Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


Volume 8 Page 31
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 25 happened in the morning, which they attributed to their ignorance of his quality, and requesting it, as a particular favour, that he would horwur them with his company do dinner. To this polite card his lordship returned a verbal answer, that “he kept no company with people whose pride would not permit them to use their fellow-travellers with civility.” The latter years of this amiable man’s life were spent in the discharge of the duties of his office of a judge ; and the very last act of his public beneficence was the erection of the ornamental building t,hat incloses St. Bernard’s Mineral Well, in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh.’ His lordship died at Morningside, near Edinburgh, on the 22d of July 1793, in the seventy-second year of his age. No. VIII. HUG0 ARNOT, ESQ., ADVOCATE, AND GINGERBREAD J -0CK. THE strange figure of Mr. Arnot appears to have been a favourite with Kay, who has here ironically represented him in the act of relieving a beggar, the fact being that he had a nervous antipathy to mendicants, and was at all times more disposed to cane them than to give them an alms. John Duncan, the beggar here represented, was a poor creature, who, after having long endeavoured to support himself by the sale of gingerbread, sunk into mendicancy, which he usually practised at a corner of the Parliament Square. Jock‘s mode of conducting business while in active life, and before he had retired to enjoy the otium cum dignitate, expressed in so lively a manner in his countenance and general appearance in the Print, was to place four or five cakes of the commodity in which he dealt on their edges, at equal distances on the ground, he himself standing by with a short pole, which, on paying Jock a halfpenny, you were at liberty to discharge at the cakes, with the distinct understanding that all those you knocked down became yours. Jock’s traducers, however-for what public personage is without them +allege that the cakes were so ingeniously placed, that it was next to impossible to knock any of them over at all, and that therefore your halfpenny, was, a piwi, lost money. This ingenious mode of gaming is still well known under the appellation of “ Roley- Poley.” As to John Duncan, little more is known of him than what is recorded of the antediluvian patriarchs, that he lived and died ; although, indeed, after living the life of a beggar, he may be said to have died like a king, for his death resembled that of Herod, King of Judea 1 “ I stii continue,” says Mr. W. Smellie in a letter to Lord Gardenstone, 1790, “ to worship your lordship’s Saint. Upon .me he has performed the miracle of regeneration. From gratitude, therefore, I shall always pay my devotion to St Bernard, and my penny to George Murdoch.” E
Volume 8 Page 32
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