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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


Volume 9 Page 20
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 17 No. CLXXV. JAJYIIE DUFF, ALIAS BAILIE DUFF. THIS is the full-length Portrait alluded to in a former notice of the Bailie. The fool is here portrayed in all the pride of magisterial greatness, with his cocked hat and wig, and the brass insignia of office suspended round his neck. Nor did he assume his imaginary dignity without occasionally attempting to put his authority into practice ; and, where respect for his official greatness might have failed, a dread of his irascible temper and strength of arm generally succeeded. The scenes of the titular Bailie’s judicial exploits were principally confined to the Cowgate, and the tributary wynds and alleys which intersect it. At the head of this famed thoroughfare one day a parcel of boys were annoying a drunk person, when the Bailie came up and dispersed them, saying, with his accustomed oath, “Can ye no let alane the puir idiot ! !” The Bailie was one of those fools who was not easily to be done, or diverted from his purpose. The late Mr. Reekie, then Deacon of the Glaziers, had on some occasion promised Jamie a reward of twopence for a trifling service. Wishing to tantalise the fool a little, he for some time evaded, and latterly refused to comply with the demand. This did not appear at all like justice in the eyes of the magistrate; and he resolved to compel payment in his own way. It so occurred that the Deacon, in the way of his profession, was one morning perched upon a ladder against the window of a house at the foot of the Old Fishmarket Close, when the Bailie was passing, whose quick eye at once discovered the debtor. He instantly laid hands upon the ladder, and began to shake it with increasing violence, while he bawled o u d “ Tippence, noo, Deacon ! Tippence, Deacon ! ” The Deacon was fairly caught, and there was no time for parley. “ Gie him tippence ! for ony sake gie him tippence !” roared the Deacon from his altitude. A bystander furnished the coppers, and relieved the Deacon, who descended amid shouts of laughter. The Bailie did not always receive the respect due to his civic authority, and was not unfrequently annoyed by the mischievous youths of the Old Towu. They were aware, however, of the propriety of keeping a respectable distance from the object of their sport, and his vengeance commonly fell upon the innocent and unwary ; for, when the Bailie was irritated, he struck the first person he met, whoever the individual might be. On one occasion, the Bailie having been dreadfully tormented by his A suitable occasion soon presented itself. VOL. IL D
Volume 9 Page 21
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