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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 293 parties. His lordship having asked my consent, directed that they might do so. In consequence . of this permission, they divided themselves into small parties, and walked round the table. When they came opposite to Lord N[elso]n, or me, the men stooped their heads, and the women bent their knees (such being the English manner of salutation). This mark of respect they thought due to Lord N[elso]n for the victory of the Nile ; and to me, for my supposed high rank. This ceremony took up nearly an hour ; after which the Lord Mayor presented Lord N[elso]n, in the name of the city, with an elegant cimiter, the hilt of which waa studded with diamonds, as a testimony of their gratitude for his distinguished services. His lordship having buckled on the sword, stood up, and made a speech to the Lord Mayor and to the company, assuring them that, with the weapon he had now been invested, and the protection of the Almighty, he would chastise and subdue all their enemies. ‘‘ This interesting scene being hished, I thought-it was time to retire, and went up to the Lord Mayor to take leave. His lordship, however, seized me by the hand, and led me up stairs to a superb apartment, where we found the Lady Mayoress, and nearly five hundred other ladies, richly dressed, some of whom were aa beautiful as the Houries of Paradise, waiting our appearance, before they commenced dancing. As few rooms in the world would have held such an assemblage of people, if furnished in the usual manner, this apartment was fitted up with long ranges of seats rising above each other, (resembling the stone steps of a large tank or reservoir in India), which were continued all round the room, for the use of the spectators, leaving but a moderate space in the middle for the dancers. “When we had been seated a short time, twelve or fifteen of the principal young men present were permitted to enter the circle and to choose their partners. After they had gone down the dance, they were relieved by an equal number of others ; and in this manner the ball was kept up till daylight, and the sun had risen ere I reached home. “ This was one of the most delightful nights I ever passed in my life ; as, independent of every luxury my heart could wish, I had an opportunity of gazing all the time on the angelic charms of Miss qomlbe, who sat in that assemblage of beauties, like the bright moon surrounded with brilliant stars. “After what I have said, it may be unnecessary to repeat, that the young lady is one of the greatest beauties in London. One evening I met her, by chance, at a masquerade ; and, as the weather was warm, she wore only a short veil, which descended no lower than her upper lip, As our meeting was quite unexpected, she thought she could converse with me without being known ; but, in answer to her $rst question, I replied, ‘ There is but one woman in London who possesses such teeth and lips ; therefore Miss C[om]be may save herself the trouble of attempting to deceive her admirers.’ This speech was overheard by some persons, and became the subject of conversation in the polite circles next day.” ’ Mr. Comhe held his seat in Parliament till the year 1817. He had for some time prior suffered greatly in his health by a paralytic disorder, “ which,” says a correspondent of the Gentleman’s Muguzim, “ though it greatly debilitated his limbs, left his vigorous mind almost wholly unimpaired ; till, in June 181 7, the wanton and cruel insult he received, by the resolution of a thinly-attended Common Hall, had a visible effect on his enfeebled constitution. So unexpected a return €or long and faithful services he was but ill-prepared to sustain; and he relinquished, in consequence, his seat in Parliament and all his civic honours. I am happy to add that he hw left a handsome provision for his numerous family. The will has been proved by his eldest son, as sole executor ; and though the personal effects do not exceed 3140,000, there are real estates sufficient to complete the second plum.” His widow survived till 1828. Mr. Combe died at Cobham Park, Surrey, on the 10th July 1817.
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294 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. CCLXIX. SIR JOHN MARJORIBANKS, BART., LORD PROVOST OF EDINBURGH, IN HIS ROBES. THEl ate SIRJ OHXN~A RJORIBANKS was the eldest son of Edward Marjoribanks, Esq., of Lees, near Coldstream. This gentleman was a native of Linlithgowshire, and owner of the small estate of Hallyards. He married a daughter of Archibald Stewart, Esq., Lord Provost of Edinburgh at the commencement of the Rebellion in 1745, and who was afterwards tried on suspicion of favouring the Pretender.’ For many years a wine merchant in France, Mr. Marjoribanks resided at Bordeaux till 1770, when, on succeeding to the estate of Lees: as heir of entail, he returned with his family to Scotland. Sir John, who was born at Bordeaux, entered the army in early life, and was afterwards a Captain in the Coldstream Guards. He married, about the year 1790, Miss Ramsay of Barnton. Shortly afterwards, he sold his commission, and bought the estate of Eccles: in Berwickshire, to which he retired. Here he remained for a number of years ; and by his judicious management in farming a’great portion of his own lands, nearly doubled the value of the property in the course of a few seasons. The father of a numerous family, Sir John at length removed to Edinburgh, a town residence affording greater facilities for the education of his children. He now became a partner in the banking-house of Mansfield, Ramsay, and Co. ; and, entering the Town Council in 1811, was chosen to fill the office of Chief Magistrate in 1814-15. In the latter year he was created a Baronet; and succeeding, by t,he death of his father, to the estate of Lees, was elected M.P. for the county of Berwick. While Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir John displayed much zeal in carrying forward the improvements of the city; and he may be considered as the chief promoter of the New Jail and the Regent Bridge, This elegant approach (opened when Prince Leopold entered the Scottish metropolis in 1819) had been projected so early as 1784,’ under the Provostship of Sir James Provost Stewart went to London, where, meeting with the support of the Jacobite party, he * This beautifully situated property belonged to a family of the name of Pringle, and fell to Mr. became a banker, and realised a considerable fortune. Marjoribanks as their heir-female. This estate waa sold by Sir John, and purchased by Jamas Greig, Esq., W.S. A plan of the improvement was drawn out bp a person of the name of Kyles, on whose death the late Dr. Duncan had it engraved by subscription for the benefit of the widow and children. Kyles wa8 suppwed to have been the original projector.
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