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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


188 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. In the foregoing sketch the character of the late Duke of Gordon has been drawn chiefly from the events of his public career. His conduct in the social relations of domestic life will be best estimated by those-and there are manywho had an opportunity of personal intercourse, Although not present on the memorable event of the King’s Visit to Scotland in 1822, his name was not forgotten by the Scottish muse on that occasion, In the “ Highland Chieftains’ Welcome ” the Marquis is thus eulogised :- “ And Huntly, at once the delight and the glory, The boast and the pride of the clans of the north ; Renowned not more in warrior’s story, Than in home’s happy circle, for true manly worth.” In the second part of “ Carle now the King’s come,” by the late Sir Walter Scott, he is also familiarly alluded to :- “ Cock 0’ the North, my Huntly bra’, Where are you with my Forty-twa ? Oh ! waes my heart that ye’re awa’- Carle now the King’s come !” The Marquis obtained the distinctive appellation of the “ Cock 0’ the North,” in allusion to his spirited copduct, as well as to the circumstance of his being the representative of an ancient and powerful family. Amid the occasional frolics of youth and the allurements of high life, however, the native goodness of his heart continued uncorrupted ; he was an especial friend to the poor, affection and confidence ; and we had fondly hoped that he might have been yet spared to us for many years, to strengthen our hands in the cause of charity, and to watch over the interests of the Scottish poor in this Metropolis. Of those excellencies which so strongly commended to us your late noble lord as the most fitting person to occupy the chair of this ancient Corporation, we can now only cherish the recollection-a recollection which, we’feel assured, is shared with us by his Sovereign who honoured him, and by his countrymen who loved him ; and, if we might allude to any topic of consolation less elevated than that which religion affords, we would particularise that heartfelt grief experienced at his loss by every one who was favoured by his friendship, or who came within the sphere of his beneficence. It is not the office-bearers of this Institution only who have reason to lament the decease of their late President ; for, in the death of the Duke of Gordon, Scotland has lost one of her most illustrious Noblemen, Great Britain one of her most consistent Statesmen, the King of these realms one of the firmest supporters of his throne, the cause of charity, generally, one of its most liberal contributors, and you, Madam, especially, have lost a companion, friend, and husband, by a stroke which can be healed by Him only who hath brought life and immortality to light by his Gospel. We embrace this opportunity of conveying to your Grace our hearty acknowledgments for your countenance and support so liberally bestowed on this charity, in co-operation with your late lamented husband. We know that your heart must be overflowing with grief, and to bid you check its present outpourings were to bid you do violence to the course of qature; but we recommend you unto Him who, having smitten, can also heal-wishing you that peace which proceedeth from believing, and after a prolonged life of usefulness in this world, in the world to come “that Crown of Glory, which is eternal in the Heavens.” Given nnder our common Seal, at our Hall, Crane Court, Fleet Street, on Wednesday the L. 5. I In conclusion, we are aware of our inability to estimate the depth of your Grace’s sorrow, Twenty-ninth of June, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-six.
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BIOGRAP,HICAL SKETCHES. 189 and kind and affable to all. In reference to this feature in his character, the following pleasing anecdote is told: A certain gentleman, “clothed with a little brief authority,” was allowed by the Duke (the Marquis’ father) a handsome sum annually for incidental charities. It was, however, strongly suspected that not one farthing of the money was expended among the poor. The rumour having reached Huntly’s ears, he resolved upon an expedient to ascertain whether the general suspicions were well founded. Having attired himself in the lowly guise of a beggar, he repaired to the house of the little great personage ; and there assuming the “ trembling steps ” of three-score-andten, he knocked at the door and solicited alms. One of the menials ordered him to be gone-as no beggar was allowed access to the house, In well-feigned accents the mock-mendicant pleaded his absolute necessity, and expressed his confidence that the master himself would not use him so. The master at length appeared with a stern countenance; and in spite of the beggar’s tale of deep distress, threatened, if he did not instantly depart, to “ hound the dogs at him.” Thus thoroughly convinced that the charges were not without foundation, the Marquis took care to be present at the next annual settlement, when the usual debit-“to incidental charities ”-appearing as formerly, he drew his pen through the entry, at the same time reminding the pretended almoner of his conduct to the beggar, and declaring that he would in future manage these charities himself. It is said the Marquis was such an adept in the art of counterfeiting characters that even his most intimate associates were occasionally made the dupes of his deceptions. Some of his exploits happening to become the topic of conversation on one occasion, a gentleman present took a bet with his lordship that he for one would be proof against his art, let him assume whatever disguise he might. The wager was instantly accepted; and in the course of a few days afterwards the Marquis had himself rigged out in all the ragged paraphernalia of a veteran gaberlunzie-with budgets and wallets arranged in such a manner that even Edie Ochiltree might not have been ashamed of the personification. Thus equipped, he proceeded to the mansion of his friend ; and having on his journey avoided neither ‘‘ dub nor mire,” he seemed the very picture of one of those sturdy mendicants of whom the country was prolific during last century. He met the lord of the manor in the avenue leading to the house, to whom he gave the obeisance due from a person of his assumed calling ; and after gratifying his curiosity by answering a few inquiries, he was ordered by the gentleman to the hall, and there to “see what he could find fitting for a keen appetite.” Huntly accordingly stalked into the hall, where he was served with an ample plate of cold meat and abundance of bread and beer; but he partook very sparingly, and in short enacted this part of his assumed character so inditferently as to call forth a remark from the housekeeper, that “to be a rachel-looking carle he had a very gentle stomach.” Having thus far succeeded without discovery, Huntly resolved to make a still bolder attempt on his friend‘s boasted discrimination. Quitting the house, he studiously crossed the path of the gentleman,
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