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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


B I0 GR AP €I I GAL S H ET C H E S. 263 by order of the guard, placed it in a cart, and drove at a furious rate round the back of the castle.” The object of this order was probably an idea that the jolting motion of the cart might be the means of resuscitation, as had once actually happened in the case of the celebrated “ half-hangit Maggie Dickson.” ‘ The body was afterwards conveyed to one of Brodie’s own workshops in the Lawnmarket, where Degravers was in attendance. He attempted bleeding, etc., but all would not do ; Brodie “ was fairly gone.” Before closing our memoir of Deacon Brodie, it may not be uninteresting to give one or two extracts from those letters which proved the means of his discovery. In one addressed to his relative, Mr. Sherriff, he says, -“ My stock is seven guineas, but by the time I reach Ostend it will be reduced to six. My wardrobe is all on my back, excepting two check shirts and two white ones. My coat out at the arms and elbows.” In another addressed to Henderson, dated April 10, he writes-“ I arrived in London on the 13th March, where I remained until the 23d, snug and safe in the house of an old female friend, within five hundred yards of Bow Street, I did not keep the house all this time, but so altered, excepting the scar under my eye, I think you could not have Tapt (swore) to me. I saw Mr. Williamson twice ; but although countrymen usually shake hands when they meet from home, yet I did not choose to make so free with him, notwithstanding he brought n letter to me. My female gave me great uneasiness by introducing a flash man to me, but she assured me he was a true man; and he proved himself so, notwithstanding the great reward, and was useful to me. I saw my picture (his description in the newspapers) six hours before, exhibited to public view ; and my intelligence of what was doing at Bow Street Office was as good as ever I had in Edinburgh. I make no doubt but that designing villain Brown is in high favour with Mr. Cockburn (the Sheriff), for I can see some strokes of his pencil in my portrait. Write me how the main went*-how you came on in it-if my black cock fought and gained,” etc. Here we have the mind of Brodie strongly imbued with his ruling passion for gambling. Immediately the recollection of his unhappy situation conjures up matter of serious reflection. He feelingly alludes to his children-“They will miss me more,” says he, “than any other in Scotland. May God in His infinite goodness stir up some friendly aid for their support, for it is not in my power at present to give them any assistance. Yet I think they will not absolutely starve in a Christian land, where their father once had friends, and who was always liberal to the distressed.” He then states his intention of proceeding to some part of North America, probably to Philadelphia or New ‘York, and desires that his working tools might be purchased for him, and forwarded to either of these places, adding, that although it is hard to begin labour at my , This woman had been executed for child-murder, and her body delivered to her relatives for interment, who put it in a cart to transport it a few miles out of town. Strange to say, half the journey was not accomplished, when, to the consternation of those present, the poor woman revived. she lived afterwads several years, and bore two children to her husband. 2 He was passionately fond of cock-fighting.
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26 4 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. years, yet I hope, by industry and attention, to gain a livelihood. He was anxious to know what became of Brown, Smith, and Ainslie. And, in allusion to them, says--“ I shall ever repent keeping such company ; and whatever they may allege, I had no direct concern in any of their depredations, except the last fatal one, by which I lost ten pounds in cash ; but I doubt not all will be laid to my charge, and some I never heard of.” No. CVI. GEORGE SMITH AND DEACON ’CVILLIAM BRODIE. THIS Print is illustrative of the supposed first meeting of Deacon Brodie and his accomplice George Smith. In this sketch the pencil of Kay is displayed with great felicity, both as regards the attitude and expression of the characters ; and, in the introduction to Creech‘s edition of the trial, we are assured that the likenesses were reckoned most exact.” GEORGES MITHw as a native of Berkshire, in England. He and his wife were hawkers, and travelled the country with a horse and cart. He came to Scotland about the middle of the year 1786 ; and, on arriving in Edinburgh, put up at Michael Henderson’s, a house at that period much frequented by the lower order of travellers. In consequence of bad health, he was under the necessity of parting with all his goods, and, latterly, with his horse, in order to support himself and his wife. While thus confined in Henderson’s, the “first interview ” took place, on which occasion Brodie suggested the possibility of “ something being done to advantage, provided a due degree of caution were exercised.” There is every reason to suppose that the doing of something was nothing new to Smith, who appears to have embraced very cordially and readily the propositions of Brodie. He soon became a visitor of the gambling-house of Clark, at the head of the Fleshmarket Close, where he formed acquaintance with Ainslie and Brown. In his declarations Smith confessed to the robbery of the College-of Tapp’s dwelling-house-of a shop in Leith-and also of the shop of Inglis and Homer.’ He also disclosed the extensive robbery committed on the shop of John and Andrew Bruce. In describing this affair we will quote in part the language of the declaration, which is graphically illustrative of the career of Brodie, who had actually been a participator in almost all the forementioned depredations :- “ That Brodie told the declarant that the shop at the head of Bridge Street, belonging to Messrs. Bruce, would be a very proper shop for breaking into, as it contained valuable goods ; and he knew the lock would be easily opened, as The latter individual wm father of Francis Homer, Esq., M.P., and Mr, Leonard Homer, sometime Warden of London University.
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