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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 49 No. XIX. CAPTAIN MINGAY, WITH A PORTER CARRYING GEORGE CRANSTOUN IN HIS CREEL. CAPTAIN MINGAY, the principal figure in this Print, was a native of Ireland, When in Edinburgh with his regiment, now about forty-five years since, he paid his addresses, and was subsequently married to the amiable Miss Webster,’ daughter of the Rev. Dr. Webster, by whom he had several children, some of whom are still alive, and which connexion proved peculiarly advantageous to the Captain. GEORGEC RANSTOUNt,h e little lachrymose-looking creature in the porter’s creel, was a well-known character in the city, and must be remembered by many of its inhabitants, as it is not much more than thirty years since his death. He was of remarkably small stature, deformed in the legs, and possessed of a singularly long, grave, and lugubrious countenance. George, who was endowed with a powerful voice (notwithstanding his diminutive size) and a good ear, was originally a teacher of music, but latterly subsisted chiefly on charity, and was to be found constantly hanging about the door of the Parliament House. He was a shrewd and intelligent little personage, an excellent singer of comic songs, and possessed of some humour, qualifications which procured him considerable patronage from “ the choice spirits ” of the day, and were the cause of his being frequently invited to their festive meetings. It was not unusual, on such occasions, to place Geordie on the sideboard. He was accustomed to receive a trifling pecuniary gratuity for the amusement he afforded, and in addition he was supplied with a liberal share of the good things that were going, particularly liquor, to which he was devotedly attached. When the little aan got too drunk at such meetings-no uncommon occurrence-to be able to walk home, a porter was generally sent for, who, putting him into his creel, as represented in the Print, conveyed him safely and comfortably to his residence, which was in a house with an outer side-stair, and a wooden railing on it, in a small court off the Shoemaker’s Close, Canongate. It was on one of these occasions that the porter, when resting the bottom of his creel on the wooden railing until the door was opened to him, allowed George to tumble out of the creel, the effects of which caused his death. It is said, that on one occasion, when no porter or creel was to be had, his waggish entertainers made him up into a package, and regularly “ addressed ” him to his mother, “ carriage paid” The honest woman, believing it to be a A lady who inherited all the fine feelings and sensibilities of her mother. H
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50 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. present sent by some friend, wa8 not a little amazed, and perhaps disappointed, on opening the parcel, to find that it contained only her “ ain Geordie.” At mason meetings, which he regularly attended, and where he was always entertained gratis, he generally, when about to give a specimen of his accomplishmenta, mounted on one of the tablea George was a frequent candidate for precentorships in the various churches of the city, but was uniformly rejectei on account of the extreme oddity of his appearance, which not improbably would have excited feelings amongst the congregation not consistent with the solemnity of divine worship. No. xx. SANUEL WDONALD AND GEORGE CRANSTOUIT. SAMUEL M‘DONALD, or Big Sam, as he was generally called, was a native of the parish of Lairg, in the county of Sutherland. During part of the American War he was a private in the Sutherland Fencibles. He became afterwards fugleman to the Royals, and continued in this situation till the year 1791, when his 1ate.Majesty George the Fourth, then Prince of Wales, made him a lodge porter at Carlton House. This situation he relinquished in 1793, and was appointed a sergeant in the regiment in which he originally commenced his military career. His mild manner and singularly clear and sonorous voice peculiarly fitted him for drilling recruits ; and in this duty he was very frequently employed. Being of too large stature to stand in the ranks, he generally took his place on the right of the regiment when in line, and marched at the head when ‘in column. The striking appearance of M‘Donald on these occasions was not a little heightened by his being always accompanied by a mountain deer, of a size as remarkable as his own. This animal was so attached to him that, when permitted, it would follow him through the streets. When the Sutherland Fenciblea were formed into the 936 Regiment, M‘Donald still retained his military predilection, and continued with his old companions till the day of his death, which took place at Guernsey on the 6th of May 1802. His death was occasioned by a collection of water in the thorax-an insidious disease to which the robust am more yarticiilarly liable. M‘Donald, from his great good nature and excellent moral character, was a universal favourite, and much respected in the different corps in which he served. The Countess of Sutherland, “judging probably,” says Colonel Stewart of Garth, “ that EO large a body must require more sustenance than his military pay could afford,” generously allowed him half-a-crown per day over and above his pay. He was then forty years of age.
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