Encounters - A book by Cecilia Peartree(14)
Author:Cecilia Peartree

    'Theysupplied moonshine for a number of years, bringing it ashoresomewhere near this very spot,' the landlord explained. 'Even afterthe illicit still just along the coast at Preston Island was raidedby excisemen, here at Pitkirtly the liquor industry was still goingstrong.'

    He paused,and they all took sips, or in some cases gulps, of their drinks.

    'It wasn'tuntil Victorian times,' he continued, 'when some idiot of abusinessman wondered if the Valleyfield coal seam extended in thisdirection and started poking about where he shouldn't, that the stillwas discovered. The excise made a raid on the island more or lessright away. Rumour had it that the moonshiners threw all their waresinto the Forth.'

    'Ah,' saidChristopher.

    'Aha!'said Jock.

    'Brilliant!'said Amaryllis. 'Have you found it yet?'

    Thelandlord smiled, looking, in Christopher's opinion, more like thevillain in a silent movie than ever. 'What do you think?' he saidwith an enormous wink.

    Amaryllisregarded their drinks with some suspicion. 'You haven't been spikingthe Old Pictish Brew with it, have you?'

    'Why doyou think that stuff's got such a deadly kick?' parried the landlord,who was drinking whisky himself. He paused, then laughed. 'Of courseI haven't! That would be extremely illegal. I don't want to lose mylicence. But I have kept a flagon of it for selected customers.'

    'Selectedfor extinction?' said Jock.

    Christopherwas staring gloomily into his pint of Old Pictish Brew. He wasn'tsure if he would ever feel like drinking it again. He gave a deepsigh and lifted the glass. He might as well enjoy this last pint.

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