The History of Leith

November 16, 2004

Two Edinburgh Criminals

“THAT marvellous country,” says Froude of Scotland, “so fertile in genius and in chivalry, so fertile in madness and crime, where the highest heroism co-existed with preternatural ferocity, yet where the vices were the vices of strength, and the one virtue of indomitable courage was found alike in saint and sinner.” The criminal records of Scotland, especially those of Edinburgh, illustrate this quotation. They are strange reading, with a horrible fascination of their own. Here are two instances, the very pick of the bundle, united by no other bond than that both are inexplicable to the verge of lunacy. The first is the case of Major Weir, which had for admirable theatre the West Bow.

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