Well, dearies, the Professor nearly had one of his Little Moments. There was a Scottish paintings sale in Edinburgh, which was catalogued, it would seem, by someone particularly clueless. Men’s portraits go much lower than women’s (which is how come we ended up with The Ancestor), and ugly men are something of a drug on the market. So this pic came up of a middle aged geezer with bags under his eyes and a chin like the bottom half of a coffin, and was put up at £800. On the other hand, the Order of the Thistle and the Garter star might have acted as tiny, subtle, clues. Yep. James VIII. So the interesting question was, was Edinburgh’s entire population of gay lawyers, well-heeled romantic Jacobites and so forth asleep, feeling poor, or Gone Abroad? The answer turned out, alas, to be no. The Professor’s were not the only pair of sharp eyes in the business, and the thing went well over what we could afford. Never mind: if we’d got the picture for an outrageously small sum it would have been highly entertaining, but not otherwise. Meanwhile, I can see one junior cataloguer who is going to be expending his or her genius on office tea and clerking for quite some time. Partly as a result of all this excitement, various encounters with the world of picture dealers has put something else the Professor’s way; another pic by a member of the Aberdeen dynasty of painters, Jacobites and generally, personae non gratae. It is the portrait of an Adventuress who, if I have the story straight, contrived to hang onto quite a lot of her protector’s wordly assets despite not having been married to him, which wasn’t easy to do in the eighteenth century. She then had the bad taste to have a Triumph Portrait painted when the lawsuit was decided in her favour, and this is it. But life is not always quite as beautiful as fiction, the lady had run somewhat to fat since her adventuressing days, and oyster satin was fashionable, so the result is a bit like a portrait of a double bed, slightly used (though she does have a black pug dog tucked under her left oxter). If the Professor can beat the bloke down to something reasonable, he is somewhat tempted. And of course we could then tell our younger visitors that if they could only hit on the right password, she would open the way to the Gryffindor common room, which might provide hours of harmless entertainment.