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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


8 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. paid for as those of the hired officials ; a douceur of a shilling or half-a-crown being generally given on such occasions. We come now to view the subject of our memoir as a civic dignitary-as Bailie Duff-a title which was given him by his contemporaries, and which posterity has recognised. The history of his elevation is short and simple. Jamie was smitten with the ambition of becoming a magistrate ; and at once, to realise his own notions on this subject, and to establish his claims to the envied dignity in the eyes of others, he procured and wore a brass medal and chain, in imitation of the gold insignia worn by the city magistrates, and completed his equipment by mounting a wig and cocked hat. Jamie now became a veritable bailie; and his claims to the high honour-it gives us pleasure to record the fact-were cheerfully acknowledged. At one period of the Bailie’s magisterial career, however, his pretensions certainly were disputed by one individual; and by whom does the reader imagine 0 Why, by a genuine dignitary of corresponding rank-a member of the Town-Council ! This person was dreadfully shocked at this profanation of things sacred, and he ordered his brother magistrate, Duff, to be deprived of his insignia, which was accordingly done. City politics running high at this time, this odd, and it may be added absurd, exercise of power was unmercifully satirised by the local poets and painters of the day. It may not be without interest to know that this poor innocent manifested much filial affection. To his mother he was ever kind and attentive, and so anxious for her comfort, that he would consume none of the edibles he collected, till he had carried them home, and allowed her an opportunity of partaking of them, So rigid was he in his adherence to this laudable rule, that he made no distinction between solids and fluids, but insisted on having all deposited in his pocket. The Bailie, at one period, conceived a great aversion to silver money, from a fear of being enlisted; and in order to make sure of escaping this danger, having no thirst whatever for military glory, he steadily refused all silver coin ; when his mother, discovering that his excessive caution in this matter had a serious effect on their casual income, got his nephew, a boy, to accompany him in the character of receiver-general and purse-bearer ; and by the institution of this officer, the difficulty was got over, and the Bailie relieved from all apprehension of enlistment. He was tall and robust, with a shrinking, shambling gait, and usually wore his stockings hanging loose about his heels, as will be shown by a full-length portrait of him done by Kay at an after period. He never could speak distinctly, though it was remarked, that, when irritated, he could make a shift to swear. He died in 1788. -
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