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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


B I0 GRAPH I C AL SI< ET CHES. 165 he meant to have the pleasure of drinking tea with her that evening. The lady, resolving to do honour to her guest, ordered her servant to place her hest set of china on the table, and to wheel it up opposite her nest. Mr. Wood made his appearance at the appointed hour, and having, with all due gravity, partaken of a dish of tea, he suddenly laid hold of a portion of the favourite tea-equipage, rushed towards the window, which he opened, and seemed about to throw the whole into the street. hlrs. * * *, alarmed at the insane-like proceeding of her guest, flew to save the valuable china, when hlr. Wood, seizing the opportunity, herried the nest, and broke all the eggs. By this stratagem the whim of his patient was effectually put to flight. At her first visit to Edinburgh, many were the fainting and hysterical fits among the fairer portion of the audience. Indeed they were so common, that to be supposed to have escaped might almost have argued a want of proper feeling. One night when the house had been thrown into confusion by repeated scenes of this kind, and when Mr. Wood was most reluctantly gett,ing from the pit (the favourite resort of all the theatrical critics of that day) to attend some fashionable female, a friend said to him in passing, “ This is glorious acting, Sandy,” alluding to Mrs. Siddons ; to which hlr. Wood answered, “ Yes, and a d-d deal o’t too,” looking round at the fainting and screaming ladies in the boxes. When routs were first introduced in Edinburgh, they were very formal affairs, being in no way congenial to the manners or temper of the people. At one of the first that had been given by a person of distinction, the guests were painfully wearing away the time, stiffly ranged in rows along the sides of the room, and looking at each other, the very pictures of dulness and ennui, when bfr. Wood was announced, who, casting his eyes round him, proceeded up the empty space in the middle of the drawing-room, and then addressed the lady of the house, saying, “Well, my lady, will ye just tell me what we are all brought here to doI”-an enquiry which every one felt to be so perfectly appropriate that it was followed by a hearty laugh, which had the effect of breaking up the formality of the party, and producing general hilarity and cheerfulness for the rest of the evening. If Mr. Wood‘s kindness of disposition widely diffused itself towards his fellow creatures, young and old, he was almost equally remarkable for his love of animals, Not to mention dogs and cats, there were two others that individually were better known to the citizens of Edinburgh-a sheep and a raven, the latter of which is alluded to by Sir Walter Scott, in the quotation which has been given from Guy Mannering. Willy the sheep, pastured in the ground adjoining to the Excise Office, now the Royal Bank, and might be daily seen standing at the railings, watching Mr. Wood’s passing to or from his house in York Place, when Willy used to poke his head into his coat-pocket, which was always filled with supplies for his favourite, and would then trot along after him through the town, and sometimes Mr. Wood was an enthusiastic admirer of the great Mrs. Siddons. His pets were numerous, and of all kinds.
Volume 8 Page 233
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166 B I0 G RA P H I C A L SI< ETCH E S. might be found in the houses of the Doctor’s patients. The raven was domesticated at an ale and porter shop in North Castle Street, which is still, or very lately was, marked by a tree growing from the area against the wall. It also kept upon the watch for Mr. Wood, and would recognise him even as he passed at some distance along George Street, and taking a low flight towards him was frequently his companion during some part of his forenoon walks-for Mr. Wood never entered his carriage when he could possibly avoid it, declaring that unless a vehicle could be found that would carry him down the closes and up the turnpike stairs, they produced nothing but trouble and inconvenience. It may be superfluous to state that the subject of these brief sketches was rarely spoken of as Mr. Wood, but as Sandy Wood, This general use of the Christian name, instead of the ordinary title, proceeded from a feeling the very opposite of disrespect. It was the result of that affection for his person with which his universal and inexhaustible benevolence and amiable character inspired all who knew him. Mr. Wood continued to maintain that professional eminence which had been so early conceded to him, and was considered the unrivalled head of the surgical practice in his native city, till within a few years of his death, when increasing infirmities obliged him to retire. He died on the 12th of May 1807, at the advanced age of eighty-two. No. LXX. CAPTAIN HIND. THIS person was an officer of the 55th Regiment of Foot, and his peculiar appearance seems to have attracted the notice of the artist. The half-running walk, open mouth, and military hat, gently o’er-topping a few hairs, are unequivocal indications of something eccentric, and at once vouch for the accuracy of the likeness. The 55th Eegiment was stationed at Edinburgh Castle in 1790, and had the complement of men filled up by drafts from the 35th. They then proceeded to Newcastle, where they were embarked for foreign service. During his residence in Edinburgh Captain Hind was a devoted admirer of a celebrated beauty, whose portrait will be forthcoming in a subsequent part of the work. But. the attachment, it is said, was not reciprocal; on the contrary, the ‘‘ ladie fair” actually detested her admirer. This dislike, however, had only the effect of increasing, instead of abating, his passion.
Volume 8 Page 234
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