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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


10 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. at thc shop door of Mr. George Boyd, as significant of the wares in which he dealt. Bailie Duff is said to have actually attended a meeting of the Club on one occasion. The first of the six individuals in harness, and mounted by a postillion, is MR. JOHN LAUDER, coppersmith, whose shop was nearly in the centre of the West Bow,’ right-hand side in ascending. Mr. Lauder was a fair gpecimen of the ancient shopkeepers of the Bow-one who did business cautiously and leisurely, but to some purpose, having realised a good deal of money. He was a member of the notable “ SPENDTHRICFLTU B,” which, say the Traditions, “took its name from the extravagance of the members in spending no less a sum than fmjpence haypenny each night !” The social indulgence of the party consisted in a supper, at the moderate charge of twopence halfpenny, and a pint of strong ale, which made up the sum total of each member‘s debauch, The news of the day supplied the topic of conversation, which, together with a game or two at whist, constituted the amusement of the evening.’ The Club continued to exist in another part of the town (Clyde Street), although somewhat altered in constitution, and a little more extravagant in expenditure. A respectable septuagenarian whom we have consulted, although young at the period referred to, was a contemporary of several of the original members. They all wore cocked hats; and it was one of the fundamental rules that the members should remain covered throughout the evening, except during the time grace was asked at supper-a fine being imposed on those who neglected to eomply with this rule. Well does our worthy informant recollect the sober contour of old “Johnnie Lauder,” as he reverently doffed his hat to This ancient street, now nearly annihilated by improvements, wm then almost entirely occupied by tradesmen connected with the anvil. Fergusson, in his poem of Leith Races, thus ulludeq to the craft :- “ The tinkler billies 0’ the Bow, Are now lass eident clinkin’ ; As lands their pith or siller dow, They’re d&n’, an’ they’re drinkin’.” Some curious reminiscences are presemed of this community of hammermen, their peculiarities, and the effect produced by the noise of their combined avocations. The father of the late Dr. Andrew Thomson, when he came first to Edinburgh, took lodgings in that famed quarter of the city. The first day or two he felt so annoyed by the continued sound of the anvils, that he resolved on seeking out a-more retired abode, and acquainted his landlady with his intention. The old lady, by no means willing to lose her lodger, insisted that he should make a trial for other eight days. He did so, and was astonished to find how soon he got familiarised with the noise. Day after day he felt the hammering grow less offensive, till at length it not only ceased to disturb him, but, strange to say, absolutely became necassary to his repose ; and, on removing, in after life, to another quarter of the city, he experienced considerable difficulty in accustoming himself to the absence of it.-The inhabitants of the Bow have been frequently heard to declare that they got less sleep on Sunday morning than on my other, which they attributed to the want of the usual noise. The SPENDTH~IwPTas properly a Whist Club. They played at carda from eight o’clock till ten, and then commenced with a Zittlc to eat and something to drink,
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 11 officiate, which he frequently did, in the capacity of chaplain to the Club. He was a worthy, social,. well-intentioned person ; and, although by no means distinguished for his conversational talents, usually acquitted himself to good purpose. “Really and truly, gentlemen,” was a phrase with which he invariably prefaced the delivery of his opinions ; and it became so habitual to him, that, even in common conversation, it formed nearly a third part of every sentence. Mr. Lauder took an active hand in superintending the Poor-House ; and it was mainly owing to his exertions that many abuses in its management were corrected. He almost daily visited the establishment, and saw that wholesome fare was provided for the inmates. He died in 1794, leaving two daughters, one of whom married Mr. George Carphin, senior, solicitor-at-law. MR. JAMES LAWSON, the postillion, mounted on Mr. Lauder’s shoulders, was a wholesale and retail leather merchant, in company with his brother William. Their shop was in the Lawnmarket, the first above Bank Street, on the same side. As indicated in the Print, Mr. Lawson was short in stature and humpbacked. He was a clever, active sort of person, and a keen politician, but quite a cynic. He lived a bachelor, and died in his house at the foot of the West Bow, about the year 1815.’ The other leader, MR. ALEXANDER RITCHIE, kept what used to be His One of his sons carried on the His eldest called a Scotch cloth shop ; he dealt in all kinds of woollens and tartans. shop was at the head of Wardrop’s Court. business many years after his death, and died about the year 1827. son, Alexander, was a Writer to the Signet. The first of the centre pair represents MR. ANDREW HARDIE, baker, Badgon (Bajan) Hole, Lawnmarket, famed for the excellence of his mutton pies.‘ For this celebrity he was mainly indebted to the assistance of his wife, an active, managing women. Besides the common order of pies, Mrs. Hardie was in the habit of baking others of a peculiar description, formed in the shape of a smoothing- iron ; which, in addition to the usual allowance of minced mutton, contained a well-dressed pigeon, neatly planted in the centre ; and all for the small charge of threepence ! By the excellent management of his better half, Mr. Hardie wi~s in a great measure relieved from the drudgery of attending closely to business. During a considerable portion of the day, he was “free to rove” wherever he wist among his friends and neighbours; and, in consequence, no one was better versed in His brother William married a sister of Yr. Braidwood, hard- merchant. * Many of the Clubs of that social era were supplied with pies from the bakehouse of Badgon Hole. Mutton waa then cheap ; and a leg of lamb might be had for fivepence-if at any time it ro88 to sixpence it waa considered amazingly clear. The Badgon Hole, which waa simply a ZuQh dmp, got ita name fmm Wig frequented by College youngatera, the first class of whom were formerly called Bajans.
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