THE CELTIC MONTHLY.
KINTYRE SMUGGLING STORIES.*
By the late Cuthbekt Bede.
|fe|A NATIVE of Cantire, whose remiiiisoences
^Qaj of smuggling dated back to the close
.^S£ of the past century, told me, in the
HOW THE CDSTOM-HOUSE OFFICER TRICKED THE
Archibald Macnab was a Custom house officer
in Cantire, in the latter part of the past century.
He had a Government commission to seize
smuggled goods, which were by no means
scanty in those days; and it was even whispered
that Archibald Macnab himself had discovered
the art of doing a stroke of business iu that way
on his own accoimt ; or at any rate, of appro-
priating a portion of the seizure to his own
private use. However, he was gifted with wit
and surpassing ingenuity, which made his
success the more sure and certain. In his
personal appearance he was peculiar ; for, he
was considerably under the ordinary stature of
man, and was exceedingly broad and round.
He wore luiee-breeches, with white stockings to
his legs which were stout and shapely, and an
ornament on any street path. He was also
possessed of great strength, and has been known
to half kill a man with the grasp of bis fingers
about his neck. It was of no use to go to law
with Archibald, for he was his own lawyer, and
he was so cunning that he could always gain
At this time Mr. Cameron was an excise
officer in the town, and was very keen to
apprehend smuggled goods. It was whispered
to him, one day, that Ai'chibald Macnab had
some rolls of smuggled tobacco in his house ;
so Mr. Cameron went there to search for it.
Archibald was a master of politeness, and he
addressed his visitor in mild and friendly
language. "How are ye, this day, Mr. Cameron?
Is your wife pretty well, Mr. Cameron ? Are
your bairns pretty well, Mr. Cameron i And
is it well with all j-our kith and kiu, Mr.
Cameron ? And it's kind of ye to be calling
upon me, Mr. Cameron. Maybe, you've some
particular business with me this day, Mr.
Cameron 1 If so, I shall be glad to hear it of
ye, Mr. Cameron: so, perhaps, you'll be pleased
to take a seat, Mr. Cameron." He was always
polite, was Archibald Macnab.
Mr. Cameron took a seat, and said, " It is
on business that I have come to you to day, Mr.
Macnab: and rather important business, too.
The fact is, that I have received information
that you have a large quantity of smuggled
tobacco concealed in your loft ; and I must
search it, in order to prevent a fraud on the
Archibald Macnab lifted up his hands and
eyes in amazement. " Oh, Mr. Cameron 1 is it
against me that you have suspicions I Me !
Archibald Macnab ! a man bound in duty to
protect the revenues of my country ! Ob,
preserve me ! Surely, Mr Cameron, you have
been sent on a fool's errand. How could
tobacco be in my loft, and me not know it ?
Preserve me ! "
" However unpleasant my duty must be, Mr
Macnab, both to you and to myself," said Mr
Cameron, " still, it is my duty ; and I must
obey it. I must, therefore, persist in my
determination to search your loft ; and I hope
that you will not throw any unnecessary
obstacles in my way. I must request you to
furnish me with a ladder and a light. "
" You shall have as many as you wish for,
Mr. Cameron. But no tobacco will you find.
It's a fool's errand that j'ou'i-e come upon," said
But Mr. Cameron mounted the ladder, and
had no sooner set foot iu the loft, than he kicked
against a roll of tobacco ; and. holding out the
light, he saw a pile of tbese rolls.
"Ho, ho ! Mr. Macnab ! " he joyfully cried :
" where is my fool's errand now ? My informa-
tion was correct : the tobacco is here ! "
" Preserve me ! " said Archibald. " It's a
trick that some one has played upon me, Mr.
Cameron. Are you sure it's tobacco, Mr.
Cameron ? Is there much of it, Mr. Cameron ?
Oh, is it not a sinful world, Mr Cameron ;■ In
my loft, too, Mr. Cameron? and me bound to
protect the revenues of my country. Oh, what
shall I do, Mr. Cameron ! "
" For the present, you can take charge of
these rolls as I throw them down ; " said Mr.
Cameron. And he began to pitch them down
from the loft, counting one, two, thi-ee, as he
did so. He counted up to thirty, and then said
that was all ; and, getting on the ladder, came f
down from the loft. When he had landed
safely on the floor, there was Archibald Macnab
standing there, and at his feet was a small ,
half-rotten roll of tobacco. |
" Why, where is my tobacco ? " cried Mr. f
" Your tobacco, M r. Cameron '? " replied
Archibald, quite poUtely ; " your tobacco is
* Note. — The above story is reproduced from the
MS. of an original work on Kintyre, entitled, An/i/ll's
Hiijhlands. or the Land of Lnrne" by the late Cutlilnit
Bede, author of Glenavr/gan, or a IliijUantl JJuiiu ,«
Ganli/ri," etc., which ha.s never been published, and
from whicli we intend quoting frequently in our pages.