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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


38 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [canomgate. IN the map of the city engraved in 1787 for the quarto edition of ? Arnot?s History ? there is shown, .on the west side of the Horse Wynd, adjoining the Abbey Close, an edifice called Lothian Hut, surbordered on madness, and, indeed, prior to her niarriage she had been confined in a strait-waistcoat. Her beauty has been celebrated coarsely by Pope, and her irrepressible temper by Prior :- ? Thus Kitty, beautiful and young, And wild as colt untarncd, Bespoke the fair from whom she sprung, By little rage inflamed: Inflamed with rage at sad restraint, Which wise mamma ordained ; And sorely vexed to play the saint Whilst wit and beauty reigned.? After the duke and duchess had embroiled themselves with the Court in 1729, in consequence of patronising the poet Gay, they came to Queensberry House, and brought himwith them. Tradition used to indicate an attic in an old mansion opposite, as the place where-appropriate abode of a poet- Gay wrote the ? Beggar?s Opera ?-? an entirely gratuitous assumption,? says Mr. Chambers. I? In the history of his writings nothing of consequence occurs at this time. He had finished the second part of the opera some time before, and after his return to the south he is found engaged in new writing a damned play, which he wrote several years before, called ? The Wife of Bath,? a task which he accomplished while living with the Duke of Queensberry in Oxfordshire, during the ensuing months of August, September, and October.? The Duchess Catharine disliked the Scots and their manners, particularly the use of a knife in lieu of a fork, on which she would scream out and beseech them not to cut their throats. ?To the lady I live with,? wrote Gay to Swift in 1729, ?I o ve my life and fortune. Think of her with respect, value and esteem her as I do, and never more despise a fork with three prongs.? When in Scotland she always dressed herself as a peasant-girl, to ridicule the stately dresses and demeanour of the Scottish dames who visited Queensberry House or Drumlanrig, and this freak of costume led to her being roughly repelled at a review. Her eldest rounded by trees. This was the small but magnificently finished town mansion of the Lothian family, and was built by William, the third Marquis, about the year 1750, when Lord Clerk Register Qf son, the Earl of Drurnlanrig, was altogether mad, and contracted himself to one lady while he married another, a daughter of the Earl of Hopetoun. He served two campaigns under the Earl of Stair, and commanded two battalions of Scots in the Dutch service. But in 1754 the family malady proved so strong for him, that during a journey to London he rode on before the coach in which the duchess travelled, and shot himself with one of his pistols. It was given out that it had gone off by accident His brother Charles, after narrowly escaping the earthquake at Lisbon in 1755, died in the following year. On the death of their father, in 1778, the titp and estates devolved on his cousin, the Earl of March, an old debauchee, better known as ? Old Q.? In his time, and before it, Queensberry House had other occupants than the Douglases. In 1747 the famous Marshal Earl of Stair died there; and in 1784 it was the residence of the Right Hon. James Montgomery of Stanhop, Lord Chief Baron of Exchequer-the first Scotsman who held that office after the establishment of the Court at the Union. Prior to his removal to Queensberry House (of which the duke gave him gratuitous use) he had occupied the third flat of the Bishop?s Land, formerly occupied by the Lord President Dundas. In 1801 the blast! ?? Old Q. ? ordered Queensberry House to be stripped of its decorations, and sold. With fifty-eight fire rooms, and a noble gallery seventy feet long, besides a spacious garden, it was offered at the singularly low upset price of A900, and was bought by Government as a barrack. It is now, and has been since 1853, a House of Refuge for the Destitute, in which upwards of 12,000 persons are relieved every year, or an average of thirty-three nightly for the twelvemonth, while during the same period nearly 40,000 meals of broth and bread are issued from the soup kitchen. A very handsome building, in baronial style, called Queensberry Lodge, adjoins it, for the reception and treatment of inebriates-but ladies only.
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Canongate.] THE TENNIS COURT. ? 39 Scotland, and who for some years had been Commissioner to the General Assembly. In this house he died, 28th July, 1767, as recorded in the Scots Magazine, and was succeeded by his son, Major- General the Earl of Ancrum, Colonel of the 11th Light Dragoons (now Hussars). His second son, Lord Robert, had been killed at Culloden. His marchioness, Margaret, the daughter of Sir Thomas Nicholson, Bart., of Kempnay, who survived him twenty years, resided in Lothian Hut till her death. It was afterwards occupied by the dowager of the ? fourth Marquis, Lady Caroline D?Arcy, who was only daughter of Robert Earl of Holderness, and great-grand-daughter of Charles Louis, the Elector Palatine, a lady whose character is remembered traditionally to have been both grand and amiable. Latterly the Hut was the residence of Professor Dugald Stewart, who, about the end of the last century, entertained there many English pupils of high rank. Among them, perhaps the most eminent was Henry Temple, afterwards Lord Palmerston, whose education, commenced at Harrow, was continued at the University of Edinburgh. When he re-visited the latter city in 1865, during his stay he was made aware that an aged woman, named Peggie Forbes, who had been a servant with Dugald Stewart at Lothian Hut, was still alive, and residing at No. I, Rankeillor Street. There the great statesman visited her, and expressed the pleasure he felt at renewing the acquaintance of the old domestic. Lothian Hut, the scene of Dugald Stewart?s most important literary labours, was pulled down ih 1825, to make room for a brewery ; but a house of the same period, at the south-west corner of the Horse Wynd, bears still the name of Lothian Vale. A little to the eastward of the present White Horse hostel, and immediately adjoining the Water Gate, stood the Hospital of St. Thomas, founded in 154r by George Crichton, Bishop of Dunkeld, ?dedicated to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints.? It consisted of an almshouse and chapel, the bedesmen of which were ?to celebrate the founder?s anniversary obit. by solemnly singing in the choir of Holyrood church yearly, on the day of his death, ?the Placebo and Dinie for the repose of his soul ? and the soul of the King of Scotland. ? Special care,? says Amot, ? was taken in allotting money for providing candles to be lighted during the anniversary ma.ss of requiem, and the number and size of the tapers were fixed with a precision which shows the importance in which these circumstances were held by the founder. The number of masses, paternosters, aye-marias, and credos, to be said by the chaplain and bedesmen is distinctly ascertained.? The patronage of the institution was vested by the founder in himself and a certain series of representatives named by him. In 1617, with the consent of David Crichton of Lugton, the patron, who had retained possession of the endowments, the magistrates of the Canongate purchased the chapel and almshouse from the chaplains and bedesmen, and converted the institution into a hospital for the poor of the burgh. Over the entrance they placed the Canongate arms, supported by a pair of ?cripples, an old man and woman, with the inscription- HELP HERE THE POORE, AS ZE WALD GOD DID ZOV. JUNE 19, 1617. The magistrates of the Canongate sold the patronage of the institution in 1634 to the Kirk Session, by whom its revenues ? were entirely embezzled f by 1747 the buildings were turned into coachhouses, and in 1787 were pulled down, and replaced by modem houses of hideous aspect. On the opposite side of the Water Gate was the Royal Tennis Court, the buildings of which are very distinctly shown in Gordon?s map of 1647. Maitland says it was anciently called the Catchpel, from Cache, a game now called Fives, a favourite amusement in Scotland as early as the reign of James IV. The house, a long, narrow building, with a court, after being a weavers? workhouse, was burned down in 1771, and rebuilt in the tasteless fashion of that period ; but the locality is full of interest, as being connected not only with the game of tennis, as played there by the Duke of Albany, Law the great financial schemer, and others, but the early and obscure history of the stage in Scotland. In 1554 there was a ??litill farsche and play maid be William Lauder,? and acted before the Queen Regent, Mary of Guise, for which he was rewarded by two silver cups. Where it was acted is not stated. Neither are we told where was perlormed another play, ? made by Robert Simple ? at Edinburgh, before the grim Lord Regent and others of the nobility in 1567, and for which the mthor was paid ;E66 13s. 4d. The next record of .a post-Reformation theatre is in the time of James VI. when several companies came from London for the amusement of the court, including one of which Shakspere was a member, though his appearance cannot be substantiated. In 1599 the company of English comedians was interdicted by the clergy and Kirk Session, though their performances, says Spottiswoode in
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