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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


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
Volume 3 Page 81
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