Thursday, January 12, 2006

How Not to Inspect a Loaded Pistol


How they got to be buried in Edinburgh


GRAVEYARDS are a fascinating gateway into the extraordinarily diverse lives of the men and women who have found themselves - by accident or design - in the capital city of Scotland.


The cemetery is also home to gunsmith Thomas Leslie, who went to inspect the pistol with which the well-known geologist and writer Hugh Miller had committed suicide the day before in Portobello while tormented by brain disease. The revolver, rusted from lying overnight in Miller's bath, was taken to the gunsmith who had sold it to discover how many bullets had been fired. The gun was handed over to the foreman, Thomas Leslie, with the spoken words "Mind, it is loaded". Leslie examined the rusty safety-catch. He held it up to his eye and lifted the hammer to count the bullets. At that instant the pistol went off, blowing his brains out. Leslie, who had eight children and had worked with guns for 25 years, was buried in the Grange Cemetery a little earlier on the same day as Miller.


[Read the whole story]

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