THE HIGH STREET. 237 well-known landscape painter,’ and among his subjects may be mentioned the celebrated historical painter, Alexander Runciman, Sir Brimstone; Robert Ferguson, the poet, dubbed Sir Precentor, most probably from his fine musical voice; Gavin Wilson, the poetical shoemaker, who published a collection of masonic songs in 1788, whose club title was Sir Maccaroni; Walter Williamson of Cardrona, Esq., a thorough specimen of the rough 6on civant laird of the last age; Walter Ross, the antiquary; Sir Henry Raeburn, who had already been dubbed a knight under the title of Sir Tohy, ere George IT. gave him that of Sir Henry; with a host of other knights of great and little renown, of whom we shall only specify Sir Lluyd, as the notorious William Brodie was styled. Some ingenious member has drawn on the margin of the minutes of his election, April 27th, 1773, a representation of his last public appearance, on the new drop of his own invention, some fifteen years later. The old books of the Club abound with such pencilled illustrations and commentaries, in which the free touch of Runciman may occasionally be traced, among ruder sketches of less practised hands. The novice, on making his appearance in Cape Hall, was led up to the Sovereign by two knightly sponsors, and having made his obeisance, was required to grasp the large poker with his left hand, and, laying his right hand on his breast, the oath dejdeli was administered to him by the Sovereign-the knights present all standing uncovered-in the following words :- I swear devoutly by this light, To be a true and faithful Knight, With all my might, Both day and night, The following was the established form of inauguration of a Knight of the Cape. So help me Poker ! Having then reverentially kissed the larger poker, and continuing to grasp it, the Sovereign raised the smaller poker with both his royal fists, and, aiming three successive blows at the novice’s head, he pronounced, with each, one of the initial letters of the motto of the Club, C. F. D., explaining their import to be Concordia Fratrum Decus. The knight elect was then called upon to recount some adventure or scrape which had befallen him, from some leading incident in which the Sovereign selected the title conferred on him, and which he ever after bore in Cape Hall. This description of the mode of inauguration into that knightly order will explain the allusions in Ferguson’s poem :- The Club, whose honours were But chief, 0 Cape ! we crave thy aid, To get our cares and poortith laid. Sincerity, and genius true, Of Knights have ever been the due. Mirth, music, porter deepest dyed, Are never here to worth denied ; And health, 0’ happiness the queen, Blinks bonny, wi’ her smile serene. thus carefully hedged in by solemn ceremonial, established its importance by deeds consistent with its lofty professions, among which may be specified the gift by his Majesty of the Cape to his Majesty of Great Britain in 1778, of a contribution from the Knights of one hundred guineas, (( to assist his Majesty in raising troops.” 1 Jacob Yore was a pupil of Alexander Runciman. He went to Rome about 1773, where he acquired a hiih reputation as a landscape painter. He applied his art ta the arrangement of the gardens of the Prince Borghese’s villa, near the Pork Pinciana, with such taste, as excited the highest admiration of the Italiios.-puSeZi.
238 MEMORIALS OF EDINBURGH. The entry money to the Club, which was originally half-a-crown, gradually rose to a guinea, and it seems to have latterly assumed a very aristocratic character. A great regard for economy, however, remained with it to the last. On the 10th of June 1776 it is resolved, that they shall at no time take bad half-pence from the house, and also recommend it to the house to take none from them I ” and one of the last items entered on their minutes, arises from an intimation of the landlord that he could not afford them suppers under sixpence each, when it is magnanimously determined by the Club in full conclave, I‘ that the suppers shall be at the old price of four-pence half-penny I ” Sir Cape, the comedian, appears to have eked out the scanty rewards of the drama, by himself maintaining a tavern at the head of the Canongate, which was for some time patronised by the Knights of the Cape. They afterwards paid him occasional visits to Comedy Hut, New Edinburgh, a house which he opened beyond the precincts of the North Loch about the year 1770, and there they held their ninth Grand Cape, as their great festival was styled, on the 9th of June of that year.’ This sketch of one of the most famous convivial clubs of last century will suffice to give some idea of the revels in which grave councillors and senators were wont to engage, when each slipt off his professional formality along with his three-tailed wig and black coat, and bent his energies to the task of such merry fooling, while his example was faithfully copied by clerk and citizen of every degree. “ Such, 0 Themis, were anciently the sports of thy Scottish children! ” The same hanut of revelry and wit witnessed in the year 1785 the once celebrated charlatan, Dr Katterfelto, immortalised by Cowper in “ The Task,” among the quackeries of old London,- With his hair on end, At hia own wonders wondering for his bread ! His advertisement a sets forth his full array of titles, as Professor of Experimental Philosophy, Lecturer on Electricity, Chemistry, and Sleight of Hand, &c., and announces to his Patrons and the Public, that the Music begins at six and the Lecture at seveu o’clock, at Craig’s Close, High Street. Another of the old lanes of the High Street, which has been an object of special note to the local antiquary is Anchor Close. Its fame is derived, in part, at least, from the famouR corps of Crochallan Fencibles, celebrated by Burns both in prose and verse-a convivial club, whose festive meetings were held in Daniel Douglas’s tavern at the head of the alley. Burns was introduced to this club in 1787, while in Edinburgh superintending the printing of his poems, when, according to custom, one of the corps was pitted against the poet in a contest of wit and irony. Burns bore the assault with perfect good humour, and entered into the full spirit of th’e meeting, but he afterwards paid his antagonist the compliment of acknowledging that ‘‘ he had never been so abominably thrashed in all his life I ” The name of this gallant corps, which has been the subject of learned conjecture, is the burden of a Gaelic song with which the landlord occasionally entertained his guests.a The Club was founded by Mr William Smellie, Author of the Philosophy of Natural History, and numbered among its members the Honourable Henry Erskine, Lords Newton 1 Provincial Cape Cluba, deriving their authority and diplomss from the parent body, were auccessively formed in Glasgow, Manchester, and London, and in Charlestown, South Carolina, each of which was formally established in virtue of a royal mmmisaion granted by the Sovereign of the Cape. The American off-ahoot of this old Edinburgh frat’er Cnaitleyr loisn ascaMidI Mto ebme ust~ilyl J,f alonuurairsyh in2g4 tihn, t1h7e8 S8.o uthern States. Kerr’a Life of William Smellie, vol. ii. p. 256.