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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


Volume 8 Page 247
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 175 defiance of the military, had they not been quieted and dispersed by the interference and exhortation of Dr. Erskine. The funeral sermon preached by the reverend geiitleman on the death of the historian, is another noble example of the triumph of mind over the frailties of humanity. Of Dr. Erskine’s pulpit oratory, perhaps a more correct idea cannot be given than is furnished in the description of the great novelist formerly alluded to. “Something there was of an antiquated turn of argument and metaphor, but it only served to give zest and peculiarity to the style of elocution. The sermon was not read-a scrap of paper, containing the heads of the discourse, was occasionally referred to, and the enunciation, which at first seemed imperfect and embarrassed, became, as the preacher warmed in his progress, animated and distinct: and, although the discourse could not be quoted as a correct specimen of pulpit eloquence, yet Mannering had seldom heard so much learning, metaphysical acuteness, and energy of argument, brought into the service of Christianity.” An “Account of the Life and Writings of Dr. Erskine,” by the Rev. Sir Henry Moncreiff Welwood, was published in 18 18, 8v0, which presents much interesting and valuable information in regard to the ecclesiastical state of Scotland during the last century. No. LXXIV. IN this full-length sketch of DR. ERSKINE, Kay has been equally felicitous as in the former. He is here depicted to the very life. The Doctor had rather an odd custom of carrying his left glove in a manner suspended by the tops of two of his fingers, which, it will be observed, the artist has not omitted. Dr. Erskine was frequently very absent. ’ In the course of his wandering one day in the Links of Edinburgh, he stumbled against a cow. With hi5 usual politeness, he took off his hat, made a low bow and a thousand apologies, and then walked on. A friend, who witnessed what had happened, accosted him, and inquired why he had taken off his hat ; he replied, that he had accidentally jostled a stranger, and was apologising for his rudeness. His amazement may be conceived when he was informed that he had been offering his excuses to a cow ! On another occasion, he met his wife in the Meadows ; she stopped, and he did so too-he bowed, hoped she was well, and bowed again, and went on his way. Upon his return home, Mrs. Erskine asked him where he had been ; he answered, in the Meadows, and that he had met a lady, but he could not for the world imagine who she was ! It may not be here out of place to remark, that Dr. Erskine was by no means so morose or so studious as to be insensible to the lighter enjoyments of society. The following anecdote of him and his friend Dr. Webster shows that he could both practise as well as entertain a good joke. The well-known convivial propensities of the latter, the universal respect in which he was held, and the
Volume 8 Page 248
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