The anecdote is well known of the celebrated Dr. Busby keeping on his hat when visited by King Charles II., and apologizing for his apparent want of respect, by saying, that he should never be able to keep his scholars in subjection, if they thought that there was a greater man in the world than himself. The same feeling seems to have actuated the Gaelic chiefs, who were excessively proud of their rank and prerogatives. When the first Marquess of Huntly, then the chief of the clan Gordon, was presented at the court of James VI., he did not so much as incline his head before his sovereign. Being asked why he failed in this point of etiquette? he replied, that he had no intention whatever of showing any disrespect to his king, but that he came from a country where all the world were accustomed to bow down before him. A similar instance occurred with the head of another family. When George II. offered a patent of nobility to the chief of the Grants, the proud Celt refused it, saying, "Wha would then be Laird of Grant?"
James I. in his progress into England, was entertained at Lumley Castle, the seat of the Earl of Scarborough. A relation of the noble earl was very proud in showing and explaining to his majesty an immense genealogical chart of the family, the pedigree of which he carried back rather farther than the greatest strength of credulity would allow. "I gude faith, man," says the king, "it may be they are very true, but I did na ken before that Adam's name was Lumley."
An anecdote is told of a gentleman in Monmouthshire, which exhibits the pride of ancestry in a curious point of view. His house was in such a state of dilapidation that the proprietor was in danger of perishing under the ruins of the ancient mansion, which he venerated even in decay. A stranger, whom he accidentally met at the foot of the Skyrrid, made various enquiries respecting the country, the prospects, and the neighbouring houses, and, among others, asked—"Whose is this antique mansion before us?" "That, sir, is Werndee, a very ancient house; for out of it came the Earls of Pembroke of the first line, and the Earls of Pembroke of the second line; the Lord Herberts of Cherbury, the Herberts of Coldbrook, Ramsay, Cardiff, and York; the Morgans of Acton; the Earl of Hunsdon; the houses of Ircowm and Lanarth, and all the Powells. Out of this house also, by the female line, came the Duke of Beaufort." "And pray, sir, who lives there now?" "I do, sir." "Then pardon me, and accept a piece of advice; come out of it yourself, or you'll soon be buried in the ruins of it."
A curious anecdote is related respecting a contest for precedence, between the rival Welch Houses of Perthir and Werndee, which, though less bloody, was not less obstinate than that between the Houses of York and Lancaster. Mr. Proger, of Werndee, dining with a friend at Monmouth, proposed riding home in the evening; but his friend objecting because it was late and likely to rain, Mr. Proger replied, "With regard to the lateness of the hour, we shall have moonlight; and should it happen to rain, Perthir is not far from the road, and my cousin Powell will, I am sure, give us a night's lodging." They accordingly mounted their horses; but being soon overtaken by a violent shower, rode to Perthir, and found all the family retired to rest. Mr. Proger, however, calling to his cousin, Mr. Powell opened the window, and looking out, asked, "In the name of wonder, what means all this noise? Who is there?" "It is only I, your cousin Proger of Werndee, who am come to your hospitable door for shelter from the inclemency of the weather, and hope you will be so kind as to give my friend and me a lodging." "What! Is it you, cousin Proger? You and your friend shall be instantly admitted, but upon one condition, that you will allow, and never hereafter dispute, that I am the head of the family." "What did you say?" returned Mr. Proger. "Why, I say, if you expect to pass the night in my house, you must allow that I am the head of the family." "No, sir, I never will admit that; were it to rain swords and daggers, I would ride this night to Werndee, rather than lower the consequence of my family. Come up, Bold, come up." "Stop a moment, cousin Proger; have you not often confessed that the first Earl of Pembroke (of the name of Herbert) was the youngest son of Perthir; and will you set yourself above the Earls of Pembroke?" "True, I must give place to the Earl of Pembroke, because he is a peer of the realm; but still, though a peer, he is of the youngest branch of my family, being descended from the fourth son of Werndee, who was your ancestor, and settled at Perthir; whereas I am descended from the eldest son. Indeed, my cousin Jones of Lanarth is of an older branch than you, and yet he never disputes that I am the head of the family." "Why, cousin Proger, I have nothing more to say; so, good night to you." "Stop a moment, Mr. Powell," said the stranger, "you see how it pours; do admit me at least; I will not dispute with you about our families." "Pray, sir, what is your name, and where do you come from?" "My name is * * *, and I come from the county of * * *." "A Saxon of course; it would be very curious indeed, sir, should I dispute with a Saxon about families; no, sir, you must suffer for the obstinacy of your friend, and so a pleasant ride to you both."