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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


68 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. XXXI. ADAM RITCHIE. THIS old man was by occupation a cowfeeder ; he resided at Fountainbridge near the West Port of Edinburgh. He was born in the year 1683, and died in 1789, at the age of 106 years and two months. He was in perfect good health in 178 6, three years before his death, when he sat for this picture, and gave an account of himself as follows, viz.- ‘‘ That he had lived very fast, and accustomed himself much to hard drinking in the early period of his life, and that this regimen agreed so well with his constitution that he grew very corpulent-so much so, that he could not bend himself so as to buckle his own shoes ; and in order to get rid of that incumbrance, he was afterwards under the necessity of living more sparingly, which, in the course of a short time, reduced his person down to its original size. He was under arms during the rebellion in 1715, and fought on the side of the House of Hanover, not from choice (as he said) but necessity, he having been forced into the ranks to supply the place of his master’s son. He had a very warm attachment to the House of Stuart, and would have preferred following the Prince. That when he was about eighty years of age, he, as well as his wife became so very infirm, that they were confined for several years constantly in bed; and latterly he had the misfortune to lose his wife by the hand of death, on which occasion he was resolved, if possible, to attend her remains to the place of interment. He consequently collected all the strength he could muster, and succeeded so far in carrying his resolution into effect as to be able to follow the funeral on horseback After this successful attempt, he found his health daily increasing ; and in the course of a short period he was so much recovered as to be able once more to go about his usual employment. He in fact got so very stout, that he imagined his youth returned as well as his health. As a proof of this, he had the fortitude to ask a young woman of eighteen years of age in marriage, who actually would have accepted of him as her husband, had not her mother and other interested relations dissuaded her from the match. After this he courted another, somewhat older, who gave her consent ; but our bridegroom unfortunately happening to discover her one day in a state of intoxication, broke off the match himself, and resolved he never would ask another. Yet he afterwards asked his own servant, who then was with him, and who was very careful and kind to him ; but she never would consent to marry him.” He also stated that he never had any disease in his life, not even so much as headache or toothache. He had all his teeth fresh and complete, and made it his boast that he could crack a nut with the youngest and stoutest person in the
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