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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 401 ance there than you will do with that vile, old-fashioned black wig which you have worn for these last twenty years ! ” The good clergyman, tired of private expostulation, resolved to change his tactics. One Sabbath, when Sibby sat in the meeting-house, as she sometimes did, her father chose to be very severe on the vanity and sinfulness of female ornaments ; and went so minutely to work as to describe the very bonnet and dress of Miss Sibilla ; yet this availed not. Sibby did not abridge the rotundity of her bonnet a single inch, until compelled by an influence more powerful than her father’s sermon-the dictates of fashion. Sibby at length got tired of what appeared to her the everlasting sameness of Edinburgh, and the dull monotony of a trip to Dalkeith. Besides, she considered her professional talents worthy of a wider field. She therefore resolved to establish herself in London, which she actually did about the year 1790, and was succeeded in the shop and business by a sister, Mrs. Kid, wife of Captain Kid, master of one of the London traders. Respecting Miss Sibilla’s success in the great metropolis-how long she remained, or how she relished the change of scene-we can say nothing; but that she returned to Edinburgh is certain. She died there in the month of February 1808. Her death is thus recorded :-“Lately at Edinburgh, Miss Sibilla Hutton, daughter of the late Rev. William Hutton, minister of the gospel at Dalkeith.” No. CLIX. MR. JOHN BENNET, SURGEON. THIS gentleman was born in Edinburgh, where his father, who originally came from Fifeshire, carried on the business of a brewer. His mother was a daughter of the Rev. Mr. Taylor, one of the ministers of the city. After completing his studies at the University, MR BENNET obtained the appointment of Surgeon to the Sutherland Fencibles, which were embodied in 1779. With his corps he continued until it was disbanded in 1783, when he returned to Edinburgh, and entered into partnership with Mr. Law of Elvingston, it medical gentleman in good practice.‘ The late James Law, Esq., of Elvingston (East L0thian)descended from a family of some antiquity in Fifedied at his house in York Place on the 3d June 1830. He w8s a member of the Royal College of Physicians-much distinguished for his professional skill-and not less respected for his virtues and benevolence in the domestic relations of life. An engraving, from a portrait of Mr. Law by Sir Henry Raebnrn, was given to the public in 1836, by the Publisher of this Work. 3 F
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402 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. Soon after he began business, a circumstance occurred, which not only tended to increase his professional fame, but proved the origin of no less an incident in his domestic history than that of “setting up a carriage.” One day Mr. James Dempster, jeweller in the Parliament Square, after a fit of hard drinking, threatened, in the company of some of his cronies, to cut his own throat. One of the individuals present (Mr. Hamilton of Wishaw), a gentleman of very convivial habits, jocularly said--“I will Bave you that trouble;” and, suiting the action to the word, advanced with a knife in a threatening attitude towards the jeweller, and very nearly converted jest into earnest, by accidentally making a severe incision. Hamilton, in a state of great alarm, instantly sent for Mr. Bennet, who closed up the wound, and afterwards effected a rapid cure of his patient. Mr. Hamilton was so much satisfied with the important service rendered on this occasion, that he presented Mr. Bennet with an elegant chariot. of a well-bred gentleman, and was accustomed to mix in the best society. With the late Duke of Gordon (then Marquis of Huntly), Made of Panmure (Lord Panmure), and many other persons of family, he was on terms of intimacy. He is accused of having occasionally indulged in those excesses and frolics which, some thirty years ago, were deemed extremely fashionable. On one occasion, having lost a sporting bet for “dinner and drink,” Mr. Bennet entertained his friends in a house of good cheer at Leith. It had been a condition of the wager that the party should be taken to the theatre at night at the expense of the loser. After dinner Mr. Bennet caused the wine, as well as a more stimulating beverage, to be pretty freely circulated; so that the wassailers were soon, according to the notions of the Indians, in a “state of perfect happiness.” At the hour appointed, instead of the common hackney conveyances, a number of mourning coaches drew up, in which the revellers seated themselves, and were driven to the theatre in slow time, amid the wonderment of a numerous crowd, who were no less astonished at the mirth of the mourners than amazed at the place where the procession halted. These and other unprofessional frolics did not injure Mr. Bennet in his career ; on the contrary, they rather tended to increase his celebrity. He was appointed Surgeon to the Garrison of Edinburgh Castle in 1791 ; and elected President of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1803. And such was his status among the citizens in 1805, that, when the volunteer corps called the “ Loyal Edinburgh Spearmen” were embodied, he held the honourable commission of Lieut.-Colonel Commandant of the regiment. This band of citizen warriors had their stand of colours delivered to them on the 12th of August, in Heriot’s Hospital Green. We quote the following brief account of it :- Mr. Bennet possessed the polish and pleasant manners “The colours were presented by Mra. Bennet, the Colonel’s lady, and Miss Scott of Logie, with an appropriate speech from each ; and consecrated by the Rev. Mr. Brunton, one of the ministem
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