Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


400 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. toy merchant,’ having failed, he took the bankrupt’s goods at a valuation, and entered into his shop as his successor. In the course of a short time he added groceries to his other stock ; and, finding that branch turn out the most advantageous, latterly discarded the hardware business altogether. Mr. Johnston’s manner was peculiar, and he spoke very fast and indistinctly. He died on the 20th May 1’197, aged sixty-three. The other bulky figure, with the indescribable head-dress, kept a millinery establishment, as has been already mentioned, in the Royal Exchange. MISS SIBILLA HUTTON was the daughter of a very worthy dissenting clergyman, the Rev. Mr. William Hutton of Dalkeith.’ Xi6by-for that was the name by which she was best known-was, without exception, the most fantastic lady of her day. This disposition grew with her growth, and strengthened with her strength. She by no means coincided with the poet’s idea of beauty- When unadorned, adorned the most.” From her infancy she had been remarkable for her love of ornament ; and, notwithstanding all the injunctions and rebukes of her father, Sibby still admired and followed the capricious changes of fashion. Sibby carried on business to great purpose, and daily added to the heaviness of her purse, as well as to the rotundity of her person. Neither did she neglect her early imbibed notions of personal decoration. She was always at the head of the ton, and indeed generally so far in advance that few attempted to follow. Miss Sibi!la’s silks, too, and the profusion of lace with which she was overlaid, were always of the most costly description, and must have been procured at immense expense. During her residence in Edinburgh she occasionally visited her friends at Dalkeith. The old Secession minister was sadly scandalised at Sibby’s obduracy in the practice of vain ornament. One day Sibby appeared at Dalkeith with the identical head-dress in which she is portrayed in the Print. It was the first occasion on which it had graced her portly figure. ‘‘ Sibby ! Sibby ! ” said the father, with more than usual gravity; “do you really expect to get to heaven with such a bonnet on your head?” “And why not, father?” said Sibilla, with her accustomed good humour ; “ I’m sure I’ll make a better appear- Merchant in Scotland at that time was applied to all traders, whether wholesale or retail. An anecdote is told of him and the Rev. Mr. Sheriff, whose prayers are said to have been so wonderfully efficacious in driving Paul Jones to sea, when that adventurer threatened to land at Leith in 1779. The Dalkeith minister was on one occasion preaching before the Synod, when, on the expiry of the first hour, by way of giving him a gentle hint, Mr. Sheriff held out his watch in such a way as he could not fail to observe it. The preacher paused for a moment, but immediately went on with renewed vigour, till another hour had expired. Mr. Sheriff then repeated his former motion, but still without effect ; and a third hour elapsed ere the sermon came to a conclusion. At dinner the preacher ventured to inquire the reason of his friend’s having acted the part of monitor. “The first hour I heard you with pleasure, and, as I hope every one else did, with profit ; the second, I listened with impatience ; and the third with contempt /“ -a Mr. Hutton was rather famed for lengthy sermons. I‘ I will tell you,” said Mr. Sheriff.
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