| in and over them, and, whether it was midday or midnight,
the indwellers were compelled to get up and run for their
There are some yet to the fore who were wont to occupy these
buildings, as children, with their parents; and though they
now recount these things with laughter, they say there was
nothing but wailing in their mouths when they had to get up
out of bed at midnights, and hurry through the water, knee
deep, with their body clothes beneath one arm and the bed
clothes beneath the other, and had nowhere but at the dyke-side
to find shelter till the waters abated.
The modern Cuthill is a very different place from the ancient
of that name. There are great stretches now of very respectable
new buildings, erected at the expense of the late Prestongrange
Coal Company, for the benefit of their miners and numerous
other workmen; and since the Summerlee Coal and Iron Company
took the works in hand, row upon row of dwelling-houses sprang
up as if called into existence by the hand of the magician,
and more are soon to follow. It is indeed already a very large
village. The houses at the present time are well filled with
a highly respectable class of workmen. In 1889 a Friendly
Benefit Society for the district was instituted here, and
the members have their annual turnout in procession, accompanied
with band and bannerets. It is in a highly flourishing condition.
There are about one hundred members on the roll, and funds
on hand amount to about £200. The following are the
office-bearers: —President, T. M'Kinlay; Secretary, W. Scott;
Treasurer, J. Arnot; Members of Committee, G. Robertson, James
Inglis, and G. M'Kenzie, M. C. and officer.
LUCKY VINT'S TAVERN.
This tavern flourished in Cuthill during the greater part
of the 18th century, Lucky Vint, proprietor; and here, says
Carlyle, in his autobiography, Lords Grange and Drummore had
some rare ongoings. Among other items, he mentions he was
at dinner one day with these two noble lords, when Lord Grange
requested him to hand over a whiting (fish). He told his lordship
there was nothing but haddocks on the table. At this his lordship
swore very much, saying everybody knew he could eat no sort
of fish but whitings. Lucky Vint gave him a wink across the
table; when he apologised for his mistake and corrected himself,
saying there were nothing but whitings on the table, and served
his lordship with a fish of that sort, which he seemed to
enjoy heartily, and good humour prevailed. " Lucky Vint,
" says Carlyle, " told him afterwards that he was
quite correct, there were nothing but haddocks on the table,
but knowing Lord Grange would not eat that sort of fish if
he knew of it, she had scraped the apostle's finger mark off
to make them appear whitings. "
Lucky Vint's tavern stood about twenty yards to the east of
Bankfoot, on the north side of the road: the foundation stones
of the house may still be seen at low tide. There were eleven
public houses at one time during the 18th century in the village
of Cuthill. Morison's Haven was still then a great shipping
TRICKING THE MINISTER.
There was no church at Cuthill, and no minister stationed
there; but once upon a time when the minister of Prestonpans
was sauntering along this way, a sailor lad came up to him
requesting a copper. The minister was in a happy mood and
tendered the sailor a farthing, assuring him that if everybody
he met gave him as much he would be richer than the minister
at the end of the year. The sailor was profuse in his thanks,
and said he would never forget him. Some twelvemonths afterwards
the minister received a very bulky letter from Portsmouth.
It was not the days of cheap postage, and he had seven-and-sixpence
to pay before he dared open his letter. It was from the sailor
thanking him; but the humour had changed sides. He told how
he had succeeded since seeing him, gave a full description
of his ship, mates, etc. The minister got quite furious over
it, rushed to the Post-Office demanding his seven-and-sixpence
back, but he found he had been sold for a farthing.
THE WHALE INN.
This was another well known and much frequented tavern during
last century in Cuthill. "Thomson the whale fisher"
was proprietor, and his signboard displayed one of these mighty
monsters of the deep. Davidson the eminent divine is said
to have been a famous player on the pipes in his day, and
that one night during his incumbency he played his pipes through
the town, even on to the "Whale, " whither the rabble
followed him. Tis said he gave them beer to drink, then, addressing.