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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


318 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. address was peculiarly agreeable and fascinating ; and both in appearance and manner he bore no slight resemblance to George IV. The Captain inherited little of his father's enthusiasm for horticulture, being more enamoured with the " flowers' of literature." He was exceedingly fond of the drama, and was one of the best performers at the private theatricals at Marrionville (alluded to in our notice of Captain Macrae). His genius in this line was rather imitative than original, and his delineations of Cook, Kemble, and other eminent actors of his time, were very successful. Had his talents for the stage been cultivated, with the advantage of his fine personal appearance, it is possible he might have made a distinguished figure, and perhaps retrieved the fortunes of his family. Besides indulging his friends with declamations from Shakspeare, and other popular dramatic poets, he occasionally contributed to their amusement by writing plays j1 and we are assured that his compositions possessed some merit. The Captain's love for the drama continued long to hold undiminished. ascendancy in his bosom, and was the occasion of his not unfrequently patronising the humblest as well as the highest in the profession. While in Edinburgh he was regular in his attendance at the Theatre; and no worn-out son of Thespis ever visited Justice Hall without experiencing the hospitality of the owner. A gentleman of our acquaintance happening to call on the Captain one forenoon, was astonished to find him in his parlour, surrounded by a company of strolling players, who, on one of their migratory excursions, had called at Justice Hall, in the certainty of obtaining-what they probabljl had not known for some time before-an hour or two of comfortable entertainment. The wine was in free circulation ; and the players, in merry tune, were repaying their host with speech and mimicry, in every variety of imitation, from the majestic Cato to the versatile Sylvester Daggerwood. The Captain was at this period perhaps less choice than formerly in the selection of his amusements, and of the means which might contribute to them. He had been married to a Miss Campbell, by whom he had one child-a daughter ; but the union proved unhappy, and a separation was the conse,quence. When disputes of this nature occur, it is a generally received maxim that there must be faults on both sides; and, in this instance, we are not prepared to assert the contrary. The Captain was undoubtedly one of the most kind-hearted mortals in existence ; but it is possible he might lack other qualities necessary to the growth of domestic happiness, There was at least a degree of eccentricity in his character not exactly suited for matrimonial felicity. Shortly after this unfortunate separation a friend of his, accompanied by an acquaintance, went to visit him at Justice Hall. .They found the Captain just returned from a solitary stroll in the fields, and a little in deshabille. He apologised for his appearance ; and, on the stranger being introduced to him, One of these WBS entitled " Hell upon Earth, or the Miseries of Matrimony," and is said to have contained many scenea indicative of the Captain'a personal experience on the subject. ,
Volume 8 Page 447
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 319 ‘( 0,” said he, in his usual voluble manner, “ know your father well-not at all like him ; no doubt of your mother-but-pshaw !-never mind. Welcome to Bachelor’s Hall : ’tis Bachelor’s Hall now, you know-Mrs. Justice has left me -no matter-she was a good sort of person for all that-a little hot-tempered -only three days after marriage, a leg of mutton made to fly at my head; never mind-plenty of wine, eggs, at Bachelor’s Hall-we can make ourselves merry.”’ When Captain Justice’s father, as already stated, sold the estate of Crichton to Mr. Pringle, a clause had been inserted in the deed of conveyance, by which the seller guaranteed (or, according to Scotch law phraseology, warranted) the purchaser and his successors against all augmentations of stipend which the clergyman of the parish might .obtain subsequent to the date of the sale ; probably not anticipating that the practice of granting augmentation to the stipends of the clergy would be extended as it has been done. In process of time various augmentations of stipend were obtained by the incumbents of the parish of Crichton. The proprietors of the estate of Crichton called upon Captain Justice, as representing the granter of the disposition or deed of conveyance, to relieve them from the share of increased stipend thus allocated upon them. This gave rise to a long and expensive lawsuit, in which Captain Justice argued that the warrandice which his father had given was not perpetual, but limited to the endurance of certain leases of teinds originally granted by Mr. Hepburn of Humbie, which had long since expired; and the Court of Session decided the cause in favour of Captain Justice. An appeal, however, was taken to the House of Lords, and the judgment was reversed, by which a liability of upwards of $9000 was created against Captain Justice and Bis estate. The Captain, who had borne with great fortitude the vexations of this protracted litigation, submitted to the fatal effect of it on his means and estate with astonishing resignation. The estate, in fulfilment of the decree of the House of Lords, was adjudged for payment of this debt, and was sold in lots to different purchasers. The unfortunate owner, unable to dwell longer even in the frugal manner in which he had done in the house of his father, rather than remove to some other part of the country, which his friends advised him to do, resolved to end his days, if not in, at least within sight of his old “dear home;” and he accordingly took up his abode in a cottage in the adjoining village of Ugston, where he lived a season or two. The “ fair one ” in whose company the artist has thought proper to place Captain Justice, in “The Evening Walk,” was at one time well known in the beau monde of Princes Street. The lady may be remembered by those who The lady and her daughter survived the unfortunate Laird of Justice Hall. The former, we believe, died unmarried. The latter was respectably married, and through her mother fell heir to a considerable fortune.
Volume 8 Page 448
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