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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


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.
Volume 8 Page 368
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