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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 337 who were spoken favourably of by the Rev. George William Auriol Hay Drummond, in his “Town Eclogue.” (Edinburgh, 1804. 8vo.) “ Let justice veil her venerable head, When dulness sits aloft in robes of red ! Though with delight we upright Cockburn see, With courteous Cullen, deep-read Woodhouselee : In the Chief Baron’s bland, ingenuous face, Read all the worth and talent of hia race.” In his boyish days, Lord Cullen was an excellent mimic, and often, in later years, took pleasure in mentioning the exploits which his talent in this way enabled him to perform. His father, Professor Cullen, used to keep his loose money in a desk-drawer in his study, from which he was in the habit of supplying Mrs. Cullen with whatever sums she might be in want of, usually handing over the notes without being at the trouble of looking round. Observing this, and when pressed by any juvenile contingency, the youthful mimic, imitating the somewhat querulous voice of his mother, found the means of drawing upon the old man more frequently than the latter would have been inclined to submit to. As the demands in this way multiplied the Doctor began to grumble. “ What ! were you not here already P” said he with some warmth to his good lady, as she one day requested a few pounds. “No, indeed, I was not, my dear,” was her reply. “Don’t tell me that,” rejoined the Professor, evidently chafed at what he considered a false assertion ; while the lady, unable to account for the late unkindness of her husband, indignantly resented the imputation of her veracity. The misunderstanding might have been carried far enough, but for the discovery which the awakened vigilance of the Doctor enabled him to make on the next occasion. Casting his eyes round, he was astonished to find the mystery cleared up in the culpability of his son. Long after he had assumed the toga, he continued his imitations, and was very successful in catching the peculiarities of many of the leading members of the College of Justice. His attainments in this way having reached the ears of the then Lord President, he was invited by the legal dignitary to a dinner party, where, after the cloth was removed, he exhibited a succession of imitations of the most eminent practising barristers. His lordship was highly delighted, and hinted that he need not limit himself to the bar ; but that he might, without offence, make free with the bench. Cullen, in the excitement of the moment, took the hint thus given, and quickly the whole race of “ paper lords ” passed rapidly before the eyes of the astonished President, who applauded the actor warmly for his astonishing powers of mimicry. “But,” said his lordship, “ why am I excepted 1 I cannot really allow this.” Cullen would not for worlds take off his h o s t the latter insisted, and in an evil moment the guest yielded-and the Lord President of the Court of Session was given to the life. “hose present roared Another anecdote of his imitative talent may be given. 1 Fbbert Dundaa of Arniston, of whom a biographical sketch has already appeared. VOL. 11. 2x
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338 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. with laughter, with one solitary exception. Who the stoical individual was who did not share the general mirth may be guessed, when we mention that the giver of the feast, after an unsuccessful attempt to affect indifference, and unable longer to contain his wrath, at last, with much bitterness ejaculated- “ Very amusing, Mr. Robert-very amusing, truly : ye’re a clever lad-very clever; but just let me tell you-that’s no the way io &se at the bar/” He had entered, in latter life, into marriage with a servant girl of the name of Russell, by whom, however, he had no issue. Although a woman of rather plain appearance, and destitute of fortune, she nevertheless, after his lordship’s death, obtained for a second husband a gentleman of property in the West Indies, where she died in 1818. Lord Cullen died on the 28th November 1810. No. CCLXXXIII. THE EDINBURGH FISH-WOMEN. THE artist has not favoured us with the name of the ‘‘ OYSTER LASS ” whom this figure represents. The omission is probably a matter of no great moment, as the characteristics of individuals of her class are usually pretty much the same. Wovdsworth‘s description of the “ Calais Fish-women ”- “Withered, grotesque-immeasurably old, And shrill and fierce in accent ”- will not apply to the goodly fish-dames of Modern Athens. Stout, clean, and blooming, if they are not the most handsome or comely of Eve’s daughters, they are at least the most perfect pictures of robust and vigorous health ; and not a few of them, under the pea-jacket and superabundance of petticoat with which they load themselves, conceal a symmetry of form that might excite the envy of a Duchess. Their cry, ‘‘ Wha’ll 0’ caller ou !” echoing through the spacious sheets of the New Town, though not easily understood, especially by our southern visitors, has a fulness of sound by no means unpleasant to the ear. In some of the late numbers of “ Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal,” the character and habits of the fish-women form the substance of one or two interesting articles. Neither are they “ shrill and fierce in accent.” We quote the writer’s description of their dress :- ‘‘A cap of cotton or linen, surmounted by a stout napkin tied below the chin, composes the investiture of the head ; the more showy structures wherewith other females are adorned being inadmissible from the broad belt which supports the “ creel,” that is, fish-basket, crossing the forehead. A sort of woollen pea-jacket, of vast amplitude of skirt, conceals the upper part of the person, relieved at the throat by a liberal display of handkerchief. The under part of the
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