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Life Jottings of an Old Edinburgh Citizen
Chapter Thirty-Six

IN 1887, Edinburgh took its part in the joyful celebrations of Queen Victoria's J'ubilee. I cannot speak of these in detail, as I was not able to be at home at that time, having to take official part in the ceremonies in London. I had the high honour of being on the staff of Sir H. Evelyn Wood, who commanded a division at the Royal Review at Aldershot, and as regards that occasion, I would like for the sake of my old comrades in the Queen's Edinburgh Rifle Volunteer Brigade to mention an incident which occurred. I wore the dress of the Queen's Brigade—the only uniforni I was entitled to wear at that time. It is the well-known quiet, sober, dark uniform, with dull bronze ornaments, and dull black grained leather belts, all glitter being absent*—the uniform wt chledtoour being dubbed  "The Blacks". Returning to London by train in the afternoon, I happened to be seated opposite to General Butterlin, the Russian military representative at the jubilee. I here was some conversation by the group of officers in the carriage, and what led up to it I do not remember, but he said to me: "Ah, sir, I did notice your uniform as you did march past; in all other glitter I thought it disdistinguished." This pleased me much, as I always loved our simple dress; and when, more than once, officers would plead with me to change to scarlet, otherwise recruits would go to other corps, my reply always was: "If any man chooses his corps because of the colour of the coat, let him do so, I do not want him. We never did suffer for our lack of gaudiness, as we always kept up our strength, and added to it largely during the years I was in command.

Although not able to be at home during the Edinburgh celebrations, I was glad to get the opportunity to leave London for one day, to be present at the dinner given by the Faculty of Advocates at the old Scottish Parliament House, under the presidency of the Dean, my old and valued friend, Mackintosh, afterwards Lord Kyllachy. No dinner had been held in the great hall since the occasion of George IV's visit in 1822. It was fitting that such a celebration should take place in the ancient national hall, full of historic associations connected with the Crown and Parliament of Scotland.

In connection with the Queer's Jubilee, there is an incident, not happening in Edinburgh, but associated with it as the seat of the General Assembly, which has such amusing features that I make no excuse for recounting it. When the Jubilee took place, the Lord Chamberlain had to allocate the seats in Westminster Abbey, a difficult task, no doubt. It was arranged that a certain number of admissions should be given for the Scottish clergy. Sixteen cards were to be sent to the Church of Scotland, and six to each of the Free, the United Presbyterian, and the Episcopal Churches. Lord Lathom, who was then Lord Chamberlain, like most English Government grandees, never thought of asking any official at Dover House about a Scottish matter, and sent the cards, as he thought, according to the arrangement. There was immediately a row, and with very good cause. Lord Lothian, who was then Secretary for Scotland, told me the story himself, I being Lord-Advocate at the time. He said that he went to Lord Lathom and challenged him:

"Look here, Lathom, you've made a mess of the allocation of admissions for the Scottish clergy, and there is great indignation.

"Oh, no," replied the Chamberlain, "I assure you I did exactly as was arranged; I sent the sixteen tickets to the Primus Bishop of the Church of Scotland, and six to each of the others; there was the Free, and there—er—er— there was the United Presbyterian, and there was a third—eh, ah—I can't quite remember the name; what was it now?"

"Perhaps it was the Established Church of Scotland."

"Yes, yes, that was it, the Established."

"Perhaps you are not aware that that is the Church of Scotland, and that the Primus Bishop and his clergy are Dissenters there."

"God bless me, no, you surprise me; how can a bishop be a Dissenter?"

"Well, he is, that's all I can tell you. The Sovereign is the State head of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland; and not of the Episcopal Church. You had better get back ten cards from the Primus Bishop and send them to the Moderator of the Church of Scotland."

Well, that was put right, but the bungling did not stop there. The Church of Scotland got the sixteen tickets, and as they were all marked with numbers, the holders assumed that they would get seats set apart for them, and therefore went down to the Abbey in what they thought was reasonably good time. On showmg their cards they were politely ushered along by gentlemen in uniform with batons, to the bottom of a temporary wooden winding staircase, and they toiled up and up and up, till at last they came in front of the top of a great arch, and. had any little breath that remained to them taken away. For on the arch a large placard was fixed, and on it, in long black letters on a white ground, were the insulting words :


On entering- through the peak of the arch, they saw below them a crowd of ecclesiastics, Greeks, Copts, Armericans, Lutherans, Independents, thetir friends of the Free, United Presbyterian, and Episcopal, and others "too numerous to mention," as the reports say. There were many strange and tall mitres and hats, shutting out the view, and our Church of Scotland representatives were crowded up under the peak of the arch, with the fumes arising from many an Eastern and others, and working their passage past them out at the top of the archway, they could see almost nothing, and hear very little, and it is to be feared they left the budding under sore temptation not to be "in charity with all men." What I know is, that next morning I received from the Reverend Dr. Phim, then an Edinburgh citizen, a letter, which did not surprise me that he had written, but which it might have been better to have kept back, and expurgated a little before despatch. Of course I had nothing to do with the matter, and I told him so, and did my best to pour oil. I understand there was a correspondence with some gall on one side, and that, by direction of the Queen, who was displeased, an apology had to be made by the Lord Chamberlain in writing, and a soothing syrup applied in the form of a knighthood to the Procurator of the Church.

I had great joy in being present officially at the glorious celebration of the Jubilee service of thanksgiving in Westminster Abbey, seeing the dear aged Queen, surrounded on the dais by a veritable crowd of children and grandchildren, sons-in-law and daughters in-law—a goodly sight never to be forgotten, as each was seen enclosed in her motherly embrace before she left the Abbey.

In 1889 I was elected by the Edinburgh University Council to represent it on the University Court, and the Court were good enough while I was serving to appoint me to be one of the Patronage Curators of the University. I valued these appointments the more, as they were both honours unsolicited and unexpected.

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