"I'm just daft when I get to the cartes," he answered in his brogue, and we fell to piquet. Now my Scot wore a very fine coat, and on the same very large smooth silver buttons, well burnished. Therefore, perceiving such an advantage as a skilled player may enjoy, I let him win a little to whet his appetite, but presently used his buttons as a mirror, wherein I readily detected the strength of the cards he held. Before attempting this artifice, I had solemnly turned my chair round thrice.
"You have changed the luck, sir," says Mr. Breck, or Stuart, presently; and, rising with a mighty grave air, he turned his coat and put it on inside out.
"Sir," says I, "what am I to understand by this conduct?"
"What for should not I turn my coat, for luck, if you turn your chair?" says he. "But if you are not preceesely satisfied, I will be proud to step outside with you."
I answered that we were not in a Highland wilderness, and that if no malice were meant no affront was taken. We continued at the game till, though deprived of my mirror, I had won some 500 Fredericks. On this he rose, saying, "Sir, in this purse you will find the exact sum that I am owing you, and I will call for my empty sporran the morn. It was Rob Roy's before it was mine." Therewith he laid on the table a sort of goatskin pouch, such as Highlanders gird about their loins, and marched forth.
I set to work at opening his pouch, that was fastened by a spring and button, seeming easy enough of access. But I had scarce pressed the button when lo! a flash, a pistol shot, and my right hand is grazed with a bullet that flew out of the bag. This Highlander of the Devil had some mechanism in his purse that discharged a small steel pistol when unwarily opened. My hand is but slightly wounded, yet I cannot hold my sword, nor hath my search brought me any news of Alan Breck. He has vanished like an emissary of the Devil or the Pretender, as I doubt not he is. But I will have his blood, if he is not one of their Scotch fairies.-- Your loving Nephew,
P.S.--The Fredericks were in the bag, all told.
LETTER: From Mrs. Gamp to Mrs. Prig.