The History of Leith

January 12, 2012

A Strange Wedding

During the absence of James Viscount Primrose, of Castlefield, there came to Edinburgh a certain foreign conjurer, who, among other occult powers, professed to be able to inform those present
of the movements of the absent, however far they might be apart; and the young viscountess was prompted by curiosity to go with a lady friend to the abode of the wise man in the Canongate, wearing
over their heads, by way of disguise, the-tartan plaid then worn by women of the lower classes.
After describing the individual in whose movements she was interested, and expressing a desire to know what he was then about, the conjurer led her before a large mirror, in which a number of
colours and forms rapidly assumed the appearance of a church with a marriage party before the altar; and in the shadowy bridegroom she instantly recognised her absent husband ! She gazed upon
the delineation as if turned to stone, while the ceremonial of the marriage seemed to proceed, and the clergyman to be on the point of bidding the bride and bridegroom join hands, when suddenly a
gentleman in whose face she recognised a brother of her own, came forward, and paused. His face assumed an expression of wrath ; drawing his sword he rushed upon the bridegroom, who also drew to
defend himself; the whole phantasmagoria then became tumultuous and indistinct, and faded completely away. When the viscountess reached home she wrote a minute narrative of the event, noting
the day and hour. This narrative she sealed up in presence of a witness and deposited it in a cabinet. Soon after this her brother returned from his travels abroad—which brother we are not told, and she had three : Hugh the Master of Loudon, Colonel John Campbell of 5hankeston, and James, who was Colonel of the Scots Greys, and was killed at Fontenoy. She asked him if he heard aught of
the viscount in his wanderings. He answered, furiously, ” I wish I may never again hear the name of that detestable “personage mentioned!”
On being questioned he confessed to ” having met his lordship under very strange circumstances.” While spending some time at Rotterdam he made the acquaintance of a wealthy merchant who had a very beautiful daughter, an only child, who, he informed him, was on the eve of her marriage with a Scottish gentleman, and he was invited to the wedding as a countryman of the bridegroom. He went accordingly, and though a little too late for the commencement of the ceremony, was yet in time to save an innocent girl from becoming the victim of his own brother-in-law, Viscount Primrose !
Though the deserted wife had proved her willingness to believe in the magic mirror, by having committed to writing what she had seen, yet she was so astonished by her brother’s tidings, that she
nearly fainted; but something more was to be learned still. She asked her brother on what day the circumstance took place, and having been informed, she gave him her key, and desired him to bring to her the sealed paper. On its being opened, it was then found, that at the very moment when she had seen the roughly-interrupted nuptial ceremony it had actually been in progress.

source-old and New Edinburgh

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