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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 143 Martin, however, waa certainly more “ at hame” in some instances than he was either in French, Latin, Greek, or Hebrew. On one occasion, at the time Manfredo was performing in Edinburgh, Martin, in the course of his night’e labour, came across the ‘‘ Life of Robinson Crusoe.” Holding up the volume, and pointing to the picture of Robinson’s man Friday, he exclaims, Weel, gentlemen, what will ye gie me for my MaeFredo /-worth a dieen 0’ the Italian land-louper.” Manfredo, who happened to be present, became exceedingly moth at this allusion to him. Call nzs de land-loupeur I ’) Nothing disconcerted by this unexpected attack, Martin, again holding up the picture replied-“ I’ll refer to the company if my Man- Fredo is no worth a dizen 0’ him !” The Italian fumed and fretted, but, amidst the’general laughter, was obliged to retire. In these days “ rockings” in the country, and parties in the town, were very frequent. On such occasions the auctioneer was wont to be extremely merry, and seldom failed to recite in his best style “The Edinburgh Buck,” by Robert Fergusson. He used also to sing tolerably well the ballad of “Duncan Gray.” This seldom failed to be forthcoming-more particularly when a teaparty surrounded his own fireside. In this there was perhaps a little touch of domestic pride-at least the second Mrs. Martin always thought so. During courtship some trifling misunderstanding had taken place- “Vat do you say about Manfredo! “ Maggie coost her head fu’ heigh, Look’d asklent and unco skeigh, Gart poor Duncan staud abeigh.” But Martin, like the famed Duncan, cooled, and discontinued: his visits for some time, till Katherine “grew sick as he grew heal,” and at last condescended to let the bookseller know her surprise why he had discontinued his visits. Martin, who had been like his favourite, ‘‘ a lad 0’ grace,”- ‘‘ Could na’ think to be her death ; Swelling pity smoor’d his wrath.” So he accordingly resumed his visits and Kattie became his d e , being ‘‘ crouse an’ canty baith ;” but she never could endure the song of I‘ Duncan Gray.” Of Mr. Martin’s social habits, perhaps the best proof is the fact of his having been a member of the “Cape Club.”’ His diploma of knighthood is as follows :- The Cape Club comprised amongst its numerous membem many men of talents and of private worth. Fergusson (who alludes to the Club in his poem of “Add Reekie”), waa a member ; as were Mr. Thomaa Sommers, his friend and biographer ; Wood, the Scottish Roscius aa he WBS called ; and Runciman, the painter. The Club derived ita name from the following circumstance :-“A person who lived in the suburbs of Calton waa in the custom of spending an hour’ or two every evening with one or two city friends ; and being sometimes detained till after the regular period when the Netherbow-Port waa shut, it occasionally happened that he had either to remain in the city all night, or WBS under the necessity of bribing the porter who attended the gate. This difticult pass, partly on account of the rectangular corner which he turned immediately on getting out of the Port, 88 he went homewards down Leith Wynd, and partly, perhaps (if the reader will pardon a very
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144 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES, “Be it known to all mortals, whether clerical or laical, that we, Sir James Gray, Knight of Kew, the supereminent sovereign of the most capital knighthood of the Cape, having nothing more sincerely at heart than the glory and honour of this most noble order, and the happiness and prosperity of the Knightscompanions : And being desirous of extending the benign and social influence of the Order to every region under the grand Cape of Heaven ; being likewise well informed and fully satisfied with the abilities and qualifications of William Martin, Esq., with the advice and concurrence of our Council-We do create, admit, and receive him a knight-companion of the most social Order, by the name, style, and title of Sir Villiam Martin, Knight of Roger, and of E. F. D.-Hereby giving and granting unto him, all the powers, privileges, and pre-eminences that do, or may belong to this most social Order. And we give command to our Recorder to registrate this our patent in the records of the Order.-In testimony of the premises, we have subscribed this with our own proper f i t , and have caused appended the great Seal of the Order,’ at Cape- Hall, this 20th day of the month called October, in the year of grace, 1792. (Signed)-BED, Deputy-Sovereign.-Entered into the records of the Order, by Sir CELLARR, ecorder.-L. BOX, Secretary. Besides being a burgess, he was a member of the Society of Booksellers, and of the Merchant Company of Edinburgh. He was also a member of the Kirk Session of the Parish of St. Cuthbert’s. The late Mr. Archibald Constable prevailed on Martin to sit for an hour to Mr. Geddes, portrait-painter ; but the sketch was never finished, as he could not be induced to sit again. Although rough, it is a capital likeness, and was bought at Mr. Constable’s sale by a friend of “ the Knight of Roger.” So much for the good fellowship of the “grinning auctioneer.” humblepun), because a nautical idea was most natural and appropriate on the occasion of being halfseas ovw, the Calton burgher facetiously called doubling the Cape ; and it was customary with his friends, every evening when they assembled, to inquire “ how he turned the Cape last night.” The Club, on the 22d September 1770 (the birth-day of the author of ‘‘ The Seasons ”) held a musical festival in honour of the poet, and resolved to have similar meetings every tenth year. Accordingly, in the year 1780, 1790, and 1800, under the superintendence of Mr. Wood, who composed and recited verses for the occasion, the entertainmenta were repeated with increased effect. In 1780, when letters of marque were issued against the Dutch, the Knights of the Cape, at a very thin meeting of their Order on the 26th December, subscribed two hundred and fifty guinea towards fitting out a privateer. l “ The Great Seal of the Order,” inclosed in a tin box, has the letters “ E. F. D. ,” surmounted by a coronet, enclosed with laurel, and the whole encircled with the worda--“ Sigillum commune Equitum de Cape-Conwrdia fratrum decus.”
Volume 8 Page 204
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