Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/84

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


boy lives, I wonder whether he will be of your sentiments." " If he has a drop of iny blood in his veins," replied the earl, " he certainly will." " I warrant, at any rate, he will make a brave fellow," said Argyle, kissing the child, and placing him again on the floor.

In 1713, his lordship succeeded, by the death of his father, to the family titles and estates, and was soon after invited, together with a younger and only brother and two sisters, by the duchess of Argyle, their grand-aunt, to take up their residence with her in the Highlands, where she then lived in retirement. Here he remained until he had attained a proper age for college, when he was sent to the university of Glasgow. His biographer, Rolt, informs us, that while residing with the duchess of Argyle, the young earl had fallen desperate- ly in love with a little Highland girl ; but he unfortunately gives no account of the progress or termination of this boyish attachment. The circumstance, how- ever, affords an early indication of the warm, chivalrous, and romantic disposi- tion for which his lordship was afterwards so much distinguished.

While at the university he rendered himself famous amongst his fellow stu- dents by his boldness and courage. He led them on in all their battles with the citizens, headed every expedition of difficulty or danger, and stood forward on all occasions as the champion of the college, when any of its members were injured or insulted, or conceived themselves to be so. He, in short, took the whole burden of the university's honour on his own shoulders, and guarded and protected it with the most watchful zeal and uncompromising intre- pidity.

From the college of Glasgow he went to that of Edinburgh, where he re- mained for some time, and then returned to the retirement of the duchess of Argyle in the Highlands. Here he now prosecuted his studies under the tuition of a private preceptor, and continued this course until he attained his nineteenth year.

On arriving at this age, it was thought proper that he should, agreeably to the usual practice in the cases of young men of rank and fortune, proceed to the continent, at once to complete his education, and to improve himself by travel. With this view, he set out in the year 1721, first for London, where he remained for a short time, and thereafter to Paris. Here he entered the academy of Vaudeuil, and continued to attend that seminary during the two suc- ceeding years. His progress in learning, and in the acquisition of every elegant accomplishment while he resided in the French capital, was so re- markable, as to excite a strong feeling of respect for his talents amongst his fellow academicians, who saw him surpassing many students of much longer standing, and attaining an eminence which left him few competitors. In horse- manship, fencing, and dancing, he was considered, even in the refined city of Paris, to be without a rival.

In 1723, he quitted the academy ef Vaudeuil, but continued to reside in France till 1726. In the same year in which his lordship left the seminary just named, an incident occurred strongly illustrative of his daring and determined character. Amongst the other sights exhibited during the festivities which weie held in celebration of the accession of the young French king, was that of drawing one of the fish ponds in the gardens of Versailles. The earl of Crawford was amongst the crowd assembled to witness this novelty. In pressing forward to the edge of the water to obtain a sight of the young monarch, he was rudely jostled by a French marquis. Irritated by this incivility, the earl instantly caught up the Frenchman, who was in full court dress, in his arms, and tossed him, robes, and feathers, and all, into the middle of the fish pond. The specta- tors, highly delighted with the unexpected exhibition, hurst into immoderate fits