Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


john downie libberton wynd hamish xxx
Volume 9 Page viii
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ORIGINAL PORTRAITS, ETC. ,ETC. No. CLXXI. MR. JOHN DOWIE, VINTNER, LIBBERTON’S WND. “ JOHNNIED OWIE’TSa vern” was a place of old standing, and particularly celebrated for the excellence of its ale, ‘‘ Nor’ Loch trouts, and Welsh rabbits.” It was situated in a narrow alley (called Libberton’s Wynd) running between the Lawnmarket and Cowgate, which has lately been demolished to make way for George the Fourth Bridge. The tavern, both as to internal and external appearance, wore an unpromising aspect. The principal room, which looked to the Wynd, was capable of containing about fourteen persons, but all the others were so small, that not above six could be stowed into each, and so dingy and dark that, even in broad day, they had to be lighted up by artiticial means. Yet, in this unseemly place of entertainment, many of the respectable citizens, and several remarkable persons of last century, were in the habit of meeting nightly, and found in it no ordinary degree of social comfort and amusement. Fergusson the poet was amongst its most early frequenters. Herd, the collector of Scottish songs-Paton, the antiquary (who has been formerly noticed)-Cummyng, of the Lyon Office-Hunter of Blackness-Anthony Woodhead,l solicitor-at-law-George Martin, writer -and many other wellknown Edinburgh characters,:were its ordinary visitors. Dowie’s Tavern is also known as having been the favourite resort of Burns during his sojourn of six months in Edinburgh, where, with Nicol of the High School, and Allan Masterton- the Willie and Allan of his well-known Bacchanalian song-he held many a social meeting. What contributed in no small degree to the popularity of “Johnnie Dowie’s Anthony on one occasion introduced no less than six French harpluyes-8 into Johnnie’s hrgest apartment, in order to amuse, as he mid, the company with “ an iwtrumental wncert.’’ We need scarcely add that the music was of the most overpowering description. VOL IL B
Volume 9 Page 1
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