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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


Volume 8 Page 495
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 355 dominions; and he died in exile. He bore a respectable character as an honest and industrious tradesman ; and had been twenty-four or twenty-five years a member of the Corporation of Goldsmiths, during a considerable period of which he held the office of Treasurer to the Incorporation. He was married and had a family. His shop was in the Parliament Square. No. CXLII. MR. THOMAS BLAIR, LATE OF THE STAMP-OFFICE, EDINBURGH. THIS is an excellent portraiture of the little gentleman. The upcast eye, and cocked hat, set perpendicularly on the forehead, are highly characteristic. MR. BLAIR was Deputy-comptroller of the Stamp-Office. To this situation he had been appointed in 1784 ; and he continued until his death to discharge the duties of the office with credit to himself and advantage to the establishment.’ In growth the Deputy-comptroller was somewhat stunted j but however niggardly nature had been to him in point of‘ length, she amply compensated for the deficiency in rotundity of person. To use a common phrase, he was “ as broad. as he was long.” This adjustment, however, by no means proved satisfactory to the aspiring mind of Mr. Blair. Like a certain nobleman, of whom Dean Swift had said- “ Right tall he made himself for show, Though made full short by God ; And when all other Dukee did bow, This Duke did only nod ”- the Deputy was anxious on all occasions to make himself “ right tall ;” and, we doubt not, would have eagerly submitted to any process by which his stature could have been increased. As it was, he managed matters to the best advantage, and even with some degree of ingenuity. He always wore a high-crowned cocked-hat ; and his neatly frizzled and powdered Wig was so fomed, by the aid of wires, that it sat at least an inch above the scalp of his sconce j thus to keep up the deception which the high-crowned hat could not in all circumstances be supposed to maintain. Notwithstanding these little weaknesses, Mr. Blair was a worthy sort of personage, and a jolly companion at the social board. The gentlemen of the Stamp- Office were not deficient in the spirit of good-fellowship peculiar to the times. Once a year they were in the habit of dining together (at their own expense) in Fortune’s tavern, Old Stamp-Office Close ; and as the friends of the higher He was succeeded by Mr. Jamea Crawford.
Volume 8 Page 496
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