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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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the "original Incorporation, " claimed all the privileges held by the ancient Chapmen, and fixed the second Tuesday of July for their annual " Fair day. "
The new Incorporation continued to flourish; and about the middle of last century, when such circulars as the one heading this chapter were being issued, the society was great, both in wealth and prosperity, the late Duncan M'Laren, one of the M. P. 's for the city of Edinburgh, being at that period one of its most active members, and year after year, as sure as the second Tuesday of July came round, as sure was he, and some sixty or eighty brethren, to journey by rail to the old Cross at Preston.

Mr Hume, proprietor of Preston Lodge, was appointed custodian of the Cross, etc. He was a most enthusiastic member of the society, and not only did he see to having everything in order for the annual gathering, but in order to give the brethren a hearty welcome he had a round tower constructed in his garden. On this tower he mounted seven small pieces of artillery, and as soon as the train dashed into the station their welcome was belched forth from the cannon's mouth. Not only did Mr Hume construct a small fortalice in his garden, but he purchased a pair of beautiful lions to guard it. They were very tame animals, and were never known to growl but when they heard the cannons firing. That pair of lions escaped one night, and they may now be observed standing peacefully watching on the eastern dyke at Morton Cottage, east of Port Seton, where they never wink an eye till they hear the auld kirk bell at Cockeny ringin'. But to our tale.
The Chapmen, on getting outside the station, linked arm in arm in pairs, and followed the directions of John Smith. John was very squint-eyed. He was said to hold some place of trust in Parliament Square, Edinburgh, and had become well known at Preston through his connection with the Chapmen. Arrayed in a high cocked hat, fancy-coloured coat and vest, tight-fitting knee breeches, and with sword in hand, he marched proudly at the head of the procession. After parading the village, on coming to the Cross, John raised his sword, and the processionists going beneath passed up the little stair leading to the platform, which was fitted with table and seats for the occasion.
The book containing the names of the members, etc., was laid on the table alongside the sword, and the secretary, proclaiming the meeting open, announced flourishing reports of the Incorporation's possessions in India, Ceylon, China, Australia, etc., causing no end of laughter, because the Association had no possessions at all.
The election of office-bearers then proceeded. First, the "Lord of the Chapmen, " who was invested with the "chain of office"—the "brilliant" which casts the Koh-i-noor into the shade, and suspended from which hangs the " sacred tuft, " or " mysterious cow-tail, " whose curative properties surpassed in virtue all the fabled stories of the " royal touch. " His head was then decked with the diadem, each pearl a king's
Besides " My Lord, " there fell to be elected a Depute and six Bailies, to each of whom was assigned a district, and sundry Councillors. Their duty was to attend fairs where Chapmen erected booths, and see that their bye-laws and rules were duly observed during the fair. Each one gave the bailie a pledge, and appeared before him at night, when the conduct of all was examined, and defaulters fined or expelled, according to circumstances. The fines went to a fund to support decayed brethren. The late Rev. Dr Struthers was annually elected Chaplain to the Association.
After the election the Society marched round the Cross, concluding that part of the business by discussing sundry bottles of wine, when the "Chapmen's Loup" began in real earnest in the form of sports; for by this time, as a rule, a great crowd had gathered in the market-place.
The following notice of the sports we quote from one who was there: —"'My Lord' adjourned the Court till after the races, and accordingly the brethren proceeded to the race ground, accompanied and followed by the entire villagers. Not having seen the races advertised, and as the officer stood hat in hand to receive the offerings of the brethren, from the aggregate of which the various 'plates, ' 'stakes, ' and 'handicaps' were to be paid, and having observed no grooms exercising ' thoro-breds' in the neighbourhood, we felt curious to be forward, both for the sake of the spectacle, and to be beyond reach of danger should any of the horses bolt or become unmanageable. We were greatly relieved on beholding one of the brethren patting three white-headed rogues on the head, and laying down to them the rules of the course, which, we doubt not, were the latest imported from Newmarket.
" The first race ended, and the winner having pocketed
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