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PAGE 3

Mystifications
by [?]

“And the lady, she took a fish bane and wipit it, and gae it to the king; and after he had cleaned his teeth wi’ it, he said, ‘They’re weel pykit.

“And henceforth, continued he, the Speldins of Ferryden shall pyke the king’s teeth at the coronation. And it shall be done wi’ a fish-bone, and a pearl out o’ the Southesk on the end of it. And their crest shall be a lion’s head wi’ the teeth displayed, and the motto shall be weel pykit.”

Mr. Sandford read over the claims, but there was no notice given of the Speldins.

“We maun just hae patience,” said Mrs. Ramsay, “and nae doubt it will appear in the next newspaper.”

Some one inquired who was the present representative?

“It’s me,” replied Mrs. Ramsay Speldin; “and I mean to perform the office mysel’. The estate wad hae been mine too, had it existed; but Neptune, ye ken, is an ill neighbor, and the sea has washed it a’ away but a sand bunker or twa, and the house I bide in at Ferryden.”

At supper every one was eager to have a seat near Mrs. Ramsay Speldin. She had a universal acquaintance, and she even knew Mr. Sandford’s mother, when he told her that her name was Catherine Douglas. Mr. Sandford had in his own mind composed a letter to Sir Walter Scott, which was to have been written and despatched on the morrow, giving an account of this fine specimen of the true Scottish character whom he had met in the county of Angus.

We meant to carry on the deception next morning, but the laird was too happy for concealment. Before the door closed on the good-night of the ladies, he had disclosed the secret, and before we reached the top of the stairs, the gentlemen were scampering at our heels like a pack of hounds in full cry.

Here are at random some extracts from the others:–

Mr. Jeffrey now inquired what the people in her part of the country thought of the trial of the Queen. She could not tell him, but she would say what she herself had remarked on siclike proceedings: “Tak’ a wreath of snaw, let it be never so white, and wash it through clean water, it will no come out so pure as it gaed in, far less the dirty dubs the poor Queen has been drawn through.”

Mr. Russell inquired if she possessed any relics of Prince Charles from the time he used to spin with the lasses:–

“Yes,” she said, “I have a flech that loupit aff him upon my aunty, the Lady Brax, when she was helping him on wi’ his short-gown; my aunty rowed it up in a sheet of white paper, and she keepit it in the tea canister, and she ca’d it aye the King’s Flech; and the laird, honest man, when he wanted a cup of gude tea, sought aye a cup of the Prince’s mixture.” This produced peals of laughter, and her ladyship laughed as heartily as any of them. When somewhat composed again, she looked across the table to Mr. Clerk, and offered to let him see it. “It is now set on the pivot of my watch, and a’ the warks gae round the flech in place of turning on a diamond.”

Lord Gillies thought this flight would certainly betray her, and remarked to Mr. Clerk that the flea must be painted on the watch, but Mr. Clerk said he had known of relics being kept of the Prince quite as extraordinary as a flea; that Mr. Murray of Simprim had a pocket-handkerchief in which Prince Charles had blown his nose.

The Lady Pitlyal said her daughter did not value these things, and that she was resolved to leave it as a legacy to the Antiquarian Society.

Holmehead was rather amused with her originality, though he had not forgotten the attack. He said he would try if she was a real Jacobite, and he called out, “Madam, I am going to propose a toast for ye!