the proposal, and the letter in which he did so contained the only expressions of kindness he had bestowed upon her since their marriage day; but he made no reference to her in the farewell letter which he sent to his son Simon, the Master of Lovat, to whose care he specially commended his other children. After his execution some demur arose about the jointure of his unfortunate widow-only A190 per annum-and for years she was left destitute, till some of her friends, among others Lord Strichen, offered money on loan, which, being of an independent spirit, she declined. At length the dispute was settled, and she received a p:etty large suiii of 33 woman of the period, but could give a warm weicome to many a poor Highland cousin whose all was lost OF the field of Culloden. Lady Dorothea Primrose, who was her niece, and third daughter of Archibald first Earl of Rosebery, lived with her for many years, and to her, in the goodness of her heart, she assigned the brightest rooms, that overlooked the broad High Street, contenting herself with the gloomier, that faced the wynd. There, too, she supported for years another broken-down old lady, the Mistress of Elphinstone, whose nightly supper of porridge was on one occasion fatally poisoned by a half-idiot grandson of her ladyship. She was small in stature, and retained much of her beauty and singular delicacy of feature and complexion even in old age. ??When at home her dress was a red silk gown, with ruffled cuffs, and sleeves puckered like a man?s shirt, a fly-cap encircling the head, with a mob-cap laid across it, falling over the cheeks and tied under the chin; her hair dressed and powdered; it double muslin handkerchief round the neck and bosom ; Zammerbeads; a white lawn apron edged with lace ; black stockings with red gushets, and high-heeled shoes. . . . , As her chair emerged from the head of the Blackfriars Wynd, any one who saw her sitting in it, so neat and fresh and clean, would have taken her for a queen in wax-work pasted up in a glass case,? .
Volume 2 Page 257
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