"The etching of Old Geordie Syme appears to have been one of the earliest efforts of Kay's pencil.

The exact period of time when Geordie flourished at Dalkeith cannot be ascertained * He must have been far advanced in life when the likeliness was taken; for though he was a person who cannot by any means be said to have kept "the noiseless tenor of his ways" through life's pilgrimage, little is known of him from tradition, and nothing in the recollection of the oldest persons now living in Dalkeith. "The Piper of Dalkeith is a retainer of the noble house of Buccleuch; and there is a small salary attached to the office, for which, in the days of old Geordie, he had to attend the family on all particular occasions, and make the round of the town twice daily,at eight o'clock evening and five in the morning. Besides his salary,he had a suit of clothes allowed him annually. It consisted of a long yellow coat, lined with red; red plush breeches; white stockings, and buckles in his shoes.
"Geordie  was much taken notice of by the nobility and gentry of his rime as well for his skill  in bagpipe music as his powerful and peculiar execution of it; and his presence was considered indispensable at all their entertainments. Among his particular patrons were Lord Drurnmore and the Earlof Wemyss,the Mt. Charteris of Amisfield."
According to Grant in his History of Edinburgh, Wemysslivedin 1784 at 33 StAndrew's Square and was well-known during his residence at Edinburgh as the patron of "Old Geordie Syme, the famous town piper of Dalkeith, and a retainer of the House of Buccleuch,whose skills on the pipes caused him to be much noticed by the great folk of his time. The Earl died in 1808". As for Hugh Dalrymple of Drummore, he died in 1755. Paton goes on:
Lord Drummore is said to have been so fond of the bagpipe that he used to go about the country like a common piper. Once, on a frolicof this kind, he was met on the way by a glazier belonging to Dalkeith,who had been engaged to clean his Lordship's windows. Taking him for a common piper, the friendly tradesman offered him a dram, which he readily accepted; and in the course of discussing it, the glazier was loud in applauding his performance; "Foul fa' me, man, gin ye dinna play arnaist as wee! as our ain Geordie Syme." The glazier's surprise may easily be conceived, when, on their arrival at the mansion-house, he was treated with wine in return for his dram.


* Jack Campion gives 1700-1790 forGeordie's dates;'flourished 1750-1780' might be a good compromise.