But the weight to be attached to this confession was soon made apparent by what followed; for Fian, who had been recommitted to prison, and who had appeared for a day or two to be "very solitarye" and penitent, contrived in the course of the next night to make his escape, and on his re-apprehension and second examination thought fit, to the great discomposure of James, to deny the whole of the charges which he had previously admitted. " Whereupon the King's majestie, perceiving his stubborn wilfulnesse," prescribed the following remedy for his relapse. " His nayles upon his fingers were riven and pulled with an instrument called in Scottish a Turkas*. And under every naile there was thrust in two needles over even up to the heads. At all which torments, notwithstanding, the doctor never shrunke anie whitt, neither would he then confess it the sooner for all the tortures inflicted upon him. Then was he with all convenient speed by commandment conveyed again to the torment of the boots, where he continued a long time, and abode so many blows in them that his legs were crushed and beaten together as small as might be, and the bones and flesh so bruised, that the blood and marrow spouted forth in great abundance, whereby they were made unserviceable for ever".

The doctor, it will be seen, did not long require their services : but whether his confession was obtained by fair means or foul, it certainly bears so startling a resemblance to that of the leading witch, Agnes Sampson, a woman whom Spottis-wood describes as " matron-like, grave and settled in her answers," that it is hardly to be wondered at that the superstitious mind of James should have been confounded by the coincidence. Nothing, in fact, can exceed the general harmony of the accounts given by the different witches of their proceedings, except the ludicrous and yet horrible character of the incidents which they record, and which might well extort, even from James himself, the observation he appears to have made in the commencement of the proceedings, that they were all " extreme lyars".

* Old French, Turquois, a smith's pincers, from torquere.