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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


Volume 8 Page 479
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BIOGR APH 10 AL SKETCHES. 343 No. CXXXVIII. ALEXANDER OSBORNE, ESQ., AND FRANCIS RONALDSON, ESQ., TWO OF THE ROYAL EDIK'BURGH VOLUNTEERS. MR. OSBORNE was right-hand man of the grenadier company of the First Regiment of the Royal Edinburgh Volunteers. His personal appearance must be familiar in the recollection of many of our readers. It was not merely his great height, although he was probably the tallest man of his day in Edinburgh, but his general bulk, which rendered him so very remarkable. His legs in particular, during his best days, were nearly as large in circumference as the body of an ordinary person. He was a very good-natured and well-informed man. Shortly after the Volunteers had been embodied, Lord Melville introduced his huge countryman, dressed in full regimentals, to his Majesty George 111. On witnessing such an herculean specimen of his loyal defenders in the north, the King's curiosity was excited, and he inquired-" Are all the Edinburgh Volunteers like you 1" Osborne, mistaking the jocular construction of the question, and supposing his Majesty meant as regarded their status in society, replied-" They are so, an' it please your Majesty." The King exclaimed- (( Astonishing ! " Mr. Osbone was frequently annoyed by his friends taking advantage of his good nature, and playing off their jests at the expense of his portly figure. One day at dinner, the lady of the house asked him if he would choose to take a pigeon. Bailie Creech, who was present, immediately cried-" Give him a whole one j half a one will not be a seed in his teeth." In his youth, Mr. Osborne is said to have had a prodigious appetite ; so much so, as to have devoured not less than nine pounds of beef-steaks at a meal. He was no epicure, however j and in later times ate sparingly in company, either because he really was easily satisfied, or more probably to avoid the observations which to a certainty would have been made upon his eating. On one occasion, the lady of a house where he was dining, helped him to an enormous slice of beef, with these words-'' Mr. Osborne, the muckle ox should get the muckle win1an"-an observation which, like every other of a similar import, he felt acutely. On another occasion, he happened to change his shoes in the passage of a house where he was dining. Mr. Creech, of facetious memory, having followed He answered-"Half a one, if you please."
Volume 8 Page 480
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