THE HIGH STREET. 23 5 him, and vanished. He arose and proceeded immediately to Edinburgh, to inquire into this strange occurrence, and arriving at the home in Mary King’s Close, found the widow in tears for the death of the husband whose apparition he had seen. This account, we are told, was related by the minister, who was in the house on this occasion, to the Duke of Lauderdale, in the presence of many nobles, and is altogether as credible and mell-authenticated a ghost story as the lovers of the marvellous could desire. The house, after being deserted €or 8 while, was again attempted to be inhabited by a hard-drinking and courageou8 old pensioner and his wife ; but towards midnight the candle began to burn blue, the head again made its appearance, but in much more horrible form, and the terrified couple made a precipitate retreat, resigning their dwelling without dispute- to this prior tenant. Several ancient alleys and a mass of old and mostly ruinouv buildings were demolished in 1753 in preparing the site for the Royal Exchange, ‘various sculptured stones belong-’ ing to which were built into the curious tower erected by Walter ROSS, Esq., at the Dean, and popularly known by the name of ‘‘ ROSS’S Folly.” Several of these were scattered about the garden grounds below the Castle rock, exhibiting considerable variety of carving. Another richly carved stone, consisting of a decorated ogee arch with crocquets and finial, surmounted by shields, was built into a modern erection at the foot of Craig’s Close, and nearly corresponded with one which stood in a more dilapidated state in the Princes Street Gardens, tending to show the important character of the buildings that formerly occupied this site. Among those in the gardens there was a lintel, bearing the Somerville arms, and the date 1658, with an inscription, and the initials I. S ., possibly those of James, tenth Lord Somerville; but this was discovered in clearing out the bed of the North Loch. The old land at the head of Craig’s Close, fronting the main street, claims special notice, as occupying the s’ite of Andrew Hart the famous old printer’s heich buith, lyand within the foir tenement of land upone the north syd of the Hie Streit,”‘ and which, by a curious coincidence, became after the lapse of two centuries the residence of the celebrated bibliopolist, Provost Creech, and the scene of his famed morning levees ; and more recently the dwelling of hIr Archibald Constable, from whose establishment so many of the highest productions of Scottish literature emanated. The printing-house of the old typographer still stands a little way down the close, on the east side. It is a picturesque and substantial stone tenement, with large and neatly moulded windows, retaining traces of the mullions that anciently divided them, and the lower crowstep of the north gable bears a shield adorned with the Sinclair arms. Handsome stone corbels project from the several floors, whereon have formerly rested the antique timber projections referred by Maitland to the reign of James IT. Over an ancient doorway, now built up, is sculptured this motto, 3IY * HOIP * IS - CHRYST - with the initials A * S * and M * K -, a curious device containing the letter S entwined with a cross, and the date 1593. An interesting relic belonging to this land, preserved in the museum of the Society of Antiquaries, is thus described in the list of donations for 1828: ‘(A very perfect ancient Scottish spear, nearly fifteen feet long, which has been preserved from time immemorial, within the old printing office in Craig’s Close, supposed to have been the workshop of the celebrated printer, h d r o Hart.” In, the memorable tumult on Andrew Hart’s will.-Bann, Misc. VOL ii p. 247.
236 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. the 17th December’ 1596, already described, when the king was besieged in the Tolbooth by the excited citizens, Andrew Hart is specially mentioned as one of the very foremost in the rising that produced such terror and indignation in King James’s mind ; in so much so, that he was soon after warded in the Castle of Edinburgh, at his Majesty’s instance, as one of the chief authors of (‘ that seditious stirring up and moving of the treasonable tumult and uproare that was in the burgh.”’ We can fancy the sturdy old printer sallying out from the close, at the cry of “ Armour! armour ! ” hastily armed with his loug spear and jack, and joining the excited burghers, that mustered from every booth and alley to lay siege to the affrighted monarch in the Tolbooth, or to help ‘‘ the worthy Deacon Watt;” in freeing him from his ignoble durance. The house which stauds between the fore and back lands of the famed typographer, was celebrated during the last century as one of the best frequented taverns in the neighbourhood of the Cross, and a favourite resort of some of the most noted of the clubs, by means of which the citizens of that period were wont to seek relaxation and amusement. Foremost among these WLS the Cape Club, celebrated in Ferguson’s poem of Auld Reekie. The scene of meeting for a considerable period, where Cape Hall was nightly inaugurated, was in James Mann’s, at the Isle of Man Arms, Craig’s Close. There a perpetual High Jinks was kept up, by each member receiving on his election a peculiar name and character which he was ever afterwards expected to maintain. This feature, however, was by no means confined to the Cape Club, but formed one of the peculiarities of nearly all the convivial meetings of the capital, so that a slight sketch of ‘(the Knights of the Cape ” will suffice for a good sample of these old Edinburgh social unions. The Club appears from its minutes to have been duly constituted, and the mode of procedure finally fixed, in the year 1764 ; it had however existed long before, and the name and peculiar forms which it then adopted were derived from the characters previously assumed by its leading members.2 Its peculiar insignia were-lst, a cape, or crown, which was worn by the Sovereign of the Cape on state occasions, and which, in the palmy days of the Club, ita enthusiastic devotees adorned with gold and jewels; and, 2d, two maces in the form of huge steel pokers, which formed the sword and sceptre of his Majesty in Cape Hall, These, with other relics of this jovial fraternity, are now appropriately hung in the lobby of the Societies of Antiquaries. The first Sovereign of the order after its final constitution was Thomas Lancashire, the Once celebrated comedian, on whom Ferguson wrote the following epitaph :- Alae ! poor Tom, how oft, with merry heart, Have we beheld thee play the sexton’s part I Each merry heart muat now be grieved to Bee The sexton’s dreary part performed on thee. The comedian rejoiced in the title of Sir Cape, and in right of his sovereignty gave name to the Club, while the title of Sir Poker, which pertained to its oldest member, James Aitken, suggested the insignia of royalty. Tom Lancashire was succeeded on the throne by David Herd, the welI-known editor of what Scott calls the first classic edition of Scottish songs, whose knightly soubriquet was Sir Scrape. His secretary was Jacob More, the , ’ Calderwood’e Hit. vol. v. pp. 512, 520, 535. * A different account of the Knights of the Cape has been published, but the general accuracy of the text may be relied upon, being derived from the minute books of the Club.