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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


Volume 9 Page 302
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 227 No. CCXLVII. ANDREW DONALDSON, TEACHER OF GREEK AXD HEBREW. OF the family or early history of this eccentric personage little is known. He was born, it is believed, at Auchtertool,’ and was educated with a view to the pulpit; but his resources were limited, and, no doubt with the resolution of embracing the earliest opportunity of following out his original intention, he accepted the situation of Master in the Grammar School of Dunfermline. He was an ardent student; and it is supposed that too close application, particularly in acquiring a knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew languages, tended to impair the faculties of a mind which might otherwise have shone forth with more than ordinary lustre. The result was, he soon tired of the irksome duties of a preceptor, and resigned his situation. He “was sure Job never was a schoolmaster, otherwise we should not have heard so much of his patience.” Among other whims entertained, he deemed it unlawful to shave, on the ground that, as man was created perfect, any attempt at mutilation or amendment was not only presumptuous but sinful. Following up this theory in practice, he increased the singularity of his appearance, by approximating still more closely to the dress and deportment of the ancient prophets. His usual attire was a loose great-coat, reaching nearly to the ankle. In his hand he carried a staff of enormous length; and, as he seldom wore a hat or any other . covering, his flowing locks, bald forehead, and strongly marked countenance, were amply displayed. He adhered to the strictest simplicity of diet, and preferred sleeping on the floor, with or without a carpet, if permitted by his friends. He was tenacious of his beard ; and when on one occasion entreaty so far prevailed as to induce his consent to be shaved, the violence of his regret for what he considered a sinful compliance, was so excessive, that those interested in his welfare, convinced of the danger of such an experiment, refrained in future from all similar attempts. Notwithstanding his grotesque and formidable appearance, unless when under some transitory excitement, Andrew was a man of gentle, kind, and even engaging manners. Occasionally, when actuated by some strong mental paroxysm, he has been known to exchange his pilgrim’s staff for an iron rod, with which 1 ‘‘ 14th December 1714. Andrew, son to Gdbert Donaldson and Elizabeth Thallon, was baEtized. Witness, George Skene and Jsmes Venterr” “ Extracted from Auchtertool parish Register, the 1st day of March 1838, by 4 ‘ J o T~E OM~OS.N ,C lk.”
Volume 9 Page 303
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