The History of Leith

October 24, 2012

Advocates, and no less than judges

” It was at that time the custom,” says the
gossipy author of ” Traditions of Edinburgh,”
” for advocates, and no less than judges, to dress
themselves in gown, wig, and cravat, at their own
houses, and to walk in a sort of state, with their
cocked hats in their hands, to the Parliament
House. They usually breakfasted early, and
when dressed would occasionally lean over their
parlour windows for a few minutes, before St.
Giles’s bell sounded a quarter to nine, enjoying the
morning air, and perhaps discussing the news of
the day, or the convivialities of the preceding
evening, with a neighbouring advocate on the
opposite side of the alley. It so happened that
one morning, while Lord Coalstoun was preparing
to enjoy his matutinal treat, two girls who lived on the
second floor above were amusing themselves with
a kitten, which they had swung over the window
by a cord tied round its middle, and hoisted for
some time up and down, till the creature was
getting desperate with its exertions? In this crisis
his lordship popped his head out of the window,
directly below that from which the kitten swung,
little suspecting, good easy man, what a danger
impended,^ when down came the exasperated
animal in full career upon his senatorial wig.
No sooner did the girls perceive what sort of
landing-place their kitten had found, than in their
terror and surprise, they began to draw it up ; but
this measure was now too late, for along with the
animal up also ca$pe the judge’s wig, fixed full in
its determined claws ! His lordship’s surprise on
finding his wig lifted off his head was much
increased when, on looking up, he perceived it
dangling its way upwards, without any means
visible to him, by which its motions might be
accounted for. The astonishment, the dread, the
awe of the senator below—the half mirth, half
terror of the girls above, together with the fierce
relentless energy on the part of puss between,
formed altogether a scene to which language could
not easily do justice. It was a joke soon explained
and pardoned, but the perpetrators did afterwards
get many injunctions from their parents, never again
to fish over the window, with such a bait, for
honest men’s wigs.”

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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