After the plaudits had subsided that followed the Provost’s story, it was observed that Mr Cameron was in­dulging in an inordinate fit of laughter, the cause of which was explained by his suddenly exclaiming – “Surely none of you are fools enough as to put any faith in such legend! Why, it is but a degenerated edition of Cramond Brig, or of the hundred other tales that have been framed upon that model.”

The Provost did not seem to be particularly pleased by the insinuation, but seeing Mr Mack-Muckle-o’-Little on edge to prove the authenticity of it, he contented himself by stating that the story was told him by a literary gentleman, who had either seen it in MS. or print, and who seemed to have no hesitation in giving it as truth.

Mr M. was by this time upon his stumps (sometimes taking the kind assistance of the table to enable him to maintain something like the perpendicular), and after a rather contemptuous and discourteous epithet or two had been bestowed upon unbelievers in general and Mr Cameron in particular, be proceeded to give the evidence upon which the story rested, and had it not been that the King’s sojourn was a fact of too much importance to show any levity in hearing it established—involving as it does one of the links of the chain by which we claim the title of city for Dufftown—we should not have been able to resist the temptation to laughter at the indescribable air of offended dignity and conscious import­ance he began with when he said— ” Sir, to begin at the beginning, then, I shall endeavour to show you that we have as good evidence for the entire story as for any of the best authenticated portions of history. Was there a place called Alnacreich there? or was it situated as it is now? —The night previous to the battle of Mortlach, Malcolm “ encamped on a piece of rising ground over against Alnacreich.” That rising ground was therefore called Tullochallum (Malcolm’s knowe). The same relation still exists—the knowe (Tullochallum) is over against Alnacreich—the road from Balvenie Castle answers still to the described route—Alnacreich was then the real name of the place at the time when the scene described is said to have taken place. Besides, the Provost’s memory hits been somewhat defective in giving some of the particulars, for it is said the marriage was at the ‘smith’s of Alnacreich.’ Now, you must re­member that in those days the sons of Vulcan were, if not held in higher estimation by the great, were at least accustomed to more respect and familiarity from them than now, for when dirks and claymores were the com­mon occupants of their forges and the staple of their trade, the gentry were more directly their customers than when they are employed in making the more peace­ful implements of husbandry. It is not unreasonable nor unlikely, then, but Laird Balvenie would have gone to said marriage. It is also known that what is said about the tinkers was a common practice existing then, and continued till long after and farther from the very tales of which you consider this but a degenerate edition. It is certain that the good monarch loved to don the beg­gar’s garb, and not unfrequently took and gave his share of meat and blows with them. It cannot be said, then, that there is anything impossible or even improbable in the King appearing after the manner narrated. Well, then, ‘he sat down beneath a tree on the haugh, on the Kininvie side, below the old castle.’ Now, there was a tree there that was ever known to the inhabitants as ‘the King’s tree.’ There must have been some cause fur such a name. Tradition asserts that it was called so because under it the King rested, and feasted, and thrashed the cripple. Had it not been so, it must have been for some other cause that it was so called; and if so, the cause being known, the substitution of such a one as given by the Provost must have been contradicted and exposed. It never was so, but has for ages been accepted as fact, and handed from sire to son as such. Unfortunately, the tree was cut down a good many years ago, in consequence of the prevalence of that spirit of so-called improvement that now-a-days can without com­punction cut away the best monuments of antiquity for the base passion of love of money ; and this King’s tree actually passed into the hands of a Charlestown carpen­ter for the paltry sum of fifteen shillings. Oh! if I had only had the money at the time, ten times that sum should have been given for it before it had been re­moved.”

” Tuts man,” said Jock, “ dinna yock blawin in sic a fine discourse, for I’m some douting it wad hae been gay deer timmer at that price.”

“ I tell you tho’ it had cost me a dozen of pounds it should not have boon removed ; but strong and conclu­sive as these proofs appear, our evidence is not nearly exhausted. At the request of the King, the Laird of Kininvie in return for some grants given him by the Monarch, had to “present a rose on Christmas day” and as regularly as Christmas comes round, as regularly does the rose appear upon a silver salver, on the side board at Kininvie. Every succeeding Laird follows the same practice, and for the same avowed reason, and surely un­belief itself cannot resist such a convincing proof of the reality of the visit, as witnessing the yearly tribute for the benefits conferred at that time. But why continue such a subject farther. Not only can the place he pointed out, where the King and Kininvie met with the younger Cordon, (a little above the old Castle), but the very place where they sat, and waited for Edenglassie, like Tullochallum, received its name from the circumstance (Clatterin’ Briggs), and has ever since been known by the inhabitants as named so in conse­quence. Throw aside your doubts, then, upon such a subject, and allow me to advise you never to affect to be wise where you do not know, nor seek to despise the statements and beliefs of others, simply because they do not happen to be clad in the garments your preconceived notions have bedazzled the godess of Truth with.”

“An admirable discoorse an’a capital application,” cried Jock. “ An I hope Maister Cameron will profit by it; but Maister-Mack-Muckle-o’-Little, I wunner, man, in those days o’ lay preachin that ye dinna tak the puppit or the street, for really, man, I think ye wud mack a gran’ preacher.”