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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 111 enthusiasm with which he entered into the spirit of such amusements, it is reported that, in leading a dance, when upwards of seventy-six years of age, he broke the tendo Achi1lis.l Dr. Grant was a patron of the fine arts ; and a fondness for the drama was another distinguishing feature in his character. While Mrs. Siddons remained in Edinburgh, she was frequently a guest at his table ; and to all professors of the histrionic art he manifested his particular favour, by professionally attending them and their families, when called upon, without fee or reward. The figure and characteristic appearance of Dr. Gregory Grant are well delineated in the Print. He dressed with minute attention to neatness, but without regard to prevailing fashions, strictly adhered to that of his younger years. His coat was sometimes of a drab or black colour, but most frequently of a dark purple, with corresponding under garments. In reference to his peculiar style of dress, a ludicrous anecdote is told. A party of equestrians having broken up their establishment, the pony, which had been in the habit of performing in the farce of the “ Tailor’s Journey to Brentford,” was purchased by a baker in Leith Walk for the purpose of carrying bread. One day in Princes Street, as Dr. Grant was passing, the pony happened to be standing loose, and no doubt fancying to recognise, in the dress and appearance of the Doctor, his old friend the “ Tailor,” he immediately pricked up his ears, started off in pursuit, and began throwing up his heels at him in the way he had been accustomed in the circus, Confounded at such an alarming salutation, and it is believed considerably injured, Dr. Grant was glad to seek safety in flight, by darting into an entry until the offender was secured. The Doctor seldom made use of his carriage. When he went to the country he usually rode a cream-coloured horse, his servant following behind in the Grant livery. He was a most active man, regular in all his habits, and punctual to a moment in keeping his hours. Although he might in some degree participate in the chivalrous feeling of his brother for the unfortunate house of Stuart, Dr. Grant was a decided Presbyterian, and regularly attended the Tolbooth Church, The love of country was with him a predominant feeling. He was often heard to remark that there was no dress in Europe to compare with the Highland garb, when worn by a graceful native Highlander ; and that there was no language which could convey the meaning with greater distinctness than the Gaelic. He was one of the first promoters of the Highland Society, and an enthusiastic supporter of the competitions of ancient music. He died at an advanced age, in 1803, leaving considerable wealth. There is probahly some mistake in this assertion. The dancing practised hy the Doctor Fas not of a violent description, being the ancient minuet, which he performed with great elegance.
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112 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. CCIX. REV. J A hl E S LAP S 1, I E, MINISTER OF CAMPSIE. FEW memorials have been preserved of the early life of the REV. JhEs LAPSLIE. In his youth he visited the Continent, and was so fortunate, whilst there, as to be introduced to the late Sir James Suttie of Prestongrange, who, being on his travels, employed him as his tutor and companion j and they made '' the grand tour '' together. This connection was a favourable one, as it gave Mr, Lapslie an opportunity of forming the acquaintance of many persons of rank and character, and no doubt was the means of his subsequently obtaining the Crown presentation to the Church of Campsie. The Print by Kay, in which those who remember Mr. Lapslie will recognise a striking likeness, has reference to the trial of Mr. Muir of Huntershill, in whose criminal prosecution he took a prominent and active part, a proceeding far from creditable, the reverend gentleman having, as is rumoured, been previously on terms of familiar intimacy at Huntershill, professing to' be himself actuated by liberal political principles. Whatever truth there may be in this report, there can be no doubt that Mr, Lapslie, so soon as he heard of Muir's apprehension, volunteered his assistance in procuring evidence against him ; and his services being accepted, he became a very useful agent of the Crown. The interference of the incumbent of Campsie, however, was attended by one result, as humiliating as it was unexpected ; for when brought forward as a witness, he was objected to, in consequence of proof having been adduced that he had identified himself with the prosecution-had attended the Sheriffs in their different visits to the parishes of Campsie and Kirkintilloch-and had been present at the precognition of the witnesses, several of whom he had questioned, and had taken notes of what they said. Henry Freeland, when examined, declared that-" During the precognition, Mr. Lapslie also put questions to the witness. He asked him if he had got a college education, which being answered in the negative, Mr. Lapslie said he was a clever fellow ; aid when he saw him write, he said it was a pity such a clever fellow should be a weaver, and that it was in the power of Mr. Honyman (Sheriff of Lanarkshire, and present at the moment) to procure him a birth." Further exposure was prevented by the Lord Advocate agreeing to dispense with his evidence. Alluding to the conduct of Mr. Lapslie, Muir said, in his address to the jury-" I am sorry for the prosecutor's timely precaution ; it prevented me Afterwards Lord Armadale.
Volume 9 Page 149
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