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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


Volume 8 Page 25
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 21 These journeys his lordship always performed on horseback, as he would on no account even enter a carriage, against the use of which he had two objections : First, that it was degrading to the dignity of human nature to be dragged at the tails of horses, instead of being mounted on their backs ; and second, that such effeminate conveyances were not in common use amongst the ancients. He continued these annual equestrian journeys to London till he was upwards of eighty years of age. On his last visit, which he made on purpose to take leave of all his friends in the metropolis, he was seized with a severe illness on the road, and would probably have perished on the way-side, had he not been overtaken accidentally by his friend Sir John Pdngle, who prevailed upon him to travel the remainder of the stage in one of these vehicles for which he entertained so profound a contempt. Next day, however, he again mounted his horse, and finally arrived in safety and in good spirits at Edinburgh. His lordship was very partial to a boiled egg, and often used to say, “ Show me any of your French cooks who can make a dish like this.” Lord Monboddo died on the 27th May 1799, at the advanced age of eightyfive. His character is thus summed up in the first four lines of an Epitaph written on him by James Tytler, an unfortunate son of genius who had experienced his benevolence : - ‘ I If wisdom, learning, worth, demand a tear, Weep o’er the dust of great Monboddo here ; A judge upright, to mercy still inclined, A gen’rous friend, a father fond and kind.” No. VI. CONTEMPLATION. THIS is another portrait of Lord Monboddo, representing him in his study, engaged, we may presume, in composing his “ Essay on the Origin and Progress of Language.” In a corner of the apartment hangs a picture, in which hie lordship’s favourite notion of tails is illustrated by a group of little fellows adorned with these appendages. to get out, his lordship took it very coolly, as the following anecdote, extracted from one of the journals of the day, evinces :-“In the curious rout of the Zawyws’ cwps, it is singular that the only person who kept his seat was a venerable stranger. Old Lord Monboddo, one of the Scots Judges, was in the Court of King’s Bench, and being short-sighted, and rather dull in his hearing, he sat still during the tumult, and did not move from his place. Afterwards being asked why he did not bestir himself to avoid the ruin, he coolly answered-‘ that he thought it was an ann& cernnony. with which, as an &en to our laws, he had nothing to do ! ’ ”
Volume 8 Page 26
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