324 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. conceiving that he might, in the course of events, become serviceable to his views, resolved upon making him his friend. Lovat then lived in a villa somewhere about the head of Leith Walk, and often observed young Home pass up and down between Edinburgh and Leith. Presuming upon very slight acquaintance, his lordship one day ran out, and, clasping the advocate in his arms, began to administer some of those compliments which he used to call his weapons- “My dear Henry,” he cried, “how heartily do .I rejoice in this rencontre. How does it come to pass that you never look in upon me 3 Almost every day I see you go past my windows, as if for the purpose of inflaming me with a more and more passionate desire for your company. Now, you are so finelooking- so tall, and altoget,her so delightful in your aspect, that unless you will vouchsafe me some favour, I must absolutely die of unrequited passion.” “ My Lord,” cried Home, endeavouring to extricate himself from his admirer’s arms, “ this is quite intolerable ; I ken very wee1 I am the coarsest and most black-a-vised b-h in a’ the Court 0’ Session. Hae dune-hae dune!” “ Well, Henry,” said Lovat, in an altered tone, “ you are the first man I have ever met with who had the understanding to withstand flattery.” “My dear Lord,” said Home, swallowing the compliment with avidity, and returning the embrace, “ I am rejoiced to hear you say so.” The following anecdote is told of the other “ shadow,” HUG0 ARNOT, and Mr. Hill, afterwards Professor of Humanity (Latin), who was then tutor to the Lord Justice-clerk‘s son. Arnot met him returning from the Grassmarket on one occasion when three men were executed there, and inqukng where he had been, Mr. Hill replied that “ he had been seeing the execution.” ‘<W hat ! ” said Hugo, “ you, George Hill, candidate for the Professor’s chair of Humanity /” “Yes,” said Mr. Hill. “Then, by G-d,” continued the indignant Hugo, “ you should rather be Professor of Barbarity ; and you are sure of the situation, for it is in the gift of my Lord Justice-clerk ! ” Mr. Arnot’s celebrated ‘( Essay on Nothing,” so full of quaint humour itself, and the subject of several good sayings by his contemporaries, is now, perhaps, only familiar in name to the generality of readers. As a epecinien of the nervous style of the author, the following quotation from the preface may not be unamusing :-“ I do not communicate this treatise,” says Hugo, ‘( to promote directly piety, morality, meekness, moderation, candour, sympathy, liberality, knowledge, or truth ; but indirectly, by attempting to expose and to lash pride, pedantry, violence, persecution, affectation, ignorance, impudence, absurdity, falsehood, and vice. Besides the stilts of Preface and Dedication, I intended to have procured some recommendatory verses, which may be called ‘ Passports for begging civility and favour from the Christiun reader.’ But as I know no person living (at least in the British realms), who is endued with any share of poetic fire ; and, besides, am persuaded, if there were any such, none of them would be so fool-hardy as to recommend this performance, I hope, instead of these, the reader mill accept the following verses, written in praise of .
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 325 this performance by myself. This practice, I assure him, has by no means novelty to recommend it, although it has not hitherto been openly avowed :- “ Three sages in three learned ages born, Three different polished stages did adorn. In dreams and prophesies the 6rst excelled ; With pies and tarts the next his pages swelled ; His high-dressed dishes praised in loud bombast ; But I, IN NOTHINGh,a ve them all surpass’d.” The publication of the Essay occasioned the following epigram, by the Hon. Andrew Erskine, brother to the musical Earl of Kelly : - “ To find out where the bent of one’s genius lies, Oft puzzles the witty, and sometimes the wise ; Your discernment in this all true critics must find, Since the subject’s so pat to jour body and mind.” The Hon. Henry Erskine was once disputing with Arnot about the disposition which the Deity manifests in the Holy Scriptures to pardon the errors of the flesh-the metaphysician insisting for a liberal code, and the wit taking a rather more confined and Calvinistic view of the case. At last, on Arnot avowing his resolution to live in the hope of pardon, Erskine readily conceded that great allowance is made for the $esh ; but, affecting to be doubtful in the peculiar case of his friend, he replied- “ Though bawdy and blasphemy may be forgiven, To flesh and to blood, by the mercy of Heaven ; Yet I’ve searched the whole Scriptures, and texts I find none, Extending that mercy to skin and to bone.” Mr. Amot’s tenuity of person, as a subject of satirical remark, was not entirely confined to the learned. One day as he was standing in Creech, the bookseller’s shop, an old woman-a hawker of fish from Musselburgh-came in to purchase a Bible. To quiz the old lady a little, Hugo said he wondered she could trouble her head reading such a nonsensical, old-fashioned book as that. Horror-struck at his blasphemous remark, the old woman eyed Hugo in silence a few seconds, measuring him from head to foot with inexpressibG amazement. At length she exclaimed-“ Gude hae mercy on us I Wha wad hae thocht that ony human-like cratur wad hae spoken that way. But you,” she added, with an expression of the most perfect contempt-“a perfect atomy ! ” Mr. Arnot was long afflicted with a nervous cough. He came into Creech’s shop one day, coughing and wheezing at a tremendous rate. Casting his eye on Mr. Tytler of Woodhouselee, who happened to be present, he observed to him “If I do not soon get quit of this d-d cough, it will carry me off like a rocket.” Mr. Tytler replied, ‘‘ Indeed, Hugo, my man, if you do not mend your manners, you will assuredly take quite a contrary directh.”