Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


Volume 8 Page 427
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 305 formed to this practice in the forenoon, and returned to resume his seat in the afternoon, but was prevented by Mungo. Thegentleman reminded him he had paid him in the forenoon. “ 0 but,” says Mungo, “ I let my seats twice a-day.” During the sittings of the General Assembly he contrived, in his capacity of door-keeper, to make the most of the situation, and pocketed as much of “ the needful” as he possibly could exact by an embargo upon visitors. He was highly esteemed by a large circle of old ladies of the middle ranks, who eagerly listened to the gossip he contrived to pick up in the course of the day. He could inform them of the proceedings of the Edinburgh Presbytery-what had been done at the last, and what was forthcoming at the next General Assembly -whose turn it was to preach at Haddo’s Hole on the Tuesday or Friday following -whether the minister would preach himself or by proxy-whether John Bailie would be at the plate, or his son Tam in the precentor’s desk-with various other scraps of local news equally edifying and instructive to his auditors. It has been rumoured that he made a regular charge for his visits ; and hence the inscription on the Print of “ Prayers at all Prices.” By way of improvement in the art of ghostly admonition, the beadle sometimes ascended the pulpit of Lady Yester’s Church, and held forth to the vacant benches. On one of these occasions, it is said Dr. Davidson happened to come upon him unawares- “ Come down, Mungo,” said the Doctor, “ toom (empty) barrels‘ make most sound.” The gravity of his manner was well calculated to make an impression on the ignorant or the weak ; and those who could appreciate his merits were greatly edified by his prayers and ghostly exhortations. There was a peculiar degree of solemnity about his features. The ponderous weight of his nether jaw gave B hollow tone, not only to his words, but even when closing on the tea and toast, a dram, or a glass of wine, it was excellently adapted to produce the effect --solemn. He died in December 1809. Watson was married, and had a son and daughter. His widow died in the Trinity Hospital about 1834. No. CXXIV. JAMES ROBERTSON OF KINCRAIGIE. THIS Print of “ The Daft Highland Laird”-of whose eccentricities an ample sketch has been given in No. 11.-is one of the very first attempts of the artist at engraving. The Laird is here represented with his staff, upon which is poised a likeness of the city guardsman John Dhu. The person to whom he is describing the figure may be supposed to have just made the usual inquiry- ‘‘ Wha hae ye up the day, Laird !” In allusion to the rotundity. of his person, and his somewhat large paunch. 2 R .
Volume 8 Page 428
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