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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


Volume 8 Page 113
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 79 in consequence sent the humorist a challenge : Gordon accepted, but claimed the privilege of choosing the weapons. He chose any one of the Greek tragedians, and pledged himself to foil Leslie at his own weapons, adding, ‘‘ Gif ye dinna beat me 111 tak the tawse to your hurdies !” The encounter never took place. Gordon was the chief conductor of the comparative trial for the Professorship of Mathematics in Marischal College when Playfair, Hamilton, and Traill, were candidates, the latter being successful. He died on the 11th August 1797, at the advanced age of eighty-three. No. VIL-Dv. WILLIAM THOM, of Craigston, advocate, and Professor of Civil Law in King’s College, Aberdeen, who died on the 9th April 1795. He was much enraged at the alienation of the patronages, and did not hesitate to declare that the Earl of Fife, by giving so little for them, had most justly rewarded their rapacity. No. VII1.-DR. WILLIAM CHALMERS, Professor of Medicine. Of these‘ last two individuals little is known, save that, like the patriarchs, they lived and died. They were both worthy men, and far better than many who have been more extensively and permanently known and extolled. No. XXXVI. VINCENT LUNARDI, IN HIS BASKET, READY TO ASCEND. THIS celebrated aeronaut visited Scotland in the month of September 1785. His first ascent took place at Edinburgh, on the 5th of October following, from Heriot’s Hospital Green. The Print, which is allowed to be an excellent likeness of Lunardi, represents him as he appeared ready to ascend. His dress was of scarlet, with blue facings. Several aerial attempts had been made at Edinburgh, with partial success, in 1784, by Mr. Tytler, but the previous fame of Lunardi created an unparalleled excitement in Scotland, so that an immense concourse of people of all classes were assembled to witness what had hitherto been deemed almost an impossibility. “In the Green of Heriot’s Kospital,” it is said, “the company was numerous and genteel, and the concourse of people on the different eminences were immense. It is calculated that above 80,000 spectators assembled on this occasion, which put a stop to almost all business for a great part of the day, and most of the shops were shut. At twelve o’clock a flag was displayed from the Castle, and a gun (which had been brought from Leith Fort) was fired from the Green when the process of filling the balloon began, At half-past two it was completely inflated.” All the arrangements being completed, Mr. Lunardi
Volume 8 Page 114
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