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by [?]

“May the Scotch Thistle choke the Hanoverian Horse.”

“I wish I binna among the Whigs,” she said.

“And whare wad ye be sae weel?” retorted he.

“They murdered Dundee’s son at Glasgow.”

“There was nae great skaith,” he replied; “but ye maun drink my toast in a glass of this cauld punch, if ye be a true Jacobite.”

“Aweel, aweel,” said the Lady Pitlyal; “as my auld friend Lady Christian Bruce was wont to say, ‘The best way to get the better of temptation is just to yield to it;'” and as she nodded to the toast and emptied the glass, Holmehead swore exultingly–“Faith, she’s true!”

Supper passed over, and the carriages were announced. The Lady Pitlyal took her leave with Mrs. Gillies.

Next day the town rang with the heiress of Pitlyal. Mr. W. Clerk said he had never met with such an extraordinary old lady, “for not only is she amusing herself, but my brother John is like to expire, when I relate her stories at second-hand.”

He talked of nothing else for a week after, but the heiress, and the flea, and the rent-roll, and the old turreted house of Pitlyal, till at last his friends thought it would be right to undeceive him; but that was not so easily done, for when the Lord Chief-Commissioner Adam hinted that it might be Miss Stirling, he said that was impossible, for Miss Stirling was sitting by the old lady the whole of the evening.

Here is a bit of Sir Walter–

Turning to Sir Walter, “I am sure you had our laird in your e’e when you drew the character of Monkbarns.”

“No,” replied Sir Walter, “but I had in my eye a very old and respected friend of my own, and one with whom, I daresay you, Mrs. Arbuthnott, were acquainted–the late Mr. George Constable of Wallace, near Dundee.”

“I kenned him weel,” said Mrs. Arbuthnott, “and his twa sisters that lived wi’ him, Jean and Christian, and I’ve been in the blue-chamber of his Hospitium; but I think,” she continued, “our laird is the likest to Monkbarns o’ the twa. He’s at the Antiquarian Society the night, presenting a great curiosity that was found in a quarry of mica slate in the hill at the back of Balwylie. He’s sair taken up about it, and puzzled to think what substance it may be; but James Dalgetty, wha’s never at a loss either for the name or the nature of onything under the sun, says it’s just Noah’s auld wig that blew aff yon time he put his head out of the window of the ark to look after his corbie messenger.”

James Dalgetty and his opinion gave subject of much merriment to the company, but Doctor Coventry thought there was nothing so very ludicrous in the remark, for in that kind of slate there are frequently substances found resembling hairs.

Lord Gillies presented Doctor Coventry to Mrs. Arbuthnott, as the well-known professor of agriculture, and they entered on a conversation respecting soils. She described those of Balwylie, and the particular properties of the Surroch Park, which James Dalgetty curses every time it’s spoken about, and says, “it greets a’ winter, and girns a’ simmer.”

The doctor rubbed his hands with delight, and said that was the most perfect description of cold wet land he had ever heard of; and Sir Walter expressed a wish to cultivate the acquaintance of James Dalgetty, and extorted a promise from Mrs. Arbuthnott that she would visit Abbotsford, and bring James with her. “I have a James Dalgetty of my own,” continued Sir Walter, “that governs me just as yours does you.”

Lady Ann and Mr. Wharton Duff and their daughter were announced, and introduced to Mrs. Arbuthnott.

At ten, Sir Walter and Miss Scott took leave, with a promise that they should visit each other, and bending down to the ear of Mrs. Arbuthnott, Sir Walter addressed her in these words: “Awa! awa! the deil’s ower grit wi’ you.”

* * * * *

And now are we not all the better for this pleasantry? so womanly, so genial, so rich, and so without a sting,–such a true diversion, with none of the sin of effort or of mere cleverness; and how it takes us into the midst of the strong-brained and strong-hearted men and women of that time! what an atmosphere of sense and good-breeding and kindliness! And then the Scotch! cropping out everywhere as blithe, and expressive, and unexpected as a gowan or sweet-briar rose, with an occasional thistle, sturdy, erect, and bristling with Nemo me. Besides the deeper and general interest of these Mystifications, in their giving, as far as I know, a unique specimen of true personation–distinct from acting–I think it a national good to let our youngsters read, and, as it were, hear the language which our gentry and judges and men of letters spoke not long ago, and into which such books as Dean Ramsay’s and this are breathing the breath of its old life. Was there ever anything better or so good, said of a stiff clay, than that it “girns (grins) a’ simmer, and greets (weeps) a’ winter?”