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by [?]

I often felt so identified with the character, so charmed with the pleasure manifested by my audience, that it became painful to lay aside the veil, and descend again into the humdrum realities of my own self.

These personations never lost me a friend; on the contrary, they originated friendships that cease only with life.

The Lady Pitlyal’s course is run; she bequeaths to you these reminiscences of beloved friends and pleasant meetings.

And that the blessing of God may descend on “each and all of you,” is the fervent prayer of her kinswoman and executrix,


I now beg to “convey,” as Pistol delicately calls it, or as we on our side the Border would say, to “lift,” enough of this unique volume to make my readers hunger for the whole.


Another evening Miss Guthrie requested me to introduce my old lady to Captain Alexander Lindsay, a son of the late Laird of Kinblethmont, and brother to the present Mr. Lindsay Carnegie, and Mr. Sandford, the late Sir Daniel Sandford.

She came as a Mrs. Ramsay Speldin, an old sweetheart of the laird’s, and was welcomed by Mrs. Guthrie as a friend of the family. The young people hailed her as a perfectly delightful old lady, and an original of the pure Scottish character, and to the laird she was endeared by a thousand pleasing recollections.

He placed her beside himself on the sofa, and they talked of the days gone by–before the green parks of Craigie were redeemed from the muir of Gotterston, and ere there was a tree planted between the auld house of Craigie and the Castle of Claypotts.

She spoke of the “gude auld times, when the laird of Fintry widna gie his youngest dochter to Abercairney, but tell’d him to tak them as God had gien them to him, or want.”

“And do you mind,” she continued, “the grand ploys we had at the Middleton; and hoo Mrs. Scott of Gilhorn used to grind lilts out o’ an auld kist to wauken her visitors i’ the mornin’.

“And some o’ them didna like it sair, tho’ nane o’ them had courage to tell her sae, but Anny Graham o’ Duntrune.

“‘Lord forgie ye,’ said Mrs. Scott, ‘ye’ll no gae to heaven, if ye dinna like music;’ but Anny was never at a loss for an answer, and she said, ‘Mrs. Scott–heaven’s no the place I tak it to be, if there be auld wives in ‘t playing on hand-organs.'”

Many a story did Mrs. Ramsay tell. The party drew their chairs close to the sofa, and many a joke she related, till the room rung again with the merriment, and the laird, in ecstasy, caught her round the waist, exclaiming “Oh! ye are a canty wifie.”

The strangers seemed to think so too; they absolutely hung upon her, and she danced reels, first with the one, and then with the other, till the entrance of a servant with the newspapers produced a seasonable calm.

They lay, however, untouched upon the table till Mrs. Ramsay requested some one to read over the claims that were putting in for the King’s coronation, and see if there was any mention of hers.

“What is your claim?” said Mr. Sandford.

“To pyke the King’s teeth,” was the reply.

“You will think it very singular,” said Mr. Guthrie, “that I never heard of it before; will you tell us how it originated?”

“It was in the time of James the First,” said she, “that monarch cam to pay a visit to the monks of Arbroath, and they brought him to Ferryden to eat a fish dinner at the house o’ ane o’ my forefathers. The family name, ye ken, was Spelden, and the dried fish was ca’d after them.

“The king was well satisfied wi’ a’ thing that was done to honor him. He was a very polished prince, and when he had eaten his dinner he turned round to the lady and sought a preen to pyke his teeth.