True to the appointment made in Badenoch, our friends assembled in Nelly’s at the hour appointed. The day was warm and sultry, and all were pretty much heated and exhausted, so that as Jock held that the safest and most refreshing thing we could have was a little whisky and water, a half-mutchkin of the hostess’ best was called forthwith. Jock was pay-master for the night, and in happy ignorance of the new impost upon spirits, he laid down his shilling as usual, but to his astonishment, the waiter demanded other twopence.

Na, na, lassie, he said, we’re nae drunk enough yet for that. Ye may be may get a penny mair the gill for’t afore we rise oot o’ this, but it’ll onle be fin we dinna ken fat we’re deein’.

But John the whisky’s up noo, said the waiter, there is a new duty on t.

Fuskie up, ye huzzie! fat way can that be, fin brandy, and gin, and wine, are a’ comin’ doon; and that would be it indeed, to tak a duty aff foreign made trash, and pit it on upon oor ain honest and incomparable mountain dew! Lassie, I’m thinkin’ ye’re bit a beginner at the trade o’ imposition, for ye hinna jist chosen a gueed sub­ject to start wi’.

But John the whisky is up 2s 2d a gallon, and we canna sell it at the sixpence noo. It is charged sevenpence noo everywhere. Jock’s temper at this began to rise, and had not the Provost interfered and confirmed the statement made bythe waiter, it is more than likely that she would have got a very unceremonious ejectment, but when he was at last convinced of the new impost his resentment know no bounds, in throwing opprobrium on the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The silly sumph that he is, fat will he be at next. I’m thinkin’ he’ll propose to raise the naytional revenue aff the beggars by and by, an’ nae doot he’ll get a heap o’ praise for the boldness an’ ingenuity o’ the schaim, that taks a’ the burdens aff o’ them that’s maist able and maist entitled to bear them. He got a great lot o’ credit for his takin’ aff the duty affin wine and brandy, an’ sick like, an’ nae wooner, for its naething bit the bits o’ gentry boddies that drinks them, an’ onything that tak’s the duties aff o’ them an pits it on upo’ purer but mair patriotic folks, wha abominate the waursh trash o’ aye sure to be cried up as a’ naytional boon, or some gran’ thing or another that I hinna words for. But this surely is the heichest pitch o’ absurdity he’s won at yet, twa an’ tipence upo’ the gallon o’ fuskie! It’s eneugh Provost to reet oot patriotism oot o’ ilka Scottish breast, an’ pit’s a’ by and by that we’ll ken as little aboot the taste o’ Heelin’ fuskie as the feel paddock-eatin’ vratches o’ Frenchmen, an’ that’s nae a’; its a great shame an’ injustice, an’ Scotchmen are great feels gin they put up wi’t, for dinna ye see that the great burden o’ the war this way will be thrown upon Scotchmen, and that tee upon mony that hae itherwise eneugh to pay wantin’t. For a’ the fuskie is made in Scotland ye see, an’ maist o’t in an’ oot o’t drunken by Scotchmen, an’ there­ fore upo’ them lies a’ the burden o’ the China war. Fat for did’na he tax the roast beef o’ the Englishmen wi’ a heavy duty, I wad like to ken? But my conscience, gin he had, fatten a collishangie! Oh, bit muckle bellyed gutsie Jock Bull wud hae made a fuss. I’ll wauger it wadna been an hour fin haill waggon fu’s o’ petitions settin’ forth the piteous cry and prayer o’ the English stamack wad hae been at Glaidstane’s door, an monster meetin’s wad hae been held, and a’ kinds o’ vengeance wad hae been vowed—in fact, the haill lan’ o’ Englishers wad hae been up in airms against it; but we silly simpletons will say naething aboot it, tho’ oor naytional beverage he made to bear a’ the burdens o’ Europe.

I think Jock, said Mr Cameron, that there will be little harm now in getting our old brewing pots to the road again, for if there was a chance of smuggling ever paying, it is now.

Quite richt, Maister Cameron. I’se hae Tibby set again’ at it as seen as I gang hame, an’ defy a’ excise­men.

By-the-by, said Mr Mack-muckle-o’-little, you’re an old smuggler Provost too; some of you might give us a his­tory of some of your exploits, for no doubt you have all had many as well as a number of hair-breadth escapes. Well, said the Provost, since there seems to be such unanimity amongst you about the necessity of smuggling, I shall tell one of my exploits in that line, connected with smuggling in Mortlach.