Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 273 the nature of the ground, the foundations of many of them were exceedingly deep. Janet's husband had fallen in the dark into one of the excavationswhich had been either imperfectly railed in, or left unguarded-and from the injuries sustained, he died almost immediately. Marshall patiently listened to the tale, rendered doubly long by the agitated feelings of the narrator ; and, as the last syllable faltered on her tongue, out burst the usual exclamation, but with more than wonted emphasis-'' The b-s, I'll make them pay for your gudeman ! " No sooner said than done : away he hurried to the scene of the accident inspected the state of the excavation-and having satisfied himself as to all the circumstances of the case and the liability of the contractors, he instantly wrote to them, demanding two hundred pounds as an indemnity to the bereaved widow. No attention having been paid to his letter, he immediateIy raised an action before the Supreme Court, concluding for heavy damages ; and, from the active and determined manner in which he went about it, soon convinced his opponents that he was in earnest. The defenders became alarmed at the consequences, and were induced to wait upon Mr. Marshall with the view of compounding the matter, by paying the original demand of two hundred pounds. " Na, na, ye b-s !" was the lawyer's reply ; " that sum would have been taken had ye come forward at first, like gentlemen, and settled wi' the puir body ; but now (adding another oath) three times the sum '11 no stop the proceedings." Finding Marshall inexorable, another, and yet another hundred was offered-not even five hundred would satisfy the lawyer. Ultimately the parties were glad to accede to his own terms ; and it is said he obtained, in this way, upwards of seven hundred pounds as a solatium for the "lost gudeman "-all of which he handed over to his client, who was thus probably made more comfortable by the death of her husband than she had ever been during his life. In the winter season Mr. Marshall resided in Milne's Square, but in summer he retired to Greenside House (his own property), situated in the Lover's Lane, near Leith Walk, where he kept a capital saddle-horse; but for what purpose it was impossible to divine, no man having ever seen him on horseback (indeed it was generally supposed he could not ride), and he would allow no one else, not even the stable-boy, to mount the animal. From this it may be inferred that the horse was in high favour with its master. Well fed, and well attended to, the only danger likely to have occurred from this luxurious mode of life arose from the want of exercise. To obviate this, the discipline adopted was truly worthy of the eccentric lawyer. Almost daily he had the horse brought out to the field behind the house, where, letting him loose, he would whip him off at full gallop ; and then, to increase the animal's speed and ensure exercise enough, his dog (for he always kept a favourite dog) was usually despatched in pursuit. Thus would Marshall enjoy, with manifest pride and satisfaction, for nearly an hour at a time, the gambols of the two animals. Having no near relatives to. whom he cared bequeathing his property, Mr. 2 N
Volume 8 Page 383
  Enlarge Enlarge  
274 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. Marshall had selected, as the favoured individual, one of the judges of the Court of Session ; but an incident occurred about two years prior to his death, which entirely changed his views on the subject. In politics he had been, if any thing, an adherent of Henry Dundas, afterwards Lord Viscount hlelville, and felt very deeply the injustice of the charges latterly preferred against that distinguished nobleman. While the impeachment against him was going on in London, Mr. Marshall, although then in his seventy-fourth year, daily repaired to the Parliament House, where the news of the day were generally discussed. The all-engrossing topic was of course the impeachment ;” and the innocence or guilt of Melville decided upon according to t,he political bias of the disputants. Having one day paid his accustomed visit, old Marshall was astonished to find the sentiments of his intended heir decidedly adverse to the fallen minister. This appeared the more intolerable to Marshall, knowing, as he did, that this individual entirely owed his elevation to the very person whom he now vilified. “ 0 the ungrateful scoundrel ! ” exclaimed the old man ; and working himself up into a towering passion, he strode up and down the floor of the courthouse, cursing with more than usual vehemence-then grumbling through his teeth as he left the Court-“ he shall never finger a farthing of my money ”- he hurried directly home, ere his accumulated wrath should be expended, and committed the “ will ” to the flames. Mr. Marshall died at Greenside House on the 23d May 1807, in the seventysixth year of his age. He married a Miss Janet Spens, who died in 1788. No. CXII. REV. JOHN WESLEY. THE principal facts connected with this remarkable individuaI are pretty generally known through the elegant “Memoirs of his Life,” by Dr. Southey. A less attractive, but very valuable account of Wesley has subsequently appeared from the pen of the Rev. Richard Watson, himself an active and distinguished teacher of Methodism. MR. WESLEYw as the son of a cleravan of the English Church, and was born at Epworth-a market town in Lincolnshire, where his father was vicaron the 17th of June 1703. His grandfather and great-grandfather were both ejected from their livings by the Act of Uniformity j and died, the former in consequence of frequent imprisonment and severe privation ; the latter, from grief for the loss of his only son. John, along with his brother Charles (both being intended to enter into orders), was sent, at the age of seventeen, to Oxford, where he was entered a student of the College of Christ-Church. His attainments at this period were highly respectable, especially in classical literature.
Volume 8 Page 384
  Enlarge Enlarge