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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


126 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. awoke her husband in the middle of the night, by putting to him the appalling interrogatory, " Harry, love, where's your white waistcoat While Mr. Erskine practised at the bar, it was his frequent custom tcr walk, after the rising of the Court, to the Meadows, and he was often accompanied by Lord Balmuto, one of the judges-a very good kind of man, but not particularly quick in the perception of the ludicrous. His lordship never could discover, at first, the point of Mr. Erskine's wit, and after walking a mile or two perhaps, and long after Mr. Erskine had forgotten the saying, he would suddenly cry out, " I have you now, Harry-I have you now, Harry !" stopping and bursting into an immoderate fit of laughter. With all the liveliness of fancy, however, and with all these shining talents, Mr. Erskine's habits were domestic in an eminent degree. His wishes and desires are pleasingly depictured in the following lines by himself :- I' Let sparks and topers o'er their bottles sit, Toss bumpeis down, and fancy laughter wit ; Let cautious plodders o'er their ledger pore, Note down each farthing gain'd, and wish it more ; Let lawyen dream of wigs, poets of fame, Scholars look learn'd, and senators declaim ; Let soldiers stand, like targets in the fray, Their lives just worth their thirteenpence a-day. Give me a nook in some secluded spot, Which business shuns, and din approaches not- Some snug retreat, where I may never know What Monarch reigns, what Ministers bestow- A book-my slippers-and a field to stroll in- My garden-seadan elbow-chair to loll in- Sunshine, when wanted-shade, when shade invites- With pleasant country laurels, smells, and sights, And now and then a glass of generous wine, Shared with a chatty friend of ' anld langsyne ; ' And one companion more, for ever nigh, To sympathise in all that passes by, To journey with me in the path of life, And share its pleasures, and divide its strife. These simple joys, Eugenius, let me find, And I'll ne'er cast a lingering look behind." Mr. Erskine was long a member of the Scottish Antiquarian Society. One of the members remarked to him that he was a very bad attender of their meetings, adding, at same, time, that he never gave any donations to the Society. A short time afterwards he wrote a letter to the Secretary apologising for not attending the meetings, and stating that he had " inclosed a donation, which, if you keep long enough, will be the greatest curiosity you have ! "-This was a guinea of'George 111. 1 The relater of this anecdote thus incidentally speaks of his reminiscences of Mr. Erskine, as he appeared in his retreat at Almonddell :-'' I recollect the very gray hat that he used to wear, with a bit of the rim torn, and the pepper-and-salt short coat, and the white neckcloth sprinkled with snuff."
Volume 8 Page 183
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