The History of Leith

April 9, 2011

A little porter

Mrs. Sarah Siddons, when visiting the Edinburgh Theatre, always spent an occasional afternoon with Mr. and Mrs, Home, at their neat little house in North Hanover Street, and of one of these visits Sir Adam Fergusson was wont (we have the authority of Robert Chambers for it) to relate the following anecdote:—They were sealed at early dinner, attended by Home’s o!d man-servant John, when
the host asked Mrs, Siddons what liqueur or wine she preferred to drink. ” A little porter,” replied the tragedy queen, in her usually impressive voice j and John was despatched to procure what he thought was required. But a considerable time elapsed, to the surprise of those at table, before steps were heard in the outer lobby, and John re-appeared, panting and flushed, exclaiming, ” I’ve found ane, mem he’s the least I could get!” and with these words he pushed in a short, thick-set Highlander, whose leaden badge and coil of ropes betokened his profession, ” but who seemed greatly bewildered on finding himself in a gentleman’s dining-room, surveyed by the curious eyes of one of the grandest women that ever walked the earth. The truth flashed first upon Mrs. Siddons, who, unwonted to laugh, was for once overcome by a sense of the ludicrous, and broke forth into something like shouts of mirth;” but Mrs, Home, we are told, had not the least chance of ever understanding it,

source-Olf and New Edinburgh

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