Miss Scott of Belvue

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MISS SCOTT OF BELVUE. Scottish, Reel. C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Composed by William Shepherd, a fiddler and composer who published his first collection in 1793. A few years later he entered a partnership with Nathaniel Gow, and the firm of Gow & Shepherd became the leading music publishers in Edinburgh. A second collection of Shepherd's tunes was published by the firm in the early 1800's. He died in 1812.

General Scott was the proprietor of the estate of Bellevue, and one of the most noted gamblers of his time. Cassell's Old and New Edinburgh, vol. 2 (1882, p. 191) records:

It is related of him that being one night in Stapleton's, when a messenger brought him tidings that Mrs. Scott had been delivered of a daughter, he turned laughingly to the company, and said, "You see, gentlemen, I must be under the necessity of doubling my stakes, in order to make a fortune for this little girl." He accordingly played rather deeper than usual, in consequence of which, after a few hours' play, he found himself a loser by £8,000. This gave occasion for some of the company to rally him on his "daughter's fortune," but the general had an equanimity of temper that nothing could ruffle, and a judgement in play superior to most gamesters. He replied that he had still a perfect dependence on the luck of the night, and to make his words good he played steadily on, and about seven in the morning, besides clearing his £8,000, he brought home £15,000. His eldest daughter, Henrietta, became Duchess of Portland.

In fact, General John Scott came to the property of Bellevue through his gambling, as recorded by Walter Wood (in The East Neuk of Fife: Its History and Antiquities, 1862, p. 219):

Some time after Sir Lawrence Dundas had built the handsome house in St. Andrew's Square, the site of which is now occupied by the Royal Bank, he happened to have a run of bad luck in playing with General Scott, who is well known to have been one of the most experienced gamblers in Europe, and to have amassed, at least, half a million in play. After Sir Lawrence had lost all his ready cash, and was driven to extremity, his opponent proposed to stake £30,000 against Sir Lawrence's new house, in which they were then sitting. This proposal was accepted by the desperate baronet, but was attended by no better fortune than the preceding stakes, and the property of that beautiful mansion was, in a moment, transferred to his successful antagonist. It was afterwards arranged, however, that Sir Lawrence should reatain his house, upon condition that he should be at the expense of building another equally good, and suitable to the taste and convenience of General Scott. The mansion of Bellevue was the result of this arrangement. General Scott died in 1775, and his tomb forms a conspicuous object in the north-west corner of the churchyard of Kilrenny. He left two daughters, and a third was born shortly after his death, who were heiresses of the vast wealth he had accumulated. By his will, the fortune of the eldest daughter, Henrietta, was to be divided between her sisters if she married a peer or a peer's son, or if her husband did not take the name of Scott. Nevertheless, she married, in 1795, William Henry [1] Marquis of Titchfield, and afterwards Duke of Portland; and her sisters waived enforcing the penalty, upon receiving £100,000 each, while the marquis always prefixed the name of Scott to his signature. Her fortune was said to amount to £25,000 a year. The other two daughters became respectively Viscountess Canning, and Countess of Moray.

Henrietta, the mother of nine children, died in April, 1844.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Glen (The Glen Collection of Scottish Music), vol. 2, 1895; p. 21. Shepherd (A Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1793; p. 9.

Recorded sources:




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