In approaching "The Historical Nights' Entertainment" I set myself the task of reconstructing, in the fullest possible detail and with all the colour available from surviving records, a group of more or less famous events. I would select for my purpose those which were in themselves bizarre and resulting from the interplay of human passions, and whilst relating each of these events in the form of a story, I would compel that story scrupulously to follow the actual, recorded facts without owing anything to fiction, and I would draw upon my imagination, if at all, merely as one might employ colour to fill in the outlines which history leaves grey, taking care that my colour should be as true to nature as possible. For dialogue I would depend upon such scraps of actual speech as were chronicled in each case, amplifying it by translating into terms of speech the paraphrases of contemporary chroniclers.
the murder was not lacking.
My narrative in "The Night of Hate" is admittedly a purely theoretical account of the crime. But it is closely based upon all the known facts of incidence and of character; and if there is nothing in the surviving records that will absolutely support it, neither is there anything that can absolutely refute it.
In "The Night of Masquerade" I am guilty of quite arbitrarily discovering a reason to explain the mystery of Baron Bjelke's sudden change from the devoted friend and servant of Gustavus III of Sweden into his most bitter enemy. That speculation is quite indefensible, although affording a possible explanation of that mystery. In the case of "The Night of Kirk o' Field," on the other hand, I do not think any apology is necessary for my reconstruction of the precise manner in which Darnley met his death. The event has long been looked upon as one of the mysteries of history - the mystery lying in the fact that whilst the house at Kirk o' Field was destroyed by an e