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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


so OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [North Loch. THE garden wherein St. David budded trees and cultivated such fruits and flowers as were then known in Britain is a place of flowers and shrubs again, save where it is intersected by the prosaic railway or the transverse Earthen Mound; but those who see the valley now may find it difficult to realise, that for 300 years it was an impassable lake, formed for the defence of the city on the north, when the wall of 1450 was built ; but the well that fed it is flowing still, as when David referred to it in his Holyrood charter. Fed by it and other springs, the loch was retained by a dam and sluice at the foot of Halkerston's Wynd-the dam being a passable footway from the city to the northern fields. In the royal gardens a tournament was held in 1394 by order of Annabel Drummond, queen of Robert III., at which, according to Bower, the continuator of Fordun, her eldest son, David, Duke HOLPROOI) PALACE, WEST FRONT. of Rothesay, the same prince who penshed so miserably at Falkland, presided when in his twentieth year. In 1538, prior to committing the effigy of St. Giles to the flames, the Reformers ducked it in the loch-it being the legal place for sousing all offenders against the seventh commandment. In 1562 the Town Council enacted that all persons of loose life should be ducked in a certain part of the loch, wherein a pillar and basin were formed for the purpose; but this not having the desired effect, all such persons were ordered to be committed, without distinction, to the iron room of the Tolbooth, to be kept therein for a month on tread and water, and to be then whipped out of the city at a cart's tail. The deacon of the fleshers having fallen under this law, the crafts, deeming it an indignity to their order, assembled in arms, broke open the prison, and released him. C H A P T E R X I I . THE MOUND. The North Loch used for Sousings and Duckings-The Boats, Swans, Ducks, and Eels-Accidents in the Loch--Last Appearance of the Loch -Formation of the Mound-" Gcordie Boyd's Mud Brig"-The Rotunda--Royal Irrstitution-Board of Manufactures-History of the Baard -The Equivalent Money-% J. Shaw Lefevre's Report-School of Design-Gallery of Sculpture--Royal Society of Edinburgh-Museum of Antiquiua.
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North Loch.] <?GANGING TO THE DEIL HIS AIN GATE? 81 For the sake ot ornament the magistrates kept Swans and wild ducks on the loch, and various entries for their preservation occur in their accounts; and one passed in Council between 1589- 94 ordained a boll of oats to be procured for feeding them A man was outlawed for shooting a swan in the said loch, and obliged to find another rash act. Hearing the tumult, the father of the late Lord Henderland threw up his window in James?s Court, and leaning out, cried down the brae to the people : ?What?s all the noise about? Can?t ye e?en let the man gang to the dei1 his ain gate ?? Whereupon the honest man quietly walked out of the loch, to the no small amusement of the THE HOLYROOD FOUNTAIN. in its place. ?I The loch,? says Chambers, ? seems to have been a favourite place for boating. Various houses in the neighbourhood had servitudes of the use of a boat upon it, and these, in later times, used to be employed to no little purpose in smuggling whisky into the town. . . . . It was also the frequent scene of suicide, and on this point one or two droll anecdotes are related. A man was proceeding deliberately to drown himself, when a crowd of the townspeople rushed down to the water-side, venting cries of horror and alarm at the spectacle, yet without actually venturing into the water to prevent him from accomplishing the 59 lately appalled neighbours.? There a lady was. saved from suicide by her hoop-petticoat. The loch must have abounded in some kind of fish, as the Council Register refers to an eel-ark set therein, at ten merks yearly, for the benefit of the Trinity Hospital; and in February, 1655, Nicoll records that in consequence of the excessively stormy weather, some thousands of dead eels were cast upon its banks, ? to the admiration of many.? On the 11th February, 1682, three men were drowned in the loch by the ice giving way. We have a proverb,? says Lord Fountainhall, under
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