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Full text of "Reminiscences of Scottish life and character"

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REMINISCENCES. 




THE KIRK COLLECTION 


From t
 water-colour dra'UJin,!f by 
HEiVRY lY. KERR, 
A.R..S.A.. R.S.W. 



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DEA.N RAl\ISA Y'S 
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RE
IINISCENCES OF 
SCOTTISH LIFE & CHARAOTER 


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WITH 


SIXTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR 


FROJ.l1 ORIGINAL TV ATER-COLOUR DR.A WINGS 
BY H. IV. [{ERR. 


CHICAGO: 
A. c. 
IcCLURG & CO. 


EDINBURGH: T. K. FOULIS. 
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C.ONTENTS. 


.:. 


LIST OF IJ.JL'CSTRATIONS . 


PAGE 
1 


PREFACE TO TWENTy-SECOXD EDITIO:Y . 


1 


CHAPTER I. 


IN'fRODUCTORY 


7 


CHAPTER II. 


SCOTTISH RELIGIOCS FEELIKGS AKD OnSERV AXCES 56 


CHAPTER III. 


O
 OLD SCOTTISH CO
VIVIALITY . 


. 


. 101 


CH

PTER I,r. 


ON THE OLD SCOTTISH DO:\IESTiC SERV.ANT . 


. 127 


CHAPTER V. 


SCOTTISH JUDGES . 


. 145 



lV 


OONT ENTS. 


CHAPTER VI. 


PAG
 


Os HUMOUR PROCEEDING FRO
1 SCOTTISH EXPHES- 
810:\"8, INCLUDI
G SCOTTISH PROYERBS . 169 


CHAPTElt VII. 
ON SCOTTISH STORIES OF 'VIT ,AND HUMOUR . 24;3 


CO:YCLUSION 351 


l
DEX 
75 



ILLUSTRATIONS 


jrout l}aintinys by 
HENRY \V. KERR, A..R.S.A., R.S.W. 


PA.GS 
THE KIRK COLLECTION . . frontúpiece 
THE PILLAR 0' THE KIRK 12 
A SCOTTISH BAPTISM 28 
THE WEA VER'S SHOP 60 
THE WEA VER . 76 
THE SHEPHERD 92 
THE GRAVEDIGGEll. 108 
THE S:xt;FFBR. 12i 
A Gum GA
GIN' PLE..\ . 156 
A LOWLAXD COTTAGE 172 
THE MUTCH . 188 
THE BONNET LAIRD 25
 
THE BEADLE . 300 
HIS DAY AT THE PLATE. 316 
THE LAIRD'S DAUGHTER. 332 
THE READER . 348 




PREFACE 


TO 


T'VENTY-SECOND EDI1:ION. 


. 


IN preparing another duodecimo edition of the" Relni- 
niscences of Scottish Life and Character," I gladly 
avail myself of the opportunity afforded me of repro- 
ducing some of the materials ,,"hich had been added 
to the octavo edition, especially that part at page 
322, etc., which advocated a modified interchange of 
pulpits between Episcopalian and Presbyterian clergy- 
men; to add also some excellent Scottish stories 
which had been sent to me by kind friends. I am 
desirous also of repeating the correction of an error 
into which ,ve had fallen in copying the account of a 
toast in the I-lighland form, 'v hich had been kindly 
contributed by the respected nlinister of 
Ioulin, in 
the octavo edition at page 70. rfo Lo,vland concep- 
tions, the whole proceeding has somewhat the appear- 
ance of a respectable company at once becoming insane; 
still it ought to be correct, and the printer had, by 
mistake, inserted a ,vord that has no existence in the 
Gaelic language. The text reads- 
" Lud ria! Lud ris! You again! you again! " 



ft 
.. 


PREFAOE. 


It should be 


Sud ris! Bud ris ! Yon again! yon again! 


that is-" yon cheer again." 
1.lle demand for a twenty-second edition of a volume 
of" Scottish Reminiscences It embracing subjects which 
are necessarily of a limited and local character-a 
demand which has taken place during the course of 
little more than fifteen years since its first publication- 
proves, I think, the correctness of the idea upon which 
it was first undertaken-viz. that it should depict a 
phase of national manners which was fast passing 
away, and thus, in however humble a department, 
contribute something to the materials of history, by 
exhibiting social customs and habits of thought which 
at a particular era ,vere characteristic of a race. It 
may perhaps be very fairly said that the Reminiscences 
came out at a time specially suitable to rescue these 
features of national life and character from oblivion. 
They had begun to fade away, and many had, to the 
present generation, become obsolete. 
To those ,vho have not given their attention to the 
subject for the elucidation of which this volume has 
been written, I would present two specimens of the 
sort of materials from ,vhich they may expect to find 
these Reminiscences are compiled. They are chosen 
to indicate a style of life and mann
rs now fast fading 
away, and are taken from a period which lies within 
the scope of our own recollections. Now, a subject 
like this can only be illustrated by a copious applica- 
tion of anecdotes which must show the features of the 



PREF.AOE. 


3 


past. And let me premise that I make use of anec- 
dotes not for the purpose of telling a good story, but 
solely in the way of illustration. I am quite certain 
that there was an originalitJT, a dry and humorous 
mode of vie,ving persons and events, quite peculiar to 
the older Scottish characters. And I am equally 
certain, that their peculiar humùur can only be exhi- 
bited in examples. From the late Mr. Erskine of 
Linlathan I received the following: - Mr. Erskine 
recollected an old housekeeper at Airth, who belonged 
to this class of character. A speech of this Mrs. 
Henderson was preserved in the family as having 
been made by her at the time of the execution of 
Louis XVI. in 1793. She was noticing the violent 
emotion exhibited by 1\ir. Bruce of Kinnaird, the 
Abyssinian traveller, at the sad event which had just 
taken place, and added, in the following quaint and 
caustic terms, "There's IGnnaird greeting as if there 
was nae a saunt on earth but himser and the king 0' 
France." How utterly unlike anything that ,vould be 
said on such an occasion by an English person in the 
same position in life! 
For the same purpose, let me introduce a charac- 
teristic little Scottish scene, ,yhich my cousin, the 
late Sir 'fhomas Burnett of Leys, used to describe with 
great humour. Sir Thomas had a tenant on his 
estate, a very shrewd clever man, ,vhom he ,vas some- 
times in the habit of consulting about country matters. 
On one occasion he came over to Crathes Castle, anù 
asked to see Sir Thomas. He ,vas accordingly ushered 
in, aceompanied by a young nlan of very simple appear. 



4 


PlfE}'AUE. 


ance, who gazed about the room in a stupid va.cant 
manner. The old man began by saying that he 
understood there ,vas a farm on the estate to be let, 
and that he kne\v 
 very fine young man whom he 
wished to recommend as tenant. He said he had 
plenty of siller, and bad studied farming on the most 
apprf'ved principles-sheep-fa.rming in the Highlands, 
cattle-farming in the Lowlands, and so forth, and, in 
short, was a model farmer. When he had finished 
his statement, Sir Thomas, looking very significantly 
at his companion, addressed the old man (as he was 
usually addressed in the county by the name of his 
farm)-" vVell, Drummy, and is this your friend \vhom 
you propose for the farm 1" to ,vhich Drummy replied, 
" Oh fie, na. Hout! that is a kind 0' a Feel, a fri
nd 
(i.e. a relation) 0' the wife's, and I just brought him 
ower \vi' me to show him the place." 
The question of change in the" life and character" 
of a people, during the period embraced in the remi- 
niscences of an aged individual, must always be a 
subject for deep and serious consideration. III the 
case of Scotland, such changes comprise much that is 
interesting and amusing. But they also contain much 
matter for serious thought and reflection to the lovers 
of their country. In preparing the present edition 
of these Reminiscences, I have marked out many fur- 
ther changes, and have marked them frem a deep 
feeling of interest in the moral and religious improve- 
ment of my country. To my readers I say that I 
hope we have all learned to view such changes under 
a more serious national aspect than a mere question 



PREFAUE. 


5 


of amusement or speculation. The Christian, when 
he looks around hinl on society, must observe many 
things \vhich, as a patriot, he wishes might be pernla- 
nent, and he marks many things ,vhich, as a patriot, 
he wishes ,vere obliterated. 'Vhat he desires should 
be enduring in his countrymen is, that abiding attri- 
butes of Scottish character should be associated 
amongst all men with truth and virtue-with honour 
and kindly feelings-with telnperance and self-denial 
-with divine faith and love-,vith generosity and 
benevolence. On the other hand, he desires that 
what may become questions of tradition, and, in regard 
to his own land, RE
IINISCENCES of Scottish life, shall 
be-cowardice and folly, deceit and fraud, the lo,v 
and selfish motives to action which make men traitors 
to their God and hateful to their fello\v-men. 
It ,vouid be worse than affectation-it would be 
ingratitude-to disclaim being deeply impressed by 
the favourable reception which has for so long a time 
been given to these Reminiscences at home, in India, 
in America, and in all countries where Scotchmen are 
to be found. 
It is not the least of the enjoyments which I have 
had in compiling these pages, to hear of the kind 
sympathy which they have called forth in other 
minds, and often in the minds of strangers; and it 
would be difficult for nle to describe the pleasure I 
have received ,vhen told by a friend that this work 
had cheered hin1 in the hour of depression or of sick- 
ness-that even for a. fe\v moments it may have be- 
guiled t,he weight of corroning care and ,vorldlyanxiety. 
H 



6 


PREFAOB. 


I have been desirous of saying a word in favour of 
old Scottish life; and with some minds, perhaps, the 
book may have promoted a more kindly feeling to- 
wards hearts and heads of bygone days. And cer- 
tainly I can now truly say, that my highest reward- 
my greatest honour and gratification-would spring 
from the feeling that it Inight become a standard 
volume in Scottish cottage libraries, and that by the 
firesides of Scotland these pages might become as 
Household Words. 


EDINBURGH, 23 AINSLIE PLA.CE. 
St. Andrew', Day.. 


· Tbc!'e words, U St. Andrew's Day," were deleted by the Dean; and 
though he livc<l till the 27th December, he did Iwt touch the proof-abe
u 
after tbe 19th November 1872. 



REMINISCEN CES 


OF 


SCOTrl'ISH LIFE AND CHARACTER. 


. 


CHAPTER THE FIRST. 


INTRODUCTORY. 


I 'VISH my readers always to bear in mind that these 
Relniniscences are meant to bear upon the changes 
".hich would include just such a revolution as that 
referred to at page 15 in the bonnet practice of 
Laurencekirk. There is no pretension to any re- 
searches of antiqua1'ian character; they are in fact 
Reminiscences ,vhich come almost within personal 
recognition. A kind friend gave me anecdotes of the 
past in her hundredth year. In early life I ,vas 
myself consigned to the care of my granduncle, Sir 
Alexander Ramsay, residing in Yorkshire, and he was 
born in 1 715; so that I can go pretty far back on my 
o\vn experience, and have thus become cogllisant of 
many changes which might be expected as a con- 
!equence of such experience. 
I cannot imagine a better il1ustration of the sort of 
change in the domestic relations of life that has 
taken place in something like the time v,"e speak of, 
than is sho\vn in the following anecdote, which was 
kindly communicated to DIe by Professor 1\IacGregor 
of the Free Church. I have pleasure in giving it in 



8 


RE]j[INISOENCES OF 


t.he Professor's own words:-" I happened one day 
to be at Panmure Castle when Lord Panmure (now 
Dalhousie) was giving a treat to a school, and was 
presented by the Monikie Free Church Deacons' 
Court with a Bible on occasion of his having cleared 
them finally of debt on their buildings. Mterwards 
his Lordship took me into the library, where, among 
other trea.sures, we found a handsome folio pfrayer 
Book presented to his ancestor Mr. Maule of Kelly by 
the Episcopalian minister of the district, on occasion 
of his having, by Mr. Maule's help, been brought out 
of jail. The coincidence and contrast were curiously 
interesting. " 
For persons to take at various intervals a retrospec- 
tive view of life, and of the characters they have met 
with, seems to be a natural feeling of human nature; 
and every one is disposed at times to recall to memory 
many circumstances and many individuals ,vhich 
suggest abundant subjects for reflection. We thus 
find recollections of scenes in which we have been 
joyous and happy. We think of others ,vith which 
we only associate thoughts of sorrow and of sadness. 
Amongst these varied emotions ,ve find subjects for 
reminiscences, of which we would bury the feelings in 
our own hearts as being too sacred for communication 
with others. Then, again, there are many things of 
the past concerning which we delight to take counsel 
with friends and contemporaries. Some persons are 
disposed to go beyond these personal communications 
\vith friends, and having through life been accustomed 
to write do\vn memoranda of their o\vn feelings, have 
published them to the world. Many interesting works 
have thus been contributed to our literature by \vriters 
,vho have sent forth volumes in the form of Memoirs 
of their Own Times, Personal Recollections, Remarks upon 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 OHARAOTER. 
 


Past Scenes, etc. etc. It is not within the scope of this 
,vork to examine these, nor can I specify the many 
cOlnmunications I have from different persons, both at 
home and in our colonial possessions; in fact, th e 
references in many cases have been lost or mislaid. 
But I must acknowledge, however briefly, my obliga- 
tions to Dr. Carruthers, Inverness, and to Dr. Cook, 
Haddington, who have favoured me with valuable 
contributions. 
Now, when ,ve come to examine the general question 
of memoirs connected ,vith contemporary history, no 
work is better known in connection ,vith this depart- 
ment of Scottish literature than the History of his Own 
Times, by my distinguished relative) Dr. Gilbert 
Burnett, Bishop of Salisbury. Bishop Burnett's father, 
Lord Crimond, was third son of my father's family, 
the Burnetts of Leys, in Kincardineshire. There is 
now at Crathes Castle, the family seat, a magnificent 
fun-length portrait of the Bishop in his robes, as 
Prelate of the Garter, by Sir Godfrey Kneller. It 
,vas presented by himself to the head of his family. 
But, as one great object of the Bishop's history was to 
laud and magnify the personal character and public 
acts of William of Orange, his friend and patron, and 
as William was held in special abhorrence by the 
Jacobite party in Scotland, the Bishop holds a 
prominent, and, with many, a very odious position in 
Scottish Reminiscences; in fact, he drew upon himself 
and upon his memory the determined hatred and 
unrelenting hostility of adherent.s to the Stuart cause. 
They never failed to abuse him on all occasions, and I 
recollect old ladies in Montrose, devoted to the exiled 
Prince, ,vith 'v horn the epithet usually applied to the 
Prelate was that of " Leein' Gibby.". 
* Lying Gilbert. 



]0 


llEMINISCEN(!1?ll OF 


Such language has happily b
come a "Reminis- 
cence." Few would be found now to apply such an 
epithet to the author of the History of his Own Tirnes, 
and certainly it would not be applied on the ground of 
the Jacobite principles to which he was opposed. 
But a curious additional proof of this hostility of 
Scottish Jacobites to the memory of Burnett has lately 
come to light. In a box of political papers lately 
found at Brechin Castle, belonging to the Panmure 
branch of the family, who, in '15, were forfeited on 
the ground of their Jacobite opinions and adherence 
to the cause of Charles Edward, there has been found 
a severe and bitter supposed epitaph for Bishop Burnett. 
By the kindness of the Earl of Dalhousie I was per- 
mitted to see this epitaph, and, if I chose, to print it 
in this edition. I am, howev9f, unwilling to stain my 
pages with such an ungenerous and, indeed, I may sa:r, 
so scurrilous a representation of the character of one 
who, in the just opinion of our Lyon King-at-Arms, 
himself a Burnett of the ICemnay branch, has charac- 
terised the Bishop of Salisbury as "true and honest, 
and far beyond the standard of his times as a Clergy- 
man and as a Bishop." But the epitaph found in 
these Panmure papers shows clearly the prejudices of 
the age in ,vhich it was written, and in fact only em- 
bodies something of that spirit and of those opinions 
which we have known as still lingering in our own 
Reminiscences. 
If it ,vere not on my part a degree of presumption, 
I might be inclined to consider myself in this volume 
a fello\v-Iabourer with the late accomplished and 
able Mr. Robert Chambers. In a very limited sphere 
it t.akes a portion of the same field of illustration. I 
ßhould consider Inyself to have done well if I shall 
direct any of my readers to his able volumes. Who. 



SOOTTISH LIFE 
 OHARAOTER. 11 


soever wishes to know what this country really was in 
times past, and to learn, ,vith a precision beyond 
what is supplied by the narratives of history, the 
details of the ordinary current of our social, civil, and 
national life, must carefully study the Domestic Annals 
of Scotland. N ever before were a nation's domestic 
features so thoroughly portrayed. Of those features 
the specimens of quaint Scottish humour still remem- 
bered are unlike anything else, but they are fast 
becoming obsolete, and my motive for this publication 
has been an endeavour to preserve marks of the past 
which would of themselves soon become obliterated, 
and to supply the rising generation with pictures of 
social life, faded and indistinct to their eyes, but the 
strong lines of which an older race still remember. 
By thus coming for\vard at a favourable moment, no 
doubt many beautiful specimens of SCOTIISH MIN- 
STRELSY have in this manner been preserved from 
oblivion by the timely exertions of Bishop Percy, 
Ritson, 'Valter Scott, and others. Lord l\Iacaulay, in 
his preface to The Lays of Ancient Rome, shows very 
powerfully the tendency in all that lingers in the 
Inemory to become obsolete, and he does not hesitate to 
say that " Sir Walter Scott ,vas but just in time to save 
the precious relics of the minstrelsy of the Border." 
It is quite evident that those ,vho have in Scotland 
come to an advanced age, must have found some 
things to have been really changed about them, and 
that on them great alterations have already taken 
place. There are some, however, which yet may be 
in a transition state; and others in ,vhich, although 
changes are threatened, still it cannot be said that 
the changes are begun. I have been Jed to a con- 
sideration of impending alterations as likely to take 
place, by thB recent appearance of two very remarkable 



12 


REJ,IINISCENCES OF 


and very interesting papprs on subjects closely con- 
nected \vith great social Scottish questions, where a 
revolution of opinion may be expected. These are two 
articles in Recess St1ldies ( 1870), a volume edited by our 
distinguished Principal, Sir Alexander Grant. One 
essay is by Sir Alexander himself, upon the " Endowed 
Hospitals of Scotland j" the other by the Rev. Dr. 
Wallace of the Greyfriars, upon" Church Tendencies 
in Scotland." It \vould be quite irrelevant for me to 
enlarge here upon the merits of those articles. No 
one could study them attentively \vithout being 
impressed \vith the ability and power displayed in 
them by the authors, their grasp of the subjects, and 
their fair impartial judgment upon the various 
questions \vhich come under their notice. 
From these able disquisitions, and from other prog- 
nostics, it is quite evident that sounder principles of 
political economy and accurate experience of human 
life show that much of the old Scottish hospital system 
was quite wrong and must be changed. Changes are 
certainly going on, which seem to indicate that the very 
hard Presbyterian views of some points connected 
with Church matters are in transition. I have 
elsewhere spoken of a past sabbatarian strictness, 
and I have lately received an account of a strictness 
in observing the national fast-day, or day appointed 
for preparation in celebrating Holy Communion, which 
has in son1e measure passed away. The anecdote 
adduced the example of two drovers who ,vere going 
on very quietly together. They had to pass through 
a district \vhereof one ,vas a parishioner, and during 
their progress -through it the one whistled ,vith all 
his might, the other screwed up his mouth without 
emitting a single sound. When they came to a burn, 
the silent one, on then crossing the stream, gave 



THE PILL
\R 0' THE KIRK 


F"011l tl. .l'l!tey-COloll Y drawitl,g by 
11 J....J.VR V lV. A-ERR, 
A.R.S.A., R.S.ll/. 




'"' 
\. 


" 


.... 


" 


, 




SCOTTISH LIFE æ CHARAOTER. 13 


a skip, and began whistling with all his Inight, ex- 
claiming \vith great triumph to his companion, " I'Yß 
beyond the parish of Forfar now, and I'll ,vhistle as 
muckle as I like." It happened to be the Forfar 
parish fast-day. But a still stricter observance was 
shown by a native of ICirkcaldy, ,vho, ,vhen asked by 
his companion drover in the south of Scotland " why he 
didna ,vhistle," quietly ans,vered, "I canna, man; it's 
our fast-day in Kirkcaldy." I have an instance of a 
very grim assertion of extreme sabbatarian zeal. A 
maid-servant had come to a ne,v place, and on her 
mistress quietly asking her on Sunday evening to \vash 
up some dishes, she indignantly replied, "Mem, I hae 
dune mony sins, and hae mony sins to ans,ver for; but, 
thank God, I hae never been sap far left to mysell as 
to wash up dishes on the Sabbath day." 
I hope it will not for a moment be supposed we 
would ,villingly throw any ridicule or discouragement 
on the Scottish national tendencies on the subject, or 
that we are not proud of Scotland's example of a 
sacred observance of the fourth commandment in the 
letter and the spirit. We refer now to injudicious ex- 
tremes, such, indeed, as our Lord condemned, and 
which seem a fair subject for notice amongst Scottish 
peculiarities. But the philosophy of the question iß 
curious. Scotland has ever made her boast of the 
simplest form of worship, and a ,vorship free from 
ceremonial, more even than the Church of England, 
\vhich is received as, in doctrine and ritual, the 
Church of the Reformation. In SOlne respects, therefore, 
may you truly say the only standing recognised obser- 
vance in the ceremonial part of Presbyterian worship 
is the Sabbath day-an observance which has been 
pushed in times past even beyond the extreme of a 
spirit of Judaism, as if the sabbatical ceremoniaJ 



14 


REJfIltISOENCES OF 


were made a substitute for all other ceremony. I'n 
this, as well as in other matters ,vhich we have pointed 
out, what changes have taken place, what chànges 
are going on! It may be difficult to assign precise 
causes for such changes having taken place among us, 
and that during the life-time of individuals no,v living 
to remember them. It has been a period for many 
changes in manners, ha
its, and forms of language, 
such as we have endeavoured to mark in this volume. 
The fact of such changes is indisputable, and some.. 
times it is difficult not only to assign the causes for 
them, but even to describe in \vhat the changes thenl- 
selves consist. Theyare gradual, and almost impercep- 
tible. Scottish people lose their Scotchness; they leave 
home,and return without those expressions and intona- 
tions, and even peculiarity of voice and manner, \vhich 
used to distinguish us from Southern neighbours. In 
all this, I fear, we lose our originality. It has not 
passed away, but with every generation becomes less 
like the real type. 
I would introduce here a specimen of the precise 
sort of changes to which I would refer, as an example 
of the reminiscences intended to be introduced into 
these pages. We have in earlier editions given an 
account of the pains taken by Lord Gardenstone to 
extend and improve his rising ,,;l1age of Laurencekirk ; 
amongst other devices he had brought down, as settlers, 
a variety of artificers and workmen from England. 
With these he had introduced a hatter from New- 
castle; but on taking him to church next day after 
his arrival, the poor man sa,v that he might decamp 
without loss of time, as he could not expect much 
success in his calling at Laurencekirk; in fact, he 
found Lord Gardenstone's and his o\vn the only hats 
in the kirk-the men all wore then the flat Lo\vland 



SCOTTISH LIFE d; CHARACTER. 15 


bonnet. But ho,v quickly times change! My excel-. 
lent friend, Mr. Gibbon of Johnstone, Lord Garden- 
8tone's own place, which is near Laurencekirk, tells 
me that at the present time one solitary Lowland 
bonnet lingers in the parish. 
Hats are said to have been first brought into 
Inverness by Duncan Forbes of Culloden, the Lord 
President, who died in 1747. Forbes is reported to 
have presented the provost and bailies with cocked 
hats, which they ""ore only on Sundays and council 
days. About 1760 a certain Deacon Young began 
daily to wear a hat, and the country people cro,,,,ding 
round him, the Deacon used humorously to say, 
" \Vhat do you see about me, sirs 1 am I not a mortal 
man like yourselves 1 " The broad blue bonnets I 
speak of long continued to be worn in the Highland 
capital, and are still occasionally to be seen there, 
though generally superseded by the Glengarry bonnet 
and ordinary hat. It is a minor change, but a very 
decided one. 
The changes which have taken place, and which 
give rise to such" Reminiscences," are very numerous, 
and meet us at every turn in society. Take, for 
example
 the case of our Highland chieftains. "r e 
may still retain the appellation, and talk of the chiefs 
of Clanranald, of Glengany, etc. But how different 
is a chieftain of the present day, even from some of 
those of ,vhom Sir 'Valter Scott wrote as existing so 
late as 1 715 or 1745! Dr. Gregory (of immortal 
Jnixtu're memory) used to tell a story of an old High- 
land chieftain, intended to show ho,v such Celtic 
potentates ,,"erc, even in his day, still inclined to hold 
themselves superior to all the usual considerations 
which affected ordinary mortals. The doctor, after 
due examination, had, in his u
ual decided and blunt 



16 


RE.JfIJ.lISCENOES OF 


manner, pronounced the liver of a Highlander to bp 
at fault, and to be the cause of his ill-health. His patient, 
who could not but consider this as taking a great liberty 
with a Highland chieftain, roared out-" And what 
the devil is it to you whether I have a liver or not? n 
But there is the case of dignity in Lo,vland Lairds as 
well as clan-headship in Highland Chiefs. In proof 
of this, I need only point to a practice still lingering 
an10ngst us of calling landed proprietors, not as Mr. 
So-and-so, but by the names of their estates. I re- 
collect, in my early days, anum ber of our proprietors 
were always so designated. Thus, it was not as Mr. 
Carnegie, Mr. Douglas, Mr. Irvine, etc., but as Craigo, 
TillwhiUy, Drum, etc. 
An amusing application of such a territorial denomi- 
native system to the locality of London was narrated 
to me by a friend who witnessed it. A Scottish 
gentleman, ",vho had never been in the n1etropolis, 
arrived fresh from the Highlands, and met a small 
party at the house of a London friend. A person 
was present of most agreeable manners, who delighted 
the Scotsman exceedingly. He heard the company 
frequently referring to this gentleman's residence in 
Piccadilly, to his house in Piccadilly, and so on. 
'Vhen addressed by the gentleman, he commenced his 
reply, anxious to pay him all due respect-" Indeed, 
Piccadilly," etc. He supposed Piccadilly must be his 
own territorial locality. Another instance of mistake, 
arising out of Scottish ignorance of London ways, was 
Inade by a North Briton on his first visit to the great 
city. He arrived at a hotel in Fleet Street, where 
many of the country coaches then put 'up. On the 
follo,ving morning he supposed that such a. crowd as 
he encountered could only proceed from some" occa- 
sion," and must pass off in due time. Accordingly, a 



SCOTTISH LIFE tf CHA.RACTER. 17 
friend from Scotland found him standing in a door- 
way, as if waiting for some one. His countryman 
asked him what made him stand there. To which 
he answered-" Ou, I was just stan'ing till the kirk 
had scaled." The ordinary appearance of his native 
borough made the crowd of Fleet Street suggest to 
him the idea of a church crowd passing out to their 
several homes, called in Scotland a "kirk scaling." 
A London street object called forth a similar simple 
remark from a Scotsman. He had come to London 
on Ilis way to India, and for a few days had time to 
amuse himself by sight-seeing before his departure. 
He 'had been much struck with the appearance of the 
mounted sentinels at the Horse Guards, Whitehall, 
and bore them in remembrance during his Eastern 
sojourn. On his return, after a period of thirty 
years, on passing the Horse Guards, he looked up to 
one, and seeing him, as he thought, unchanged as tú 
horse, position, and accoutrements, he exclaimed- 
"Od, freend, ye hae had a lang spell on't sin' I left," 
supposing him to be the identical sentinel he had seen 
before he sailed. 
It is interesting to preserve national peculiarities 
\vhich are thus passing away from us. One great 
pleasure I have had in their collection, and that is 
the numerous and sympathetic comnlunications I have 
received from Scotsmen, I Inay literally say from 
Scotsmen in all quarters of the world,. sometÌlues 
communicating very good examples of Scottish hu- 
Inour, and ahvays expressing their great pleasure in 
reading, 'v hen in distant lands and foreign scenes, 
anecdotes which ren1il1ded them of Scotland, and of t 
their ain days of "auld langsyne." 
There is no mistaking the national attachment so 
strong in. the Scottish character. Men return aft'jr 



IS 


RE.1fI."ft/ISOENOES OF 


long absence, in this respect, unchanged; whilst ab. 
sent, Scotsmen never forget their Scottish home. In 
all ftriéties of lands and climates their hearts ever 
turn towards the "land 0' cakes and brither Scots." 
Scottish festivals are kept with Scottish feeling on 
" Greenland's icy mountains" or " India's coral 
strand." I received an amusing account of an ebul- 
lition of this patriotic feeling from Iny late noble 
friend the Marquis of Lothian, who met with it ,vhen 
travelling in India. He happened to arrive at a sta- 
tion upon the eve of St. Andrew's Day, and received 
an invitation to join a Scottish dinner party in com- 
memoration of old Scotland. There was a great deal 
of Scottish enthusiasm. There were seven sheep- 
heads (singed) down the table; and Lord Lothian 
told me that after dinner he sang with great applause 
"1'he Laird 0' Cockpen." 
Another anecdote arising out of Scotsmen meet- 
ing in distant lands, is rather of a more serious 
character, and used to be told with exquisite humour 
by the late lamented Dr. Norman Macleod. A settler 
in Australia, who for a long time had heard nothing 
of his Scottish kith and kin, was delighted at the 
arrival of a countryman direct from his own part 
of the country. When he met with him, the fol- 
lowing conversation took place bet,veen them :- Q. 
" Ye ken my fouk, friend; can ye tell me gin my 
faather's alive r' A .-" Hout, na; he's deed." Q.- 
"Deed! What did he dee 0' 
 was it fever
" A.- 
" N a, it wasna fever." Q.-" Was it cholera 1 " A.- 
N a." The question being pressed, the stranger 
drily said, "Sheep," and then he accompanied the 
ominous word by delicately and significantly pointing 
to the jugular under his ear. The man had been 
hanged for sheep. stealing ! 



SCOTTISH LIFE C'è OHAllAOTE.ll. 19 


It must always be amusing for Scotsmen to meet 
in distant lands, and there to playoff on each other 
the same dry, quaint humour ,vhich delighted them 
in their native land, and in their early days at home. 
An illustration of this remark has been communi- 
cated by a kind correspondent at Glasgow. l\frs. 
Hume, a true Scot, sends me the following dialogue, 
accompanied by a very clever etching of the parties, 
from the Melbourne Punch, August 17, 1871, headed 
"Too Poor,-Night of TVave1'Zey Concert." 
Southron.-You here, Mac! you ought to have been 
at the concert, you know. Aren't you one of the 
, Scots \v ha hae 1 ' 
Mac.-Indeed no. I'm ane 0' the Scots wha hac 
na, or I \vadna be here the nÎcht. 
He would not have stayed at home if he had been one 
of the "Scots wha hae." 
I am assured that the genuineness of the following 
anecdote is unquestionable, as my informant received 
it from the person to whom it occurred. A popular 
Anglican Nonconformist minister was residing \vith 
a family in Glasgo\v while on a visit to that city, 
,vhither he had gone on a deputation from the \Ves- 
leyan Missionary Society. After dinner, in reply to 
an invitation to partake of some fine fruit, he men- 
tioned to the family a curious circunlstance concerning 
himself-viz. that he had never in his life tasted 
all apple, pear, grape, or indeed any kind of green 
fruit. 1'his fact seemed to evoke considerable sur- 
prise from the company, but a cautious Scotsman, 
of a practical, matter-of-fact turn of mind, \vho had 
1istened with lunch unconcern, drily remarked, U It's 
a peety but ye had been in Paradise, and there micht 
lla hae been ony faa." I have spoken else,vhere of th
 
cool matter-of-fact manner in ,y hich the awful q ue8
 



20 


RE
[11VISCENOES OJ! 


tions connected with the funerals of friends are often 
approached by Scottish people, without the least in- 
tention or purpose of being irreverent or unfeeling. 
By the kindness of Mr. Lyon, I :tIn enabled to give 
an authentic anecdote of a curious character, illustra- 
tive of this habit of Inind, and I cannot do better 
than give it in his own words :-" An old tenant of 
my late father, George Lyon of Wester Ogil, nlany 
years ago, ,vhen on his deathbed, and his end near at 
hand, his wife thus addressed him: 'Willie, Willie, 
as lang as ye can speak, tell us are ye for your burial- 
baps round or square 7' Willie having responded to 
this inquiry, ,vas next asked if the murners were to 
have glooes (gloves) or mittens, the fonner being ar- 
ticles with fingers, the latter having only a thumb. 
piece; and Willie, having also answered this question, 
,vas allowed to depart in peace." 
There could not be a better exanlple of this 
familiar handling, without meaning offence, than one 
\vhich has just been sent to nle by a kind corres- 
pondent. I give her o,vn words. "Happening to 
call on a poor neighbour, I asked after the children 
of a l)erson who lived close by. She replied, "They're 
no hame yet; gaed awa to the English kirk to get a 
clap 0' the heid. It was the day of confiJ'111alion for 
St. Paul's. This definition of the 'outward and 
visible sign' would look rather odd in the catechism. 
But the poor ,vomall said it from no disrespect; it 
,vas merely her ,yay of answering my question." But 
remarks on serious subjects often go to deeper views 
of religious matters than nÚght be expected frOln the 
position of the parties and the terms made use of. 
Of the ,vise and shre\vd judgment of the Scottish 
character, as bearing upon religious pretensions, I 
have an apt example from TIIY friend Dr. Norman 



SCOTTl
H LIFE æ CHARAUTER. 21 

Iacleod. During one of the late revivals in Scot- 
land, a small fanner went about preaching ,vith much 
fluency and zeal the doctrine of a "full assurance " 
of faith, and expressed his belief of it for himself in 
such extravagant terms as fe,v men \yould venture 
upon \vho were humble and cautious against presump- 
tion. The" preacher," being personally rather re- 
markable as a man of greedy and selfish views in 
life, excited some suspicion in the breast of an old 
sagacious countryman, a neighbour of Dr. 
Iacleod, 
who asked him what he thought of John as a preacher, 
and of his doctrine. Scratching his head, as if in 
some doubt, he replied, "I'm no verra sure 0' Jock. I 
never ken't a man sae sure 0' Heaven, and sae sweert to 
be gaing tae't." He showed his sagacity, for John 
was soon after in prison for theft. 
Another story gives a good idea of the Scottish 
matter-of-fact view of things being brought to bear 
upon a religious question without meaning to be pro- 
fane or irrev'erent. Dr. Macleod was on a Highland 
loch ,vhen a storm came on ,vhich threatened serious 
consequences. The doctor, a large po\verful man, 
\vas accompanied by a clerical friend of diminutivE 
size and small appearance, who began to speak 
seriously to the boatmen of their danger, and proposed 
that all present should join in prayer. "N a, na, JJ said 
the chief boatman; "let the little ane gang to praYt 
but first the big ane maun tak an oar." IllustrativE 
of the same spirit was the reply of a Scotsman of 
the genuine old school, "Boatie n of Deeside, of 
whom I have more to say, to a relative of mine. He 
had been nearly lost in a squall, and saved after great 
exertion, and ,vas told by my aunt that he should be 
grateful to providence for his safety. The man, not 
meaning to be at all ungrateful, but viewing his pre- 
I 



22 


RE.iJIINISCENCES OF 


servation in the purely hard nlatter-of-fact light, 
quietly ans\vered, "W eel, ,veel, l'tIrs. Russell; Pro- 
vidence here or Providence there, an I hadna worked 
sair mysell I had been drouned. JJ 
Old Mr. Downie, the parish minister of Banchory, 
was noted, in my earliest days, for his quiet pithy 
remarks on men and things, as they came before him. 
His reply to his son, of v{hose social position he had 
no very exalted opinion, was of this class. Young 
Downie had come to visit his father from the West 
Indies, and told him that on his return he ,vas to be 
n1arried to a lady ,vhose high qualities and position 
he spoke of in extravagant terms. He assured his 
father that she ,vas "quite young, ,vas very rich, Hnd 
very beautifu1." "Aweel, Jemmy," said the old man, 
very quietly and very slily, "I'm thinking there mauu 
be some faut." Of the dry sarcasm ,ve have a good 
example in the quiet utterance of a good Scottish 
phrase by an elder of a Free Kirk lately formed. The 
minister was an eloquent man, and had attracted one 
of the town-council, who, it was known, hardly ever 
entered the door of a church, and now came on 
motives of curiosity. He was talking very grand to 
some of the congregation: "Upon my word, your 
minister is a very eloquent man. Indeed, he wi]!. 
quite convert me." One of the elders, taking the word 
in a higher sense than the speaker intended, quietly 
replied, " Indeed, Bailie, there's muckle need." 
A kind correspondent sends me ;J,n illustration of 
this quaint matter-of-fact view of a question as affect- 
ing the sentiments or the feelings. He tells me he 
kne\v an old lady ,vho was a stout large woman, and 
who v{ith this state of body had many ailments. 
\vhich she bore cheerfully and patiently. '
Vhen asked 
one day by a friend, "How she was keeping," she re. 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 CHARACTER. 23 


plied, "OU, just middling; there's ower muckle 0' mr. 
to bp a' weel at ae time." No Englishwolnan ,vould 
have given such an ans\ver. The same class of cha- 
racter is very strongly marked in a story 'v hich was 
told by 
Ir. Thomas Constable, who has a keen 
appreciation of a good Scottish story, and tells it 
inimitably. He used to visit an old lady who was 
much attenuated by long illness, and on going up 
stairs one trenlendously hot afternoon, the daughter 
,vas driving away the flies, \vhich ,vere very trouble- 
some, and was saying, " Thae flies ".ill eat up a' that 
remains 0' my puir mither." The old lady opened 
her eyes, and the last words she spoke were, " What's 
left 0' me's guid eneuch for them." 
The spirit of caution and wariness by which the 
Scottish character is supposed to be distinguished has 
given rise to many of these national anecdotes. 
Certainly this cautious spirit thus pervaded the 
opinions of the Scottish architect who was called 
upon to erect a building in England upon the long- 
lease system, so common 1vith Anglican proprietors, 
but quite new to our Scottish friend. When he 
found the proposal ,vas to build upon the tenure 
of 999 years, he quietly suggested, "Culd ye no mak 
it a thousand? 999 years '11 be slippin' awa'." 
But of all the cautious and careful ans\vers \ve ever 
heard of was one given by a carpenter to an old lady 
in Glasgo\v, for whom he was working, and the anec- 
dote is well authenticated. She had offered him a 
dram, and asked him whether he 1vould have it then 
or \vait till his ,vork ,vas done-" Indeed, mem," he 
said, "there's been sic a po,ver 0' sudden deaths 
lately that I'll just tak it now." He would guard 
against contingency and secure his dram. 
The following is a good specimen of the samf 



2
 


REMINISOENOES OF 


humour :-A minister had been preaching against 
covetousness and the love of money, and had 
frequently repeated how "love of money was the root 
of all evil. JJ Two old bodies ,valking home from 
church-one said, "

n' wasna the minister strang 
upo' the moneyr' "Nae doubt," said the other, rather 
hesitatingly; and added," ay, but it's grand to hae 
the wee bit siller in your haund when ye gang an 
errand. " 
I have still another specimen of this national, cool, 
and deliberative view of a question, ,vhich seems cha- 
racteristic of the temperament of our good countrymen. 
Some time back, when it was not uncommon for 
challenges to be given and accepted for insults, or 
supposed insults, an English gentleman ,vas entertain- 
ing a party at Inverness with an account of the 
,vonders he had seen and the deeds he had performed 
in India, from whence he had lately arrived. He 
enlarged particularly upon the size of the tigers he 
had met with at different times in his travels, and by 
way of corroborating his statements, assured the com- 
pany that he had shot one himself considerably above 
forty feet long. A Scottish gentleman present, who 
thought that these narratives rather exceeded a 
traveller's allowed privileges, coolly said that no doubt 
those were very remarkable tigers; but that he could 
assure the gentleman there were in that northern 
part of the country some wonderful animals, and, as 
an example, he cited the existence of a skate-fish 
captured off Thurso, which exceeded half-an-acre in 
extent. The Englishman saw this was intended as a 
sarcasm against his own story, so he left the room in 
indignation, and sent his friend, according to the old 
plan, to demand satisfaction or an apology from the 
gentleman, who had, he thought, insulted him. The 



SCOTTISH LIFE cê OHARAOTER. 25 


naITator of the skate story coolly replied, "W eel, sir, 
gin yer freend ,vill tak' a fe,v feet aff the length 0' hi
 
tiger, we'll see what can be dune about the breadth o. 
the skate." He was too cautious to commit himself 
to a rash or decided course of conduct. 'Vhen the 
tiger was shortened, he would take into consideration 
a reduction of superficial area in his skate. 
A kind correspondent has sent me about as good a 
specimen of dry Scottish quiet humour as I kno\\T. 
A certain Aberdeenshire laird, who kept a very good 
poultry-yard, could not command a fresh egg for his 
breakfast, and felt much aggrieved by the ,vant. One 
day, however, he met his grieve's ,vue with a nice 
basket, and very suspiciously going towards the mar- 
ket ; on passing and speaking a worù, he was enabled 
to discover that her basket was full of beautiful white 
eggs. N ext time he talked ,vith his grieve, he said 
to him, "J ames, I like you very well, and I think 
you serve me faithfully, but I cannot say I admire 
your wife." To which the cool reply ,vas, "Oh, 
'deed, sir, I'm no surprised at that, for I dinna 
muckle admire her mysel'." 
An answer very much resembling this, and as much 
to the point, Vlas that of a gudewife on Deeside, 
,vhose daughter had just been married and had left 
her for her new home. A lady asked the mother very 
kindly about her daughter, and said she hoped she 
liked her new home and new relations. "Ou, my lady, 
she likes the parish weel eneuch, but she doesna think 
muckle 0' her man! " 
The natives of Aberdeenshire are distinguished for 
the t'vo qualities of being very acute in their remarks 
and very peculiar in their language. Anyone may 
still gain a thorough knowledge of Aberdeen dialect 
and see capital examples of Aberdeen humour. I 



26 


llEJfI.:.VISOENOES OF 


have been 
upplied with a remarkable example of this 
combination of Aberdeen shre,vdness with Aberdeen 
dialect. In the course of the week after the Sunday. 
on which several elders of an Aberdeen parish had 
been set apart for parochial offices, a knot of the par- 
ishioners had assembled at what was in all parishes a 
great place of resort for idle gossiping-the sll1iddy 
or blacksmith's workshop. The qualifications of the 
new elders '\vere severely criticised. One of the speak- 
ers emphatically laid do,vn that the minister should 
not have been satisfied, and had in fact made a most 
unfortunate choice. He was thus ans,vered by an- 
other parish oracle-perhaps the schoolmaster, perhaps 
a weaver :-" 
'at better culd the man dee nir he's 
dune 
-he bud tae big's dyke ,vi' the feal at fit o't." 
He meant there was no choice of Inaterial--he could 
only take 'v hat offered. 
By the kindness of Dr. Begg, I have a most 
amusing anecdote to illustrate how deeply long-tried 
associations were mixed up with the habits of life in 
the older generation. A junior minister having to 
assist at a church in a remote part of Aberdeenshire, 
the parochial minister (one of the old school) promised 
his young friend a good glass of ,vhisky-toddy after 
all ,vas over, adding slily and very significantly, 
" and gude smuggled whusky." His Southron guest 
thought it incumbent to say, "Ah, minister, that's 
wrong, is it not 1 you know it is contrary to Act of 
Parliament." The old Aberdonian could not so easily 
give up his fine whisky to ,,"'hat he considered an 
unjust interference; so he quietly said, "Oh, Acts 
0' Parliament lose their breath before they get to 
Aberdeen shire. n 
'rhere is something very aIDusing in the idea of 
\vhat may be called the "fitness of things," in regard 



SCOTTISH LIFE & CHARACTER. 27 


to snuff-taking, ,vhich occurred to an honest Highlander, 
a genuine lover of sneeshin. At the door of the Blair- 
Athole Hotel he observed standing a magnificent 
man in full tartans, and noticed ,vith much admiration 
the ,vide dimensions of his nostrils in 3, fine upturned 
nose. He accosted hiIn, and, as his most compliment- 
ary act, offered hiIn his mull for a pinch. The 
stranger dre,v up, and rather haughtily said: "I 
never take snuff." "Oh," said the other, "that's a 
peety, for there's grand acco'lnrnodation I" =if: 
I don't know a better example of the sly sarcasm 
than the follo,ving ans,ver of a Scottish servant to the 
violent command of his enraged master. A ,vell- 
kno\vn coarse and abusive Scottish law functionary, 
,vhen driving out of his grounds, ,vas shaken by his 
carriage coming in contact ,vith a large stone at the 
gate. fIe ,vas very angry, and ordered the gatekeeper 
to have it rernoved before his return. On driving 
home, ho,vever, he encountered another severe shock 
by the ,vheels coming in contact ,vith the very same 
stone, ,vhich ren1ained in the very same pla.ce. Still 
more irritated than before, in his usual coarse language 
he called the gatekeeper, and roared out: " You 
rascal, if you don't send that beastly stone to h-, 
I'll break your head." " "\Vell," said the nlan quietly, 
and as if he had received an order which he ha.d to 
execute, and ,vithout meaning anything irreverent, 
"aiblins gin it were sent to heevall it u
ad be mair 
out 0' YOU1' Lordship's way." 
I think about as cool a Scottish" aside" as I kno,v, 
was that of tIle old dealer ,vho, when exhorting hi
 
tr This anecdote has been illustrated, as taken from these pages, 
by a very clever sketch of the Highlander and his admirer, in a 
curious l>ublication at Liverpool called The Tobacco Plant, and 
devoted to the interests of sluoking and snuffing. 



28 



"'l}J}'[l
rISGENOE8 OF 


son to practise honesty in his dealings, on the ground 
of its being the" best policy," quietly added, "I hae 
tried baith." 
In this work frequent mention is made of a class 
of old ladies, generally residing in small towns, who 
retained till within the memory of many now living 
the special characteristics I have referred to. Owing 
to local connection, I have brought for,vard those 
chiefly who lived in Montrose and the neighbour- 
hood. But the race is extinct; you might as well 
look for hoops and farthingales in society as for 
such characters now. You can scarcely imagine an 
old lady, however quaint, now making use of some 
of the expressions recorded in the text, or saying, 
for the purpose of breaking up a party of ,vhich 
she was tired, from holding bad cards, " We'll stop 
now, bairns; I'm no enterteened; " or urging 
more haste in going to church on the plea, "Come 
awa, or I'll be ower Jate for the 'wicked man'" 
- her mode of expressing the commenceUlent of 
the service. 
Nothing could better illustrate the quiet pa 'v ky 
style for which our countrymen have been distin- 
guished, than the old story of the piper and the 
wolves. A Scottish piper ,vas passing through a 
deep forest. In the evening he sat down to take his 
supper. He had hardly begun, when a Ilunlber of 
hungry wolves, prowling about for food, collected 
round him. In self-defence, the poor Inan began to 
throw pieces of his victuals to them, which they greedily 
devoured. When he had disposed of all, in a fit of 
despair he took his pipes and began to play. The 
unusual sound terrified the ,volves, which, one and all, 
took to their heels and scampered off in every direction: 
on observing wlÜcp, Sandy quietly renlarked, "Od, an 



A SCOTTI
ll B \PTIS
I 


F'ro11l a ;('flter-colour drn...uÍ11g by 
HE.l'Rr IV. KERR, 
A.R.S.A.. R.S.U: 




.'"'t--> 


'I 


... 


"" 


& 
, 


t'I 


" 


.. 




SCOTTISH LIFE d: CH.ARACTER. 29 


I'd kellned ye liket the pipes sae weel, I'd a gien ye 
a spring afore supper." 
This imperturbable mode of looking at the events 
of life is illustrated by perhaps the rnost cautious 
answer on record, of the Scotsman ,vho, being asked 
if he could play the fiddle, ,varily answered, "He 
couldna say, for he had never tried." But take otheI 
cases. For example: One tremendously hot day, 
during the old stage-coach system, I was going do,vn 
to Portobello, when the coachman drew up to take in 
a gentleman who had hailed him on the road. lIe 
was evidently an Englishman-a fat man, and in a 
perfect state of "thaw and dissolution" from the heat 
and dust. He ,viped himself, and exclaimed, as a 
remark addressed to the company generally, "D-d 
hot it is." Noone said anything for a time, till a 
luan in the corner slily remarked, "I dinna doubt, sir, 
but it may." The cautiousness against committing 
himself unreservedly to any proposition, however 
plausible, ,vas quite delicious. 
A Inore determined objection to giving a categorical 
ans,ver occurred, as I have been assured, in rega.rd to 
a more profound question. ."..\. party travelling on a 
railway got into deep discussion on theological ques- 
tions. Like 
Iilton's spirits in Pandemonium, they 
had 


" Reason'd high 
Of providence, fore-knowledge, will, and fate- 
Fix'd fate, free-will, fore-knowledge absolute; 
And found no end, in wand'ring mazes lost." 


A plain Scotsman present seemed much interested 
in these matters, and having expressed himself as not 
satisfied with the explanations which had been elicited 
in the course of discussion on a particular point 



80 


REMINIsaENaES ov 


l'egarding predestination, one of the party said to him 
that he had observed a minister, whom they all kne,v 
 
in the adjoining cOlnpartrnent, and that when the 
train stopped at the next station a fe\v rninutes, he 
c')uld go and ask his opinion. The good man accord- 
ingly availed himself of the opportunity to get hold 
of the minister, and lay their difficulty before him. 
He returned in time to resurne his o\vn place, and 
when they had started again, the gentleman who had 
advised him, finding him not luuch disposed to volun- 
tary communication, asked if he had seen the minister. 
., 0 ay," he said, "he had seen him." "And did you 
propose the question to him 1 " "0 ay." " And 
w hat did he say 1" "Oh, he just said he didna ken; 
and ,vhat was mair he didna care I" 
I have received the four following admirable anec- 
dotes, illustrative of dry 
cottish pawky hurnour, from 
an esteemed Iuinister of the Scottish Church, the Rev. 
\V. Mearns of Kinneff. I now record them nearly in 
the same words as his o,vn kind comnlunication. The 
anecdotes are as follow :-All aged rninister of the 
old school, Mr. Patrick Stewart, one Sunday took to 
the pulpit a sermon without observing that the first 
leaf or t,vo ,vere so ,vorn and eaten away that he 
couldn't decipher or a.nnounce the text. He ,vas not 
a man, ho\vever, to be embarrassed or taken aback by 
a matter of this sort, but at once intimated the state 
of matters to the congregation,-" My brethren, I 
canna tell ye the text, for the mice hae eaten it; but 
,ve'll just begin whaur the mice left air, and when I 
come to it I'll let you ken. n 
In the year 1843, shortly after the Disruption, a 
parish minister had left the manse and removed to 
about a mile's distance. His pony got loose one day, 
and galloped down the road in the direction of tht: 




COTTISH LIFE d: OHARAOTER. S1 


old glebe. The minister's man in charge ran after 
the pony in a great fuss, and ,vhen passing a large 
farm-steading on the ,vay, cried out to the farmer, 
\vho ""as sauntering about, but did not kllO\V ,,,hat 
had taken place-" Oh, sir, did ye see the minister's 
shault r' " No, no," ,vas the answer,-" but \vhat's 
happened 
" 
, Ou, sir, fat do ye think 1 the minister's 
shault's got lowse frae his tether, an' I'rl1 frichtened 
he's ta'en the road doun to the auld glebe." " ,,,... eel- 
a-,vicht! "-,vas the shrewd clever rejoinder of the 
fanner, who was a keen supporter ûf the old parish 
church, "I ,vad na \vonder at that. An' I'se \varrant, 
gin the minister ""as gettin' lozl'se frae !tis tether, he 
wad j ist tak the same road." 
An old clerical friend upon Speyside, a confirrned 
bachelor, on going up to the pulpit one Sunday to 
preach, found, after giving out the psalm, that he 
had forgotten his sermon. I do not know \vhat his 
objections were to his leaving the pulpit, and going 
to the manse for his sermon, but he preferred sending 
his old confidential housekeeper for it. He accord- 
ingly stood up in the pulpit, stopped the singing 
\vhich had commenced, and thus accosted his faithful 
domestic :-" Annie; I say, Annie, we've committed a 
mistak the day. Ye maun jist gang your ,vaa's hanle, 
and ye'll get my sermon oot 0' nlY breek-pouch, an' 
we'll sing to the praise 0' the Lord till ye come back 
again." Annie, of course, at once executed her im- 
portant mission, and brought the sermon out of "the 
breek- pouch," and the service, so far as we heard, 
was completed without further interruption. 
My dear friend, tbe late Rev. Dr. John Hunter, told 
me an anecdote very characteristic of the unimaginati va 
luatter-of-fact Scottish vie,,'" of matter8. One of the 
minist.ers of Edinburgh: a man of dry humour. bad a 




 


REJfIJ..VISOE.YCES OF 


daughter ,vho had for some time passed the peliod of 
youth and of beaut)'". She had become an Episco- 
palian, an event ,vhich the Doctor accepted with nluch 
good-nature, and he ,vas asking her one day if she 
did not intend to be confirmed. "\V ell," she said, 
"I don't know. I understand Mr. Craig always 
kisses the candidates whom he prepares, and I could 
not stand that." "Indeed, Jeanie," said the Doctor 
slily, " gill Ed ,yard Craig were to gie ye a kiss, I dinna 
think ye would be muckle the ,vaur." 
Many anecdotes characteristic of the Scottish 
peasant often turn upon ,vords and ideas connected 
with Holy Scripture. This is not to be considered as 
in any sense profane or irreverent; but it arises from 
the Bible being to the peasantry of an older genera- 
tion their library-their only book. We have con- 
stant indications of this almost exclusive familiarity 
with Scripture ideas. At the late ceremonial in the 
north, when the Archbishop of Canterbury laid the 
foundation of a Bishop's Church at Inverness, a number 
of persons, amid the general interest and kindly feeling 
displayed by the inhabitants, were vie,ving the pro- 
cession frOln a hill as it passed along. "Vhen the 
clergy, to the number of sixty, came on, an old 
WOlnan, ,vho was ,vatching the whole scene \vith 
some jealousy, exclaimed, at sight of the surplices, 
"There they go, the whited sepulchres!" I received 
another anecdote illustrative of the same remark fronl 
an esteemed minister of the Free Church: I mean of 
the hold which Scripture expressions have upon the 
minds of our Scottish peasantry. One of his flock ""as 
a sick nervous wonlan, who hardly ever left the 
house. But one fine afternoon, when she \vas left 
alone, she fancied she would like to get a little air in 
the field aùjoining the house. Accordingly she IJut 



SOOTTISH LIFE & CHÂRÁOTER. 33 


on a bonnet and ,,'rapped herself in a huge red shawl. 
_ Creeping along the dyke-side, some cattle were 
attracted to,vards her, and first one and then another 
gathered round, and she took shelter in the ditch till 
she was relieved by some one coming up to her 
rescue. She after\vards described her feelings to her 
minister in strong language, adding, "And eh, sir! 
,vhen I lay by the dyke, and the beasts round a' 
glowerin' at me, I thocht ',vhat Dauvid maun hae felt 
,vhen he said-' }Iany bulls have compassed IDe; 
strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.' " 
"Tith the plainness and pungency of the old-fashion.. 
ed Scottish language there was sometimes a coarseness 
of expression, which, although commonly repeated Îh 
the Scottish dra,ving-room of last century, could 
not no,v be tolerated. An example of a very plain 
and do,vnright address of a laird has been recorded 
in the annals of "Forfarshire Lairdship." He had 
married one of the Misses Guthrie, ,vho had a strong 
feeling towards the Presbyterian faith in which she 
had been brought up, although her husband ,vas 
one of the zealous old school of Episcopalians. The 
young ,vife had invited her old friend, the parish 
minister, to tea, and had given him a splendid "four 
hours." Ere the table ,vas cleared the laird came in 
unexpectedly, and thus expressed his indignation, not 
verJ' delicately, at what he considered an un,varrant- 
able exercise of hospitality at his cost :-" Helen 
Guthrie, ye'll no think to save yer aiD saul at the ex- 
pense of my meal-girnel !'
 
The answer of an old ,voman under examination 
by the minister to the question from the Shorter 
Catechism-" 'Vhat are the decrees of God 1" could 
not have been surpassed by the General Assembly of 
the Kirk, or even the Synod of Dort-" Indeed, sir, 



84 


REMINISCElvCES OF 


He kens that best Himsell." vVe have an an:-,wer 
analogous to that, though not so pungent, in a cate- 
chumen of the late Dr. Johnston of Leith. She 
answered his own question, patting him on the 
shoulder-" , Deed, just tell it yersell, bonny doctor 
(he was a very handsome man); naebody can tell it 
better." 
To pass from the ans,vers of "persons come to 
years of discretion "-1 have elsewhere given ex- 
amples of peculiar traits of character set forth in the 
ans,vers of mere cltild1"en, and no doubt a most 
arnusing collection might be n1ade of very juvenile 
"Scottish R,eminiscences." One of these is no, v a 
very old story, and has long been current amongst 
us :-A little boy ,vho attended a day-school in the 
neighbourhood, when he came home in the evening 
was al,vays asked ho,v he stood in his o,vn class. The 
invariable answer nlade ,vas, "I'm second dux," which 
means in Scottish academical langua.ge second from 
the top of the class. As his habit.s of application at 
home did not quite bear out the claim to so dis- 
tinguished a position at school, one of the family 
ventured to ask what ,vas the number in the class to 
,vhich he ,vas attached. After some hesitation he 
was obliged to admit: "Ou, there's jist me and anither 
lass." It was a very fJ1"actical answer of the little girl, 
when asked the meaning of " darkness," as it occurred 
in Scripture reading-" Ou, just steek your een." 
On the question, 'Vhat was the "pestilence that 
walketh in darkness " 1 being put to a class, a little 
boy answered, after consideration -" Ou, it's just 
bugs." I did not anticipate ,vhen in a former edition 
I introduced this answer, which I received from my 
nephew Sir .Lt\..lexander Ramsay, that it would call 
forth a comment so interesting as one which I have 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 CHARACTER. :;5 


receÎyed from Dr. Barber of Ulverston. He sends 
tne an ex
ract from 
Iatthe'v's Tlanslation of llle Bible, 
- ,vhich he received from Rev. L. R. Ayre, ,vho pos- 
sesses a copy of date 1553, from '\vhich it appears that 
Psalm xci. 5 ,\yas thus translated by Mat th e'\v . who 
adopted his translation from Coverdale and Tyndale:- 
"So that thou shalt not need to be afrayed for any 
bugge by nyght, nor for the arro,v that flyeth by 
day." · Dr. Barber ingeniously remarks -" Is it 
possible the little boy's mother had one of these old 
Bibles, or is it merely a coincidence 
 " 
The innocent and unsophisticated ans,\"ers of chil- 
dren on serious subjects are often very amusing. 
l\Iany examples are recorded, and one I have received 
seems much to the point, and derives a good 
deal of its point from the Scottish turn of the expres- 
sions. An elder of the kirk having found a 1ittle boy 
and his sister playing n1arbles on Sunday, put his 
reproof in this form, not a judicious one for a child :- 
"Boy, do ye kno,v ,vhpre children go to ,vho play 
marbles on Sabbath-day 1" "Ay," said the boy," they 
gang doun' to the field by the "yater below the brig." 
" No," roared 'Jut the elder, "they go to hen, and are 
burned." The little fellow, really shocked, called to 
his sister, " Come awa', Jeanie, here's a man s,vearing 
a \vfull y." 
A Scotch story like that of the little boy, of \vhich 
the humour consisted in the dry application of the 
terms in a sense different from what ,vas intended hy 
the spea.ker, wa.s sent to me, but has got spoilt by pass- 
ing through the press. It must be Scotch, or at least, is 
composed of Scottish materials-the Shorter Catechism 
· The troth is, in old English usage "bug" signifies a spectre 
or anything that is frightful. Thus in Henry VI., 3d Part, act 
v. BC. ii.-" For Warwick was a bug that feared 11S all." 



36 


REJfIlvISCENOES OF 


and the bagpipes. A piper was plying his trade in 
the streets, and a strict elder of the kirk, desirous to 
remind him that it ,vas a sonlewhat idle and profit- 
less occupation, went up to him and proposed solemnly 
the first question of the Shorter Catechism, "What is 
the chief end of man 1" The good piper, thinking 
only of his o\vn business, and supposing that the ques- 
tion had reference to SOlIte pipe melody, innocently 
answered, "N a, I dinna ken the tune, but if ye'll 
whistle it I'll try and play it for ye. " 
I have said before, and I would repeat the remark 
again and again, that the object of this work is not 
to string together mere funny stories, or to collect 
amusing anecdotes. We ha ve seen such collections, 
in which many of the anecdotes are mere Joe Millers 
translated into Scotch. The purport of these pages 
has been throughout to illustrate Scottish life and 
character, by bringing forward those modes and forms 
of expression by ,vhich alone our national peculiarities 
can be familiarly illustrated and explained. Besides 
Scottish replies and expressions which are most cha- 
racteristic-and in fact unique for dry humour, for 
quaint and exquisite ,vit-I have often referred to a 
consideration of dialect and proverbs. There can be 
no doubt there is a force and beauty in our Scottish 
phraseology, as well as a quaint humour, considered 
merely as phraseology, peculiar to itself. I have 
spoken of the phrase " Auld langsyne," and of other 
words, which may be compared in their Anglican and 
Scottish form. Take the familiar term common to 
many singing-birds. The English word linnet does 
not, to my mind, convey so much of simple beauty 
and of pastoral ideas as belong to our Scottish word 
IlINTIE. 
I recollect hearing the Rev. Dr. Norman Macleod 



SOOTTISH LIFE J: CHARACTER. 37 


gi \7e a Inost interesting account of his visit to Canada. 
In the course of his eloquent narrative he mentioned 
a conversation he had ,vith a Scottish emigrant, ,vho 
in general terms spoke favourably and gratefully of 
his position in his adopted country. But he could 
not help making this exception ,vhen he thought of 
the "banks and braes 0' bonny Doon"-" But ob, 
sir," he said, "there are nae linties i' the ,vuds." 
Ho,v touching the ,vords in his o,vn dialect! The 
North American woods, although full of birds of beaut i- 
ful plumage, it is ,yell known have no singing-birds. 
A \vorthy Scottish Episcopal minister one day met 
a to,vnsman, a breeder and dealer in singing-birds. 
The man told him he had just had a child born in his 
fan1ily, and asked him if he would baptize it. He 
thought the minister could not resist the offer of a 
bird. "Eh, Maister Shaw," he said, " if ye'll jist do 
it, I hae a fine 1intie the noo, and if ye'll do it, 
I'll gie ye the lintie." He quite thought that this 
would settle the matter! 
By these remarks I mean to express the feeling 
that the ,vord lintie conveys to my mind more of 
tenderness and endearment towards the little songster 
than linnet. And this leads me to a remark (which I 
do not remember to have met with) that Scottish 
dialects are peculiarly rich in such terms of endear- 
ment, more so than the pure Anglican. 'Vithout at 
all pretending to exhaust the subject, I may cite the 
following as examples of the class of terms I speak of. 
Take the names for parents-"Daddie" and "l\Tinnie;" 
names for children, "l\1:y ,vee bit lady" or " laddie," 
" My ,,"'ee bit lamb j" of a general nature, "l\Iy ain 
kind dearie." " Da,vtie," especially used to young 
people, described by J anliesoll a darling or favourite, 
one ,vho is da'lvted-i.e. fondled or caressed. My 
K 



38 


RE'J.111.L\TIS(''L
...,rCES Oll 


"joe" expresses affection ,vith fanliliarity, evidently 
derived from joy, an easy transition-as " My joe, 
Janet;" "John Anderson, my joe, John." Of this 
character is Burns's address to a ,vife, "My ,vinsome n 
-i.e. charming, engaging-" ,vee thing j" also to a 
,vife, "My ,vinsome malTow" -the latter ,vord sig- 
nifying a dear cOlupanioll, one of a pair closely allied 
to each other; also the address of Rob the Ranter to 
Maggie Lauder, " My bonnie bird." Now, we ,vould 
remark, upon this abundant nomenclature of kindly 
expressions in the Scottish dialect, that it assumes an 
interesting position as taken in connection with the 
Scottish Life and ChaTacter, and as a set-ofr against a 
frequent short and grul1
PY manner. It indicates how 
often there must be a current of tenderness and affec- 
tion in the Scottish heart, ,vhich is so frequently re- 
presented to be, like its climate, "stern and wild. U 
There could not be such teT'InS ,vere the feelings they 
express unknown. I believe it often happens that in 
the Scottish charácter there is a vein of deep and 
kindly feeling lying hid under a short, and hard and 
some,vhat stern manner. Hence has arisen the Scot- 
tish saying which is applicable to such cases-" His 
girn's ,vaUI" than his bite :" his disposition is of a softer 
nature than his ,vords and manner ,vould often lead 
you to suppose. 
There are two admirable articles in Blackwood's 
Magazine, in the numbers for N"ovelnber and Decclnber 
1870, upon this subject. 
rhe ,vriter abundantly vin- 
dicates the point and humour of the Scottish tongue. 
Who can resist, for exaluple, the epithet applied by 
1vIeg Merrilies to an unsuccessful probationer for ad- 
mission to the ministry:-" a sticket stibbler "1 'fake 
the sufficiency of Holy Scripture as a pledge for any 
one's salvation :-" There's eneuch bet".cen the brods 



SCOTTISH LIFE d. CHARAOTER. 89 


0' the Testament to save the biggest sinner i' the 
"rarld." I heard an old Scottish Episcopalian thus 
pithily describe the hasty and irreverent manner of a 
young Englishman :-" He ribbled aff the prayers 
like a man at the heid 0' a regiment." A large family 
of young children has been termed "a great sma' 
family." It ,,-as a delicious dry rejoinder to the ques- 
tion-" Are you !vIr. So-and-so 
 " , It's at that's 0' 
me" (i.e. to be had for him.) I have heard an old 
Scottish gentleman direct his servant to mend the 
fire by saying, "I think, Dauvid, ,ve ,,"adna be the 
waul' 0' some coals." 
There is a pure Scottish term, which I have al\vays 
thought more expressive than any English word of 
ideas connected with manners in society-I mean the 
\vord to blether, or blethering, or blethers . Jamieson 
defines it to "talk nonsense." But it expresses far 
more-it expresses powerfully, to Scottish people, 
a person at once shallo\v, chattering, conceited, tire.. 
some, voluble. 
There is a delicious servantgirlism, often expressed 
in an answer given at the door to an inquirer: "Is 
your master at home, or nlistress 
" as the case may be. 
The problenl is to save the direct falsehood, and yet 
evade the visit; so the answer is-" Ay, he or she is 
at hame; but he's no in." 
The transition from Scottish exp'ressions to Scottish 
Poetry is easy and natural. In fact, the most inter.. 
esting feature no\v belonging to Scottish life and 
social habits is, to a certain extent, becoming ,vith 
many a matter of reminiscence of Poetry in the Scottish 
dialect, as being the most permanent and the most 
familiar feature of Scottish characteristics. It is be- 
coming a matter of history, in so far as \ve find that 
it has for some time ceased to be cultivated \yith much 



40 


REJ.lfINISCE1\j""OES OF 


ardour, or to attract much popularity. In fact, since 
the time of Burns, it has been losing its hold on the 
public mind. It is a remarkable fact that neither 
Scott nor Wilson, both admirers of Burns, both copious 
,vriters of poetry themselves, both also so distinguished 
as writers of Scottish prose, should have written any 
poetry strictly in the form of pure Scottish dialect. 
"J ock 0' Hazeldean" I hardly admit to be an exception. 
It is not Scottish. If, indeed, Sir Walter wrote the 
scrap of the beautiful ballad in the " Antiquary"- 


" N o,v haud your tongue, baith wife and carle, 
And listen, great and sma', 
And I will sing of Glenal1an's Earl, 
That fought at the red Harlaw "- 
one cannot but regret that he had not written more 
of the same. Campbell, a poet and a Scotsman, 
has not attempted it. In short, we do not find poetry 
in the Scottish dialect at all kept up in Scotland. 
It is every year becoming more a matter of research 
and reminiscence. Nothing new is added to the old 
stock, and indeed it is surprising to see the ignorance 
and want of interest displayed by many young persons 
in this department of literature. How fe,v read the 
works of Allan Ramsay, once so popular, and still so 
full of pastoral imagery! There are occasionally new 
editions of the Gentle Shepherd, but I suspect for a 
limited class of readers. I am assured the boys of the 
High School, Academy, etc., do not care even for 
13urns. As poetry in the Scottish dialect is thus 
slipping away from the public Scottish mind, I thought 
it very suitable to a work of this character to supply 
a list of modern Scottish dialect 'write,ts. This I am 
able to provide by the kindness of our distinguished 
antiquary, l\Ir. David Laing-the fulness and correct.. 



SCOTTISH LIFE J; CHARACTER. 41 


ness of ,vhose acquirements are only equalled by his 
readiness and courtesy in communicating his informa- 
tion to others:- 


SCOTTISH POETS OF THE LAST CE?\TURY. 
ALLAN RAL"\ISAY. B. 1686. D. 1757. His Gentle 
Shepherd, completed in 1725, and his Collected 
Poems in 1721-1728. 
It cannot be said there was any want of successors, 
however obscure, follo,ving in the same track. Those 
chiefly deserving of notice were- 
ALEXANDER Ross of Lochlee. B. 1700. D. 1783. 
The Fortunate Shepherdess. 
ROBERT FERGUSSON. B. 1750. D. 1 774. Leith 
Races, Caller Oyste1.s, etc. 
REV. JOHN SKINNER. B. 1721. D. 1807. Tulloch- 
g01"um. 
ROBERT BURNS. B. 1759. D. 1796. 
ALEXANDER, FOURTH DUKE OF GORDON. B. 1743. 
D. 1827. Cauld Kail in Abe1.deen. 
ALEXANDER WILSON of Paisley, who latterly distin- 
guished himself as an American ornithologist. B. 
1766. D. 1813. Watty and Meg. 
HECTOR l\IACNEILJ.I. B. 1746. D. 1818. Will and 
Jean. 
ROBERT TANNAHILL. B.1';74. D.1810. Songs. 
J A
IES HOGG. B. 1 772. D. 1835. 
ALLAN CUNNINGHAThI. B. 1784. D. 1842. 


To this list we must add the names of Lady Nairne 
and Lady Anne Lindsay. To the former we are 
indebted for" The Land 0' the Leal," "The Laird 0' 
Cockpen," and "The Auld Hoose;" to the latter for 



42 


RE
{INISCENaES OF 


"Auld Robin Gray:" and our \vonder is, ho,v those 
who could write so charmingly should have ,vritten so 
little. 
I have no intention of discussing the general ques- 
tion of Scottish poetry-of defending or eulogising, 
or of apologising for anything belonging to it. There 
are songs in broad Scottish dialect of ,vhich the 
beauty and the po,ver v{iU never be lost. vV ords of 
Burns, Allan Ramsay, and Lady Nairne, must ever 
speak to hearts that are true to nature. I am de- 
sirous of bringing before Iny readers at this time the 
name of a Scottish poet, which, though in Mr. Laing's 
list, I fear is become rather a ren1iniscence. It is 
fifty years since his poetical pieces were published in 
a collected form. I am desirous of giving a special 
notice of a true-hearted Scotsman, and a genuine 
Scottish poet, under both characters. I look with a 
tender regard to the memory of the Rev. JOHN 
SKINNER of Langside. He has ,vritten little in 
quantity, but it is all charming. He was a good 
Christian minister. He was a man of learning-a 
man of liberal and generous feeling. In addition to 
all this, he has upon me the claim of having been a 
Scottish Episcopalian divine, and I am always re- 
joiced to see among learned men of our church sym- 
pathies with liberalism, besides what is patristic 
and theological. John Skinner's name and family are 
much mixed up with our church. ' Tullochgorum ' ,vas 
father of Prirnus John Skinner, and grandfather of 
Primus W. Skinner and of the RéV. John Skinner of 
Forfar. The youngest brother of Tullochgorum was 
James Skinner, W.S., who died at ninety-one, and 
,vas 'grandfather of W. Skinner, W.S., Edinburgh. 
The Rev. J. Skinner ,vas born in Birse, a wild pal't 
of .A..berdeellshire, 1721. His fat.her ,vas parochial 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 CHARA01'ER. 43 


schoolmaster at Gight for nearly fifty years. He 
worked hard under the care of his father, who was a 
good Latin scholar. He gained a bursary at Aberdeen, 
,,,,here he studied. 'Vhen he left college he became 
schoolmaster at l\Ionymusk, where he ,yrote some 
pieces that attracted attention, and Sir Archibald 
Grant took him into the house, and allo,,"ed him the 
full use of a very fine library. He made good use of 
this opportunity, and indeed becanle a fair scholar 
and theologian. Skinner had been brought up a 
Presbyterian, but at l\Ionymusk found reasons for 
changing his views. In June 1740 he became tutor 
to the only son of 
Irs. Sinclair in Shetland. Re- 
turning to Aberdeenshire in 1 741, he cOlnpleted his 
studies for the ministry, was ordained by Bishop 
Dunbar, and in 1742 became pastor of Langside. 
He worked for this 1ittle congregation for nearly 
sixty-five years, and they ""ere happy and united 
under his pastoral charge. One very interesting in 
cident took place during his ministry, ,vhich bears 
upon our general question of reminiscences and 
changes. John Skinner was in his o,vn person an 
example of that persecution for political opinion re- 
ferred to in Professor 1\facgregor's account of the large 
prayer-book in the library at Panmure. Mter the '45, 
Episcopalians \vere treated with suspicion and seve- 
rity. The severe la,vs passed against J aco bites were 
put in force, and poor Skinner fined. 
However, better and more peaceful times came 
round, and all that John Skinner had undergone did 
not sour his temper or make him severe or misan- 
thropical. As a pastor he seems to have had tact, as 
well as good temper, in the management of his flock, 
if we may judge from the follo'\\ing anecdote:- 
Talking ,vith an obstinate self-confident farmer, ",'hen 



<< 


REJlI1VISOENCES OF' 


the conversation happened to turn on the subject of 
the motion of the earth, the farnler would not be con- 
vinced that the earth moved at all. " Hoot, minister," 
the man roared out; "d'ye see the earth never gaes 
oot 0' the pairt, and it maun be that the sun gaes 
round: we a' ken he rises i' the east and sets i' the 
west." Then, as if to silence all argument, he added 
triumphantly, "As if the sun didna gae round the 
earth, when it is said in Scripture that the Lord com- 
manded the sun to stand still!" Mr. Skinner, 
finding it was no use to argue further, quietly an- 
s,vered, "Ay, it's vera true; the sun was commanded 
to stand still, and there he stands still, for Joshua 
never tauld him to tak the road again." I have 
said John Skinner ,vrote little Scottish poetry, but 
what he wrote was rarely good. IIis prose works 
extended over three volumes when they were col- 
]ected by his son, the Bishop of Aberdeen, but we have 
no concern with them. His poetical pieces, by ,vhich 
his name will never die in Scotland, are the "Reel 
of Tullochgorum " and the "Ewie with the Crooked 
Horn," charming Scottish songs,-one the perfection 
of the lively, the other of the pathetic. It is quite 
enough to say of "Tullochgorum n (by which the 
old man is now always designated), ,vhat was said of 
it by Robert Burns, as "the first of songs," and as 
the best Scotch song Scotland ever saw. 
I have brought in the following anecdote, exactly 
as it appeared in the Scotsman of October 4, 1859, 
because it introduces his name. 
" The late Rev. John Skinner, author of ' Annals of 
Scottish Episcopacy,' was his grandson. He was first 
appointed to a charge in Montrose, from whence he 
was removed to Banff, and ultimately to Forfar. After 
he had left l\iontrose, it reached his ears that an ill.. 



srtOTTISH LIFE J: CHARACTER. 4ð 


natured insinuation was circulating there that he 
had been induced to leave this to,,,'TI by the temp- 
tation of a better income and of fat pork, ".. hich, it 
'\voulcl appear, ,vas plentiful in the locality of his new 
incumbency. Indignant at such an aspersion, he 
wrote a letter, directed to his maligners l vindicating 
himself sharply from it, ,vhich he sho,ved to his grand- 
father, John Skinner of Langside, for his approval. 
The old gentleman objected to it as too lengthy, and 
proposed the following pithy substitute :- 


" 'Had Skinner been of carnal mind, 
As strangely ye suppose, 
Or had he even been fond of swine, 
He'd ne'er have left 
Iontrose.'" 


But there is an anecdote of John Skinner \v hich 
should endear his memory to every generous and 
loving heart. On one occasion he ,vas passing a small 
dissenting place of worship at the time when the 
congregation were engaged in singing: on passing the 
door-old-fashioned Scottish Episcopalian as he was 
-he reverently took off his hat. His companion said 
to him, ,,""That! do you feel so much sympathy with 
this Anti Burgher congregation 
" " No," said Mr. 
Skinner, "but I respect and love any of my fellow- 
Christians 'v ho are engaged in singing to the glory of 
the Lord Jesus Christ." \Vell done, old Tullochgorum ! 
thy name shall be loved and honoured by every true 
liberal-minded Scotsman. 
Yes! 1\Ir. Skinner's experience of the goodness of 
God and of the po\ver of grace, had led him to the 
conviction that the earnest song of praise, that comes 
from the heart of the sincere believer in Christ, can 
go up to Heaven from the humblest earthly house of 
prayer, and be received before the throne of grace as 



46 


REJ.JfI.J.VISCENCES OF 


acceptahly as the high and solenIn service of the lofty 
cathedral, 
U 'Vhere, from the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault, 
The pealing antJlem swells the note of praise. " 


We must firmly believe that, obsolete as the 
dialect of Scotland may become, and its words and 
expressions a matter of tradition and of reminiscence 
with many, still there are Scottish lines, and broad 
Scottish lines, which can never cease to hold their 
place in the affections and the admiration of innu- 
merable hearts whom they have charmed. Can the 
choice and popular Scottish verses, endeared to us 
by so many kindly associations of the past, and by 
so many beauties and poetical graces of their o,vn, 
ever lose their attractions for a Scottish heart 1 The 
charm of such strains can never die. 
I think one subsidiary cause for permanency in the 
popularity still belonging to particular Scottish songs 
has proceeded from their association with Scottish 
music. The melodies of Scotland can never die. In 
the best of these compositions there is a pathos and a 
feeling ,vhich must preserve them, however simple in 
their constnlction, from being vulgar or commonplace. 
Mendelssohn did not disdain taking Scottish airs as 
themes for the exercise of his profound science and 
his exquisite taste. It must, I think, be admitted 
that singing of Scottish songs in the perfection of their 
style-at once pathetic, graceful, and characteristic- 
is not so often met with as to remove all apprehension 
that ere long they may become matters only of remi- 
niscence. Many accomplished musicians often neglect 
entirely the cultivation of their native melodies, under 
the idea of their being inconsistent with the elegance 
and science of high-class music. They commit a mis 



SCOTTISH Lll!'E tê CH
4RA01rb'R. 47 


take. "Then judiciously and ta
teful1y performed, it 
is a charming style of nlusic, and will always give 
pleasure to the intelligent hearer. I have heard two 
young friends, ,vho have attained great skill in scien- 
tific and elaborate compositions, execute the simple 
song of" Lo,v do,vn in the Broom," \vith an effect I 
shall not easily forget. Who that has heard the 
Countess of Essex, ,vhen l\liss Stephens, sing" Auld 
Robin Gray," can ever lose the impression of her 
heart-touching notes 
 In the case of" Auld Robin 
Gray," the song composed by Lady Anne Lindsay, 
although very beautiful in itself, has been, I think, 
a good deal indebted to the air for its great and con- 
tinued popularity. The history of that tender and 
appropriate melody is somewhat curious, and not gene.. 
rally known. The author ,vas not a Scotsman. It 
,vas composed by the Rev. Mr. Leves, rector of 
'\V rington in Somersetshire, either early in this century 
or just at the close of the last. l\;Ir. Leves was fond 
of music, and composed several songs, but none ever 
gained any notice except his "Auld Robin Gray," the 
popularity of which has been marvellous. I knew 
the family \vhen I lived in Sonlersetshire, and had 
met them in Bath. 
Ir. Leves composed the air for 
his daughter, 1\fiss Bessy Leves, ,vho ,vas a pretty 
girl and a pretty singer. 
I cannot but deeply regret to think that I should 
in these pages have any ground for classing Scottish 
poetry and Scottish airs amongst "Reminiscences." 
It is a department of literature where, of course, there 
must be selection, but I am convinced it will repay a 
careful cultivation. I would recommend, as a copious 
and judicious selection of Scottish tunes, "The Scot- 
tish l\Iinstrel," by R. Å. Smith (Purdie, Edinburgh). 
There are the 1cords, also. of 
 Y
st number of Scottish 



48 


REJ.11INISCENOES OF 


songs, but the account of their authorship is very de- 
fective. Then, again, for the fine Scottish ballads of 
an older period, we have two admirable collections- 
one by Mr. R. Chambers, and one by the late Professor 
Aytoun. For Scottish dialect songs of the more 
modern type, a copious collection \vill be found (exclu.. 
sive of Burns and Allan Ramsay) in small volumes 
published by David Robertson, Glasgo\v, at intervals 
from 1832 to 1853, under the title of Whistlebinkie. 
But there are more than lines of Scottish poetry 
which may become matter of reminiscence, and more 
than Scottish song melodies which may be forgotten. 
There are strains of Scottish PSALMODY of which it 
would be more sad to think that they possibly may 
have lost their charm and their hold \vith Scottish 
people. That such psalmody, of a peculiar Scottish 
class and character, has existed, no one can doubt 
who has knowledge or recollection of past days. In 
glens and retired passes, 'v here those who fled from 
persecution met together-on the moors and heaths, 
,v here men suffering for their faith took refuge-in 
the humble worship of the cottar's fireside-were airs 
of sacred Scottish melody, which were well calculated 
to fan the heavenward flame which was kindled in 
lays of the "sweet Psalmist of Israel." These psalm- 
tunes are in their ,yay as peculiar as the song-tunes 
\ve have refeITed to. Nothing can be more touching 
than the description by Burns of the domestic psalmody 
of his fAther's cottage. Mr. R. Chambers, in his Life 
of Burns, informs us that the poet, during his father's 
infirmity and. after his death, had. himself sometimes 
conducted family \vorship. Happy days, ere he had 
encountered the temptations of a world in ,vhich lle 
had too often fallen before the solicitations of guilty 
passion! and then, beautifully does he describe the 



SCOTTISH LIFE ((: GHAHAOTE.R.. 4P 
characteristic features of this portion of the cottar:ß 
\vorship. How solemnly he enumerates the psalm- 
tunes usually made use of on such occasions, and 
discriminates the character of each :- 
"They chant their artless notes in simple guise 
 
1'hey tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim: 
Perhaps DUYDEE'S \vild warbling measures rise, 
Or plaintive 
IA.RTYRs, worthy of the name, 
Or noble ELGIN beets'* the heavenward flame." 


He was not, alas! al\vays disposed in after life to 
reverence these sacred melodies as he had done in his 
youthful days. In his poem of "The Holy Fair," he 
less reverently adduces mention of these sacred airs :- 
" Now turn the Psalms 0' David ower, 
And lilt wi' holy clangour. 
0' double verse come gie us four, 
An' skirl up the Bangor. 1t 
These tunes seem to have been strictly and ex- 
clusively national. In proof of such psalmody being 
quite national, I have been told that many of these 
tunes ,vere composed by artisans, such as builders, 
joiners, blacksmiths, etc. 
Several of the psalm-tunes more peculiar to Scotland 
are no doubt of an early date. In Ravenscroft's 
Psalms, published with the music in four parts in 
1621, he gives the names of seven as purely Scottish- 
I(ing's, Duke's, Abbey, Du.nfe1..mline, Dundee, Glasgow, 
1.11 artyrs. I ,vas used to hear such psalmody in Iny 
early days in the parish church of Fettercairl1, ,vhere 
,ve always attended during summer. It had all the 
simple characteristics described by Burns, and there 
was a heartiness and energy too in the congregation 
when, as he expresses it, they used to "skirl up the 
* Adds fuel to fire. 



50 


REJI1J.tISOE1VOES OF 


Bangor," of which the effects still hang in TIl)' 
recollection. At that time there prevailed the curious 
custom, ,vhen some of the psalms ,vere sung, of 
reading out a single line, and ,,,hen that was sung 
another line was read, and so throughout.-Jf. Thus, on 
singing the 50th psaln1, the first line sounded thus :- 
"OU1. God shall come, and shall no ?nore,o" when that 
was sung, there came the next startling announce- 
ment-" Be silent, but speak out." A rather unfortunate 
iuxtaposition ,vas suggested through this custom, which 
we are assured really happened in the church of 
Irvine. The precentor, after having given out the 
first line, and having observed some members of the 
family from the castle struggling to get through the 
cro\rd on a sacramental occasion, cried out, "Let the 
noble family of Eglinton pass," and then added the 
line which followed the one he had just given out 
rather mal-apropos-" No,t stand in sinners' way." 
One peculiarity I remember, which was, closing the 
strain sometimes by an interval less than a semitone; 
instead of the half-note preceding the close or key-note, 
they used to take the qua'rter-llote, the effect of which 
had a peculiar gurgling sound, but I never heard it 
elsewhere. It may be said these Scottish tunes were 
unscientific, and their performance TIlde. It may be 
so, but the effect was striking, as I recall it through 
the vista of threescore years and ten. Great advances, 
no doubt, have been n1ade in Scotland in congrega- 
tional psalmody; organs have in some instances been 
adopted; choirs haye been organised with great 
effort by choirmasters of musical taste and skill. But 
I hope the spirit of PIETY, which in past tin1es once 


... As far as I am aware the only place in which it is practised 
at present (July 1872), is in the }-ree Church, Brodick, Arran. 



SCO'l'TISH LI}
 tt CHARACTER. 51 


accomp:-tnied the old Scottish psalm, ,vhether sung irA. 
the church or at home, has not departed with the 
music. Its better emotions are not, I hope, to become 
a "Ren1iniscence." 
There ,vas no doubt sometimes a degree of noise in 
the psahnody more than ,vas consistent "yith good 
taste, but this often proceeded fronl the earnestness of 
those ,vho joined. I recollect at Banchory an honest 
fellow ,vho sang so loud that he annoyed his fellow- 
worshippers, and the minister even rebuked him for 
" skirling" so loud. James was not quite patient 
under these hints, and declared to some of his 
friends that he was resolved to sing to the praise of 
God, as he said, "gin I should crack the ,vaas 0' the 
honss. n 
Going from sacred tunes to sacred words, a good 
many changes have taken place in the little history 
of our own psalmody and hymnology. 'Vhen I first 
came to Edinburgh, for psalms ,ve made use of the 
mild and vapid new version of Tate and Brady ;-for 
hymns, almost each congregation had its own 
selection-and there ,yere hymn-books of Dundee, 
Perth, Glasgo\v, etc. The Established Church used 
the old rough psalter, \\7ith paraphrases by Logan, etc., 
and a fe,v hyn1ns added by authority of the General 
Assembly. There seems to be a pretty general 
tendency in the Episcopal Church to adopt at present 
the extensive col1ection called "Hymns Ancient and 
l\Iodcl'n," containing 3 8 6 pieces. Copies of the ,vords 
alone are to be procured for one penny, and the ,v'hole, 
,vith tunes attached, to be procured for 1 s. 6d. The 
Hymns Ancient and 
Iodern are not set forth ,vith 
any Ecclesiastical sanction. It is supposed, ho,vever, 
that there ,yill be a Hymnal published by the Church 
of England on autl10rity, and if so, our Church "7ill 



62 


REJII1VISCEJ.YDES OF 


be likely to adopt it. The Established Churel-.. 
Hymnal Committee have lately sanctioned a very 
interesting collection of 200 pieces. The compilation 
has been made ,vith liberality of feeling as well as 
"\vith good taste. There are several of Neale's transla. 
tions frOlli l11ediæval hyulns, several from John Ke ble, 
and the whole concludes ,vith the Te Deum taken 
literally from the Prayer-Book. 
This mention of Scottish Psalmody and Scottish 
Hymnology, whether for private or for public worship, 
naturally brings us to a very important division of 
our subject; I mean the general question of remini- 
scences of Scottish religious feelings and observances j 
and first in regard to Scottish clergy. 
My esteenled friend, Lord N eaves, who, it is well 
known, combines with his great legal knowledge and 
high literary acquirements a keen sense of the humor- 
ous, has sometimes pleasantly complained of my 
drawing so many of my specimens of Scottish humour 
from sayings and doings of Scottish ministers. They 
,vere a shre\vd and observant race. They lived amongst 
their o,vn people from year to year, and understood the 
Scottish type of character. Their retired habits and 
familiar intercourse with their parishioners gave rise to 
many quaint and racy communications. They were 
excellent men, ,veIl suited to their pastoral work, and 
did much good alnongst their congregations; for it 
should be always remembered that a national church re- 
quires a sympathy and resemblance between the pastors 
and the flocks. Both ,viII be founù to change together. 
Nothing could be further from my mind in recording 
these stories, than the idea of casting ridicule upon 
such an order of men. My own feelings as a Scots- 
man, with all their ancestral associations, lead me to 
cherish their memory ,vith pride and deep interest.. I 



SCOTTI
H LIFE &; CHARACTER. 58 


may appeal also to the fact that many contributions 
to this volume are voluntary offerings from distin. 
guished clergymen of the Church of Scotland, as ,veIl 
as of the Free Church and of other Presbyterian com- 
munities. Indeed, no persons enjoy these stories more 
than ministers themselves. I recollect many years 
ago travelling to Perth in the old stage-coach days, 
and enjoying the society of a. Scottish clergyman, ,vho 
was a most amusing companion, and full of stories, 
the quaint humour of \vhich accorded ,vith his o\vn 
disposition. 'Vhen ,,"e had come through Glen Farg, 
my companion pointed out that \ve \vere in the parish 
of Dron. 'Vith much humour he introduced an anec- 
dote of a brother minister not of a brilliant order of 
mind, \",ho had terminated in this place a course of 
appointments in the Church, the names of which, at 
least, \vere of an ominous character for a person of 
unimaginative temperament. The ,vorthy man had 
been brought up at the school of Dunse; had been made 
assistant at Dull, a parish near Aberfeldy, in the 
Presbytery of 'Veern; and had here ended his days 
and his clerical career as minister of Dron. 
There can be no doubt that the older school of 
national clergy supply many of our most amusing 
anecdotes; and our pages ,vouid suffer deplorably 
were all the anecdotes taken a\vay which turn upon 
their peculiu.rities of dialect and demeanour. I think 
it will be found, ho\vever, that upon no class of 
society has there been a greater change during the 
last hundred years than on t
le Scottish clergy as 
a body. This, indeed, might, from many circum- 
stances, have been expected. The improved facilities 
for locomotion have had effect upon the retirement 
and isolation of distant country parishes, the more 
lIberal and extended course of study at Scottish 
L 



54 


REJfINISOEJ.VCES o.F 


colleges, the cheaper and wider diffusion of books on 
general literature, of magazines, newspapers, and 
revie,vs. Perhaps, too, we may add that candidates 
for the ministry now more generally originate from 
the higher educated classes of society. But honour 
to the memory of Scottish ministers of the days that 
are gone ! 
The Scottish clergy, from having Inixed so little 
,vith life, ,vere often, no doubt, men of simple habits 
and of very childlike notions. The opinions and feel- 
ings 'v hich t.hey expressed were often of a cast, 'v hich, 
amongst persons of more experience, ,vould appear to 
be not al"rays quite consistent with the clerical 
character. In them it arose from their having nothing 
conventional about them. Thus I have heard of an 
old bachelor clergyman whose landlady declared he 
used to express an opinion of his dinner by the grace 
,vhich he made to follo,v. When he had had a good 
dinner ,vhich pleased him, aud a good glass of beer 
with it, he poured forth the grace, "For the riches of 
thy bounty and its blessings we offer our thanks." 
'Vhen he had had poor fare and poor beer, his grace 
,vas, "The least of these thy mercies." 
Many exalnples of the dry, quaint hUlllonr of the 
class occur in these pages, but there could not be a 
finer specimen than the instance recorded in the 
" Annals of the Parish" of the account given by the 
minister of his own ordination. The ministers were 
all assembled for the occasion; 11rayers had been 
offered, discourses 
elivered, and the time for the 
actual ordination had come. The form is for the can 
didate to kneel do,vn and receive his sacred office by 
the imposition of hands, i.e. the laying on of hands by 
the whole Presbytery. As the attendance of ministers 
was large, a number of hands ,vere stretched forth, 



SCOTTISH LIFE &: CHARACTER. 55 


more than could quite conveniently come up to the 
candidate. An old minister, of the quiet jocose turn 
of mind ,ve speak of, finding himself thus kept at a 
little distance, stretched out his walking staff and 
put it on the young man's head, ,vith the quiet 
remark, "'fhat ,vill do! Timmer to timmer "-timber 
to timber. 
Their style of preaching, too ,vas, no doubt often 
plain and homely. They had not the graces of elocu- 
tion or elegance of diction. But many ,vere faithful 
in their office, and preached Christ as the poor man's 
friend and the Saviour of the lo,yly and the suffering. 
I have kllo,vn Scottish ministers of the old school get 
into a careless indifferent state of ministration; I 
have also kno,vn the hoary head of many a Scottish 
minister go do,vn to the grave a cro,vn of glory, in his 
day and generation more honoured than many ,yhich 
had heen adorned by a mitre. 



5
 


REA'INISCENCES OF 


CHAPTER rrH}
 SECO
D. 


SCOTTISH RELIGIOUS FEELINGS A
D OBSERV AN'CE
. 


PASSING from these remarks on the Scottish Clergy 
of a past day, I would treat the more extensive subject 
of RELIGIOUS FEELINGS and I
ELIGIOUS OBSERVANCES 
generally ,vith the caution and deference due to such 
a question, and I ,vould distinctly premise that there 
is in my mind no intention of entering, in this volulne, 
upon those great questions which are connected ,vith 
certain church movements amongst us, or with national 
peculiarities of faith and discipline. It is impossible, 
however, to overlook entirely the fact of a gradual re- 
laxation, ,vhich has gone on for some years, of the 
sterner features of the Calvinistic school of theology 
- at any rate, of keeping its theoretic peculiarities 
more in the background. 'Vhat ,ve have to notice 
in these pages are changes in the feelings with regard 
to religion and religious 0 bservances, which have 
appeared upon the exterior of society-the changes 
,vhich belong to outward habits rather than to in- 
ternal feelings. Of such changes n1any have taken 
place within my own experience. Scotland has ever 
borne the character of a moral and religious country; 
and the mass of the people are a more church-going 
race than the masses of English population. I am 
not at all prepared to say that in the middle and lower 
ranks of life our countrymen have undergone muc.h 
change in regard to religious observances. But there 



SCOTTISH LlFE J: CHARACTER. 57 


can be no question that amongst the upper classes 
there are manifestations connectgd \vith religion now, 
which son1e years ago were not thought of. The at- 
tendence of rnen on public worship is of itself an ex- 
ample of the change ""e speak of. I am afraid that 
,,,,hen 'V alter Scott described l\Ionkbarns as being with 
difficulty "hounded out" to hear the sermons of good 

lr. Blattergowl, he wrote from a kno,vledge of the 
habits of church-going then generally prevalent among 
Scottish lairds. The late Bishop Sandford told me 
that when he first came to Edinburgh-I suppose fifty 
years ago-fe,v gentlemen attended church-very few 
indeed were seen at the communion-so much so that 
it was a matter of conversation when a male communi- 
cant, not an aged man, was observed at the table for 
the first time. Sydney Smith, when preaching in 
Edinburgh some forty years ago, seeing how almost 
exclusively congregations ,vere made up of ladies, took 
for his text the verse from the Psalms, " Oh that men 
would therefore praise the Lord!" and ,vith that touch 
of the facetious which Inarked everything he did, laid 
the emphasis on the ,vord "TIlen." Looking round the 
congregation and saying, "Oh that men would there- 
fore praise the Lord!" implying that he used the 
,yord, not to describe the human species generally, but 
the male individuals as distinguished from the female 
portion. In regard to attendance by young men, both 
at church and communion, a marked change has taken 
place in my o,yn experience. In fact, there is au 
attention excited to,vards church subjects, which, thirty 
years ago, \yould have been hardly credited. Nor is 
it only in connection with churches and church services 
that these changes have been brought forth, but an 
interest has been raised on the subject from Bible 
societies, missionary associations at home and abToad
 



68 


REMINISCENCES OF 


schools and reformatory institutions, most of ,y hicl
 
as regard active operation, have grown up during fifty 
years. 
N or should I omit to mention, what I trust may be 
considered as a change belonging to religious feeling- 
viz., that conversation is no,v conducted "rithout that 
accompaniment of those absurd and unmeaning oaths 
which \vere once considered an essential embellishment 
of polite discourse. I distinctly recollect an elderly 
gentleman, when describing the opinion of a refined 
and polished female upon a particular point, putting 
into her mouth an unmistakable round oath as the 
natural language in which people's sentiments and 
opinions would be ordinarily conveyed. This is a 
change wrought in men's feelings, which all must hail 
\vith great pleasure. Putting out of sight for a 
moment the sin of such a practice, and the bad in- 
fluence it must have had upon all emotions of reverence 
for the name and attributes of the Divine Being, and 
the natural effect of profane swearing, to "harden a' 
within," we might marvel at the utter folly and incoll- 
gruity of making swearing accompany every expression 
of anger or surprise, or of using oaths as mere ex- 
pletives in common discourse. A quaint anecdote, 
descriptive of such senseless ebullition, I have from a 
friend who mentioned the names of parties concerned: 
-A late Duke of Athole had invited a well-kllo,vn 
character, a writer of Perth, to come up and meet him 
at Dunkeld for the transaction of some business. The 
Duke mentioned the day and hour ,vhen he should 
receive the man of law, who accordingly came 
punctually at the appointed time and place. But the 
Duke had forgotten the appointment, and gone to the 
hill, fronl which he could not return for SOlno hours. 
A IIighlander present described the Perth \vriter's iu- 



SCOTTISH LIÞ'E æ CHARACTER. 59 


dignation, and his mode of sho,ving it by a most 
elaborate course of s,vearing. "But ,vhonl did he 
s \vear at 1" ,vas the inquiry made of the narrator, 'v ho 
replied, "Oh, he didna sweer at ony thing particular, 
but juist stude in ta Iniddle of ta road and s\voor at 
lairge." I have from a friend also an anecdote ,vhich 
sho,vs ho,v entirely at one period the practice of 
s,vearing had become familiar even to female ears 
,vhen mixed up with the intercourse of social life. A 
sister had been speaking òf her brother as luuch 
addicted to this habit-" 001' John sweers R\vfu', and 
we try to correct him; but," she added in a candid 
and apologetic tone, "nae doubt it is a great set aff 
to conversation." There ,vas something of rather an 
admiring character in the description of an outbreak 
of s,vearing by a Deeside body. He had been before 
the meeting of Justices for some offence against the 
excise la\vs, and had been promised some assistance 
and countenance by my cousin, the laird of Finzean, 
who ,vas unfortunately addicted to the practice in 
question. The poor fello,v had not got off so ""ell as 
he had expected, and on giving an account of ,vhat 
took place to a frien d, he was asked, "Eu t did not 
Finzean speak for you 
" " N a/' he replied, "he 
didna say muckle; but oh, he damned bonny!" 
'fhis is the place to notice a change which has 
taken place in regard t.o S01ne questions of taste in 
the building and embellishing of Scottish places of 
,vorship. Some years back there was a great jealousy 
of ornament in connection with churches and church 
services, and, in fact, all such embellishments were 
considered a
 marks of a departure from the sim- 
plicity of old Scottish ,vorship,-they ,yere distinctive 
of Episcopacy as opposed to the severer nlodes of Pres- 
byterianisnl. The late Sir 'Villiam Forbes used to 



80 


REJIIJ.Y'ISOENCES OF 


give an account of a conversation, indicative of thh 
feeling, ,vhich he had overheard bet\veen an Edin. 
burgh inhabitant and his friend from the country. 
1'hey \vere passing St. John's, which had just heen 
finished, and the countryman asked, "'Vhatna kirk 
was that 
" " Oh," said the townsman, "that is an 
English chapel," meaning Episcopalian. "Ay," said 
his friend, "there'll be a ,valth 0' images there." But, 
if unable to sympathise with architectural church 
ornament and embellishment, how much less could 
they sympathise with the performance of divine ser- 
vice, which included such musical accompaniments as 
intoning, chanting, and anthems! On the first in- 
troduction of Tractarianism into Scotland, the full 
choir service had been established in an Episcopal 
church, where a noble family had adopted those views, 
a.nd carried them out regardless of expense. The 
lady \vho had been instrumental in getting up these 
musical services ,vas very anxious that a favourite 
female servant of the family-a Presbyterian of the 
old school-should have an opportunity of hearing 
them; accordingly, she very kindly took her down 
to church in the carriage, and on returning asked her 
what she thought of the music, etc. "Ou, it's verra 
bonny, verra bonny; but oh, my lady, it's an a\vfu' 
way of spending the Sabbath." The good woman 
could only look upon the whole thing as a musical per- 
formance. The organ ,vas a great mark of distinction 
between Episcopalian and Presbyterian places of 
worship. I have heard of an old lady describing an 
Episcopalian c]ergyman, without any idea of disre- 
spect, in these terms :-" Oh, he is a whistle-kirk 
Ininister." From an Australian correspondent I haye 
an account of the difference between an Episcopal 
u1Ïnister and a Presbyterian minister, as remarked 



THE \\iEAVER'
 
I-IOP 


FroJJz a 7J..atcr-colour tf'ra,..ving by 
HE
YRY TV. A-ERR, 
A.R.S.A., R.S.lr. 



--. 


'- 


. j 




SCOTTISH LIFE d: OHARAOTER. 61 


by an old Scottish lady of his acquaintance. Being 
asked in what the difference ,vas supposed to consist, 
after some consideration she replied, ""7" eel, ye see, 
the Presbyterian n1inister wears his sark under his 
coat, the Episcopal minister \vears his sark aboon his 
coat." Of late years, ho,vever, a spirit of greater 
tolerance of such things has been growing up amongst 
us,-a greater tolerance, I suspect, even of organs 
and liturgies. In fact, ,,"e may say a ne\y era has 
bee-un in Scotland as to church architecture and 
'-' 
church ornaments. The use of stained glass in 
churches-forming memorial \vindo,,"s for the de- 
parted, * a free use of crosses as architectural orna- 
Inents, and restoration of ancient edifices, indicate a 
revolution of feeling regarding this question. Beauti- 
ful and expensive churches are rising every,,"here, 
in connection \vith various denominations. It is 
not long since the building or repairing a ne\v church, 
or the repairing and adapting an old church, implied 
in Scotland simply a production of the greatest pos- 
sible degree of ugliness and bad taste at the least 
possible expense, and certainly never included any 
notion of ornament in the details. K O\V, large sums 
are expended on places of ,yorship, \vithout reference 
to creed. First-rate architects are employed. Fine 
Gothic structures are produced. The rebuilding of 
the Greyfriars' Church, the restoration of South Leith 
Church and of Glasgo\Y Cathedral, the very bold 
experiment of adopting a style little kno,vn amongst 
us, the pure Lombard, in a church for Dr. 'v. L. 
Alexander, on George IV. Bridge, Edinburgh; the 
Distinguished examples of these are to be found in the 
Olù Greyfriars' Church, Edinburgh, and in the Catl1edral of 
Glasgow; to say Dot11ing of the beautiful specimens in St 
J ,)hn's Episcopal Church, EdiD burgh. 



62 


RE},IINISOENOES OF 


really splendid Free Churches, St. l\lary's, in Alban} 
Street, and the Barclay Church, Bruntsfield, and 
many similar cases, mark the spirit of the times re- 
garding the application of w hat is beautiful in art to 
the service of religion. One might hope that changes 
such as these in the feelings, tastes, and associat.ions, 
would have a beneficial effect in bringing the "\vor- 
shippers themselves into a more genial spirit of for- 
bearance with each other. A friend of mine used 
to tell a story of an honest builder's views of church 
differences, ,vhich was very amusing, and quaintly 
professional. An English gentleman, 'v ho had arrived 
in a Scottish country town, was walking about to ex- 
amine the various objects which presented themselves, 
and observed t,vo rather handsome places of ,vorship 
in course of erection nearly opposite to each other. 
He addressed a person, ,vho happened to be the con- 
tractor for the chapels, and asked, "What was the 
difference bet,veen these t,vo places of worship which 
were springing up so close to each other 
"-meaning, 
of course, the difference of the theological tenets of 
the t,vo congregations. The contractor, "\vho thought 
only of architectural differences, innocently replied, 
" There may be a difference of sax feet in length, but 
there's no aboon a few inches in the breadth." 'V ould 
that all our religious differences could be brought 
\vithill so narrow a compass! 
The variety of churches in a certain county of Scot- 
!and once called forth a sly remark upon our national 
tendencies to religious division and t,heological dispu- 
tation. An English gentleman sitting on the box, 
ànd observing the great number of places of ","orship 
in the aforesaid borough, remarked to the coachlnan 
that there must be a great deal of religious feeling in 
a to"''!l ,vhich produced so many houses of God 



SCOTTISH LIFE d: CHARAC2'ER. 63 


"Na," said the n1an quietly, "it's no religion, it's 
C1rrstness," i.c. crabbedness, insinuating that acerbity 
of temper, as ,veIl as zeal, ,vas occasionally the cause 
of congregations being multiplied. 
It might be a curious question to consider how far 
motives founded on mere taste or sentiment n1ay 
have operated in creating an interest to,vards religion, 
and in making it a more prominent and popular ques- 
tion than it ,vas in the early portion of the present 
century. There are in this country t,yO causes which 
have combined in producing these effects :-lst. The 
great disruption ".hich took place in the Church of 
Scotland no doubt called forth an attention to the 
subject ,vhich stirred up the public, and made re- 
ligion at any rate a topic of deep interest for discus- 
sion and partizanship. l\fen's minds were not allowed 
to remain in the torpid condition of a past generation. 
2d. The æsthetic movement in religion, ,vhich some 
years since was Inade in England, has, of course, had 
its influence in Scotland; and many who showed 
little concern about religion, ,vhilst it ,vas merely a 
question of doctrines, of precepts, and of worship, 
threw thelnselves keenly into the contest ,vhen it 
became associated ,vith cerelnonial, and music, and 
high art. N e,v ecclesiastical associations have been 
presented to Scottish tastes and feelings. 'Vith some 
minds, attachment to the church is attachment to her 
Gregorian tones, je,velled chalices, lighted candles, 
embroidered altar-cloths, silver crosses, processions, 
copes, albs, and chasubles. But, from ,yhatever cause 
it proceeds, a great change has taken place in the 
general interest excited to,vards ecclesiastical ques- 
tions. Religion no,v has numerous associations ,vith 
the ordinary current of human life. In times past it 
was kept more as a thing apart. There was a false 



tU 


REJf]J.VISGENCES OF 


delicacy which made people shrink from encountering 
appellations that were usually bestowed upon those 
who made a more prominent religious profession than 
the ,vorid at large. 
A great change has taken place in this respect with 
persons of all shades of religious opinions. With an in- 
creased attention to the exteTnals of religion, ,ve believe 
that in many points the heart has been more exercised 
also. Take, as an example, the practice of family prayer. 
Many excellent and pious households of the former 
generation would not venture upon the observance, I am 
afraid, because they were in dread of the sneer. There 
was a foolish application of the terms "Methodist," 
"saints," "over-righteous," where the practice ,vas 
observed. It was to take up a rather decided position 
in the neighbourhood ; and I can testify, that less than 
fifty years ago a family would have been marked and 
talked of for a usage of lvhich now throughout the 
country the exception is rather the unusual circumstance. 
A little anecdote from recollections in my own family 
will furnish a good illustration of a state of feeling on 
this point now happily unkno,vn. In a northern 
town of the east coast, where the earliest recollections 
of my life go back, there ,vas usual1y a detachnlent of 
a regiment, ,vho were kindly received and welcomed to 
the society, '\\"hich in the \vinter months was very full 
and very gay. There was the usual measure of dining
 
dancing, supping, card-playing, and gossiping, ,vhich 
prevailed in country towns at the time. The officers 
were of course an object of much interest to the natives, 
and their habits were much discussed. A friend was 
staying in the family \vho partook a good deal of the 
Athenian temperament-viz. delight in hearing and 
telling some new thing. On one occasion she burst 
forth in great excitement ,vith the intelligence tlJat 



SCOT1'ISH LIFE & OH.ARACTER. 65 


" Sir Nathaniel Duckinfield, the officer in command of 
the detachment, had family prayers every morning!" 
A very near and dear relative of mine, knowing the 
tendency of the lady to gossip, pulled her up with 
the exclamation: "Ho,v can you repeat such things, 

Iiss Ogilvy 1 nothing in the ,vorld but the ill-natured 
stories of Montrose]" The remark ,vas made quite 
innocently, and unconsciously of the bitter satire it con- 
veyed upon the feeling of the place. The" ill-nature" 
of these stories ,vas true enough, because ill-nature 
,vas the motive of those ,vho raised them; not because 
it is an ill-natured thing of itself to say of a family 
that they have household ,vorship, but the ill-nature 
consisted in their int.ending to thro,v out a sneer and 
a sarcasm upon a subject ,vhere all such reflections 
are unbecoming and indecorous. I t is one of the best 
proofs of change of habits and associations on this 
Inatter, that the anecdote, exquisite as it is for our pur- 
pose, will hardly be understood by many of our young 
friends, or, at least, happily has lost much of its force 
and pungency. 
These remarks apply perhaps more especially to 
the state of religious feeling amongst the upper classes 
of society. Though I am not a,vare of so much 
change in the religious habits of the Scottish 
peasantry, still the elders have yielded much from 
the sternness of David Deans; and upon the ,vhole 
view of the question there have been many and great 
changes in the Scottish people during the last sixty 
years. It could hardly be otherwise, \vhen ,ve con- 
sider the increased facilities of communication between 
the two countries- a facility ,vhich extends to the 
introduction of English books upon religious subjects 
The most popular and engaging ,vorks connected 
\\pith the Church of England have no,v a free circu- 



66 


REJ,IINISOEl\.CES OF 


lation in Scotland; and it is impossible that such 
productions as the " Christian Year," for example, 
and many others-whether for good or bad is not 
now the question-should not produce t.heir effects 
upon minds trained in the strictest school of Calvin- 
istic theology. I should be disposed to extend the 
boundaries of this division, and to include under 
"Religious Feelings and Religious Observances U 
many anecdotes which belong perhaps rather indi- 
rectly than directly to the subject. There is a very 
interesting reminiscence, and one of a sacred charac- 
ter also, which I think ,vill come very suitably under 
this head. 'Vhen I joined the Scottish Episcopal 
Church, nearly fifty years ago, it was quite customary 
for members of our communion to ask for the blessing 
of their Bishop, and to ask it especially on any 
remarkable event in their life, as marriage, loss of 
friends, leaving home, returning home, etc.; and it 
,vas the custom amongst the old Scottish Episcopalians 
to give the blessing in a peculiar form, which had 
become venerable from its traditionary application 
by our bishops. I have n1yself received it from my 
bishop, the late good Bishop Walker, and have heard 
him pronounce it on others. But whether the custom 
of asking the bishop's blessing be past or not, the 
form I speak of has become a reminiscence, and I 
feel assured is not known even by some of our own 
bishops. I shall give it to my readers as I received 
it from the family of the late Bishop 'Valker of 
:Edinburgh :- 
" God Almighty bless thee with his Holy Spirit; 
Guard thee in thy going out and coming in ; 
Keep thee ever in his faith and fear; 
Free from Sin, and safe from Danger." 
I have been much pleased ,vith a remark of my 



SCOT'l'IS1J LIFB ,{o CHARACTER. 67 
friend, the Rev. 'v. Gillespie of the U, P. Church, 
Edinburgh, upon this subject. He ,vrites to me as fol- 
lows :-" I read ,vith particular interest the paragraph 
on the subject of the Bishop's Blessing, for certainly 
there seems to be in these days a general disbelief in 
the efficacy of blessings, and a neglect or disregard 
of the practice. If the spirit of God is in good men, 
as He certainly is, then ,vho can doubt the value and 
the efficacy of the blessing ,yhich they besto,v 
 I 
remember being blessed by a very venerable n1Ínister, 
John Dempster of Denny, ,vhile kneeling in his 
study, shortly before I left this country to go to 
China, and his prayer over me then ,vas surely the 
effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man. Its effect 
upon me then and ever since ,vill never be forgotten. J: 
I quite agree ,vith 
Ir. Gillespie on the point, and 
think it not a good sign either of our religious belief 
or religious feeling that such blessings should become 
really a matter of reminiscence; for if lye are taught 
to pray for one another, and if ,ve are taught that 
the "prayer of the righteous availeth much," surely 
,ve ought to bless one another, and surely the blessing 
of those ,vho are venerable in the church fron1 their 
position, their age, and their piety, may be expected 
to avail as an aid and incentive to piety in those 
,vho in God's name are so blest. It has struck 
me that on a subject closely allied ,vith religious 
feelings a great change has taken place in Scotland 
during a period of less tban fifty years-I mean the 
attention paid to cemeteries as depositories of the 
mortal remains of those ,vho have departed. In my 
early days I never recollect seeing any efforts made 
{or the embellishment and adornment of our church- 
yards; if tolerably secured by fences, enough had 
bee.n donc. The English and 'Velsh practices of 



88 


RE.1II
VISCE1VCES OF 


planting flowers, keeping the turf smooth and dressed 
over the graves of friends, ,vere quite unknown. In- 
deed, I suspect such attention fifty years ago ,vould 
have been thought by the sterner Presbyterians as 
some,vhat savouring of superstition. The account 
given by Sir 'V. Scott, in "Guy lVlannering," of an 
Edinburgh burial-place, ,vas universally applicable to 
Scottish sepulchres. *' A very different state of 
matters has grO"\vn up ,vithin the last fe,v years. 
Cemeteries and churchyards are now as carefully orna- 
mented in Scotland as in England. Shrubs, flowers, 
smooth turf, and neatly-kept gravel ,valks, are a 
pleasing accompaniment to head-stones, crosses, and 
varied forms of monumental memorials, in freestone, 
marble, and granite. Nay, more than these, not 
unfrequently do ,ve see an imitation of French senti- 
ment, in wreaths of " everlasting" placed over graves 
as emblems of immortality; and in more than one of 
our Edinburgh cemeteries I have seen these enclosed 
in glass cases to preserve them from the effects of 
,vind and rain. 
In consequence of neglect, the unprotected state of 
churchyards ,vas evident from the number of stories 
in circulation connected with the circumstance of 
timid anù excited passengers going amongst the tombs 
of the village. The following, amongst others, has 
been communicated. The locale of the story is un- 
kno,vn, but it is told of a weaver ,vho, after enjoying 


* "This was a square enclosure in the Greyfriars' Churchyard, 
guarded on one side by a veteran angel without a nose, and hav- 
ing only one wing, who had the merit of having maintained his 
post for a century, while his comrade cherub, who had stood 

entinel on the corresponding pedestal, lay a broken trunk, 
among the hemlock, burdock, and nettles, which grew in gigan- 
tic luxuriance around the walls of the mausoleum." 



SOúTTISH LIFE 
 OHARAOTER. 69 


his potations, pursued his way home through the 
churchyard, his vision and walking some,vhat im- 
paired. As he proceeded he diverged fronl the path, 
and unexpectedly stumbled into a partially made 
grave. Stunned for a while, he lay in ,vonder at his 
descent, and after S0111e time he got out, but he had 
not proceeded Inuch farther when a similar calamity 
befell him. At this second fall, he was heard, in a 
tone of wonder and surprise, to utter the following 
exclamation, referring to ,vhat he considered the un- 
tenanted graves: "Ay! ir ye a' up an' awa 1" 
The kindly feelings and interest of the pastoral 
relation always formed a very pleasing intercourse 
between minister and people. I have received from 
an anonymous correspondent an anecdote illustrative 
of this happy connection, for which he vouches as 
authentic :- 
John Bro,vn, Burgher minister at Whitburn (son 
of the commentator, and father of the late Rev. Dr. John 
Bro,vn of Edinburgh, and grandfather of the present 
accomplished M.D. of the same name, author of "Rab 
and his Friends," etc.), in the early part of the century 
was travelling on a small sheltie* to attend the 
summer sacrament at Haddington. Between Mus- 
selburgh and Tranent he overtook one of his own 
people. "What are ye daein' here, Janet, and whaur 
ye gaun in this warm weather 
" "'Deed, sir," quo' 
Janet, "I'm gaun to Haddington 101" the occasion,t an' 
expeck to hear ye preach this efternoon." " Very 
weel, Janet, but whaur ye gaun tae sleep 1" "I 
dinna ken, sir, but Providence is aye kind, an'll pro- 
vide a bed." On Mr. Brown jogged, but kindly 
thought of his humble follower; accordingly, after 
8ervice in the afternoon, before pronouncing the bless- 
· A Shetland pony. t The Lord's Supper. 
M 



70 


REA/L..
{ISOENOBS OJl 


ing, he said from the pulpit, "Whaur's the auld 
wifie that followed me frae Whitburn
" H Here 
I'm, sir," uttered a shrill voice from a back seat. 
" A wee}," said Mr. Bro\vn, "I have fand ye a bed; 
ye're to sleep wi' Johnnie Fife's lass." 
There ,vas at all times amongst the older Scottish 
peasantry a bold assertion of their religious opinions, 
and strong expression of their feelings. The spirit 
of the Covenanters lingered amongst the aged people 
whom I remember, but which time has considerably 
softened down. We have some recent authentic in- 
stances of this readiness in Scotsmen to bear testi- 
mony to their principles :- 
A friend has informed me that the late Lord 
Rutherfurd often told with much interest of a rebuke 
which he received from a shepherd, near Bonaly, 
alnongst the Pentlands. He had entered into con- 
versation \vith him, and was cO:plplaining bitterly of 
the weather, ,,"hich prevented him enjoying his visit 
to the country, and said hastily and unguardedly, 
"What a d-d mist!" and then expressed his 
wonder how or for ,vhat purpose there should have 
been such a thing created as east wind. The 
shepherd, a tall, grim figure, turned sharp round 
upon him. ""''11at ails ye at the mist, sir 1 it weets 
the sod, it slockens the yowes, and"-adding with 
much solemnity-" it's God's wull ;" and turned a\vay 
with lofty indignation. Lord Rutherfurd used to 
repeat this with much can dour as a fine specimen of 
a rebuke from a sincere and simple mind. 
There was something very striking in the homely, 
quaint, and severe expressions on religious subjects 
which marked the old-fashioned piety of persons 
shadowed forth in Sir Walter Scott's Davie Deans. 
We may add to the rebuke of the shepherd of Bonaly 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 OHARACTER. 11 


of Lord Rutherfurd's remark about the east wind, his 
ans\ver to Lord Cockburn, the proprietor of Bonaly. 
He was sitting on the hill-side with the shepherd, and 
observing the sheep reposing in the coldest situatiol], 
he 0 bserved to him, "J ohn, if I were a sheep, I 
would lie on the other side of the hill." The 
shepherd answered, " Ay, my lord, but if ye had been 
a sheep ye would hae had mair sense." 
Of such men as this shepherd ,vere formed the 
elders-a class of men ,vho were marked by strong 
features of character, and who, in former times, bore 
a distinguished part in all church matters. 
The old Scottish elder ,vas in fact quite as dif- 
ferent a character from the modern elder, as the old 
Scottish minister was from the modern pastor. These 
good men ,vere not disposed to hide their lights, a.nd 
perhaps sometimes encroached a little upon the office 
of the minister. A clergyman had been remarking 
to one of his elders that he was unfortunately invited 
to t,vo funerals on one day, and that they were fixed 
for the same hour. " 'Veel, sir," answered the elder, 

, if ye'll tak the tane I'll tak the tither." 
Some of the elders ",yere great humorists and 
originals in their way. An elder of the kirk at 
Muthill used to manifest his humour and originality 
by his nlode of collecting the alms. As he ,vent 
round \vith the ladle, he reminded such members of 
the congregation as seemed backward in their duty, 
by giving them a poke with the "brod," and making, 
in an audible ,vhisper, such renlarks as these-"'Vife at 
the braid Inailin, n1Îlld the puir ;" "Lass wi' the bra,\T 
plaid, mind the puir," etc., a mode of collecting which 
marks rather a bygone state of things. But on no 
question ,vaa the old Scottish disciplinarian, whether 
elder or not: more sure to raise his testin10ny than on 



7
 


BE.}fINISOENOES OJl 


anything connected with a desecration of the Sabbath. 
In this spirit was the rebuke given to an eminent 
geologist, when visiting in the Highlands :-The 
professor was ,valking on the hills one Sunday 
morning, and partly from the effect of habit, and 
partly from not adverting to the very strict notions 
of Sabbath desecration entertained in Ross-shire, had 
his pocket hamnler in hand, and ,vas thoughtlessly 
breaking the specimens of minerals he picked up by 
the way. Under these circumstances, he ,vas met by 
an old man steadily pursuing his ,vay to his church. 
For some time the patriarch observed the move- 
ments of the geologist, and at length, going up to 
him, quietly said, "Sir, ye're breaking something 
there forbye the stanes!" 
The same feeling, under a more fastidious form, was 
exhibited to a traveller by a Scottish peasant :-An 
English artist travelling professionally through Scot- 
land, had occasion to remain over Sunday in a small 
town in the north. To while away the time, he walked 
out a short way in the environs, where the picturesque 
ruin of a castle met his eye. He asked a countrJtman 
who was passing to be so good as tell him the name 
of the castle. The reply was sonlewhat startling- 
" It's no the day to be speerin' sic things I" 
A manifestation of even still greater strictness on 
the subject of Sabbath desecration, I have received 
from a relative of the family in which it occurred. 
About fifty years ago the Hon. Mrs. Stewart lived in 
Heriot Ro,v, ,vho had a cook, ,Jeannie by name, a 
paragon of excellence. One Sunday morning when 
her daughter (afterwards Lady Elton) went into the 
kitchen, she \\yas surprised to find a new jack (recently 
orùered and which ,vas constructed on the principle 
of gOlug constalltl.y ,vithout winding up) wholly para- 



l{(JOTTL(jH LIFE k CHARACTER. 7" 


lysed and useless. Miss Stewart naturally inquired 
what accident had happened to the new jack, as it 
had stopped. The mystery was soon solved by Jeannie 
indignantly exclaiming that "she was llae gaeing to 
hae the fule thing clocking and rinning about in her 
kitchen a' the blessed Sabbath day." 
There sometimes appears to have been in our country- 
nlen an undue preponderance of zeal for Sabbath 
observance as cornpared with the importance attached 
to other religious duties, and especially as compared 
,vith the virtue of sobriety. The following dialogue 
bet\veen 1\Ir. ]'facnee of Glasgow, the celebrated artist, 
and an old Highland acquaintance whom he had met 
with unexpectedly, ,vill illustrate the contrast between 
the severity of judgment passed upon treating the 
Sabbath with levity and the lighter censure attached 
to indulgence in whisky. Mr.l\lacnee begins, "Donald, 
what brought you here
" "Ou, weel, sir, it vtas a 
baad place yon; they were baad folk-but they're a 
God.fearin' set 0' folk here I" " Well, Donald," said 
l\lr. 
I., "I'm glad to hear it." "Ou ay, sir, 'deed 
are they; an' I'll gie ye an instance o't. Last Sabbath, 
just as the kirk ,vas skailin,' there was a drover chield 
frae Dumfries comin' along the road whustlin,' an' 
lookin' as happy as if it was ta middle 0' ta \veek; 
,veel, sir, oor laads is a God-fearin' set 0' laads, an' 
they were just comin' oot 0' the kirk-'od they yokit 
upon him, an' a'most killed him !" Mr. 1\1., to whom 
their zeal seemed scarcely sufficiently ,veIl directed to 
merit his approbation, then asked Donald ".hether it 
had been drunkenness that induced the depravity of his 
former neighbours 
 " 'Veel, weel, sir," said Donald.. 
with some hesitation, I: may-be; I'll no say but it 
micht." "Depend upon it," said Mr. 
f., "it's a bad 
thing whisky." " W eel, weel. sir," replied Donald, 




4 


RF:MI,lvISCENOES OF 


"I'll no say but it may;" adding in a very decided 
tone-" speeciallie baad whusky !" 
I do not know any anecdote which illustrates in a 
more striking and natural manner the strong feeling 
which exists in the Scottish mind on this subject. At 
a certain time, the hares in the neighbourhood of a 
Scottish burgh had, from the inclemency of the season 
or from some other cause, become emboldened more 
than usual to approach the dwelling-places of men; 
so much so that on one Sunday morning a hare ,vas 
seen skipping along the street as the people were go- 
ing to church. An old man, spying puss in this un- 
usual position, significantly remarked, " Ay, yon beast 
kens weel it is the Sabbath-day;" taking it for granted 
that no one in the place would be found audacious 
enough to hurt the animal on a Sunday. 
Lady Macneil supplies an excellent pendant to Miss 
Stewart's story about the jack going on the SundaJ'. 
ller henwife had got some Dorking fowls, and on 
I.Jady M. asking if they were laying many eggs, she 
repJied, with great earnestness, "Indeed my leddy, 
they lay every day, nu' excepting the blessed Sabbath." 
There were, however, old persons at that time who 
were not quite so orthodox on the point of Sabbath 
observance; and of these a lady residing in Dumfries 
was known often to employ her wet Sundays in ar- 
ranging her wardrobe. "Preserve us!" she said on 
one occasion, "anither gude Sunday! I dinna ken 
whan I'll get thae dra,vers redd up." 
In connection with the awful subject of death and 
all its concomitants, it has been often remarked that 
the older generation of Scottish people used to view 
the circumstances belonging to the decease of their 
nearest and dearest friends ,vith a coolnpss which does 
not at first sight seem consistent with their deep and 



SCOTTISH LIFJ! d: CHARACTER. 75 


sincere religious inlpressions. Amongst the peasantry 
this was sometimes manifested in 
n extraordinary 
and startling manner. I do not believe that those 
persons had less affection for their friends than a cor- 
responding class in England, but they had less awe 
ùf the concomitants of death, and approached them 
\vit.h more familiarity. For example, I remember 
long ago at Fasque, Iny sister-in-Ia,y visiting a worthy 
and attached old couple, of ,vhom the husband, Charles 
Duncan, \vho had been gardener at Fasqne for above 
thirty years \vas evidently dying. He \vas sitting on 
a common deal chair, and on my sister proposing to 
send do,vn for his use an old arm-chair which she re- 
collected was laid up in a garret, his \vife exclaimed 
against such a needless trouble: "Rout, my leddy, 
wbat would he be duin' "vi' an arm-chair 1 he's just 
deein' fast a\va." I have t\VO anecdotes, illustrative 
of the same state of feeling, fron1 a lady of ancient 
Scottish fan1ily accustomed to visit her poor depend- 
ants on the property, and to notice their ,vays. She 
was calling at a decent cottage, and found the occu- 
pant busy carefully ironing out some ]inens. Th
 lady 
remarked, "Those are fine linens you have got thrre, 
Janet." " Troth, mem," \vas the reply, "they're just 
the gudeman's deed claes, and there are nane better 
i' the parish." On another occasion, \vhen visiting 
an excellent woman, to condole ,vith her on the death 
of her nephew, ,vith ,vhom she had lived, and whose 
loss lnust have been severely felt by her, she remarked, 
""That a nice white cap you have got, 1vlargaret." 
"Indeed, mem, ay, sae it is; for ye see the gude lad's 
,vinding. sheet ,vas o,ver lang, and I cut aff as mnckle 
as made twa bonny nlutches " (caps). 
There certainly ,vas a quaint and familiar manner 
in which saered and solemn subjects were referred to 



16 


REJfINISCENCES OF 


by the older Scottish race, who did not mean to 
be irreverent, but who no doubt appeared so to a 
more refined but not really a more religious genera- 
tion. 
It seems to me that this plainness of speech arose 
in part from the sincerity of their belief in all the 
cirCUlnstances of another condition of being. They 
spoke of t.hings hereafter as positi,re certainties, and 
viewed things invisible through the same medium as 
they viewed things present. The following is illustra- 
tive of such a st.ate of mind, and I am assured of its 
perfect authenticity and literal correctness: - " Joe 
M'Pherson and his wife lived in Inverness. They had 
t,vo sons, who helped theirfather in his trade of a smith. 
They were industrious and careful, but not successful. 
The old man had bought a house, leaving a large part 
of the price unpaid. It was the ambition of his life 
to payoff that debt, but it ,vas too much for him, 
and he died in the struggle. His sons kept on the 
business with the old industry, and with better for- 
tune. .A..t last their old mother fell sick, and told her 
sons she was dying, as in truth she was. The elder 
son said to her, 'Mother, you'll soon be with my 
father; no doubt you'll have much to tell him; but 
dinna forget this, mother, mind ye, tell him the house 
is freed. He'll be glad to hear that.' " 
A similar feeling is manifest in the following con- 
versation, which, I am assured, is authentic: - At 
Hawick the people used to wear wooden clogs, which 
make a clanking noise on the pavement. A dying 
old woman had some friends by her bed-side, who 
said to her, "W eel, Jenny, ye are gaun to heeven, an' 
gin you should see oor folk, you can tell them that 
we're a' weel." To which Jenny replied, "W eel, gin 
I ehould see them I'se tell them, but you manna ex- 



THE '\
EA VER 


From a 'ZlJate'r-cowur drawÙlg ly 
HENRY IV. KERR, 
A.R.S.A. R.S.lf' 




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..........,.. 


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'I- 


t!' 




SCOTTISH LIFE I: CHARACTER. 71 


pect that I am to gang clank clanking through heevan 
looking for your folk." 
But of all stories of this class, I think the following 
death-bed conversation bet,veen a Scottish husband 
and ,vife is about the richest specimen of a dry Scot- 
tish matter-of-fact view of a very serious question :- 
An old shoemaker in Glasgo,v was sitting by the bed- 
side of his wife, who was dying. She took him by 
the hand. " Weel, John, we're gawin to part. I 
hae been a gude ,vife to you, J-ohn." "Oh, just 
rniddlil1g, just middling, Jenny," said John, not dis-- 
posed to commit himself. "John," says she, "ye 
maUD promise to bury me in the auld kirk-yard at 
Stra'von, beside my mither. I couldna rest in peace 
among uneo folk, in the dirt and smoke 0' Glasgow." 
"'Veel, weel, Jenny, my woman," said John sooth- 
ingly, "we'll just pit you in the Gorbals jifrst, and gin 
ye dinna lie quiet, ,ve'll try you sine in Stra'von." 
The same unimaginative and matter-of-fact view of 
things connected with the other world extended to a 
very youthful age, as in the case of a little boy who, 
when told of heaven, put the question, "An' will 
faather be there 1" His instructress answered, "of 
course, she hoped he would be there;" to which he 
sturdily at once replied, "Then 1']1 no gang." 
'Ve might apply these remarks in some measure to 
the Scottish pulpit ministrations of an older school, in 
,vhich a minuteness of detail and a quaintness of ex- 
pression ,vere quite common, but which could not now 
be tolerated. I have two specimens of such antiquated 
language, supplied by correspondents, and I am assured 
they are both genuine. 
The first is from a St. ...t\ndrews professor, who is 
stated to be a great authority in such narratives. 
In one of our northern counties, a rural district had 



7R 


REJJIJ.VISCENCE8 OF 


its harvest operations affected by continuous rains. 
The crops being much laid, wind was desired in order 
to restore them to a condition fit for the sickle. A 
minister, in his Sabbath services, expressed their want 
in prayer as follows :-" 0 Lord, we pray thee to 
send us wind; no a rantin' tantin' tearin' wind, but a 
noohin' (noughin 1) soughin' winnin' wind." More 
expressive words than these could not be found in any 
language. 
The other story relates to a portion of the Presb)"- 
terian service on sacramental occasions, called "fencing 
the tables," i.e. prohibiting the approach of those who 
were unworthy to receive. 
This fencing of the tables was performed in the 
following effective manner by an old divine, whose 
flock transgressed the third commandment, not in a 
gross and loose manner, but in its minor details :-" I 
debar all those who use such minced oaths as faith! 
troth! 10sh! gosh! and lovanendie !" 
These men often showed a quiet vein of humour in 
their prayers, as in the case of the old minister of the 
Canongate, who always prayed, previous to the meeting 
of the General Assembly, that the Assembly might 
be so guided as "no to do ony ha1.m." 
A circumstance connected with Scottish church dis- 
cipline has undergone a great change in my time-I 
mean the public censure from the pulpit, in the time 
of divine service, of offenders previously convicted be- 
fore the minister and his kirk-session. This was per- 
formed by the guilty person standing up before the 
congregation on a raised platform, called the cully stool, 
and receiving a rebuke. I never sa,v it done, but 
have heard in my part of the country of the discipline 
being enforced occasionally. Indeed, J recollect an 
instance \vhere the rébuke was thus administered and 



SCOTTISH LIFE J: OHARACTER. 7' 


received under circumstances of a touching character, 
and which made it partake of the moral sublime. The 
daughter of the minister had herself committed an 
offence against moral }ulrity, such as usually called 
forth this church censure. The minister peremptorily 
refused to make her an exception to his ordinary 
practice. His child stood up in the congregation, and 
received, from her agonised father, a rebuke similar 
to that administered to other nlembers of his congre- 
gation for a like offence. The spirit of the age became 
unfavourable to the practice. The rebuke on the cutty 
stool, like the penance in a white sheet in England, 
went out of use, and the circumstance is now a matter 
of" reminiscence." I have received some communica- 
tions on the subject, which bear upon this point; and I 
subjoin the following remarks from a kind correspond- 
ent, a clergyman, to ,vhom I am largely indebted, 
a!5 indicating the great change which has taken place 
in this matter. 
"Church discipline," he \vrites, "'\"as much more 
vigorously enforced in olden time than it is now. A 
certain couple having been guilty of illicit intercourse, 
and also "ithin the forbidden degrees of consangui- 
nity, appeared before the Presbytery of Lanark, and 
made confession in sackcloth. They ,vere ordered to 
return to their own session, and to stand at the kirk- 
door, barefoot and barelegged, from the second bell to 
the last, and thereafter in the public place of repent- 
ance; and, at direction of the session, thereafter to 
go through the \vhole kirks of the presbytery, and to 
satisfy them in like manner. If such penance wert' 
now enforced for like offences, I believe the registra- 
tion books of many parishes in Scotland would be- 
come nlore creditable in certain particulars than th{\y 
unfortunately are at the present time." 



t 


8-) 


REMINISCENCES 011 


But there was a less formidable ecclesiastical cen.. 
sure occasionally given by the minister from the 
pulpit against lesser misdemeanours, which took place 
under Ilis own eye, such as levity of conduct or sleep- 
ing in church. .l\. most amusing specimen of such 
censure ,vas once inflicted by the minister upon his 
own \vife for an offence not in our day visited with 
so heavy a penalty. The clergyman had observed 
one of his flock asleep during his serInon. He paused, 
and called him to order. "Jeems Robson, ye are 
sleepin'; I insist on your \vauking when God's \vord 
is preached to ye." "'V eel, sir, you may look at your 
ain seat, and ye'll see a sleeper forbye me," ans,vered 

Teems, pointing to the clergyman's lady in the minis- 
ter's pew. "Then, Jeems," said the minister, "when 
ye see my ,vife asleep again, haud up your hand." 
By and by the arm was stretched out, and sure enough 
the fair lady was caught in the act. Her husba.nd 
60lenlnly called upon her to stand up and receive the 
censure due to her offence. He thus addressed 
her :-" 1'Irs. B., a'body kens that ,vhen I got ye for 
my wife, I got nae beauty; yer frien's ken that 
I got nae siller; and if I dinna get God's grace, I 
shall hae a puir bargain indeed." 
The quaint and original humour of the old Scottish 
minister came out occasionally in the more private 
services of his vocation as well as in church. As the 
whole service, whether for baptisms or marriages, is 
supplied by the clergyman officiating, there is more 
scope for scenes between the parties present than at 
similar Ininistrations by a prescribed form. Thus, a 
1ate nlinister of Caithness, \vhen examining a member 
of his flock, \vho was a butcher, in reference to the 
baptism of his child. found him so deficient in ,vhat 
he considered the needful theological kno,,,-ledge, that 



SCOTTISH LIFE do CHARAOTER. 81 


he said to him, "Ah, Sandy, I doubt ye're no 1Ìt to 
haud up the bairn." Sandy, conceiving that reference 
,vas made not to spiritual but to physical incapacity, 
answered indignantly, "Hout, nlinister, I could haud 
him up an he ,vere a twa-year-auld stirk." - A late 
humorous old minister, near Peebles, who had strong 
feelings on the subject of lnatrinlonial happiness, thus 
prefaced the ceremony by an address to the parties ,vho 
came to hin1 :-" 1\ly friends, marriage is a blessing 
to a fe,v, a curse to many, and a great uncertainty to 
all. Do ye venture 1" After a pause, he repeated with 
great emphasis, " Do ye venture f' No objection being 
made to the venture, he then said, "Let's proceed." 
The old Scottish hearers were very particular on the 
subject of their minister's preaching old sermons; and 
to repeat a discourse which they could recollect ,yas 
always made a subject of animadversion by those "Tho 
heard it. A beadle, who \vas a good deal of a wit in 
his way, gave a sly hit in his pretended defence of 
his minister on the question. As they were proceed- 
ing from church, the minister observed the beadle had 
been laughing as if he had triumphed over some of the 
parishioners with ,vhom he had been in conversation. 
On asking the cause of this, he received for ans,ver. 
" Dod, sir, they were saying ye had preached an auld 
sermon to-day, but I tackled them, for I tauld them 
it was no an auld sermon, for the minister had preach- 
ed it no sax months syne." 
I remerllber the minister of Banchory, l\Ir. Gregory, 
availed himself of the feelings of his people on this sub., 
ject for t.he purpose of accomplishing a particular ob- 
ject. During the building of the new church the 
service had to be performed in a schoolroom, ,y hich 
did Dot nearly hold the congregation. The object ,vas 
* Bullock. 



8
 


REMINISOENOES OF 


to get part of the parish to attend in the morning, 
and part in the afternoon. Mr. Gregory prevented 
those who had attended in the ll10rning from return- 
ing in the afternoon by just giving them, as he said, 
" cauld kail het again. U 
It is son1e,vhat remarkable, ho,vever, that, notwith- 
standing this feeling in the matter of a repetition of 
old serlnons, there was amongst a large class of Scot- 
tish preachers of a former day such a sameness of 
subject as really sometimes made it difficult to dis- 
tinguish the discourse of one Sunday from al110ngst 
others. These were entirely doctrinal, and however 
they might commence, after the opening or intro- 
duction hearers were certain to find the preacher 
falling gradually into the old channel. The fall of 
man in Adam, his restoration in Christ, justification 
by faith, and the terms of the new covenant, formed 
the staple of each sermon, and without ,vhich it was 
not in fact reckoned complete as an orthodox exposi- 
tion of Christian doctrine. Without omitting the 
essentials of Christian instruction, preachers now take 
a wider view of illustrating and explaining the gospel 
scheme of salvation and regeneration, without constant 
recurrence to the elemental and fundamental principles 
of the faith. From my friend Dr. Cook of Haddington 
(who it is \vell known has a copious stock of old Scotch 
traditionary anecdotes) I have an admirable illustration 
of this state of things as regards pulpit instruction. 
"Much of the preaching of the Scotch clergy," Dr. 
Cook observes, "in the last century, ,vas almost exclu. 
sively doctrinal-the fall: the nature, the extent, and 
the application of the remedy. In the hands of able 
men, no doubt, there might be much variety of exposi- 
tion, but with weaker or indolent men preaching 
extempore, or without notes, it too often ended in a 



SOOTTISH LIFE æ CHARAOTER. 83 


weekly repetition of what had been alrea.dy said. An 
old elder of mine, ,vhose recollection might reach back 
from sixty to seventy years, said to me one day, 'No\v- 
a-days, people make a work if a minister preach the 
same sermon over again in the course of two or three 
years. 'Vhen I was a boy, ,ve ,vould have wondered 
if old Mr. W had preached anything else that: 
what we heard the Sunday. before.' MyoId friend 
used to tell of a clergyman ,vho had held forth on 
the broken covenant till his people longed for a 
change. The elders waited on him to intimate their 
wish. They were examined on their knowledge of 
the subject, found deficient, rebuked, and dismissed, 
but after a little ,vhile they returned to the charge, 
and the minister gave in. Next Lord's day he read 
a large portion of the history of Joseph and his 
brethren, as the subject of a lecture. He paraphrased 
it, greatly, 110 doubt, to the detriment of the original, 
but much to the satisfaction of his people, for it was 
something new. He finished the paraphrase, 'and 
no'v,' says he, 'my friends, we shall proceed to draw 
some lessons and inferences; and, 1st, you will observe 
that the !acks of Joseph's brethren ,vere rripit, and ill 
them was found the cup; so your sacks will be ripit 
at the day of judglnent, and the first thing found in 
them will be the broken covenant;' and having gain- 
ed this advantage, the sermon ,vent off into the usual 
strain, and embodied the usual heads of elenlentary 
dogmatic theology." 
In connection with this topic, I have a communi- 
cation from a correspondent, who remarks-The story 
,..bout the minister and his favourite theme, "the bro- 
ken covenant," reminds me of one respecting another 
minister \vhose staple topics of discourse were" Justi- 
fication, Adoption, and Sanctification." Into every 



84 


REJIINISOEllOES OF 


dermon he preached, he managed, by hook or by crook. 
to force these three heads, so that his general method 
of handling every text was not so much expos,itio as 
irnpos-itio. He was preaching on these words -" Is 
Ephraim my dear son 
 Is he a pleasant child 
" and 
he soon brought the question into the usual formula 
by adding, Ephraim was a pleasant child-first, because 
he was a justified child; second, because he was an 
adopted child; and third, because he was a sanctified 
child. 
It should be relnembered, ho\vever, that the Scottish 
peasantry themselves-l mean those of the older 
school-delighted in expositions of doctrinal subjects, 
and in fact were extremely jealous of any minister 
,vho departed from their high standard of orthodox 
divinity, by selecting subjects \vhich involved discus- 
sions of strictly moral or practical questions. It was 
condemned under the epithet of legal preaching; in 
other ,vords, it was supposed to preach the law as 
independent of the gospel. A worthy old clergyman 
having, upon the occasion of a communion 1vlonday, 
taken a text of such a character, was thus commented 
on by an ancient dame of the congregation, who ,vas 
previously acquainted ,vith his style of discourse:- 
"If there's an ill text in a' the Bible, that creetur's 
aye sure to tak it." 
The great change-the great hnprovement, I would 
say-which has taken place during the last half-cen- 
tury in the feelings and practical relations of religion 
with social life is, that it has become more diffused 
through all ranks and all characters. Before that 
period 111any good sort of people ,vere afraid of nlaking 
their religious views very prominent, and were al,vay
 
separated from those who did. Persons w 110 made fi 
profession at all beyond the low standard generallJ 



SCOTTISH LJFE d: CHARACTER. Sf- 


adopted in society ,vere marked out as objects of fear 
or of distrust. The anecdote at page 65 regarding 
the practice of fan1ily prayer fully proves this. N o,v 
religious people and religion itself are not kept aloof 
from the ordinary current of men's thoughts and ac- 
tions. There is no such marked line as used to be 
drawn round persons who make a decided profession 
of religion. Christian men and ,vornen have stepped 
over the line, and, ,vithout compromising their 
Christian principle, are not necessarily either morose, 
uncharitable, or exclusive. The effects of the old 
separation ,,"ere injurious to men's minds. Religion 
,vas with many associated with puritanism, with cant, 
and unfitness for the ,vorid. The difference is marked 
also in the style of iermons prevalent at the two 
periods. There ,vere sermons of two descriptions-viz., 
sermons by "rnoderate " clergy, of a purely moral or 
practical character; and sermons purely doctrinal, 
from those ,vho were known as " evangelical " minis- 
ters. Hence arose an impression, and not unnaturally, 
on many minds, that an almost exclusive reference 
to doctrinal subjects, and a dread of upholding the 
law, and of enforcing its more minute details, ,vere 
not favourable to the cause of moral rectitude and 
practical holiness of life. This ,vas hinted in a sly 
,vay by a young member of the kirk to his father, a 
minister of the severe and high Calvinistic school. 
Old Dr. Lockhart of Glasgow ,vag lamenting one day, 
in the presence of his son John, the fate of a, man who 
had been found guilty of immoral practices, and the 
more so that he was one of his own elders. " Well, 
father," remarked his son, "you see what you've driven 
him to." In our best Scottish preaching at the pre- 
Bent day no such distinction is visible. 
The same feeling came forth with much point and 


N 



B6 


REMINISOENOES I)F 


humour on an occasion referred to in U Carlyle'e 
l\lemoirs." In a company ,vhere John Home and 
David Hume ,vere present, much wonder was expressed 
what could have induced a clerk belonging to Sir 
vVilliam Forbes' bank to abscond, and embezzle æ900. 
"I kno,v what it was," said Horne to the historian; 
"for when he ,vas taken there ,vas found in his 
pocket a volume of your philosophical ,vorks and 
Boston's' Fourfold State"'-a hit, 1st, at the infidel, 
,vhose principles would have undermined Christianity; 
and 2d, a hit at the Church, "Thich he was compelled 
to leave on account of his having ,vritten the tragedy 
of Douglas. 
I can myself recollect an obsolete ecclesiastical 
custom, and which was always practised in the church 
of Fettercairn during my boyish days-viz., that of 
the minister bo,ving to the heritors in succession who 
occupied the front gallery seats; and I am assured 
that this bowing from the pulpit to the principal 
heritor or heritors after the blessing had been pro- 
nounced was very common in rural parishes till about 
forty years ago, and perhaps till a still later period. 
And when heritors chanced to be pretty equally 
matched, there was sometimes an unpleasant contest 
as to who was entitled to the precedence in having 
the fi1 9 St bow. A case of this kind once occurred in 
the parish of Lanark, which was carried so far as to 
be laid before the Presbytery; but they, not con- 
sidering themselves "competent judges of the points 
of honour and precedency among gentlemen, and to 
prevent all inconveniency in these matters in the 
future, appointed the minister to forbear bowing to 
the lairds at all from the pulpit for the time to come;" 
and they also appointed four of their number" to wait 
upon the gentlemen, to deal with them, for bringing 



SCOTTISH LIFE &: CHARACTER. 87 


them to condescend to submit hereunto, for the success 
of the gospel and the peace of the parish." 
In connection ,vith this subject, we may mention a 
ready and complimentary reply once made by the late 
Reverend Dr. 'Vightlllan of l{'irkmahoe, on being 
ral1icd for his neglecting this usual act of courtesy one 
Sabbath in his own church. The heritor ,vho was 
en titled to and ahvays received this token of respect, 
was Mr. Miller, proprietor of Dalswinton. One 
Sabbath the Dals,vinton pc,v contained a bevy of 
ladies, but no gentlemen, and the Doctor-perhaps 
because he was a bachelor and felt a delicacy in the 
circumstances-on1Ïtted the usual salaam in their 
direction. A few days after, meeting Miss Miller, 
\vho was widely famed for her beauty, and ,vho after- 
wards became Countess of :Nlar, she rallied him, in 
presence of her companions, for not bowing to her 
from the pulpit on the previous Sunday, and requested 
an explanation; when the good Doctor immediately 
replied-" I beg your pardon, Miss Miller, but you 
surely kno,v that angel-worship is not allowed in the 
Church of Scotland;" and lifting his hat, he made a 
low bow, and passed on. 
Scottish congregations, in some parts of the country, 
contain an element in their composition quite unknown 
in English churches. In pastoral parts of the country, 
it ,vas an established practice for each shepherd to 
bring his faithful collie dog-at least it was so some 
years ago. In a district of Sutherland, where the 
population is very scanty, the congregations are made 
up one-half of dogs, each human member having his 
canine companion. These dogs sit out the Gaelic 
services and sermon ,vith commendable patience, tin 
towards the end of the last psalm, when there is a 
universal stretching and ya\vning, and all are prepared 



88 


REJ.1fIJ.VISOFNOES OF 


to scamper out, barking in a most excited manner 
whenever the blessing is commenced. The congrega- 
tion of one of these churches detern1Ìned t.hat the 
service should close in a more decorous 1nanner, and 
steps ,vere taken to attain this object. Accordingly, 
when a stranger clergyman ,vas officiating, he found 
the people all sitting when he was about to pronounce 
the blessing. He hesitated, and paused, expecting 
them to rise, till an old shepherd, looking up to 
the pulpit, said, "Say a,va', sir; we're a' sittin' to 
cheat the do,vgs." 
There must have been some curious specimens of 
Scottish humour brought out at the examinations or 
catechisings by ministers of the flock before the ad- 
ministrations of the conlIDunion. Thus, ,vith reference 
to hunlan nature before the fan, a man was asked, 
"What kind of man was Adam
" "Ou, just like 
ither fouk." The minister insisted on having a more 
special description of the first man, and pressed for 
more exp]anation. " 'Vee]," said the catechumen, 
"he ,vas just like Joe Simson the horse-couper." 
"Ho,v so f' asked the minister. " Weel, naebody 
got onything by him, and mony lost." 
A lad had come for examination previous to his 
receiving his first communion. The pastor, knowing 
that his young friend was not very profound in his 
theology, and not wishing to discourage him, or keep 
him from the table unless compelled to do so, began 
by asking \vhat he thought a safe question, and 
what would give him confidence. So he took the Old 
Testament, and asked him, in reference to the Mosaic 
law, how many commandments there were. After a 
little thought, he put his answer in the modest form 
of a supposition, and replied, cautious]y, " Aiblins ... 
.. Perhaps. 



SOOTTISH LIFE d: CHARAOTER. 89 


a hunller." The clergyman was vexed, and told him 
such ignorance ,vas intolerable, that he could not 
proceed in examination, and that the youth must 
\vait and learn more; so he went a\vay. On return- 
ing home he met a friend on his \vay to the manse, 
and on learning that he too \vas going to the nlin
ster 
for examination, shrewdly asked him, "\V eel, ,vhat 
\vill ye say noo if the minister speers hoo mony COID- 
Inandments there are 
 " " Say! \vhy, I shall say ten 
to be sure. n. To ".. hich the other rejoined, ,vith great 
triumph, "Ten! Try ye him ,vi' ten! I tried him 
\vi' a hunner, and he wasna satisfeed." Another 
answer from a little girl \vas shrewd and reflective. 
The question was, "'Vhy did the Israelites make a 
golden calf 
" " They hadna as Inuckle siller as ,va( 1 
mak a coo." 
.Þ,._ kind correspondent has sent me, from personal 
kno\vledge, an admirable pendant to stories of Scottish 
child acuteness and shre\vd observation. A young 
lady friend of his, resident in a part of Ayrshire 
rather remote from any very satisfactory adminis- 
tration of the gospel, is in the habit of collecting the 
children of the neighbourhood on Sundays at the 
"big hoose," for religious instruction. On one 
occasion the class had repeated the paraphrase of the 
Lord's Prayer, which contains these lines- 


"Give us this day our daily bread, 
And raiment fit provide." 


There being no question as to \"hat "daily bread" 
was, the teacher proceeded to ask: "What do you 
understand by 'rainlent fit,' or as ,,"e might say, 'fit 
raiment 
'" For a short time the class remained 
puzzled at the question; but at last one little girl 
sung out "stockings and shune." The child kllC\V 



90 


REJ,fINISCENOES OF 


that" fit," ,vas Scotch for feet, so her natural explana- 
tion of the phrase was equivalent to "feet raiment," 
or "stockings and shune," as she termed it. 
On the point of changes in religious feelings there 
comes within the scope of these Reminiscences a 
character in Aberdeensbire, which has no\v gone out- 
I mean the popular and uni versally well-received 
Roman Catholic priest. Although we cannot say 
that Scotland is a more PROTESTANT nation than it 
,vas in past days, still religious differences, and strong 
prejudices, seen1 at the present time to dl'a\v a more 
decided line of separation between the priest and his 
Protestant countrymen. As examples of 'v hat is 
past, I \vould refer to the case of a genial Romish 
bishop in Ross-shire. It is well known that private 
stills \vere prevalent in the Highlands fifty or sixty 
years ago, and no one thought there was any harn1 
in them. This good bishop, whose name I forget
 
was (as I heard the late W. Mackenzie of Muirton 
assure a party at Dunrobin Castle) several years pre- 
viously a famous hand at bre\ving a good glass of 
whisky, and that he distributed his mountain-de,v 
with a liberal and impartial hand alike to Catholic 
and to Protestant friends. Of this class, I recollect, cer- 
tainly forty-five years ago, Priest Gordon, a genuine 
Aberdonian, and a man beloved by all, rich and poor. 
He ,vas a sort of chaplain to Menzies of Pitfodels, 
and visited in all the country fan1Îlies round Aberdeen. 
I remember once his being at Banchory Lodge, and 
thus apologising to my aunt for going out of the 
room :-" I beg your pardon, Mrs. Forbes, for leaving 
you, but I mann just gae doun to the garden and say 
my bit wordies "-these "bit wordies" being in fact 
the portion of the Breviary "y hich he \\yas bound to 



SCOTTISH LIFE J: CHARACTER. 91 


recite. So easily and pleasantly were those matters 
then referred to. 
The follo,ving, however, is a still richer illustra- 
tion, and I am assured it is genuine :-" Towards the 
end of the last century, a worthy Roman Catholic 
clergyman, well kno,vn as 'Priest Matheson,' and 
universally respected in the district, llad charge of a 
mission in Aberdeenshire, and for a long time made 
his journeys on a piebald pony, the priest and his 
'pyet shelty' sharing an affectionate recognition 
wherever they came. On one occasion, however, he 
made his appearance on a steed of a different descrip- 
tion, and passing near a Seceding meeting-house, he 
forgathered with the minister, who, after the usual 
kindly greetings, missing the familiar pony, said, , Ou, 
Priest! fat's come 0' the auld Pyet l' 'He's deid, 
minister.' 'W eel, he was an auld faithfu' servant, and 
ye wad nae doot gie him the offices 0' the church l' 
'Na, minister,' said his friend, not quite liking this 
allusion to his priestly offices, 'I didna dee that, for 
ye see he tU1.ned Seceder afol o e he dee'd, an' I buried 
him like a beast.' He then rode quietly a,vay. This 
,vorthy man, however, could, ,vhen occasion required, 
rebuke ,vith seriousness as well as point. Always a 
,vel come guest at the houses of both clergy and gentry, 
he is said on one occasion to have met with a laird 
,vhose hospitality he had thought it proper to decline, 
and on being asked the reason for the interruption of 
his visits, answered, 'Y e ken, an' I ken; but, laird. 
God kens!'" 
One question connected with religious feeling, and 
the manifestation of religious feeling, has become a 
more settled point amongst us, since fifty years have 
expired. I mean the question of attendance by 
clergymen on theatrical representations. Dr. Carlyle 



92 


REJfINISOEJ..VOES OF 


had been prosecuted before the General Assembly in 
1757 for being present at the performance of the 
tragedy of Douglas, ,vritten by his friend John Home. 
He was acquitted, however, and ,vrites thus on the 
subject in his 
femoirs :- 
".....\..lthough the clergy in Edinburgh and its 
neighbourhood had abstained from the theatre because 
it gave offence, yet the more remote clergymen, when 
occasionally in town, had almost universally attended 
the play-house. It is remarkable that in the year 
1784, when the great actress 1YIrs. Siddons first 
appeared in Edinburgh, during the sitting of the 
General Assembly, that court was obliged to fix all 
its important business for the alternate days when 
she did not act, as all the younger members, clergy 
as ,veIl M laity, took their stations in the theatre 
on those days by three in the afternoon." 
Drs. Robertson and Blair, although they cultivated 
the acquaintance of Mrs. Siddons in private, were 
amongst those clergymen, referred to by Dr. Carlyle, 
who abstained from attendance in the theatre; but 
Dr. Carlyle states that they regretted not taking the 
opportunity of ,vitnessing a display of her talent, and 
of giving their sanction to the theatre as a place of 
recreation. Dr. Carlyle evidently considered it a 
narrow-minded intolerance and bigoted fanaticism 
that clergymen should be excluded from that amuse- 
ment. At a period far later than 1 784, the same 
opinion prevailed in some quarters. I recollect when 
su
h indulgence on the part of clergYlnen was treated 
with much leniency, especially for Episcopalian clergy. 
I do not mean to say that there was anything like a 
general feeling in favour of clerical theatrical attend- 
ance; but there can be no question of a feeling far 
less strict than ,vhat exists in our own tÏ1ne. As J 



THE SHEPHERD 


F1'fJ11Z a water
colo1tr dra-;uillg by 
llEiYRV IV. f(ERR, 
A.R.S.A., R.S. Tr. 




'\- 


. 



 




SCOTTISH LIFE d: CHARACTER. 98 


have said, thirty-six year8 ago some clergymen ,vent 
to the theatre; and a few years before that, ,vhen my 
brothers and I ,,,,ere passing through Edinburgh, in 
going back,vards and forwards to 8chool, at Durham, 
,vith our tutor, a licentiate of the Established Church 
of Scotland, and ,vho after\vards attained considerab]p 
eminence in the Free Church, we certainly ,vent \vith 
him to the theatre there, and at Durham very fre- 
quently. I feel quite assured, ho"yeyer, that no clergy- 
man could expect to retain the respect of his people 
or of the public, of ,vhom it was known that he fre- 
quently or habitually attended theatrical representa- 
tions. It is so understood. I had opportunities of 
conversing "Tith the late l\lr. Murray of the Theatre 
Royal, Edinburgh, and \vith IvIr. Charles Kean, on the 
subject. Both admitted the fact, and certainly if any 
Inen of the profession could have removed the feeling 
froln the public mind, these were the men to have 
done it. 
There is a phase of religious observances which has 
undergone a great change amongst us within fifty 
years-I mean the services and circumstances con- 
nected with the administration of the Holy Comnlu- 
nion. 'Vhell these occurred in a parish they ,vere 
called "occasions," and the great interest excited by 
these sacramental solemnities Illay be gathered from 
" Peter's Letters," "The Annals of the Parish," and 
Burns' "Holy Fair." Such ceremonials are now con- 
ducted, I believe, just as the ordinary church services. 
Some years back they 'v ere considered a sort of preach- 
ing matches. Ivlinisters vied "\vith each other in order 
to bear a\vay the bell in popularity, and hearers em
 
braced the opportunity of exhibiting to one another 
their po,vers of criticisIn on what they heard and sa\v. 
In the parish of U rr in Gall 0 "\v ay , on one sacra- 



94 


REJfINISCE_VOES OF 


mental occasion, some of the assistants invited were 
eminent ministers in Edinburgh; Dr. Scot of St. 
Michael's, Dumfries, was the only local one who was 
asked, and he was, in his own sphere, very popular a.s 
a preacher. A brother clergyman, complimenting 
him upon the honour of being so invited, the old 
bald-headed divine modestly replied, " Gude bless you, 
man, what can I do 1 They are a' han' ,vailed 'If. this 
time; I need never sho,v face among them." " Y e're 
quite mista' en," was the soothing encouragement; 
"ta.k' your Re8'U'f'rection (a well-known sermon used for 
such occasions by him), an !'lllay my lug ye'll beat 
every clute 0' them." The Doctor did as suggested, 
and exerted himself to the utmost, and it appears he 
did not exert himself in vain. A batch of old women, 
on their way home after the conclusion of the services, 
were overheard discussing the lnerits of the several 
preachers who had that day addressed them from the 
tent. " Leeze me abune them a'," said one of the 
company, who had waxed warm in the discussion, 
"for yon auld clear-headed (bald) man, that said, 
, Raphael sings an' Gabriel strikes his goolden harp, 
an' a' the angels clap their wings wi' joy.' 0 but it 
was gran', it just put me in min' 0' our geese at Dun- 
jarg when they turn their nebs to the south an' clap 
. their wings when they see the rain's comin' after lang 
drooth. " 
There is a subject closely allied with the religious 
feelings of a people, and that is the subject of their 
superstitions. To enter upon that question, in a general 
view, especially in reference to the Highlands, would 
not be consistent with our present purpose, but I am 
induced to mention the existence of a singular super- 
stition regarding swine which existed some years ago 
* Carefully selected. 



SOOTTISH LIFE æ CHARACTER. 96 


among the lower orders of the east coast of Fife. I 
can observe, in my o,vn experience, a great change to 
have taken place amongst Scotch people generally on 
this subject. The old aversion to the "unclean ani- 
mal" stilllingers in the Highlands, but seems in the 
Lo,vland districts to have yielded to a sense of its 
thrift and usefulness. - The account given by my 
correspondent of the Fife s,vinophobia is as follows :- 
Among the many superstitious notions and customs 
prevalent among the lower orders of the fishing towns 
on the east coast of Fife, till very recently, that class 
entertained a great horror of swine, and even at ,the 
very mention of the word. If that animal crossed 
their path ,vhen about to set out on a sea voyage, they 
considered it so unlucky an omen that they would not 
venture off. A clergyman of one of these fishing 
villages having mentioned the superstition to a clerical 
friend, and finding that he ,vas rather incredulous on 
the subject, in order to convince him told him he 
would allo,v him an opportunity of testing the truth 
of it by allo,ving him to preach for him the follo,ving 
day. It was arranged that his friend was to read the 
chapter relating to the herd of s,vine into which the 
evil spirits were cast. Accordingly, when the first 
verse was read, in which the unclean beast was men- 
tioned, a slight comnlotion ""as observable among the 
audience, each one of them putting his or her hand 
on any near piece of iron-a nail on the seat or book- 
board, or to the nails on their shoes. At the repeti- 
tion of the word again and again, more commotion 
was visible, and the words "cauld airn" (cold iron) 
the antidote to this baneful spell, \vere heard issuing 
* I recollect an old Scottish gentleman, who shared this horror, 
asking very gravely, "Were not swine forbidden under the law 
and cursed under the gospel î" 



96 


REJ.J[INISCENCE
 O
 


from various corners of the church. And finally, on 
his coming over the hated ,vord again, \vhen the ,
hole 
herd ran violently do,vn the bank into the sea, the 
alarmed l)arishioners, irritated beyond bounds, rose 
and all left the church in a body. 
It is SOlne time no\v, ho,vever, since the High- 
landers have begun to appreciate the thrift and com- 
fort of swine-keeping and swine-killing. A Scottish 
lninister had been persuaded by the laird t.o keep a 
l)ig, and the gudewife had been duly instructed in the 
mysteries of black puddings, pork chops, and pig's 
head. "Oh!" said the minister, "nae doubt there's 
a hantle 0' tniscellawneous eating aboot a pig." 
Amongst a people so deeply in1pressed \vith the 
great truths of religion, and so earnest in their reli. 
gious profession, any persons ,vhose principles \vere 
kno,vn to be of an infidel character would naturally 
be looked on with abhorrence and suspicion. There 
i
 a story traditionary in Edinburgh regarding David 
Burne, ,vhich illustrates this feeling in a very amus- 
ing manner, and which, I have heard it said, Hun1e 
hilnself often narrated. The philosopher had fallen 
from the path into the swamp at the back of thp 
Castle, the existence of which I recollect hearing of 
from old persons forty years ago. He fairly stuck 
fast, and called to a "
on1an ,vho was passing, anù 
begged her assistance. She passed on apparently 
,vithout attending to the request; at his earnest en- 
treaty, however, she came where he was, and asked 
him, "Are na ye Hume the Atheist 1 " " Well, ,veIl, 
no matter," said IIume ; " Christian charity commands 
you to do good to every one." "Christian charity 
here, or Christian charity there," replied the ,voman. 
"I'll do naething for you till ve turn a Christian 
yoursell'-ye lllaun repeat the Lord's Prarer and th(1 



t
COTTISH LIFE 
 CHARACTER. 07 
Crperl, or faith I'll let ye grafel - there a
 I fand ye." 
l'he historian, really afraid for his life, rehearsed the 
requjred formulas. 
Notwithstanding the high character borne for so 
many years by our countrymen as a people, and as 
specially attentive to all religious observances, still 
there can be no doubt that there has sprung up 
amongst the inhabitants of our crowded cities, ,vynds, 
and closes, a class of persons quite unkno,,"n in the 
old Scottish times. I t is a great difficulty to get them 
to attend divine worship at all, and their circumstances 
combine to break off all associations,,
ith public services. 
Their going to church becomes a matter of persuasion 
and of Illissionary labour. 
A lady, who is most active in visiting the houses 
of these outcasts from the means of grace, gives me 
an amusing instance of self-complacency arising from 
performance of the duty. She ,vas visiting in the 
\Vest Port, not far from the church established by my 
illustrious friend the late Dr. Chalmers. Having asked 
a poor woman if she ever attended there for divine 
service-" Ou ay," she replied; "there's a man ca'd 
Chalmers preaches there, and I whiles gang in and 
hear him, just to encourage him, puir body!" 
From the religious opinions of a people, the transi- 
tion is natural to their political partialities. One great 
political change has passed over Scotland, which none 
now living can be said to have actually u'ilnessed ;' 
but t},ey remember those ,vho were contemporaries of 
the anxious scenes of' 45, and many of us have known 
determined and thorough Jacobites. The poetry of 
that political period still remains, but we hear only as 
pleasant songs those words and melodies which stirred 
tbe hearts and excited the deep enthusiasm of a past 
.. Lie in a grovelling attitude. See Jamieson. 



98 


REj[INISCENOES OF 


generation. Jacobite anecdote
 also are fading from 
our knowledge. To many young persons they are 
unknown. Of these stories illustrative of Jacobite 
feelings and enthusiasm, many are of a character not 
fit for me to record. The good old ladies who were 
violent partisans of the Stuarts had little hesitation 
in referring without reserve to the future and eternal 
destiny of William of Orange. One anecdote which I 
had from a near relative of the family may be ad- 
duced in illustration of the po,verful hold which the 
cause had upon the vie,vs and consciences of Jacobites. 
A former Mr. Stirling of Keir had favoured the 
Stuart cause, and had in fact attended a muster of 
forces at the Brig of Turk previous to the '15. This 
symptom of a rising against the Government occasioned 
some uneasiness, and the authorities were very active 
in their endeavours to discover who were the leaders 
of the movement. l{eir was suspected. The miller 
of Keir was brought for,vard as a witness, and swore 
positively that the laird was not present. N ow, as it 
was well known that he was there, and that the miller 
knew it, a neighbour asked him privately, when he 
came out of the witness-box, how he could on oath 
assert such a falsehood. The miller replied, quite un- 
daunted, and with a feeling of confidence in the right- 
eousness of his cause approaching the sublime-" I 
would rather trust my soul in God's mercy than Keir's 
head into their hands." . 
A correspondent has sent me an 8Jccount of a curious 
ebullition of Jacobite feeling and enthusiasm, now I 
suppose quite extinct. My correspondent received it 
himself from Alexander, fourth Duke of Gordon, and 
he had entered it in a commonplace-book when he 
heard it, in 1826. 
"David Tulloch, tenant in Drumbenan, under the 



IlfJOTTISH LIFE 
 CHARACTER. 
9 



econd a.nd third Dukes of Gordon, had been C out ' in 
the '45 - or the fufteen, or bot/
-and was a great 
favourite oÎ his respective landlords. One day, hav- 
ing attended the young Lady Susan Gordon (after- 
,vards Duchess of Manchester) to the 'Chapel' at 
Huntly, David, perceiving that her ladyship l1ad 
neither hassock nor carpet to protect her garments 
from the earthen floor, respectfully spread his plaid 
for the young lady to kneel upon, and the service pro- 
ceeded; but ,vhen the prayer for the King and Royal 
Family ,vas commenced, David, sans ærémonie, drew, 
or rather' twitched,' the plaid from under the knees 
of the astonished young lady, exclaiming, not sotto 
voce, 'The deil a ane shall pray for them on my plaid!' n 
I have a still more pungent demonstration against 
praying for the king, which a friend in Aberdeen as- 
sures me he received from the son of the gentleman 
,vho hea1"d the protest. In the Episcopal Chapel in 
Aberdeen, of ,vhich Primus John Skinner ,,,,as incum- 
bent, they commenced praying in the service for 
George III. immediately on the death of Prince 
Charles Edward. On the first Sunday of the prayer 
being used, this gentleman's father, walking home 
with a friend whom he kne,v to be an old and deter- 
mined Jacobite, said to him, "'Vhat do you think of 
that, Mr. --1" The reply was, "Indeed, the less 
we sayaboot that prayer the better." But he was 
pushed for "further ans,ver as to his own views and 
his own ideas on the matter," so he came out with 
the declaration, "'V eel, then, I say this-they may 
pray the kenees'* aff their breeks afore I join in that 
prayer." 
The following is a characteristic Jacobite story. It 
must have happened shortly after 1745, when all 
· So pronounced in Aberdeen. 



100 


RE},[INISCENCES OF 


l11anner of devices ,vere fallen upon to displ
y tT aco. 
bitism, without committing the safety of the Jacobite, 
such as having ,vhite knots on gowns; drinking," The 
king, ye ken wha I mean;" uttering the toast "The 
king," with much apparent loyalty, and passing the 
glass over the water-jug, indicating the esoteric mean.. 
ing of majesty beyond the sea,-etc. etc. ; and various 
toasts, which were most important matters in those 
times, and were often given as tests of loyalty, or the 
reverse, according to the company in which they were 
given. Miss Carnegy of Craigo, well known and still 
remembered amongst the old Montrose ladies as an 
uncompromising Jacobite, had been vowing that she 
would drink I(ing James and his son in a company 
of staunch Brunswickers, and being strongly dis- 
suaded from any such foolish and dangerous attempt 
by some of her friends present, she answered them 
\vith a text of Scripture, "The tongue no man can 
tame-James Third and A'lt(;ht," and drank off her 
glass! · 


* Implying that there waR 9. .James Third of EnglAnd, Eightb 
of Soot1an<<L 



SCOTTISH Ll
FE d: CHARACTER. 101 


CHAPTER THE THIRD. 


ON OLD SCOTTISH CONVIVIALITY. 


THE next change in manners which bas been effected, 
in the memory of Inany now living, regards the habits 
of conviviality, or, to speak more plainly, regards the 
banishment of drunkenness from polite society. It is 
indeed a most important and blessed change. But it 
is a change the full extent of which many persons 
now alive can hardly estimate. Indeed, it is scarcely 
possible to realise the scenes ,vhich took place seventy 
or eighty years back, or even less. In many houses, 
,vhen a party dined, the ladies going a,vay ,vas the 
signal for the commencement of a system of compulsory 
conviviality. No one ,vas allowed to shirk-no day- 
light-no heeltaps-,vas the wretched jargon in ,vhich 
,vere expressed the propriety and the duty of seeing 
that the glass, when filled, must be emptied and 
drained. 'Ve have heard of glasses having the 
bottoms knocked off, so that no shuffling tricks might 
be played with them, and that they could only be put 
do,vn-empty. 
One cannot help looking back ,vith amazement at 
the infatuation \y hich could for a moment tolerate 
such a sore evil. To a man of sober inclinations it 
must have been an intolerable nuisance to join a 
dinner party at many houses, where he knew he should 
have to ,vitness the most disgusting excesses in others, 
o 



102 


REJIINISCENCES OF 


and to fight hard to preserve himself from a compliance 
,yith the exanlple of those around him. 
The scenes of excess ,vhich1l occurred in the houses 

 
where deep drinking was practised nlust have been 
most revolting to sober persons ,vho ,vere unaccustonled 
to such conviviality; as in the case of a drinking Angus 
laird, entertaining as his guest a London merchant 
of formal nlanners and temperate habits. The poor 
man was driven from the table when the drinking set 
in hard, and stole a,vay to take refuge in his bedroom. 
The company, ho,vever, were determined not to let 
the worthy citizen off so easily, but proceeded in a 
body, with the laird at their head, and invaded his 
privacy by exhibiting bottles and glasses at his beà- 
side. Losing all patience, the wretched victim gasped 
out his indignation-" Sir, your hospitality borders 
upon brutality." It must have had a fatal influence also 
on many persons to "\vhom drinking was most injuri.. 
ous, and who were yet not strong-minded enough to 
resist the temptations to excess. Poor J anles Boswell, 
,vho certainly required no extTaordinary urging to 
take a glass too much, is found in his letters, which 
have recently come to light, laying the blame of his 
excesses to "falling into a habit which still prevails in 
Scotland;" and then he remarks, with censorious 
emphasis, on the" drunken manners of his country- 
men." This was about 1770. 
A friend of mine, ho,vever, lately departed-Mr. 
Boswell of Balmuto-showed more spirit than the 
Londoner, when he found himself in a similar situation. 
Challenged by the host to drink, urged and almost 
forced to s,vallow a quantity of wine against his own 
inclination, he proposed a counter-challenge in the way 
of eating, and made t.he follo,ving ludicrous and 
original proposal to the compally,-that t\VO or three 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
. CHARAOTER. lOB 


legs of mutton should be prepared, and he \vould then 
contest the point of who could devour most meat; 
and certainly it seems as reasonable to compel people to 
eat, as to conlpel them to drink, beyond the natural 
cravings of nature. 
The situation of ladies, too, must frequently have 
been very disagreeable-\vhen, for instance, gentlemen 
came up stairs in a condition most unfit for female 
society. Indeed they \vere often compelled to fly 
from scenes '\vhich '\vere most unfitting for thenl to 
'\vitness. They were expected to get out of the ,yay at 
the proper tinIe, or ,vhen a hint was given them to do 
so. At Glasgo,v sixty years ago, \vhen the time had 
come for the bowl to be introduced, some jovial and 
thirsty members of the company proposed as a toast, 
"The trade of Glasgo,v and the outwa'rd bound I" The 
hint was taken, and silks and satins moved off to the 
dra\ving-room. 
In my part of the country the traditionary stories 
of drinking prowess are quite marvellous. On Deeside 
there flourished a certain Saunders Paul (whom I re- 
member an old man), an innkeeper at Banchory. He 
,vas said to have drunk ,vhisky, glass for glass, to the 
claret of 
Ir. Maule and the Laird of Skene for a 
,vhole evening; and in those days there was a tradi- 
tional story of his despatching, at one sitting, in com- 
pany with a character celebrated for conviviality- 
one of the men employed to float rafts of timber 
down the Dee-three dozen of porter. Of this !vIr. 
Paul it ,vas recorded, that on being asked if he con- 
sidered porter as a ,vholesome beverage, he replied, 
"Oh yes, if you don't take above a dozen." Saunders 
Paul \vas, as I have said, the innkeeper at Banchory · 
his friend and porter companion \vas dro,vned in the 
Dee, and when told that the body haà been found 



104 


llEJ[INISuE.YGES OF 


down the stream below Crathes, he coolly remarkert, 
" I am surprised at that, for I never kenn'd him pass 
the inn before ,yithout comin' in for a glass." 
Some relatives of mine travelling in the Highlanùs 
were amused by observing in a small road-side public- 
house a party drinking, whose apparatus for convivi- 
ality called forth the dry quaint humour which is so 
thoroughly Scottish. Three drovers had met together, 
and were celebrating their meeting by a liberal con- 
sumption of whisky; the inn could only furnish one 
glass without a bottom, and this the party passed on 
from one to another. A queer-looking pa,vky chield, 
\vhenever the glass came to his turn, remarked most 
gravely, "I think we ,vadna be the waur 0' some 
,vater," taking care, however, never to add any of the 
simple elelnent, but quietly drank off his glass. 
There was a sort of infatuation in the supposed 
dignity and manliness attached to powers of deep pota- 
tion, and the fatal effects of drinking were spoken of 
in a manner both reckless and unfeeling. Thus, I 
have been assured that a well-known old laird of the 
old school expressed himself with great indignation at 
the charge brought against hard drinking that it had 
actually killed people. "Na, na, I never kne,v ony- 
body killed wi' drinking, but I hae kenn'd some that 
dee'd in the training." A positive éclat was attached 
to the accomplished and well-trained consumer of 
claret or of ,vhisky toddy, ,vhich gave an importance 
and even merit to the practice of drinking, and which 
had a most injurious effect. I am afraid some of the 
Pleydells of the old school would have looked ,vith 
the most ineffable contempt on the degeneracy of the 
present generation in this respect, and that the tem- 
perance movement ,vould be little short of insanity in 
their eyes; anù this leads me to a remark.-In con. 



SCOTTISH LIFE ill CHARACTER. 106 


sidering this portion of the subject, ,ve should bear in 
mind a distinction. The change ,ve no,v speak of 
involves more than a Inere change of a custom or 
practice in social life. It is a change in men's sen- 
timents and feelings OIl a certain great question of 
morals. Except ,ve enter into this distinction we can- 
not appreciate the extent of the change ,vhich has 
really taken place in regard to intemperate habits. 
I have an anecdote from a descendant of Principal 
Robertson, of an address made to him, ,vhich showed 
the real importance attached to all that concerned the 
systenl of drinking in his time. The Principal had 
been invited to spend some days in a country-house, 
and the minister of the parish (a jovial character) had 
been asked to nleet him. Before dinner he ,vent up 
to Dr. Robertson and addressed him confidentially- 
"Doctor, I understand ye are a brother of my gude 
freend Peter Robertson of Edinburgh, therefore I'll gie 
you a piece of advice,-Bend * ,veel to the Ma.deira at 
dinner, for here ye'll get little o't after." I have 
known persons who held that a man who could not 
drink must have a degree of feebleness and imbecility 
of character. But as this is an important point, I 
,vill adduce the higher authority of Lord Cockburn, 
and quote from him t,vo examples,. very different cer- 
tain1-y in their nature, but both bearing upon the 
question. I refer to what he says of Lord Hermand : 
-" With IIermand drinking ,vas a virtue; he had a 
sincere respect for drinking, indeed a high moral 
approbation, and a serious compassion for the poor 
,vretches who cauld not indulge in it, and ,vith due 
contempt of those who could but did not;" and, 
secondly, I refer to Lord Cockburn's pages for an 
anecdote ,vhich illustrates the pervelted feeling I 


 Old Scotch foI' "drink Lard. ., 



Ie:J 


RE
IINISCEJ.VCES OF 


refer to, now happily no longer existing. It relates 
the opinion expressed by an old drunken writer of 
Selkirk (whose name is not mentioned) regarding his 
anticipation of
professional success for 
ir. Cranstoun, 
afterwards Lord Corehouse. Sir "\Valter Scott, 'Villiam 
Erskine, and Cranstoul1, had dined with this Selkirk 
writer, and Scott-of hardy, strong, and healthy frame 
-had matched the writer himself in the matter of 
whisky punch. Poor Cranstoun, of refined and deli- 
cate mental and bodily temperament, was a bad hand 
at such work, and ,vas soon off the field. On the 
party breaking up, the Selkirk writer expressed his 
admiration of Scott, assuring him that he would rise 
high in the profession, and adding: " I'll tell ye what, 
Maister Walter, that lad Cranstoun may get to the 
tap 0' the bar, if he can; but tak my word for't, it's 
no be by drinking." 
There was a sort of dogged tone of apology for 
excess in drinking, which marked the hold ,vhich the 
practice had gained on ordinary minds. Of this we 
have a remarkable example in the unwilling testi- 
mony of a witness who was examined as to the fact 
of drunkenness being charged against a n1Înister. The 
person examined was beadle, or one of the church 
officials. He was asked, "Did you ever see the 
minister the worse of drink 
" " I canna say I've seen 
him the waul" 0' drink, but nae doubt I've seen him 
the better o't," ,vas the evasive ans,ver. The question, 
ho,vever, was pushed further; and when he ,vas 
urged to say if this state of being" the better for 
drink" ever extended to a condition of absolute 
helpless intoxication, the reply was: Indeed, afore 
that earn', I was blind fOli mysel', and I could see 
naething. " 
A legal friend has told me of a celebrated circuit 



SCOT1'ISH LIÞ'E d: Gll
11t.1CT}}lt.. 107 
where Lord Hermanù ,vas judge, and Clephane depute- 
advocate. The party got drunk at Ayr, and so con- 
tinued (although quite able for their ,vork) till the 
business ,vas concluded at Jedburgh. Some years 
after, my informant heard that this circuit had, at 
Jedburgh, acquired the permanent name of the "daft 
circui t. " 
Lord Cockburn ,vas fond .of describing a circuit scene 
at Stirling, in his early days at the bar, under the pre- 
sidency of his friend and connection Lord Hermand. 
Mter the circuit dinner, and when drinking had gone 
on for some time, young Cockburn observed places 
becolning vacant in the social circle, but no one going 
out at the door. He found that the individuals had 
dropped down under the table. He took the hint, and 
by this ruse retired from the scene. He lay quiet till 
the beams of the morning sun penetrated the apart- 
ment. The judge and some of his staunch friends 
coolly walked up stairs, washed their hands and faces, 
came down to breakfast, and ,vent into court quite 
fresh and fit for ,vork. 
The feeling of importance frequently attached to 
powers of drinking was formally attested by a ,vell- 
kno,vn western baronet of convivial habits and 
convivial memory. He was desirous of bearing 
testimony to the probity, honour, and other high 
moral qualities of.a friend ,vhom he wished to 
commend. Having fully stated these claims to con- 
sideration and respect, he deemed it proper to notice 
also his convivial attainments: he added accordingly, 
with cautious approval on so important a point-" And 
he is a fair drinker.". 
* A friend learned in Scottish history suggests an ingenious 
remark, that this might mean more than a merefull drinker. To 
drìnk " fair," used to imply that the person drank in the same 



lOB 


RE11IINISCEJ.tCES np 


The follo,ving anecdote is an amusing example of 
Scottish servant humour and acuteness in measuring 
the extent of consumpt.ion by a convivial party in 
Forfarshire. The party had met at a farmer's house 
not far from Arbroath, to celebrate the reconciliation 
of t,vo neighbouring farmers who had long been at 
enmitylo The host ,vas pressing and hospitable; the 
party sat late, and consumed a vast amount of,vhiskr 
toddy. The ,vife was penurious, and grudged the 
outlay. \Vhen at last, at a morning hour, the party 
dispersed, the lady, ,vho had not slept in her anxiety, 
looked over the stairs and eagerly asked the servant 
girl, "Ho,v many bottles of ,vhisky have they used, 
Betty 1 n The lass, ,vho had not to pay for the whisky, 
but had been obliged to go to the well to fetch the 
,vater for the toddy, coolly answered, " I dinna ken, 
mem, but they've drucken sax gang 0' water." 
We cannot imagine a better illustration of the 
general habits that prevailed in Scottish society in re- 
gard to drinking about the time we speak of than one 
\vhich occurs in the recently-published" Memoirs of a 
Banking House," that of the late Sir William Forbes, 
Bart. of Pitsligo. The book comprises much that is 
interesting to the family, and to Scotchmen. It con- 
tains a pregnant hint as to the manners of polite 
society and business habits in those days. Of John 
Coutts, one of four brothers connected with the house, 
Sir 'Villiam records how he "Tas " more correct in his 
conduct than the others; so much so, that Sir William 
never but once sa,v him in the counting-house disguised 
,vith liquor, and incapable of transacting business." 
proportion as the company; to drink more would be unmannerly; 
to drink less might imply SOlne unfair motive. Either inter. 
pretation shows the im!)ortauce attached to arinking and all that 
concenled it. 



TI-IE GR
-\VEDIGGER 


From n 'water-colour draowÙzg by 
EIE_VRY Jr. A
r:RR, 
A.R.S,A" R.S.lr. 




11', 


. 


" 




SCOTTISH LIFE æ CHARACTER. 109 


In the Highlands this sort of feeling extended to 
an almost incredible extent, even so much as to ob- 
scure the moral and religious sentÎ1nents. Of this a 
striking proof was afforded in a circumstance ,vhich 
took place in my o,vn church soon after I came into 
it. One of our Gaelic clergy had so far forgotten 
himself as to appear in the 
hurch some,vhat the 
worse of liquor. This having ha.ppened so often as to 
come to the ears of the bishop, he suspended him fronl 
the performance of divine service. Against this de- 
cision the people were a little disposed to rebel, be- 
cause, according to their Highland notions, "a gentle- 
man ,vas no the ,vaur for being able to tak' a gude 
glass 0' ,vhisky." These ,vere the notions of a people 
in ,vhose eyes the po,ver of s\vallo,ving whisky con.. 
ferred distinction, and with whom inability to take 
the fitting quantity ,yas a mark of a mean and futile 
character. Sad to tell, the funeral rites of Highland 
chieftains ,vere not supposed to have been duly cele- 
brated except there ,vas an immoderate and often 
fatal consumption of whisky. It has been related that 
at the last funeral in the Highlands, conducted ac- 
cording to the traditions of the olden times, several 
of the guests fell victims to the usage, and actually 
died of the excesses. 
This phase of old and happily alnlost obsolete Scot- 
tish intemperance at funeral solemnities must have 
been peculiarly revolting. Instances of this horrid 
practice being carried to a great extent are tradition- 
ary in every part of the country. I am assured of 
the truth of the following anecdote by a son of the 
gentleman ,vho acted as chief mourner on the occa- 
sion :-.About seventy years ago an old maiden lady 
died in Strathspey. Just previous to her death she 
sent for her grand-uephev,", and said to him, ""TillJ', 



110 


REJfINISCENCES OF 


I'm deein\ and as ye'll hae the charge 0' a' I have, 
mind now that a.s much whisky is to be used at n1Y 
funeral as there ,vas at my baptism. " Willy neglected 
to ask the old lady ,vhat the quantity of ,vhisky used 
l1t the baptism ""as, but when the day of the funeral 
arrived believed her orders ,vouid be best fulfilled by 
allo,ving each guest to drink as much as he pleased. 
The churchyard where the body was to be deposited 
was about ten miles distant from where the death 
occurred. It ,vas a short day in November, and when 
the funeral party came to the churchyard the shades 
of night had considerably closed in. The grave-digger, 
,vhose patience had been exhausted in waiting, was 
not in the least willing to accept of Captain G-'s 
(the chief mourner) apology for delay. After looking 
about him he put the anxious question, " But, Captain, 
whaur's Miss Ketty 1" The reply was, "In her coffin, 
to be sure, and get it into the earth as fast as you 
can." There, however, was no coffin; the procession 
had sojourned at a country inn by the way-had 
rested the body on a dyke-started without it-and 
had to postpone the intern1ent until next day. My 
correspondent very justly adds the remark, "'Vhat 
would be thought of indulgence in drinking habits 
now that could lead to such a result
" 
Many scenes of a similar incongruous character are 
still traditionally connected with such occasions. 
'Vithill the last thirty years, a laird of Dundonald, a 
small estate in Ross-shire, died at Inverness. There 
was open house for some days, and great eating and 
drinking. Here the corpse commenced its progress 
to,vard its appointed home on the coast, and people 
followed in multitudes to give it a partial convoy, 
all of ,vhom had to be entertained. It took altogether 
a fortnight to bury poor Dundonald, and great expense 



SCOTT/Sf! LIFE d; CHAR.AOTER. 11] 


must have been incurred. This, ho,vever, is looked 
back to at Inverness as the last of the real grand old 
Highland funerals. Such notions of ,vhat is due to 
the memory of the departed have no\v become unusual 
if not obsolete. I myself ,vitnessed the first decided 
change in this matter. I officiated at the funeral of 
the late Duke of Sutherland. The procession ,vas a 
mile long. Refreshments' ,vere provided for 7000 
persons; beef, bread, and beer; but not one glass of 
whisky ,vas allo,ved on the property that day ! 
It may, perhaps, be said that the change we speak 
of is not peculiar to Scotland; that in England the 
same change has been apparent; and that drunkenness 
has passed a,vay in the higher circles, as a matter of 
course, as refinement and taste made an advancement 
in society. This is true. But there ,vere some 
features of the question which 1vere peculiar to Scot- 
land, and which at one time rendered it less probable 
that intemperance \vould give way in the north. It 
seemed in some quarters to have taken deeper root 
amongst us. The system of pressing, or of compellirzg, 
guests to drink seemed more inveterate. Nothing 
can more po\verfully illustrate the deep-rooted cha- 
racter of intemperate habits in families than an anec- 
dote which "Tas related to me, as coming from the late 
1\11'. 1Iackenzie, author of the J.1Ian of Feeling. He 
had been involved in a regular drinking party. He 
was keeping as free from the usual excesses as he ,vas 
able, and as he nlarked companions around him falling 
victims to the po\ver of drink, 'he himself dropped off 
under the table among the slain, as a measure of pre- 
caution; and lying there, his attention was called to a 
sman pair of hands ,vorking at his throat; on asking 
what it ,vas, a voice replied, "Sir, I'm the lad that's 
to lo\vse the neckcloths. " Here, then, ".as a family, 



112 


RE..1II.J.VISCE.J.VCES OF 


\vhere, on drinking occasions, it ,vas the app01
1teù 
duty of one of the household to attend, and, ""hen the 
guests ,vere becolning helpless, to untie their cravats 
in fear of apoplexy or suffocation. *" "r e ought cer- 
tainly to be grateful for the change ,vhich has taken 
place from such a systen1; for this change has made 
a great revolution in Scottish social life. The charn1 
and the romance long attached in the minds of some 
of our countrymen to the ,vhole system and concerns 
of hard drinking was indeed most lamentable and ab- 
surd. .A..t tavern suppers, where, nine times out of ten, 
it was the express obJect of those who ,vent to get 
drunk, such stuff as "regal purple stream," "rosy 
wine," "quaffing the goblet," "bright sparkling nec- 
tar," "chasing the rosy hours," and so on, tended to 
keep up the delusion, and make it a monstrous fine 
thing for men to sit up drinking half the night, to 
have frightful headaches all next day, to make maudlin 
idiots of themselves as they were going home, and to 
become brutes amongst their family ,vhen they ar- 
rived. And here I may introduce the mention of a 
practice connected ,vith the convivial habits of which 
we have been speaking, but which has for some time 
passed away, at least from private tables-I mean the 
absurd system of calling for toasts and sentiments 
each time the glasses were filled. During dinner not 
a drop could be touched
 except in conjunction with 
others, and ,vith each drinking to the health of each. 
But toasts came after dinner. I can just remember 
the practice in partial operation; and my astonish- 
.. In Burt's Letters 11'0'1)11 the North of Scotland, written about 
1730, similar scenes are related as occurring in Culloden House: 
as the company were disabled by drink, two servants in waiting 
took up the invalids with short I>oles in their chairs as they sat 
(if not fallen down), and carried t.henl off to their heù
. 



RC01'1'ISII LIP},' & CJ-IAll.ACJ'ER. 113 


ment as a mere boy, ,vhen accidentally dining at table 
and hearing my Inother called upon to " give the com- 
pany a gentleman," is one of my earliest rerniniscences. 
Lord Cockburn must have relnembered them well, 
and I ,viII quote his most amusing account of the 
effects :-" Mter dinner, and before the ladies retired, 
there generally began \vhat ,vas called 'Rounds' of 
toasts, when eac.h gentleman named an absent lady, 
and each lady an absent gentleman, separately; or 
one person ,vas required to give an absent lady, and 
another person ,vas required to match a gentleman 
,vith that lady, and the persons llamed were toasted, 
general1y, \vith allusions and jokes about the fitness 
of the union. And, worst of all, there were' Senti- 
ßlents.' These were short epigrammatic sentences, 
expressive of moral feelings and virtues, and ""ere 
thought refined and elegant productions. A faint 
conception of their nauseousness nlay be formed from 
the following examples, every one of which I have heard 
given a thousand times, and ,vhich indeed I only reo 
collect from their being favourites. The glasses being 
filled, a person was asked for his or for her sentiment, 
when this, or something similar, ,vas committed:- 
'
Iay the pleasures of the evening bear the reflections 
of the morning;' or, 'may the friends of our youth 
be the companions of our old age ;' or, , delicate plea- 
sures to susceptible minds;' 'nlay the honest heart 
never feel distress;' may the hand of charity ,vipe 
the tear from the eye of sorro'v.' The conceited, the 
ready, or the reckless, hackneyed in the art, had a 
knack of making new sentiments applicable to the 
passing incidents ,vith great ease. But it ,vas a 
Jreadful oppression on the tinlid or the a,v kward. 
'fLey used to shudder, ladies particularly; for nobody 
,vas spared when their turn in the 1'ound approache(Ï. 



114 


REJII..."\"'ISCE..."^r-CES OF 


)Iany a struggle and blush did it cost; but this seemed 
only to excite the tyranny of the masters of the craft; 
and conlpliance could never be avoided, except by 
more torture than yielding. It is difficult 
for those ,vho have been under a more natural system 
to comprehend how a sensible man, a respectable 
matron, a worthy old maid, and especially a girl, 
could be expected to go into company easily, on such 
conditions. n * 
This accompaniment of domestic drinking by a 
toast or sentiment--the practice of wllich is now con- 
fined to public entertainments-was then invariable 
in private parties, and was supposed to enliven and 
promote j the good fellowship of the social circle. 
Thus Fergusson, in one of his poems, in describing a 
dinner, says- 
"The grace is said; it's nae ower lang, 
The claret reams in bells. 
Quo' Deacon, 'Let the toast round gang; 
Come, here's our noble sels 
Weel met the day.'" 
There was a great variety of these toasts, some of 
them exclusively Scottish. A correspondent has 
favoured me with a fe,v reminiscences of such incen- 
tives to inebriety. 
The ordinary form of drinking a health was in the 
address, "Here's t' ye." 
Then such as the following were named by succes- 
sive members of the company at the call of the 
host :- 
The land 0' cakes (Scotland). 
Jl[ air freens and less need 0' them. 
Thumping luck and fat weans. 
· I/OI'd Cockburn's Memorials of kis Time, p. 37, pt Sfq. 



8G01'TlSH LIFE If: CHARACTER 116 


"7len we' 're gaun up thl3 hill 0' fortune may we ne' e., 
'1neel a freen' coming doun. 
J.vJay ne'er 'lCazt1' be amang us. 
J.fay the hinges 0' freendsltip never rust, or the 'wings 0' 
lut.e lose a feather. 
Here's to tlwm that 10' es us, or lenns us a bft. 
Hm'e's health to the sick, stilts to the lame; claise to 
the back, and brose to the wame. 
IIere's health, wealth, wit, and meal. 
The deil rock the'm in a creel that does na' wish us a' 
wee 1. 
Horny hands and weather-beaten haffels (cheeks). 
The rending 0' rocks and the [Ju'in' doun 0' auld 
houses. 
The above t,vo belong to the mason craft; the first 
implies a wish for plenty of work, and health to do it ; 
the second, to erect ne,v buildings and clear away old 
ones. 
May the winds 0' adversity ne'er blaw open our door. 
l.1fay poortith ne'er throw us in the dirt, or gowd into 
the high saddle.. 
May the mouse ne'er leat'e our meal-poc
 wi' tluJ tear 
in its e'e. 
Blythe may we a' be. 
nl may we never see. 
B1"eeks and Mochan (brose). 
J.Way 'lce ne'e1' want a freend, or a drappie to gie him. 
G1tde een to YO'll a', an' talc your napPlI. 
A willy-waught's a gude night cappy. t 
ill ay 'lce a' be canty an' cosy, 
A n' ilk hae a wife in his bosy. 
* 1Iay we never be cast down by adversity, or unduly ele< 
vated by prosperity. 
t A toast at parting or breaking up of the party. 



116 


11l!.'JII.J.VISCfJ lV CES 01&'" 


A cosy b'ltt, and a canty òen, 
To cO'ltthie * women and trusty men. 
The ingle neuk 'lvi' '}'01ttht 0' bannocks and bairns. 
IIe1'e's to h.im 'lvha winna beguile ye. 
1.l! air sense and mair sille1'. 
Horn, C01'n, wool, an' ya'rn. :I: 


Sometimes certain toasts were accompanied by 
Highland honours. This was a very exciting, and to 
a stranger a somewhat alarming, proceeding. Ire.. 
collect my astonishment the first time I witnessed 
the ceremony-the company, from sitting quietly 
drinking their wine, seemed to assume the attitude of 
harmless maniacs, allowed to amuse themselves. The 
moment the toast was given, and proposed to be 
drunk with Highland honours, the gentlemen all 
rose, and with one foot on their chair and another 
on the table, they drank the toast with Gaelic shrieks, 
which were awful to hear, the cheering being under 
the direction of a toast-master appointed to direct the 
proceedings. I am indebted to the kindness of the 
Rev. Duncan Campbell, the esteemed minister of 
1\1oulin, for the form used on such occasions. Here 
it is in the Gaelic and the Saxon :- 
Gaelic. T'ì'anslation. 
Prepare ! 
Now! Now! 
Yon again ! Yon again! 
Now! No\v! 
At it again! At it again! 
Another time, or one cheer more ! 


So! 
Nish! Nish! 
Sud ris! Sud ris ! 
Nish! Nish! 
Thig ris! Thig ris ! 
A on uair eile ! 


The reader is to imagine these words uttered "7ith 
yells and vociferations, and accompanied ,vith frantic 
gestures. 
.. Loving. t .Plenty. 
 'l'oast for agricultural dinn
rs. 



l:;r:OTTI8II LIFE J: CH.AR..4.0TER. 111 


The system of giving toasts was so regularly estab. 
lished, that collections of thenl ,vere published to add 
brilliancy to the festive board. By the kindness of 
the librarian, I have seen a little volume "Thich is in 
the Signet Library of Edinburgh. It is entitled, 
"The Gentleman's N e,v Bottle Companion," Edin- 
burgh, printed in the year MDCCLXXVII. It contains 
various toasts and sentiments ,yhich the "'Titer con- 
sidered to be suitable to such occasions. Of the taste 
and decency of the conlpanies ,vhere some of them 
could be nlade use of, the less said the better. 
I have heard also of large traditionary collections 
of toasts and sentÏ1nents, belonging to old clubs and 
societies, extending back above a century, but I have 
not seen any of them, and I believe my readers ,,,,ill 
think they have had quite enough. 
The favourable reaction which has taken place in 
regard to the ,vhole system of intemperance Dlay very 
fairly, in the first place, be referred to an improved 
moral feeling. But other causes have also assisted j 
and it is curious to observe ho,v the different changes 

 
in the modes of society bear upon one another. The 
alteration in the convivial habits ,vhich ,ve are notic.. 
ing in our o,vn country may be pa.rtly due to altera- 
tion of hours. The old plan of early dining favoured 
a system of suppers, and after supper ,vas a great time 
for convivial songs and sentiments. This of course 
induced drinking to a late hour. Most drinking songs 
inlply the night as the season of conviviality -thus 
ill a popular madrigal :- 


U ßy the gaily circling glass 
\Ve can tell how minutes pass; 
By the hollow cask we're told 
How the wa.ning niglLt grows old." 

 



118 


REJ,IIl\"'ISCENCES OF 


And Burns thus marks the time :- 


" I t is the moon, ! ken her horn, 
That's blinkin' in the lift sae hie; 
She shines sae bright, to wyle us harne, 
But by my sooth she'll wait a wee." 


The young people of the present day have no idea 
of the state of matters in regard to the supper system 
when it was the normal condition of society. The 
late dining hours may make the social circle more 
formal, but they have been far less favourable to drink- 
ing propensities. After such dinners as ours are no,v, 
suppers are clearly out of the question. One is as- 
tonished to look back and recall the scenes to \vhich 
'v ere attached associations of hilarity, conviviality, and 
enjoyment. Drinking parties ,vere protracted beyond 
the 'v hole Sunday, having begun by a dinner on 
Saturday; imbecility and prostrate helplessness were 
a con1mon result of these bright and jovial scenes; 
and by what perversion of ]anguage, or by ,vhat ob- 
liquity of sentiment, the notions of pleasure could be 
attached to scenes of such excess-to the nausea, the 
disgust of sated appetite, and the racking headache- 
it is not easy to explain. There were lnen of heads 
so hard, and of stomachs so insensible, that, like Iny 
friend Saunders Paul, they could stand anything in 
the ,vay of drink. But to men in general, and to the 
more delicate constitutions, such a life must have been 
a cause of great misery. To a certain extent, and up 
to a certain point, wine may be a refreshment and a 
,vholesome stimulant; nay, it is a Dledicine, and a 
valuable one, and as such, comes recommended on 
fitting occasions by the physician. Beyond this point, 
as sanctioned and approved by nature, the use of wine 
is only degradation. \Vell did the sacred \vriter cal1 



SCOTTISH LIFE l6 CHARACTER. llg 


wine, ,vhen thus taken in excess, "a mocker." It 
makes all men equal, because it makes them all idiotic. 
It allures thenl into a vicious indulgence, and then 
mocks their folly, by depriving them of any sense they 
n1ay ever have possessed. 
It has, I fear, been injurious to the cause of tem- 
perance, that emotions of true friendship, and the 
outpouring of human affections, should so frequently 
be connected ,vith the obligation that the parties 
should get drunk together. Drunkenness is thus made 
to hold too close an association in men's minds ",.ith 
some of the best and finest feelings of their nature. 
" Friend of my soul, this goblet sip," 
is the constant ackno"\vledged strain of poetical friend- 
ship: our o"\vn Robert Burns calls upon the dear 
companion of his early happy days, ,vith "\vhom he 
had" paidl't i' the burn, frae mornin' sun till dine," 
and bet,veen whom" braid seas had roar'd sin auld 
lang syne," to commemorate their union of heart and 
spirit, and to ,vel come their meeting after years of 
separation, by each one joining his pint-stoup, and by 
each taking a mutual "richt guid ,villie-,,"aught," in 
honour of the innocent and happy times of "auld 
lang sync." David marks his recognition of friend- 
ship by tokens of a different character-" 'Ve took 
sweet counsel together, and ,yalked in the house of God 
as friends."-Ps. Iv. 14. 
Reference has already been made to Lord Hermand's 
opinion of drinking, and to the high estimation in 
which he held a staunch drinker, according to tIle 
testimony of Lord Cockburn. There is a remarkable 
corroboration of this opinion in a current anecdote 
,vhich is traditionary regarding the same learned 
judge. A case of some great offence was tried hefore 



120 


REJIIJ.VISûENCES OF 


him, and the counsel pleaded extenuation for his client 
in that he ,vas drunk when he committed the offence. 
" Drunk!" exclaimed Lord Hermand, in great indig- 
nation; "if ....he could do such a thing ,vhen he ,vas 
drunk, what might he not have done ,vhen he ,vas 
sobel. I" evidently in1plying that the normal condition 
of human nature, and its most hopeful one, \vas a 
condition of intoxication. 
Of the prevalence of hard drinking in certain houses 
as a systen1, a remarkable proof is given at page 102. 
The following anecdote still further illustrates the 
subject, and corresponds exactly ,vith the story of the 
"loosing the cravats," ,vhich ,vas performed for guests 
in a state of helpless inebriety by one of the house- 
hold. There had been a carousing party at Castle 
Grant, many years ago, and as the evening advanced 
towards morning two Highlanders were in attendance 
to carry the guests up stairs, it being understood that 
none could by any other means arrive at their sleep- 
ing apartments. One or two of the guests, ho,vever, 
whether from their abstinence or their superior strength 
of head, ,vere "\valking up stairs, and declined the 
proffered assistance. The attendants ,vere quite as- 
tonished, and indignantly exclaimed, "Agh, it's sare 
cheengecl times at Castle Grant, when shentlemens can 
gang to bed on their ain feet." 
'There was a practice in many Scottish houses ,vhich 
favoured most injuriously the national tendency to 
spirit-drinking, and that was a foolish and inconsiderate 
custom of offering a glass on all occasions as a mark 
of kindness or hospitality. I mention the custom 
only for the purpose of offering a remonstrance. It 
should never be done. Even no,v, I am assured, small 
jobs (carpenters' or blacksmiths', or such like) 
re 
constantly remunerated in the West IIighland;:; oj 




Ç(,OTTIS1I LIFE do OHAR.ACTER. 121 
Scotland-and doubtless in many other parts of tho 
country-not by a pecuniary payment, but by a dram ,. 
if the said dram be taken from a speerit-decanter out 
of the family press or cupboard, the compliment is 
esteemed the greater, and the offering doubly valued. 
A very amusing dialogue between a landlord and his 
tenant on this question of 
he dram has been sent to 
me. John Colquhoun, an aged Dumbartonshire tenant, 
is asked by his laird on Lochlomond side, to stay a 
minute till he tastes. " Now, John," says the laird. 
"Only half a glass, Camstraddale," meekly pleads 
John. "vVhich half 
" rejoins the laird, "the upper 
or the lo\ver 1" John grins, and turns off both-the 
upper and lO'lCe1. too. 
The upper and lower portions of the glass furnish 
another drinking anecdote. A very greedy old lady 
employed another John Colquhoun to cut the grass 
upon the lawn, and enjoined him to cut it very close, 
adding, as a reason for the injunction, that one inch 
at the bottom ,vas ,vorth t",.o at the top. Having 
finished his work much to her satisfaction, the old 
lady got out the whisky-bottle and a tapering wine- 
glass, ,vhich she filled about half full; John suggested 
that it would be better to fill it up, slily adding, "Fill 
it up, mem, for it's no like the gress; an inch at the 
tap's worth t,va at the boddom. " 
But the most ,vhimsical anecdote connected with 
the subject of drink, is one traditionary in the south 
of Scotland, regarding an old Gallovidian lady dis- 
claiming more drink under the following circum- 
otances :-The old generation of Galloway lairds were 
8 primitive and hospitable race, but their conviviality 
eometimes led to awkward occurrences. In former 
days, v:hen roads were bad and ,vheeled vehicles 

dmost unknown, an old laird was returning from a 



I ".) 
... ... 


RElIIIJ.....,SOEJtOEs nF 


supper party, with his lady mounted behind him on 
horseback. On crossing the river Drr, at a ford at a 
point where it joins the sea, the old lady dropped off, 
but was not missed till her husband reached his door, 
,vhen, of course, there ,vas an immediate search made. 
'fhe party who were despatched in quest of her arrived 
just in time to find her remonstrating with the ad.- 
\Tancing tide, "\yhich trickled into her mouth, in these 
,vords, "No anither drap; neither het nor cauld. JJ 
A lady, on one occasion, offering a dram to a por- 
ter in a rather small glass, said, " Take it off; it will 
do you no harm," on which the man, looking at the 
diminutive glass, observed, " Harm! N a, gin it ,vere 
poushon " (poison). 
I would no,v introduce, as a perfect illustration of 
this portion of our subject, t,vo descriptions of clergy- 
men, well kno,vn men in their day, which are taken 
from Dr. Carlyle's work, already referred to. Of Dr. 
Alexander Webster, a clergyman, and one of his con- 
temporaries, he writes thus :-" Webster, leader of the 
high-flying party, had justly obtained much respect 
amongst the clergy, and all ranks indeed, for having 
established the Widows' Fund. His ap- 
pearance of great strictness in religion, to "\vhich he 
was bred under his father, ,vho was a very popular 
minister of the Tolbooth Church, not acting in restraint 
of his convivial humour, he was held to be excellent 
company even by those of dissolute manners; while, 
being a five-bottle man, he could lay them all under 
the table. This had brought on him the nickname 
of Dr. Bonum Magnum in the time of faction
 But 
never being indecently the worse of liquor, and a love 
of claret, to any degree, not being reckoned in those 
days a sin in Scotland, all his excesses were pardoned. n 
Dr. Patrick Cumming, also a clergyman and a con- 



SCOTTISH LIFE It: CIIARACTh'R. 12
 


temporary, he describes in the follo,ving terms:- 
"Dr. Patrick Cumming ,vas, at this time (1751), at 
the head of the moderate interest, and had his temper 
been equal to his talents, might have kept it long, for 
he had both learning and sagacity, and very agreeable 
conversation, with a constitution able to bear the con- 
vivz"ality of the t-imes." 
N o,v, of all the anecdotes and facts which I have 
collected, or of all ,vhich I have ever heard to illus- 
trate the state of Scottish society in the past tin1es, 
as regards its habits of intemperance, this assuredly 
surpasses them all.-Of t,,,,o \vell-kno,vn, distinguished, 
and leading clergymen in the middle of the eighteenth 
century, one ,,,,ho had "obtained much respect," anJ 
"had the appearance of great strictness in religion," 
is described as an enormous drinker of claret; the 
other, an able leader of a powerful section in the 
church, is described as owing his influence to his power 
of meeting the conviviality of the times. Suppose for 
a moment a future biographer should \vrite in this 
strain of eminent divines, and should 3,pply to distin- 
guished me1nbers of the Scottish Church in 1863 such 
description as the follo\ving :-" Dr. ,vas a man 
who took a leaùing part in an church affairs at this 
time, and ,vas much looked up to by the evangelical 
section of the General Assembly; he could al\vays 
carry off ,vithout difficulty his five bottles of claret. 
Dr. - had great influence in society, and led the 
opposite party in the General Assembly, as he could 
take his place in all companies, 3.ud drink on fair 
terms at the most convivial tables!!" Why, this 
seems to us so monstrous, that ,ve can scarcely believe 
Dr. CarJyle's account of matters in his day to be 
possible. 
'There is a story \v1)Îch illustrates, with terrihle 



1
.J 


REJfINISOEJ.VCES OÞ' 


force, the power which drinking had obtained in 
Scottish social life. I have been deterred from bring- 
ing it for,vard, as too shocking for production. But 
as the story is pretty ,veIl known, and its truth 
vouched for on high authority, I venture to give it, as 
affording a proof that, in those days, no consideration, 
not even the most awful that affects human nature, 
could be made to out,veigh the claims of a deter- 
n1ined conviviality. It may, 1 think, be mentioned 
also, in the ,yay of warning men generally against tIle 
hardening and demoralising effects of habitual drunken- 
ness. The story is this :-At a prolonged drinking 
bout, one of the party remarked, "What gars the laird 
of Garskadden look saa gash 1". "Ou," says his 
neighbour, the laird of I(ilmardinny, "deil meane 
him! Garskadden's been wi' his Maker these twa 
hours; I sa,v him step awa, but I didna like to dis- 
turb gude COlnpany ! "t 
Before closing this su bj ect of excess in drinking, I 
may refer to another indulgence in which our country- 
men are generally supposed to partake more largel)" 
than their neighbours :-1 Inean snuff-taking. The 
popular southern ideas of a Scotchman and his snuff- 
box are inseparable. Smoking does not appear to 
have been practised more in Scotland than in Eng- 
land, and if Scotchmen are sometimes intemperate in 
the use of snuff, it is certainly a more innocent excess 
than intemperance in ,vhisky. I recollect, anlongst the 
common people in the north, a mode of taking snuff 
which showed a determination to make the most of it, 
and which indicated son1ewhat of intemperance iu the 
enjoyment; this was to receive it not through a pinch 
· Ghastly. 
t The scene is described and place mel1tioned in Dr. Stranr'e 
account of Glasgow C]ubs, p. 104, 2d edit. 



TIlE S
üFFEl{ 


Fr01lt a ';tlater-c%u,- drawing by 
I-J E 
 r R 1 11-. A- ER R, 
A.R.s.A., R.s./r. 





 ."", 



11 


/ 




8t'OT1'ISll Llp"E d: CHARACTER. 125 


bet\\'eell the fingers, but through a quill or little bone 
ladle, ,,,hich forced it up the nose. But, besides 
smoking and snuffing, I have a reminiscence of a third 
us
 of tobacco, \yhich I apprehend is no\v quite obso- 
lete. Some of my readers ,vill be surprised ,vhen I 
nanle this forgotten luxury. It ,vas called plugging, 
and consisted (hOl'1"eSCO 'referens) in poking a piece of 
pig-tail tobacco right into the nostril. I remember 
this distinctly; and no\v, at a distance of Inore than 
sixty years, I recall my utter astonishment as a boy, at 
seeing my grand-uncle, with ",horn I lived in early 
clays, put a thin piece of tobacco fairly up his nose. 
I suppose the plug acted as a continued stimulant on 
the olfactory nerve, and was, in short, like taking a 
perpetual pinch of snuff. 
The inveterate snuff-taker, like the dram-drinker, 
felt severely the being deprived of his accustomed 
stimulant, as in the follo,ving instance: -A severe 
snow-storm in the Highlands, lvhich lasted for several 
weeks, having stopped all communication bet,vixt 
neighbouring hamlets, the snuff-boxes '''"ere soon re- 
duced to their last pinch. Borro,ving and begging 
from all the neighbours \vithin reach ,vere first resorted 
to, but when these failed, all were alike reduced to 
the longing ,vhich un,villingly-abstinent snuff-takers 
alone kno"T. The minister of the parish was amongst 
the unhappy number; the cra-ving was so intense tbat 
study was out of the question, and he became quite 
restless. As a last resort the beadle was despatched, 
through the snovv, to a neighbouring glen, in tbe hope 
of getting a supply; hut he came back as unsuccess- 
ful as he ,vent. """'hat's to be dune, John
" was 
the minister's pathetic inquiry. John shook his head, 
25 much as to say that he could not tell; but im- 
mediately thereafter started up, as if a new idea had 



126 


r..EJII.J..VISOENOEB OJ? 


occurred to him. He came back in a few minutes, 
crying, "Hae!" The minister, too eager to be scru- 
tinising, took a long, deep pinch, and then said, 
" \Vhaur did you get it 
" "I soupit* the poupit," was 
John's expressive reply. The minister's accumulated 
superfluous Sabbath snuff no,v came into good use. 
It does not appear that at this time a similar ex- 
cess in eating accompanied this prevalent tendency to 
excess in drinking. Scottish tables ,vere at that 
period plain and abundant, but epicurism or gluttony 
do not seenl to have been handmaids to drunkenness. 
A humorous anecdote, ho,,'"ever, of a full-eating laird, 
Inay ,veIl accompany those ,vhich appertain to the 
drinking lairds.-A lady in the north having watched 
the proceedings of a guest, who ate long and largely, 
she ordered the servant to take away, as he had at 
last laid down his knife and fork. To her surprise, 
however, he resumed his work, and she apologised to 
him, saying, "I thought, Mr. , you had done." 
" Oh, so I had, mem; but I just fan' a doo in the redd 
0' my plate." He had discovered a pigeon lurking 
amongst the bones and refuse of his plate, and could 
not resist finishing it. 


.. 8't
cpt. 



8COl'1'[SH LIFE æ CHARAC1'El/.. 121 


CIIAPTER THE FOUR1'II. 


ON THE OLD SCOTTISH DO::\IESTIC SERVANT. 


I co:r
IE no,v to a subject on which a great changE 
has taken place in this country during my o,vn ex- 
perience-viz. those peculiarities of intercourse which 
some years back marked the connection bet,veen 
masters and servants. In many Scottish houses a 
great familiarity prevailed bet,veen members of the 
family and the domestics. For this many reasons 
might have been assigned. Indeed, when ,ve con- 
sider the simple modes of life, which discarded the 
ideas of ceremony or etiquette; the retired and 
uniform style of living, which afforded few oppor- 
tunities for any change in the domestic arrange- 
ments; and when ,ve add to these a free, unrestrained, 
unformal, and natural style of intercommunion, which 
seems rather a national characteristic, we need not be 
surprised to find in quiet Scottish fan1ilies a sort of 
intercourse with old domestics ,vhich can hardly be 
looked for at a time when habits are so changed, and 
where much of the quiet eccentricity belonging to us 
as a national characteristic is almost necessarily soft- 
ened do,vn or driven out. 
Iany circumstances con- 
spired to promote familiarity ,vith old domestics, 
,vhich are now entirely changed. 'Ve take the case 
of a domestic coming early into service, and passing 
year after year in the same family. The servant 
gro,vs up into old age and confirmed habits when the 



128 


llEJlI.i.VISCE.iYCES OF 


laird is becoming a man, a husband, father of a îa.lllÌ1 J". 
The domestic cannot forget the days 'v hen his Dlaster 
was a child, riding on his back, applying to him for 
help in difficulties about his fishing, his rabbits, his 
pony, his going to school. All the family kno,v ho,"\" 
attached he is ; nobody likes to speak harshly to hitn. 
He is a privileged man. The faithful old servant of 
thirty, forty, or fifty years, if ,vith a tendency to be 
jealous, cross, and interfering, becomes a great trouble. 
Still the relative position was the result of good feel- 
ings. If the familiarity sometimes became a nuisance, 
it ,vas a wholesome nuisance, and relic of a simpler 
tinle gone by. But the case of the old servant, 
whether agreeable or troublesome, was often so fixed 
and established in the households of past days, that 
there was scarce a possibility of getting away from it. 
The well-kno\vn story of the answer of one of these 
domestic tyrants to the irritated master, who was 
making an effort to free himself from the thraldom, 
shows the idea entertained, by one of the parties at 
least, of the permanency of the tenure. I am assured 
by a friend that the true edition of the story was 
this :-An old Mr. Erskine of Dun had one of these 
retainers, under whose language and unreasonable 
assumption he had long groaned. He hail almost 
determined to bear it no longer, when, walking out 
with his man, on crossing a field, the master exclaim- 
ed, "There's a hare." Andre,v looked at the place, 
and coolly replied, "What a big lee, it's a cauff." The 
Inaster, quite angry now, plainly told the old domestic 
that they must part. But the tried servant of forty 
years, not dreaming of the possibility of his dismissal, 
innocently asked, a ...\.y, sir; whare 
e gaun 
 I'ID 
sure ye're aye best at hame ;" supposing that, if there 
were to be any disruption, it must be the m
ster ,vho 



SCOTT/Sfl I
I}'E d' CHARA OJ'L'R. 129 


\rould change the place. .A.n example of a similar 
fixedness of tenure in an old servant ,vas afforded ill 
an anecdote relateù of an old coachman long in the 
service of a noble lady, and ,,,,ho gave all the trouble 
and annoyance ,vhich he conceived ,vere the privileges 
of his position in the fanÜly. At last the lady fairly 
gave him notice to quit, and told hinl he must go. 
'The only satisfaction she got ,vas the lJ.uiet ans\ver, 
" 
 a, na, my lady ; I druve ye to your marriage, and 
I shall stay to drive ye to your burial." Indeed, ,ve 
have heard of a still stronger assertion of his official 
position by one ,vho met an order to quit his nlaster's 
service by the cool reply, " K a, na; I'm no gangin'. 
If ye dinna ken \vhan ye've a gude servant; I ken 
,\. han I've a gude place." 
It is but fair, however, to give an anecdote in which 
the master and the servant's position ,vas reversed, in 
regard to a 'v ish for change :-An old servant of a rela.. 
tion of my own ,vith an ungovernable temper, became 
at last so ,veary of his master's irascibility, that he 
declared he must leave, and gave as his reason the fits 
of anger \vhich came on, and produced such great 
annoyance that he could not stand it any longer. His 
master, un,villing to lose him, tried to coax him by 
reminding him that the anger ,vas 
oon off. "Ay," 
replied the other very shre\vdly, "but it's nae suner atf 
than it's on again." I remember \vell an old servant. 
of the old school, who had been fifty years domesticated 
in a family. Indeed I ,veIl remember the celebration 
of the half-century service completed. 'fhere were 
rich scenes ,vith Sandy and his mistress. Let Ine 
recall you both to memory. Let me think of you, the 
kind, generous, ,varm-hearted mistress; a gentle,voman 
by Jescel1t and by feeling; a true friend, a sincere 
Christian. .,lud let me think, too) of you, Sandy, an 



130 


IlEJIIl.'9'ISCE.VCES OJ" 


honest, faithful, and attached member of the farnilv. 
01 
For you '\v.ere in that house rather as a humble friend 
than a servant. But out of this fifty years of attached 
service there sprang a sort of domestic relation and 
freedom of intercourse ,vhich ,vould surprise people 
in these days. And yet Sandy knew his place. Like 
Corporal Trim, who, although so familiar and admitted 
to so much familiarity ,vith my Uncle Toby, never failed 
in the respectful address-never forgot to say" your 
honour." At a dinner party Sandy ,vas very active 
about changing his mistress's plate, and ,vhipped it off 
when he sa,v that she had got a piece of rich paté 
upon it. His mistress, not liking such rapid move- 
ments, and at the sanle time knowing that renlon- 
.:;trance was in vain, exclaimed, " Rout, Sandy, I'm no 
dune," and dabbed her fork into the "pattee" as it 
disappeared, to rescue a morsel. I remember her 
praise of English mutton ,vas a great annoyance to 
the Scottish prejudices of Sandy. One day she was 
telling me of a triumph Sandy had upon that subject. 
The smell of the joint roasting had become very 
offensive through the house. The lady called out to 
Sandy to have the doors closed, and added, " That 
must be SOlne horrid Scotch mutton you have got." 
To Sandy's delight, this \vas a leg of English mutton 
his mistress had expressly chosen; and, as she signifi- 
cantly told me, "Sandy never let that do,vn upon me." 
On Deeside there existed, in my recollection, 
besides the Saunders Paul I have alluded to, a 
number of extraordinary acute and hUlnorous Scottish 
characters amongst the lo,ver classes. The native 
gentry enjoyed their humour, and hence arose a fan1Ï- 
liarityof intercourse which called forth manyamus- 
ing scenes and quaint rejoinders. A celebrated 
character of this description bore the soubriquet 01 



saOl'l'lSll LIFE J; CHAllAOTER. 131 


'e Buaty," of "rhom I have already spoken. He had 
acted as Charon of the Dee at Banchory, and passed 
the boat over the river before there was a bridge. 
Boaty had many curious sayings recorded of him. 
"Then speaking of the gentry around, he charac- 
terised them according to their occupations and 
activity of habits-thus :-'
 As to Mr. Russell of 
Blackha', he just ,vorks hinlsell like a paid labourer; 

Ir. DUllcan's a' the day fish, fish; but Sir Robert's 
a perfect gentleman-he does naething, naething." 
Boaty ,vas a first-rate salmon-fisher himself, and ,vas 
much sought after by anlateurs "Tho came to Bal1chory 
for the sake of the sport afforded by the beautiful 
Dee. He ,vas, perhaps, a little spoiled, and presumed 
upon the indulgence and familiarity sho,vn to him in 
the way of his craft-as, for example, he ,vas in at- 
tendance ,vith his boat on a sportsman \vho ,vas both 
skilful and successful, for he caught salmon after 
salmon. Bet,veen each fish catching he solaced hin1self 
,vith a good pull frolll a flask, 'v hich he returned to 
his pocket, ho,vever, ,yithout offering to let Boaty have 
any participation in the refreshment. Boaty, partly 
a little professionally jealous, perhaps, at the success, 
and partly indignant at receiving less than his usual 
attention on such occasions, and seeing no prospect 
of amendment, deliberately pulled the boat to shore, 
shouldered the oars, rods, landing-ncts, and all the 
fishing apparatus ,vhich he had provided, and set off 
home,vards. His companion, far from considering his 
day's ,vork to be over, and keen for more sport, ,vas 
amazed, and peremptorily ordered him to come back. 
But all the answer made by the offended Boaty ,,"'as, 
"Na na; them 'at drink by themsells may just fish 
by them sells. " 
'Ihe charge these old domestics used to take of thA 



132 


REJ[I.,..vISCE
"'CES OF 


interests of the falnily, and the cool \vay in \vhich 
they took upon thenl to protect those interests, some- 
times led to very provoking, and sometimes to very 
ludicrous, exhibitions of Î1nportance. A friend told 
me of a dinner scene illustrative of this sort of inter- 
ference ,vhich had happened at Airth in the last 
generation. Mrs. Murray, of Abercairney, had been 
amongst the guests, and at dinner one of the family 
noticed that she ,vas looking for the proper spoon to 
help herself ,vith salt. The old servant, Thomas, ,vas 
appealed to, that the ,vant might be supplied. He 
did not notice the appeal. It "Tas repeated in a nlore 
perernptory manner, "rrholnas, Mrs. Murray has not 
a salt-spoon I" to which he replied most enlphatically, 
" Last titne Mrs. 1\furray dined here "Te lost a salt- 
spoon." An old servant ,vho took a similar charge 
of everything that ,vent on in the fanlily, having 
observed that his master thought that he had drunk 
,vine with every lady at table, but had overlooked 
one, jogged his memory ,vith the question," vVhat 
ails ye at her wi' the green gown 
 " 
In my o\vn family I kno\v a case of a very long 
service, and where, no doubt, there ,vas much interest 
and attachnlent j but it ,vas a case ,vhere the temper 
had not softened under the influence of years, but 
had rather assumed that form of disposition which 
we denominate crusty. My grand-uncle, Sir Å. Ram- 
say, died in 1806, and left a domestic ".ho had been 
in his service since he ,vas ten years of age; and 
being at the time of his master's death past fifty or 
,vell on to sixty, he must have been more than forty 
years a servant in the fanlily. From the retired life 
my grand-uncle had been leading, Jamie Layal had 
much of his own way, and, like many a domestic so 
situated, he did not like to be contradicted, and, in 



SCOTTISH LI.PE J: CHAR.AC1'ER. 133 
fact, could not bear to be found fault with. My 
uncle, who had succeeded to a part of my grand- 
uncle's property, succeeded also to Jamie Layal, and, 
from respect to his late master's memory and Jamie's 
own services, he teok him into his house, intending 
him to act as house servant. Ho,vever, this did not 
answer, and he ,vas soon kept on, more ,vith the form 
than the reality of any active duty, and took any 
light work that was going on about the house. In 
this capacity it was his daily task to feed a flock of 
turkeys which ,vere growing up to maturity. On one 
occasion, my aunt having followed him in his "rork, 
and having observed such a ,vaste of food that the 
ground was actually covered ,vith grain which they 
could not eat, and which ,vollld soon be destroyed 
and lost, naturally remonstrated, and suggested a 
more reasonable and provident supply. But all the 
ans\ver she got from the offended Jamie was a bitter 
rejoinder, "W eel, then, neist time they saIl get nane 
ava ! " On another occasion a family from a distance 
had called whilst my uncle and aunt were out of the 
house. Jamie came into the parlour to deliver the 
cards, or to announce that they had called. My aunt, 
somewhat vexed at not having been in the way, in- 
quired ,vhat message Mr. and Mrs. Innes had left, 
as she had expected one. " No; no message." She 
returned to the charge, and asked again if they had 
not told him anything he was to repeat. Stil
, " No ; 
no message." "But did they say nothing 
 Are you 
sure they said nothing 
 " J arnie, sadly put out and 
offended at being thus interrogated, at last burst forth, 
" They neither said ba nor bUlTI," and indignantly left 
the room, banging the door after him. A character- 
istic anecdote of one of these old domestics I have 
frOlll a frienù \vho ,vas acquainted ,vith the parties 
Q 



134 


Rl
JII.J.\f"ISG'E}tCES OF 


concerned. The old man ,vas standing at the side- 
board and attending to the denlands of a pretty large 
dinner party; the calls nlade for various wants from the 
company became so numerous and frequent that the 
attendant got quite bewildered, and lost his patience 
and temper; at length he gave vent to his indignation 
in a remonstrance addressed to the ,vhole company, 
" Cry a' thegither, that's the way to be served." 
I have two characteristic and dry Scottish answers, 
traditional in the Lothian family, supplied to me by 
the late excellent and highly-gifted Marquis. .A. 
Marquis of Lothian of a former genera.tion observed 
in his ,valk two ,vorkmen very busy "Tith a ladder to 
reach a bell, on \vhich they next kept up a furious 
ringing. He asked ,vhat ,yas the object of making 
such a din, to which the ans,ver was, "Oh, juist, my 
lord to ca' the workmen together!" "Why, ho,,," 
nlany are there 
" asked his lordship. "Ou, juist 
Sandy and me," was the quiet rejoinder. The same 
Lord Lothian, looking about the garden, directed his 
garùener's attention to a particular plum-tree, charg- 
ing him to be careful of the produce of that tree, and 
send the u'/tole of it in marked, as it ,vas of a very 
particular kind. " Ou," said the gardener, "I'll dae 
that, my lord; there's juist t,va 0' them." 
These dry answers of Newbattle servants remind 
us of a sÌ1llilar state of comlnunication in a Yester 
domestic. Lord T\veec1dale was very fond of dogs, 
and on leaving Yester for London he instructed his 
head keeper, a quaint bodie, to give him a periodical 
report of the kennel, and particulaJ"s of his fa vourite 
dogs. Alnong the latter was an especial one, of the 
true Skye breed, called "Pickle," from ,vhich soubri- 
quet we may form a tolerable estÎ1natc of hi
 
qualities. 



SC01'TISH LIFE d: CHARAOTER. 135 


It happened one day, in or about the year 1827, 
that poor Pickle, during the absence of his mastpr, 
,vas taken un,yell; and the watchful guardian imme- 
diately warned the l\1arquis of the sad fact, and of 
the progress of the disease, ,vhich lasted three days 
-for ,vhich he sent the three following laconic 
despatches :- 


:\1 Y LORD, 


Yater, May 1st, 18--. 


Pickle's no weel. 
Your Lordship's humble servant, etc. 
Yester, J.lay 2d, 18-. 


Aly 1,oRD, 


Pickle will no do. 


I am your Lordship's, etc. 
Yester, .
lay 3d, 18-. 


1tlv 14oRD, 


Pickle's dead. 


I am your Lordship's, etc. 


I have heard of an old Forfarshire lady ,vho, k110""- 
ing the habits of her old and spoilt servant, when she 
,vished a note to be taken without loss of time, held 
it open and read it over to him, saying, "There, noo, 
Andre,v, ye ken a' that's in't; noo dinna stop to open 
it, but just send it aff." Of another servant, ,'{hen 
sorely tried by an unaccustomed bustle and hurry, a 
very aUlusing anecdote has been recorded. His 
znistress, a '\
Oll1an of high rank, who had been living 
in much quiet and retirement for some time, was 
called upon to entertain a large party at dinner. She 
consulted ,vith NichoL her faithful servant, and all 
the arrangements ,vere Inade for the great event. As 
the company ,vere arriving, the lady sa,," Nichol 
running about in great agitation, and ill his sl1Ìrt 
sleeves. She remonstrated, and said that as th... 



l:>
 


REJf[lYISOENUJrJS OJ."" 


gl1
sts \vere con1Ïng ill he must vut 011 hi::; cú,li. 
" Indeed, nlY lady," was his excited reply, "indeclI, 
there's sae muckle rinnin' here and rinnin' there, that 
rIn just distrackit. I hae cuist'n my coat and ,vaist- 
coat, and faith I dinna ken how lang I can thole* Iny 
breeks." There is often a ready ,vit in this class of 
character, marked by their replies. I have the follo\v- 
ing communicated from an ear-witness :-" vVeel, 
Peggy," said a man to an old family servant, "I 
,vonder ye're aye single yet!" "Me marry," saill 
she, indignantly; "I wouldna gie my single life for 
a' the double anes I ever saw!" 
An old woman ,vas exhorting a servant once about 
her ways. " You serve the deevil," said 
he. " Me !" 
!aid the girl; "na, na, I dinna serve the deevil; I 
serve ae single lady." 
A baby ,vas out with the nurse, who "\yalked it up 
and down the garden. "Is't a laddie or a lassie 
 " 
said the gardener. "A laddie," said the In aid. 
" W eel," says he, I'm glad 0' that, for there's o\ver 
mony women in the ,vorld." "Hech, nlan," said 
Jess, "div ye no ken there's aye maist sawn 0' the 
best crap 1 " 
The answers of servants used curiously to illustrate 
habits and manners of the time,-as the economical 
modes of her mistress's life were well touched by the 
lass who thus described her ,vays and domestic habits 
with her household: "She's vicious upo' the wark; 
but eh, she's vary mysterious 0' the victualling." 
A country habit of making the gathering of th
 
congregation in the churchyard previous to and after 
divine service an occasion for gossip and business} 
which I remenlber well, is thoroughly described in 
the following :-A lady, on hiring a servant girl III 
it Bear. 



SCOTTISH LIFE k CHARACTER. 137 


the country, told her, as a great indulgence, that she 

hould have the liberty of attending the church every 
Sunday, but that she ,vonld be expected to return 
home ahvays imnlediately on the conclusion of service. 
The lady, ho,vever, rather unexpectedly found a 
positive objection raised against this apparently 
reasonable arrangement. "Then I canna engage wi' 
ye, mem; for 'deed I lvadna gie thé crack i' the kirk- 
yard for a' the sermon." 
There is another story ,v'hich shows that a greater 
importance might be attached to the crack i' the kirk- 
yard than ,vas done even by the servant lass mentioned 
above. A rather rough subject, residing in Galloway, 
used to attend church regularly, as it appeared, for 
the sake of the crack ; for on being taken to task for 
his absenting himself, he remarked, "There's nae need 
to gang to the kirk noo, for everybody gets a news- 
paper." 
The changes that many of us have lived to witness 
in this kind of intercourse between families and old 
servants is a part of a still greater change-the change 
in that modification of the feudal system, the attach- 
men t úf clan s. This, also, from transfers of property 
and extinction of old families in the Highlands, as 
,veIl as from more general causes, is passing a,vay; 
and it includes also changes in the intercourse between 
landed proprietors and cottagers, and abolition of 
harvest-homes, and such meetings. People are now 
more independent of each other, and service has 
hecome a pecuniary and not a sentimental question. 
The extreme contrast of that old-fashioned Scottish 
intercourse of families ,vith their servants and depend.. 
ants, of which I have given some amusing examples, 
is found in the nlodern manufactory sJ'stem. There 
the service is a mere question of personal interest. 



138 


R

JII...YISCE.J.Y'CES O,F' 


One of our first practical engineers, and one of tIle 
first engine-lnakers in England, stated that he 
employed and paid handsomely on an average 1200 
worklnell; but that they held so little feeling for hitn 
as their master, that not above half-a-dozen of the 
number would notice him ,yhen passing him, either 
in the ,yorks or out of ,york hours. Contrast this 
advanced state of dependants' indifference with the 
familiarity of domestic intercourse ,ve have been 
describing! 
It has been suggested by nlY esteemed friend, Dr. 
'V. Lindsay Alexander, that Scottish anecdotes deal 
too exclusively with the shrewd, quaint, and pawky 
humour of our countrymen, and have not sufficiently 
illustrated the deep pathos and strong loving-kindness 
of the "kindly Scot," -qualities ,yhich, however 
little appreciated across the Border, abound in Scottish 
poetry and Scottish life. For example, to take the 
case before us of these old retainers, although snappy 
and disagreeable to the last degree in their replies, 
and often most provoking in their ,yays, they were 
yet deeply and sincerely attached to the falnily ,vhere 
they had so long been domesticated; and the servant 
who would reply to her mistress's order to mend the 
fire by the short answer, "The fire's weel eneuch," 
,vould at the same time evince much interest in all 
. that might assist her in sustaining the credit of her 
domestic economy; as, for example, whispering in 
her ear at dinner," Press the jeelies; they ,vÍnna 
keep;" and had the hour of real trial and of difficulty 
come to the family, ,vould have gone to the death for 
them, and shared their greatest privations. Dr. 
Alexander gives a very interesting example of kind. 
ness and affectionate attachment in an old Scottish 
domestic of his o,vn family, whose quaint and odd 



SCOTTISH LIFE J: CH.AR.ACTER. 139 


familiarity ,vas charming. I give it in his o"
n ,vords : 
-" 'Vhen I 'vas a child there ,vas an old ser,rant at 
Pinkieburn, where my early days were spent, ,vho 
had been all her life, I may say, in the house-for she 
came to it a child, and lived, ,vithout ever leaving it, 
till she died in it, seventy-five years of age. Her 
feeling to her old master, who was just t,vo years 
younger than herself, ,vas a curious compound of the 
deference of a servant and the familiarity and affec- 
tion of a sister. She had kno,vn him as a boy, lad, 
man, and old TIlan, and she seemed to have a sort of 
notion that without her he must be a very helpless 
being indeed. 'I aye keepit the hoose for him, 
whether he ,vas hame or awa',' ,vas a frequent utter- 
ance of hers; and she never seemed to think the 
intrusion even of his own nieces, \vho latterly lived 
,vith him, at all legitimate. 'Vhen on her deathbed, 
he hobbled to her room with difficulty, having just 
got over a severe attack of gout, to bid her farewell. 
I chanced to be present, but ,vas too young to remem- 
ber ,vhat passed, except one thing, which probably 
was rather recalled to me afterwards than properly 
recollected by me. It was her last request. 'Laird,' 
said she (for so she always called him, though his 
lairdship was of the smallest), ',vill :ye tell them to 
bury me \vhaur I'll lie across at your feet l' I have 
always thought this characteristic of the old Scotch 
servant, and as such I send it to you." 
...4.11d here I would introduce another story which 
struck me very forcibly as illustrating the union of 
the qualities referred to by Dr. Alexander. In the 
following narrative, how deep and tender a feeling is 
expressed in a brief dry sentence! I give l\Ir. Scott's 
langna.ge :*-" 
Iy brother and I "-ere, during our 
* Rc\". H. Scott of Cranwcll. 



140 


l
EJ.II
A'IS()E.A.{JES OJ? 


IIigh School vacation, some forty years ago, very much 
indebted to the kindness of a clever young carpenter 
employed in the machinery ,vorkshop of New Lanark 
Mills, near to which we were residing during our six 
weeks' holidays. It was he-Sa
uel Shaw, our dear 
companion-,vho first taught us to sa,v, and to plane, 
and to turn too; and ,vho made us the bows and 
arrows in which we so much delighted. The vacation 
over, and our hearts very sore, but bound to Samuel 
Shaw for ever, our mother sought to place some 
pecuniary recompense in his hand at parting, for all 
the great kindness he had shown her boys. Samuel 
looked in her face, and gently moving her hand aside, 
,vith an affectionate look cast upon us, who were by, 
exclaimed, in a tone which had sorro,v in it, "N 00, 
Mrs. Scott, ye hae spoilt a'." After such an appea1, 
it may be supposed no recompense, in silver or in 
gold, remained with Samuel Shaw. 
On the subject of the old Scottish domestic, I have 
to acknowledge a kind communication from Lord 
Kinloch, which I give in his Lordship's words:- 
"My father had been in the counting-house of the 
well-known David Dale, the founder of the Lanark 
Mills, and eminent for his benevolence. Mr. Dale, 
who it would appear ,vas a short stout man, had a 
person in his employment nanled Matthew, who was 
permitted that familiarity with his Inaster which ,vas 
so characteristic of the former generation. One win- 
ter day Mr. Dale came into the counting-house, and 
complained that he had fallen on the ice. Matthew, 
who saw that his master was not much hurt, grinned 
a sarcastic smile. 'I fell all my length,' said Mr. 
Dale. ' Nae great length, sir,' said l\iatthew. ' In- 
deed, Matthe,v, ye need not laugh,' said 
Ir. Dale; 
'I have hurt the sma' 0' my back.' , I ,vunner whaur 



SCOTTISH LIFE &; CHARACTh.,R. 141 


that is,' said 
Iatthe'v." Indeed, specinlens like 
1-Iatthc"., of serving-men of the forlner time, have 
latter]
" been fast going out, hut I remember one 
or t".o such. A lady of lIlY acquaintance had one 
nanled John in her house at Portobello. I remember 
ho,v my modern ideas ""ere offended by John's fami- 
1iarity ,vhen ,vaiting at table. "Some more wine, 
John," said his 11listress. " There's some i' the bottle, 
DIcnl," said John. A little after, "Mend the fire, 
John." " The fire's ,veel eneuch, nlem," replied the 
impracticable John. Another" John" of my ac- 
quaintance ,vas in the family of :NIrs. Campbell of Ard- 
nave, mother of the Princess Polignac and the Hon. 

Irs. Archibald :hlacdonald. A young lady visiting 
in the family asked John at dinner for a potato. 
John made no response. Thf' request was repeated; 
,vhen John, putting his nlouth to her ear, said, very 
audibly, "There's jist twa in the dish, and they maun 
be keepit for the strangers." 
The follo".ing ,vas sent me by a kind correspondent 
-a learned Professor in India-as a sample of squab- 
bling bet,veen Scottish servants. A Inistress observing 
something peculiar in her Inaid's manner, addressed 
her, "Dear me, Tibbie, ,vhat are you so snappish 
about, that you go knocking the things as you dust 
them f' "Ou, mem, it's Jock." ""r ell, ,,,,hat has 
Jock been doing 
" "Ou (,vith an indescribable, but 
easily imaginable toss of the head), he ,vas angry at 
IIle, an' misca'd me, an' I said I ,vas juist as the Lord 
had made me, an' "" "r ell, Tib bie f' " An' 
he said the I
ord could hae had little to dae "Than he 
made me." T'he idea of Tibbie being the ,york of an 
idle tnoment ,vas one, the deliciousneð8 of which ,vas 
not likely to be relished by the lassie. 
The follo\",ing characteristic anecdote of a IIighland 



142 


RE.JII.:..YISCENCES OF 


servant I have receiveù from the same correspondent. 
An English gentlen1an, travelling in the Highlands, 
was rather late of conling do,vn to dinner. Donald 
,vas sent up stairs to intimate tllat all was ready. 
He speedily returned, nodding significantly, as much 
as to say that it was all right. " But, Donald," said 
the master, after some further trial of a hungry man's 
patience, " are ye sure ye made the gentlenlan under- 
stand 1" "Unde'J"stand 7" retorted Donald (who had 
peeped into the room and found the guest engaged 
at his toilet), "I'se warrant ye he understands; he's 
sharping his teeth," -not supposing the tooth-brush 
could be for any other use. 
There have b6en some very amusing instances 
given of the matter-of-fact obedience paid to orders 
by I-lighland retainers ,vhen made to perform the 
ordinary duties of domestic servants; as ,vhen 
Ir. 
Campbell, a Highland gentlen1an, visiting in a country 
house, and telling Donald to bring everything out of 
the bedroom, found all its movable articles-fender, 
fire-irons, etc.-piled up in the lobby; so literal was 
the poor man's sense of obedience to orders! 
A.lld 
of this he gave a still more extraordinary proof dur- 
ing his sojourn in Edinburgh, by a very ludicrous ex- 
ploit. When the family moved into a house there, 

Irs. Campbell gave him very particular instructions 
regarding visitors, eXplaining that they were t.o be 
shown into the dra\ving-room, and no doubt used the 
Scotticism, "Ca1.1.Y any ladies that call up stairs." 
On the arrival of the first visitors, Donald was eager 
to sho,v his strict attention to the mistress's orders. 
T,vo ladies came together, and Donald, seizing one in 
his arms, sHirl to thp other, " Bide ye there till I come 
for re," and, in spite of her struggles and rrnlon. 



SCOTTISH LIFE (ê CHAR.AOTElt. 143 


strances, ushered the terrified visitor into l\Irf.':. Camp- 
bell's presence in this un\yonted fashion. 
Another case of literal obedience to orders pro- 
duced a some\vhat startling form of message. A 
servant of an old maiden lady, a patient of Dr. Poole, 
formerly of Edinburgh, \vas under orders to go to the 
doctor every morning to report the state of her health, 
ho,v she had slept, etc., with strict injunctions always 
to add, "\vith her compliments." At length, one 
morning the girl brought this extraordinary message: 
-" 
Iiss 8-'s compliments, and she dce'd last 
night at aicht o'clock!" 
I recollect, in l\fol1trose (that fruitful field for old 
Scottish stories I), a most naïve reply from an honest 
lass, servant to old 1\lrs. Captain Fullerton. .c\. party 
of gentlemen had dined with l\Irs. Fullerton, and they 
had a tUFkey for dinner. 
Irs. F. proposed that one 
of the legs should be det'iled, and the gentlemen have 
it served up as a relish for their wine. Accordingly 
one of the company skilled in the mystery prepared 
it with pepper, cayenne, lTIustard, ketchup, etc. He 
gave it to Lizzy, and told her to take it do,vn to the 
kitchen, supposing, as a matter of course, she ,vould 
kno,v that it was to be broiled, and brought back in 
due time. But in a little \vhile, ,vhen it was rung for, 
Lizzy very innocently replied that she had eaten it up. 
As it was sent back to the kitchen, her only idea ,vas 
that it must be for herself. But on surprise being 
expressed that she had eaten \v hat ,vas so highly 
peppered and seasoned, she very quaintly ans\vered, 
" Ou, I liket it a' the better." 
A well-kno,vn servant of the old school was John, 
the servant of Pitfour, 
Ir. Ferguson, l\I.P., himself a 
most eccentric character, long father of the House of 
Commons, and a great friend of Pitt. John used to 



144: 


REMINISCEÞt(fES OF 


entertain the tenants, on Pitfour's brief visits to hig 
estat.Jð" with numerous anecdotes of his master and l\Ir. 
Pitt; but he always prefaced them ,vith sOlnething in 
the style of Cardinal 'V olsey's Ego et 'rex meu8-",.ith 
"
Ie, and Pitt, and Pitfour," ,vent som, e,vhere or 
performed some exploit. The famous Duchess of 
Gordon once ,vrote a note to John (the nalue of this 
eccentric valet), and said, " John, put Pitfour into the 
carriage on Tuesday, and bring him up to Gordon 
Castle to dinner." After sufficiently scratching his 
head, and considering ,vhat he should do, he sho,ved 
the letter to Pitfour, ,vho sIniled, and said drily, 
" Well, John, I suppose we must go." 
An old domestic of this class gave a capital reason 
to his young master for his being allowed to do as he 
liked :-" Y e needna find faut ,vi' me, Maister J eems; 
I llae been lange1 e aboot the place than ye'l.sel." 
It may seem ungracious to close this chapter ,vith 
a communication which appears to convey an un- 
favourable impression of an old servant. But the 
truth is, real and attached domestic service does not 
offer its pleasures and ad vantages without some alloy 
of annoyance, and yet ho,v much the solid benefits 
prevail over any occasional drawbacks! 
The late Rev. Mr. Leslie of St. Andrc".-Ijhallbryd, 
a parish in Morayshire, in describing an old. servant 
,vho had been with him thirty years, said, " The first 
ten years she ,vas an excellent servant; the second 
ten she ,vas a good mistress; but the third ten Rhe 
,,,,as a perfect tJrant." 



SCOTTISH LIFE &: C'HARACTER.. 14å 


CHAPTER THE FIFfH. 


SCOTTISH JtrDGES. 


'THERE is no class of men ,vhich stands out murc 
prominent in the reminiscences of the last hundred 
years than that of our SCOTTISH JUDGES. They form, 
in many instances, a type or representative of the 
leading peculiarities of Scottish life and Inanners. 
They are mixed up with all our affairs, social and 
political. There are to be found in the annals of the 
bench rich examples of pure Scottish humour, the 
strongest peculiarity of Scottish phraseology, acute- 
ness of intellect, cutting ,vit, eccentricity of manners, 
and abundant powers of conviviality. Their succes- 
sors no longer furnish the same anecdotes of oddity 
or of intemperance. The Courts of the Scottish 
Parliament House, without lacking the learning or 
the la,v of those who sat there sixty years ago, lack 
not the refinement and the dignity that have long 
distinguished the Courts of \Vestminster Hall. 
Stories still exist, traditionary in society, anlongst 
its older members, regarding Lords Gardenstone, 

lonboddo, Hermand, Ne,vton, Polkemmet, Braxfield, 
etc. But many younger persons do not kno,v thenl. 
It may be interesting to some of my readers to deyote 
a fe,v pages to the subject, and to offer some judicial 
gleanings. * 


* I ha.ve derived SOllle information from a curious book, 
"Kay's Portraits," 2 vo1.
. The work is scarcely known in 
Englanù, and is becoming rare in Scotlanù. " X othing can 



]46 


Rl
"JfTltISCEJ.,rCES O.J. Q 


I have t,vo anecdotes to sho\v that, both in social 
and judicial life, a renlarkable change must have taken 
place amongst the "fifteen." I am assured that the 
following scene took place at the table of Lord Pol- 
kemmet, at a dinner party in his house. \Vhen the 
covers were removed, the dinner ,vas seen to consist 
of veal broth, a roast fillet of veal, veal cutlets, a 
florentine (an excel1ent old Scottish dish composed of 
veal), a calf's head, calf's foot jelly. The "\vorthy 
judge could not help observing a surprise on the 
countenance of his guests, and perhaps a simper on 
some; so he broke out in explanation: "Ou ay, it's 
a cauf; when ,ve kill a beast we just eat up ae side, 
and down the tither." The expressions he used to 
describe his own judic'ial preparatio
s for the bench 
were very characteristic: "Y e see I first read a' the 
pleadings, and then, after lettin' them wamble in my 
warne ,vi' the toddy t,va or three days, I gie my 
aiu interlocutor." For a moment suppose such anec- 
dotes to be told now of any of our high legal function- 
aries. Imagine the feelings of surprise that would 
be called forth were the present Justice-Clerk to 
adopt such imagery in describing the process of 
preparing his legal judgment on a difficult case in his 
court! 
In regard to the wit of the Scottish bar.-It is a 
subject which I do not pretend to illustrate. It 
,yould require a volulne for i.tself. One anecdote, 
ho\vever, I cannot resist, and I record it as forming 
a striking example of the class of Scottish l1umour 
vdâch, with our dialect, has lost its distinctive charac- 
teristics. John Clerk (afterwards a judge by the 
be more valuable in the way of engraved portraits than these 
reIJresentations of the distinguished men who adorned Edinburgb 
in the latter part of the cigllteenth eentury. "-Chambc1'S. 



SCOTTISlf LIFE d. CHARACTER. 147 
title of Lord Eldin) ,vas arguing a Scotch appeal 
case before the House of Lords. His client claimed 
the use of a mill-stream by a prescriptive right. !vIr. 
Clerk spoke broad Scotch, and argued that "the 
watte'r had rin that way for forty years. Indeed nae- 
body kelln'd ho\y long, and ,vhy should his client 
no\y be deprived of the "ratter 
"etc. The chancel- 
lor, much amused at the pronunciation of the Scottish 
ad vocate, in a rather bantering tone a
:ked him, "
Ir. 
Clerk, do you spell ,vater in Scotland. with t\VO t's 
" 
Clerk, a little nettled at this hit at his national tongue, 
ans\vered, "Na, my Lord, ,,"e dinna spell wattel 
(n1aking the word as short as he could) wi' twa t'sJ 
but \ve spell mainners (making the word as long as 
he could) wi' t\va n's. n 
John Clerk's vernacular version of the motto of the 
Celtic Club is highly characteristic of his humour and 
his prejudice. He had a strong dislike to the ,vhole 
Highland race, and the motto assumed by the modern 
Celts, "OHm marte, nunc arte," Clerk translated 
"Formerly robbers, now thieves." Quite equal to 
Swift's celebrated remark on William Ill's motto- 
Recepit, non 'rap1.tit-" that the receiver was as bad as 
the thief. " Very dry and pithy too Vtpas Clerk's legal 
opinion given to a claima!lt of the Anuandale peerage, 
\vho, \vhen pressing the employment of some obvious 
forgeries, "Tas \varned that if he persevered, nae doot 
he might be a peer, but it \vould be a peer 0' anither 
tree / 
The clever author of" Peter's Letters" gives an 
elaborate description of Clerk's character whilst at the 
bar, and speaks of him as "the plainest, the shrewd- 
est, and the most sarcastic of men." Nor could he 
entirely repress these peculiarities \vhen raised to the 
bench under the title of Lord Eldin. 



148 


R EJ[I
Y,[SCE1YC"'JS D,1' 


His defence of a young friend, who was an advo- 
cate, and had incurred the displeasure of the Judges, 
has often been repeated. Mr. Clerk had been called 
\!pon to offer his apologies for disrespect, or implied 
disrespect, in his manner of addressing the Bench. 
The advocate had given great offence by expressing 
his "astonishment" at something ,vhich had ema- 
nated from their Lordships, Ï1nplying by it his dis- 
approval. He got Lord Eldin, who was connected 
,vith him, to make an apology for him. But Clerk 
could not resist his humorous vein by very equivo- 
cally adding, "My client has expressed his astonish- 
ment, my Lords, at ,vhat he had met with here; if 
my young friend had known this court as long as I 
have, he would have been astonished at nothing." 
A kind Perth shire correspondent has sent me 
a characteristic anecdote, which has strong in- 
ternal evidence of being genuine. When Clerk 
was raised to the Bench he presented his credentials 
to the Court, and, according to custom, was received 
by the presiding Judge-who, on this occasion, in a 
somewhat sarcastic tone, referred to the delay which 
had taken place in his reaching a position for which 
he had so long been qualified, and to which he must 
have long aspired. He hinted at the long absence of 
the Whig party from political po\ver as the cause of 
this delay, which offended Clerk; and he paid it off 
by intimating in his pithy and bitter tone, which he 
could so well assume, that it was not of so much 
consequence
" Because," as he said, "ye see, my 
Lord, I ,vas not juist sa.e sune doited as some 0' your 
Lordships.' , 
'fhe follo,ving account of his conducting a case i
 
also highly characteristic. T,vo individuals, thp one 
a mason, the other a carpenter, both residenters in 



SCOTTISH LIFE d'; ClIARACTER. 1
9 


\Vest Portsburgh, forIned a copartnery, and com- 
menced building houses ,vithin the boundaries of 
the burgh corporation. One of the partners \yas a 
freeman, the other not. The corporation, considering 
its rights invaded by a non-freeman exercising privi- 
leges only accorded to one of their body, brought 
an action in the Court of Session against the inter- 
loper, and his partner as aiding and abetting. !vIr. 
John Clerk, then an advocate, ,vas engaged for the 
defendants. How the cause ,vas decided Inatters 
little. 'Vhat ,vas really curious in the affair ,vas 
the naïvely droll manner in ,vhich the advocate for 
the defence opened his pleading before the Lord 
Ordinary. "
Iy Lord," commenced J Ohll, in his 
purest Doric, at the same time pushing up his spec- 
tacles to his bro,v and hitching his gown over his 
shoulders, " I wad hae thocht naething o't (the action), 
had hooses been a nc,v invention, and my clients 
been caught ouvertly impingin' on the patent richts 
0' the inventors! 11 
Of Lord Gardenstone (Francis Garden) I have 
many early personal reminiscences, as his property of 
Johnstone was in the Howe of the l\Iearns, not far 
from my early home. He was a man of energy, and 
promoted improvements in the county with skill and 
practical sagacity. His favourite scheme was to 
establish a flourishing town upon his property, and 
he spared no pains or expense in promoting the 
importance of his village of Laurencekirk. He built 
an excellent inn, to render it a stage for posting. 
He built and endo\ved an Episcopal chapel for the 
benefit of his English immigrants, in the vestry of 
which he placed a most respectable library; and he 
encouraged manufacturers of all kinds to settle in 
the place. Amongst others, as ,ve have seen, canlP 
R 



150 


.l.1EJ1INl;:;CEl.lCES 0,1/ 


the hatter who found only three hats in the kirk. 
His lordship ,vas luuch taken up ,vith his hotel 
or inn, and for which he provided a large volume for 
receiving the ,vritten contributions of travellers who 
frequented it. It ,vas the landlady's business to pre- 
sent this volume to tbe guests, and ask them to write 
in it during the evenings whatever occun'ed to their 
memory or their inlagination. In the mornings it 
,,"as a favourite amusen1ent of Lord Gardenstone to 
look it over. I recollect Sir 'Valter Scott being 
llluch taken with this contrivance, and his asking 
me about it at Abbotsford. His son said to him, 
" You should establish such a book, sir, at Melrose;" 
upon which Sir 'V. replied, "No, Walter; I should 
just have to see a great deal of abuse of myself." 
On his son deprecating such a result, and on his 
observing nlY surprised look, he answered, "'V ell, 
,yell, I should have to read a great deal of foolish 
praise, which is nluch the same thing." An amusing 
account is given of the cause of Lord Gardenstone 
withdrawing this volume from the hotel, and of his 
determination to submit it no more to the tender 
nlercÌes of the passing traveller. As Professor Stuart 
of Aberdeen ,vas passing an evening at the inn, the 
volume was handed to him, and he ,vrote in it the 
following lines, in the style of the prophecies of 
Thomas the Rhymer :- 
" ]'rae sma' beginnings Rome of auld 
Became a great imperial city; 
'Twas peopled first, as we are tauld, 
By bankrupts, vagabonds, banditti. 
Quoth Thamas, Then the day ma.y come, 
When Laurencekirk shan equal Rome." 
'fhese lines so nettled Lord Gardenstone, that the 
volume disappeared, and ,,"as never seen afterwards 



SCOTTISH LI1'E cf; OHARACTER. 15] 


in the inn of Laurencekirk. There is another linger- 
ing reminiscence which I retain connected ,,-ith the inD 
at Laurencekirk. The landlord, Mr. Cream, ,vas a 
nlan ,veIl known throughout all the county, and ,vas 
distinguished, in his later years, as one of the fe,v 
nlen "rho continued to 'Wear a pigtail. On one occasion 
the late Lord Dunmore (gråndfather or great-grand- 
father of the present })eer), ,vho also still ,yore his 
queue, halted for a night at Laurencekirk. On the 
host leaving the room, ,vhere he had come to take 
orders for supper, Lord Dunmore turned to his valet 
and said, "
J ohnstone, do I look as like a fool in my 
pigtail as Billy Cream does 1"-" 1vluch about it, my 
lord," ,vas the valet's imperturbable ans,ver. "Then," 
said his lordship, "cut off mine to-morro,v morning 
,vhen I dress." 
Lord Gardenstolle seemed to have had t,vo favourite 
tastes: he indulged in the love of pigs and the love 
of snuff. He took a young pig as a pet, and it be- 
came quite tame, and follo,ved him about like a dog. 
At first the animal shared his bed, but ,vhen, growing 
up to advanced swinehood, it became unfit for such 
companionship, he had it to sleep in his room, in ,vhich 
he lnade a comfortable couch for it of his o,vn clothes. 
His snuff he kept not in a box, but in a leathern 
waist-pocket made for the purpose. He took it in 
enormous quantities, and used to say that if he had 
a dozen noses he ,vould feed them all. Lord Garden- 
stone died 1793. 
Lord Monboddo (James Burnet, Esq. of ltlonboddo) 
is another of the well-kno,vn members of the Scottish 
Bench, who combined, ,,'ith many eccentricities of 
opinion and habits, great learning and a most amiable 
disposition. From his paternal property being in the 
county of l{incardiue, and Lord 1\[ being a ,-isitor at 



182 


REJ.
/I
VIS()EN()ES OF 


my father's house, and indeed a relation or clansman, 
I have many early reminiscences of stories ,vhich I 
have heard of the learned judge. His speculations 
regarding the origin of the human race have, in tinles 
past, excited much interest and amusement. His 
theory was that man emerged from a ,vild and savage 
condition, much resembling that of apes; that man 
had then a taillike other aniInals, but which by pro- 
gressive civilisation and the constant habit of sitting, 
had become obsolete. This theory produced nlany ajoke 
from facetious and superficial people, ,vho had never 
read any of the arguments of the able and elaborate 
work, by which the ingenious and learned author main- 
tained his theory.. Lord Kames, a brother judge, had 
his joke on it. On some occasion of their meeting, Lord 
Monboddo ,vas for giving Lord Kames the prece- 
dency. Lord K. declined, and drew back, saying, " By 
no means, my lord; you must walk first, that I may 
see YOu'}. tail." I recollect Lord Monboddo's coming 
to dine at Fasque caused a great excitement of interest 
and curiosity. I was in the nursery, too young to 
take part in the investigations; but my elder brothers 
were on the alert to watch his arrival, and get a 
glimpse of his tail. Lord !YI. was really a learned man, 
read Greek and Latin authors-not as a mere exercise 
of classical scholarship - but because he identified 
himself with their philosophical opinions, and would 
have revived Greek customs and modes of life. He 
used to give suppers after the manner of the ancients, 
and used to astonish his guests by the ancient cookery 
of Spartan broth, and of mulsum. He was an 
nthu.. 
siastical Platonist. On a visit to Oxford, he was 
received with great respect by the scholars of the Uni- 
versity, ,vho were much interested in meeting '\vith 
* Origin and Pro{,'1'ess of Language. 



SCOTTISH LlFE & CHAR.AC1'ER. 158 


one who had studied Plato as a pupil and fonow er. 
In accordance with the old custom at learned univer- 
sities, Lord 1\fonboddo was determined to address the 
Oxonians in Latin, which he spoke ,vith much readi- 
ness. But they could not stand the numerous slips 
in prosody. Lord 1Ionboddo shocked the ears of the 
men of Eton and of 'Vinchester by dreadful false 
quantities- verse-making being, in Scotland, then 
quite neglected, and a matter little thought of by the 
learned judge. 
Lord l\fonboddo ,vas considered an able la,vyer, 
and on many occasions exhibited a very clear and 
correct judicial discernment of intricate cases. It was 
one of his peculiarities that he never sat on the bench 
with his brother judges, but always at the clerk's 
table. Different reasons for this practice have been 
given, but the simple fact seems to have been, that he 
,vas deaf, and heard better at the lo"rer seat. His 
mode of travelling ,,"as on horseback He scorned 
carriages, 011 the ground of its being unmanly to "sit 
in a box dra,vn by brutes." 'Vhen he went to Lon- 
don he rode the ,vhole way. At the same period, 

Ir. Barclay of Dry (father of the well-known Captain 
Barclay), ,vhen he represented Kincardineshire in 
Parliament, ahvays 
(jalked to London. He was a, very 
powerful man, and could ,valk fifty miles a day, his 
usual refreshment on the road being a bottle of port 
,vine, poured into a bowl, and drunk off at a draught. 
I have heard that George III. was much interested 
at these performances, and said, "I ought to be proud 
of my Scottish subjects, ,vhen my judges 'fide, and my 
members of Parliament 
calk, to the metropolis." 
On one occasion of his being in London, Lord l\Ion. 
boddo attended a trial in the Court of King's Bench. 
it cry was heard that the roof of the court-room 



]54 


REJ.1IIJVISCEJ:.tCES 01" 


was giVIng w'ay, upon which judges, hnvyers, and 
people made a rush to get to the door. Lord l\1:on.. 
boddo vie\ved the scene from his corner ,vith much 
composure. Being deaf and short-sighted, he kne\v 
nothing of the canse of the tumult. The alarm proved 
a false one; and on being asked \vhy he had not be- 
stirred himself to escape like the rest, he coolly 
answered that he supposed it was an annual ceremony, 
,vith ,vhich, as an alien to the English la,vs, he had 
no concern, but If'hich he considered it interesting to 
witness as a remnant of antiquity! Lord Monhoddo 
died 1799. 
Lord Rockville (the Hon. Alexander Gordon, thirù 
son of the Earl of Aberdeen) was a judge distinguish- 
ed in his day by his ability and decorum. " He 
adorned the bench by the dignified Inanliness of his 
appearance, and polished urbanity of his manners.". 
Like most la'\vyers of his time, he took his glass freely, 
and a whimsical account which he gave, before he 
was advanced to the bench, of his having fallen upon 
his face, after making too free with the bottle, was 
comn1only current at the tin1e. Upon his appearing 
late at a convivial club with a most rueful expression 
of countenance, and on being asked what was the 
matter, he-exclainled with great solemnity, " Gentle- 
men, I have just met ,vith the nlost extraordinary 
adventure that ever occurred to a human being. As 
I was walking along the Grassmarket, all of a sudden 
the street". rose up and struck me on the face." He had, 
however, a more serious encounter with the street after 
he ,vas a judge. In 1792, his foot slipped as he ,vas 
going to the Parliament House; he broke his leg, ,vas 
taken home, fevered, and died. 
Lord Braxfield (Robert M'Queen of BraxfielJ) \vae 
* Douglas' Peerage, vol. i. p. 22. 



SCOTTISH LIFE æ CHARACTER. 155 


one of the judges of the old school, ".e11 kno,vn in his 
day, and might be said to possess all the qualities 
united, by ,vhich the class ,vere remarkable. He spoke 
the broadest Scotch. He ,vas n. sound and laborious 
lawyer. He ,vas fond of a glass of good claret, and 
had a great fund of good Scotch humour. He rose 
to the dignity of Justice-Clerk, and, in consequence, 
presided at many important political criminal trials 
about the year 1793-4, such as those of 1\Iuir, Palmer, 
Skirving, 
Iargarot, Gerrold, etc. He conducted these 
trials ,vith much ability and great firmness, occasion- 
ally, no doubt, with more appearance of severity and 
personal prejudice than is usual with the judges who 
in later times are caned on to preside on similar oc- 
casions. The disturbpd temper of the times and the 
daring spirit of the political offenders seemed, he 
thought, to call for a hold and fearless front on the 
part of the judge, and Braxfield was the man to sho\v 
it, both on the bench and in common life. He met, 
ho,vever, sometimes with a spirit as bold HS his own 
from the prisoners before him. 'Vhen Skirving was 
on trial for sedition, he thought Braxfield ,vas threaten- 
ing him, and by gesture endeavouring to intimidate 
him; accordingly, he boldly addressed the Bench :- 
"It is altogether unavailing for your Lordship to 
menace me, for I have long learnt not to fear the face 
of man." I have observed that he adhered to the 
broadest Scottish dialect. "Rae ye ony coonseJ, man 
" 
he said to l\Iaurice l\Iargarot <,vho, I believe, was an 
Englishman). " No," was the reply. "Diy ye want 
to hae ony appinted
" " No," replied 
Iargarot; "I 
only want an interpreter to make me understand ""hat 
your Lordship says." A prisoner, accused of stealing 
some linen garnlents, ,vas one day brought up for trial 
before thp old judge, but was acquittpd becausp the 



156 


llEJIL..YISCE1YCES OF 


prosecutor had charged him ,vith stealing shirts\ 
,vhereas the articles stolen were found to be shifts- 
" female apparel. Braxfield indignantly remarked that 
the Cro,vn Counsel should llave .called them by the 
Scottish name of Barks, which applied to both sexes. 
Braxfield .had much humour, and enjoyed wit 
in others. He was immensely delighted at a reply 
by IJr. M'Cubbin, the minister of Bothwell. Brax- 
field, when J ustice- Clerk, was dining at Lord 
Douglas's, and observed there was only port upon 
the table. In his usual off-hand brusque manner, 
he demanded of the noble host if "there was nae 
claret i' the castle." " Yes," said Lord Douglas; ,0: but 
Iny butler tells me it is not good." "Let's pree't," 
said Braxfield in his favourite dialect. A bottle was 
produced, and declared by all present to be quite ex- 
cellent. " NOD, minister," said the old judge, address- 
ing Dr. M'Cubbin, who ,vas celebrated as a wit in his 
day, "as a lama clamosa has gone forth against this 
wine, I propose that you absolve it,"-playing upon 
the terms made use of in the Scottish Church Courts. 
" Ay, my Lord," said the minister, "you are first-rate 
authority for a case of civil or criminal law, but you 
do not quite understand our Church Court practice. 
'Ve never absolve till aftm" three several appearances." 
The wit and the condition of absolution were alike 
relished by the judge. Lord Braxfield closed a long 
and useful life in 1799. 
Of Lord Hermand we have already had occasion to 
speak, as in fact his name has become in some manner 
identified ,vith that conviviality which marked almost 
as a characteristic the Scottish Bench of his time. He 
gained, however, great distinction as a judge, and was 
a capital lawyer. When at the bar, Lords Newton 
and Hermand were great friends, and many were the 



A GUID GA
GIN' PLEA 


PrOJJl a 'maier-colour drawing fry 
lIEJ.1 T R Y IV. A-ERR, 
A.R.S..A., R.S.II: 



I 
1 



- 


.... ... 


t 
tf
 
-<" 

 , 
."" 
t 


. 


"- 




SCOTTISH LIFE cf: CHARACTER. 157 


convivial meetings they enjoyed together. But Lord 
Herll1and outlived all his old last-century contemIJo. 
raries, and formed with Lord Balgray ,vhat we may 
consider the connecting links between the past alul 
the present race of Scottish la\vyers. 
Lord I\.ames ,vas a keen agricultural experiment- 
alist, and in his Gentleman Farmer anticipated many 
modern improvements. He \vas, ho\vever, occasionally 
too sanguine. " John," said he one day to his old over- 
seer, "I think ,ve'Il see the day \vhen a man nlay 
carry out as much chemical manure in his ,vaistcoat 
pocket as ,viH serve for a \vhole field." " 'Veel," 
rejoined the other, "I am of opinion that if your 
lordship \vere to carry out the dung in your ,vaist- 
coat pocket, ye might bring hame the crap in your 
greatcoat pocket." 
'Ve could scarcely perhaps offer a more marked 
difference bet\veen habits once tolerated on the bench 
and those \vhich now distinguish the august seat of 
Senators of Justice, than by quoting, from Kay's 
Portraits, vol. ii. p. 278, a sally of a Lord of Session 
of those days, which he played off, \vhen sitting as 
judge, upon a young friend \vhom he ,vas determined 
to frighten. "A young counsel ,vas addressing 
him on some not very important point that had 
arisen in the division of a common (or commonty, 
according to law phraseology), when, having made sonle 
bold avennent, the judge exclaimed, 'That's a lee, 
Jemmie.' 'My lord!' ejaculated the amazed barrister. 
, Ay, ay, Jemmie; I see by your face ye're leein'.' 
, Indeed, Iny lord, I aln not.' 'Dinna tell me tbat; 
it's no in your memorial (brief)-a\va wi' you;' and, 
overcome ,,"ith astonishnlent and vexation, the discom- 
fited barrister left the bar. The judge thereupon 
chuckled with infinite delight; and beckoning to the 



158 


R,EJfIlvISOE'.iVOES OÞ' 


clerk ,vho attended on the occasion, he said, 'Arp ve 
no Rabbie H -'g man 
' , Yes, my lord.' "V as
a 
Jemmie - leein'
 ' , Oh no, my lord.' 'Y e're quite 
sure
' 'Oh yes.' 'Then just write out what you 
want, and I'll sign it; my faith, but I made Jemmie 
stare.' So the decision was dictated hy the clerk, and 
duly signed by the judge, who left the bench highly 
diverted with the fright he had given his young 
friend." Such scenes enacted in court now ,vould 
astonish the present generation, both of lawyers and 
of suitors. 
'Ve should not do justice to our Scottish Remini- 
scences of judges and lawyers, if ""e omitted the once 
celebrated Court of Session je1.t d'eSpTlt called the 
"Diamond Beetle Case." 'fhis burlesque report of 
a judgment ,vas ,vritten by George Cranstoun, advo- 
cate, who afterwards sat in court as judge under the 
title of Lord Corehouse. Cranstoun ,vas one of the 
ablest lawyers of his time; he was a prime scholar, 
and a man of most refined taste and clear intellect. 
This humorous and clever production ,vas printed in 
a former edition of these Reminiscences, and in a 
very flattering notice of the book which appeared 
in the N01.th British Review, the revie,ver-himself, as 
is well kno,vn, a distinguished member of the 
Scottish judicial bench-remarks: " We are glad that 
the whole of the 'Diamond Beetle' by Cranstoun has 
been given; for nothing can be more graphic, spirited, 
and ludicrous, than the characteristic spee.ches of 
the learned judges ,vho deliver their opinions in the 
case of defamation." As copies of this very clever 
and jocose production are not no, v easily obtained, 
and as some of my younger readers Inay not have 
seen it, I have reprinted it in this edition. Considered 
in the light of a Inemorial of the bench, as it ,vas known 



RCOTTISH LI1/E & CHARACTER. 159 


to a fornler generation, it is well worth preserving j 
for, as the editor of Kay's Portraits well observes, 
although it is a caricature, it is entirely without ran- 
cour, or any feeling of a malevolent nature to,vards 
those ,vhom the author represents as giving judgment 
in the "Diamond Beetle" case. And in no way could 
the involved phraseology of Lora Bannatyne, the pre- 
dilection for Latin quotation of Lord l\Ieadowbank, 
the brisk n1anner of Lord Hermand, the anti-Gallic 
feeling of Lord Craig, the broad dialect of Lords Pol- 
kemmet and Balmuto, and the hesitating manner of 
Lord 
Iethven, be more admirably caricatured. 


FULL COpy OF THE FIXDING OF THE COURT IX 
THE O
CE CELEBRATED "DIA
IO
D BEETLE 
CASE." * 


Speeches taken at ad'l'isi71g the Action o.t D
famation and 
Dnmages, ALEXANDER CUNNINGHAItI, Jeweller in 
Edinburgh, against J AL"\IES RUSSELL, Surgeon there. 
"THE LORD PRESIDENT (SIR ILAY CA:L\IPBELL).- 
Your Lordships have the petition of Alexandel 
Cunningham against Lord Bannatyne's interlocutor. 
I t is a case of defamation and damages for calling the 
petitioner's Diamond Beetle an Egyptian Louse. You 
have the Lord Ordinary's distinct interlocutor, on 
pages 29 and 30 of this petition:-' Having con- 
sidered the Condescendence of the pursuer, Ans"\vers 
for the defender,' and so on; ':Finds, in respect that 
it is not alleged that the diamonds on the back of 
* The version I have given of this amusing burlesque was 
revised by the late 1.11'. Pagan, Cupar- Fife, and corrected frolIl 
his own manuscript copy, which he had procured from authen tic 
sources ahout forty years ago. 



160 


REJ,IINISOENOES OF 


the J)iamond Beetle are real diamonds, or anything but 
shining spots, such as are found on other Diamond 
Beetles, ",-hich likewise occur, though in a smaller 
number, on a great number of other Beetles, somewhat 
different from the Beetle libelled, and similar to which 
there may be Beetles in Egypt, ,vith shining spots 
on their backs, which may be termed Lice there, and 
may be different not only from the common Louse, 
but from the Louse nlentioned by 1\10se8 as one of the 
plagues of Egypt, ,vhich is admitted to be a filthy 
troublesome Louse, even ,vorse than the said Louse, 
\vhich is clearly different from the Louse libelled. 
But that the other Louse is the same with, or similar 
to, the said Beetle, which is also the same with the 
other Beetle; and although different from the said 
Beetle 
libelled, yet, as the said Beetle is similar to 
the other Beetle, and the said Louse to the other 
Louse libelled; and the other Louse to the other 
Beetle, which is the same with, or similar to, the 
Beetle ,vhich somewhat resembles the Beetle libelled; 
assoilzies the defender, and finds expenses due.' 
"Say a,vay, my Lords. 
"LORD l\1:EADO\VBANK.-This is a very intricate 
and puzzling question, my Lord. I have formed no 
decided opinion; but at present I am rather inclined 
to think the interlocutor is right, though not upon 
the 'ratio assigned in it. It appears to me that there 
are two points for consideration. First, whether the 
,vords libelled anlount to a convicium against the 
Beetle; and Secondly, aùmitting the convicium, whether 
the pursuer is entitled to found upon it in this action. 
N ow, my Lords, if there be a conviciurn at all, it con- 
sists in 
 the comparatio or comparison of the Scarabæus 
or Beetle ,vith the Egyptian Pediculus or Louse. l'ly 
first doubt regards this point, but it is not at all 



SCOTTISH LIFE æ CHARACTER. 161 


founded on ,vhat the defender alleges, that there is 
no such animal as an Egyptian Pediculus or Louse in 
rerum natura; for though it does not actually exist, it 
may possibly exist (if not in actio, yet in potentia-if 
not in actuality, yet in potentiality or capacity); and 
whether its existence be in esse vellJOsse, is the same 
thing to this question, provided there be termini habiles 
for ascertaining ,vhat it ,vonld be if it did exist. But 
my doubt is here :-Ho,v am I to discover what are 
the essentia of any Louse, 'v hether Egyptian or not 
 
It is very easy to describe its accidents as a naturalist 
,vonId do-to say that it belongs to the tribe of A ptera 
(or, that is, a yello\v, little, greedy, filthy, despicable 
reptile), but ,ye do not learn from this ,vhat the pro- 
prium of the animal is in a logical sense, and still less 
what its differentia are. No",., ,vithout these it is 
impossible to judge whether there is a convicium or 
not j for, in a case of this kind, which sequit'lt1 4 nat'lt- 
1 4 am delicti, ,ve must take them rneliori sensu, and 
prpsume the cornparat-io to be in '1nelio1.ibus iantu1n. 
And here I beg that parties, and the bar in general- 
[interrupted by Lord Hermand: Your Lordship should 
add1.ess yourself to the Chai1.]-I say, I beg it may be 
understood that I do not rest my opinion on the 
ground that ve'ritas convicii excusat. I am clear that 
although this Beetle actually were an Egyptian Louse, 
it would accord no relevant defence, provided the 
calling it so were a convicium; and there my doubt 
lies. 
"'Vith regard to the second point, I am satisfied 
that the Scarabæus or Beetle itself has no persona 
standi in Judicio,. and therefore the pursuer cannot 
insist in the name of the Scarabæ1ls, or for his behoof. 
If the action lie at all, it must be at the instance of 
the pursuer himself, as the verus dOlninus of the Scara- 



162 


RE],[[l\TISCENCES OF 


bæus, for being calumniated through the COnVlð'Llt111 
directed prin1arilyagainst the animal standing in that 
relation to him. N o 'V, abstracting from the qualifica. 
tion of an actual dOlltÍniu111, ,vhich is not alleged, I have 
great doubts ,vhether a mere conVÜ
i'llm is necessarily 
transmitted from one object to another, through the 
relation of a dominium subsisting between them; and 
if not necessarily transmissible, we must see the 
principle of its actual transmission here; and that has 
not yet been pointed out. 
"LORD HER1\IAND.-"\tV e heard a little ago, my 
Lord, that there is a difficulty in this case; but I 
have not been fortunate enough, for my part, to find 
out where the difficulty lies. '\Till any man presume 
to tell me that a Beetle is not a Beetle, and that a 
Louse is not a Louse 
 I never saw the petitioner's 
Beetle, and ,vhat's nlore I don't care ,vhether I ever 
see it or not; but I suppose it's like other Beetles, 
and that's enough for me. 
" But, my Lord, I know the other reptile well. I 
have seen them, I have felt them, my Lord, ever since 
I was a child in my mother's arms; and my nlind 
tells me that nothing but the deepest and blackest 
malice rankling in the human breast could have 
suggested this comparison, or led any man to form a 
thought so injurious and insulting. But, my Lord, 
there's more here than all that-a great deal more. 
One could have thought the defender would have 
gratified his spite to the full by comparing the Beetle 
to a common Louse-an animal sufficiently vile and 
abominable for the purpoRe of defamation-( Shut that 
door there ]-but he adds the epithet Egyptian, and I 
know we.ll ,vhat he means by that epithet. He means, 
my Lord, a Louse that has been fattened on the head 
of a Gipsy or Tinker, undisturbed by the cOlnb or nail, 



SCOT1'ISH LIFE cé CHARAC1'ER. 163 


and unm01ested in the enjoyment of its native filth. 
He meallS a Louse gro,v11 to its full size, ten times 
larger and ten times more abominable than those ,vith 
,,"hich your Lords/tips and I a1.e ja1nilia t r. The peti- 
tioner asks redress for the injury so atrocious and so 
aggravated; and, as far as my voice goes, he shall not 
ask it in vain. 
"LORD CRAIG.-I am of the opinion last delivered. 
It appears to me to be s]anderous and calulnnious to 
compare a Diamond Beetle to the filthy and mischie- 
tous allimallibelled. By an Egyptian Louse I under- 
stand one ,vhich has been fOlmed on the head of a 
native Egyptian-a race of men ,,"ho, after degenerat- 
ing for many centuries, have sunk at last into the 
abyss of depravity, in consequence of having been sub- 
jugated for a time by the French. I do not find that 
Turgot, or Condorcet, or the rest of the economists, 
ever reckoned the combing of the head a species of 
productive labour; and I conclude, therefore, that 
wherever French principles have been propagated, 
Lice gro,v to an immoderate size, especially in a warm 
climate like that of Egypt. I shall only add, that ,ve 
ought to be sensible of the blessings ,ve enj oy under 
a free and happy Constitution, ,vhere Lice and men 
live under the restraint of equal la,ys the only 
equality that can exist in a ,veIl-regulated state. 
"LORD POLKE1\l:\IET.-It should be observed, my 
Lord, that ,vhat is called a Beetle is a reptile 
very ,veIl known in this country. I have seen mony 
ane 0' them in Drumshorlin 
Iuir; it is a little black 
beastie, about the size of my thoom-nail. The country- 
folks ca' thenl Clocks; and I believe they ca' them 
also l\Iaggy-,vi' -the-molly-feet; but they are not the 
least like any Louse that ever I sa,v; so that, in my 
ol>inion, though the defcuder lnay have lnade a 



164 


REJ.
[INISOE.LVCES OF 


blunder through ignorance, in comparing them, there 
does not seem to have been any ani
us injuriandi; 
therefore I am for refusing the petition, my Lords. 
"LORD BALl\IUTo.-'Am
 for refusing the petition. 
There's more Lice than Beetles in Fife. They ca' 
them Clocks there. What they ca' a Beetle is a thing 
as lang as my arm; thick at one end and sma' at the 
other. I thought, ,vhen I read the petition, that the 
Beetle or Bittle had been the thing that the women 
have ,vhen they are washing towels or na.pery with- 
things for dadding them ,vith ; and I see the petitioner 
is a jeweller till his trade; and I thought he 
had ane 0' thae Beetles, and set it all round with 
diamonds; and I thought it a foolish and extravagant 
idea; and I sa'v no resemblance it could have to a 
Louse. But I find I ,vas mistaken, my Lord; and I 
find it only a Beetle-clock the petitioner has; but my 
opinion's the same as it was before. I say, my Lords, 
'am for refusing the petition, I say-- 
"LORD "\VooDHousELEE.-There is a case abridged 
in the third volume of the Dictionary of Decisions, 
Chalmers 'lJ. Douglas, in which it ,vas found that 
veritas convicii excusat, ,vhich may be rendered not 
literally, but in a free and spirited manner, according 
to the most approved principles of translation, 'the 
truth of calumny affords a relevant defence.' If, 
therefore, it be the la,v of Scotland (which I am 
clearly of opinion it is) that the truth of the calumny 
affords a relevant defence, and if it be likewise true 
that the Diamond Beetle is really an Egyptian Louse, 
I am inclined to conclude (though certainly the case 
is attended with difficulty) that the defender ought 
to be assoilzied. -Refuse. 
"LORD JUSTICE-CLERK (RAE).-I am very ,veIl ac- 
* llis Lordship usuall
. pronounced I a11l,-.A um4' 



SCOTTISH LIF
? &: CH.ARAOTER. 165 


quainted with the defender in this action, and have 
respect for him, and esteeul him likewise. I know 
him to be a skilful and expert surgeon, and also a 
good man; and I ,vould do a great deal to serve him 
or to be of use to him, if I had it in my po,ver to do 
so. But I think on this occasion he has spoken 
rashly, and I fear foolishly and improperly. I hope 
he had no bad intention-I am sure he had not. 
But the petitioner (for whom I have like,,'ise a great 
respect, because I kl1e"\v his father, who was a very 
respectable baker in Edinburgh, and supplied my 
family ,vith bread, and very good bread it was, and 
for which his accounts ,vere regularly discharged), it 
seems, has a Clock or a Beetle, I think it is called a 
Diamond Beetle, ,vhich he is very fond of, and has a 
fancy for, and the defender has compared it to a 
Louse, or a Bug, or a Flea, or a worse thing of that 
kind, "\vith a view to render it despicable or ridiculous, 
and the petitioner so likewise, as the proprietor O! 
o,vner thereof. It is said that this is a Louse in fact, 
and that the veritas convicii excusat; and mention is 
made of a decision in the case of Chalmers v. Douglas. 
I have al,vays had a great veneration for the de- 
cisions of your Lordships; and I am sure ,viII al,vays 
continue to have ,vhile I sit here; but that case was 
determined by a very small majority, and I have 
heard your Lordships nlention it on various occasions, 
and you have always desiderated the propriety of it. 1 
and I think have departed from it in some instances. 
I remember the circumstances of the case ,vell:- 
Helen Chalmers lived in 1\lusselburgh, and the de- 
fender, 1\lrs. Douglas, lived in J.'isherrow; and at that 
time there ,vas much intercourse between the genteel 
inhabitants of Fisherro,v, and :!\Iusselburgh, and 
lnveresk, and likewise Ne,vbigging; and there were 
s 



166 


REMINISCENOES OF 


balls, or dances, or assem b1ies every fortnight, or 
oftener, and also sometimes I believe every week; and 
there were card-parties, assemblies once a fortnight, 
or oftener; and the young people danced there also, 
and others played at cards, and there were various 
refreshments, such as tea and coffee, and butter and 
bread, and I believe, but I am not sure, porter and 
negus, and likewise small beer. And it was at one of 
these assemblies that Mrs. Douglas called Mrs. Chal- 
mers very improper names. And Mrs. Chalmers 
brought an action of defamation before the Commis- 
saries, and it came by advocation into this Court, 
and your Lordships allowed a proof of the veritas 
convicii, and it lasted a very long time, and in 
the end answered no good purpose even to the 
defender herself, while it did much hurt to the 
pursuer's character. I am therefore for REFUSING 
such a proof in this case, and I think the petitioner 
in this case and his Beetle ha ve been slandered, and 
the petition ought to be seell. 
" LORD METHvEN.-If I understand this-a-a-a 
-interlocutor, it is not said that the-a-a-a-a- 
Egyptian Lice are Beetles, but that they m

y be, or 
-a-a-a-a-resemble Beetles. I am therefore 
for sending the process to the Ordinary to ascertain 
the fact, as I think it depends upon that whether 
there be-a-a-a-a-convicium or not. I think also 
the petitioner should be ordained to-a-a-a-pro- 
duce his Beetle, and the defender an Egyptian Louse 
or Pediculus, and if he has not one, that he should 
take a diligence-a-a-a-against havers to recover 
Lice of various kinds; and these may be remitted to 
Dr. Monro, or Mr. Playfair, or to SOllle other naturalist., 
to report upon the subject. 
"Agreed to." 



saOT1'ISH LIFE 
 CHARAOTER. 1
; 


This is clearly a Reminiscence of a bygone state of 
matters in the Court of Session. I think every reader 
in our day, of the once famous Beetle case, will come 
to the conclusion that, making all due allowance for 
the humorous embellishment of the description, and 
even for some exaggeration of caricature, it describes 
what ,vas once a real state of matters, ,vhich, he will 
be sure, is real no more. The day of Judges of the 
Balmuto-Hermand-Polkemmet class has passed away, 
and is become a Scottish Reminiscence. Having thus 
brought before my readers sonle Reminiscences of past 
times from the Courts of Justice, let me advert to one 
which belongs to, or was supposed to belong to, past 
days of our Scottish universities. It is now a matter 
of tradition. But an idea prevailed, whether correctl); 
or incorrectly, some eighty or a hundred years ago, 
that at northern colleges degrees ,yere regularly sold, 
a,nd those who could pay the price obtained theIn, 
,vithout reference to the merits or attainments of those 
on ,,
horn they ,vere conferred. ,V e have heard of 
divers jokes being passed on those who were supposed 
to have received such academical honours, as \\'eIl as 
on those ,vho ha.d given them. It is said Dr Samuel 
J ohn80n joined in this sarcastic humour. But his 
prejudices both against Scotland and Scottish literature 
,vere ,vell kno,vn. Colman, in his amusing play of 
the" Heir at Law," Dlakes his Dr. Pangloss ludicrously 
describe his receiving an LL.D. degree, on the grounùs 
of his own celebrity (a
 he had never seen the college), 
and his paying the heads one pound fifteen shillings 
and threepence three farthings as a handsome compli- 
Illent to them on receiving his diploma. Cohnan 
certainly had studied at a northern university. But 
he Inight have gone into the idea in fun. Ho\vevtl' 
this may be, an anecdote is currell t in the eaast of 



168 


REJIINISOENOES OF 


Scotland, which is illustrative of this real or supposed 
state of matters, to which we may indeed apply the 
Italian phrase that if" non vero" it is " ben trovato." 
The story is this :-An East Lothian minister, ac- 
companied by his man, who acted as betheral of his 
parish, went over to a northern university to purchase 
his degree, and on their return home he gave strict 
charge to his man, that as now he was invested with 
academical honour, he was to be sure to say, if any 
one asked for the minister, " 0 yes, the Doctor is at 
home, or the Doctor is in the study, or the Doctor is 
out, as the case might be." The man at once ac- 
quiesced in the propriety of this observance on account 
of his master's newly-acquired dignity. But he quietly 
added, " Ay, ay, minister; an' if ony ane speirs for 
me, the servants mann be sure to say, Oh, the Doctor's 
in the stable, or the Doctor's in the kitchen, or the 
Doctor's in the garden or the field." " What do you 
mean, Dauvid 1" exclaÏ1ned his astonished master; 
"what can you have to do ,vith Doctor 
 " " Weel, 
ye see, sir," said David, looking very knowing, "when 
ye got your degree, I thought that as J had bayed a 
little money, I couldna lay it out better, as being 
betheral of the church, than tak out a degree to 
mysell." The story bears upon the practice, whether 
a real or a supposed one; and we Inay fairly say that 
under such principals as Shairp, Tulloch, Canlpbell, 
Ba.rclay, who now adorn the Scottish universities, "re 
have a guarantee that such reports must continue to 
be Reminiscence and traditional only. 



SOOTTISH LIFE &: aHAR.AOTEJ1.. 169 


CHAPTER TI-IE SIXTH. 


ON HU?tIOUR PROCEEDING FRO:r.I SCOTTISH EXPRES- 
SIONS, INCLUDING SCOTTISH PROVERBS. 


WE come next to Reminiscences which are chiefly con- 
nected with peculiarities of our Scottish LANGUAGE, 
whether contained in words or in expressions. I am 
quite aware that the difference between the anecdotes 
belonging to this division and to the last division 
termed ""\Vit and Humour" is very indistinct, and 
must, in fact, in many cases, be quite arbitrary. Much 
of what we enjoy most in Scottish 
tories is not on 
account of wit properly so called, in the speaker, but 
I should say rather from the odd and unexpected view 
which is taken of some matter, or from the quaint and 
original turn of the expression made use of, or from 
the simple and matter-of-fact reference made to cir- 
cumstances which are unusual. I shall not, therefore, 
be careful to preserve any strict line of separation 
between this division and the next. Each is conversant 
with what is amusing and with what is Scotch. W"hat 
,ve have now chiefly to illustrate by suitable anec- 
dotes is peculiarities of Scottish language-its various 
humorous turns and odd expressions. 
'Ve have no,v to consider stories where ,vords and 
expressions, which are peculiarly Scotch, impart the 
humour and t.he point. Sometimes they are altogether 
incapable of being rendered in other language. As, 
for example, a parishioner in an Ayrshire village. 
meeting his pastor, who had just returned after a con- 



170 


REMINISOENOES 011 


siderable absence on account of ill health, congratu- 
lated him on his convalescence, and added, anticipatory 
of the pleasure he would have in hearing him again, 
" I'm unco yuckie to hear a blaud 0' your gab." This 
is an untranslatable form of saying how glad he should 
be to hear his minister's voice again speaking to him 
the words of salvation and of peace from the pulpit. 
The two following are good examples of that Scot- 
tish style of expression which has its own character. 
They are kindly sent by Sir Archibald Dunbar. The 
first illustrates Scottish acute discernment. A certain 
titled lady, well known around her country town for 
her long-continued and extensive charities, ,vhich are 
not ,vithheld from those who least deserve them, had 
a few years since, by the unexpected death of her 
brother and of his only son, become possessor of a 
fine estate. The news soon spread in the neighbour- 
hood, and a group of old women ,vere overheard in 
the streets of Elgin discussing the fact. One of them 
said, "Ay, she may prosper, for she has baith the 
prayers of the good and of the bad." 
The second anecdote is a delightful illustration of 
l\Irs. Hamilton's Cottage'rs of Glenb'lf/rnie, and of the old- 
fashioned Scottish pride in the midden. About twenty 
years ago, under the apprehension of cholera, commit- 
tees of the most influential inhabitants of the county 
of Moray ,vere formed to enforce a more complete 
cleansing of its towns and villages, and to induce the 
cottagers to remove their dunghills or dung-pits from 
too close a proximity to their doors or windows. One 
determined woman, on the outskirts of the town of 

"orres, no doubt with her future potato crop in view, 
met the l\1.P. who headed one of these committees, 
thus, , N 00, Major, ye may tak our lives, but ye'll no 
tak our middens." 



SCOTTISH LI1YE 
 CHARACTER. 171 


The truth is, many of the peculiarities ,vhich marked 
Scottish society departed with the disuse of the Scot. 
tish dialect in the upper ranks. I recollect a familiar 
example of this, which I may ,vell term a Reminis- 
cence. ...L\.t a party assembled in a county house, the 
Earl of Elgin (grandfather.of the present Earl) came 
up to the tea-table, ,vhere Mrs. Forbes of 1Ied,vyn, 
one of the finest examples of the past Scottish lady, 
was sitting, evidently much engaged with her occupa- 
tion. " You are fond of your tea, l\frs. Forbes 
 " 
The reply was quite a characteristic one, and a pure 
reminiscence of such a place and such interlocutors; 
"'Deed, my Lord, I ,vadna gie my tea for your yerl- 
dome " 
1\Iy aunt, the late Lady Burnett of Leys, ,vas one of 
the class of Scottish ladies I have referred to ;-tho- 
roughly a good ,yornan and a gentle\von1an, but in 
dialect quite Scottish. For example, being shocked 
at the sharp Aberdonian pronunciation adopted by 
her children, instead of the broader Forfardhire model 
in which she had been brought up, she thus adverted 
to their manner of calling the floor of the room where 
they ,vere playing:" "That gars ye ca' it 'flee??' 
canna ye ca' it 'flure?' But I needna speak; Sir 
Robert ,,,-inna let me corree' your language." 
In respect of language, no doubt, a very important 
change has taken place in Scotland during the last 
seventy years, and which, I believe, influences, in a 
greater degree than many persons would imagine, 
the turn of thought and general modes and aspects of 
society. In losing the old racy Scottish tongue, it 
seems as if much originality of chrtracter ,vas lost. I 
suppose at one time the two countries of EnglanJ and 
Scotland were considered as almost speaking different 
l
nguages, and I suppose also, that from t.he period of 



172 


RElJtfINISCENOES OF 


the union of the cro,vns the language has been assimi- 
lating. 'Ve see the process of assimilation going on, 
and ere long amongst persons of education and birth 
very little difference will be perceptible. With regard 
to that class, a great change has taken place in my 
o\vn time. I recollect old Scottish ladies and gentle- 
men who really spoke Scotch. It was not, mark me, 
speaking English with an accent. No; it was down- 
right Scotch. Every tone and every syllable was 
Scotch. For example, I recollect old Miss Erskine of 
Dun, a fine specimen of a real lady, and daughter of 
an ancient Scottish house, so speaking. Many people 
now would not understand her. She ,vas always the 
lady, notwithstanding her dialect, and to none could 
the epithet vulgar be less appropriately applied. I 
speak of more than forty years ago, and yet I recollect 
her accost to me as well as if it were yesterday: "I 
didna ken ye were i' the toun." Taking word and 
accents together, an address how totally unlike what 
we now meet with in society. Some of the old Scot- 
tish words which we can remember are charming; 
but how strange they ,vould sound to the ears of the 
present generation! Fancy that in walking from 
church, and discussing the sermon, a lady of rank 
should now express her opinion of it by the description 
of its being, "but a hummelcorn discourse." Many 
living persons can remember Angus old ladies who 
would say to their nieces and daughters, "Whatna 
hummeldoddie 0' a mutch hae ye gotten 
" meaning 
a flat and low-crowned cap. In speaking of the dry- 
ness of the soil on a road in Lanarkshire, a farmer 
said, "It stoors in an o or. " * How would this be as 


· Stoor is, Scotticé, dust in motion, and has no English syno- 
nym; oor is hour. Sir Walter Scott is said to have advised an 



A LO\VLA
lJ COTTAGE 


From a .water-colour drawÙtg by 
IIE
YRY TV. KERR, 
A.R.S.A., R.S.fV. 




\... 


j 




SOOTTISH LIFE J: CHARAOTER. 173 


tersely translated into English 
 The late Duchess 
of Gordon sat at dinner next an English gentleman 
\vho was carving, and \vho made it a boast that he 
was thoroughly master of the Scottish language. Her 
Grace turned to him and said, "Rax me a spaul 0' 
that bubbly jock." * The unfortunate man was com- 
pletely nonplussed. A Scottish gentleman \vas enter- 
taining at his house an English cousin \vho professed 
himself as rather kno\ving in the language of the north 
side of the Tweed. He asked him what he supposed 
to be the meaning of the expression, "ripin the ribs."t 
To which he readily answered, "Oh, it describes a 
very fat man." I profess myself an out-and-out 
Scotchman. I have strong national partialities-call 
them if you will national prej udices. I cherish a great 
love of old Scottish language. Some of our pure 
Scottish ballad poetry is unsurpassed in any language 
for grace and pathos. Ho\v expressive, how beautiful 
are its phrases ! You can't translate them. Take an 
example of power in a Scottish expression, to describe 
with tenderness and feeling what is in human life. 
Take one of our most familiar phrases; as thus:- ,V e 
meet an old friend, we talk over bygone days, and 
remember many who were dear to us both, once 
bright, and young, and gay, of whom some remain, 
honoured, prosperous, and happy-of whom some are 
under a cloud of misfortune or disgrace-some are 
broken in bealth and spirits- some sunk into the 
grave; we recall old familiar places-old companions, 


artist, in painting a battle, not to deal with details, but to get 
np a good stoor: then put in an amI and a sword here and therp., 
and leave all the rest to the imagination of the spectator. 
* Reach me a leg of that turkey. 
t Clearing ashes out of tbe bars of the grate. 



174 


REJllINISCENCES OF 


pleasures, and pursuits; as Scotchmen our heart.8 art' 
oouched with these remembrances of 


AULD LANG SYNE. 


Match me the phrase in English. You can't transla
 
it. The fitness and the beauty lie in the felicity of 
the language. Like many happy expressions, it is not 
transferable into another tongue, just like the "simplex 
munclitiis" of Horace, which describes the natural 
grace of female elegance, or the åY1Jg,OfliOV '1eÀa
/ka of 
Æschylus, which describes the bright sparkling of the 
ocean in the sun. 
I think the power of Scottish dialect ,vas happily 
exemplified by the late Dr. Adam, rector of the High 
School of Edinburgh, in his translation of the Horatian 
expression "desipere in loco," ,vhich he turned by the 
Scotch phrase "W eel-timed daffin';" a translation, 
however, which no one but a Scotchman could appre... 
ciate. The following humorous Scottish translation 
of an old Latin aphorism has been assigned to the late 
Dr. Hill of St. Andrews: "Qui ben
 cepit dÏ1nidiun
 
facti fecit," the \vitty Principal expressed in Scotch, 
"Weel saipet (,veIl soaped) is half shayen." 
'Vhat mere English word could have expressed 
a distinction so ,veIl in such a case as the following' 
I heard once a lady in Edinburgh objecting to a 
preacher that she did not understand him. Another 
lady, his great aùmirer, insinuated that probably he 
,,,,as too "deep" for her to follow. But her ready 

Jnswer ,;vas, "N a, na, he's no just deep, but he's 
d'l'umly." * 
"\Ve have a testimony to the value of our Scottish 
language from a late illustrious Chancellor of the 
· 1fentally confused. bIuddy when applied to water. 



SCOTTljf}H L1FE æ CHARACTER. 175 


University of Edinburgh, the force and authority of 
which no one ,vill be disposed to question. Lord 
Brougham, in speaking of improvements upon the 
English language, makes these striking remarks :- 
"The pure and classical language of Scotland must 
on no account be regarded as a provincial dialect, any 
more than French was so regarded in the reign of 
Henry V., cr Italian in that of the first Napoleon, or 
Greek under the Roman Empire. N or is it to be in 
any manner of way considered as a corruption of the 
Saxon; on the contrary, it contains much of the old and 
genuine Saxon, with an intermixture from the Northern 
nations, as Danes and Norse, and some, though a small 
portion, from the Celtic. But in whatever way com- 
posed, or from whatever sources arising, it is a national 
language, used by the whole people in their early 
years, by many learned and gifted persons throughout 
life, and in which are written the la,vs of the Scotch, 
their judicial proceedings, their ancient history; above 
aU, their poetry. 
"There can be no doubt that the English language 
,vonld greatly gain by being enriclled ,vith a number 
both of ,vords and of phrases, or turns of expression, 
now peculiar to the Scotch. It ,vas by such a process 
that the Greek became the first of tongues, as "Tell 
\Vrittell as spoken. 
""\V ould it not afford means of enriching and improv- 
ing the English language, if full and accurate glossaries 
of improved Scotch ,vords and phrases-those success- 
fully used by the best ,vriters, both in prose and 
verse-,vere given, ,vith distinct explanation and 
reference to authorities 1 This has been done in 
France and other countries, where some dictionaries 
accom pany the English, ill some cases with Scotcb 



17e 


REJfINISCENCES OF 


synonyms, in others with varieties of expression."- 
Installation Address, p. 63. 
The Scotch, as a people, from their more guarded 
and composed method of speaking, are not so liable 
to fall into that figure of speech for which our Irish 
neighbours are celebrated-usually called the Bull; 
some specimens, ho\vever, of that confusion of 
thought, very like a bull, have been recorded of 
Scottish interlocutors. 
Of this the two follo"\ving examples have been sent 
to me by a kind friend. 
It is related of a Scottish judge (who has supplied 
several anecdotes of Scottish stories), that on going 
to consult a dentist, ,vho, as is usual, placed him in 
the professional cI1air, and told his lordship that he 
must let him put his fingers into his mouth, he 
exclaimed, "Na! na! ye'll aiblins bite me." 
A Scottish laird, singularly enough the grandson of 
the learned judge mentioned above, when going his 
round to canvass for the county, at the time when the 
electors were chiefly confined to resident proprietors, 
was asked at one house where he called if he would 
not take some refreshment, hesitated, and said, "I 
doubt it's treating, and may be ca'd b'ribe1.Y." 
But a still more amusing specimen of this figure of 
speech was supplied by an honest Highlander, in the 
days of sedan chairs. For the benefit of my young 
readers I may describe the sedan chair as a comfort- 
able little carriage fixed to two poles, and carried by 
two men, one behind and one before. A do,vager 
lady of quality had gone out to dinner in one of 
these "leathern conveniences," and whilst sIle herself 
enjoyed the hospitality of the mansion upstairs, her 
bearers were profusely entertained d<.nvnstairs, and 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 OHAR.Á.(JTER. 177 


partook of the abundant refreshment offered to them. 
"\Vhen my lady was to return, and had taken her 
place in the sedan, her bearers raised the chair, but 
she found no progress ,vas made-she felt herself 
sway first to one side, then to the other, and soon 
came bump upon the ground, when Donald behind 
was heard shouting to Donald before (for th
 bearers 
of sedans were always Highlanders), "Let her down, 
Donald, man, for she's dTunk." 
I cannot help thinking that a change of national 
language involves to some extent change of national 
character. Numerous examples of great power in 
Scottish Phraseology, to express the picturesque, the 
feeling, the ,vise, and the humorous, might be taken 
from the ,yorks of Robert Burns, Ferguson, or Allan 
Ramsay, and which lose their charms altogether when 
unscottijìed. The speaker certainly seems to take a 
strength and character from his words. 'Ve must 
now look for specimens of this racy and expressive 
tongue in the more retired parts of the country It 
is no longer to be found in high places. It has dis- 
appeared from the socia] circles of our cities. I can- 
not, however, omit calling my reader's attention to a 
charming specimen of Scottish prose and of Scottish 
humour of our o\vn day, contained in a little book, 
entitled "Mystifications," by Clementina Stirling 
Graham. The scenes described in that volulue are 
matters of pleasing reminiscence, and to some of us 
,vho still remain ",viII recall that blithe and ,vinning 
face, sagacious and sincere, that kindly, cheery voice, 
that rich and quiet laugh, that mingled sense and 
sensibility, ,vhich met, and stil1 to our happiness nleet, 
ill her who, with all her gifts, never gratified her 
consciousness of these powers so as to give pain to 



178 


REJ.llINISOEJ:.lOES Olf 


any human being." *' These words, ,vritten more 
than ten years ago, might have been penned yester-- 
day; and those who, like myself, have had the 
privilege of seeing the authoress presiding in her 
beautiful mansion of Duntrune, will not soon forget 
how happy, how gracious, and how young, old age 
may be. 
I I No fears to beat away -no strife to heal; 
The past unsighed for, and the future sure." 


In my early days the intercourse with the peasantry 
of Forfarshire, Kincardineshire, and especially Deeside, 
was most amusing-not that the things said were so 
much out of the common, as that the language in 
which they were conveyed was picturesque, and odd, 
and taking. And certainly it does appear to me that 
as the language grows more uniform and conventional, 
less marked and peculiar in its dialect and expressions, 
so does the character of those who speak it become 
so. I have a rich sample of Mid-Lothian Scotch 
from a young friend in the country, w'ho describes the 
conversation of an old ,voman on the property as 
amusing her by such specimens of genuine Scottish 
raciness and humour. On one occasion, for instance, 
the young lady had told her humble friend that she 
'\vas going to Ireland, and would have to undergo a 
sea voyage. "Weel, noo, ye dinna mean that! 
Anee I thocht to gang across to tither side 0' the 
Queensferry wi' some ither folks to a fair, ye ken ; 
lnlt juist whene'er I pat Iny fit in the boat, the boat 
gae ,vallop, and IllY heart gae a Iou p, and I thoch t 
I'd gang oot 0' my judgmpnt athegither; so says I, 
Na, na, ye gang a,va by yoursel]s to tither side, anù 
· Prefa.c
 to 4th edition of .JfystijicatÙnl,s, by Dr. John Bro\Vv 



SOOTTISH LIFl1" æ OHARA.OTER. 17
 


I'll bide here till sic times as ye come a,va back.'. 
\Vhen ,ve hear our Scottish language at home, and 
'poken by our own countrymen, we are not so much 

truck with any remarkable effects; but it takes a far 
more impressive character when heard amongst those 
who speak a different tongue, and when encountered 
in other lands. I recollect hearing the late Sir Robert 
Liston expressing this feeling in his own case. \Vhen 
our ambassador at Constantinople, some Scotchmen 
had been recommended to him for a purpose of 
private or of government business; and Sir Robert 
,vas al,vays ready to do a kind thing for a country- 
nlan. He found them out in a barber's shop, 
waiting for being shaved in turn. One came in 
rather late, and seeing he had scarcely room at the 
end of the seat, addressed his countryman, "Neebour, 
,vad ye sit a bit wast?" What strong associations 
must have been called up, by hearing in an eastern 
land such an expression in Scottish tones. 
We may observe here, that marking the course any 
person is to take, or the direction in which any 
object is to be met ,vith, by the points of the compass, 
,vas a prevailing practice alnongst the older Scottish 
race. There could hardly be a more ludicrous appli- 
cation of the test, than ,vas furnished by an honest 
Highlanùer in describing the direction ,vhich hii 
Inedicine \vould not take. Jean Cunlming of Altyr
, 
,vho, in common with her three sisters, ,vas a true 

æur de charité, was one day taking her rouIllls as 
usual, visiting the poor sick, aUlong 'VhOlll there wa
 
a certain Donald MacQueen, who had been some time 
confined to his bed. Ivliss Cumnling, after asking 
hÌIn ho,v he felt, and finding that he ,vas" no better." 
of course inquired if he had taken the medicine which 
she had sent him; "Troth no, me lady," he replied. 



18u 


REltfINISCENCES OF 


U But why not, Donald f' she answered; "it was 'very 
wrong; how can you expect to get better if you do 
not help yourself with the remedies which heaven 
provides for you 1" "Vl'ight or Vrang," said Donald, 
"it wadna gang wast in spite 0' me." In all the 
north country, it is al\vays said, "I'm ganging east 
or west," etc., and it happened that Donald on his 
sick bed was lying east and west, his feet pointing to 
the latter direction, hence his reply to indicate that 
he could not swallo,,,, the medicine! 
We may fancy the amusement of the officers of a 
regiment in the West Indies, at the innocent renlark 
of a young lad who had just joined from Scotland. 
On meeting at dinner, his salutation to his Colonel 
was, "Anither het day, Cornal," as if "het days" 
were in Barbadoes few and far between, as they were 
in his dear old stormy cloudy Scotland. Or t
:ke the 
case of a Scottish saying, ,vhich indicated at once the 
dialect and the economical habits of a hardy and 
struggling race. A young Scotchman, \vho had been 
some time in London, met his friend recently come up 
from the north to pursue his fortune in the great 
metropolis. On discussing matters connected with 
their new life in London, the more experienced visitor 
remarked upon the greater expenses there than in the 
retired Scottish town which they had left. " Ay," 
said the other, sighing over the reflection, "when ye 
get cheenge for a saxpence here, it's soon slippit awa'." 
I recollect a story of my father's "Thich illustrates the 
force of dialect, although confined to the inflections of 
a single Dlonosyllable. On riding home one evening, 
lIe passed a cottage or small farul-house, where theré 
,vas a considerable assemblage of people, and an 
evident incipient meITy.making for some festive 
occasion. On asking one of the lasses standing about. 



SCOTTISH LIFE & CHARAC1'ER. 181 


",.hat it ""'as, she ans,vered, "Ou, it's just a wedding 
0' ,-10ck Thamson and Janet Frazer." To the question, 
"Is the bride rich
" there ,vas a plain quiet" Na." 
"Is she young
" a more emphatic and decided "Naa!" 
but to the query, "Is she bonny 1" a most elaborat
 
and prolonged shout of "Naaa!" 
It has been said that the Scottish dialect is pecu- 
liarly po,verful in its use of 'rowels, and the follo,ving 
dialogue bet,veen a shopman and a customer has been 
given as a specimen. The conversation relates to ß 
plaid hanging at the shop door- 
Cus. (inquiring the material), 00 
 (wool 
) 
Shop. Ay, 00 (ye8
 of ,vooI). 
CUiJ. 1\.' 00 
 (all wool 
) 
Shop. Ay, a' 00 (yes, all \vool). 
Cus. A' ae 00 
 (all same wool 1) 

Shop. Ay a' ae 00 (yes, all same wool). 
An amusing anecdote of a pithy and jocular reply, 
comprised in one syllable, is recorded of an eccentric 
legal Scottish functionary of the last century. An 
advocate, of whose professional qualifications he had 
formed rather a low estimate, ,vas complaining to hinl 
of being passed over in a recent appointment to the 
bench, and expressed his sense of the injustice with 
"T hich he had been treated. He was very indignant 
at his claims and merit being overlooked in their not 
choosing him for the new judge, adding with much 
acrimony, " And I can tell you they might have got a 
, waur.' " * To \v hich, as if merely eoming over the 
complainant's language again, the answer was a grave 
" 'Vhaur 1 "t The merit of the impertinence ,vas, that 
it sounded as if it were merely a repetition of his 
friend's last words, waur and whaur. It was as if "echc 
ans\\"'ered whaur 1 " As I have said, the oddity and 
· Worse.. t Where. 
T 



182 


BE},[INISOENCES OF 


acuteness of the speaker arose from the manner of ex- 
pression, not from the thing said. In fact, the same 
thing said in plain English would be mere common- 
place. I recollect being much amused with a dialogue 
between a late excellent relative of mine and his 
man, the chief manager of a fann which he had just 
taken, and, I suspect in a good measure nlanager of the 
farmer as well. At any rate he committed to this 
acute overseer all the practical details; and on the 
present occasion had sent him to market to dispose of 
a cow and a pony, a simple enough transaction, and 
with a simple enough result. The co,v was brought 
back, the pony ,vas sold. But the man's description 
of it forms the point. " Well, John, have you sold 
the cow 1 " " N a, but I g'rippit a chiel for the powny !" 
" G'rippit" was here most expressive. Indeed, this 
word has a significance hardly expressed by any 
English one, and used to be very prevalent to indicate 
keen and forcible tenacity of possession; thus a 
character noted for avarice or sharp looking to self- 
interest was termed" grippy." In mechanical contriv- 
ances, anything taking a close adherence \vas called 
having a gude g'rip. I recollect in boyish days, \vhen 
on Deeside taking wasp-nests, an old man looking on 
was sharply stung by one, and his description was, 
" Ane 0' them's grippit me fine." The following had 
an indescribable piquancy, which arose from the Scot- 
ticisrn of the terms and the lnanners. Many years ago, 
when accompanying a shooting party on the Gram- 
pians, not with a gun like the rest, but with a bota- 
nical box for collecting specimens of mountain plants, 
the party had got very hot, and very tired, and very 
cross. On the way home, whilst sitting down to rest, 
a gamekeeper sort of attendant, and a character in his 
way, said, "I wish I was in the dining-room of Fasque." 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 CHARACTER. 183 


Our good cousin the Rev. Mr. Wilson, D1inister of 
Farnel, who liked ",yell a quiet shot at the grouse, rather 
testily replied, "Y e'd soon be kickit out 0' that;" to 
which the other replied, not at all daunted, "W eel, 
,,"eel, then I wadna be far frae the Idtchen." A quaint 
and characteristic reply I re
ollect from another farm- 
servant. 
Iy eldest brother had just been con- 
structing a piece of machinery which ",vas driven by 
a stream of water running through the home farm- 
yard. There was a thrashing machine, a ,vinno,ving 
machine, and circular sa\v for splitting trees into pal- 
ing, and other contrivances of a like kind. Observing 
an old man, ,\"ho had long been about the place, look- 
ing very attentively at all that was going on, he 
said, "'V onderful things people can do llO'V, Robby! " 
" Ay," said Robby; "indeed, Sir Alexander, I'm think- 
ing gin Solomon were alive noo he'd be thocht nae- 
thing 0' ! " 
The two follo,ving derive their force entirely from 
the Scottish turn of the expressions. Translated into 
English, they ,vould lose all point-at least, much of 
the point which they no,v have :- 
At the sale of an antiquarian gentleman's effects in 
Roxburghshire, ,vhich Sir "r alter Scott happened to 
attend, there ""as one little article, a Roman patina, 
'\vhich occasioned a good deal of competition, and was 
eventually knocked down to the distinguished baronet 
at a high price. Sir 'Valter ,vas excessively amused 
during the time of bidding to observe how much it 
excited the astonishment of an old woman, who had 
evidently come there to buy culinary utensils on a 
more economical principle. "If the parritch-pan," 
she at last burst out-" If the parritch-pan gangs at 
that, ,vhat will the kail-pat gang for 
" 
An ancestor of Sir W alt
r Scott joined the Stuart 



184 


llEJlINISCENCES OF 


Prince in 1 715, and, ,vith 11is brother, ,vas engaged 
in that unfortunate adventure ,vhich ended in a skir- 
n1ish and captivity at Preston. It was the fashion of 
those tiInes for all persons of the rank of gentlemen 
to wear scarlet waistcoats. A ball had struck one of 
the brothers, and carried part of this dress into his 
body, and in this condition he ,vas taken prisoner with 
a number of his companions, and stripped, as ,,,,as too 
often the practice in those remorseless 'val's. Thus 
wounded, and nearly naked, having only a shirt on, 
and an old sack about hiIn, the ancestor of the great 
poet ,vas sitting, along ,vith his brother and a hun- 
(Ired and fifty unfortunate gentlemen, in a granary at 
Preston. The ,voundecl man fell sick, as the story 
goes, and vomited the scarlet cloth which the ban 
had passed into the wound. " 0 man, 'Vattie," cried 
his brother, "if you have a ,vardrobe in your warne, I 
,,,,ish you would vomit me a pair 0' breeks." But, 
after all, it was amongst the old ladies that the great 
abundance of choice pungent Scottish expressions, such 
as you certainly do not meet ,vith in these days, ,vas 
to be sought. In their position of society, education 
either in England, or education conducted by English 
teachers, has so spread in Scottish fantilies, and inter- 
course ,vith the south has been so increased, that all 
these colloquial peculiarities are fast disappearing. 
Some of the ladies of this older school felt some in- 
dignation at the change ,vhich they lived to see was 
fast going on. One of them being asked if an indi- 
vidual \vhom she had lately seen was "Scotch," an- 
s,vered with some bitterness, "I canna say; ye a' 
speak sae genteel now that I dinna ken wha's Scotch." 
It was not uncommon to find, in young persons, 
examples, some years ago, of an attachment to the 
Scottish dialect, likp that of the old lady. In the 



SCOTTISH LIFE æ ClIARAOTER. 185 
life of P. Tytler, lately published, there is an account 
of his first return to Scotland froln a school in Eng- 
land. His family ,vere delighted ,vith his appearance, 
nlanners, and general in1provement; but a sister did 
not share this pleasure unn1Ìxerl, for being found in 
tears, and the remark being made, "Is he not charnl- 
iug 
" her reply was, in great distress, "Oh yes, but 
he speaks English!" 
The class of old Scottish ladies, D1arked by so many 
peculiarities, generally lived in provincial towns, and 
never dreamt of going from hon1e. Many had never 
been in London, or had even crossed the Tweed. 
But as Lord Cockburn's experience goes back further 
than mine, and as he had special opportunities of 
being acquainted ,vith their characteristic peculiarities 
I will quote his animated description at page 57 of his 
,;lfemo1"'Íals. "There ,vas a singular race of old Scotch 
ladies. They ,vere a delightful set-strong-headed, 
\varm-hearted, and high-spirited-merry even in soli- 
tude; very resolute; indifferent about the modes and 
habits of the modern world, and adhering to their 
o,vn ,vays, so as to stand out like primitive rocks 
above ordinary society. Their prOtnillent qualities of 
sense, humour, affection, and spirit, were enlbodied in 
curious outsides, for they all dressed, and spoke} 
and did exactly 3.8 they chose. Their language, like 
their habits, entirely Scotch, but without any other 
vulgarity than ,vhat perfect naturalness is sOlnetimes 
mistaken for." * 
This is a masterly description of a race now all but 
passed away. I have kno\vn several of them in my 
early days; and amongst them \ve nHlst look for th-r 
racy Scottish peculiarities of diction and of expression 
which, with them, are also nearly gone. Lord 
it Lord Cock1Jufn's Jfe7Jlorials, p. 68. 



186 


RE.i}[INISOENOES OF 


Cockburn has given some illustrations of these pecu- 
liarities ; and I have heard others, especially connected 
with Jacobite partialities, of which I say nothing, as 
they are in fact rather strong for such a ,vork as this. 
One, however, I heard lately as coming from a Forfar- 
shire old lady of this class, which bears upon the point 
of " resolute n determination referred to in the learned 
juùge's description. She had been very positive in 
the disclaiming of some assertion which had been 
attributed to her, and on being asked if she had not 
,vritten it, or something very like it, she replied, " N a, 
na; I never write onything of consequence-I Inay 
deny what I say, but I canna deny what I write." 
Mrs. Baird of Newbyth, the mother of our dis- 
tinguished countryman the late General Sir David 
Baird, was always spoken of as a grand specimen of 
the class. When the news arrived f
'gm India of the 
gallant but unfortunate action of '84 against Hyder 
Ali, in which her son, then Captain Baird, ,vas engaged, 
it was stated that he and other officers had been taken 
prisoners and chained together t,vo and two. Thö 
friends ,vere careful in breaking such sad intelligence 
to the mother of Captain Baird. 'Vhen, how"ever, 
she was made fully to understand the position of her 
son and his gallant companions, disdaining all weak 
and useless expressions of her own grief, and knowing 
well the restless and athletic habits of her son, all 
she said ,vas, "Lord pity the chiel that's chained to 
our Davie! " 
It is only due to the memory of "our Davie," how- 
ever, to add that the" chiel "to whom he ,,"as chained, 
had, in writing home to his friends, borne the highest 
testimony to the kindness and consideration of 
Captain Baird, which he exercised towards him in 
this uncomfortable alliance. General Baird was a first;. 



SCOTTISH LIFE & OHARACTER. 187 


rate officer, and a fine noble character. lIe left home 
for active service so soon (before he ,vas fifteen) that 
his education had necessarily been very imperfect. 
This deficiency he had always himself through life 
deeply regretted. A military friend, and great 
admirer of Sir David, used jocularly to tell a story of 
him-that having finished the despatch which must 
carry home the news of his great action, the capture 
of Seringapatam, as he was preparing to sign it in 
great form, he deliberately took off his coat. " "Thy 
do you take off your coat 
 n said his friend. To 
which the General quietly answered, " Oh, it's to turn 
the muckle D in Dauvid." 
The ladies of this class had certainly no affectation 
in speaking of those ,vho came under their displeasure, 
even ,vhen life and death were concerned. I had an 
anecdote illustrative of this characteristic in a well.. 
known old lady of the last century, Miss J ohnstolle 
of 'Vesterhall. She had been extremely indignant 
that, on the death of her brother, his widow had 
proposed to sell off the old furniture of vVesterhall. 
She was attached to it from old associations, and 
considered the parting ,vith it little short of sacrilege. 
The event \\Tas, ho\vever, arrested by death, or, as she 
describes the result, " The furniture ,vas a' to be roupit, 
and we couldna persuade her. But before the sale 
carn on, in God's gude providence she just clinkit aff 
hersell." Of this same 1iiss Johnstone another 
characteristic anecdote has been preserved in the 
faruily. She caIne into possession of Hawkhill, near 
Edinburgh, and died there. 'Vhen dying, a tremendous 
storm of rain and thunder came on, so as to shake 
the house. In her own quaint eccentric spirit, and 
with no thought of profane or light allusions, she 
looked up, and, listening to the storm, quietly 



188 


.REJ.
/IJ.VISGENOES O
P 


remarked, in reference to her departure, "Ech, sirs! 
what a nicht for me to be fleein' through the air!" 
Of fine acute sarcasm I recollect hearing an expres- 

ion from a mndern sample of the class, a charming 
chnxacter, but only to a certain degree answering to 
the description of the older generation. Conversation 
turning, and with just indignation, on the infidel 
remarks ,vhich had been heard from a certain indi- 
vidual, and on his irreverent treatment of Holv 
Scripture, all that this lady condescended to say 
f 
him ,vas, "Gey impudent of him, I think." 
A recorded reply of old Lady Perth to a French 
gentleman is quaint and characteristic. They had 
been discussing the respective merits of the cookery 
of each country. The Frenchlnan offended the old 
Scottish peeress by sorne disparaging remarks on 
ScC"ttish dishes, and by highly preferring those of 
France. All she would answer was, "'V eel, "
eel, 
some fowk like parritch and some like paddocks." * 
Of this olcIer race-the ladies who were aged, fifty 
years ago-no description could be given in bolder or 
stronger out1ine than that which I have quoted fron1 
Lord Cockburn. I would pretend to nothing rnore 
than giving a fe"r further illustrative details from my 
own experience, which may assist the representation 
by adding some practical realities to the picture. 
Several of them whom I kne,v in my early days cer- 
tainly answered to many of the terms nlade use of by 
his lordship. Their language and expressions had a 
zest and peculiarity which are gone, and which would 
not, I fear, do for modern life and tinles. 
I have spoken of Miss Erskine of Dun, which is 
near Montrose. She, ho,vever, resided in Edinburgh. 
But those I knew best bad lived many years in the 
.. }'ro
s. 



THE l\1UTCH 


From a -water-colour dra;ubz.g by 
lJEArRY TV. f(ERR, 
A .R.S.A., R.5.1r. 


. 



\ 




 


I 
...-.1 




seOTTISH LIFE 
 OHARACJ.'Elt. 189 


'then retired society of a country to\vn. Some were 
my own relations; and in boyish days (for they had 
not generally much patience with boys) were looked 
up to ,,'ith considerable awe as very formidable 
personages. Their characters and modes of expression 
in many respects remarkably corresponded ,vith Lord 
Cockburn's idea of thf' race. There ,vas a dry 
Scottish humour which ,ve fear their successors do 
not inherit. One of these 
fontrose ladies, 
fiss Nelly 
Fullerton, had many anecdotes told of her quaint 
\vays and sayings. "r alking in the street one day, 
slippery from frost, she fairly fell do,vn. A young 
officer ,vith much politeness came for,vard and picked 
her up, earnestly asking her at the same tirne. " I hope 
ma'am, you are no \vorse î" to which she very drily 
ans,vered, looking at him very steadily," 'Deed, sir, 
I'm just as little the better." .A few days after, she 
nlet her military supporter in a shop. He ,vas a fiue 
tall youth, up\vards of six feet high, and br ,yay of 
making some grateful recognition for his late polite 
attention, she eyed hÍIn from head to foot, and as she 
was of the opinion of the old Scotch lady 'v ho de. 
clared she "aye liked bonny fo,vk," she viewed her 
young friend with much satisfaction, but which she 
only evinced by the quaint remark, "Od, ye're a lang 
lad; God gie ye grace." 
I had from a relative or intimate friend of two 
sisters of this school, well known about Glasgow, an 
odd account of \vhat it seems, from their o,vn statement, 
had passed between them at a country house, where 
they had attended a sale by auction. As the business 
of the day ,vent on, a dozen of silver spoons had to 
be disposed of; and before they w'er(
 put up for 
competition, they were, according to the usual custom, 
handed round for inspection to the COUlp.Ul)P. WbeD 



190 


RElffINISOENOES OF 


returned into the hands of the auctioneer, he found 
only eleven. In great .w-rath, he ordered the door to 
be shut, that no one might escape, and insisted on 
everyone present being searched to discover the 
delinquent. One of the sisters, in consternation, 
,vhispered to the other, "Esther, ye hae nae gotten 
the spune 1" to ,vhich she replied, "Na; but I hae 
gotten Mrs. Siddons in my pocket." She had been 
struck by a miniature of the great actress, and had 
quietly pocketed it. The cautious reply of the sister 
was, "Then just drop her, Esther." One of the sister- 
hood, a connection of my own, had much of this dry 
Scottish hunlonr. She had a lodging in the house of 
a respectable grocer; and on her uiece most innocently 
asking, "if she was not very fond of her landlord," 
in reference to the excellence of her apartments and 
the attention he paid to her comfort, she dernurred 
to the question on the score of its propriety, by reply- 
ing, "Fond of my landlord! that ,,,,ould be an 
1tnaccountable fondness." 
An amusing account was given of an interview and 
conversation between this lady and the provost of 
Montrose. She had demurred at paying some nluni- 
cipal tax with \vhich she had been charged, and the 
provost, anxious to preveut her getting into difficulty 
on the subject, kindly called to convince her of the 
fairness of the claim, and the necessity of paying it. 
In his explanation he referred back to his o,vn bachelor 
days ,vhen a sÌIllilar payment had been required from 
him. "I assure you, ma'am," he said, "'v hen I \vas 
in your situation I ,vas called upon in a similar way 
for this tax;" to which she replied, in quiet scorn, 
" In my situation! an' whan were ye in my situation 
 
-an' auld maid Ieevin' in a fiat \vi' an ae lass." 
But the complaints of such imposts were urged in a 



ßC01.'TISH LIFE d: OHARAOTER. 191 


very humorous manner by another l\Iontrose old lady, 
Miss Helen Carnegy of Craigo; she hated paying 
taxes, and always pretended to misunderstand their 
nature. One day, receiving a notice of such paYlnent 
signed by the provost (Thorn), she broke out: "I 
dinna understand thae taxes; but I just think that 
when Mrs. Thorn \vants a new gown, the provost sends 
me a tax paper!" The good lady's naïve rejection 
of the idea that she could be in any sense "fond of 
her landlord," already referred to, was somewhat in 
unison with a siluilar feeling recorded to have been ex- 
pressed by the late Mr. Wilson, the celebrated Scottish 
vocalist. lIe ,vas taking lessons from the late Mr. 
Finlay Dun, one of the most accomplished nlusicians 
of the day. 
Ir. Dun had just returned from Italy, 
and, impressed with admiration of the deep pathos, 
sentiment, and passion of the Italian school of music, 
he regretted to find in his pupil so lovely a voice and 
so much talent losing much of its effect for want of 
feeling. Anxious, therefore, to thro\v into his friend's 
performance something of the Italian expression, he 
proposed to bring it out by this suggestion: " Now, 
::\11'. 'Vilsoll, just suppose that I am your lady love, 
and sing to Ine as you could imagine yourself doing 
\vere you desirous of inlpressing bel' \vith your earnest- 
ness and affection." Poor 1\11'. Wilson hesitated, 
blushed, a.nù, under doubt how far such a personifi- 
cation even in his case was allo,vable, at last remOll- 
strated, " Ay, Mr. Dun, ye forget I'm a married man !" 
A case has been reported of a country girl, ho,\T- 
ever, ,vho thought it possible there might be an 
excess in such scrupulous regard to appearances. On 
her marriage-day, the youth to 'v horn she \vas about 
to be united said to her in a. triumphant toqe, " \Veel, 
Jenny, haven't I been uneD ceevil1" alluding to tbe 



192 


RE.1fINISCE...YCES OF 


fact. that during their w bole courtship be had never 
even given her a kiss. Her quiet reply was, " Ou, ay, 
DJan; senselessly ceevil." 
One of these Montrose ladies and a sister lived 
together; and in a very quiet ,yay they ,,,,ere in the 
habit of giving little dinner-parties, to \vhich occasion- 
ally they invited their gentlemen friends. HO\Yever, 
gentlemen were not al\vays to be had; anrl on one 
occasion, when such a difficulty had occurred, they 
were talking over the matter with a friend. The 
one lady seenled to consider such an acquisition. almost 
essential to the having a dinner at all. The other, 
who did not see the same necessity, quietly adding, 
,. But, indeed, 001' Jean thinks a Ulan pelJiect salvation." 
Very much of the same class of remarks was the 
following sly observation of one of the sisterhood. 
At a well-known tea-table in a country to,vn in Forfar- 
shire, the events of the day, grave and gay, had beeu 
fully discussed by the assembled sisterhood. The 
occasion was improved by an elderly spinster, as 
follows :-" "\\T eel, weel, sirs, these are solemn events 
-death and nlarriage-but ye ken they're ,vhat we 
must a' come till." "Eh, Miss J eany! ye have been 
lang spared," was the arch reply of a younger member. 
There was occasionally a pawky sen1i-sarcastic 
}}umour in the replies of some of the ladies we speak 
of, that \vas quite irresistible, of which I have from a 
.friend a good illustration in an anecdote ,veIl known 
at the time. A late ,veIl-known melnber of the 
Scottish bar, when a youth, was somewhat of a dandy, 
and, I suppose, some\vhat short and sharp in his 
temper. He \vas going to pay a visit in the country, 
and was nUtking a great fuss about his preparing and 
putting up his habiliments. His old aunt 'Ya
 n1uch 

I.nnoyeù at- all this bustle, anù stopppd him Ly the 



SCOTTlS.'! LIPE 
 CHARACTER. 198 


somewhat contemptuous question, " 'Vhar's this you're 
gaun, Robby, that ye mak sic a grand "
ark about yer 
claes
" The young man lost temper, and pettishly 
replied, "I'm going to the devil." "'Deed,Robby, then," 
"YtlS the quiet answ'er, "ye needna be sae nice, he'll 
juist tak' ye as ye arc. ' . 
Ladies of t."hi
 class had a quiet DIode of expressing 
themselves on very serious subjects, which indicated 
t.heir quaint po,ver of description, rather than their 
,vant of feeling. Thus, of t,vo sisters, ,vhen one had 
died, it ,vas supposed that she had injured herself by 
an imprudent indulgence in stra,v berries and cream, 
of ,vhich she had partaken in the country. A friend 
,vas condoling ,vith the surviving sister, and, express- 
ing her sorro,v, had added, "I had hoped your sister 
,vas to live many years." To which her relative 
replied-" Leeve! hoo could she leeve 1 she juist 
felled'* hersell at Craigo wi' straeberries and 'ream! n 
However, she spoke ,vith the same degree of coolness 
of her o,vn decease. For ,vhell her friend 'Y3S com- 
forting her in illness, by the hopes t.hat she ,vou]d, 
after ,vinter, enjoy again some of their country spring 
butter, she exclaimed, without the slightest idea of 
being guilty of any irreverence, "Spring butter! by 
that tinle I shall be buttering in heaven." 'Vhen 
really dying, and ,vhen friends ,vere round her bed 
she overheard one of thelll saying to another, "Her 
face has lost its colour; it grows like a sheet of paper." 
The quaint spirit even then broke out in the remark, 
"Then I'm sure it maun be broon paper." it very 
strolJg-mindeù lady of the class, and, in Lord Cock- 
burn's language, "indifferent about modes and 
habits,"t had been asking from a lady the character 
of a cook she ,vas about to hire. The lady naturally 
· Killed. t 
liss Jenny 
lE'thven. 



IØ4 


REJIINISCENCES OF 


entered a little upon her moral qualifications, and 
described her as a very decent woman; the response 
to which was, "Oh, d-n her decency; can she make 
good collops 
"-an ans,ver ",. hich would sOlne,vhat 
surprise a lady of Moray Place now, if engaged in a 
similar discussion of a servant's merits. 
The Rev. Dr. Cook of Haddington supplies an 
excellent anecdote, of which the point is ill the dry 
Scottish answer: An old lady of the Doctor's 
acquaintance, about seventy, sent for her medical 
attendant to consult hiIn about a sore throat, which 
had troubled her for SOlne days. Her medical man 
,vas ushered into her room, decked out with the now 
prevailing fashion, a nlustache and flowing beard. 
The old lady, after exchanging the usual civilities, 
described her complaint to the ,vorthy son of 
LEsculapius. " Well," says he, "do you kno,v, Mrs. 
Macfarlane, I used to be much affected with the 
very same kind of sore throat, but ever since I 
allowed my mustache and beard to grow, I have 
never been troubled ,vith it." " Aweel, aweel," said 
the old lady drily, "that may be the case, but ye 
maun prescribe some other method for me to get quit 
0' the sair throat; for ye ken, doctor, I canna adopt 
that cure." 
Then how quaint the answer of old Mrs. Robison, 
widow of the eminent professor of natural philosophy, 
and who entertained an inveterate dislike to every- 
thing which she thought savoured of cant. She had 
in vited a gentleman to dinner on a particular day, 
and he had accepted, with the reservation, "If I am 
spared."-" W eel, weel," said Mrs. Robison; "if ye're 
deed, I'll no expect ye." 
I had two grand-aunts living at 
Iontrose at that 
time-two Miss R,amsays of Balmain. They ,vere 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 CHARACTER. 195 


somewhat of the severe class-Xelly especially, who 
,,"as an object rather of awe than of affection. She 
certainly had a very a,vful appearance to young 
apprehensions, from the strangeness of her headgear. 
Ladies of this class Lord Cockburn has spoken of as 
"having their peculiarities embodied in curious out- 
sides, as they dressed, spoke, and did exactly as 
they chose." As a sample of such" curious outside 
and dress," my good aunt used to go about the house 
,vith an immense pil1o,v strapped over her head- 
,varm but formidable. These t,vo maiden grand-aunts 
had invited their niece to pay them a visit-an aunt 
of mine, ",.ho had made ,,"hat they considered a very 
imprudent marriage, and where considerable pecuniary 
privations ,vere too likely to accompany the step she 
had taken. The poor niece had to bear many a 
taunt directed against her improvident union, as for 
example :-One day she had asked for a piece of tape 
for some ,vork sIle had in hand as a young ,vife 
expecting to become a Inother. 
liss Kelly said, 
,vith much point, "Ay, I(itty, ye shall get a bit 
knittin' (i.e. a bit of tape). 'Ve hae a'thing; ,,-e're 
no married." It was this lady who, by an inadvertent 
use of a term, show
ed 'v hat ,vas passing in her mind 
in a ,vay which must have been quite transparent to 
the bystanders. ..A..t H supper which she was gï'7ing, 
she ,vas evidently much annoyed at the reckless and 
clumsy manner in ,vhich a gentleman was operating 
upon a ham which was at table, cutting out great 
lumps, and distributing them to the company. The lady 
said, in a very querulous tone, "Oh, l\Ir. Divot, will 
you help Mrs. So and So r'-divot -being a provincial 
term for a turf or sod cut out of the green, and the 
resemblance of it tó the pieces carved out by the 
gentleman evidently having taken possession of her 



198 


REMINISCENCES OF 


imagination. :Nlrs. Helen Carnegy of Craigo, already 
lllentioned, was a thorough specimen of this class. 
She lived in 1\Iontrose, and died in 1818, at the 
advanced age of ninety-one. She ,vas a Jacobite, and 
very aristocratic in her feelings, but on social terms with 
many burghers of Montrose, or Munross as it ,vas 
caned. She preserved a very nice distinction of 
addresses, suited to the different individuals in the 
t.o,vn, according as she placed them in the scale of 
her consideration. She liked a party at quadrille, 
and sent out her servant every morning to invite the 
ladies required to make up the game, and her direc- 
tions 'v ere graduated thus:-Io
 Nelly, ye'll gang to 
Lady Carnegy's, and mak my compliments, and ask 
the honourj" of her ladyship's company, and that of the 
1vliss Carnegys, to tea this evening; and if they canna 
come, ging to the Miss Mudies, and ask the pleasurre 
of their company; and if they canna come, ye may 
ging to 
fiss Hunter and ask the favourj" of her com- 
pany; and if she canna come, ging to I.Jucky Spar]{ 
and bid her co me. " 
A great confusion existed in the minds of SOlne of 
those old-fashioned ladies on the subject of nlodern 
inventions and usages. A Montrose old lady pro- 
tested against the use of steam-vessels, as counteracting 
the decrees of Providence in going against wind and 
tide, vehemently asserting, "I ,vould hae naething to 
say to thae Í7n-pio'us vesselß." Another lady ,vas 
equally discolnposed by the introduction of gas, 
asking, with much earnestness, "What's to become 0' 
the puir ,vhales 1" deeming their interests materially 
a,ffected by this superseding of their oil. A lady of 
this class, who had long lived in country retirement, 
coming up to Edinburgh, was, after an absence of 
many years, going along Prince
 Street about the 



SCO'1'TISII LIFE (t. CHAR
4aTER. 197 


time "Then the ,vater-carts ,vere introduced for pre- 
venting the dust, and seeing one of them passing, 
rushed from off the pavement to the driver, saying, 
'" Man, ye're skailin' a' the ,vater." Such being her 
ignorance of modern improvements. 
There used to be a point and originality in expres- 
sions made use of in regard to common matters, 
unlike ,vhat one finds 110'V; for example: A country 
minister had been invited, ,vith his wife, to dine and 
spend the night at the house of one of his lairds. 
Their host was very proud of one of the very large 
beds ,vhich had just come into fashion, ð,nd in the 
Inorning asked the lady how she had slept in it. 
"Oh, vary ,veIl, sir; but, indeed, I thought I'd lost 
the minister athegither." 
Nothing, however, in my opinion, comes up to the 
originality and point of the Montrose old maiden 
lady's most "exquisite reason" for not subscribing to 
the proposed fund for organising a volunteer corps 
in that town. It was at the t.ime of expected 
invasion at the beginning of the century, and some 
of the to,vn magistrates called upon her and solicited 
her subscription to raise men for the service of the 
king-" Indeed," she answered right sturdily, "I'll 
dae nae sic thing; I ne'er could raise a man for mysell, 
and I'm no ga'in to raise men for King George." 
Some curious stories are told of ladies of this 
class, as connected with the novelties and excitement 
of railway travelling. 1\fissing their luggage, or find.. 
ing that something has gone wrong about it, often 
causes very terrible distress, and might be amusing, 
,vere it not to the sufferer so severe a calamity. I 
was much entertained with the earnestness of this 
feeling, and the expression of it from an old Scotch 
IJ.dy whose box ,vas not forthcoming at the station 
u 



198 


REJ.ll[lVISOE1VOES OJ
 


"rhere she ,vas to stop. "Then urged to be paticnt, 
her indignant exclamation ,vas -" I can bear ony 
pairtings that may be ca'ed for in God's providence; 
but I canna stan' pairtin' f1'ae my claes." 
The follo,ving anecdote from the ,vest exhibits a 
curious confusion of ideas arising from the old- 
fashioned prejudice against Frenchmen and their 
language, which existed in the last generation. 
During the long French war, two old ladies in 
Stranraer ,vere going to the kirk; the one said to 
the other, " 'Vas it no a wonderfu' thing that the 
Breetish ,vere aye victorious o,ver the French in 
battle
" "Not a bit," said the other old lady; "dinna 
)'e ken the Breetish aye say their prayers before ga'in 
into battle 1" The other replied, "But canna the 
French say their prayers as ,veel
" The reply "1'as 
most characteristic, "Hoot! jabbering bodies, ,vha 
could 'ltnderstan' them 1" 
Some of these ladies, as belonging to the old county 
families, had very high notions of their own impor- 
tance, and a great idea of their difference from the 
burgher families of the to\vn. I am assured of the 
truth of the following naïve specimen of such fanlily 
l)ride :-One of the olden nlaiden ladies of l\Iontrose 
called one day on some ladies of one of the families 
in the neighbourhood, and on being questioned as to 
the ne,vs of the tOWll, said, " Ne,vs! oh, Bailie -'s 
eldest son is to be Inarried." "And pray," ,,,.as the 
reply, "and pray, lVliss , an' fa' ever heard 0' a 
merchant i' the toon 0' Montrose ha'in an eldest son?" 
'
rhe good lady thought that any privilege of prin1o- 
geniture belonged only to the family of laÙ'd. 
I t is a dangerous experiment to try passing ofT 
ungrounded claims upon characters of this descriptiollc 
:hlallY a clever sa.rcastic reply is on recorll frOlli 



l
(JOTTISH LIFE 
 OHARAOTER. 199 


Scottish ladies, directed against those ,vho wished to 
impose upon them some false sentiment. I often 
think of the remark of the outspoken ancient lady, 
"rho, ,vhen told by her pastor, of ,,;rhose disinterested- 
ne!;s in his charge she was not quite sure, that he 
" had a call froln his Lord and ßlaster to go," replied 
-" 'Deed, sir, the Lord micht hae ca' ed and ca' ed to 
ye lang eneuch to Ouchtertoul (a very small stipend), 
and ye'd ne'er hae letten on that ye heard him." 
At the beginning of this century, ,vhen the fear of 
invasion ,vas rife, it ,vas proposed to mount a sn1all 
battery at the water-mouth by subscription, and l\Iiss 
Carnegy ,vas waited on by a deputation from the 
to,vn-council. One of them having addressed her on 
the subject, she heard him ,vith some impatience, and 
'v hen he had finished, she said, "Are ye ane 0' the 
toon-cooncil. He replied, "I have that honour, 
ma'am." To ,vhich she rejoined, "Ye may hae that 
profit, but 11onour ye hae nane;" and then to the 
point, she added, "But I've been tell't that ae day's 
wark 0' t,va or three men wad mount the cannon, 
and that it may be a' dune for t,venty shillings; no". 
there's twa punds to re." The councillor pocketed 
the money and ,vithdre,v. On one occasion, as she 
sat in an easy chair, having assumed the habits and 
privileges of age, 
rr. 
follison, the minister of the 
Established Kirk, called on her to solicit for SOD1e 
charity. She did not like being asked for money, 
and, from her Jacobite principles, she certainly did 
not respect the Presbyterian I\:.irk. 'Vhen he came 
in she made an inclination of the head, and he said, 
"Don't get up, Inadam." She replied
 "Get up! I 
,v'adna rise out 0' my chair for I\".ing George hÜnsell, 
let abee a ,vhig n1Ìnister." 
This ,vas plain speaking enough, but there is 




oo 


RJ
J'L..VISCE}tCES OF 


something quite inimitable in the matter-of- factnpss 
of the following story of an advertisement, ,vhich 
may tend to illustrate the Antiquary's renlark to ::Thfrs. 
1\Iacleuchar, anent the starting of a coach or fly to 
Queensferry. A carrier, ,vho plied his trade between 
Aberdeen and a village considerably to the north of 
it, was asked by one of the villagers, "Fan are ye 
gaen to the toaD 
"(Aberdeen). To ,yhich he replied, 
"I'll be in on Monanday, God willin' and ".eather 
permittin', an' on Tiseday, fitlzer or no. 
It is a curious subject the various shades of Scottish 
dialect and Scottish expressions, commonly called 
Scotticisms. We mark in the course of fifty years 
how some disappear altogether; others become more 
and more rare, and of all of them we may say, I 
think, that the specimens of them are to be looked 
for every year more in the descending classes of 
society. What was common amongst peers, judges, 
lairds, advocates, and people of family and education, 
is now found in humbler ranks of life. There are 
fe,v persons perhaps ,vho have been born in Scotland, 
and who have lived long in Scotland, whom a nice 
southern ear might not detect as from the north. 
But far beyond such nicer shades of distinction, there 
are strong and characteristic marks of a Caledonian 
origin, ,vith which some of us have had practical 
acquaintance. I possess two curious, and now, I 
believe, rather scarce, publications on the prevalent 
Scotticisms of our speaking and ,vriting. One is 
entitled "Scotticisms designed to Correct Impro- 
prieties of Speech and Writing," by Dr. Beattie of 
Aberdeen. The other is to the same purpose, and is 
entitled, "Observations on the Scottish Dialect," by 
the late Right Honourable Sir John Sinclair. Ex- 
pressions which were common in thcir days, and used 



8COTTISll LIFE ill alI.ARACTEll. 201 


by persons of all ranks, are not kno,vn by the rising 
generation. ]'Ianr amusing equivoques used to be 
current, arising from Scotch people in England ap- 
plying terms and expressions in a manner rather sur- 
prising to southern ears. Thus, the story ,vas told 
of a public character long associated ,vith the affairs 
of Scotland, Henry Dundas (first Viscount :ßlelville), 
applying to 
Ir. Pitt for the loan of a horse" the length 
of Highgate j" a very common expression in Scotland, 
at that time, to signify the distance to ,vhich the ride 
,vas to extend. 1\11'. Pitt good-humouredly ,vrote 
back to say that he was afraid he had not a horse in 
his possession quite so long as Mr. Dundas had men- 
tioned, but he had sent the longest he had. There 
is a ,veIl-known case of mystification, caused to 
English ears by the use of Scottish terms, which took 
place in the House of Peers during the examination 
of the 1\Iagistrates of Edinburgh touching the parti- 
culars of the Porteous 1\Iob in 1736. The Duke of 
N c,vcastle having asked the Provost ,vith what kind 
of shot the to,vn-guard commanded by Porteous had 
loaded their muskets, received the unexpected reply, 
"Ou, juist sic as ane shutes dukes and sic like fules 
,vi'." The ans,ver ,vas considered as a contempt of the 
House of Lords, and the poor provost would have 
suffered from misconception of his patois, had not the 
Duke of Argyle <,vho must have been exceedingly 
amused) eXplained that the worthy magistrate's ex- 
pression, ,vhen rendered into English, did not apply 
to Peers and Idiots but to ducks and 
vate'r-fowl. The 
circumstance is referred to by Sir 'V. Scott in the 
notes to the Heart of l\fid-Lothian. A sin1Ïlar 
equivoque upon the douLle meaning of "Deuk" in 
Scottish 13 nguage supplied material for a poor ".on1an's 
honest compliment to a hcncy.olent Scottish nobl{}. 



202 


nEJlINISCE}{CES OIl 


nlan. John, Duke of Roxburghe, ,vas one day out 
riding, and at -the gate of Floors he ,vas accosted by 
an importunate old beggar ,voman. He gave her 
half-a-cl'o,vn, ,vhich pleased her so much that she 
exclaimed, "W eel's me on your guse face, for Duke's 
ower little tae ca' ye." 
A very curious list may be made of ,vords used ill 
Scotland in a sense which would be quite unintelligible 
to Southerns. Such applications are going out, but 
I remember them ,veIl amongst. the old-fashioned 
people of Angus and the Mearns quite common in 
conversation. I subjoin some specimens :- 
Bestial signifies amongst Scottish agriculturists 
cattle generally, the whole aggregate number of beasts 
on the farm. Again, a Scottish farmer, ,vhen he 
speaks of his "hogs" or of buying "hogs," has no 
reference to s,vine, but means young sheep, i.e. sheep 
before they have lost their first fleece. 
Dwc'reet does not express the idea of a prudent or 
cautious person so nluch as of one who is not rude, 
but considerate of the opinions of others. Such 
application of the word is said to have been made by 
Dr. Chalmers to the late Henry, Bishop of Exeter. 
These t,vo eminent individuals had met for the first 
time at the hospitable house of the late Mr. Murray, 
the publisher. On the introduction taking place, 
the Bishop expressed himself so ,varmly as to the 
pleasure it gave him to meet so distinguished and 
excellent a man as Dr. Chalmers, that the Docto.c 
some,vhat surprised at such an unexpected ebullition 
from an English Church dignitary, could only reply, 
" Oh, I am sure your lordship is very' discreet.'''
 
Ente'rteening has in olden Scottish usage the sense 
not of amusing, but interesting. I renlcmber an 
* "Civil," "obliging. "-Jamieson. 



SCOTTISH LIFE & CHAR,ACTER. 203 


honest Dandie Dinmont on a visit to Bath. A lady, 
\vho had taken a kind charge of him, accompanied 
him to the theatre, and in the Illost thrilling scene 
of Kemble's acting, \vhat is usually termed the dagger 
scene in Macbeth, she turned to the farmer \vith a 
\vhisper, "Is not that fine 
 " to which the confidential 
reply ,vas, " Oh, meJn, its verra ente1"teening !" Enter- 
teening expressing his idea of the effect produced. 
Pig, in old-fashioned Scotch, ,vas al\vays used for 
a coarse earthen,vare jar or vessel. In the Life of 
the late Patrick Tytler, the amiable 3nd gifted his- 
torian of Scotland, there occurs an amusing exemplifi- 
cation of the utter confusion of ideas caused by the 
use of Scottish phraseology. The family, ,vhen they 
\yent to London, had taken with them an old Scottish 
servant who had no notion of any terms beside her 
o\vn. She came in one day greatly disturbed at 
the extremely back,vard state of kno,v ledge of 
domestic affairs amongst the Londoners. She had 
been to so many shops and could not get "a great 
broon pig to haud the butter in." 
From a relative of the family I have received an 
account of a still ,vorse confusion of ideas, caused by 
the inquiry of a Mrs. Chisholm of Chisholm, ,vho 
died in London in -1825, at an advanced age. She 
had come from the country to be with her daughter, 
anù YfaS a genuine Scottish lady of the old school. 
She \vished to purchase a table-cloth of a cheque 
pattern, 1ike the squares of a chess or draught board. 
No\va draught-board used to be called (as I remember) 
by old Scotch people a " danl 
 brod." t Accordingly, 

Irs. Chisholm entered the shop of a linen-draper, anù 
asked to be sho\vn table-linen a dam-broil pattern. 
The shopman, although, taken aback by a request, as 
* Dan?" the game of draughts. t Brod, the hoard. 



204 


RE..Jfl.:.YISCElv"'CES ()'F' 


he considered it, so strongly ,yorded, by a respectable 
old lady, hrought do\vn ,vhat he assured her ,vas the 
largest and widest made. No; that v/ould not do. 
She repeated her wish for a dam-brad pattern, and 
left the shop surprised at the stupidity of the London 
shopman not having the pattern she asked for. 
Silly has in genuine old Scottish use reference to 
,veakneas of body only, and not of mind. Before 
knowing the use of the word, I remember being much 
astonished at a farlner of the Mearns telling me of 
the strongest-minded n1an in the county that he ,vas 
"uncommon silly," not insinuating any decline of 
mental vigour, but only meaning that his bodily 
strength ,vas giving way. 
F1'ail, in like manner, expresses infirn1Íty of body, 
and implies no charge of any laxity in moral principle; 
yet I have seen English persons looking with consider- 
able consternation when an old-fashioned Scottish lady, 
speaking of a young and graceful female, lamented her 
being so frail. 
Fail is another instance of different use of words. 
In Scotland it used to be quite common to say of a 
person ,vhose health and strength had declined, that he 
had failed. To say this of a person connected lvith 
mercantile business has a very serious effect upon 
southern ears, as implying nothing short of bankruptcy 
and ruin. I recollect many years ago at Monmouth, 
my dear mother creating much consternation in the 
mind of the mayor, by saying of a ,vorthy man, 
the principal banker in the t01v'n, 'VhOlll they both 
concurred in praising, that she ,vas "sorry to find he 
was fa.iling." 
Honest has in Scotch a peculiar application, irre- 
spective of any integrity of moral character. It is a 
kindly mode of referrin ó to an individual, as ,vp ,vould 



8COT7'ISH 
IFE æ CHARAOTER. 205 


iJay to a stranger, "fIonest nlan, ,vollld you tell me the 
way to -1" or as Lord Herlnand, ,,,,hen about to 
sentence a 'VOlnan for stealing, began remonstrati vely, 
"Honest ,voman, whatever garr'd ye steal your neigh- 
bour's tub
" 
Superstitious: A correspondent informs me that in 
some parts of Mid-Lothian the people constantly use 
the ,vord "superstitious" for" bigoted;" thus, speak- 
ing of a very keen Free Church person, they ,vill say, 
" He is a,vfu' supperstitious." 
Kail in England simply expresses cabbage, but in 
Scotland represents the chief meal of the day. Hence 
the old-fashioned easy ,vay of asking a friend to dinner 
,vas to ask him if he would take his kail ,,,,ith the 
family. In the same usage of the ,vord, the Scottish 
proverb expresses distress and trouble in a person's 
affairs, by saying that ," he has got his kail through 
the reek." In like manner haddock, in IGncardineshire 
and Aberdeenshire, used to express the same idea, as 
the expression is, ""Vill ye tak your haddock ,vi' us 
the day f' that fish being so plentiful and so excellent 
that it was a standing dish. There is this difference, 
however, in the local usage, that to say in Aberdeen, 
"Till yúu take your haddock 
 implies an invitation to 
dinner; ,vhilst in J\tlontrose tbe same expression means 
an invitation to supper. Differences of pronunciation 
also caused great confusion and misunderstanding. 
K ovels used to be pronounced novels; envy envy; a 
cloak was a clock, to the surprise of an English lady, 
to ,vhom the maid said, on her leaving the house, 
" l\Iem, ,vinna ye tak the clock ,vi' ye 
 " 
The names of children's diseases were a remarkable 
item in the catalogue of Scottish words :-Thus, in 
1775, 1\11'8. Betty l\luirheid kept a boarding-school for 
).oung ladies in the Trongate of Glasgo,v, near the 'rron 



206 


RE},[INISCENCES OJ' 


steep]e. l\. girl on her arrival ,vas asked \vhether she 
had had smallpox. " Yes, mem, I've had the sma'pox, 
the nirls,

 the blabs,t the sca\v,:!: the kinkhost,
 and 
the fever, the branks II and the \vorm." 
 
There is indeed a case of Scottish pronunciation 
which adds to the force and copiousness of our language, 
by discriminating four words, which, according to 
English speaking, are undistinguishable in mere pro- 
nunciation. The words are-\vright (a carpenter), to 
write (\vith a pen), right (the reverse of wrong), rite 
(a cerenlony). The four are, ho\vever, distinguished 
ill old-fashioned Scotch pronunciation thus-I, He's H, 
\viricht; 2, to wireete; 3, richt; 4, rite. 
I can rernember a peculiar Scottish phrase very com- 
monly used, which now seems to have passed a\vay. 
I mean the expression" to let on," indicating the notice 
or observation of something, or of some person.-For 
example, " I sa\v Mr. at the meeting, but I nevel 
let on that I knew he was present." A form of expre
- 
sion which has been a great favourite in Scotland in my 
recollection has much gone out of practice-I mean 
the frequent use of diminutives, generally adopted 
either as terms of endearment or of contempt. Thus 
it ,vas very con1mon to speak of a person ,vhom you 
Jueant rather to undervalue, as a mannie, a boddie, a 
bit boddie, or a wee bit '1nannie. The Bailie in Rob Roy, 
,vhen he intended to represent his party as person
 
of no importance, used the expression, "'V e are bits 
0' Glasgo\v bodies." 
An admirable Scotch expression I recollect froll1 
one of the Montrose ladies before referred to. IIer 
niece was asking a great many questions on SOllle 
point concerning \vhich her aunt had been giving her 
* 1Ieasles. t Nettle-rash. ::: The itch. 

 Whooping-cough. n 1\Iumps. 
 Toothache. 



SCOTTIS/l LIFE cI: CIIARACTER. 207 


information, and coming over and over the ground, 
demanding an explanation ho\v this had happened, 
and \vhy something else \vas so and so. The old 
lady lost her patience, and at last burst forth: "I 
winna be back-spei1'ed noo, Pally Fullerton." Back- 
speired! ho\v much more pithy and expressive than 
cross-examined! " He's not a man to ride tbe water 
on," expresses your ,vant of confidence and of trust 
in the character referred to. Another capital expres- 
sion to mark that a person has stated a point rather 
under than oyer the truth, is, "The less I lee," as in 
Guy l\Iannering, \vhere the precentor exclaiIns to 
1\lrs. l\lacCandlish, "A \vee1, gude\vife, then the less I 
lee." 'Ve have found it a. very amusing task collect- 
ing together a number of these phrases, and forming 
them into a connected epistolary composition. 'Ve 
may in1agine the sort of puzzle it would be to a 
young person of the present day-one of \vhat we 
may call the ne\v school. "r e \yill suppose an English 
young lady, or an English educated young lady, lately 
married, receiving such a letter as the follo\ving from 
the Scottish aunt of her husband. 'Ve may suppose 
it to be written by a very old lady, \vho, for the last 
fifty years has not moved fronl home, and has 
changed nothing of her early days. I can safely 
affirm that every \vord of it I have either seen ,vritten 
in a letter, or have heard in ordinary conversation :- 


"filontrose, 1858.* 
"l\Iy DEA.R NIECE-I am rèal glad to find my nevy 
has made so good a choice as to have secured you for 
his \vife; and I am sure this step \vill add n1uch to 
his comfort, and we behove to rejoice at it. He \vil1 
nOlv]ool{ forward to his evening at home, and you 
fr The Scotticisms are printed in italics. 



208 


IlEJI[.J.VISCEh"'CER OF 


,,,ill be happy ,vhen you find you never want him 
I t ,viII be a great pleasure ,vhen you hear him in the 
t1 4 ance, and ,vipe his feet upon the bass. But Willy 
is not strong, and you must look ,veIl after him. I 
hope you do not let him sn1tJf so much as he did. 
He had a sister, poor thing, v;ho died early. She 
,vas relnal'kably cleve, and well read, and most 
intelligent, but ,vas always uncommonly silly. * In 
the autumn of '40 she had a sai1 4 host, and ,vas aye 
speaking through a cold, and at dinner never did more 
than to s'up a few family broth. I am afraid she did 
not change her feet ,vhen she came in from the wet 
one evening. I never let on that I observed anything 
to be ,vrong; but I renlenlber asking her to conle 
and sit upon the fire. But she ,vent out, and did not 
lake the door with her. She lingered till next 
spring, \vhen she had a great income, t and her 
parents were then too poor to take her south, and 
she died. I hope you ,vill like the lassie Eppie we 
have sent you. She is a discreet girl, and comes of a 
decent family. She has a sister ma1"ried upon a 
Seceding minister at Kirkcaldy. But I hear he 
expects to be l1 4 ansported soon. She ,vas brought up 
in one of the hospitals here. Her father had been a 
souter and a pawky chiel enough, but ,vas doited for 
many years, and her Inother ,vas sai1 4 doltled. We 
have been greatly interested in the hospital ,vhere 
Eppie was educate, and intended getting up a bazaar 
for it, and ,vould have asked you to help us, as \ve ,vere 
most anxious to raise some additional funds, \v hen 
one of the BaiIies died and left it fe.uing-stances to 
the amount of 5000 pounds, which ,vas really a great 
mortification. I am not a good hand of w1 4 ite, and 
therefore shall stop. I am very tired, and have been 
* Delicate in health. t AilD1ent
 



SCOTTI
\';l1 LI1?E cC' OH.ARACTHlt. 209 


gantin'* for this half-hour, and even in correspondence 
gantin' may be smittin'. t The kitclwn 
 is just coming 
in, and I feel a smell of tea, so when I get my four 
hours, that '\yill refresh me and set me up again.-I 
am, your affectionate aunt, ISABEL DING'V ALL." 


This letter, then, we suppose ,vritten by a very old 
Forfarshire lady to her niece in England, and perhaps 
the young lady who received it might answer it in a 
style as strange to her aunt as her aunt's is to her, 
especially if she belonged to that lively class of our 
young female friends who indulge a little in phrase- 
ology which they have imbibed from their brothers, 
or male cousins, '\vho have, perhaps for their amuse- 
ment, encouraged them in its use. The ans\ver, then, 
might be something like this; and without meaning 
to be severe or satirical upon our young lady friends, 
I may truly say that, though I never heard from one 
young lady all these fast terms, I have heard the 
most of them separately from many :- 


"l\ly DEAR AUNTy-:r.rany thanks for your kind 
letter and its enclosure. From my not knowing 
Scotch, I am not quite up to the n1ar}{, and some of 
the expressions I don't twig at all. 'Villie is absent 
for a few days, but '\vhen he returns home he will 
explain it; he is quite awake on all such things. I 
an1 glad you are pleased that "Tillie and I are now 
spliced. I am well aware that you will hear me 
spoken of in some quarters as a fast young lady. A 
nlan here had the impudence to say that '\vhen he 
visited my husband's friends he would tell them so. 
I quietly and civilly replied, "You be blo"\ved!" So 
don't believe hinl. \Ve get on famously at present. 
it Yawning. t Catching. : 'l'ea.urn. 




]O 


REjII.J.VL'JUENOES OF 


'Villie comes home from the office every afternoon at 
five. We generally take a ,valk before dinner, and 
read and ,york if we don't go out; and I assure you 
we are very jolly. 'Ve don't kno,v many people here 
yet. It is rather a su;ell neighbourhood; and if we 
can't get in with the nobs, depend upon it we will 
never take up ,vith any society that is decidedly 
snobby. I daresay the girl you are sending will be 
very useful to us; our present one is an a,vful slow 
coach. In fact, the sending her to us was a regular do. 
But ,ve hope some day to sport b'ldtons. My father 
and mother paid us a visit last week. The governor 
is well, and, notwithstanding years and infirmities, 
comes out quite a jolly old cove. He is, indeed, if you 
will pardon the partiality of a daughter, a regular 

'rick. He says he ,vill help us if ,ve can't get on, 
and I make no doubt will in due time fo'rk O'ltt the tin. 
I am busy working a cap for you, dear aunty; it is 
from a pretty German pattern, and I think when 
finished ,vilI be quite a stunnm.. There is a shop in 
Regent Street ,vhere I hire patterns, and can get six 
of them for five bob. I then return them without 
buying them, which I think a capital dodge. I hope 
you will sl)ort it for my sake at your first tea and 
tu'rn O'ltt. 
"I have nothing more to say particular, but am 
always 


" Your affectionate niece; 
"ELIZA DING'V ALL." 


"P.S.-I am trying to break Willie off his horrid 
habit of taking snuff. I had rather see him take his 
cigar 'v hen ,ve are ,valking. You ,viII be told, I 
daresay, that I sometimes take a weed myself. It is 
not true, dear aunty." 



SCOTTIS1I LIÞ'l
' & CHAltACTER. 211 


Before leaving the question of change in Scottish 
expressions, it may be proper to add a few ,vords on 
the subject of Scottish dialects-i.e., on the differences 
which exist in different counties or localities in the 
Scottish tongue itself. These differences used to be 
as marked as different languages; of course they still 
exist amongst the peasantry as before. The change 
consists in their gradual vanishing from the conversa- 
tion of the educated and refined. The dialects ,vith 
,vhich I am most conversant are the two which present 
the greatest contrast, viz. the Angus and the Aberdeen, 
or the slo\v and broad Scotch-the quick and sharp 
Scotch. "Thilst the one talks of " Buuts and shoon," 
the other calls the same articles "beets and sheen." 
"Tith the Aberdonian "what" is al,vays" fat" OJ 
" fatten j" " music" is meesic j" "brutes" are" breets ;'It 
,. 'Vhat are ye duin'1" of southern Scotch, in Aberdeen 
,vould be "Fat are ye deein' 
" Fergusson, nearly a 
century ago, noted this peculiarity of dialect in his 
poem of The Leith Races :- 


" The Buchan bodies through the heach, 
Their bunch of Findranls cry; 
And skirl out bauld in N orland speech, 
Gude speldans fa will buy! " 


"Findon," or "Finnan haddies," are split, smoked, 
and partially dried haddocks. Fergusson, in using 
the ,vord "Findra.ms," which is not found in our 
glossaries, has been thought to be in error, but his 
accuracy has been verified singularly enough, within 
the last fe,\"" days, by a ,vorthy octogenarian N e\vhaven 
fisherman, bearing the characteristic name of Flucker, 
'v ho remarked "that it ,vas a ,,,,ord commonly used 
in his youth; and, above all," he added, "when L
ith 
l
aces ,vere held on the sands, he was like to be deevcd 



212 


REJl[JlISCENCES 0]1' 


wi' the lang-tongued hizzies skirling out, 'Aell a Fin- 
dram Speld'J"ains,' and they jist ca' ed it that to get a 
better grip o't ,vi' their tongues." 
In Gallo,vay, in 1684, Symson, after,vards an ousted 
Episcopalian minister (of Kirkinner), notes some 
peculiarities in the speech of the people in that district. 
"Sonle of the countrey people, especialJy those of the 
elder sort, do very often OJuit the letter 'h' after 't ' 
as ting for thing; tree for three; tatch for thatch; 
wit for with; fait for faith; mout for mouth, etc.; 
and also, contrary to some north countrey people, they 
oftentimes pronounce 'w' for 'v,' as ser\vant for 
servant; and so they call the months of February, 
1Ylarch, and April, the wa1 g e quarter, from ve1 9 .* 
Hence their common proverb, speaking of the storms 
in February, 'winte1 9 neveT comes till 'ware comes.'" 
These peculiarities of language have almost disappeared 
-the immense influx of Irish emigrants during late 
years has exercised a perceptible influence over the 
dialect of 'Vigtonshire. 
When a southerner mentioned the death of a friend 
to a lady of the granite city, she asked, "Fat dee'd 
he 0' 
" which being utterly incomprehensible to the 
person asked, another Aberdonian lady kindly ex- 
plained the question, and put it into language which 
she supposed co
tld not be mistaken, as thus, "Fat did 
he dee 0' 
" If there ""as this difference between the 
l\.berdeen and the Forfar dialect, ho\v much greater 
IllUSt be that difference when contrasted with the 
ore 1 9 otundo language of an English southern dignitary. 
Such a one being present at a school examination in 
.A..berdeen \vished to put some questions on Scripture 
hi1tory hinlself, and asked an intelligent boy, "vVhat 
* Ver, the spring months.-e.g. 
" This was in 'l'er quhen wynter tide "-Barbour. 



SCOT fISH L1J?E J; CH,ABACTE1::'. 213 
\vas the ultimate fate of Pharaoh 1" This the boy 
not understanding, the master put the same question 
Aberdonicé, "J emmy, fat was the hinner end 0' 
Pharaoh 
" ,vhich called forth the ready reply, " He 
,vas drouned i' the Red Sea." A Forfarshire parent, 
dissatisfied ,vith his son's English pronunciation, 
remonstrated \vith him, "\Vhat for diy' ye say u;hy ? 
why canna ye say 'what for' 1 " 
The po\ver of Scottish phraseology, or rather of 
Scottish lang1KLge, could not be better displayed than 
in the follo\ving A berdonian description of London 
theatricals :-1\11'. Taylor, at one time ,veIl kno,yn in 
London as having the management of the opera-house, 
had his father up from Aberùeen to visit him and see 
the ,vonders of the capital. \Y'hen the old man re- 
turned home, his friends, anxious to kno,v the impres- 
sions produced on his mind by scenes and characters 
so different from what he had been accustomed to at 
h orne, inquired 'v hat sort of business his son carried 
on 1 "Ou," said he (in reference to the operatic 
singers and the corps de ballet), "he just kerps a 
curn:tf: 0' quainies t and a 'v he en ,viddyfous,:t: and gars 
them fissle,
 and loup, and mak nlurgeons,1I to please 
the great fo,vk." 
Another ludicrous interrogatory occurred regarding 
the death of a 1\11'. Thomas Thomson. It appeared 
there were two cousins of this name, both corpulent 
men. "7hen it was announced that Mr. Thomas 
Thomson was dead, an Aberdeen friend of the family 
asked, "Fatten Thamas Thamson 1 " He was in- 
formed that it was a fat Thomas Thomson, upon 
,vhich the Aberdeen query naturally arose, " Ay, but 
fatten fat Thamas Thamson 1 " Another illustration 


* A number. t Young girls. 

 
Iake whistling noises. 


: Gallows birùs. 
II Distorted gestures. 


x 



214 


REJ/INISOEÞlOES OF 


of the Aberdeen dialect is thus given :- The Pope 0' 
Rome requires a bun to do his wark, but the Emperor 
0' France made a coo dee't a' "-a co,v do it all-a 
pun on coup d' état. A young lady from Aberdeen 
had been on a visit to Montrose, and ,vas disappointed 
at finding there a great lack of beaux, and balls, and 
concerts. This lack ,vas not made up to her by the 
invitations ,vhich she had received to dinner parties. 
And she thus expressed her feelings on the su hj ect 
in her native dialect, when asked how she liked 
Montrose: "Indeed there's neither n1en nor meesic, 
and fat care I for meat
" There is no male society 
and no concerts, and ,vhat do I care for dinners 
 
The dialect and the local feelings of Aberdeen ,vere 
said to have produced some amusement in London, 
as displayed by the lady of the Provost of Aberdeen 
\vhen accompanying her husband going up officially 
to the capital. Some persons to ,vhom she had been 
introduced recommended her going to the opera as 
one of the sigbts worthy the attention of a stranger. 
The good lady, full of the greatness of her situation 
as ,vue of the provost, and kno,\\ring the sensation her 
appearance in pu blic occasioned when in her o,vn 
city, and supposing that a little excitement ,vould 
accompany her ,vith the London public, rather declined, 
under the modest plea, "Fat for should I gang to the 
opera, just to creat a confeesion 
 " An aunt of Inine, 
who knew Aberdeen well, used to tell a traditionary 
story of t,vo Aberdonian ladies, 'v ho by their insinua- 
tions 3gainst each other, finely illustrated the force 
of the dialect then in comlnon use. They had both 
of them been very attentive to a sick lady in declin- 
ing health, and on her death each had felt a distrust 
of the perfect disinterestedness of the other's attention 
This created more than a coolness bct,veen them, and 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 OHAR.AOTER. 215 


the bad feeling came out on their passing in the street. 
The one insinuated her suspicions of unfair dealing 
\vith the property of the deceased by ejaculating, as 
the other passed her, "Henny pig. and green tea," to 
,vhich the other retorted, in the same spirit, "Silk 
coat and negligee." t Aberdonian pronunciation pro- 
duced on one occasion a curious equivoque between 
the minister and a mother of a family \vith \vhom he 
was conversing in a pastoral way. The minister l1ad 
said, "'V eel, l\Iargaret, I hope you're thoroughly 
ashamed of your sins." No\v, in Aberdeenshire sons 
are pronounced sins; accordingly, to the minister's 
surprise, Margaret burst forth, " Ashamed 0' ma sins ! 
na, na, I'm proud 0" ma sins. Indeed, gin it werena 
for thae cutties 0' dauchters, I should be owe1. proud 
0' m a sins." 
.A.ny of my readers who are not much conversant 
with Aberdeen dialect \vill find the following a good 
specimen :-A lady \vho resided in Aberdeen, being 
on a visit to some friends in the country, joined an 
excursion on horseback. Not being much of an 
efJ.uestrian, she ,vas mounted upon a Highland pony 
as being the canniest baste. He, however, had a trick 
of standing still in crossing a stream. A burn had 
to be crossed-the rest of the party passed on, \vhile 
,. Paddy" remained, pretending to drink. Miss More, 
in great desperation, called out to one of her friends 
-" Bell, 'oman, turn back an gie me your bit fuppie, 
for the breet's stannin' i' the peel wi' ma." 
A rich specimen of Aberdeen dialect, under peculiar 
circumstances, was supplied by an Aberdonian lady 
who had risen in the world from selling fruit at a stall 
to be the wife of the Lord Provost. Driving along 
in her 0\"'11 carriage, she ord\Jreù it to stop, and called 
· Honey jar. t  kind of loose gown formerly worn. 



216 


REJfI...VISOENOES OF 


to her a poor ,voman ,vhom she saw following her old 
occupation. After sonle colloquy, she dismissed her 
very coolly, remarking, "'Deed, freet's dear sin' I 
sauid freet in streets 0' Aberdeen." This anecdote 
of reference to a good lady's nlore humble occupation 
than riding in her carriage may introduce a somewhat 
analogous anecdote, in ,vhich a more distinguished 
personage than the wife of the Provost of Aberdeen 
takes a prominent part. The present Archbishop of 
Canterbury tells the story himself, "\vith that admixture 
of humour and of true dignity by which his Grace's 
manner is so happily distinguished. The Archbishop's 
father in early life lived much at Dollar, where, I 
believe, he had some legal and official appointment. 
Ilis sons, the Archbishop and his brother, attended 
the granlmar school, rather celebrated in the coun- 
try; they ran about and played like other lads, and 
"\vere known as schoolboys to the peasantry. In 
after days, ,vhen the Archbishop had arrived at his 
present place of dignity as Primate of all England, 
he ,vas attending a great confirmation service at 
Croydon-the church,vardens, clergy, mayors, etc., 
of the place in attendance upon the Archbishop, and 
a great congregation of spectators. On going up the 
centre of the church, a Dollar man, ,vho had got into 
the cro,vd in a side aisle, said, loud enough for the 
Archbishop to hear, "There wasna muckle 0' this at 
Dollar, my Lord." 
I have not had leisure to pursue, as I had intended, 
a further consideration of SCOTTISH DIALECT, and their 
differences from 
ach other in the north, south, east, 
and. west of Scotland. I merely remark now, that 
the dialect of one district is considered quite barbar- 
ous, and laughed at by the inhabitants of another 
district where a different form of lal1guage is a.doptcd. 



SCOTT1SH LIFE d,. CHARAVTER. 21
 


I have spoken of the essential difference between 
Aberdeen and Southern Scotch. An Eng1ish gentle.. 
man had been visiting the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, 
and accompanied him to Aberdeen. His lordship of 
Edinburgh introduced his English friend to the Provost 
of Aberdeen, and they both attended a great dinner 
given by the latter. After grace had been said, the 
Provost kind]y and hospitably addressed the company, 
Aberdonice-"No,v, gentlemen, fah tee, fah tee." The 
Englishman whispered to his friend, and asked ,vhat 
,vas meant by "fah tee, fah tee;" to which his 
lordship replied-" Rout, he canna speak; he means 
fau too, fau too." Thus one Scotticism was held in 
terror by those who used a different Scotticism; as 
at Inverary, the ,vife of the chief ,vriter of the place, 
seeking to secure her guest from the taint of inferior 
society, intimated to him, but some,vhat confidentially, 
that Mrs. 'v. (the rival ,,'"riter's ,vife) ,vas quite a 
vulgar body, so much so as to ask anyone leaving 
the room to " snib the door," instead of bidding them, 
as she triumphantly observed, "sneck the door." 
Now, to every one who follows these anecdotes of 
a past time, it must be obvious ho,v much peculiarities 
of Scottish ""it and humour depend upon the language 
in which they are clothed. As I have before re- 
marked, much of the point depends upon the broad 
Scotch with "Thich they are accompanied. As a type 
and representative of that phraseology, ,,"e would 
specially recommend a study of our Scottish proverbs. 
]n fact, in Scottish proverbs ,vill be found an epitome 
of the Scottish phraseology, ,vhich is peculiar and 
characteristic. I think it quite clear that there are 
proverbs exclusively Scottish, and as ,ve find embodied 
in them traits of Scottish character, and many 
}3pcu1iar forms of Scottish thought and Scottish 



218 


RE}.[I.:.VISCENOES OF 


language
 sayings of this kind, once so familiar, 
should have a place in our Scottish Reminiscences. 
Proverbs are literally, in many instances, becoming 
'reminiscences. They now seem to belong to that older 
generation whom we recollect, and who used them in 
conversation freely and constantly. To strengthen 
an argument or illustrate a remark by a proverb was 
then a common practice in conversation. Their use, 
however, is now considered vulgar, and their formal 
application is almost prohibited by the rules of polite 
society. Lord Chesterfield denounced the practice of 
quoting proverbs as a palpable violation of all polite 
refinement in conversation. Notwithstanding all this, 
we acknowledge having much pleasure in recalling 
our national proverbial expressions. They are full of 
character, and we find aIIlongst them important truths, 
expressed forcibly, ,visely, and gracefully. The ex- 
pression of Bacon has often been quoted-" The 
genius, wit, and wisdom of a nation, are discovered 
by their proverbs." 
All nations have their proverbs, and a vast number 
of books have been written on the subject. We find, 
accordingly, that collections have been made of 
proverbs considered as belonging peculiarly to 
Scotland. The collections to ,yhich I have had 
access are the following :- 
1. The fifth edition, by Balfour, of "Ray's Complete 
Collection of English Proverbs," in which is a 
separate collection of those which are considered 
Scottish Proverbs-1813. Ray professes to have 
taken these from Fergusson's work mentioned below. 
2. A Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs, 
explained and made intelligible to the English reader, 
by James Kelly, M.A., published in London 1721. 
3. Scottish Proverbs gathered together by David 



SCOTTISH LlJf'E 
 C}[ARACTER. 219 


Fergusson, sometime minister at Dunfermline, and 
put, ord-ine alphabetico \vhen be departed this life anno 
1598. Edinburgh, 1641. 
4. A collection of Scots Proverbs, dedicated to the 
Tenantry of Scotland, by Allan Ramsay. This 
collection is found in the edition of his Poetical \V orks, 
3 vols. post 8vo, Edin. 1818, but is not in the hand- 
some edition of 1800. London, 2 vols. 8vo. 
5. Scottish Proverbs, collected and arranged by 
Andre,v Henderson, with an introductory Essay by 
'V. 
lother,vell. Edin. 1832. 
6. The Proverbial Philosophy of Scotland, an 
address to the School of Arts, by \Villiam Stirling of 
I(eir, l\I.P. Stirling and Edin. 1855. 


The collection of Ray, the great English naturalist, 
is well known. The first t,vo editions, published at 
Cambridge in 1670 and 1678, ,vere by the author; 
subsequent editions ,vere by other editors. 
The ,vork by James Kel1y professes to collect 
Scottish proverbs only. It is a volume of nearly 400 
pages, and contains a short explanation or comment- 
ary attached to each, and often parallel sayings from 
other languages.:I: 1\Ir. Kelly bears ample testimony 
to the extraordinary free use made of proverbs in his 
time by his countrymen and by himself. He says 
that" there were current in society up,vards of 3000 
proverbs, exclusively Scottish." He adds, "The Scots 
are wonderfully given to this way of speaking, and, 
as the consequence of that, abound with proverbs, 
many of which are very expressive, quick, and home 


* Amongst many acts of kinùness and essential assistance 
which I have received and am constantly receiving from Iny 
friend 1\Ir. Hugh James Rollo, I owe my introduction to t]nJl 
intpresting Scottish volume, now. I believe, rather scarce. 



220 


REJIIJYISCENOES OF 


to the purpose; and, indeed, this humour preyails 
universally over the whole nation, especially alnong 
the better sort of the commonalty, none of whom 
,vill discourse with you any considerable time but he 
,vill affirm every assertion and observation "\vith a 
Scottish proverb. To that nation I owe my birth 
and education; and to that manner of speaking I 
,vas used from my infancy, to such a degree that I 
became in some measure remarkable for it." This 
,vas "\vritten in 1 721, and we may see from Mr. l{elly's 
account what a change has taken place in society as 
l'egards this mode of intercourse. Our author states 
that he has "omitted in his collection many popular 
proverbs which are very pat and expressive," and 
adds as his reason, that "since it does not becollle a 
man of manners to use them, it does not become a 
man of my age and profession to write them." 
'Vhat ,vas Mr. Kelly's profession or what his age 
does not appear from any statements in this volume; 
but, judging by many proverbs which he has 'retained, 
those which consideration of years and of profession 
induced him to omit must have been bad indeed, and 
unbecoming for any age or any profession.* The 
third collection by Mr. Fergusson is mentioned by 
Kelly as the only one which had been made before 
his time, and that he had not met with it till he had 
Inade considerable progress in his own collection. 
The book is now extremely rare, and fetches a high 
price. By the great kindness of the learned librarian, 
I have been permitted to see the copy belonging to 
the library of the Writers to the Signet. It is the 
first edition, and very rare. A quaint little thin 
volume, such as deligbts the eyes of true bibliomaniacs, 
* Kelly's book is constantly quoted by Jamieson, and iS 4 
in,leed, an excellent work for the study of good old Scotch. 



SCOTTISH LIFE & CHARAOTER. 

1 


unpaged, and published at Edinburgh 1641-although 
on the title-page the proverbs are said to have been 
collected at 
Ir. Fergusson's death, 1598.* There is 
no preface or notice by the author, but an address 
from the printer, "to the merrie, judicious, and dis- 
creet reader." 
The proverbs, amounting to 945, are given ,vithout 
any comment or explanation. 
Iany of them are of a 
very antique cast of language; indeed some ,vould be 
to most persons quite unintelligible without a lexicon. 
The printer, in his address" to the merrie, judicious, 
and discreet reader," refers in the follo,ving quaint 
expressions to the author :-" Therefore manie in this 
realme that hath hard of David Fergusson, sometime 
minister at Dunfenl1line, and of his quick ans,vers and 
speeches, both to great persons and others inferiours, 
and hath hard of his proverbs ,vhich hee gathered to- 
gether in his time, and now we put downe according 
to the order of the alphabet; and manie, of all ranks 
of persons, being verie desirous to have the said pro- 
verbs, I have tl)ought good to put them to the presse 
for thy better satisfaction. . . . I kno,v that there 
Inay be some that ,viII say and maryell that a minister 
should have taken pains to gather such proverbs to- 
gether; but they that kne,v his fornle of po,yerfull 
preaching the ,vord, and his ordinar talking, ever 
almost using proverbiall speeches, ,viII not finde fault 
,vith this that he hath done. And ,vhereas there are 
some old Scottish ,vords not in use now, bear with 
that, because if ye alter those words, the proverb ,vill 
have no grace; and so, recommending these proverbs 
to thy good use, I bid thee fare,vell. JJ 
I HOW subjoin a few of Fergusson's Proverbs, ver- 
* This probably throws back the collection to about the 
middle of the century. 



222 


REJlINISCENCES OF 


batim J which are of a more obsolete character, find 
have appended explanations, of the correctness ofwhicb, 
however, I am not quite confident:- 
A year a nUl"ish, l seven yea't a da. i Refers, I pre- 
sume, to fulfilling the maternal office. 
Anes payit neve'r c1"avit. Debts once paid give no 
more trouble. 
All walda have all, all wald jorgie. 4 Those ,vho 
exact much should be ready to concede. 
A gangang 5 fit 8 is aye 7 yettin (gin a it we're but a 
thorn), or, as it sometimes runs, gin it We1"e but a 
broken tae, i.e. toe. A man of industry will certainly 
get a living; though the proverb is often applied to 
those who went abroad and got a n1Ìschief ,vhen they 
might safely have stayed at home-(Kelly). 
All m"akes,8 all bears. lo Spoken against bullies who 
kept a great hectoring, and yet, 'v hen put to it. 
tamely pocket an affront-(Kelly). 
Bou?d ll not wi' bawtie 12 (lest he bite you). Do no
 
jest too familiarly with your superiors (Kelly), or 
,vith dangerous characters. 
Bread's house skailed neve'J.. 13 While people have 
bread they need not give up housekeeping. Spoken 
when one has bread and wishes something better--- 
(I{elly). 
Crabbit It u.as and cause had. Spoken ironically of 
persons put out of temper without adequate cause. 
Dame, deem 11 warily, ye (watna 18 wha wytes 17 yersell). 


1 Nurse. 
, Daw, a slut. 
3 'V ould. 
" Forgive. 
IS Going or moving. 
8 Foot. 


7 Always. 
8 If. 
9 Boasters. 
10 TJ sed as cowards (1) 
11 Jest. 
12 A dog's nanle. 
17 Blames. 


13 To skail house, to 
disfurnish. 
H Being angry 01 
cross. 
15 Judge. 
]6 Know not. 




f:COTTISH LIFE C!' CHARACTER. 223 


-Spoken to remind those who pa.ss hard censures 
on others that they may themselves be censured. 
Eiter lang mint l never dint.? Spoken of long and 
painful labour producing little effect. Kelly's reading 
is "Lang mint little dint." Spoken when men 
threaten much and dare not execute-(Kelly). 
Fill fou s and /Laud 4 Iou maks a sta?'k 5 man. In 
Border language a stark man was one who takes and 
keeps boldly. 
He that c?'abbs 8 without ca
tse should mease 1 withoul 
mends.. Spoken to remind those ,vho are angry 
without cause, that they should not be particular in 
requiring apologies from others. 
Be is worth na weill that may not bide na wae. He 
deserves not the sweet that will not taste the sour. 
He does not deserve prosperity ,yho cannot meet 
adversity. 
Ka1ne 9 sindle 10 kame sair. ll Applied to those who 
forbear for ,a "\v hile, but when once roused can act 
with severity. 
Kamesters 12 are aye creeshie. 13 It is usual for men 
to look like their trade. 
Let alane mal(,S mony lU1"den. H \Vant of correction 
makes many a bad boy-(I{elly). 
Jl,Iony tynes 15 the half-ma ' rk 18 wlzinge?,11 (fO?1 the halfe 


1 To aim at. 1 Settle. 12 Wool-combers. 

 A stroke. 8 Amends. IS Greasy. 
g Full. 4 Hold. 9 Comb. 14 'Vorthless fellow. 

 Potent or strong. 10 Seldom. 1:) Loses. 
fì Is angry. 11 Painfully. 16 Sixpenny. 
17 A sort of dagger or hanger which seems to have been used 
both at meals as a knife and in broils- 
" And u:hingers now in frielldsllip bare: 
The social meal to part and share, 
flat! found a bloody sheath. "-Lay of the L(1st 1Ilinstrd. 



224 


REJ.IINISCENOES OF 


pennie tvltang).1 Another version of penny wise and 
pound foolish. 
J,.7ÿa plie 2 is best. 
Reavers 3 Sllould not be rewe1.s. 4 Those ,vho are so 
fond of a thing as to snap at it, should not repent 
when they have got it-(Kelly). 
Sok and seill is best. The interpretation of this 
proverb is not obvious, and later "Triters do not 
appear to have adopted it from Fergusson. It is 
quite clear that sok or sock is the ploughshare. Seil 
is happiness, as in I(elly. "Seil comes not till 
sorro,v be o'er;" and in Aberdeen they say, "Seil 0' 
your face," to express a blessing. My reading is 
"the plough and happiness the best lot." The 
happiest life is the healthy country one. See Robert 
Burns' spirited song with the chorus: 
, , Up wi' my ploughman lad, 
And hey my merry ploug111nan ; 
Of a' the trades that I do ken, 
Commend D1e to the ploughman. " 



\ somewhat different reading of this very obscure 
anù no,v indeed obsolete proverb has been suggested 
by an esteemed and learned friend :-" I should say 
rather it meant that the ploughshare, or country life, 
accompanied with good luck or fortune "Tas best; i.e., 
that industry coupled with good fortune (good seasons 
and the like) was the combination that was most to 
be desired. Sæl, in Anglo-Saxon, as a noun, means 
oppO'J.tunity, and then good luck, happiness, etc. 
'llh,elJ"e's mae" madines 6 n01. makines. 1 Girls are more 
plentiful in the world than hares. 


1 Thong. 
2 No lawsuit. 


3 Robbers. 
4 Rue, to repent. 
7 Hares. 



 l\Iore. 
6 .r.raid'-'Tl9. 



SCOTTISH LIFE æ CH.AR.AC1'El
. 225 


}Te briecl l Of the [JVUk,2 ye ha'Ce not a Thyme:! but ane. 
Applied to persons who tire everybody by constantly 
harping on one subject. 
The collection by .A..llan Ran1say is very good, and 
l)rofesses to correct the errors of former collectors. I 
have no,v before me the first edition, Edinburgh, 1737, 
,vith the appropriate motto on the title-page, "That 
mann be true that a' men say." This edition contains 
proverbs only, the number being 2464. Some pro- 
verbs in this collection I do not find in others, and 
one quality it possesses in a remarkable degree-it is 
very Scotch. The language of the proverbial \yisdom 
has the true Scottish flavour j not only is this the 
case ,vith the proverbs themselves, but the dedication 
to the tenantry of Scotland, prefixed to the collection, 
is \vritten in pure Scottish dialect. From this dedica- 
tion I make an extract, ,vhich falls in ,vith our plan 
of recording Scotch reminiscences, as Allan Ramsay 
there states the great value set upon proverbs in his 
day, and the great importance \vhich he attaches to 
then1 as teachers of moral ,visdom, and as combining 
alllusement ,yith instruction. The prose of Allan 
Ran1say has, too, a spice of his poetry in its composi- 
tion. His dedication is, To the tenantry of Scotland, 
farmprs of the dales, and storemasters of the hills- 
" ,V orthy friends - The follo,ving hoard of ,vise 
sayings and observations of our forefathers, ,vhich 
have been gathering through mony bygane ages, I 
have collected "\vith great care, and restored to their 
proper sense. 
"As naetlúng helps our happiness mail' than to 
have tIle mind made up ,vi' right principles, I desire 
you, for the thriving and pleasure of you and yours, 
to uso your een and lend your lugs to these guid auld 
1 Tak 
 aftor. 2 Cuckoo. 3 
 ate. 



226 


REJII.J.VISGENOES OF 


sa'll)S, that shine wi' wail'd sense, and will as lang as 
the world ,vags. Gar your bairns get them by heart; 
let them have a place an10ng your family-books, and 
may never a window-sole through the country be 
,vithout them. On a spare hour, when the day is 
clear, behind a ruck, or on the green howm, draw the 
treasure frae your poucl1, an' enj oy the pleasant 
companion. Ye happy herds, while your hirdsell are 
feeding on the flo\very braes, you may. eithly make 
yoursells master of the haleware. How usefold' will 
it prove to you (wha hae sae fe\v opportunities of 
common clattering) when ye forgather wi' your 
friends at kirk or market, banquet or bridal! By 
your proficiency you'll be able, in the proverbial way, 
to keep up the saul of a conversation that is baith 
blyth an usefou'." 
Mr. Henderson's ,vork .is a compilation from those 
already mentioned, I t is very copious, and the 
introductory essay contains some excellent remarks 
upon the ,visdom and ,vit of Scottish proverbial 
saYIngs. 
J\ir. Stirling's (now Sir W. Stirling-Maxwell's) 
address, like everything he writes, indicates a minute 
and profound know ledge of his su bj ect, and is full 
of picturesque and just views of human nature. He 
attaches much importance to the teaching conveyed in 
proverbial expressions, and recommends his readers 
even still to collect such proverbial expressions as may 
yet linger in conversation, because, as he observes, " If 
it is not yet registered, it is possible that it might have 
died "Tith the tongue from which you took it, and so 
have been lost for ever." " I believe," he adds, "the 
number of good old saws still floating as waifs 
and strays on the tide of popular talk to be mucb 
greater than might at fir8t appear." 



SOOTTiSH LIFE &. CHARAOTER. 227 


One remark is applicable to aU these collections- 
viz., that out of so large a number there are many of 
them on ,vhich ,ve have little grounds for deciding that 
they are excZ'usively Scottish. In fact, some are mere 
translations of proverbs adopted hy many natious; 
some of universal adoption. Thus ,ve have- 
A burnt bairn fire d?"eads. 
Ae swallow '1nakes nae simmer. 
FaÚlt heart ne'er wan .faÙ" lady 
III 'weeds 'wax 'lceel. 
.Jfony 81nds male a 'Jn1lclcle. 
0' ty;a ills cl
use tl
e least. 
Set a knave to grip a lenare. 
Tu'a wits are better than ane. 
There's nae fuZe lz'/ce an auld .fule. 
Jrc canna mak a sille Int1"se 0' a SOlO'8 lug. 
A e bird i' tlte hand 
8 'worth twa jl eeing. 
}J ony cooles 'Jte' er made gude /cail. 
Of numerous proverbs such as these, some nlay or 
lllay not be original in the Scottish. Sir 'Villianl 
remarks that many of the best and oldest proverbs 
may be common to all people-may have occurred to 
all. In our national collections, therefore, some of 
the proverbs recorded may be simply translations 
into Scotch of ".hat have been long considered 
t.he property of other nations. Still, I hope it is not 
a nlere national partiality to say that many of 
the common proverbs gain much by such translation 
from other tongues. All that I would attempt no,v 
is, to select some of our more popular proverbial 
sayings, \vhich many of us can remember as current 
amongst us, and were much used by the late genera- 
tion in society, and to add a fe,v from the collections 
I have named, ,"9hich bear a very decided Scottish 
5t.
.mp either in turn of thought or in turn of language. 



228 


RE L llINISCE4VCES OF 


I renlember being nIuch struck the first tirne I 
heard the application of that pretty Scottish saying 
regarding a fair bride. I was \valking in :\Iontrosc, a 
day or t\VO before her n1arriage, with a young lady, a 
connection of n1Ïnc, who merited this description, 
\vhen she \vas kindly accosted by an old friend, 
an honest fish-\vife of the to\vn, " 'Veel, l\liss Elizabeth, 
hae ye gotten a' yer claes ready 
"to \vhich the 
young lady nIodestly ans\vered, " Oh, Janet, my claes 
are soon got ready;" and Janet replied, in the old 
Scotch proverb, "Ay, \veel, a bonnie bride's s:tne 
bllskit." 1 In the old collection, an addition less 
sentÏ1nental is made to this proverb, A short horse is 
5ltne 'wispit. 2 
To encourage strenuous exertions to meet difficult 
circlunstances, is ,veIl expressed by Sett'ing a stout 
heart to a stey brae. 
The mode of expressing that the ,vorth of a hand- 
son1e \voman out,,"'eigbs even her beauty, has a very 
Scottish character-She's better than she's bonnie. 
l"he opposite of this ,vas expressed by a Highlander 
of his o\vn wife, \vhen he somewhat un grammatically 
said of her, " She's bonnier than slle's bette'1'." 
The frequent evil to harvest operations from 
autumnal rains and fogs in Scotland is well told in 
the saying, A dry SUmllte1. ne'e1. made a dea1' peck. 
There can be no question as to country in the fol- 
lowing, \v hich seems to express generally that persons 
Jllay have the nanle and appearance of greatness 
\vithout the reality-A' Stuarts a1'e na sibB to the king. 
There is an excellent Scottish version of the 
common proverb, "He that's born to be hanged will 
never be dro,vned."-The wate1' 'will nevef warr: the 
widdie, i.e. never cheat the gallo\vs. This saying re- 
I Attired. 2 Currieù. 3 Related. 40 u trnn. 



saOTTISH LIFE d; CH.ARACTER. 229 


ceived a very naive practical application during t.he 
anxiety and alarIn of a storm. One of the passengers, 
a good simple-nlinded minister, was sharing the alarlll 
that ,vas felt around hÏ1n, until spying one of his 
parishioners, of ",. hose ignominious end he had long 
felt persuaded, he exclaimed to himself, "Oh, we are 
all safe no,v, " and accordingly accosted the poor man 
with strong assurances of the great pleasure he had in 
seeing him on board. 
It's ,ill getting the bJ'eeks aff the Higltlandman is a pro- 
verb that savours very strong of a Lowland Scotch 
origin. Having suffered loss at the hands of their 
neighbours from the hills, this was a mode of express- 
ing the painful truth that there ,vas little hope of 
obtaining redress from those ,vho had no means at 
their disposal. 
Proverbs connected ,vith the bagpipes I set do\vn 
as legitimate Scotch, as thus-Ye are as lang in tuning 
YOllr pipes as anither wad play a spring. .. You are as 
long of setting about a thing as another would be in 
doing it. 
There is a set of Scottish proverbs ,vhich ,ve may 
group together as containing one quality in common, 
and that in reference to the Evil Spirit, and to his 
agency in the ,vorld. This is a reference often, I 
fear, too lightly Inade; but I am not conscious of 
anything deliberately profane or irreverent in the fol- 
lowing :- 
The deil's nae sae ill as he's caa'd. The most of 
people may be found to have SOlne redeeming good 
point: applied in G'lty J.ll anneting by the Deacon to 
Gilbert Glossin, upon his intimating his intention to 
COTI1P. to his shop soon for the purpose of laying in his 
\vinter stock of groceries. 
* Tunt:.- 


r 



230 


REMINISOENCES OF 


To the same effect, It's a sin to lee on tlw deil. Even 
of the worst people, t1.uth at least should be spoken. 
He should hae a lang-shafted spune that sups kail wi' the 
deil. He should be ,veIl guarded and well protected 
that has to do with cunning and unprincipled men. 
Lang ere the deil dee by the dyke-side. Spoken 
when the improbable death of some powerful and ill- 
disposed person is talked of. 
Let ae deil ding anitherf. Spoken when too bad 
persons are at variance over some evil work. 
The deil's bairns hae deil's luck. Spoken enviously 
,vhen ill people prosper. 
The deil's a busy bishop in his ain diocie. Bad men 
are sure to be active in prolnoting their o,vn bad 
ends. A quaint proverb of this class I have been 
told of as coming from the reminiscences of an old 
lady of quality, to recommend a courteous manner to 
everyone: It's aye gude to be ceevil, as the auld wife 
said when she beckit '* to the deevil. 
Raise nae mair deils than ye are able to lay. Provoke 
no strifes which ye may be unable to appease. 
The deU's aye gude to his ain. A malicious proverb, 
spoken as if those whom we disparage were deriving 
their success from bad causes. 
Ye wad do little 101. God an the deevil was dead. A 
sarcastic mode of telling a person that fear, rather 
than love or principle, is the Inotive to his good COll- 
duct. 
In the old collection already referred to is a pro- 
verb which, although somewhat personal, is too good 
to omit. It is doubtful ho,v it took its origin, 
whether as a satire against the decanal order in 
general, or against some obnoxious dean in particular. 
These are the term s of it: The de'll an' the deUli 
· C1Ut
ied. 



SCOTTISH LIFE & CHARAOTER. 281 


begin wi' ae letter. Wlwn the deil has the dean the kirk 
will be the better. 
The deil's gane ower Jock lVabste1. is a saying which 
I have been accustomed to in my part ot. the country 
from early years. It expresses generally misfortune 
or confusion, but I am not quite sure of the exact 
meaning, or who is represented by "Jock vVabster." 
It ,vas a great favourite ,vith Sir \Valter Scott, who 
quotes it twice in Rob Roy. Allan Ran1say introduces 
it in the Gentle Shepherd to express the misery of 
married life when the first dream of love has passed 
away:- 
" The' Dei! gaes ower Jock Wabster,' hame grows hell, 
When Pate misca's ye waur than tongue can tell." 


There are two very pithy Scottish proverbial expres- 
sions for describing the case of young women losing 
their chance of good marriages by setting their aims 
too high. Thus an old lady, speaking of her grand- 
daughter having made what she considered a poor 
match, described her as having "lookit at the 'lnoon, 
and lichtit * in the midden." 
It is recorded again of a celebrated beauty, Becky 
:Vlonteith, that being asked ho,v she had not made a 
good marriage, she replied, " Ye see, I wadna hae the 
walkm.s, and the 'ride'J.s gaed by." 
It's ill to wauken sleeping dogs. It is a bad policy 
to rouse dangerous and Inischievous people, who are 
for the present quiet. 
It is nae maÙ. fe1'Zy t to see it WUlla
/1J greit than to see a 
goose go ba1.efit. A harsh and ungallant reference to 
the facility with \vhich the softer sex can avail them- 

elves of tears to carry a puint. 
A Scots mist will weet an EU;'Ilislunan to the skin. 
* Fallen. 



282 


RE},fINíSOENOES OF 


A proverb, evidently of Caledonian origin, arising from 
the frequent complaints made by English visitors of 
the heavy mists which hang about our hills, and which 
are found to annoy the southern traveller as it were 
downright rain. 
I(cep YOU'I" ain fish-guts to your a'in sea-maws. This 
was a favourite proverb with Sir vValter Scott, ,vhen 
he meant to express the policy of first considering the 
interests that are nearest home. The saying savours 
of the fishing population of the east cost. 
A Yule feast may be done at Pasch. Festivities, 
although usually practised at Christmas, need not, on 
suitable occasions, be confined to any season. 
It's belle?' to sup wi' a cully than want a spune. 
Cutty n1eans anything short, stumpy, and not of full 
growth; frequently applied to a short-handled horn 
spoon. As Meg 1Ierrilies says to tbe be,vildered 
Dominie, " If ye dinlla eat instantly, by the bread and 
salt, I'll put it down your throat wi' the cutty .
punf." 
"Fules .mak feasts and 'wise rncn eat' em, my Lord." 
This was said to a Scottish lloblenlan on his giving 
a great entertainment, and who readily answered, 
" Ay, and Wise 1nen m,ake proverrbs and fools 'repeat 'em." 
A green Yule * and a 'white Pays t male a fat ki1.k- 
ya'rd. A very coarse proverb, but Inay express a 
general truth as regards the effects of season 011 the 
human franJe. Another of a similar character is, An 
rtl'. t 'winter males a saÍ1' 
 winte't. 
Whet will bell the cat? The proverb is used in 
reference to a })roposal for accomplishing a difficult or 
dangerous task, and alludes to the fable of the poor 
mice proposing to put a bell about the cat's neck, that 
they might be apprised of his coming. The historical 
application is ,veIl kno,vn. When the nohles of 
· Christmas. t Pasch 01' Eastcr. =:: Early. 
 Severe. 



SCOTTISH LIFE cf OHARACTER. 233 


Scotland proposed to go in a body to Stirling to take 
Cochrane, the favourite of James the Third, and hang 
him, the Lord Gray asked, "It is ,vell said, but wha 
will bell the cat 'j" The Earl of Angus accepted the 
challenge, and effected the object. To his dying day 
he was called Archibald Bell-the-Cat. 
Ye hae tint tlll tangue 0' the trump. "Trump" is 
a Jew's harp. To lose the tongue of it is to lose 
'\v hat is essential to its sound. 
i.lleat and mass hinde?s nae 'lnan. Needful food, 
and suitable religious exercises, should not be spared 
under greatest haste. 
Ye fand it whar the Highlandman fand tlte tangs (i.e. 
at the fireside). A hit at our mountain neighbours, 
,vho occasionally took from the Lowlands-as having 
found-something that ,\yas never lost. 
His head 'will ne'er 'rh'e (i.e. tear) his fathe?'s bonnet. 
.A, picturesque '\vay of expressing that the son ""ill 
never equal the influence and ability of his sire. 
His batrk is wallr nor his bite. A good-natured 
apology for one ,,"ho is good-hearted and rough in 
speech. 
Do as the cow of FOlia? did, tak a standing drink. 
This proverb relates to an OCCUITence which gave rise 
to a lawsuit and a ,vhimsicallegal decision. A ,yoman 
in Forfar, ,yho ,,-as bre,,"ing, set out her tub of beer 
to cool. A CO,," callIe by and drank it up. The 
o,,-ner of the cow was sued for compensa.tion, but the 
bailies of Forfar, ,vho tried the case, acquitted the 
o,vner of the coW", on the ground that the fare'\vell 
drink, called in the Highlands the dochan dori.s,. or 
stirrup-cup, taken hy the guest standing by the door, 
* The proper orthography of this expression is deoch-an -doruis 
(or dorais). Deoch, a drink; an., of the; doruis or dorais, pos- 
sessÍ're case of dorus or doras a door. 



234 


REJ,IIJ..VI/. CENCES OF 


\yas never charged; arld as the co\v had taken but a 
standing drink outside, it could not, according to the 
Scottish usage, be chargeable. Sir Walter Scott has 
humorously alluded to this circumstance in the notes 
to Waverley, but has not nlentioned it as the subject 
of an old Scotch proverb. 
Bannocks a1"e better no?' nae kind 0' bread. Evi- 
dently Scottish. Better have oatnleal cakes to eat 
than be in want of ,vheaten loaves. 
Folly is a bonny dog. Meaning, I suppose, that 
many are imposed upon by the false appearances and 
attractions of vicious pleasures. 
TIle e'ening b1'ings a' /tame is an interesting saying, 
meaning, that the evening of life, or the approach of 
death, softens many of our political and religious 
differences. I do not find this proverb in the older 
collections, but Sir William l\faxwell justly caBs it 
"a beautiful proverb, which, lending itself to various 
uses, may be taken as an expression of faith in the 
gradual gro,vth and spread of large-hearted Christian 
charity, the noblest result of our happy freedom of 
thought and discussion." The literal idea of the 
" e' ening bringing a' hame," has a high and illustrious 
antiquity, as in the fragment of Sappho, t E(j'iZ"Ege, '7rtl.vra 

Ègf/,-q;ÈgEI' õïv (or oTvolJ) 
ègEI; aTya, 
sgf/' /l/l;<règl 1':aìòa 
-,vhich is thus paraphrased by Lord Byron in Don 
Juan, iii. 107:- 


" 0 Hesperus, thou bringest all good things- 
Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer; 
To the young birds the parent's brooding wings, 
The welcome stall to the 0' erlaboured steer, etc. 
Thou bring'st the chi1d, too, to the mother's breast." 


A simila.r graceful and moral saying inculcates an 
ackno\vledgment of gratitude for the past favours 



saOTTL
H LIFE d: OHARACTER. 235 


which we have enjoyed when we come to the close of 
the day or the close of life- 
R1tse *" the fair day at e'en. 
But a very learned and esteemed friend has suggested 
another reading of this proverb, in accordance ,vith 
the celebrated saying of Solon (Arist. Eth. N. I. 10): 
Ka7'à 
óÀCIJ
a XCfWJI 'rfÀO; ógãv-Do not praise the fair- 
ness of the day till evening; do not call the life happy 
till you have seen the close; or, in other matters, do 
not boast that all is well till you have conducted your 
undertaking to a prosperous end. 
Let him tak a spring on his ain fiddle. Spoken of 
a, foolish and unreasonable person; as if to say, ,,'\T e 
will for the present allow him to have his o,vn way." 
Bailie Nicol Jarvie quotes the proverb with great 
bitterness, when he warns his opponent that h is time 
for triumph ,vill come ere long,-" A,veel, aweel, sir, 
you're welcome to a tune on your ain fiddle; but see if 
I dinna gar ye dance till't afore it's dune." 
The kirk is meikle, but Jle 'Tnay say rnass in ae end 0' t ; 
or, as I have received it in another form, "If ,ve 
canna preach in the kirk, ,ve can sing mass in the 
quire." This intimates, where something is alleged 
to be too much, that you need take no more than 
\vhat you have need for. I heard the proverb used 
in this sense by Sir Walter Scott at his o,vn table. 
His son had complained of some quaighs ,vhich Sir 
\Valter had produced for a dram after dinner, that 
they 'v ere too large. His answer ,vas, " "... ell, 'Valter, 
as my good mother used to say, if the kirk is ower 
big, just sing mass in the quire." Here is another 
reference to kirk and quire-He 1'ivest the kirk to 
theikt the qui1'C. Spoken of unprofitable persons, 
· Prnit:;p.-. T Tp:}.r8. :- Thatch. 



236 


REJJfINISGENOES OF 


\vho in the English proverb, " rob Peter to pay 
Paul. " 
The king's e1.1.and may come the cadge't's gate '!let. A 
great man may need the service of a very mean one. 
The maut is abl)on the meal. His liquor has done 
more for him than his meat. The man is drunk. 
},{ ak a ki1.k and a mill 0' t. Turn a thing to any 
purpose you like; or rather, spoken sarcastically, 
Take it, and make the best of it. 
Like a sow playing on a t1.ump. No image could be 
well more incongruous than a pig performing on a 
Jew's harp. 
Mair by luck than gude guiding. His success is due 
to his fortunate circumstances, rather than to his own 
discretion. 
He's not a man to 'ride the water wi'. A common 
Scottish saying to express you cannot trust such an 
one in trying times. May have arisen from the dis- 
tricts where fords abounded, and the crossing them 
was dangerous. 
He 'fides on the 1'iggin 0' the kirk. The rigging 
being the top of the roof, the proverb used to be 
applied to those who carried their zeal for church 
matters to the extreme point. 
Leal hea1.t neve? lee'd, well expresses that an honest 
loyal disposition will scorn, under all circumstances, 
to tell a falsehood. 
A common Scottish proverb, Let that flee stick to lite 
wa', has an obvious meaning,-" Say nothing more on 
that subject." But the derivation is not obvious.* 


* It l1as been suggested, and with lnuch reason, that the 
reference is to a fly sticking on a wet or a newly !)ailltetl wan; 
this is corroborated by the addition in Rob Roy, "When thp 
dirt's drJ", it will rub out," which seems to point out the Jnean- 
ing and derivation of the provf1rb. 



SCOTTISH LIFE d: CHARACTEil. 237 


In like manner, the meaning of He that will to CUp01 
mdun to Cupar, is clearly that if a man is obstinatf\ 
and bent upon his o""n dangerous course, l1e must 
take it. But "Thy Cupar 
 and ,vhether is it the 
Cupar of Angus or the Cupar of Fife 
 
Kindness m'eeps whm.e it canna gang prettily expresses 
that ,vhere love can do little, it \vill do that little, 
though it cannot do more. 
In my part of the country a ridiculous addition 
used to be made to the common Scottish saying. 
l.1{ony a thing's made for the pennie, i.e. Ivlany contriv- 
ances are thought of to get money. The addition is. 
" As the old woman said "hen she sa,v a black man." 
taking it for granted that he was an ingenious and 
curious piece of mechanism made for profit. 
Bluid is tl
icke1" titan watm" is a proverb which has 
a marked Scottish aspect, as meant to vindicate those 
family predilections to 'v hich, as a nation, we are 
supposed to be ratner strongly inclined. 
There's aye wale?" whe1"e tlte sti1'7âe* d1"OUns. 'Vhere cer- 
tain effects are produced, there must be some causes 
at work-a proverb used to sho\y that a universal 
popular suspicion as to an obvious effect must be laid 
in truth. 
Better a finger aff than aye waggin'. This proverb 
I remember as a great favourite ,vith n1any Scotch 
people. Better experience the ,yorst, than have an 
evil al,vays pending. 
Cadgers a1"e aye c'ratking 0' c1"ook saddles+ has a very 
Scottish a
pect, and signifies that professional men 
are very apt to talk too nluch of their profession. 
The follo,ving is purely Scotch, for in no count ry 
but Scotland are singed sheep heads to be met with ; 
He's like a slleep head in a pai'r 0' tangs. 
· A youna hullor.'k. + Saddie for E;upporting !)a.D111elS- 




38 


RE].[INISOENCES OF 


A s sure's deeth. A common Scottish proverbial 
expression to signify either the truth or certainty of 
a fact, or to pledge the speaker to a perfornlance of 
his promise. In the latter sense an amusing illustra- 
tion of faith in the superior obligation of this 
asseveration to any other, is recorded in the Eglinton 
Papc'ts.* The Earl one day found a boy climbing up 
a tree, and called him to come down. The boy 
declined, because, he said, the Earl ,vouid thrash him. 
His Lordship pledged his honour that he would not 
do so. The boy replied, "I dinna ken onything 
about your honour, but if you say as sure's deeth I'll 
come doun." 
Proverbs are sometimes local in their application. 
The men 0' the Mea1.ns canna do mair than they may. 
Even the men of Kincardineshire can only do their 
utmost-a proverb intended to be highly compli- 
mentary to the powers of the men of that county. 
rll mak Cathkin's covenant wi' you, Let abee fo'}" let 
abee. This is a local saying quoted often in Hamilton. 
The laird of that property had - very unlike the 
excellent family ,vho have now possessed it for more 
than a century - been addicted to intemperance. 
One of his neighbours, in order to frighten him on his 
,vay home from his evening potations, disguised him- 
self, on a very wet night, and, personating the devil, 
claimed a title to carry him off as his rightful 
property. Contrary to all expectation, ho\vever, the 
laird showed fight, and ,vas about to commence the 
onslaught, ,vhen a parley was proposed, and the issu e 
,vas, " Cathkin's covenant, Let abee for let abee." 
When the castle of Stilrling gets a hat, tl
e Ca'rse of 
C01.ntown pays fOIl' that. This is a local proverbial 
saying; the meaning is, that when the clouds descend 
· ,r 01. Í. p. 1
4. 



SCOTTISH LIFE J: CHARACTER. 
39 


so 10,," as to envelope Stirling Castle, a deluge of rain 
Inay be expected in the adjacent country. 
I \vill conclude this notice of our proverbial reminis- 
cences, by adding a cluster of Scottish proverbs. 
selected from an excellent' article on the general 
subject in the l.Vorth British Review of February 1858. 
The revie\ver designates these as "broader in their 
mirth, and more caustic in their tone," than the 
moral proverbial expressions of the Spanish and 
Italian :- 


Ablate 1 cat 1nalcs a p,roud mouse. 
Better a too1n 2 ltouse than an ill tenant. 
Joule 3 and let theja'w 4. gang by. 
lJony ane speirs the ..qate 5 he kens fu' weel. 
The tod 6 ne'er t\'fJed better than when he gMd hi, aÚl 
errand. 
A wilfu' man s/
ould be unco wûe. 
He that lias a meilde nose thinlc8 illca ane .pealc& o't. 
He that teaches hi1nsell has a .f?,de 101' his rnaister. 
It'8 an ill cause tltat the lau'1./e1" thinks 8ha1ne 0'. 
L'ippen 7 to me, but look to '!J
ur8ell. 
Ma1'r wltistle than '/.l'oo, a
 the 80ule?' said lI.:llen shearin.1} 
the 800. 
Jre gae far about seekiug the neare..il. 
Ye'll no sell '!Jour hen on a rainy day. 
Ye'll mend 'wh,en ye grow better. 
Ye're nae cln:cken fo'/' a' your clteepin'.8 


I have now adduced quite sufficient specimens to 
convince those who may not have given attention to 
the subject, how much of wisdom, knowledge of life, 
and good feeling, are contained in these aphorisms 
\",hich compose the mass of our Scottish proverbial 
1 Shy. 3 Stoop down 5 The way. 
t Empty. C Wave. 6 Fox. 
r Trnst w. I Chirping. 



240 


RE1tfINI8CENOES OP 


sayings. No doubt, to many of my younger rf1aders 
proverbs are little kno,vn, anù to all they are becom- 
ing more and morr matters of reminiscence. I am 
quite convinced that much of the old quaint and 
characteristic Scottish talk which \ve are now en- 
deavouring to recall ùrpended on a happy use of thos.. 
abstracts of moral sentiment. And this feeling ,viII 
be confirmed when we call to mind hov{ often those 
of the old Scottish school of character, whose conversa- 
tion we have ourselves admired, had most largely 
availed themselves of the nse of its prove'"fbial 
philosophy. 
I have already spoken of (p. 16) a Scottish 
peculiarity-viz. that of naming individuals from 
lands which have been possessed long by the fanlily, 
or frf\quently from the landed estates which they 
acquire. The use of this mode of discriminating 
individuals in the Highland districts i8 Rufnciently 
ohvious. Where the inhabitants of a whole country- 
side are Camp hells, or :Frasers, or Gordons, nothing 
could be more convenient than addressing the in(1i- 
viduals of each clan by the name of his estate. 
lndred, some years ago, any other designation, as 
Mr. Canlpbell, Mr. Fraser, would have heen resented 
as an indignity. Their consequence sprang frOIn their 
possession.. But all this is fast wraring awa.y. 
The estates of old fl,milics have often changed hands, 
and Ifighlanders are most unwilling to give the names 
of old properties to new proprietors. r-rhe custom, 
however, lingers amongst us, in the northern districts 
especially. Farms also used to give their names to 
the tenants.t I can recall an amusing instance of 
· Even in Forfarshire, w}lCrp Carnpf!ics a bound, we ha(l Craigo, 
B:J luamoon, Pitarrow, pt('. 
t This custom if; stil1 in UEW in GaHoway; and U Chpllocb.." 



.,\'OOTTISH LIFE w CHARAOTER 2.1 


this practice belonging to my early days. The oldest 
recollections I have are connected with the narne, 
the figure, the sayings and doings, of the old co\v-hcrd 
at Fasque in my father's time; his name was Boggy, 
i.e. his ordinary apppllation; his true name ,vas S
ndy 
A ndersoll. But he \vas called Bogb'Y from the 
circumstance of h(tving once h(1ld <t ,vretchcd farm on 
Ðcesiùe llanlcd Boggendreep. Ile had long left it, 
and been unfortunate in it, but the name never left 
him,-he ,vas Boggy to his grave. The territorial 
appellation used to be rr'ckoned cornplhnentary, and 
more respectful than 111'. or any higher title to which 
the individual might be entitled. I recollect, in my 
brother's time, at Fasque, his showing off some of his 
home stock to 
lr. Willianlson, tho Aberdeen butcher. 
They carne to a fine stot, and Sir Alexander said, 
\vith some appearance of boast, "I was offered t\venty 
guineas for that ox." "Indeed, Fasque," s1,id \Villiam- 
son, " ye should hae steekit your neive upo' that." 
Sir 'Valter Scott had 111:1rked in his dia.ry <<t terri- 
torial greeting of two proprietors \v hich had ullluseù 
him much. The laird of I(ilspindie had met the 
laird of 1-'annachy- Tulloch, and the followin b compli- 
Inents passed bet\veen tIlenl :-" Y er maist obeùient 
hUlnmil servant, 'Ta.nnachy-Tulloch." To which the 
reply was, "Y er nain Inan, I(ilspindie." 
In proportion as ,ve advance to\vards the Highland 
district this custom of distinguishing clans or races, 
and marking them out accorùing to the district 
they occupied, becarne more apparpnt. rrhcl'e ,vas 
the Glcngarry country, the :Frascr country, the GorJoú 
country, etc. etc. These names carried also ,,'ith 
thern certain moral features 

s cha.racteristic of ('3,ell 


"Escbonc11dll," "Tonderghip," "Balsalloch," &J.nù " DrUIU1110rr(
JI 
etc. etc., appeu.r r
gularly at kirk a!1d Illarket. 



242 


REMINISOE1{OES OJt" 


division. Hence the following anecdote :-The morn- 
ing litany of an old laird of Cultoquhey, when he 
took his morning draught at the cauld well, was in 
these terms :-" Frae the ire 0' the Drummonds, the 
pride 0' the Græmes, the greed 0' the Campbells, and 
the wind 0' the Murrays, guid Lord deliver us." 
The Duke of Athole, having learned that Cultoquhey 
was in the habit of mentioning his Grace's family in 
such uncomplimentary terms, invited the humorist 
to Dunkeld, for the purpose of giving him a hint to 
desist from the reference. After dinner, the Duke 
asked his guest what were the precise terms in which 
he was in the habit of alluding to his powerful 
neighbours. Cultoquhey repeated his liturgy without 
a moment's hesitation. "I recommend you," said 
his Grace, looking very angry, "in future to omit 
my name from your morning devotions." All he got 
from Cultoquhey was, "Thank ye, my Lord Duke," 
taking off his glass with the utmost sangfroid. 



SCOTTISH LIFE æ CH
R.ACTEB. 2<13 


CHAPTER THE SEVENTH. 


ON SCOTTISH STORIES OF WIT A
D HIDrOUR. 


THE portion of our subject which \ve proposed under 
the head of "Reminiscences of Scottish Stories of 
\Vit or Humour," yet remains to be considered. 
This is closely connected with the question of Scot- 
tish dialect and expressions; indeed, on some points 
hardly separable, as the wit, to a great extent, pro- 
ceeds from the quaint and picturesque modes of ex- 
pressing it. But here we are met by a difficulty. 
On high authority it has been declared that no such 
thing as wit exists amongst us. 'Vhat has no exist- 
ence can have no change. 'Ve cannot be said to have 
lost a quality \yhich ,ve never possessed. l\Iany of 
my readers are no doubt familiar ,vith what Sydney 
Smith declared on this point, and certainly on the 
question of \vit he must be considered an authority. 
He used to say (1 anI almost ashamed to repeat it), 
"It requires a surgical operation to get a joke well 
into a Scotch understanding. 'l'heir only idea of \vit, 
which prevails occasionally in the north, and 'v hich, 
under the name of 'VUT, is so infinitely distressing to 
people of good taste, is laughing immoderately at 
stated intervals." Strange language to use of a 
country which has produced Smollett, Burns, Scott, 
Galt, and Wilson-all remarkable for the humour 
diffuseù through their ,vritings! Indeed, ,ve nlay 
fairly ask, have they equals in this respect amongl3t 



244 


RE./.
fINISCENCES OF 


English writers 1 Charles Lalnb had the same notioll, 
or, I should rather say, the same prejudice, about 
Scottish people not being accessible to wit; and he 
tells a story of ,vhat happened to himself, in cor- 
roboration of the opinion. He had been asked to a 
party, and one object of the invitation had been to 
meet a son of Burns. When he arrived, 
rr. Burns 
had not made his appearance, and in the course of 
conversation regarding the family of the poet, Lamb, 
in his lack-a-daisical kind of manner, said, " I ,vish it 
had been the father instead of the son;" upon which 
four Scotsmen present with one voice exclaimed, 
"That's impossible, for he's dead." *' Now, there will 
be dull men and matter-of-fact men everywhere, ,vho 
do not take a joke, or enter into a jocular allusion; 
but surely, as a general remark, this is far from being 
:), natural quality of our country. Sydney Smith and 
Charles Lamb say so. But, at the risk of being con- 
sidered presumpt.uous, I ,vill say I think them en- 
tirely mistaken. I should say that there was, on the 
contrary, a strong connect'ion bet,veen the Scottish 
temperament and, call it if you like, humour, if it is 
not ,vito And \vhat is the difference 
 Mv readers 
01 
need not be afraid that they are to be led through a 
labyrinth of metaphysical distinctions bet\veen wit 
and humour. I have read Dr. Campbell's dissertation 
on the difference, in his Philosophy of Rhetoric; I 
have read Sydney Smith's o\vn two lectures; but I 
confess I am not Inuch the ,viser. Professors of rhe- 
toric, no doubt, must have such discussions; but ,vhen 


* .After all, tlle remark IURY not have been so absurd then as 
it appears now. Burns had not been long dead, nor was he 
then so noted a chaTact
:r as he is now. The ScotsJnen might 
reany have supposed a Southerner unacqua.inted with the /CiJ..t 
of the poet's death. 



SCOTTISH LIFE æ CHARACTER. 245 


you wish to be amused by the thing itself, it is some- 
\vhat disappointing to be presented with metaphy- 
sical analysis. It is like instituting an examination 
of the glass and cork of a champagne bottle, and a 
chemical testing of the wine. In the very process 
the volatile and sparkling draught ,vhich was to de- 
light the palate has become like ditch wa,ter, vapid 
and dead. '''hat I mean is, that, call it ,vit or 
humour, or ,vhat you please, there is a school of Scot- 
tish pleasantry, amusing and characteristic beyond all 
other. Don't think of analysing its nature, or the 
qualities of which it is composed; enjoy its quaint 
and amusing flo\v of oddity and fun; as we may, for 
instance, suppose it to have flowed on that eventful 
night so joyously described by Burns :- 


"The souter tauld his queerest stories, 
The landlord's laugh was ready chorus. " 


Or \ve ma,y think of the delight it gave the good Mr. 
Balwhidder, ,vhen he tells, in his Annals of the Parish, 
of some such story, tl1a,t it ,vas a "jocosity that was 
just a kittle to hear." 'Vhen I speak of changes in 
such Scottish humour which have taken place, I refer 
to a particular sort of humour, and I speak of the sort 
of feeling that belongs to Scottish pleasantry,-which 
is sly, and cheery, and pa,vky. It is undoubtedly a 
humour that depends a good deal upon the vehicle in 
which the story is conveyed. If, as we have said, 
our quaint dialect is passing away, and our national 
eccentric points of character, we must expect to find 
much of the peculiar humour allied with them to have 
passed a\vay also. In other departments of ,vit and 
repartee, aud acute hits at men and things, Scotsmen 
(whatever Sydney Smith may have said to the con- 
trary) a,re equal to their neighbours, and, so far as I 
z 



248 


R}JJJLYISCENCES OF 


know, may have gained rather than lost. But this 
peculiar humour of which I now spea,k has not, in our 
day, the scope and development which were permitted 
to it by the former generation. Where the tendency 
exists, the exercise of it is kept down by the usage8 
and feelings of society. For examples of it (in its full 
foree at any rate) we must go back to a ra,ce who are 
departed. One remark, however, has occurred to me 
in regard to the specimens we have of this kind of 
humour-viz. that they do not alwa,ys proceed from 
the personal ,vit or cleverness of any of the individuals 
concerned in them. The amusement comes from the 
circumstances, from the conCUITence or combination 
of the ideas, and in many cases from the mere expres- 
sions which describe the facts. The humour of the 
narra,tive is unquestionable, and yet no one has tried 
to be humorous. In short, it is the Scottishness that 
gives the zest. The same ideas differently expounded 
might have no point at all. There is, for example, 
something highly original in the notions of celestial 
mechanics entertained by an honest Scottish Fife lass 
rega,rding the theory of comets. Having occasion to 
go out after dark, and having observed the brilliant 
comet then visible (1858), she ran in with breathless 
haste to the house, calling on her fellow-servants to 
" Come oot and see a new star that ha.sna got its tail 
cuttit aff yet!" Exquisite astronomical speculation! 
Sta,rs, like puppies, are born with tails, and in due 
time have them docked. Ta,ke an exa,mple of a story 
where there is no display of anyone's wit or humour, 
and yet it is a good story, and one can't exactly say 
why :-An English traveller had gone on a fine High- 
land road so long, without having seen an indication 
of fellow-travellers, that he became astonished at the 
solitude of the country; and no doubt before the 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 CHARACTER. 247 


Highlands were so much frequented as they are in 
our time, the roads sometimes bore a very striking 
aspect of solitariness. Our traveller, at last coming 
up to an old man breaking stones, asked him if 
there ,vas any traffic on this road-wa.s it at all fre. 
quented 
 "Ay," he said, coolly, "it's no ill at that; 
there was a cadger body yestreen, and there's yoursell 
the day." No English version of the story could have 
half such amusenlent, or have so quaint a character. 
An ans,ver even still more characteristic is recorded 
to have been given by a countryman to a traveller. 
Being doubtful of his way, he inquired if he were on 
the right road to Dunkeld. 'Vith some of his national 
inquisitiveness about strangers, the countryman asked 
his inquirer where he ca,me from. Offended at the 
liberty, as he considered it, he sharply reminded the 
man that ,vhere he came from was nothing to him; 
but all the answer he got ,vas the quiet rejoinder, 
" Indeed, it's just as little to me whar ye're gaen." 
A friend has told me of an answer highly characteristic 
of this dry and unconcerned quality which he heard 
given to a fello,v-traveller. A gentleman sitting 
opposite to him in the stage-coach at Ber,vick com- 
plained bitterly that the cushion on which he sat was 
quite ,vet. On looking up to the roof he saw a hole 
through ,vhich the rain descended copiously, and at 
once accounted for the mischief. He called for the 
coachman, and in great wrath reproached him with 
the evil under ,yhich he suffered, and pointed to the 
hole l\" hich "ras the cause of it. All the satisfaction, 
however, that he got was the quiet unmoved reply, 
" .A..y, mony a ane has comp]ained 0' that hole." Another 
aneodote I heard from a gentleman ,vho vouched for 
the truth, which is just a case where the narrative 
has its humour not from the wit which is displayed 



248 


RElllINISCENCES OF 


but from that dry matter-of-fact vie"'\y of things peculiar 
to some of our countrymen. The friend of my inform- 
ant was walking in a street of Perth, when
 to his 
horror, he sa,v a workman fall from a roof where he 
was mending slates, right upon the pavement. By 
extraordinary good fortune he ,vas not killed, and on 
the gentlelnan going up to his assistance, and exclaim- 
ing, with much excitement, "God bless me, are you 
much hurt
" all the ans,ver he got was the cool re- 
joinder, "On the contrary, sir." A similar matter-of 
fact ans,ver was made by one of the old race of 
Montrose humorists. He was coming out of church, 
and in the press of the kirk skailing, a young man 
thoughtlessly trod on the old gentlenlan's toe, which 
was tender with corns. He hastened to apologise, 
saying, "I am very sorry, sir; I beg your pardon." 
rrhe only ackno,vledgment of which was the dry 
answer, "And ye've as Inuckle need, sir." An old 
man marrying a very young ,vife, his friends rallied 
him on the inequality of their a.ges. " She will be 
near me," he replied, "to close my een." "W eel," 
remarked another of the party, "I've bad twa wives, 
and they opened 'Iny een." 
One of the best specimens of cool Scottish matter- 
of-fact vie"'\y of things has been supplied by a kind 
correspondent, who narrates it from his o,vn personal 
recollection. 
The' back windows of the house ,vhere he was 
brought up looked upon the Greyfriars Church that 
was burnt do,vn. On the Sunday morning in which 
that even t took place, as they were all preparing to 
go to church, the flames began to burst forth; the 
young people screamed from the back part of the 
house, "A fire! A fire!" and all \vas in a state of 
confusion and alarm. The housemaid wa
 not a.t 



SCOTTISH LIFE d: OHARAOTER. 249 


honle, it being her turn for the Sunday" ont." Kitty, 
the cook, Vr
as taking her place, and perforn1Ïng her 
duties. The old woman ,yas always very particular 
on the subj ect of her responsibility on such occasions, 
and came panting and hobbling up stairs from the 
lower regions, and exclaimed, "Oh, ,vhat is't, ,vhat 
is't 
" "0 I{itty, look here, the Greyfriars Church 
is on fire!" "Is that a', ltliss 1 'Vbat a fricht ye 
geed me! I thought ye said the parlour fire was out." 
In connection ,vith the 
ubject of Scottish toasts I 
am supplied by a first-rate Highland authority of one 
of the most graceful and crushing replies of a lady to 
,vhat ,vas intended as a sarcastic compliment and 
Slllart saying at her expense. 
About the beginning of the present century the 
then Campbell of Combie, on Loch A,ve side, in 
Argyleshire, ,vas a man of extraordinary character, 
and of great physical strength, and such s,viftness of 
foot that it is said he could "catch the best tup on 
the hill." He also looked upon himself as a "pretty 
man," though in this he ,vas singular; also, it ,vas 
more than whispered tha.t the laird ,vas not remark- 
able for his principles of honesty. There also lived 
in the saIne district a 11iss :1lacN abb of Bar-a' -Chais- 
tril, a lady ,vho, before she had passed the zenith of 
life, had never been remarkable for her beauty-the 
contrary even had passed into a proverb, w"hile she 
,vas in her teens; but, to counterbalance this defect 
in external qualities, nature had endowed her ,vith 
great benevolence, ,vhile she ,vas renowned for her 
probity. One day the Laird of Combie, "",ho piqued 
himself on his bon-lnvfs, ,,"as, as frequently happened. 
a guest of l\Iiss l\lacl\abb's, and after dinner severa1 
toasts had gone round as usual, COIn bie rose ,vitlt 
great solemnity <1lul aùdressing the lady of t.he house 



250 


REJIINISCENOES OF 


requested an especial bumper, insisting on all the 
guests to fill to the brim. He then rose and said, 
addressing himself to Miss 1IacNabb, "I propose the 
old Scottish toast of 'Honest men and bonnie lassies,'" 
and bowing to the hostess, he resumed his seat. The 
lady returned his bow with her usual amiable smile, 
and taking up her glass, replied, "W eel, Combie, I 
am sure we may drink that, for it will neither apply 
to you nor me." 
An amusing example of a quiet cool view of a 
pecuniary transaction happened to my father whilst 
doing the business of the rent-day. He ,vas receiving 
sums of money from the tenants in succession. After 
looking over a bundle of notes ,vhich he had just 
received from one of them, a well-known character, 
he said in banter, " James, the notes are not correct." 
To which the farmer, ,vho was much of a humorist, 
drily answered, "I dinna ken what they may be nOD,. 
but they ,vere a' richt afore ye had your fingers in 
amang 'em." An English farmer would bardly have 
spoken thus to his landlord. The Duke of Buccleuch 
told me an ans,ver very quaintly Scotch, given to 
his grandmother by a farmer of the old school. A 
dinner was given to some tenantry of the vast estates 
of the family, in the time of Duke Henry. His 
Duchess (the last descendant of the Dukes of Mon- 
tague) always appeared at table on such occasions, 
and did the honours with that mixture of dignity 
and of affable kindness for which she was so remark- 
able. Abundant hospitality was shown to all the 
guests. The Duchess, having observed one of the 
tenants supplied with boiled beef from a noble round, 
proposed that he should add a supply of cabbage: 011 
his declining, the Duchess good-humouredly remarked, 
å' 'Vhy, boiled beef and' greens' seem so naturally to 



SCOTTlSfl LIFE &. CHARACTER. 251 


go together, I ,yonder you don't take it." To ,,
hich 
the honest farmer 0 bj ected, "Ah, but JTour Grace 
mauu alloo it's a vary windy vegetable," in delicate 
allusion to the flatulent quality of the esculent. 
Similar to this \vas the naïve answer of a farmer on 
the occasion of a rent-day. The lady of the house 
asked him if he would take some "rhubarb-tart," to 
,vhich he innocently answered, "Thank ye, mem, I 
dinna need it." 
A Highland minister, dining with the patroness of 
his parish, ventured to say, " I'll thank your leddyship 
for a little more of that apple-tart; " "It's not apple- 
tart, it's rhubarb," replied the lady. " Rhubarb! " 
repeated the other, ,vith a look of surprise and alarm, 
and immediately called out to the attendant, " Freend, 
I'll thank you for a dram." 
A characteristic table anecdote I can recall amongst 
Deeside reminiscences. l\Iy aunt, Mrs. Forbes, had 
entertained an honest Scotch farmer at Banchory 
Lodge; a draught of ale had been offered to him, which 
he had quickly despatched. 
ry aunt observing that 
the glass had no head or effervescence, observed, that 
she feared it had not been a good bottle, "Oh, vera 
gude, maam, it's just some strong 0' the aaple," an 
expression which indicates the beer to be some,vhat 
sharp or pungent. It turned out to have been a 
bottle of vinegar decanted by mistake. 
An amusing instance of an old Scottish farmer being 
unacquainted ,vith table refinements occurred at a ten- 
ant's dinner in the north. The servant llad put down 
beside him a dessert spoon when he had been helped 
to pudding. This seemed quite superfluous to the 
honest man, who exclaimed, "Tak' it a,va, my man; 
my mou's as big for puddin' as it is for kail." 
Amongst the lower orders in Scotland humour i'1 



252 


REJIINISOENOES OF 


found, occasionally, very rich in nlere children, and 1 
recollect a remarkable illustration of this early native 
humour occurring in a family in Forfarshire, ,vhere I 
used in former days to be very intinlate. A wretched 
wonlan, ,vho used to traverse the country as a beggar 
or tramp, left a poor, half-starved little girl by the 
road-side, near the house of my friends. Always ready 
to assist the unfortunate, they took charge of the child, 
and as she grew a little older they began to give her 
some education, and taught her to read. She soon 
made some progress in rea.ding the Bible, and the native 
odd humour of ,vhich ,ve speak began soon to show 
itself. On reading the passage, which began, "Then 
David rose," etc., the child stopped, and looked up 
knowingly, to say, " I ken ,vha that was," and on being 
asked what she could nlean, she confidently said, 
"That's David Rowse the pleuchman." And again, 
reading the passage where the words occur, " He took 
Paul's girdle," the child said, with much confidence, 
" I ken ,vhat he took that for," and on being asked 
to explain, replied at once, "To bake's bannocks on j" 
" girdle" being in the north the name for the iron 
plate hung over the fire for baking oat cakes or 
bannocks. 
To a distinguished nlember of the Church of Scot- 
land I am indebted for an excellent story of quaint 
child humour, which he had from the lips of an old 
woman who related the story of herse]f:- When a 
girl of eight years of age she was taken by her grand- 
mother to church. The parish minister ,vas not only 
a long preacher, but, as the custom was, delivered t,vo 
sermons on the Sabbath day without any interval, and 
thus saved the parishioners the two journeys to church. 
Elizabeth was sufficiently wearied before the close of 
the first discourse; but when, after singing and prayer. 



THE BO

ET LAIRD 


From a "water-colour drawing by 
IíE.LrRJ" IV. KERR, 
A.R.S.A., R.S.lf'. 




. 



 


I 
j 


I 




SCOTTISll LIFE d: CHARACTER. 25h 


the good 111inister opened the Bible, read a second 
text, and prepared to give a second sermon, the young 
girl, being both tired and hungry, lost all patience, 
and cried out to her grandmother, to the no small 
amusement of those who \vere so near as to hear her, 
"Come awa, granny, and gang hame; this is a lang 
grace, and nae meat." 
A most amusing account of child humour used to 
be narrated by an old 1\11'. Campbell of Jura, \vho told 
the story of his o,vn son. It seems the hoy was much 
spoilt by indulgence. In fact, the parents were scarce 
able to refuse him anything he demanded. He was 
in the dra,ving-room on one occasion when dinner 
,yas announced, and on being ordered up to the 
nursery he insisted on going do,vn to dinner \vith the 
company. His mother ,vas for refusal, but the child 
persevered, and kept saying, " If I dinna gang, I'll tell 
thon." His father then, for peace sake, let him go. 
So he went and sat at table by his mother. 'Vhen 
he found everyone getting soup and himself omitted, 
he demanded soup, and repeated, "If I dinna get it, 
I'll tell thon." Well, soup was given, and various 
other things yielded to his importunities, to ,vhich he 
always added the usual threat of "telling thon." At 
last, when it came to wine, his mother stood firm, and 
positiv'ely refused. as " a bad thing for little boys," and 
so on. He then became more vociferous than ever 
about "telling thon;" and as still he ,vas refused, he 
declared, "N O"T
 I will tell thon," and at last roared out, 

, M a new breeks 'were made oot 0' the auld curtuÙzs I " 
The Rev. Mr. Agnew has kindly sent me an 
anecdote ,vhich supplies an example of cleverness in a 
Scottish buy, and which rivals, as he observes, the 
stnartness of the London boy, termed by P'llnch tl1e 
"
treet boy." It has also a touch of quiet, sly Scottish 



254 


RE.JIINISOEltTOES OF 


llul/l0U'r. A gentleman, editor of a Glasgow paper, 
\vell kno\vn as a bon-vivant and epicure, and by no 
means a popular cha.racter, ,vas returning one day from 
his office, and met near his o,vn house a boy carrying 
a splendid salmon. The gentleman looked at it with 
longing eyes, and addressed the boy-" Where are 
you taking that salmon, my boy 
 " Boy-" Do you 
ken gin ae 1vlr. (giving the gentleman's name) 
lives hereabout 1 " Mr. - "Yes, oh yes; his 
house is here just by." Boy (looking sly)-" 'Veel, 
it's no for him." Of this saIne Scottish boy clevetrness, 
the Rev. Mr. M'Lure of l\iarykirk kindly supplies a 
capital specimen, in an instance which occurred at 
'v hat is called the market, at Fettercairn, where there 
is always a hiring of servants. A boy was asked by 
a farmer if he ,vished to be engaged. " Ou ay," said 
the youth. ., Wha was your last maister 
" \vas the 
next question. "Oh, yonder him," said the boy; anù 
then agreeing to wait w here he was standing wit.h 
some other servants till the inquirer should return 
from examination of the boy's late employer. The 
farmer returned and accosted the boy, "W eel, lathie, 
I've been speerin' about ye, an' I'm tae tak ye." " Ou 
ay," was the prompt reply, "an' I've been speerin' 
about ye tae, an' I'm nae gaen." 
We could not have had a better specImen of the cool 
self-sufficiency of these young domestics of the Scottish 
type than the follo\\-ing :-1 heard of a boy making a 
very cool and determined exit from the house into 
\vhich he had very lately been introduced. He had 
been told that he should be dismissed if he broke any 
of the china that was under his charge. On the 
rnorning of a great dinner-party he was entrusted 
(rather rashly) ,vith a great load of plates, ,vhich he 
was to carry up-stairs from the kitchen to the dining. 



SCOTTISH LIFE tIt OHARAOTER. 25f 


room, and which were piled up, and rested upon his two 
hands. In going up-stairs his foot slipped, and the 
plates ,vere broken to atoms. He at once ,vent up to 
the dra,ving-room, put his head in at the door, and 
shouted: "The plates are a' smashed, and I'm 
a,va. n 
...1.. facetious and acute friend, \v ho rather leans to 
the Sydney Smith view of Scottish wit, declares that 
all our humorous stories are about lairds, and lairds 
that are drunk. Of such stories there are certainly 
not a few. The following is one of the best belong- 
ing to my part of the country, and to many persons 
I should perhaps apologise for introducing it at all. 
1'he story has been told of various parties and 
localities, but no doubt the genuine laird ,vas a laird 
of Balnamoon (pronounced in the country Bonny- 
moon), and that the locality ,vas a ,vild tract of land, 
not far from his place, called Munrimmoll lYloor. 
Balnamoon had been dining out in the neighbourhood, 
,vhere, by mistake, they had put down to him after 
dinner cherry brandy, instead of port ,vine, his usual 
beverage. The rich flavour and strength so pleased 
him that, having tasted it, he ,vouid have nothing 
else. On rising from table, therefore, the laird would 
be more affected by his drink than if he had taken 
his ordinary allowance of port. His servant Harry 
or Hairy ,vas to drive him home in a gig, or ,vhisky 
as it was called, the usual open carriage of the time. 
On crossing the moor, however, whether from greater 
exposure to the blast, or from the laird's unsteadiness 
of head, his hat and ,vig came off and fell upon the 
ground. Harry got out to pick them up and restore 
them to his master. The laird ,vas satisfied ,vith the 
hat, but demurred at the ,vig. "It's no my wig, 
Hairr, lad; it's no my ,vig," and refused to haYt 



256 


REltIINISOENCES OF 


anything to do with it. Hairy lost his patience, and, 
anxious to get home, remonstrated ,vith his master, 
" Ye' d better tak it, sir, for there's nae waile * 0' wigs 
on Munrimmon Moor." The l1umour of the argument 
is exquisite, putting to the laird in his unreasonable 
objection the sly insinuation that in such a locality, 
if he did not take this ,vig, he was not likely to find 
another. Then, what a rich expression, ",vaile 0' 
wigs." In English ,vhat is it 
 "A choice of per- 
ukes ;" which is nothing comparable to the ",vaile 0' 
,vigs." I ought to Inentioll also an amusing sequel 
to the story, viz. in ,vhat happened after the affair of 
the wig had been settled, and the laird had consenteù 
to return home. \Vhen the ,vhisky drove up to the 
door, Hairy, sitting in front, told the servant ,vho 
came "to tak out the laird." No laird ,vas to be 
seen; and it appeared that he had fallen out on the 
moor without Hairy observing it. Of course, they 
,vent back, and, picking hinl up, brought him safe 
home. A neighbouring laird having called a few 
days after, and having referred to the accident, 
Balnamoon quietly added, "Indeed, I Il1aUn hae a 
lume t that'll haud in." 
The laird of Balnamoon was a truly eccentric 
character. He joined ,vith his drinking propensities 
a great zeal for the Episcopal church, the service of 
which he read to his o,vn family with much solemnity 
and earnestness of lnanner. T\vo gentlemen, one of 
them a stranger to the country, having called pretty 
early one Sunday morning, Balnamoon invited them 
to dinner, and as they accepted the invitation, they 
remained and joined in the forenoon devotional exer- 
cises conducted by Balnan100n himself. The strangpr 
\vas nluch impressed with the laird's performance of 
* Choice. t _\ v\JdaeL 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 OHARAOTER. 257 


the service, and during a '\valk which they took before 
dinner, mentioned to his friend hovr highly he es- 
teemed the religious deportment of their host. The 
gentleman said nothing, but smiled to himself at the 
scene ,vhich he anticipated was to follo,v. After 
dinner, Balnamoon set himself, according to the cus- 
tom of old hospitable Scottish hosts, to make his 
guests as drunk as possible. The result was, that the 
party spent the evening in a riotous debauch, and 
'\vere caITied to bed by the. servants at a late hour. 
Next day, '\vhen they had taken leave and left the 
house, the gentleman '\vho had introduced his friend 
asked him '\vhat he thought of their entertainer- 
" 'Vhy, really," he replied, '\vith evident astonishment, 
"sic a speat 0' praying, and sic a speat 0' drinking, I 
never knew in the ,vhole course 0' my life." 
I-iady Dalhousie, mother, I mean, of the late dis- 
tinguished Marquis of Dalhousie, used to tell a cha- 
racteristic anecdote of 11er day. But here, on mention 
of the name Christian, Countess of Dalhousie, may I 
pause a moment to recall the memory of one who ,vas 
a very remarkable person. She \vas for many years, 
to me and Inine, a sincere, and true and valuable 
friend. By an awful dispensation of God's providence 
her death happened instantaneously under my roof in 
1839. Lady Dalhousie was eminently distinguished 
for a fund of the most varied knowledge, for a clear 
and po\verful judgment, for acute observation, a kind 
heart, a brilliant wit. Her story ,vas thus :-A 
Scottish judge, somewhat in the predicament of the 
Laird of Balnamoon, had dined at Coalstoun ,vith her 
father Charles Brown, an advocate, and son of George 
Brown, ,vho sat in the Supreme Court as a judge with 
the title of Lord Coalstoun. The party had been 
eon vivial, as we know parties of the highest legal 



258 


REltfINISOENCES OF 


characters often ,vere in those days. "\Vhen breaking 
up and going to the d ra,,"ing-ro om, one of them, not 
seeing his ,yay very clearly, stepped out of the dining- 
rOOln window, ,vhich was open to the summer air. 
The ground at Coalstoun sloping off from the house 
behind, the worthy judge got a great fall, and rolled 
do,vn the bank. lIe contrived, ho,vever, as tipsy 
men generally do, to regain his legs, and was able to 
reach the dra,ving-room. The first remark he made 
was an innocent remonstrance '\vith his friend the 
host, "Od, Charlie Brown, '\v hat gars ye hae sic lang 
steps to your front door 
 " 
On Deeside, where many original stories had their 
origin, I recollect hearing several of an excellent and 
,vorthy, but very simple-minded man, the Laird of 
Craigmyle. On one occasion, when the beautiful and 
clever Jane, Duchess of Gordon, ,vas scouring through 
the country, intent upon some of those electioneering 
schemes which often occupied her fertile imagination 
and active energies, she came to call at Craigmyle, 
and having heard that the laird was making bricks 
on the property, for the purpose of building a new 
garden wall, with her usual tact she opened the sub- 
ject, and kindly asked, " Well, Mr. Gordon, and how 
do your bricks come on
" Good Craigmyle's thoughts 
were much occupied with a new leather portion of his 
dress, which had been lately constructed, so, looking 
down on his neth
 garments, he said in pure Aber- 
deen dialect, "Muckle obleeged to yer Grace, the 
breeks war sum ticht at first, but they are deeing 
weel eneuch noo." 
The last Laird of 1Iacnab, before the clan finally 
broke up and emigrated to Canada, was a well-known 
character in the country, and being poor, used to ride 
about on a most wretchpd horse, which gave occasion 



SOOTTISH LIFE Æ CHARACTER. 259 


to many jibes at his expense. The laird ,vas in the 
constant habit of riding up from the country to attend 
the lvlusselburgh races. A young wit, by way of 
playing him off on the race-course, asked him, in a 
contemptuous tone, "Is that the same horse you had 
last year, laird 1 It " N a," said the laird, brandishing 
his ,vhip in the interrogator's face in so emphatic a 
manner as to preclude further questioning, "na; but 
it's the same whujJ." In those days, as might be ex- 
pected, people were not nice in expressions of their 
dislike of persons and measures. If there be not 
more charity in society than of old, there is certainly 
more courtesy. I have, from a friend, an anecdote 
illustrative of this remark, in regard to feelings 
exercised to,vards an unpopular laird. In the neigh- 
bourhood of Banff, in Forfarshire, the seat of a very 
ancient branch of the Ramsays, lived a proprietor 
who bore the appellation of Oorb, from the name of 
his estate. This family has passed away, and its 
property merged in Banff. The laird ,vas intensely 
disliked in the neighbourhood. Sir George Ramsay 
was, on the other hand, universally popular and re- 
spected. On one occasion, Sir George, in passing a 
morass in his o'\vn neighbourhood, had missed the road 
and fallen into a bog to an alarming depth. To his 
great relief, he sa 'v a passenger coming along the path, 
which was at no great distance. He called loudly for 
his help, but the man took no notice. Poor Sir 
George felt himself sinking, and redoubled his cries 
for assistance; all at once the passenger rushed for- 
ward, carefully extricated him from his perilous posi- 
tion, and politely apologised for his first neglect of his 
appeal, adding, as his reason, "Indeed, Sir George, I 
thought it was Oorb! II evidently meaning that hl1d it 
boon Carb, he must have taken hiR cnance for him. 



260 


REJII.J.VlSCENCES OF 


In. Lanarkshire there lived a sma' sma' laird nanled 
Hamilton, ,vho ,vas noted for his eccentricity. On 
one occasion, a neighbour waited on him, and requested 
his name as an accommodation to a" bit bill" for 
t\venty pounds at three months' date, which led to 
the following characteristic and truly Scottish colloquy: 
-" N a, na, I canna do that." "What for no, laird 
 
ye hae dune the same thing for ithers." " Ay, ay, 
Tammas, but there's wheels within wheels ye ken 
naething about; I canna do't." H It's a sma' affair to 
refuse me, laird." "'V eel, ye see, Tammas, if I ,vas to 
pit my name till't, ye ,vad get the siller frae the bank, 
and ,vhen the time came round, ye ,vadna be ready, 
and I ,,,,ad hae to pay't; sae then you and me wad 
quarrel; sae ,ve may just as weel quarrel the nOD, as 
lang's the siller's in ma pouch." On one occasion, 
Hamilton having business with the late Duke of 
Halnilton at Hamilton Palace, the Duke politely 
asked him to lunch. A liveried servant ,vaited upon 
them, and ,vas most assiduous in his attentions to the 
Duke and his guest. i\.t last our eccentric friend lost 
patience, and looking at the servant, addressed him 
thus, "What the deil for are ye dance, dancing, about 
the room that gait 
 can ye no draw in your chair 
and sit down 
 I'm sure there's plenty on the table for 
thfree. " 
As a specimen of the old-fashioned Laird, now 
become a Reminiscence, ,vho adhered pertinaciously 
to old Scottish usages, and to the old Scottish dialect, 
I cannot, I am sure, adduce a better specimen than 
Mr. Fergusson of Pitfour, to whose servant I have 
already referred. He was always called Pitfour, from 
the name of his property in Aberdeenshire. He must 
h
ve died fifty years ago. He was for many years 
l.i.P. for the county of Aberdeen, and I have reason to 



SCOTTISH LIFE & OHARACTER.. 261 
believe that he made the enlightened parliamentary de- 
claration which has been given to others: He said 
"he had often heard speeches in the House, which 
had changed his opinion, but none that had ever 
changed his vote." I recollect hearing of his dining 
in London sixty years ago, at the house of a Scottish 
friend, where there ,vas a s\vell party, and Pitfour 
was introduced as a great northern proprietor, and 
county M.P. A fashionable lady patronised him 
graciously, and took great charge of him, and asked 
him about his estates. Pitfour ,vas very dry and 
sparing in his communications, as for exanIple, "What 
does your home farm chiefly produce, Mr. Fergusson 1 " 
Answer, " Girss." "I beg your pardon, Mr. Fergus- 
son, what does your home farm produce 1 " All she 
could extract was, "Girss." 
Of another laird, whom I heard often spoken of in 
old times, an anecdote was told strongly Scottish. 
Our friend had much difficulty (as many worthy 
lairds have had) in meeting the claims of those two 
,voeful periods of the year called with us in Scotland 
the "tarmes." He had been employing for some 
time as workman a stranger from the south on some 
house repairs, of the not uncommon name in England 
of Christmas. His servant early one morning called 
out at the laird's door in great excitement that 
"Christmas had run away, and nobody knew \vhere 
he had gone." He coolly turned in his bed with the 
ejaculation, "I only wish he had taken 'Vhitsunday 
and Martinmas along \vith hinl." I do not kno\v a 
better illustration of quiet, shrewd, and acute Scottish 
humour than the following little story, which au 
esteemed correspondent mentions having heard from 
his father when a boy, relating to a former Duke of 
Athole, who had no fanâly vf his own, and whom he 
2A 



262 


REJ1I.l.YISGE.lVCES OF 


mentions as having relnenlbered very ,veIl :-He met, 
one morning, one of his cottars or gardeners, whose 
,vife he kne,y to be in the hopeful 'way. Asking him 
"how Marget was the day," the man replied that she 
had that morning given him twins. Upon which the 
Duke said,-" \Veel, Donald; ye ken the Almighty 
never sends bairns ,vithout the meat. n "That may 
be, your Grace," said Donald; "but whiles I think 
that Providence maks a mistak in thae matters, and 
sends the bairns to ae hoose and the meat to 
anither! n The Duke took the hint, and sent hÌ1n a 
cow with calf the following morning. 
I have heard of an amusing scene between a laird, 
noted for his meanness, and a wandering sort of Edie 
Ochiltree, a well-known itinerant who lived by his 
wits and what he could pick up in his rounds amongst 
the houses through the country. The laird, having 
seen the beggar sit do,vn near his gate to examine 
the con tents of his pock or wallet, conj ectured that 
he had come from his house, and so drew near to see 
,vhat he had carried off. As the laird was keenly 
investigating the Inendicant's spoils, his quick eye 
detected some bones on which there remained more 
meat than should have been allowed to leave his 
kitchen. Accordingly he pounced upon the bones, 
declaring he 11ad been robbed, and insisted on the 
beggar returning to the house and giving back the 
spoil. He ,vas, however, prepared for the àttack, 
and sturdily defended his property, boldly asserting, 
" N a, na, laird, thae are no Tod-brae banes; they are 
Inch-byre banes, and nane 0' your bonour's "-mean- 
ing that he had received these bones at the house of 
a neighbour of a more liberal character. The beggar's 
professional discrimination bet"Teen the merits of the 
bones of the two mansions, and his pertinacious dc- 



SCOTTISH LIFE d: CHARACTER. 268 


fence of his own property, \\.ould have been most 
amusing to a bystander. 
I have, however, a reverse story, in which the 
beggar is quietly silenced by the proprietor. A noble 
lord, some generations back, well kno,vn for his frugal 
habits, had just picked up a sn1all copper coin in his 
o,vn avenue, and had been observed by one of the 
itinerating mendicant race, ,vho, grudging the transfer 
of the piece into the peer's pocket, exclaimed, "0, 
gie't to me, my lord;" to \vhich the quiet ans"
er 
,vas, "N a, na j fin' a fardin' for yersell, puir body." 
There are al w'ays pointed anecdotes against houses 
wanting in a liberal and hospitable expenditure in 
Scotland. Thus, \ve have heard of a master leaving 
such a mansion, and taxing his servant with being 
drunk, '\vhich he had too often been after other 
country visits. On this occasion, however, he \v.as 
innocent of the charge, for he had not the opportunity 
to transgress. So, ,vhen his master asserted, "Jemmy, 
you are drunk!" J emmy very quietly answered, 
"Indeed, sir, I ,vish I ,yur." At another Iuansion, 
notorious for scanty fare, a gentleman was inquiring 
of the gardener about a dog ,vhich some time ago he 
had given to the laird. The gardener showed him a 
lank greyhound, on which the gentleman said, "No, 
no; the dog I gave your master ,vas a nlastiff, not a 
greyhound;" to ,y hich the gardener quietly ans,vered, 
" Indeed, ony dog micht sune become a greyhound by 
stopping here." 
From a friend and relative, a minister of the 
Established Church of Scotland, I used to hear many 
characteristic stories. He had a curious vein of this 
sort of hunlour in himself, besides ". hat he brought 
out from others. One of his peculiarities ,yas a mor.. 
tal antip
t.hy to the 'v hole French nation, ,rhom he 



264 


RE.1[I2vISOE
YaES OF 


frequently abused in no measured terms. At the 
same time he had great relish of a glass of claret, 
which he considered the prince of all social beverages. 
So he usually finished off his antigallican tirades, 
,vith the reservation, "But the bodies bre,v the bra,v 
drink." He lived amongst his own people, and kne\v 
well the habits and peculiarities of a race gone by. 
He had many stories connected with the pastoral 
relation between minister and people, and all such 
stcries are curious, not merely for their amusement, 
but from the illustration they afford us of that 
peculiar Scottish humour which we are now describ- 
ing. He had himself, when a very young boy, before 
he came up to the Edinburgh High School, been at 
the parochial school where he resided, and which, 
like many others, at that period, had a considerable 
reputation for the skill and scholarship of the master. 
He used to describe school scenes rather different, I 
suspect, from school scenes in our day. One boy, 
on coming late, explained that the cause had been a 
regular pitched battle between his parents, with the 
details of which he amused his school-fellows; and 
he described the battle in vivid and Scottish Homeric 
terms: "And eh, as they faucht, and they faucht," 
adding, however, with much complacency, "but my 
minnie dang, she did tho'." 
There was a style of conversation and quaint modes 
of expression between ministers and their people at 
that time, which, I suppose, ,vonld seem strange to 
the present generation; as, for example, I recollect a 
conversation between this relat.ive and one of his 
parishioners of this description.-It had been a very 
wet and unpromising autumn. The minister met a 
certain Janet of his flock, and accosted her very 
kindly. He remarl{ed, "13ad prospect for the har'st 



SCOTTISH LIFE d1 CHARACTER. 265 


(harvest), Janet, this wet." Janet-" Indeed, sir, I've 
seen as muckle as that there'll be nae har'st the year." 
lJ;Iinister-" Na, Janet, deil as muckle as that 't eyer 
you saw." 
As I have said, he ,vas å clergyman of the Estab- 
lished Church, and had many stories about ministers 
and people, arising out of his own pastoral experience, 
or the experience of friends and neighbours. He was 
much delighted ,vith t.he not very refined rebuke 
which one of his o'\vn farmers had given to a young 
minister who had for some Sundays occupied his 
pulpit. The young man had dined '\vith the farmer 
in the afternoon when services "'gere over, and his 
app
tite was so sharp, that he thought it necessary to 
apologise to his host for eating so substantial a dinner. 
-" You see," he said, "I am always very hungry 
after preaching." The old gentleman, not much 
admiring the youth's pulpit ministrations, having 
heard this apology two or three times, at last replied 
sarcastically, "Indeed, sir, I'm no surprised at it, con- 
sidering the trash that comes aft' your stamach in the 
morning. " 
"That I wish to keep in view is, to distinguish 
anecdotes which are amusing on account merely of 
the expressions used, from those which have real wit 
and humour combined, with the purely Scottish vehicle 
in which they are conveyed. 
Of this class I could not have a better specimen to 
commence ,vith than the defence of the liturgy of his 
church, by John Skinner of Langside, of whom pre- 
vious mention has been made. It is ,,"itty and clever. 
Being present at a party (I think at Lord Forbes's), 
where ,vere also several ministers of the Establish- 
ment, the conversation over their wine turned, among 
other things, on the Pn.t)Tcr Book. Skinner took no 



266 


REJflNISCENCES OF 


part in it, till one minister remarked to him, "The 
great faut I hae to your prayer-book is that ye use 
the Lord's Prayer sae aften,-ye juist mak a dishclout 
o't." Skinner's rejoinder was, "V eITa true! Ay, 
man, ,ve mak a dishclout o't, an' we ,vring't, an' we 
wring't, an' ,ve ,vring't, an' the bree * o't '\vashes a' the 
lave 0' our prayers." 
Noone, I think, could deny the ,vit of the two fol- 
lo,ving rej oinders. 
A ruling elder of a country parish in the west of 
Scotland was well known in the district as a shrewd 
and ready-witted man. He received many a visit from 
persons who liked a banter, or to hear a good joke. 
Three young students gave him a call in order to have 
a little amusement at the elder's expense. On ap- 
I)roaching him, one of them saluted him, "Well, 
Father Abraham, how are you to-day 1 " " You are 
wrong," said the other, "this is old Father Isaac." 
"Tuts," said the third, "you are both mistaken; this 
is old Father Jacob." David looked at the young men, 
and in his o,vn way replied, "I am neither old Father 
Abraham, nor old Father Isaac, nor old Father Jacob; 
but I am Saul the son of Kish, seeking his father's 
asses, and lo! I've found three 0' them." 
For many years the Baptist community of Dun- 
fermline was presided over by brothers David Dewar 
and James Inglis, the latter of ,vhom has just re- 
cently gone to bis re,vard. Brother David was a 
plain, honest, straightforward n1an, who never hesi- 
tated to express his convictions, ho,vever unpalatable 
they might be to others. Being elected a member of 
the Prison Board, he ,vas called upon to give his vote 
in the choice of a chaplain from the licentiates of the 
Established Kirk. The party who had gained the con. 
* J wee. 



SCOTTISH LIFE d: CHARACTER. 261 


fidence of the Board had proved rather an indifferent 
preacber in a charge to which he had previously been 
a.ppointed; and on David being asked to signify his 
assent to the choice of the Board, he said, " 'V eel, I've 
no objections to the man, for I understand he has 
preached a kirk toom (empty) already, and if he be as 
successful in the jail, he'll maybe preach it vawcant 
as ,veel." 
Froln 
Ir. Inglis, clerk of the Court of Session, I 
have the follo,ving Scottish rejoinder:- 
"I recollect my father relating a conversation be- 
tw'een a Perthshire laird and one of his tenants. The 
laird's eldest son was rather a simpleton. Laird says, 
'I am going to send the young laird abroad.' "Vhat 
for l' asks the tenant; answered, 'To see the world; , 
tenant replies, ' But, lord-sake, laird, will no tIle world 
see him?'" 
An admirably humorous l'eply is recorded of a 
Scotch officer, well known and esteemed in his day for 
mirth and humour. Captain Innes of the Guards 
(usually called Jock Innes by his contemporaries) was 
with others getting ready for Flushing or some of 
those expeditions of the beginning of the great war. 
His conunanding officer (Lord Huntly, my correspond- 
ent thinks) renlonstrated about the badness of his 
hat, and recommended a new one-" N a, na! bide a 
,vee," said Jock; "'v here ,ve're gain' faith there'll 
soon be mair hats nor heads." 
I recollect being much amused ,vith a Scottish refer- 
ence of this kind in the heart of London. Many years 
ago a Scotch party had dined at Simpson's famous 
beef-steak house in the Strand. On coming away 
some of tbe party could not find their hats, and Iny 
uncle was jocularly asking the ,vaiter, whom he knew 
to be a Deesid.e man, "'Vhar are our bonnets, Jecms f' 



268 


REJIINISCEJ.VCES OF 


To \vhich he replied, "'Deed, I mind the day \vhen 
I had neither hat nor bonnet." 
There is an odd and original way of putting a matter 
sometimes in Scotch people, \vhich is irresistibly comic, 
although by the persons nothing comic is intended; 
as for example, ,vhen in 1786 Edinburgh was illumi- 
nated on account of the recovery of George III. fron1 
severe illness. In a house where great preparation 
,vas going on for the occasion, by getting the candles 
fixed in tin sconces, an old nurse of the family, looking 
on, exclaimed, "Ay, it's a braw time for the cannel- 
makers when the king is sick, honest man!" 
Scottish farmers of the old school \vere a shrewd 
and humorous race, sometimes not indisposed to look 
with a little jealousy upon their younger brethren, 
who, on their part, perhaps, showed their contempt for 
the old-fashioned ways. I take the following example 
from the columns of the Pete1 0 head Sentinel, just as it 
appeared-June 14, 1861 :- 
"AN ANECDOTE FOR DEAN RA
ISAy.-The foIlo\v- 
ing characteristic and amusing anecdote ,vas communi. '- 
cated to us the other day by a gentleman who hap- 
pened to be a party to the conversation detailed belo\v. 
This gentleman was passing along a road not a hun- 
dred miles from Peterhead one day this week. Two 
different farms skirt the separate sides of the turnpike, 
one of which is rented by a farmer who cu]tivates 
his land according to the most advanced system of 
agriculture, and the other of ,vhich is farmed by a 
gentleman of the old school. Our informant met the 
latter worthy at the side of the turnpike opposite his 
neighbour's farm, and seeing a fine crop of wheat 
upon ,vhat appeared to be [and really was] very thin 
and poor land, asked, , "Then ,vas that ,vheat sown f 
'0 I dinna ken,' replied the gcntlelnan of the old 



SCOTTISH LIFE d.. CHARACTER. 269 


school, ,vith a sort of half-indifference, half-contempt. 
'But isn't it strange that such a fine crop should be 
reared on such bad land 
J asked our informant. '0, 
na-nae at a'-deevil thank it; a gravesteen wad gie 
guid bree. gin ye gied it plenty 0' butter!'" 
But perhaps the best anecdote illustrative of the 
keen shrewdness of the Scottish farmer is related by 
1Ir. Boyd t in one of his charming series of papers, 
reprinted from F'rasm"s !Jfagazine. " A friend of mine, 
a country parson, on first going to his parish, resolved 
to farm his glebe for himself. A neighbouring farmer 
kindly offered the parson to plough one of his fields. 
The farmer said that he would send his man John 
'\vith a plough and a pair of horses on a certain day 
, If ye're goin' about,' said the farmer to the clergyman, 
, John will be unco ,veel pleased if you speak to him, 
and say it's a fine day, or the like 0' that; but dinnn,' 
said the farmer, with much solemnity, 'dinna say 
onJthing to him about ploughin' and sawin'; for John,' 
he added, 'is a stupid body, but he has been ploughin' 
and sawin' a' his life, and he'll see in a minute that 
ye ken naething aboot ploughin' and sa,vin'. And 
then,' said the sagacious old farmer, '\vith much earnest- 
ness, ' if he comes to think that ye ken naething aboot 
ploughin' and sawin', he'll think that ye ken naething 
aboot onything! '" 
The follo,ving is rather an original commentary, by 
a layman, upon clerical incomes :- A relative of n1Ïne 
going to church with a Forfarshire farmer, one of the 
old school, asked him the amount of the minister's 
stipend. He said, "Od, it's a gude ane-the maist 
part of .f300 a )Tear." " 'VeIl," said my relative, "many 
of these Scotch ministers are but poorly ofr." .., TheJ've 
* Broth. t RAv. A. K. H. Boyd. 



270 


llEJII.J.'tISCENCES OF 


eneuch, sir, they've eneuch; if they'd mail', it ,vould 
\vant a' their time to the spendin' o't." 
Scotch galnekeepers had often much dry quiet 
humour. I ,vas much amused by the ans,ver of ono 
of those under the follo,ving circumstances :-A.n 
Ayrshire gentleman, ,vho ,vas from the first a very 
bad shot, or rather no shot at all, when out on 1st of 
September, having failed, time after time, in bringing 
down a single bird, had at last pointed out to him by 
his attendant bag-carrier a large covey, thick and close 
on the stubbles. " N 00, Mr. J eems, let drive at them, 
just as they are!" Mr. J eems did let drive, as ad. 
vised, but not a feather remained to testify the shot. 
All fle,v off, safe and sound-" Hech, sir (renlarks his 
friend), but ye've made thae yins shift thei1. quarters." 
The two follolring anecdotes of rejoinders from 
Scottish guid wives, and for ,vhich I ain indebted, as 
for many other kind communications, to the Rev. 
Mr. Blair of Dunblane, appear to me as good examples 
of the peculiar Scottish pithy phraseology which we 
refer to, as any that I have met ,yith. 
An old lady from whom the" Great Unknown " 
had derived many an ancient tale, was waited upon 
one day by the author of "W averley." On his 
endeavouring to give the authorship the go-by, the 
old dalne protested, "D' ye think, sir, I dinna ken 
my ain groats in ither folk's kail 
"* 
A conceited packman called at a farm-house in the 
""est of Scotland, in order to dispose of some of his 
,vares. The good.wife was offended by his southern 
accent, and his high talk about York, London, and 
other big places. "An' "Thaur come ye frae yerse1l1" 
was the question of the guid ,vue. "Ou, I am from 
* I believe the lady was }{rs. }I urray Keith of Ravelston, 
with whom Sir Walter had in early life much intercour
. 



SCOTTISH LIFE J: CHARAOTE1
. 271 


the Border." "The Border-oh! I thocht that; 
for ,ve aye think the selvidge is the ,vakest bit 0' the 
,vab ! " 
The following is a good specimen of ready Scotch 
humorous reply, by a master to his discontented 
"\vorkmall, and in ,vhich he turned the tables upon 
him, in his reference to Scripture. In a town of one 
of the central counties a l\Ir. J carried on, about 
a century ago, a very extensive business in the linen 
manufacture. Although strikes were then unknown 
anlong the labouring classes, the spirit froin ,vhich 
these take their rise has no doubt at all times existed. 
Anlong 1fr. J -'8 many ,vorkmen, one had given 
him constant annoyance for years, from his discontented 
and argumentative spirit. Insisting one day on get- 
ting something or other ,vhich his master thought 
most unreasonable, and refused to give in to, he at 
last submitted, ,vith a bad grace, saying, " You're nae 
better than Phafaoh, sir, forcin' puir folk to mak' 
bricks ,vithout straw." " 'V ell, Saunders," quietly 
rejoined his master, "if I'm nae better than Pharaoh 
in one respect, I'll be better in another, for III no 
hinde'J. ye going to the wildm'ness whenevm. you choose." 
Persons who are curious in Scottish stories of ,vit 
and humour speak much of the sayings of a certain 
"Laird of Logan," who was a well-known character 
in the 'Vest of Scotland. This same Laird of Logan 
was at a Ineeting of the heritors of Cumnock, ,vhere 
a proposal was made to erect a new churchyard ,vall. 
He met the proposition with the dry renlark, "I 
never big dykes till the tenants complain." Calling 
one day for a gill of ,vhisky in a public-house, the 
Laird ,vas asked if he ,vould take any ,vater ,vith the 
spirit. " N a, na," replied he, "I ,vould rather ya 
,vould tak the ,vater out o't." 



272 


REltfINISUENCES 011' 


The laird sold a horse to an Englishman, sa ying\ 
"Y ou buy him as you see him; but he's an honest 
beast." The purchaser took hiIn home. In a fe,v 
days he stumbled and fell, to the damage of his o,vn 
knees and his rider's head. On this the angry 
purchaser remonstrated with the laird, whose reply 
was, " Well, sir, I told ye he was an honest beast; 
many a time has he threatened to come down with 
me, and I kenned he would keep his word some day." 
At the time of the threatened invasion, the laird 
had been taunted at a meeting at Ayr ",
ith want of 
loyal spirit at Cumnock, as at that place no volunteer 
corps had been raised to meet the coming danger; 
Cumnock, it should be recollected, being on a high 
situation, and ten or twelve miles from the coast. 
"What sort of people are you up at Cumnock 1" 
said an Ayr gentleman; "you have not a single volun- 
teer ! " " Never you heed," says Logan, very quietly; 
" if the French land at Ayr, there will soon be plenty 
of volunteers up at Cumnock." 
A pendant to the story of candid admission on the 
part of the minister, that the people might be weary 
after his sermon, has been given on the authority of 
the narrator, a Fife gentleman, ninety years of a.ge 
,vhen he told it. He had been to church at EJie, 
and listening to a young and perhaps bombastic 
preacher, ,vho happened to be officiating for the Rev. 
Dr. Milligan, 'v ho was in church. After service, 
meeting the Doctor in the passage, he introduced the 
young clergynlan, who, 011 being asked by the old 
man how he did, elevateQ his shirt collar, and com- 
plained of fatigue, and being very much "IÙ.ed." 
"Tired, did ye say, my Inan 
" said the old satirist., 
who was slightly deaf; "Lord, man! if you're Jw{1 
as tired as I am, I pit.y yc ! " 



SCOTTISH LIFE J.. CHARACTER. 273 


I have been much pleased ,vith an offering from 
Carluke, containing two very pithy anecdotes. 
Ir. 
Rankin very kindly ,vrites :-" Your 'Reminiscences' 
are most refreshing. I am very little of a story- 
collector, but I have recorded some of an old school- 
master, ,vho ,vas a story-teller. As a sort of payment 
for the amusement I have derived from your book, 
I shall give one or t,vo." 
He sends the two follo,ving:- 
"Shortly after Mr. !{ay had been inducted school- 
master of Carluke (1790), the bederal called at the 
school, verbally announcing, proclamation-ways, that 
1\1rs. So-and-So's funeral would be on Fuirsday. ' At 
what hour 
' asked the dominie. ' Ou, ony time 
atween ten and twa.' At two o'clock of the day 
fixed, Mr. Kay-quite a stranger to the customs of 
the district-arrived at the place, and ,vas astonished 
to find a cro'\vd of men and lads, standing here and 
there, some smoking, and all argle ba?g ling, 
 as if at 
the end of a fair. He was instantly, but mysteriously, 
approached, and toucbed on the arm by a red-faced 
bareheaded man, ,vho seemed to be in authority, and 
was beckoned to follo'\v. On entering the barn, ,vhich 
"Tas seated all round, he found numbers sitting, each 
,vith the head bent do,vn, and each ,vith his hat 
bet,veen his knees-all gravity and silence. All on 
a voice was heard issuing from the far end, and a 
long prayer was uttered. They had ,vorked at this 
-,vhat was called' a se?vice '-during three previous 
hours, one party succeeding another, and n1any taking 
advantage of every service, which consisted of a prayer 
by way of grace, a glass of white ,,,,ine a glass of 'red 
wine, a glass of 'I"urn, and a prayer by way of thanks- 
giving. Mter the long invocation, bread and ,vin
 
.. Disputing 01' bandying worùs backwards and forwards. 



274 


REJfINISCENCES OF 


passed round. Silence prevailed. Most partook of 
both 'founds of ,vine, but ,vhen the rum came, many 
nodded refusal, and by and by the nodding seemed 
to be universal, and the trays passed on so much the 
lllore quickly. A sumphish ,veather-beaten man, with 
a large flat blue bonnet on his knee, who had nodded 
un,vittingly, and ,vas about to lose the last chance of 
a glass of rnm, raised his head, saying, amid the deep 
silence, 'Od, I daursay I wull tak anither glass,' anù 
in a sort of vengeful, yet apologetic tone, added, 'The 
auld jaud yiI1ce cheated me wi' a cauve' (calf)." 
At a farmer's funeral in the country, an undertaker 
,vas in charge of the ceremonial, and directing how it 
,vas to proceed, ,vhen he noticed a little man giving 
orders, and, as he thought, rather encroaching upon 
the duties and privileges of his own office. He asked 
him, "And wha are ye, mi' man, that tak sae muckle 
on ye 1 " "Oh, dinna ye ken 
" said the man, under 
a strong sense of his own in1portance, "I'm the corp's 
brither 1 " :I 
Curious scenes took place at funerals where there 
was, in times gone by, an unfortunate tendency to 
join with such solemnities more attention to festal 
entertainment than was becoming. A farmer, at 
the interment of his second ,vife, exercised a liberal 
hospitality to his friends at the inn near the church. 
On looking over the bill, the master defended the 
charge as 1l1oderate. But he reminded him, "Y e 
forget, man, that it's no ilka ane that brings a second 
funeral to your house." 
"Dr. Scott, minister of Carluke (1770), was a fine 
graceful kindly man, al,vays stepping about in his 
bag-\vig and cane in hand, ,vith a kind and reaùy 
* In Scotland the ren\ains of tbe deceased person is cal1ed 
the ,
 corp. .J 



SCOTTISH LIFE & CHARACTElt. 27S 


word to everyone. He \yas officiating at a bridal ill 
his parish, \vhere there "
as a goodly company, had 
partaken of the good cheer, and ,vaited till the young 
people ,yere fairly ,varmed in the dance. A dissent- 
ing body had sprung up in the parish, ,vhich he tried 
to think \vas beneath him even to notice, ,vhen he 
could help it, yet never seenled to feel at all keenly 
\vhen the dissenters were alluded to. One of the 
chief leaders of this body ,vas at the bridal, and felt 
it to be his bounden duty to call upon the minister 
for his reasons for sanctioning by his presence so 
sinful an enjoyment. ' 'Veel, minister, \vhat think ye 
0' this dancin' 
 ' , Why , John,' said the minister, 
blithely, 'I think it an excellent exercise for young 
people, and, I dare say, so do you.' 'Ah, sir, I'm no 
sure about it) I see nae authority for't in the Scrip- 
tures.' , U mph, indeed, ,J ohn; you cannot forget 
David. ' Ah, sir, Dauvid; gif they were a' to dance 
as Dauvid did, it ,vould be a different thing a'thegither.' 
'Hoot-o-fie, hoot-o-fie, John; would you have the 
young folk strip to the sark
' " 
Reference has been made to the eccentric laird of 
Balnamoon, his ,vig, and his " speats 0' drinking and 
praying." A story of this laird is recorded, which I 
do think is ,veIl named, by a correspondent ,vho COIll- 
municates it) as a " quintessential phasis of dry Scotch 
humour," and the explanation of ,vhich ,vouid perhaps 
be thro\vn a\vay upon anyone \vho needed the explana- 
tion. The story is this :-The laird riding past a 
high steep bank, stopped. opposite a hole in it, and 
said, "Hairy, I sa,v a brock gang in there." " Did 
ye 1" said Hairy; "v{ull ye haud my horse, sir f' 
"Certainly," saiù the laird, and a\vay rushed Hairy 
for a spade. After digging for half-an-hour, he came 
Lack, quite done, to the laird, who had regarded hinl 



2i6 


REJJllVISCEJ.."'CES OF 


musingly. "I canna find hin1, sir," said Hairy 
" 'Deed," said the laird, very coolly, "I wad ha 
wondered if ye had, for it's ten years sin' I saw him 
gang in there." 
Amongst many hun10rous colloquies between Balna- 
moon and his servant, the following must have been 
very racy and very original. The laird, accompanied 
by Hairy, after a dinner party, ,vas riding on his way 
home, through a ford, when he fell off into the water. 
"Whae's that faun 1" he inquired. "'Deed," quoth 
Hairy, "I witna an it be na your honour." 
There is a peculiarity connected with what we 
have considered Scotch hUlnour. It is more common 
for Scotsmen to associate their o\vn feelings ,vith na- 
tional events and national history than for Englishmen. 
Take as illustrations the follo\ving, as being perhaps 
as good as any:-The Rev. Robert Scott, a Scotsman 
who forgets not Scotland in his southern vicarage, 
and ,vhom I have named before as having sent me 
some good ren1iniscences, tells n1e that, at Inverary, 
some thirty years ago, he could not help overhearing 
the conversation of some Lowland cattle-dealers in the 
public room in which he was. The subject of the 
bravery of our navy being started, one of the inter- 
locutors expressed his surprise that Nelson should 
have issued his signal at Trafalgar in the terms, 
"England expects," etc. He ,vas rnet \vith the answer 
(\vhich seemed highly satisfactory to the rest), " Ah, 
Nelson only said 'expects' of the English; he said 
naething of Scotland, for he kent the Scotch would do 
theirs. " 
I am assured the follo\ving manifestation of national 
feeling against the memory of a Scottish character 
actually took place within a few years :- 'Villiamson 
(the Duke of Buccleuch's huntsman) was one afternoon 



SCOTTI.SH LIJ/E æ CHARACTER. 2i7 


riding hOlne from hunting through Haddington; and 
as he passed the old Abbey, he sa,v an ancient 
,yoman looking through the iron grating in front of 
the burial-place of the Lauderdale fanlily, holding hy 
the bars, and grinning and dancing \vith rage. " Eh, 
guùe\vife," said "Tilliaulson, ",,,,,hat ails ye 1 " " It's 
the Duke 0' Lauderdale," cried she. " Eh, if I could 
,vin at hin1, I ,vud rax t.he banes 0' him." 
To this class belongs the follo,ving complacent 
Scottish remark upon Bannockburn. A splenetic 
Englishman said to a Scottish countryman, something 
of a ,vag, that no nlan of taste ,,'"olIld think of rCl1lain- 
ing any tin1e in such a country as Scotland. To 
,vhich the canny Scot replied, " "fastes differ; I'se tak 
ye to a place no far frae Stirling, ,vhaur thretty 
thousand 0' your countrymen ha' been for five hunder 
years, and they've nae thocht 0' leavin' yet." 
In a sin1Ílar spirit, an honest Scotch farmer, who 
had sent SOUle sheep to compete at a great English 
agricultural cattle-sho\v, and ,vas much disgusted at 
not getting a prize, consoled himself for the disappoint- 
11lent, by insinuating that the judges could hardly act 
quite inlpartially by a Scottish competitor, compla- 
cently renlarking, "It's aye been the same since 
Bannockburn." 
Then, again, take the story told in Lockhart's Life 
()f Sir 'Valter Scott, of the blacksmith ,vhom Sir 
\Valter had fornlerly kno"
n as a horse-doctor, and 
\vhom he found at a Slllall country to,vn south of the 
Border, practising medicine ,vith a reckless use of 
"lauda1ny and calomy," * apologising at the same 
tinle for the Dliscbief he might do, hy the assurance 
that it " would be lang before it rnade up 101' }"Tlodden." 
IIo\v graphically it describes the interest felt by 
· La'lùanum and ('alo:Ult
l. 
2B 



278 


RE11fINISCEJ.YCES OF 


Scotchnlen of his rank in the incidents of their national 
history. A similar example has been recorded in 
connection ,vith Bannockburn. T\vo Englishmen 
visited the field of that great battle, and a country 
blacksmith pointed out the positions of t.he t,vo arlnies, 
the stone on ,,"hich was fixed the Bruce's standard, etc. 
The gentlemen, pleased ,vith the intelligence of their 
guide, on leaving pressed his acceptance of a cro\"'n- 
piece. " N a, na," replied the ScotsDlan, with mu
h 
pride, "it has cost ye eneuch already." Such an 
example of self-denial 011 the part of a Scottish cicerone 
is, ,ve fear, no,v rather a "reminiscence." 
A north country drover had, however, it 1110rc 
tang,ible opportunity of gratifying his national ani- 
mosity against the Southron, and of which he availed 
himself. Returning homewards, after a some,yhat 
unsuccessful journey, and not in very good humour 
with the Englishers, ,vhen passing through Carlisle he 
sa\v a notice stuck up, offpring a re\vard of i50 for 
anyone 'v ho ,voulc1 do a piece of service to the 
comlnunity, by officiating as executioner of the la\v on 
a noted criminal then under sentence of death. See- 
ing a chance to make up for his bad market, and 
cOlllforted ,vith the assurance that he \yas unkno,vn 
there, he undertook the office, executed the condeluned, 
and got the fee. 'Vhen nloving ofr ,vith the money, 
he ,vas t\vitted at as a "mean beggarly Scot," doing 
for nloney ,vhat no Englishman ,vould. '-Vith a grin 
and quiet glee, he only replied, "I'll hang ye a' at the 
. " 
prIce. 
Some ScotsP1en, no doubt, have a very cOlTIplacent 
feeling regarding the superiority of their countrymen, 
and n1ake no hesitation in proclaiming their opinion. 
I have al,vays admired the quaint expression of such 
belief in a case ,vhich bas recently been reported to 



SCOTTISH LIFE ,f CHARAC1'ER. 279 


me. A young Englishman had taken a Scotti
h 
shooting-ground, and enjoyed his mountain sport so 
much as to imbibe a strvng partiality for his northern 
residence and all its accompaniments. At a German 
,vatering-place he encountered, next year, an original 
character, a Scotsman of the old school, very national, 
and some,vhat bigoted in his nationality: he deter- 
mined to pass himself off to him as a genuine Scottish 
native; and, accordingly, he talked of Scotland and 
haggis, and sheep's head, and ,vhisky; he boasted of 
Bannockburn, and admired Queen J\Iary; looked upon 
Scott and Burns as superior to all English ,vriters; 
and staggered, although he did not convince, the old 
gentleman. On going a,vay he took leave of his 
Scottish friend, and said, "'V ell, sir, next tÍlne we 
meet, I hope you ,vill receive me as a real countryman." 
" "reel," he said, "I'nl jest thinkin', Iny lad, ye're nae 
Scotsman; but I'll tell ye ,vhat ye are-ye're juist 
an Ùnp1.1 1 ive(l Englishman." 
I am afraid ,ve must allo,v that Scottish people 
have a leetle national vanity, and may be too ready 
sometimes to press the claÎIn of their country t.o an 
extravagantly assullled pre-eulinence in the annals of 
genius and celebrities. An ext.reme case of such pre- 
tension I heard of lately, ,vhich is amusing. A Scots.. 
Iuan, ill reference to the distinction a,varded to Sir 
\Valter Scott, on occasion of his centenary, had roundly 
asserted, "But all ,vho have been eminent men were 
Scotsmen." An Englishman, offended at such as- 
sumption of national pre-eminence, asked indignantly, 
"\Vhat do you say to Shakspeare 1 " To which the 
other quietly replied, "\V eel, his tawlent ,vad justifee 
the inference." This is rich, as an example of an à 
priori argun1cnt in favour of a man being a Scots. 
n'\.q,n. 



280 


RE},[I.i.VISOENOES OF 


\Ve find in the conversation of old people frequent 
mention of a class of beings ,veIl kno,vn in country 
parishes, no,v either beconle commonplace, like the 
rest of the ,vorld, or relnoved altogether, and shut up 
in poorhouses or madhouses-I mean the individuals 
frequently called parochial idiots; but 'v ho ,vere rather 
of the order of naturals. They 'v ere eccentric, or 
somc,vhat crazy, useless, idle creatures, who used to 
wander about from house to house, and sometÏ1nes 
made very shre\vd sarcastic remarks upon \vhat ,vas 
going on in the parish. I heard such a person once 
described as one "\vho was "\vanting in t\VOpellCe of 
change for a shilling." They used to take great 
liberty of speech regarding the conduct and disposition 
of those \vith \vhom they came in contact, and many 
odd sayings which emanated from them were tracli- 
tionary in country localities. I have a kindly feeling 
to\varùs these imperfectly intelligent, but often per- 
fectly cunning beings; part1y, I believe, from recollec- 
tions of early associations in boyish days ,vith some 
of those Davy Gellatleys. I have therefore preserved 
several anecdotes ,vith ,vhich I have been favoured, 
,vhere their odd sayings and indications of a degree 
of mental activity have been recorded. These persons 
seenl to have had a partiality for getting near the 
pulpit in church, and their presence there ,vas accord- 
ingly sometimes annoying to the preacher and the 
congregation; as at l\Iaybole, ,vhen Dr. Paul, now of 
St. Cuthbert's, was nlinister in 1823, John J\1'Lymont, 
an individual of thÜ
 class, had been in the habit of 
standing so close to the pulpit door as to overlook the 
Bible and pulpit board. When required, however, 
by the clprgyman to keep at a greater distance, and 
not look Ù
 upon the ministe1", he got intensely angry 
and violent. lie threatened th(\ 111inister,-" Sir, 



SCOTTISH LIl?E &: CH_4R.AOTER. 281 


breby (maybe) I'll come farther;" meaning to intimate 
that perhaps he ,vould, if much provoked, come into 
the pulpit altogether. This, indeed, actually took 
place on another occasion, and the tenure of the mini- 
sterial position ,vas justified by an argument. of a Inost 
amusing nature. The circumstance, I aln assured, 
happened in a parish in the north. The clergyman, 
on coming into church, found the pulpit occupied by 
the parish natural. The authorities had been unable 
to renlove him ,yithout more violence than ,vas seemly, 
and therefore ,vaited for t.he minister to dispossess 
Tam of the place he had assumed. " Come do,vl1, sir, 
inlmediately !" ,vas the peremptory and indignant 
call; and on Tam being unmoved, it ,vas repeated 
,vith still greater energy. Tam, however, replied, 
looking dov{n confidentially from his elevation, "N a, 
na, minister! juist ye come up wi' me. This is a 
perverse generation, and faith they lleed us baith." 
It is curious to lnark the sort of glimmering of sense, 
and even of discriminating thought, displayed by per- 
sons of this class. As an example, take a conversation 
held by this saIne J ohn 
I'LrnIont, ,vith Dr. Paul, 
,,"'horn he DIet SOlne tilne after. He seemed to have 
recovered his good hunlour, as he stopped him and 
said, " Sir, I ,vould like to speer a question at ye on a 
subject that's troubling me." " "r ell, Johnnie, \vhat 
is t.he question 1" To which he replied, "Sir, is it 
lawful at ony time to tell a lee 1" The minister 
desired to kno,v what Johnnie hinlself thought upon 
the point. " "reel, sir," said he, "I'll no say but in 
every case it's wrang to tell a lee; but," added he, 
looking archly and giving a kno,ving wink, "I think 
there are u:aU1' lees than ithe1"s." " How, J ohnnip 1" 
and then he instantly replied, with aU the simplicity 
of a fool, "1'0 keep dO'lcn a din, fur illBtallÆC. I'll n'J 



282 


BEJ/l
VISCENCES OF 


say but a man does wrang in telling a lee to ]
eeF 
down a din, but I'm sure he does not do half sac 
muckle ,vrang as a man who tells a lee to kick up a 
deevilnlent 0' a din." This opened a question not 
likely to occur to such a mind. Mr. Asher, minister 
of Inveraven, in Morayshire, narrated to Dr. Paul a 
curious example of want of intelligence combined ,vith 
a po,yer of cunning to redress a fancied wrong, sho,vn 
by a poor natural of the parish, who had been seized 
with a violent inflammatory attack, and was in great 
danger. The medical attendant sa,v it necessary to 
bleed him, but he resisted, and would not submit to 
it. At last the case became so hopeless that they 
were obliged to use force, and, holding his hauds and 
feet, the doctor opened a vein and dre,v blood, upon 
which the poor creature, struggling violently, ba,vled 
out, "0 doctor, doctor! you'll kill me! you'll kill me ! 
and depend upon it the first thing I'll do ,vhell I get 
to the other world ,vill be to 1'eport YO'lt to the board of 
Supe-rvision the1'e, and get you dis1nissed." A most ex- 
traordinary sensation ,vas once produced on a congre- 
gation by Rab Hamilton, a ,veIl-remembered crazy 
creature of the west country, on the occasion of his 
attendance at the parish kirk of "Auld Ayr, wham 
ne'er a toun surpasses," the Inil1ister of ,vhich, in the 
opinion of Rab's o,vn 111inister, 1vIr. Peebles, had a 
tendency to Socinian doctrines. 1vliss l{irkwood, 
Both,vell, relates the story from the recollection of 
her aunt, who was present. Rab had put his head 
between some iron rails, the first intimation of which 
to the congregation was a stentorian voice crying out, 
" Murder! my heed ' 11 hae to be cnttit aft'! Holy 
minister! congregation! Oh, my heed maun be cuttit 
aft'. It's a judgment for leaving my godlie 1\11'. Peebles 
at the Ne\vton." After he had been extricated a.nd 



SCOTTISH LIFE cb CHARACTER. 28
 


quieted, when asked ,vhy he put his head there, he 
said, "It was juist to look on. ,vi' anithe1" 'll'oman." 
The follo,ving anecdote of this same Raù Hamilton 
frOl1l a kind correspondent at Ayr sanctions the 
opinion that he must have occasionally said such 
clever things as made Sûlne think him more rogue 
than fool. Dr. Aultl often sho,ved hinl kindness, but 
being once addressed by him ,vhen in a hurry and out 
of humour, he said, "Get a,vay, Rab; I have nothing 
for you to day." ""Tha,v, \vhe\v," cried Rab, in a 
half ho,vl, half ,vhinillg tone, "I dinna want onything 
the day, }'Iaister Auld; I \vanted to tell you an 
a,vsome dream I hae had. I dreamt I ,vas deed." 
" \Veel, ,vh3.t then 
" said Dr. Auld. "Ou, I ,vas 
carried far, far, and up, up, up, till I canl to heeven's 
yett, ,vhere I chappit, and chappit, and chappit, till 
at last an angel keekit out, and said' \Vha are ye l' 
, A'lll puir Rab Hamilton.' "Vhaur are ye frae 
' 'Frae 
the ,yickeù toun 0' Ayr.' 'I dinna ken ony sic 
place,' said the angel. 'Oh, but A'm juist frae there.' 
'V pel, the angel sends for the Apostle Peter, and 
Peter COInes ,,"i' his key and opens the yett, and says 
to me, 'Honest nlan, do you come frae the auld toun 
0' Ayr r "Deed do I,' says I. "V eel,' says Peter, 
, I ken the place, but naebody's carn frae the toun o
 
Ayr, no since the year'" so and sO-lnentioning the 
year "Then Dr. Auld \vas inducted into the parish. 
Dr. Auld could not resist givin
 him his al1s'ver, and 
telling him to go about his business. 
The pathetic complaint of one of this class, residing 
at a farln-house, has often been narrated, and forms a 
good illustration of idiot life and feelings. He ,vas 
living in the greatest cOlufort, and every \vant pro- 
vhlcd. But, like the rest of mankind, he had his O\\Tn 
.. Read fror
} the SaInt Look. 



284 


REJ[Il'
ISCE.l\TCES OF 


trials, and his o,vn cause for anxiety and annoyance. 
In this poor fello,v's case it was the g'reat turkey-cock 
at the farln, of ,vhich he stood so terribly in a've that 
he ,vas afraid to come \vithin a great distance of his 
enemy. Some of his friends, coming to visit hin1, re
 
minded him how comfortable he was, and ho,v grate- 
ful he ought to be for the great care taken of him. 
He adl11itted the truth of the relllark generally, but 
still, like others, he had his unl{no,vn grief ,vhich 
sorely beset his path in life. There ,vas a secret 
grievance \vhich embittered his lot; and to his friend 
he thus opened his heart :-" Ae, ae, but oh, I'n1 sair 
hadden doun "..i' the bubbly jock." * 
I have received two anecdotes illustrative both of 
the occasional acutenesss of mind, and of the sensitive- 
ness of feeling occasionally indicated by persons thus 
situated. A ,yell-known idiot, Jamie Fraser, belong- 
ing to the parish of Lunan, in Forfarshire, quite 
surprised people sometÏ1nes by his replies. The 
congregation of his parish church had for some time 
distressed the minister by their habit of sleeping in 
church. He had often endeavoured to impress them 
,vith a sense of the Ï111propriety of such conduct, and 
one day J an1Ïe was sitting in the front gallery, ,vide 
a\vake, when Inany were slunlbering round him. The 
clergyman endeavoured to draw the attention of his 
hearers to his discourse by stating the fact, saying, 
" You see even Jamie Fraser, the idiot, does not faU 
asleep, as so many of you are doing." J arnie, not 
liking, perhaps, to be thus designated, coolly replied, 
" An I hadna been an idiot, I Inicht ha' been sleepin' 
too." Another of these imbeciles, belonging to 
Peebles, t had been sitting at church for some time 
listening attentively to a strong representation from 
it Sorely kept under by the turkey-cock. 



SCOTTISH LIFE d: CHAR.ACTER. 285 


t he pulpit of the guilt of deceit and falsehood ill 
Christian characters. He ,va.s observed to turn red, 
and gro"\v very uneasy, until at last, as if ,rincing 
under the supposed attack upon hinlself personally, 
he roared out, " Indeed, nlinister, there's mail' leears 
in Peebles than me." As examples of this class of 
persons possessing much of the dry hunlour of their 
more sane countrymen, and of their facility to utter 
sly and ready-,yitted sayings, I have received the t,vo 
follo\\ring from 1\11'. "T. Chambers :-Daft Jock Gray, 
the supposed original of David Gellatley, "Tas one day 
assailed by the minister of a south-country parish on 
the subject of his idleness. " John," said the Ininister, 
rather pompously, "you are a very itlle fello"\v ; you 
ulight surely herd a fe\v co,vs. H '" 1\Ie hiI'd!" replied 
Jock; "I dinna ken corn frae gerss." 
,. There ,vas a carrier nalned Davie Loch ,,,,110 ,ras 
reputed to be rather light of ,vits, but at the sanle 
tÍ1ne not \vithout a sense of his ,yorldly interests. 
His nlother, finding her end approaching, addressed 
her son in the presence of a llunlher of the neigh- 
bourse 'l'he house ,yill be Davie's and the furniture 
too.' 'Eh, l1ear her/ quoth Davie; 'sensible to 
the last, sensible to the last.' 'The lyin' siller' 
'Eh yes; how clear she is about everything!' 
'The lyin' siller is to be divided bet,yeell D1Y t\ya 
dauchte1's.' 'Steek the bed doors, steek the bed 
doors,'';;' interposed Davie; 'she's ravin' no,v ; , and the 
old dying 'YOlllan \yas shut up accordingly." 
In the illenzorials of the lJIontgomeríes, Earls 01 
Eglinton, vol. i. p. 134, occurs an anecdote illustrative 
of the peculiar acuteness and quaint humour ,y hieh 
occasionally nlark the sayings of persons considered 
* Close the doors. The old won1an was l
'iDg in a "búx.-l'ed.' 
See L,f
 of l
o1.Jf!,rt Cha1nbers, p )2. 



286 


RE11fINISCE1"lCES OF 


as imbeciles. There ,vas a certain" Daft 'Vill Speir," 
who ,vas a privileged haunter of Eglinton Castle and 
grounds. He was discovered by the Earl one day 
taking a near Cll t, and crossing a fence in the delnesne. 
The Earl called out, "Come back, sir, that's not the 
road." " Do you ken," said '
Vill, " ,,,haul' I'lIl gaun 1 " 
" No," replied his lordship. " 'Veel, hoo the deil do 
ye ken ,vhether this be the road or no 1 " 
This saIne "Daft "\Vill Speir " was passing the 
minister's glebe, where haymaking was in progress. 
The Ininister asked "\Vill if he thought the weather 
,vould keep up, as it looked rather like rain. " Weel," 
said 'ViII, "I canna be very sure, but I'll be passin' 
this ,yay the nicht, an' I'll ca' in and tell ye." " \Vell, 
'Vil1," said his master one day to him, seeing that he 
had just finished his dinner, "have you had a good 
dinner to day 
" (Will had been grumbling S0111e 
time before.) "Ou, vera gude," answered 'Vill; "but 
gin onybody asks if I got a draIn after't, what ,vill I 
say 1" This poor creature had a high sense of duty. 
It appears he had been given the charge of the coal- 
stores at the Earl of Eglinton's. Having on one 
occasion been reprimanded for allo\ving the supplies 
to run out before further supplies ,vere ordered, he 
was ever afterwards most careful to fulfil his duty. 
In course of time poor 'Vill became" sick unto death," 
and the Ininister came to see him. Thinking hiul in 
really a good frame of Inind, the minist.er asked hiIn, 
in presence of the laird and others, if there ,vere not 
one g'teat thought ,vhich ,vas ever to hÍln the highest 
consolation in his hour of trouble. "Ou ay," gasped 
the sufferer, "Lord he thankit, a' the bunkers are 
fu' !" 
'fhe follo,villg anecdote is told regarding the late 
Lorù Dundrennan :-A half silly basket-\voman passing 



SUOTTlSD LIF.E d: CHARACTER. 281 


down his avenue at Compstone one day, he met her l 
and said, "l\Iy good "Toman, t.here's no road this "Tay." 
" Nasir" S he said "I think Y e're "
ran g there. I 
", , 
think it's a most beautifu' road." 
These poor creatures have invariably a great delight 
in attending funerals. In many country places hardly 
a funeral ever took place ,vithout t.he attendance of 
the parochial idiot. It seemed ahnost a necessary 
association; and such attendance seemed to constitute 
the great delight of those creatures. I have Inyself 
witnesseù again and again the sort of funeral scene 
portrayed by Sir ".,. alter Scott, 'v ho no doubt took his 
description from ,vhat was conlmon in his day :-" The 
funeral pomp set forth-saulies ,vith their batons and 
gUll1phions of tarnished ,vhite crape. Six starved 
horses, themselves the very emblems of n1ortality, ,veIl 
cloaked and plumed, lugging along the hearse \vith its 
dismal elnblazonry, crept in slo,v pace towarlls the 
place of interment, preceded by Jamie Duff, an idiot, 
,vho, ,vith \veepers and cravat lllade of ,vhite paper, 
attended on every funeTal, and follo\ved by six mourn- 
ing coaches filled ,vith the cOlnpany." -(}uy J.1Ianlte'l'ing. 
The following anecdote, supplied by 1\11'. Blair, is 
an anlusing illustration both of the funeral propensity, 
and of the working of a defective brain, in a half- 
,vitted carle, ,vho used to range the province of Gallo- 
,yay armed ,vith a huge pike-staff, and who one day 
met a funeral procession a fe,y miles from 'Ylgto\vn. 
A long train of carriages, and farmers riding on horse- 
back, suggested the propriety of his bestriding his 
staff, and following after the funeral. The procession 
marched at a brisk pace, and on reaching the kirk- 
yard style, as each rider dismounted, "Daft Jock" de- 
scended from his ,vooden steed, besmeared ,vith nlire 
and perspiration. excI
.in1Îng, "Hech, sirs, had it no 



288 


REJI].VISCE}{CES OF 


been for the fashion 0' the thing, I ulicht as ,vt.
cl hae 
been on IllY ain feet." 
The '\vithdrawal of these characters from pulJlic 
vie\v, and the loss of importance \\Thich they once en. 
joyed in Scottish society, seem to Ine inexplicable. 
Have they ceased to exist, or are they removed from 
our sight to different scenes 1 'rhe fool was, in early 
times, a very important personage in n10st Scottish 
households of any distinction. Indeed this had been 
so common as to be a public nuisance. 
It seemed that persons assu'Jned the character, for 
we find a Scottish Act of Parlialnent, dated 19 th 
January 1449, ,vith this title:-" Act for the ,vay- 
putting of Fenyent Fules," etc. (Tholnson's Acts of 
Parliament of Scotland, vol. i.); and it enacts very 
stringent measures against such persons. They seem 
to have formed a link bet\veen the helpless idiot and 
the boisterous madman, sharing the eccentricity of the 
latter and the stupidity of the former, generally add- 
ing, ho\vever, a good deal of the sharp-wittedness of 
the knave. Up to the middle of the eighteenth century 
this appears to have been still an appendage to sonle 
families. I have before me a little publication ,vith 
the title, "The Life and Death of J aUlie Fleeman, tl)e 
Laird of U dny's Fool. Tenth edition. Aberdeen, 
1810." "Tith portrait. Also t\venty-sixth edition, 
of 1829. I should suppose this account of a family 
fool was a fair representation of a good specimen of 
the class. He ,vas evidently of defective intellect, but 
at times showed the odd humour and quick conclusion 
,vhich so often mark the disordered brain. I can 
only no\v give t,vo examples taken from his history: 
-Having found a horse-shoe on the road, he met 
lr. 
Craigie, the Ininister of St. Fergus, and showed it to 
hÎIll, asking, in pretended ignorance, what it \VBS, 



SCOTTISII LI
FE tL CHARAOTÞ)R. 281 


" 'Vhy, J anlie," said I\Ir. Craigie, good humouredly, 
" anybody that ,vas not a fool ,vonld kllO'V that it is 
a horse-shoe." " Ah !" said J arnie, ,,"ith affected sim.. 
plicity, " \vhat it is to be ,vise-to ken it's no a 111eer'S 
shoe!" 
On another occasion, ,vhell all the country-side ,,"ere 
hastening to the Perth races, Jamie had cut across 
the fields and reached a bridge near the to,,'"n, and 
sat dow'lI upon the parapet. He c0111menced munching 
a1vay at a large portion of a leg of 111utton ,vhich he 
had someho,v become possessed of, and of ,yhich he ,vas 
aillazingly proud. The laird callle riding past, and 
seeing J 
ìlnie sitting on the bridge, accosted hilll:- 
"Ay, :Fleeman, are ye here already 1" "Ou ay," 
quoth Fleeman, ,yith an air of assumed dignity and 
archness not easy to describe, ,\'"hile his eye glanced 
significantly to,vards the mutton," Ou ay, ye ken a 
body ,vhen he has onytlÛng." 
Of ,,"itty retorts by half- ,vitted creatures of tlJÎs 
class, I do not kno,v of one more pointed than ,vhat 
is recorded of such a character ,,,110 useù to hang about 
the residence of a late Lord Fife. It ,vould appear 
that some parts of his lorllship's estates ,\Tere barren, 
and in a very unproducti \re conditioll. U neIer the 
improved systenl of agriculture and of draining, great 
preparations had been n1adc for securing a gooù crop 
in a certain field, ,vhere Lord Fife, his factor, and 
others interested in the subject, ,vere collected together. 
There was llluch discussion, and some difference of 
opinion, as to the crop ,vith ,vhich the field had best 
be so,vn. The idiot retainer, ,vho had been listening un- 
noticed to all that ,vas said, at last cried out, "Saw't ,vi' 
factors, ma lord; they are surp to thrive every,vhere." 
1'h(
rc was an idiot ,vho lived long in Lauder, and 
GeeinS to have had a great rcsenlb1ance to tlu:1 je
t('r 



290 


REJIINISCENCES OF 


of old times. He ,vas a staunch supporter of the 
Established Church. One day some one gave hin1 a 
bad shilling. On Sunday he went to the Seceders' 
meeting-house, and ,,,hen the ladle ,vas taken round 
he pnt in his bad shilling and took out elevenpence 
halfpenny. After\vards he ,vent in high glee to the 
late Lord Lauderdale, calling out, "I've cheated the 
Seceders the day, my lord; I've cheated the Seceders." 
J emmy had long harboured a dislike to the steward 
on the property, ,vhich he made manifest in the 
follo,ving manner:-Lord Lauderdale and Sir Anthony 
l\!aitland used to take him out shooting; and one day 
Lord l\1aitland (he was then), on having to cross the 
Leader, said, "No,v, Jemmy, you shall carry me 
through the water," which J emn1Y duly did. The 
ste,vard, who ,vas shooting ,vith them, expected the 
same service, and accordingly said, "Now, J emmy, 
you must carry me over." " V era \veel," said J emmy. 
He took the ste"rard on his back, and ,vhen he had 
carefully carried him half-,vay across the river he paid 
off his grudge by dropping hÜn quietly into the water. 
A daft individual used to frequent the saIne district, 
about ,vhon1 a variety of opinions were entertained, 
-some people thinking him not so foolish as he 
sometimes seemed. On one occasion a person, wishing 
to test whether he kne,v the value of money, held 
out a sixpence and a penny, and offered him his choice. 
" I'll tak the wee ane," he said, giving as his modest 
reason, "I'se no be greedy." At another time, a 
miller laughing at him for his ,vitlessness, he said, 
"Some things I ken, and some I dinna ken." On 
being asked ,vhat he knew, he said, "I ken a miller 
has aye a gey fat sou." "An' what d'ye no ken 
 " 
said the miller. " Ou," he returned, "I dinna ken 
wha-'8 expense she's fed at." 



SCOTTISFl LIFE {
 CIIAIlACT1:R. 291 


A very amusing collision of one of those penurious 
lairds, already referred to, a certain 
Ir. Gordon of 
Rothie, ,vith a half-daft beggar ,,"anderer of the name 
of Jock J\fuilton, has been recorded. The laird was 
very shabby, as usual, and, meeting Jock, began to 
banter hÍ1n on the subject of his dress :-" Y e're very 
grand, Jock. Thae's fine claes ye hae gotten; lrhaur 
did ye get that coat 
" Jock told him W' ho had given 
hÏ1n his coat, and then, looking slily at the laird, he 
inquired, as ,yith great sin1plicity, "And ,vhaur did 
)-
e get yours, laird 
 " 
For another admirable story of a rencontre between 
a penurious laird and the parish natural I anl indebted 
to the Scots1Jzan, J Hue 16, 1871. Once on a time 
there was a IIighland laird reuo\vned for his caution 
in money lnatters, and his precise keeping of books, 
His charities ,vere there; but that departlnent of his 
bookkeeping ,vas not believed to be heavy. On ex- 
amination, a SUIl1 of half-a-cro"Tn ,vas unexpectedly 
discovered in it; but this ,,"'as accounted for in a 
manner creditable to his intentions, if not to his snc- 
cess in executing theIne It had been given in Inistake 
instead of a coin of a different denomination, to "the 
natural" of the parish for holding his shelty ",-hile he 
transacted business at the bank. A gleall1 in the 
boy's eye dre,v his attention to a gleam of ".hite as 
the metal dropped into his pocket. In vain the laird 
assured him it ,vas not a good ba,vbee-if he ,vould 
give it up he ,vould get another-it ,yas "guid 
eneuch " for the like of him. And 'v hen the laird in 
his extrenlity swore a great oath that unless it ,vas 
given up he would never give another halfpenny, the 
ans,ver was-" Ech, laird, it ,vad be lang or ye gied 
n1e saxty " 
AlloLher exalnple of shre\\"d and ready humour in 



292 


RE.JII.
YISCENCES Oll 


one of that class is the follo".ing :- In this case tht 
itliot ,vas 11lusical, and. earned a fe,v stray pence by 
phtying Scottish airs on a flute. He resided at Stir- 
ling, and used to hang about the door of the inn to 
,vatch the arrival and departure of travellers. A lady, 
who used to give him son1ething occasionally, \\Tas 
just starting, and said to J anlie that she had only a 
fourpenny piece, and that he nlust be content ,vith 
that, for she could not stay to get more. Jamie ".as 
not satisfied, and as the lady drove out, he expressed 
his fee1ings by playing with all his might, "0 ,vearie 
0' the loom pouch." * 
1'he spirit in Jamie Fraser before mentioned, an<l 
,vhich had kept him a,vake, sho,vs itself in idiots occa- 
sional1y by 1uaking them restless and troublesome. 
One of this character had annoyed the clergyman 
,vhere he attended church by fidgeting, and by un- 
couth sounds which he uttered during divine service. 
Accordingly, one day before church began, he ,yas 
cautioned against moving, or a making a \vhisht," under 
the penalty of being turned out. The poor creature 
sat quite still and silent, till, in a very inlportant 
part of the sermon, he felt an inclination to cough. 
So he shouted out, "l\Iinister, nlay a puir body 1ike 
me noo gie a hoast 
 " t 
I have t,vo anecdotes of t,vo peers, ,yllo 11light be 
said to come under the description of half- \vitteù. In 
their case the same sort of dry Scotch humour came 
out under the cloak of 111ental disease. rrhe first is 
of a Scottish nobleman of the last century \"ho had 
been a soldier the greater part of his life, but "'as 
obliged to COllle home on account of aberration of 
mind, superinduced by hereditary propensity. De- 
sirous of putting him under due restraint, and at the 
> 
:ml)ty poc

t\t. t .A cough. 



SCOTTISH LIFE & CHARACTER. 293 


same time of engaging his n1illd in his favourite pur- 
8uit, his friends secured a Sergeant Briggs to be his 
companion, and, in fact, keeper. To render the 
sergeant acceptable as a companion they introduced 
him to th e old earl as Colonel Briggs. Being asked 
how he liked "the colonel," the earl showed ho,'" 
acute he still was by his ans,ver, " Oh, very ,veIl; he 
is a sensible man, and a good soldier, but he smells 
dal1
nabl y of the halbert." 
The second anecdote relates also to a Scottish 
nobleman labounng under aberration of mind, and is, 
I believe, a traditionary one. In Scotland, some 
hundred years ago, madhouses did not exist, or ,vere 
on a very limited scale; and there ,vas often great 
difficulty in procuring suitable accommodation for 
patients ,vho required special treatnlent and seclusion 
fronl the ,yorld. The gentleman in question had 
been consigned to the Canongate prison, and his posi- 
tion there ,vas far fronl comfortable. An old friend 
called to see him, and asked ho,v it had happened 
that he was placed in so unpleasant a situation. His 
reply ,vas, "Sir, it ,vas nlore the kind interest and 
patronage of my friends than my own merits that 
have placed nle here." "But have you not remon- 
strated or complained 
" asked his visitor. "I told 
them" said his lordship, "that they were a pack of 
infernal villains." " Did you 
" said his friend; "that 
,vas bold language; and ,vhat did they say to that 1 " 
" Oh," said the peer, "I took care not to tell them till 
they were fairly out of the place, and ,veel up the 
Canongate. " 
In Peebles there was a crazy being of this kind 
caned "Daft Y edie." On one occasion he saw a 
gentleman, a stranger in the town, ,vho had a club 
foot. Yedie contemplated this phenomenon \\.itb 
2 c 





. 


REJlINISCE1YCES OF 


Borne interest, and, addressing the gentleman, said 
compassionately, "It's a great pity-its spoils the 
boot." 1'here is a story of one of those half-\vitted 
creatures of a different character from the humorou! 
ones already recorded; I think it is exceedingl) 
affecting. The story is traditionary in a country dis 
trict, and I aln not a 'v are of its being ever printed. 
A poor boy, of this class, \vho had evidently Inani- 
fested a tendency to\vards religious and devotional 
feelings, asked permission fronl the clergyman to 
attend the Lord's Table and partake of the holy com- 
munion ,,'ith the other members of the congregation 
(whether Episcopalian or Presbyterian I do not know). 
The clergyman demurred for some tiIne, under the 
impression of his mind being incapable of a right and 
due understanding of the sacred ordinance. But 
observing the extreme earnestness of the poor boy, he 
at last gave consent, and he ,vas allo\ved to come. 
He ,vas much affected, and all the way home was 
heard to exclaim, "Oh! I hae seen the pretty man." 
This referred to his seeing the Lord Jesus whom he 
had approached in the sacrament. He kept repeating 
the words, and ,vent with them on his lips to rest for 
the night. Not appearing at the usual hour for 
breakfast, \v hen they \vent to his bedside they found 
him dead! The excitement had been too much- 
mind and body had given way-and the half-idiot of 
earth awoke to the glories and the bliss of his Re- 
deemer's presence. 
Analogous with the language of the defective intellect 
is the language of the imperfectly formed intel1ect, 
and I have often thought there was something very 
touching and very fresh in the expression of feelings 
and notions by children. I have given examples be- 
fore, but the follo\ving is, to my taste, a cbarlning 



SCOTTISH LIFE & CH.ARAC1'ER. 295 


fõpecimen :-A little boy had lived for some time wit h 
a very penurious uncle, \v ho took good care that the 
child's health should not be injured by over-feeding. 
The uncle ""as one day walking out, the child at his 
side, ,yhen a friend accosted him, accompanied by a 
greyhound. "Thile the elders ,vere talking, the little 
fellow, never having seen a dog so slim and slight of 
form, clasped the creature round the neck ,vith the 
impassioned cry, " Oh, doggie, doggie, and div ye live 
,vi' your uncle tae, that ye are so thin 1 " 
In connection ,yith funera1s, I am indebted to the 
kindness of Lord Kinloch for a characteristic anecdote 
of cautious Scottish character in the ,vest country. It 
was the old fashion, still practised in some districts, 
to carry the coffin to the grave on long poles, or 
" spokes," as they "'"ere commonly termed. There 
,vere usually t,yO bearers abreast on each side. On a 
certain occasion one of the t,vo said to his cOlIlp3nion, 
"I'm a,vfu'tired ,vi' carryin'." "Do you car1'y 1" ,vas 
the interrogatory in reply. " Yes; ,vhat do you do 
 " 
" Oh," said the other, "I aye lean." His friend's 
fatigue ,vas at once accounted for. 
I am strongly tempted to give an account of a 
parish functionary in the words of a kind corre- 
spondent from l{ilmarnock, although C01l1IDUnicated 
in the fol1o,ving very flattering terrns :-" In common 
with every Scottish nlan ".orthy of the name, I have 
been delighted ,vith your book, and have the ambi- 
tion to add a pebble to the cairn, aud accordingly 
send you a belluzan story; it has, at least, the merit 
of being unprinted and unedited." 
The incumbent of Craigie parish, in this district of 
Ayrshire, 11ad asked a 
Ir. 'V ood, tutor in the Cairn- 
hill family, to officiate for him on a particular Sun- 
day. bIr. Wood, however, between the time of being 



296 


REll1INISCElvCES OF 


asked a.nd the appointed day, got intimation of the 
dangerous illness of his father; in the hurry of 
setting out to see him, he forgot to arrange for the 
pulpit being filled. The bellman of Craigie parish, 
by nalne Matthe,v Dinning, and at this time about 
eighty years of age, was a very little "crined" '*' old 
nlan, and al,vays wore a broad Scottish blue bonnet, 
with a red" bob" on the top. The parish is a small 
rural one, so that l\Iatthew knew every inhabitant in 
it, and had seen most of them grow up. On this 
particular day, after the congregation had waited for 
some time, Matthe"\v ,vas seen to ,valk very slowly up 
the middle of the church, with the large Bible and 
psalm-book under his arm, to nlount the pulpit stair; 
and after taking his bonnet off, and smoothing do,vn 
his forehead with his " loof," thus addressed the 
audience :- 
"My freens, tl1ere was ane 'Vuds tae hae preached 
here the day, but he has nayther corned himsell, nor 
had the ceevility tae sen' us the scart 0' a pen. 
Ye'll bide here for ten meenonts, and gin naebody 
comes forrit in that time, ye can gang a,va' hame. 
Some say his feyther's dead; as for that I kenna." 
The following is another illustration of the cha- 
racter of the old Scottish betheral. One of those 
"rorthies, who was parochial grave-digger, had been 
missing for t"\vo days or so, and the nlinister had in 
vain sent to discover him at most likely places. He 
bethought, at last, to make inquiry at a "public" at 
some distance from the village, and on entering the 
door he tnet his man in the trance, quite fou, stagger.. 
ing out, supporting himself ,vith a hand on eaeh wa'. 
To the minister's sharp rebuke and rising wrath for 
bis indecent and shameful behaviour, John, a wag in 
· Shrivelled. 



SOOT1'ISH LIFE d: OHARACTER. 297 


hi
 ,yay, and emboldened by liquor, made answer, 
"'Deed, sir, sin' I ca'd at the manse, I hae buried an 
auld wife, and I've just drucken her, hough an' 
horn." Such ,vas his candid admission of the n1anner 
in ,vhich he had disposed of the church fees paid for 
the interment. 
An encounter of wits bet,veen a laird and an 
elder :-A certain laird in Fife, well kno,vn for his 
parsimonious habits, and ,vho, although his substance 
largely increased, did not increase his liberality in 
his ,veekly contribution to the church collection, 
which never exceeded the sum of one penny, one 
day by mistake dropped into the plate at the door 
half-a-cro,vn; but discovering his error before he 
"ras seated in his pe,v, he hurried back, and was 
about to replace the coin by his customary penny, 
when the elder in attendance cried out, "Stop, laird; 
ye may put in ,vhat ye like, but ye maun tak nae- 
thing oot !" The laird, finding his explanations ,vent. 
for nothing, at last said, " .l1. ,veel, I suppose I'll get 
credit for it in heaven." "Na, na, laird," said the 
elder, sarcastically; "ye'll only get credit for the 
penny." 
The following is not a bad specimen of sly pipeIJ' 
v{it :- 
The Rev. l\fr. Johnstone of !\Ionquhitter, a very 
grandiloquent pulpit orator in his day, accosting a 
travelhng riper, "'"ell known in the district, "yith the 
question, "\V en, Jolin, ho,v does the wind pay 
" 
received from John, ,vith a lo,v bo,v, the ans"
er, 
" Your Reverence has the advantage of me." 
Apropos to stories connected with ministers and 
pipers, there cannot be a better specimen than the 
famous one preserved by Sir "\Valter Scott, in his 
notes to lfTu'l:erley, ,vhich I alll tempted to reproduce, 



2p
 


REltlINISOENOES OF 


as possibly some of my readers may have forgotten 
it. The gudewife of the inn at Greenla\v had r3- 
ceived four clerical guests into her house, a father 
and three sons. 1'he father took an early oppor- 
tunity of calling the attention of the landlady to the 
subject of his visit, and, introducing hilnself, com- 
menced in rather a pompous manner-" Now, con- 
fess, Luckie Buchan, you never remember having such 
a party in your house before. Here am I, a placed 
minister, with nlY three sons, ,vho are themselves all 
placed ministers." The landlady, accustomed to a 
good deal of deference and attention from the county 
families, not quite liking the high tone assumed by 
the minister on the occasion, ancl being ,veIl a,vare 
that all the four were reckoned very poor and unin- 
teresting preachers, answered rather drily, "'Deed, 
minister, I canna just say that I ever had sic a party 
before in the hoose, except it were in the' 45, ,vhen 
I had a piper and his three sons--a' pipers. But" 
(she added quietly, as if aside), "deil a spring could 
they play amang them." 
I have received from Rev. 'Villiam Blair, A.1tI. 
U.P. minister at Dunblane, many kind communica- 
tions. I have n1ade a selection, ,vhich I no,v group 
together, and they have this character in common, 
that they are all anecdotes of ministers :- 
Rev. Walter Dunlop of Dunlfries was well known for 
pithy and facetious replies; he was kindly known unùer 
the appellation of our " Watty Dunlop." On one occasion 
two irreverent young fello\vs detenuinecl, as they said, to 
.e taigle" *' the lllinister. Coming up to hinl in the lIigh 
Street of Dunlfries, they accosted hiln \\.itl1 much solenlnitJ 
-" l\Iaister Dunlop, dae ye hear the ne\vs 1 " What 
news 1" "Oh, the deil's deed." "Is he 1" saiù 1\fr 
· Confound. 



SC01'TISH LIli'E æ OH...-l.RAGTER. 299 


Dunlop, "then I maUD pray for t\va faitherless hainls." 
Un another occasion 111'. Dunlop lnet, ,vith characteristic 
humour, an attempt to playoff a trick against hiIn. It 
was known that he ,vas to (line ,vith a nlinister w'hose house 
was close to the church, so that his return back lllUst ùe 
through the churchyard. Accordingly SOllle idle and n1is- 
chievous youths \yaited for him in the dark night, and one 
of thenl came up to hhn, dresseJ as a ghost, in hopes of 
putting hinl in a fright. 'Vatty's cool accost speedily upset 
the plan :-" W eel, 
faister Ghaist, is this a general rising, 
or are ye juist takin'..a daunder frae yer grave by yerse1l1" 
I have received from a correspondent another specimen of 
'Vatty's acute rejoinders. Some years ago the celebrated 
Ed,vard Irving had been lecturing at Dumfries, and a man 
who passed as a wag in that locality had been to hear hin1. 
He met 'Vatty Dunlop the follo,ving day, ,vho said, " 'Veel, 
'Villie, luan, an' what do ).e think of Mr. Irving 1" "011," 
said 'Villie, contemptuously, "the nlan's crack't." Dunlop 
patted him on the shoulder, \vith a quiet remark, " 'Villie, 
ye'll aften see a light peeping through a crack !" 
He 'was accolnpanying a funeral one day, ,vhen he met 
a man driving a flock of geese. The w'ayward disposition 
of the bipeds at the moment \vas too much for the driver's 
temper, and he indignantly cried out, "Deevil choke 
them ! " 1\11'. Dunlop \valked a little farther on, and passeù 
a farm-stead, ,,,here a servant 'was driving out a number of 
swine, and banning thenl \vith " Dcevil tak then1 !" Upon 
which, 
Ir. Dunlop stepped up to him, and said, " Ay, ay, 
my man; your gentlenlan '11 be wi' ye i' the noo: he's 
juist back the road there a bit, choking some geese till a 
man. " 
Shortly a.fter the Disruption, Dr. Cook of St. Andre\vs 
was introduced to 
Ir. Dunlop, upon which occ.asion 1\Ir. 
Dunlop said, " "\Veel, sir, ye've been lang Cook, Cooking 
them, but ye've dished theln at last." 
}Ir. Clark of Dalreoch, 'v hose head ,vas vastly dispro- 
portioned to his bo(ly, lnet 1\11'. Dunlop one day. "Vl eel, 
!;!r. Clark, t11.1.t'8 a 
I"
at h
ad 0' your
." "Iudeeù it 1.s s 



300 


REJlllvISCENOES OF 



Ir. Dunlop; I could contain yours inside of my own.' , 
"Juist sae," quietly replied Mr. Dunlop; "I was e'en 
thinkin' it was geyan toon
. n * 

lr. Dunlop happened one day to be present in a church 
court of a neighbouring presbJtery. A Rev. Doctor ,vas 
asked to pray, and declined. On the meeting adjourning, 
:hIre Dunlop stepped up to the Doctor, and asked how he 
did. 'l
e Doctor, never having been introduced, did not 
reply. 
lr. Dunlop ,vithdrew, and said to his friend, 
" Eh! but isna he a queer man, that Doctor, he'll neither 
speak to God nor man." 
The Rev. John Brown of Whitburn was riding out one 
day on an old pony, ,vhen he was accosted by a rude youth: 
" I say, Mr. Brooll, what gars your horse's tail wag that 
way 7" "00, jtúst what gars your tongue wag; it's fashed 
,,
i' a wakeness." 
About sixty years ago there 'were two ministers in 
Sanquhar of the nalne of Thomson, one of whom was father 
of the late Dr. Andrew Thomson of Edinburgh, the other 
was father of Dr. Thonlson of Balfron. The domestic in 
the family of the latter ,vas rather obtrusive ,vith her secret 
devotions, sometimes kneeling on the stairs at night, and 
talking loud enough to be heard. On a communion season 
she '\-vas praying devoutly and exclusively for her minister: 
" Remeluber 
Ir. Tanu
on, no hhn at the Green, but oor ain 

Ir. Tamson." 
Rev. 
Ir. Leslie of l\Iorayshire combined the duties of 
justice of peace with those of parochial clergyman. Onp 
day he was taken into confidence by a culprit ,vIlo had 
been caught in the act of smuggling, and was threateneù 
with a heavy fine. The culprit was a staunch Seceder, 
and o,vned a small farm. Mr. Leslie, with an old-fashioned 
zeal for the Established Church, said to him, "The king 
will COlne in the cadger's road some day. Ye wadna come 
to the parish kirk, though it were to save your life, ,,-ad 
ye 1 Come 1100, an' I'se Diak ye a' richt !" N ext Sabbath 
tbe seceding smuggler appeared in the parish kirk, an
l 8.; 
· EIL.ptv 



THE BE
-\DLE 


From tl f Ia.ter-colour drall,z'Jl!: bJ' 
II,/:'_YR r !fT. A-ERR, 

l.R.S.d.. R.S.1f'. 


. 



. 




 

 


, 


, 


- --L.:<
 




SaoTTISH LIFE J: CHAllAOTER.. SOl 


the paupers were receiving parochial allowance, l\Ir. Leslie 
s1ipped a shilling into the sllluggler's hand. When the 
J. P. Court was beld, Mr. Leslie was present, w'hen a fine 
".as proposed to be exacted from the smuggler. "Fine!" 
said 
Ir. Leslie ; "he's mair need 0' something to get duds 
to his back. He's ane 0' my poor roll; I gie'd him a 
shilling just last Sabbath." 
A worthy old Seceder used to ride from Gargunnock to 
Buckl
'vie every Sabbath to attend the Burgher kirk. One 
day as he rode past the parish kirk of Kippen, the elder 
at the plate accosted him, " rIn sure, John, it's no like the 
thing to see you ridin'in sic a doon-pour 0' rain sae far by 
to thae Seceders. Ye ken the mercifu' nlan is mercifu' to 
his beast. Could ye no step in by î" "".,. eel," said John, 
., I wadna care sae muckle about Ftablin' my bea
t inside, 
but it's anither thing lli)?sel' gain' in." 
The Rey. Dr. George Lawson of Selkirk acted for Inany 
years as theological tutor to the Secession Church. One 
day, on entering the Divinity Hall, he overheard a student 
remark that the professor's wig \vas uncombed. That sanle 
student, on that very day, had occasion to preach a sernlon 
before the Doctor, for ,,-hich he received a bit of severe 
criticism, the sting of ,,-hich \\'as in its tail: ., You said 
my wig ".asna kaimed this mornin', my lad, ùut I think 
I've redd your head to you." 
The R.ev. John Heugh of Stirling was one day admonish- 
ing one of his people of the sin of intenlperance : "
Ian, 
John, you should never drink except when you're dry." 
., Weel, sir," quoth John, "that's "That I'm aye doin', for I 
am never slocken'd." 
The Rev. 1\Ir. 
I- of Butbóate came up to a strect- 
paviour one day, and addressed him, "Eh, John, ,,-hat'8 
this you're at ?" "Oh! I'm mending the ".ays 0' Bath- 
gate!" ".Ab, John, rve long been trying to mend the ,,-ays 
0' Batbgate, an' they're no weel yet." "\Y eel, 
Ir. ltI., if 
you had tried my plan, and COlue doon to your knecs, )'e 
wad maybe hae come mair speed!" 
Tbpre once lived Ïll Cupar u merchant w ho...e sture CûI:. 



802 


REJII1:{]SCENCES OF 


tained supplies of every character and description, so that 
he ,vas cOJnnl'Jnly known by the sobriquet of Robbie 
A.'Thing. One day a minister, who ,vas ,veIl known for 
a servile use of 1\lS. in the pulpit, called at the store, asking 
for a rope and pill to tether a young calf in the glebe. 
Robbie at once informed hhn that he could not furnish 
such articles to him. But the minister, being sonlewhat 
importunate, said, "Oh! I thought you ,yere named Robbie 
A'Thing from the fact of your keeping all kinds of goods." 
" 'V eel a .weel," said Robbie," I keep a'thing in Iny shop 
but calf's tether-pins and paper serIllons for nlinisters to 
read." 
It was a sOlnewhat whimsical advice, supported by whim- 
sical argument, which used to be given by an old Scottish 
minister to young preachers, when they visited froin home, 
to "sup well at the kail, for if they ,vere good they were 
worth the supping, and if not they might be sure there 
,vas not nlllch worth coming a.ftel. them." 
A good many families in and around Dunblane rejoice 
in the patronymic of Dochart. This nanle, which sounds 
sOIne,vhat Irish, is derived from Loch Duchart, in Perth- 
shire. The !\I'Gregors having been proscribed, were sub- 
jected to severe penalties, and a group of the clan having 
been hunted by their superiors, swanl the streanl which 
issues fl'onl Loch Dochart, and in gratitude to the river 
they after,vards assumed the fanlily name of Dochal't. A 
young lad of this name, on being sent to Glasgo,v College, 
presented a letter from his minister to Rev. Dr. Heugh of 
Glasgo\v. He gave his name as Dochart, and the name in 
the letter was 
f'Gregor. "Oh," said the Doctor, " I fear 
there is sOlne luistake about your identity, the IjameS don't 
agree." ,,"\\r eel, sir, that's the \vay they spell the name in 
our country." 
'rhe relative ,vhom I have mentioned as supplying 
so many Scottish anecdotes had many stories of. a 
parochial functionary \vhose eccentricities have, in a 

{reat mea:;uI'C, given ,yay before the assunilating 



SC
TTISH LIFE d: CHARACTER. 303 


lpirit of the times. I nlean the old SCOTTISH BEADLE, 
or betheral, as he used to be called. Sonle classes of 
men are found to have that nameless but distinguish- 
'--' 
Ïng characteristic of figure and aspect which marks 
out particular occupations and professions of Inan- 
kind. This ,vas so much the case in the betheral 
class, that an old lady, observing a well-kno,vn judge 
and advocate ,valking together in the street, renlarked 
to a friend as they passed by, " Dear nle, Lucy, 'v ha 
are thae twa beddle-looking bodies 1" They ,vere 
often great originals, and, I suspect, nlust have been 
in past tÍ1nes some,vhat given to convivial habits, 
from a remark I recollect of the late Baron Clerk 
Rattray, viz. that in his younger days he had hardly 
ever kno,vn a perfectly sober betheral. However 
this may have been, they 'v ere, as a class, remark- 
able for quaint humour, and for being shre,vd ob- 
servers of ,vhat ,vas going on. I have heard of an 
occasion 'v here the betheral made his wit furnish an 
apology for his ,vant of sobriety. He had been sent 
round the parish by the minister to deliver notices at 
all the houses, of the catechising ,vhich ,vas to pre- 
cede t.he preparation for receiving the conlnlunion. 
On his return it ,vas quite evident that he had par- 
taken too largely of refreshment since he had been 
on his expedition. The minister reproached hinl for 
this Í1nproper a conduct. The betheral pleaded the 
pressing hospitality of the parishioners The clergy. 
man did not adnát the plea, and added, " N O'Y, John, 
I go through the parish, and you don't see me return 
fou, as you have done." "Ay, lllinister," rejoined 
the betheral, \vith much complacency, "but then 
aiblins ye're no sae popular i' the parish as Ine." 
l\ly relative used to tell of one of these officiaÌs re- 
ceiving, ,vith much cerelnollJT, a brother betheral, frolD 



304 


REJJI
VISOEN(JES OJí' 


a neighbouring parish, ,vho had COlne with the minis- 
ter thereof for the purpose of preaching on sonle special 
occasion. After service, the betheral of the stranger 
clergynlan felt proud of the performance of the ap- 
pointed duty, and said in a triumphant tone to his 
friend, " I think oor minister did \veel; ay, he gars the 
stour flee oot 0' the cushion." To which the other 
rejoined, ,vith a calm feeling of superiority, "Stour 
oot 0' the cushion! hout, our minister, sin' he earn ,vi: 
us, has dung the guts oot 0' twa Bibles." Another 
description I have heard of an energetic preacher more 
forcible than delicate-" Eh, oor minister had a great 
po\ver 0' watter, for he grat, and spat, and s\vat like 
mischeef." An ohliging anonymous correspondent 
has sent me a story of a functionary of this class 
,vhose pride was centred not so much in the perforln- 
ance of the minister as of the precentor. He state
 
that he remembers an old beadle of the church which 
,vas called" Haddo's Hole," and sometilnes the" Little 
Kirk," in Edinburgh, \v hose son occasionally officia- 
ted as precentor. He was not very well qualified 
for the duty, but the father had a high opinion of his 
son's vocal po,vers. In those days there was ahvays 
service in the church on the Tuesday evenings; and 
,vhen the father was asked on such occasions, ",\Vho's 
to preach to-night 1" his self-complacent reply used to 
be, " I divna ken wha's till preach, but, my son's for 
till precent." The following is a more correct version 
of a betheral story than one which occupied this page 
in the last edition. The beadle had been asked to 
recolnnlend a person for the same office, and his 
ans,ver ,vas, "If ye had ,vanted t,va or three bits 0' 
elder bodies, I cud hae gotten them for ye as easily aG 
penny haps oot of IVlr. Rowan's shop," pointing to a 
baker's shop opposite to where the colloquy took place j 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 CHARACTER. 805 


.Ior even if ye had wanted a minister, I might hae 
helpit ye to get ane j but as for a gude beadle, that's 
about the maist difficult thing I ken 0' just no\v." 
Perhaps the following may seem to illustrate the 
self-importance of the betheral tribe. The Rev. Dr. 
H ugh Blair ''''as one Sunday absent from his pulpit, 
and next morning meeting his beadle in the street he 
inquired ho,v matters "
ent in the High Church on 
Sabbath. "'Deed, I dare say no very \veel," "ras the 
ans,ver j "I wasna there ony mail' than yoursell." 
l\Ir. Turnbull of Dundee kindly sends me an excel- 
lent anecdote of the "Betheral" type, ,vhich illus- 
trates tbe esprit de C01"jJS of the betherelian mind. 
The late Dr. Robertson of Glasgo'\Y had, while in 
the parish of Mains, a quaint old church attend- 
ant of the name of 'Valter Nicoll, con1monly called 
"'Vatty Nuckle," whom he invited to come and 
visit him after he had been removed to Glasgo".. 
'Vatty accordingly ventured on the (to him) terrible 
journey, and ,vas received by the Doctor ,vith great 
kindness. The Doctor, an10ngst other sights, took 
him to see the Cathedral church, and showed him all 
through it, and after they ,vere con1ing a,vay the 
Doctor asked 'Vatty ,vhat he thought of it, and if it 
,vas not better than the J\Iains church. "ratty shook 
his head, and said, "A,veel, sir, you see she's bigger; 
but she has nae laft, and she's sair fashed wi' thae 
. 11 " 
pi ars. 
On the same subject of beadle peculiarities, I have re- 
ceived from 
Irs. l\Iearns of Kineff Manse an exquisitely 
characteristic illustration of beadle professional habits 
being made to bear upon the tender passion :-
t\. 
certain beadle had fancied the manse housemaid, but 
at a loss for an opportunity to declare himself, one 
day-a Sunday-when his duti
 \vare ended, he 



306 


RE],[Il{[SCE1{CES OF 


looked sheepish, and said, "Mary, ,vad ye tak a turn, 

Iary 1" l-Ie led her to the churchyard, and pointing 
\vith his finger, got out, "
1:y fowk lie there, l\lary ; 
\vad ye like to lie there
" 'fhe grave hint ,vas taken, 
and she became his ,vife, but does not yet lie the1'e. 
Here is another good example of betheral refinement 
or philo
ophy.-He ,vas carefully dressing up a grave, 
and adjusting the turf upon it. The clergyman, pass- 
ing through the churchyard, observed, "That's heauti- 
ful sod, J eems." "Indeed is't, minister, and I grudge 
it upon the grave 0' sic a scamp." 
This class of functionaries ,vere very free in their 
remarks upon the preaching of strangers, ,vho used 
occasionally to occupy the pulpit of their church- 
the city betherals speaking sometinles in a most 
condescending manner of clergy from the provincial 
parishes. As, for exam pIe, a betheral of one of the 
large churches in Glasgo,v, criticising the sermon of a 
minister from the country \vho had been preaching 
in the city church, characterised it as "gude coorse 
country ,vark." A betheral of one of the churches 
of St. Giles, Edinburgh, used to call on the family of 
Mr. Robert Stevenson, engineer, ,vho ,vas one of the 
elders. On one occasion they asked him vlhat l1ad 
been the text on such a night, ,vhen none of the 
fanlily had been present. 'rhe man of office, confused 
at the question, and unwilling to show anything like 
ignorance, poured forth, "'V eel, ye see, the text last 
day ,vas just entirely, sirs-yes-the text, sirs-what 
,vas it again 1-ou ay, just entirely, ye see it ,vas, 
'What profiteth a Inan if he lose the ,vorld, and gain 
his o,vn soul 1 ' " Most of such stories are usually of 
an old standing. A more recent one has been told 
me of a betheral of a royal burgh much decayed 
from former importance, and governed by a feeble 



SCOTTISH LIFE d; CHARACTER. 307 


municipality of old men, 'v ho continued in office, and 
in fact constituted rather the shado\y than the 
substance of a corporation. A clergyman frOln a 
distance having come to officiate in the parish church, 
the betheral, kno,ving the terms on ,,"hich it ,vas 
usual for the minister officiating to pray for the 
efficiency of the local In agis tracy, quietly cautioned 
the clergyman before service that, in regard to the 
town-council there, it ,vonld be quite out of place for 
him to pray that they should be a "terror to evil- 
doers," because, as he said, "the puir auld bodies 
could be nae terror to onybody." A Ininister of 
Easter Anstruther, during the last century, used to 
say of the Inagistrates of 'Vester Anstru ther, that 
"instead of being a terror to evil-doers, evil-doers 
\vere a terror to then}." 
The "minister's man" \vas a functionary ,veIl 
kno,vn in many parishes, and \,"ho often evinced 
much Scottish humour and original character. rrhese 
men ,vere (like the betheral) great critics of sermons, 
and often severe upon strangers, sometimes ,vith a 
sly hit at their own minister. One of these, David, 
a ,vell-kno,vn character, complimenting a young 
minister "Tho had preached, told him, " Your intro- 
duction, sir, is aye grand; its ,vorth a' the rest 0' the 
sermon-could ye no mak it a' introduction 1" 
David's criticislns of his master's sermons \vere 
sometimes sharp enough and shre\vd. On one 
occasion, driving the minister home from a neighbour- 
ing church ,vhere he had been preaching, and ","ho, 
as he thought, had acquitted himself pretty well, 
inquired of David ""hat 1M thought of it. The 
subject of discourse had been the escape of the 
Israelites from Egypt. So David opened his criticism 
-" Thocht o't, sir 1 deed I thocht nocht o't ava. It 



308 


RE},fINISCENCES OF 


was a vara imperfect discourse in ma opinion; ye did 
weel eneuch till ye took them through, but where 
did ye leave them 1 just daunerin' 0' the sea-shore 
without a' place to gang till. Had it no been for 
Pharaoh they had been better on the other side, 
where they ,vere comfortably encampit, than daunerin' 
,vhere ye left them. It's painful to hear a sermon 
stoppit afore it's richt ended, just as it is to hear 
ane streekit out lang after it's dune. That's ma 
opinion 0' the sermon ye gied us to-day." " Very 
freely given, Da\Tid, very freely given; drive on a 
little faster, for I think ye're daunerin' noo yersell." 
To another ,vho had gone through a long course 
of parish official life a gentleman one day ren1arked 
-" John, ye hae been sae lang about the minister's 
ha.nd that I dare say ye could preach a sermon yersell 
no,v." To ,vhich John modestly replied, "0 na, sir, 
I couldna preach a sermon, but maybe I could dra'v 
an inference." " Well, John," said the gentleman, 
11lunouring the quiet vanity of the beadle, "what 
inference could ye draw frae this text, 'A ,vild ass 
snuffeth up the ,vind at her pleasure 1'" (Jer. ii. 24). 
" "VVeel, sir, I ,vad dra,v this inference, he ,vould snuff 
a lang time afore he ,vould fatten upon't." I had an 
anecdote from a friend, of a reply from a betheral to 
the minister in church, ,vhich ,vas quaint and amusing 
from the shre,vd self-importance it indicated in his 
own acuteness. The clergyman had been annoyed 
during the course of his scrinon by t.he restlessness 
and occasional ,vhining of a dog, which at last began 
to bark outright. He looked out for the beadle, and 
directed him very peremptorily, "John, caITY that 
dog out. " John, looked up to the pulpit, and with 
a very knowing expression, said, "N a, na, sir; I'se 
just mak him gae out on his ain four legs." I havo 



SCOTTiSH Lll'E <f OHARAOTER. 809 


another story of canine misbehaviour in church. A 
dog was present during the service, and in the sermon 
the worthy minister was in the habit of speaking 
very loud, and, in fact, "Then he got ,varmed with his 
subject, of shouting almost at the top of his voice. 
The dog, who, in the early part, had been very quiet, 
becanle quite excited, as is not uncommon .,vith some 
dogs when hearing a noise, and from ,vhinging and 
whining, as the speaker's voice rose loud and strong, 
at last began to bark and howl. The minister, 
naturally much annoyed at the interruption, called 
upon the betheral to put out the dog, ,vho at once 
expressed his readiness to obey the order, but could 
not resist the temptation to look up to the pulpit, 
and to say very significantly, "Ay, ay, sir; but 
indeed it was yersell began it." There is a dog story 
connected with Reminiscences of Glasgow (see 
Oharnbe1's's Jou1'nal, March 1855), which is fuU of 
meaning. The bowls of rum-punch which so remark- 
ably characterised the Glasgo,v dinners of last 
century and the early part of the present, it is to be 
feared made some of the congregation given to 
sODlnolency on the Sundays following. The melnbers 
of the town-council often adopted Saturday for such 
meetings; accordingly, the Rev. 1\11'. Thorn, an 
excellent clergyman,. took occasion to ll1ark this 
propensity ,vith some acerbity. A dog had been 
very troublesome, and disturbed the congregation for 
some time, when the minister at last gave orders to 
the beadle, " Take out that dog; he'd ,vauken a 
Glasgo,v magistrate." 
· It was of this minister, 
Ir. Thorn of Govan, that Sir 
Walter Scott remarked "that he had demolished all his own 
chances of a Glasgow benefice, by preaching before the town 
council CrOIn a text in Hosea, 'Ephraim's drink is sour.' U 
2D 



810 


REMINISOENCES OF 


The parochial grave diggers had sometimes a very 
familiar professional style of dealing with the solemn 
subjects connected ,vith their office. Thus I have 
heard of a gravedigger pointing out a large human 
bone to a lady who was looking at his work, of digging 
a grave, and asking her-' D'ye ken wha's bane that 
is, mem 1-that's Jenny Fraser's hench-bane;" adù- 
ing with a serious aspect-" a ,veel-baned family thae 
Frasers. JJ 
It would be impossible in these Reminiscences to 
omit the ,veIl-known and often repeated anecdote con- 
nected ,vith an elninent divine of our own country, 
whose works take a high place in our theological 
literature. The story to which I allude ,vas rendered 
popular throughout the kingdom sonle years ago, by 
the inimitable mode in ,vhich it was told, or rather 
acted, by the late Charles Matthews. But Matthews 
,vas wrong in the person of ,vhom he related the 
humorous address. I have assurance of the parties 
from a friend, ,vhose father, a distinguished clergyman 
in the Scottish Church at the tÏIne, had accurate 
knowledge of the whole circumstances. The late cele- 
brated Dr. Macknight, a learned and profound scholar 
and comnlentator, ,vas nevertheless, as a preacher, 
to a great degree heavy, unrelieved by fancy or Ï1nahri- 
nation; an able writer, but a dull speaker. His col- 
league, Dr. Henry, well kno,vl1 as the author of a 
History of England, was, on the other hand, a man of 
great humour, and could not resist a joke when the 
telnptation came upon him. On one occasion when 
coming to church, Dr. l\iacknight had been caught in 
a sho,ver of rain, and entered the vestry soaked ,vitI! 
,vet. Every means were used to relieve hirn from his 
discomfort; but as the tinle drew on for divine ser\'ice 
he became much distressed, and ejaculated over and 



saOTTISH LIFE &: CHARAOTER. Sll 


over, "Oh, I wush that I was dry; do you think I'nl 
dry 1 do you think I'm dry eneuch noo î His jocose 
eolleague could resist no longer, but, patting him on 
the shoulder, conlforted him with the sly assurance, 
" Bide a ,vee, Doctor, and ye'se be d?4yeneuch ,vhen ye 
get into the pu'pit." 
Another quaint remark of the facetious doctor to 
his more formal colleague has been preserved by 
friends of the family. Dr. Henry, ,vho ,vith all his 
pleasantry and abilities, had himself as little popu- 
larity in the pulpit as his coadjutor, had been remark- 
ing to Dr. l\Iacknight ,vhat 8. blessing it ,vas that they 
\vere t,yO colleagues in one charge, and continued 
dwelling on the subject so long, that Dr. 1vlackl1ight, 
not quite pleased at the frequent reiteration of the 
remark, said that it certainly ,vas a great pleasure to 
himself, but he did not see ,vhat great benefit it 
might be to the ,vorld. " Ah," said Dr. Henry, "an 
it hadna been for that, there wad hae been twa tOODl - 
kirks thic; day." Lord Cockburn tells a characteristic 
anecdote of Dr. HenrySs behaviour the last day of his 
life. I am indebted to a gentleman, himself also a 
distingui
hed luember of the Scottish Church, for an 
authentic anecdote of this learned divine, and ,vhich 
occurred whilst Dr. l\lacknight was the minister of 
1Iaybole. One of 11Ïs parishioners, a well-kno,,,]} 
humorous blacksmith of the parish, ,vho, no doubt, 
thought that the Doctor's learned books ,vere rather 
a ,vaste of time and labour for a country pastor, ,vas 
asked if his minister ,vas at home. The Doctor ,vas 
then busy bringing out his laborious and valuable 
,york, his Harmony of the j?OU't GOS1Je1s. " N a, he's 
gane to Edinburgh on a verra useless job." On being 
asked \vhat this useless ,york n1Ìght ùe ,vhich eng
bed 
.. Enlpty. 



a12 


REMI1{[SOENOES OF 


his pastor's time and attention, he ans\vered, "He's 
gane to mak four Inen agree wha ne'er cast oot." 
The good-humoured and candid answer of a learned 
and rather long-,vinded preacher of the old school 
al,vays appeared to me quite charlning. The good 
man was far from being a popular preacher, and yet 
he could not reduce his discourses below the hour and 
a half. On being asked, as a gent.le hint of their 
possibly needless length, if he did not feel ti1"ed after 
preaching so long, he replied, " N a, na, I'm no tired; " 
adding, however, with much naïveté, "But, Lord, how 
tired the fowk \vhiles are." 
The late good kind-hearted Dr. David Dickson was 
fond of telling a story of a Scottish termagant of the 
days before kirk-session discipline had passed away. 
A couple ,vere brought before the court, and Janet, 
the ,vife, ,vas charged ,vith violent and undutiful 
conduct, and with wounding her husband by throwing 
a three-legged stool at liis head. The minister re- 
buked her conduct, anù pointed out its grievous 
character, by explaining that j list as Christ was head 
of his Church, so the husband \vas head of the \vife ; 
and therefore in assaulting hi-rn, she had in fact injured 
her own body. " Weel," she replied, "it's conle to a 
fine pass gin a ,vife canna kame her ain head;" 'Ay, 
but, Janet," rejoined the minister, "a three-legged 
stool is a thief-like bane-kame to scart yer aill head 
W ., I " 
1 . 
1'he fol1o,ving is a dry Scottish case, of a Ininister's 
\vife quietly" kaming her husband's head." Mr. Mair, 
a Scotch Ininister, was rather short-tenlpered, and 
had a ,vife named Rebecca, whom for brevity's sake 
he addressed as "Becky." He kept a diary, and 
among other entties, this one ,vas very frequent- 
"Becky and I had a tippet, for which I desire to be 



SCOTT1SH LIFE 
 CHARACTER. 813 


hunlble." A gentleman ,vho had been on a visit to 
the Ininister \vent to Edinburgh, and told the story 
to a minister and his \vife there; ,vhen the lady replied 
" Weel, he must have been an .excellent man, Mr. Mair. 
1Iy husband and I sometimes too have' rippets,' but 
catch him if he's ever hUlnble." 
Our object in bringing up and recording anecdotes 
of this kind is to elucidate the sort of humour we 
refer to, and to show it as a humour of past times. 
A modern clergyman could hardly adopt the tone 
and manner of the older class of ministers-men not 
less useful and beloved, on account of their odd Scot- 
tish humour, which indeed suited their time. Could 
a clergyman, for instance, now come off from the 
trying position in which ,ve have heard of a northern 
minister being placed, and by the same \vay through 
which he extricated himself \vith much good nature and 
quiet sarcasm 
 A young man, sitting opposite to him 
in the front of the gallery, had been up late on the 
previous night, and had stuffed the. cards with which 
he had been occupied into his coat pocket. Forget- 
ting the circumstance, he pulled out his handkerchief, 
and the cards all fle\v about. The minister sinlply 
looked at him, and renlarked, "Eh, man, your psalm- 
buik has been ill bund. JJ 
An adlnirable story of a quiet pulpit rebuke is 
traditionary in Fife, and is told of l\ir Shirra, a 
Seceding minister of Kirkcaldy, a man still well remem- 
bered by sonle of the older generation for many 
excellent and sonle eccentric qualities. A young 
officer of a volunteer corps on duty in the place, very 
proud of his fresh uniform, had come to Mr. Shirra's 
church, and "Talked about as if looking for a seat, 
but in fact to sho,," off his dress, whicll he saw ,vas 
attracting attention from some of the less grave 



31( 


REl
{INISaENCES OF 


members of the congregation. He came to his place J 
however, rather quickly, on 
Ir. Shirra quietly re. 
monstrating, " 0 man, will ye sit doun, and we'll see 
your ne,v breeks ,vhen the kirk's dune." This same 
l\Ir. Shirra was well known from his quaint, and, as 
it. were, parenthetical comments ,vhich he introduced 
in his reading of Scripture; as, for examp1e, on read- 
ing from the 116th Psaln1, "I said in my haste all 
men are liars," he quietly observed, "Indeed, Dauvid, 
my man, an' ye had been i' this parish ye might hae 
said it at your leisure." 
There ,vas something even still more pungent in 
the incidental remark of a good man, in the course of 
his sermon, ,vho had in a country place taken to 
preaching out of doors in the summer afternoons. 
He used to collect the people as they were taking air 
by the side of a stream outside the village. On one 
occasion he had unfortunately taken his place on a 
bank, and fixed himself on an ants' nest. The acthre 
habits of those little creatures soon made the position 
of the intruder upon their domain very uncomfortable; 
and, afraid that his audience might observe something 
of this discomfort in his manner, he apologised by 
the remark-" Brethren, though I hope I have the 
word of God ill my mouth, I think the deil himself 
has gotten into my breeks." 
There was often no doubt a sharp conflict of wits 
when some of these humorist ministers came into 
collision with members of their flocks who ,yere also 
humorists. Of this nature is tbe follo\ving anecdote, 
which I am assured is genuine :-A minister in the 
north ,vas taking to task one of his hearers who was 
a frequent defaulter, and was reproaching him as a 
ha.bitual absentee from public worship. The accused 
vindicat-ed himself on the plea of a dislike to long 



SCOTTISH LIFE (
 CHARACTER. 315 


serInons. " 'Deed, man," said the reverend monitor; 
a little nettled at the insinuation thro,vn out against 
himself, "if ye dinna mend, ye may land yersell 
where ye'll no be troubled wi' mony sermons either 
lang or short." " 'Veel, aiblins sae," retorted John. 
" but that mayna be for want 0' ministers." 
An ans,ver to another clergyman, 
Ir. Shireff, 
parochial minister of St. :Ninian's, is indicative of 
Scottish and really clever ,vito One of the members 
of his church was John Henderson or Anderson-a 
very decent douce shoemaker - and ,vho left the 
church and joined the Independents, ,vho had a 
meeting in Stirling. Some tinle after\vards, ,vhen 

lr. Shireff met J oh11 on the road, he said, "And so, 
John, I understand you have become an Independent
" 
"'Deed sir" re p lied John "that' s true" "Oh John" 
, , , ." 
said the minister, "I'm sure you ken that a ro,vin' 
(rolling) stane gathers nae fog" (moss). " Ay," said 
John, "that's true too; but can ye tell TIle ",
hat guid 
the fog does to the stane 
" 
Ir. Shireff himself 
after\vards became a Baptist. The \vit, ho\vever, was 
all in favour of the minister in t.he follo\ving :- 
Dr. Gilchrist, formerly of the East Parish of 
Greenock, and who died minister of the Canongate, 
Eùinburgh, received an intimation of one of his hearers 
\vho had been exceedingly irregular in his attendance 
that he had taken seats in an Episcopal chapel. One 
day soon after, he met his former parishioner, 'v ho 
told him candidly that he had" changed his religion." 
"Indeed," said the Doctor quietly; "ho\v's that 
 I 
ne' er heard ye had ony." It ,,,"as this same Dr. 
Gilchrist ",.ho gave the \vell-known quiet but forcible 
rebuke to a young minister \vhom he considered rather 
conceited anù fond of putt.ing for,vard his o,vn doings, 
and who was to officiate in the Doctor's church. 



816 


REltlINISUENOE8 OF 


He explained to him the mode in which he usually 
conducted the service, and stated that he al\vays 
finished the prayer before the sermon ,vith the Lord's 
Prayer. The young minister demurred at this, and 
asked if he "might not introduce any other short 
prayer 1" "Ou ay," was the Doctor's quiet reply, 
" gif ye can gie us onything better." 
There is a story current of a sharp hit at the pre- 
tensions of a minister who required a little set down. 
The scene was on a Monday by a burn near Inverness. 
A stranger is fishing by a burn-side one Monday 
morning, ,vhen the parish minister accosts him from 
the other side of the stream thus :-" Good sport 1" 
"Not very." "I am also an angler," but, pompously, 
"I am afishe,. of men." "Are you always successful 1" 
"Not very." "So I guessed, as I keeked into your 
creel 
 yesterday." 
At Banchory, on Deeside, some of the criticisms 
and remarks on Serl110nS were very quaint and charac- 
teristic. My cousin had asked the Leys grieve what 
he thought of a young man's preaching, who had 
been more successful in appropriating the words than 
the ideas of Dr. Chalmers. He drily ans,vered, "Ou, 
Sir Thomas, just a floorish 0' the surface." But the 
same hearer bore this unequivocal testimony to 
another prßacher whom he really admired. He was 
asked if he did not think the sermon long: "N a, I 
should nae hae thocht it lang an' I'd. been sitting on 
thorns. ., 
I think the following is about as good a sample of 
\vhat ,ve call Scotch" pawky" as any I know :-A 
countryman had lost his wife and a favourite cow on 
the same day His friends consoled him for the loss 
of the ,vife; Rnd being highly r('spectabl
, severaJ 
* Basket for fish. 



HIS DAY A r THE PLATE 


From fl .ualer-col(-'U1" dra'lvÎllg by 
HR
YRr IV. lí..
ERR, 
A.R.S.A., R.S.TV. 



\ 


, I 


- . 


.... 



SCOTTISH LIFE J: CHARACTER. 317 


hints and offers were nlade towards getting another 
for him. "Ou ay," he at length replied; "you're a 
keen aneuch to get me anither ,vife, but no yin 0' ya 
offers to gie me anither coo." 
The following anecdotes, collected from different 
contributors, are fair samples of the quaint and original 
character of Scottish ways and expressions, now 
becoming more and more matters of reminiscence: 
-A poor man came to his minister for the purpose 
of intimating his intention of being married. As he 
expressed, however, some doubts on the subject, and 
seemed to hesitate, the minister asked him if there 
were any doubts about his being accepted. No, that 
was not the difficulty; but he expressed a fear that 
it might not be altogether suitable, and he asked 
,vhether, if he were once married, he could not (in 
case of unsuitability and unhappiness) get unmarried. 
The clergyman assured him that it was impossible; 
if he married, it must be for better and ,vorse; that 
he could not go back upon the step. So thus instructed 
he went a,vay. Mter a tirne he returned, and said 
he had made up his mind to try the experiment, and 
he came and lv-as married. Ere · long he came back 
very disconsolate, and declared it ,vould not do at 
all; that he was quite miserable, and begged to be 
unmarried. The minister assured him that was out 
of the question, and urged him to put away the notion 
of anything so absurd. The man insisted that the 
marriage could not hold good, for the ,vife was "waur 
than the deevil." The minister demurred, saying 
that it was quite tmpossible. "'Deed, sir," said the 
poor man, "the Bible tells ye that if ye resist the 
deil be flees frae ye, but if ye resist her she flees at ye." 
A faithful n1Ïnistp.r of the gospel, being one day 
engaged in visiting some rnem hers of his flock, camA 



818 


RE
fTNISCENCES OF 


to the door of a house ,vhere his gentle tapping could 
not be heard for the noise of contention ,vithin. 
Mter ,vaiting a little he opened the door, and walked 
in, saying, \vith an authoritative voice, "I should like 
to kno'v \v ho is the head of this house." " W eel, sir," 
said the husband and father, "if ye sit doun a ,vee, 
we'll maybe be able to tell ye, for we're just trying to 
settle that point." 
I have received from my kind correspondent, Rev. 
Mr. Hogg of Kirkmahoe, the follo\ving,most amusing 
account of a passage-at-arms between a minister and 
" minister's man," both of them of the old school. 
The minister of a parish in DUlnfriesshire had a man 
who had long and faithfully served at the manse. 
During the minister's absence, a ploughing match 
came off in the district, and the man, feeling the old 
spirit return ,vith the force of former days, wished to 
enter the lists, and go in for a prize, ,vhich he did, and 
gained the fifth prize. The minister, on his return 
home, and glancing at the local ne,vspaper, saw the 
report of the match, and the name of his o\vn man in 
the prize-list. Being of a crusty temper, he rang the 
bell in fury, and summoned J ohu, when the following 
colloquy took place :-" John, how is this 1 who gave 
you leave to go to the ploughing-match 1" " You 
,vere not at hame, sir." "'V ell, you should have 
written to me." " I didn't think it ,vas worth \vhile, 
sir, as ,ve had our ain ploughing j01Tit." -J(. " That 
may be; but why ,vere. you not higher in the prize- 
list 1 I'm ashamed of you, and you ought to be 
ashamed of yourself for being so far behind." John's 
patience had given ,vay, and, in his haste he burst 
forth, " Indeed, I'ln thinking, sir, that if )1'e ,vere at a 
* Well advanced. 



SCOTTISH LIFE d: CHARACTER. 319 


preaching match, and fiYt1-and-thirty in the field, yo 
,yadna come in for onytldng, let a-be for a fift'." 
Stories of humorous encounters between ministers 
and their hearers are numerous, and though often 
seasoned with dry and caustic humour, they never 
indicate appearance of bitterness or ill-feeling between 
the parties. As an example, a clergyman thought his 
people "rere making rather an unconscionable objec- 
tion to his using a 
IS. in delivering his sermon. They 
urged, ""\Vhat gars ye tak up your bit papers to the 
pu'pit 1 " He replied tbat it was best, for really he 
could not remember his sermon, and must have his 
papers. " Weel, ,veel, minister, then dinna expect 
that we can remember them." 
Some of these encounters arise out of the old ques- 
tion of sleeping in church. For example-" I see, 
James, that you tak a bit nap in the kirk," said a 
minister to one of his people; "can ye no tak a mull 
with you 
 and when you become heavy an extra pinch 
would keep you up." "1Iaybe it ,vad," said James, 
"but pit you the sneeshin intil your sennon, minister, 
and maybe that'll serve the sanle purpose." As a 
specinlen of the matter-of-fact vie,v of religious ques- 
tions frequently recorded of older ministers, let 
me adduce a well-authenticated account of a minister 
in a far up-hill parish in Deeside. Returning thanks 
one Sabbath for the excellent harvest, he began as 
usual, "0 Lord, ,ye thank thee," etc., and went on to 
mention its" abundance, and its safe ingathering; but, 
feeling anxious to be quite candid and scrupulously 
truthful, added, " all except a fe,v sIna' bitties at Birse 
no "yorth 0' mentioning." 
A Scotch preacher, a man of large stature, being sent 
to officiate one Sunday at a country parish, \vas accom- 
modated at night, in the manse, in a very ùinlinutive 



820 


REJI[lVISCENOES OF 


closet-the usual best bed-room, appropriated to 
strangers, being otherwise occupied. "Is this the 
bed-room 
" he said, starting back in amazement. 
"'Deed ay, sir, this is the prophets' chalmer." "It 
maun be for the minor prophets, then," ,vas the quiet 
reply. 
Elders of the kirk, no doubt, frequently partook of 
the original and humorous character of ministers and 
others, their contemporaries; and amusing scenes 
must have passed, and good Scotch sayings been said, 
,vhere they were concerned. Dr. Chahners used to 
repeat one of these sayings of an elder ,vith great 
delight. The Doctor associated with the anecdote the 
name of Lady Glenorchy and the church which she 
endowed; but I am assured that the person was Lady 
Elizabeth Cunninghame, sister of Archibald, eleventh 
Earl of Eglinton, and ,vife of Sir John Cunninghame, 
Bart., of Caprington, near KHmarnocl{. It seems her 
ladyship had, for some reason, taken offence at the 
proceedings of the Caprington parochial authorities, 
and a result of ,vhich was that she ceased putting her 
usual liberal offering into the plate at the door. This 
had gone on for some tinIe, till one of the elders, of 
less forbearing character than the others, took his turn 
3t the plate. Lady Elizabeth as usual passed by 
,vithout a contribution, but made a formal courtsey to 
the elder at the plate, and sailed up the aisle. The 
good man was determined not to let her pass so easily, 
so he quickly followed her, and urged the remon- 
strance: " Gie us Inair 0' your siller and less 0' your 
mainners, my lady Betty." My kind correspondent, 
Rev. Mr. Agnew, supplies me with an amusing pendant 
to this anecdote :-At a great church meeting, Dr. 
Chalmers had told this story with Illuch effect \vhen 
I.JÛrrl Galloway ,vas in the chair. Aftpr the meeting, 



SCOTTISH LIFE æ CHARACTER. 321 


Dr. Chalmers, and many who had been present, dined 
at his lordship's hospitable table. After dinner, when 
the morning meeting was discussed, Lord Galloway 
addressed Dr. Chalmers on the subject of this story 
and, as if not quite pleased at its being introduced, 
said, "Do you know", Doctor, the lady of ".hom you 
told the story of the elder is a near relation of mine 1" 
Dr. Chalmers, ,vith real or seeming simplicity, answered, 
" No, my Lord, I did not; but next time I tell the 
story I can mention the fact." As a pendant to the 
elder's disclaimer of " mainners" on the part of a lady 
of rank, I may add an authentic anecdote of a very 
blunt and unpolished l{incardineshire laird, expressing 
the same disclaimer of mainners on the part of a servant, 
but in a far rougher form of speech. He had been 
talking ,vith a man who came to offer for his service 
as a butler. But the laird soon found he was far too 
grand a gentleman for his service, and became chafed 
with his requiring so many things as conditions of 
c0111ing; till, on his dismissal, "Then the man ,vas 
bo,ving and scraping to show ho\v genteel he could. 
be, he lost all patience, and roared out, "Get out, ye 
fule; gie us nane 0' your mainners here." 
Of an eccentric and eloquent professor and divine 
of a northern Scottish university, there are numerous 
and extraordinary traditionary anecdotes. I have 
received an account of SOllIe of these anecdotes from 
the kind communication of an eminent Scottish clergy- 
lnan, who ,vas himself in early days his frequent 
hearer. The stories told of the strange observations 
and allusions which he introduced into his pulpit 
discourses almost surpass belief. For many reasons, 
they are not suitable to the nature of this publication, 
still less could they be tolerated in any pulpit 
administration no\v, although familiar with his con- 



822 


REJ,fINI
CENOES OF 


temporaries. The remarkable circumstance, however, 
connected with these eccentricities ,vas, tbat he 
introduced them ,vith the utmost gravity, and of ten- 
tin1es, after he had delivered them, pursued his subject 
,vith great earnestness and eloquence, as if he had said 
nothing uncommon. One saying of the professor, 
ho,vever, out of the pulpit, is too good to be omitted, 
and may be recorded ,vithout violation of propriety. 
He happened to meet at the house of a lawyer, whom 
he considered rather a man of sharrp practice, and for 
,vhom he had no great favour, two of his own pari
h- 
ioners. The la \vyer jocularly and ungraciously put 
the question; "Doctor, these are members of your 
flock; may I ask, do you look upon them as white 
sheep or as black sheep 
 " "I don't know," ans,vered 
the professor drily, "whether they are black or white 
sheep, but I know that if they are long here they are 
pretty sure to be fleeced." 
It ,vas a pungent answer given by a Free Kirk 
Inember who had deserted his colours and returned to 
the old faith. A short time after the Disruption, the 
J.1"ree Church minister chanced to nleet him who had 
then left him and returned to the Established Church. 
'rhe minister bluntly accosted him-" Ay, lnan, John, 
an' .,ye've left us; what micht be your reason for that 
 
Did ye think it wasna, a guid road we ,vas gaun 
 " 
" Ou, I daursay it was a guid elleuch road and a bra,v 
road; but, 0 minister, the tolls ,vere nneo high." 
rrhe' follo,ving stor
T I received from a member of 
the Penicuik fanlÍly :-Dr. Ritchie, who died minister 
of St. Alldre,v'3, Edinhurgh, ,vas, \\rheu a young man, 
tutor to Sir G. Clerk and his brothers. \'Vhilst wit.h 
them, the clergYlnan of the parish became unable, fron1 
infirnåty and illness, to do his duty, and Mr. Ritchie 
was appointed interim assistant. He ,vas au active 



SCOTTISH LIFE do CHAliAG1 Y ER. <<)28 


young Inan, and during his residence in the country 
had become fond of fishing, and was a good shot. 
'Vhen the grouse-shooting came round, his pupils 
happened to be laid up with a fever, so 1fr. Ritchie 
had all the shooting to himself. One day he walked 
over the moor so far that he became quite ,yeary and 
footsore. On returning home he went into a cottage, 
\vhere the good ,vomall received him kindly, gave 
him ,vater for his feet, and refreshment. In the 
course of conversation, he told her he ,vas acting as 
assistant minister of the parish, and he eXplained how 
far he had travelled in pursuit of game, how weary he 
was, and how completely knocked up he ,vas. " Weel, 
sir, I dinna doubt ye maun be sair travelled and tired 
\vi' your ,valko " And then she added, with sly 
reference to his profession, "'Deed, sir, I'm thinkin' 
ye micht hae travelled frae Genesis to Revelation and 
no been sae forfauchten." * 
Scotch people in general are, like this old "rOnIan, 
very jealous, as lliight be expected, of ministers join 
ing the sportsman to their pastoral character. A 
proposal for the appointment of a minister to a 
particular parish, ,vho ,vas kno\vn in the country as a 
capital shot, called forth a rather neat Scottish pun, 
from an old \vornan of the parish, 'who significantly 
observed, "'Deed, KilpaatrilJk ,vouid hae been a Inair 
appropriate place for him." Paul rick is Scotch fur 
partridge. 
I cannot do better in regard to the three follo,,"ing 
anecdotes of the late Professor Gillespie of St. 
Andrews, than give thenl to my readers in the ,vorò.s 
with vrhich Dr. Lindsay Al
xander kinùly con1ll1uui- 
cated them to me. 
U In the Cornlâll 1Jlagazint?- for .l\Iarch 1860, in 
* \V 
aricù. 



824 


REJfI.VISCE.VCES OF 


an article on Student Life in Scotland, there is 
an anecdote of the late Professor Gillespie of St. 
Andrews, '\vhich is told in such a way as to miss the 
point and humour of the story. The correct version, 
as I have heard it from the professor himself, is this: 
Having employed the village carpenter to put a frame 
round a dial at the manse of Cults, where he ,vas a 
minister, he received from the Inan a bill to the follo,v- 
ing effect :-' To fencing the deU, 58. 6d.' 'When I 
paid him,' said the professor, 'I could not help saying, 
John, this is rather more than I counted on; but I 
haven't a word to say. I get somewhere about t,vo 
hundred a year for fencing the deil, and I'm afraid I 
don't do it half so effectually as you've done.' n 
"Whilst I am writing, another of the many stories 
of the learned and facetious professor rises in my mind. 

rhere was a worthy old woman at Cults whose place in 
church was '\vhat is commonly called the Lateran; a 
kind of small gallery at the top of the pulpit steps. 
She was a most regular attender, but as regularly fell 
asleep during sermon, of '\vhich fault the preacher had 
sometimes audible intirnation. It was observed, how- 
ever, that though Janet always slept during her own 
pastor's discourse, she could be attentive enough when 
she pleased, and especially was she alert ",. hen SOlne 
young preacher occupied the pulpit. A little piqued, 
perhaps, at this, Mr. Gillespie said to her one day, 
, Janet, I think you hardly behave very respectfully 
to your own minister in one respect.' 'Me, sir! ' ex- 
claimed Janet, , I '\vad like to see ony man, no tae say 
woman, by yoursell, say that 0' me! what can you 
mean, sir 
 ' , 'V ep I, Janet, J e ken w hen I preach 
you're almost always fast asleep before I've ,veIl given 
out nlY text; but .w'hen any of these young men from 
St. .A.ndrews preach for me, I see you never sleep a 



SCOTT/Sl! LI}'E &: CHARAC1'ER. 325 


wir
k. N ow, that's 'v hat I call no using Ine as you 
should do. t 'Hoot, sir,' "
as the reply, 'is that a' 
 
I'll sune tell you the reason 0' that. "Then you 
preach, ,ve a' ken the 'YOI'd 0' God's safe in your 
hands; but when thae young birkies tak it in haun, 
my certie, but it taks us a' to look after them.' * 
"I am tempted to subjoin another. In the 
Humanity Class, one day, a youth ,vho was rather 
fond of showing off his po,yers of language, translated 
Hor. Ode iii., 3, 61, 62, some,vhat thus :-' The 
fortunes of Troy renascent under sorrowful omen shall 
be repeated with sad catastrophe.' , Catastrophe! ' 
cried the professor. C Catastrophe, 1\Ir. -, that's 
Greek. Give us it in plain English, if you please.' 
Thus suddenly pulled do,vn frOIn his high horse, the 
student effected his retreat with a rather lame and 
inlpotent version. 'No,v,' said the professor, his 
little sharp eyes t,vinkling ,vith fun, 'that brings to 
my recollection ,vhat once happened to a friend of 
mine, a minister in the country. Being a scholarly 
nlan he was sometinles betrayed into the use of words 
in the pulpit ,\yhich the people ,vere not likely to 
understand; but being very conscientious, he never 
detected himself in this, ,vithout pausing to give the 
meaning of the word he had used, and sometimes his 
extempore explanations of very fine ,vords were a 
little like ,,"hat we have just had from l\Ir. , 
rather too flat and commonplace. On one occasion he 
allo,ved this very ,vord C catastrophe' to drop from 
him, on ,vhich he immediately added, ' that, you kno,v, 
my friends, means the end of a thing. ' Next day, as 
he ,vas riding through his parish, some mischievous 
... I have abundant eviùence to prove that a similar answer 
to that which Dr. Alexanùer records to have been made to l\Ir. 
Gillespie has been given on similar occasions by others. 
2E 



826 


REJII.J.VISOENOES OF 


youth succeeded in fastening a bunch of furze to his 
horse's tail-a trick which, had the animal been 
skittish, 11light have exposed the ,vorthy pastor's 
horsemanship to too severe a trial, but which h
ppily 
had no effect whatever on the sober-nlinded and 
respectable quadruped ,vhich he bestrode. On, there- 
fore, he quietly jogged, utterly unconscious of the 
addition that had been made to his horse's caudal 
region, until, as he was passing SOlne cottages, he was 
arrested by the shrill voice of an old ,voman exclaim- 
ing, 'Heh, sir! Heh, sir! there's a ,vhun-buss at 
your horse's cata"rstrophe !'" 
I have several times adverted to the subject of 
epigrams. A clever impronlptu of this class has been 
recorded as given by a judge's lady in reply to one 
made by the witty Henry Erskine at a dinner party 
at Lord Armadale's. When a bottle of claret ,vas 
called for, port ,vas brought in by mistake. A second 
time claret was sent for, and a second time the same 
mistake occurred. Henry Erskine addressed the host 
in an impromptu, which \vas meant as a parody on the 
,veIl-known Scottish song, "
Iy Jo, Janet"- 
" Kind sir, it's for yonr courtcsie 
When I CaDle here to dine, s
r, 
}"or the love ye bear to me, 
Gie me the claret wine, sir." 


To ,vhich J.rlrs. Honeyman retorted- 
" Drink the port, the claret's dear, 
Erskine, Erskine; 
Ye'11 get fou on't, never fear, 

Iy jo, Erskine." 


Some of n1Y younger readers may not be farniliar 
\vith the epigraln of John lIome, author of the t.ragedy 
of " Doug1as. u The lines were great favonrites ,vith 



SCOTTISH LIFE d: CHARACTER. 827 


Sir "r alter Scott, ,yho delighted in repeating them. 
Home ,vas very partial to claret, and could not bear 
port. He ,vas exceedingly indignant ,vhen the Govern. 
ment laid a tax upon claret, having previously long 
connived at its introduction into Scotland under very 
mitigated duties. He embodied his anger in the 
follo\ving epigram :- 
" Firm and erect the Caledonian stood, 
Old was his mutton, and his claret good; 
, Let him drink port,' an English statesman cried- 
He drank the poison, and his spirit died. PI 


There is a curious story traditionary in some fan1Ïlies 
connected ,vith the nobleman ,vho is the subject of it, 
,vhich, I am assured, is true, and further, that it has 
never yet appeared in print.. The story is, therefore, 
a "Scottish reminiscence," and, as such, deserves a 
place here. The Earl of Lauderdale ,vas so ill as to 
cause great alarm to his friends, and perplexity to his 
physicians. One distressing symptom was a total 
a bsence of sleep, and the medical men declared their 
opinion, that ,vithout sleep being induced he could not 
recover. His son, a queer eccentric-looking boy, who 
,vas considered not entirely right in his mind but 
somewhat" daft," and ,vho accordingly had had little 
attention paid to his education, was sitting under the 
table, and cried out, "Sen' for that preachin' man 
frae Livingstone, for faither aye sleeps in the lcirk." 
One of the doctors thought this hint ,vorth attending 
to. The experiment of "getting a minister tin him" 
succeeded, and, sleep coming on, he recovered. The 
Earl, out of gratitude for this benefit, took more notice 
of his son, paid attention to his educat.ion, and that 
boy became the Duke of Lauderdale, after,vards so 
famous or infamous in his country's histur.r. 



328 


REJII,.VISCEJ.VCES OF 


The following very amusing anecdote, although it 
belongs more properly to the division on peculiarities 
of Scottish phraseology, I give in the ,vords of a cor- 
respondent who received it from the parties with whom 
it originated. About twenty years ago, he was paying 
a visit to a cousin, married to ft Liverpool merchant 
of some standing. The husband had lately had a 
visit from his aged father, ,vho formerly follo,ved the 
occupation of farming in Stirlingshire, and ,vho had 
probably never been out of Scotland before in his life. 
The son, finding his father rather de tj'op in his office, 
one day persuaded him to cross the ferry over the 
Mersey, and inspect the harvesting, then in full opera- 
tion, on the Cheshire side. On landing, he approached 
a young woman reaping ,vith the sickle in a field of 
oats, when the follo,ving dialogue ensued :- 
Fa1'mct.-Lassie, are yer aits muckle bookit * th' 
year 1 
Reaper.- What say'n yo 1 
Farme1..-1 ,vas speiring gif yer aits are muckle 
bookit th' year! 
Reape1. (in amazement).-I dnnnot kno\v what yo' 
say'n. 
Farme1" (in equal astonishment).-Gude-safe-us, 
-do ye no understaall gude plain English 1-are-yer 
-aits-muckle-bookit 1 
Reaper decamps to her nearest companion, saying 
that was a madman, while he shouted in great wrath, 
"They were naething else than a set 0' ignorant pock- 
puddings." 
An English tourist visited Arran, and being a keen 
disciple of Izaak "\Valton, was arranging to have a day's 
good sport. Being told that the cleg, or horse-fly, 
would suit his purpose adnlirably for lure, he addressed 
· Oats heavy iu bulk. 



SCOTTISH LIFE c! OHARAOTER. 329 
himself to Christy, the Highland servant-girl :-" I 
say, my girl, can you get me some horse-flies 1" 
Christy looked stupid, and he repeated his question. 
Finding that she did not yet comprehend him, he ex- 
claimed, "\Vhy, girl, did you never see a horse-fly
" 
" N aa, sir," said the girl, " but A wance saw a coo jump 
ower a preshipice. n 
The following anecdote is highly illustrative of the 
thoroughly attached old family serving-man. A cor. 
respondent sends it as told to him by an old school- 
fellow of Sir Walter Scott's at Fraser and Adam's 
class, High School :- 
One of the lairds of Abercairllie proposed to go out, 
on the occasion of one of the risings for the Stuarts, in 
the ' 15 or '45-but this ,vas not with the will of his 
old serving-man, ,vho, when Abercairnie was pulling 
on bis boots, preparing to go, overturned a kettle of 
boiling water upon his legs, so as to disable him from 
joining his friends-saying, "Tak that-let them 
fecht wha like; stay ye at hame and be laird 0' Aber- 
cairnie. " 
A story illustrative of a union of polite courtesy 
with rough and violent ebullition of temper common 
in the old Scottish character, is ,yell known in the 
Lothian family. 'Villiam Henry, fourth Marquis of 
Lothian, had for his guest at dinner an old countess 
to whom he ,vished to sho,v particular respect and 
attention. * After a very complimentary reception, he 
put on his ,vhite gloves to hand her down stairs, 
led her up to the upper end of the table, bowed, and 
retired to his o",.n place. This I an1 assured was the 
* This b-larquis of Lothian was aide-de-camp to the Duke of 
Cumberland at the battle of Culloden, who sullied his character 
as a solflier and a nobleman by the cruelties which he exerciaed 
on the vanqui:;hed. 



33,) 


RÞ}J[I
VISCE1VCES OF 


usual custom with the chief lady guest by persons ,vho 
themselves remember it. After all ,vere seated, the 
Marquis addressed the lady, "l\fadam, may I have the 
honour and happiness of helping your ladyship to 
some fish 
" But he got no ans\ver, for the puor 
woman was deaf as a post, and did not hear hÎ1l1. 
After a pause, but still in the most courteous accents, 
"MadanI, have I your ladyship's permission to send 
you sonle fish 1" Then a little quicker, "Is your 
Ladyship inclined to take fish f' Very quick, anù 
rather peremptory, "l\iadaln, do ye choice fish 
" At 
]ast the thunder burst, to everybody's consternation, 
with a loud thump on the table and stamp on the 
floor: " Con-found ye, ,vill ye have any fish 1" I 
am afraid the exclamation might have been even of a 
Inore pungent character. 
A correspondent l1as kindly enabled me to aùd a 
reminiscence and anecdote of a type of Scottish 
character now nearly extinct.-I n1ean the old Scottish 
'1nilitary officer of the wars of Holland and the Lo,v 
Countries. I give them in his o,vn words :-" l\fy 
father, the late Rev. Dr. Bethune, minister of Dornoch, 
\vas on friendly terms with a fine old soldier, the late 
Colonel Alexander Sutherland of Calmaly and Brae- 
grudy, in Sutherlandshire, \v ho was lieutenant-colonel 
of the' Local Militia,' and ,vho used occasionally, in 
his word of command, to break out ,vith a Gaelic 
phrase to the men, much to the amusen1ent of by- 
standers. He called his charger, a high-boned not over- 
fed animal, Cadìíver-a play upon accents, for he was 
a good .
lassical scholar, and fond of quoting the Latin 
poets. But he had no relish nor respect for the 
, 
Iodern languages,' particularly for that of our French 
neighbours, whom he looked upon as 'hereditary' 
enemics ! 
Iy father and the colonel were both poli- 



SCOTTISH LIFE d: CHAllACTER. 331 


ticians, as well as scholars. Reading a ne,vspaper 
article in his presence one day, my father stopped 
short, handing the paper to him, and said, 'Colonel, 
here is a FTench quotation, which you can translate 
better than I can.' , No, sir!' said the colonel, 'I 
never learnt the language of the scoundrels! ! ! ' The 
colonel ,vas kno\vn as 'Col. Sandy Sutherland,' and 
the men ahvays called him Colonel Sandy. He was a 
splendid specimen of the hale veteran, ,vith a sten- 
torian voice, and the last queue I remember to have 
seen. " 
A correspondent kindly sends me from Aberdeen- 
shire a humorous story, very much of the same sort as 
that of Colonel Erskine's servant, ,vho considerately 
suggested to his master that" maybe an aith might 
relieve him.":Iie l\ly correspondent heard the story 
from the late Bishop Skinner. 
It was among the experiences of his father, Bishop 
John Skinner. "Thile making some pastoral visits in 
the neighbourhood of the to,vn (Aberdeen), the Bishop 
took occasion to step into the cottage of t\VO humble 
parishioners, a nlan and his ,yife, who cultivated a 
little croft. Noone ,vas ,vithin; but as the door 
,vas only on the latch, the Bishop knew that the 
,vorthy couple could not be far distant. He therefore 
stepped in the direction of the outhouses, and found 
theln both in the barn winno\ving corn, in the prinlitive 
way, ,vith "riddles," bet,vixt two open doors. On t.he 
Bishop Inaking his appearance, the honest man ceased 
his winnowing operations, anù in the gladness of his 
heart stepped briskly for,vard to welcolne Ili
 pastor; 
but in his haste he trod upon the rim of the riddle, 
which rebounded with great force against one of his 
shins. The accident made him suddenly pull up j 
<It Sir II. Munereiff's Life of Dr. J. E'ì'ski1l.e. 



832 


REJIIJ.."'ISCE.VCES OF 


and, instead of completing the reception, ho stood 
vigorously rubbing the injured limb; and, not daring 
in such a venerable presence to give vent to the 
customary strong ejaculations, kept t,visting his face 
into all sorts of grimaces. As was natural, the Bishop 
went forward, uttering the usual formulas of condolence 
and sYlnpathy, the patient, meanwhile, continuing his 
rubbings and his silent but expressive contortions. 
At last Janet came to the rescue; and, clapping the 
Bishop coaxingly on the back, said, "N 00, Bishop, 
jist gang ye yir waas into the hoose, an' \ve'll follow 
fan he's had tinle to curse a fyllie, an' I'se warran' he'll 
seen be weel eneuch! " 
The following might have been added as examples 
of the dry humorous manner in which our countrymen 
and country\vomen sometimes treat matters \vith ,vhich 
they have to deal, even when serious ones :- 
An itinerant vendor of ,vood in Aberdeen having 
been asked ho\v his wife ,vas, replied, "Oh, she's fine; 
I hae taen her tae Banchory ;" and on it being inno- 
cently remarked that the change of air ,vould do her 
good, he looked up, and, with a half smile, said, " Hoot, 
she's i' the kirkyard." 
The well-known aversion of the Scotch to hearing 
read sermons has often led to amusing occurrences. 
One pastor, in a country district, ,vho ,vas much 
respected by his people, but who, nevertheless, were 
never quite reconciled to his pape1" in the pulpit, 
found himself on one occasion in an a,vkward predi- 
cament, fronl this same paper question. One Sabbath 
afternoon, having exhausted both firstly and secondly, 
he canle to the termination of his discourse; but, 
unfortunately, the manuscript was wanting. In vain 
efforts to seek the luissing paper, he repeated" thirdly 
and lastly" ad nauseam to his hearers. At last one, 



THE L.-\lkD'S D_-\ CGHTER 


.From a 7i.'lltcr-colo1tr dra:
f..IiJz.g bJ' 
HE_YRY iV. A-ERR, 
A.R.S.A.. R.......lr. 



.. 


, 
.
 
'" 




SCOTTISH LIFE J: CHARACTER. 3SS 


cooler than the others, rose, and nodding to the 
minister, observed, "'Deed, sir, If I'm no mista'en, 
I saw' thirdly and lastly' fa' ower the poopit stairs;" 
evidently enjoying the disappearance of so important 
a part of the obnoxious document. 
This prejudice was indeed some years since in 
Scotland quite inveterate. The follo,ving anecdote 
has been kindly sent to me from lJfemoirs of Cha,tles 
Young, lately published by his son :- 
"I have a distinct recollection, one Sunday when 
I was living at Cults, and when a stranger was officiat- 
ing for Dr. Gillespie, observing that he }lad not 
proceeded five minutes ,vith his 'discourse,' before 
there was a general commotion and stampedo. The 
exodus at last became so serious, that, conceiving 
something to be wrong, probably a fire in the manse, 
I caught the infection, and eagerly inquired of the 
first person I encountered in the churchyard what 
,vas the matter, and was told, with an expression of 
sovereign scorn and disgust-' Losh keep ye, young 
man! Hae ye eyes, and see not 1 Hae ye ears, 
and 11ear not î The oman reads!' n 
On one occasion, however, even this prejudice 
gave ,vay before the power of the most eloquent 
preacher that Scotland ever heard, or perhaps that 
the world ever heard. A shrewd old Fife hearer of 
sermons had been objecting, in the usual exaggerated 
language, against reading sermons in the pulpit. A 
gentleman urged the case of Dr. Chalmers, in defence 
of the practice. He used his paper in preaching 
rigidly, and yet ,vith ,vhat an effect he read! All 
the objector could reply to this ,vas, "Ah, but it's 
fell- reading yon. n 
The two fol1o,ving are from a correspondent who 
· Extraordinary. 



SS4 


ltEJII4Y'ISCE
"'CES OJ!' 


heard th eln told by the late Dr. Barclay the anatonlist, 
well kno,vn for his o,vn dry Scottish humour. 
A country laird, at his death, left his property in 
equal shares to his t,vo sons, who continued to live 
very amicably together for Inany years. At length 
one said to the other, "Tam, ,ve're get tin' auld now, 
you'll tak a ,vife, and ,vhen I dee you'll get my share 
0' the grund." " N a, John, you're the youngest and 
maist active, you'll tak a wife, and when I dee you'll 
get my share." " Od," says John, "Tam, that's jist 
the way ,vi' you when there's ony fash or trouble. The 
deevil a thing you'll do at a'. n 
A country clergyman, 'v ho ,vas not on the most 
friendly terms with one of his heritors who resided in 
Stirling, and 'v ho had annoyed the Ininister by 
delay in paying hinl his teinds (or tithe), found it 
necessary to nlake the laird understand that his 
proportion of stipend must be paid so soon as it 
became due. The payment came next term punctual 
to the time. When the messenger was introduced to 
the minister, he asked \vho he was, remarking that 
he thought he had seen hÎ1n before. "I am the 
hangman of Stirling, sir." " Oh, just so, take a seat 
till I write you a receipt." It was evident that the 
laird - had chosen this medium of communication ,vith 
the minister as an affront, and to sho,v his spite. 
The minister, ho,vever, turned the tables upon hinl, 
sending. back an acknowledgment for the payment 
in these terms :-" Received from Mr.-, by the 
hands of the hanglnan of Stirling, his doer, * the sum 
of," etc. etc. 
The follo,ving story of pulpit criticisln by a beadle 


* In Scotlautl it is usual to term the law-ageut or Juau oi 
business of any p
r:3on his" ùocr. 1t 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 CIIAR...l0TÞ:R. 885 
ased to be told, I anl assured, by the late Rev. Dr. 
Andre,v Thomson:- 
A clergyman in the country had a stranger preach.. 
ing for hiIn one day, and meeting his beadle, he said 
to him, "".,. ell, Saunders, how did yon like the 
sermon to-day 
" " I ,vatna, sir; it ,vas rather o,ver 
plain and simple for me. I like thae sermons best 
that jumbles the joodgment and confoonds the sense. 
ad, sir, I never saw ane that. could come up to your- 
sell at that." 
The epithet" canny" has frequently been applied to 
our countrymen, not in a severe or invidious spirit, but 
as indicating a due regard to personal interest and 
safety. In the larger edition of Jamieson (see edition 
of 1840) I find there are no fe,ver than eighteen 
meanings given of this ,vord. The following extract 
frOln a provincial paper, ,vhich has been sent me, will 
furnish a good illustration. I t is headed, the 
"PROPERTY QUALIFICATIO
," and goes on-." Give a 
chartist a large estate, and a copious supply of ready 
money, and you make a Conservative of him. He 
can then see the other side of the moon, 'v hich he 
could never see before. Once, a deterILlined Radical 
in Scotland, named Davy Annstrong, left his native 
village; and many years after\vards, an old fello,v 
grulnbler met him, and commenced the old song. 
Davy shook his head. His friend was astonished, 
anù soon perceived that Davy ,vas no longer a grumbler, 
but a rank Tory. "\V ondering at the change, he ,vas 
desirous of knowing the reason. Davy quietly and 
laconically replied-' I've a coo (co,v) noo.'" 
But even still more "canny" ,vas the eye to the 
main chance in an Aberdoniall fellow-countryman, 
communicated in the follo,ving pleasant terms from 
a Nairn correspondent :-" I have just been reading 



336 


REJIIl{ISCENCES OF 


your delightful 'Reminiscences: which has brought 
to my recollection a story I used to hear my father 
tell. It was thus :-A countryman in a remote 
part of Aberdeenshire having got a newly-coined 
sovereign in the days when such a thing was seldom 
seen in his part of the country, went about showing 
it to his friends and neighbours for the charge of one 
penny each sight. Evil days, however, unfortunately 
overtook him, and he was obliged to part with his 
loved coin. Soon after, a neighbour called on him, 
and asked a sight of his sovereign, at the same time 
tendering a penny. 'Ah, man,' says he, 'it's gane; 
but I'll lat ye see tlte cloutie it was 'rowt in for a 
ba \v bee. ' " 
There was something very simple-minded in the 
manner in which a parishioner announced his canny 
care for his supposed interests when he became an 
elder of the kirk. The story is told of a man who 
had got himself installed in the eldership, and, in 
consequence, had for some time carried round the 
ladle for the collections. He had accepted the office 
of elder because some \vag had made him believe that 
the remuneration was sixpence each Sunday, \vith 
a boll of meal at New Year's Day. When the time 
arrived he claimed his meal, but was told he had 
been hoaxed. " It may be sae wi' tIle meal," he said 
coolly, "but I took care 0' the saxpence mysell." 
There was a good deal both of the pawky and the 
canny in the following anecdote, which I have from 
an honoured lady of the south of Scotland :-" There 
was an old man who always rode a donkey to his 
work, and tethered him while he worked on the roads, 
or whatever else it might be. It was suggested to 
him by my grandfather that he was suspected of 
putting it in to feed in the fields at other people' 8 



SCOT1
ISH LIFE æ CHARACTER. 331 


expense. ' Eh, laird, I could never be tempted to do 
that, for my cuddy ,vinna eat onything but nettles 
and thristles.' One day my grandfather was riding 
along the road, ". hen he saw Andre,v Leslie at ,,"ork, 
and his donkey up to t.he knees in one of his clover 
fields, feeding luxuriously. 'Hollo, Andre,v,' said 
he; 'I thought you told me your cuddy would eat 
nothing but nettles and thistles.' 'Ay,' said he, 'but 
he misbehaved the day; he nearly kicket me o,ver 
his head, sae I pat him in there just to punish him.'" 
There is a good deal of the same sort of simple 
character brought out in the t,vo following. They 
,yere sent to me from Golspie, and are original, as 
they occurred in my correspondent's o,vn experience. 
The one is a capital illustration of thrift, the other 
of kind feeling for the friendless, in the Highland 
character. I give the anecdotes in my correspondent's 
o,vn words :-A little boy, some t,,"elve years of age, 
came to me one day with the follo,ving message: "1\1y 
mother ,vants a vomit from you, sir, and she bade me 
say if it 'v ill not be strong enough, she "rill send it 
back." "Oh, 
Ir. Begg," said a ,voman to DIe, for 
,vhom I ,vas ,veighing two grains of calomel for a 
child, "dinna be so mean ,vi' it j it is for a poor 
faitherless bairn." 
The follo,ving, from a provincial paper, contains a 
very amusing recognit.ion of a return ,vhich one of 
the itinerant race considered himself conscientiously 
bound to make to his clerical patron for an alms: 
"A beggar, while on his rounds one day this week, 
called on a clergyman (\vithin two and a half miles of 
the Cross of Kilmarnock), who, obeying the biblical 
injunction of clothing the naked, offered the beggar 
an old top-coat. It was immediately rolled up, and 
the beggar, in going a,vay ,vith it under his arm, 



S38 


REJ.1JI1v'rISOENCES OF 


thoughtfully (1) remarked, 'I'll hae tae gie ye a daY'fJ 
Marin' for this na.' n 
The natural and self-complacent manner in ,vhich 
the follo,ving anecdote brings out in the Highlander 
an innate sense of the superiority of Celtic blood is 
highly characteristic :-A few years ago, ",.hen an 
English family were visiting in the 1-lighlands, their 
attention ,vas directed to a chUd crying j on their 
observing to the mother it ,vas C'fOSS, she exclaimed 
-"Na, na, it's nae cross, for ,ve're baith true Hieland." 
The late IvIr. Grahame of Garsock, in Strathearn, 
w hose grandson no,v "is laird himsel," used to tell, 
,vith great unction, some thirty years ago, a story of a 
neighbour of his own of a still earlier generation, 
Drummond of Keltie, ,,"ho, as it seems, had enlployed 
an itinerant tailor instead of a nletropolitan artist. 
On one occasion a ne,v pair of inexpressibles had 
been made for the laird; they 'v ere so tight that, 
after waxing hot and red in the attempt to try them 
on, he let out rather savagely at the tailor, ,vho calmly 
assured him, "It's the fash'n; it's jist the fash'n." 
" Eh, ye haveril, is it the fashion for them no to go on? " 
An English gentleman ,vrites to me-" We have 
all heard much of Scotch caution, and I n1et once 
,vith an instance of it ,vhich I think is ,vorth record- 
ing, and which I tell as strictly original. About 
1827, I fell into conversation, on board of a Stirling 
steamer, with &, well-dressed middle-aged man, who 
told me he was a soldier of the 42d, going on leave. 
He began to relate the campaigns he had gone through, 
and mentioned having been at the siege of St. Sebas- 
tian. -' Ah! under Sir Thomas Graham 1 ' eYes, 
sir; he commanded there.' , Well,' I said, merely 
by way of carrying on the crack, c and what do you 
think of lLÍlIL" Insteaù of answering, ho scanneà 




COTTISH LIFE 
 CHARACTER. S39 


me several times from head to foot, and from foot to 
head, and then said, in a tone of the most diploma.tic 
caution, 'Y e'll perhaps be of the name of Grah'm 
yersel, sir 
' There could hardly be a better example, 
either of the circumspection of a real canny Scot, or 
of the lingering influence of the old patriarchal feel- 
ing, by ,vhich 'A name, a ,,,"ord, makes clansmen 
vassals to their lord.'" 
N o,v ,vhen ,ve linger over these old stories, "
e 
seem to live at another period, and in such reminis- 
cences ,ve converse ,vith a generation different from 
our o,vn. Changes are still going on around us. 
They have been going on for some time past. 'fhe 
changes are less striking as society advances, and ,ve 
find fe,ver alterations for us to notice. Probably 
each generation ,yill have less change to record than 
the generation that preceded; still everyone ,vho is 
tolerably advanced in life must feel that, conlparing 
its beginning and its close, he has witnessed t",.o 
epochs, and that in advanced life he looks on a 
different ,vorld from one ,,"hich he can remeln ber. 
To elucidate this fact has been my present object, 
and in attempting this task I cannot but feel ho,v 
trifling and unsatisfactory nlY remarks must seem 
to n1any ,vho have a more enlarged and minute - 
acquaintance ,vith Scottish life and manners than I 
have. But I shall be encouraged to hope for a 
favourable, or at least an indulgent, sentence upon 
these Reminiscences, if to any of my readers I shall 
have opened a fresh insight into the subject of social 
changes amongst us. 
lany causes have their effect 
upon the habits and custorns of nlankind, and of late 
years such causes have been greatly multiplied in 
number and activity. In n1:lny persons, and in some 
,vho have not altogether lost their national partialities, 



840 


REJI[J.VISCENCES OF 


there is a general tendency to merge Scottish usages 
and Scottish expressions into the English forms, as 
being more correct and genteel. The facilities for 
moving, not merely from place to place in our o,vn 
country, but from one country to another; the spread 
of knowledge and inforn1ation by means of periodical 
publications and ne,vspapers; and the incredibly lo,v 
prices at ,yhich literary works are produced, must 
haye great effects. Then there is the improved taste 
in art, ,vhich, together ,vith literature, has been taken 
up by young men ,vho, fifty, sixty, seventy years ago, 
or more, ,vould have kno,,"n no such sources of interest, 
or indeed ,vho ,vould have looked upon them as un- 
manly and effeminate. 'V"hen first these pursuits ""ere 
taken up by our Scottish young men, they excited 
in the north much amazement, and, I fear, contempt, 
as ,vas evinced by a laird of the old school, ,vho, the 
first time he saw a young man at the pianoforte, 
asked, ,vith evident disgust, "Can the creature sew 
ony 1" evidently putting the accomplishment of play- 
ing the pianoforte and the accomplishment of the 
needle in the same category. 
The greater facility of producing books, prints, and 
other articles ,vhich tend to the comfort and embel- 
lishment of domestic life, must have considerable 
influence upon the habits and tastes of a people. I 
have often thought how much effect might be traced 
to the single circumstance of the cheap production of 
pianofortes. An increased facility of procuring the 
means of acquaintance ,vith good works of art and 
literature acts both as cause and effect. A growing 
and improved taste tends to stimulate the production 
of the best works of art. These, in return, foster 
Rnd advance the power of forming a, due estimate of 
art. In the higher department of music, for example, 



SOOTTISH LIFE æ CHARACTER. 341 


the cheap rate not only of hearing cOlnpositions of 
the first class, but of possessing the ,vorks of the 
most eminent composers, must have had influence 
upon thousands. The principal oratorios of Handel 
may be purchased for as many shillings each as they 
cost pounds years ago. Indeed, at that time the 
very names of those immortal works ,vere kno'Yll 
only to a few ,vho were skilled to appreciate their 
high beauties. N ow associations are formed for 
practising and studying the choral ,yorks of the great 
masters. 
'Ve might indeed adduce nlany more causes ,vhich 
seem to produce changes of habits, tastes, and associa- 
tions, amongst our people. For example, families do 
not vegetate for years in one retired spot as they used 
to do; young men are encouraged to attain accomplish- 
ments, and to have other sources of interest than the 
field or the bottle. Everyone kno,vs, or rnay know, 
everything that is going on through the ,vhole world. 
There is a tendency in mankind to lose all that is pe- 
culiar, and in nations to part ,vith all that distinguishes 
them frolIl each other. "r e hear of ,vonderful changes 
in habits and customs ,vhere change seelned impossible. 
In India and Turkey even, peculiarities and prejudices 
are fading awa.y under the influence of time. Amongst 
ourselves, no doubt, ORe circumstance tended greatly 
to call forth, and, as we may sa.y, to develop, the pecu- 
liar Scotch humour of ,vhich ,ye speak-and that ,vas 
the familiarity of intercourse ,vhich took place between 
persons in different positions of life. This extended 
even to an occasional interchange of words bet\veen 
the minister and the members of his flock during time 
of service. I have two anecdotes in illustration of this 
fact, which I have reason to believe are quite authentic. 
In the church of Banchory on Dceside. to \\Thich J 
2F 




4
 


1fE.
fIlfJSCEA"'aES OP 


have refelTed, a former Inillister al ,,"'ays preached 
\vithout book, and being of an absent disposition, 
he sometimes forgot the head of discourse on ,vl]ich 
he ,,"as engaged, and got involved in confusion. On 
one occasion, heing desirous of recalling to his memory 
the division f'f his subject, he called out to one of his 
elders, a farmer on the estate of Ley, " Bush (the name 
of his farn1), Bush, ye're sleeping." "Na, sir, I'm no 
sleeping- I'lll listening." U 'V eel, then, what had I 
begun to say 1 n "Oh, ye ,vere saying so and so.': 
This ,vas enough, and supplied the minister with the 
thread of his discourse; and he went on. The other 
a.necdote related to tlu"\ parish of Cumbernauld, the 
minister of which was at the time referred to noted 
for a very disjointed and rambling style of preaching, 
without method or connection. His principal heritor 
\vas the Lord Elphil1stone of the time, and unfortu- 
nately the minister and the peer 'v ere not on good 
terms, and ahvays ready to annoy each other by sharp 
sayings or other\vise. The ministpr on one occasion 
had somewhat in this spirit called upon the beadle 
to "wauken my Lord E1phinstone," upon which Lord 
Elphinstone said, "I'm no sleeping, minister." "In- 
dped you ,vere, my lord." He again disclain1cd the 
sleeping. So as a test the preacher asked hinI, " What 
I had been saying last then 1" "Oh, juist ,vauken 
Lord Elphinstone." "Ay, but what did I say before 
that 1 " "Indeed," retorted Lord Elphinstone, "I'll 
gie yc a guinea if ye'll tell that yerselI, nlinister. " We 
can hardly imagine the possibility of such scenes now 
taking place amongst us in church. It seems as if aU 
luen were gradually approximating to a common type 
or form in their manners and views of life; oddities 
are sunk, prominences are rounded off, sharp features 
are polished, and all things are becoming smootb anti 



t::COTTISH LI}E 
 CHARACTER. 84
 


conventional. The remark, like the effect, is genera], 
and extends to other countries as ,yell as to our own. 
But as "\'''e have 1110re recently parted "\vith our pecu- 
liarities of dialect, oddity, and eccentricity, it becomes 
the more anlusillg to n1ark our participation in this 
change, because a, period of fifty years sho,vs here a 
greater contrast than the same period ,\.ould sho"\v in 
many other localities. 
I have already referred to a custom ,yl1Îch prevailed 
in all the rural parish churches, and "\\"hich I remember 
in my early days at Fettercairn; the custom I mean, 
no,v quite obsolete, of the minister, after pronouncing 
the blessing, turning to the heritors, ,vho always occu- 
pied the front seats of the gallery, and making low 
b01VS to each family. Another custom I recollect :- 
"Then the text had been given out, it \vas usual for 
the elder branches of the congregation to hand about 
their Bibles amongst the younger mpmbers, marking 
the place, and calling their attention to the passage. 
During service another handing about "Tas frequent 
among the seniors, and that ,vas a circulation of the 
sneeshin-mull or snuff-box. Indeed, I have heard of 
the same practice in an Episcopal church, and particu- 
larly in one case of an ordination, where the bishop 
took his pinch of snuff, and handed the mull to go 
rounù amongst the clergy assembled for the solemn 
occasion ,vithin the altar-rails. 
Amongst Scottish reluiniscences which do not ex- 
tend beyond our o,vn recollections ,ve may mention 
the disappearance of Trinity Church in Edinburgh, 
which ha.s taken place "ithin the last quarter of a 
century. It was founded by 1\:1ary of Gueldres, 
queen of James II. of Scotland, in 1446, and liberally 
enòowed for a provost, prebendaries, choristers, etc. It 
was never completed, but the portions built--\iz., 



844 


REMINISCENOES OIl 


choir, transept, and central tower-were amongst the 
finest specimens of later Gothic work in Scotland. 
The pious founder had placed it at the east end of 
what was then the North Loch. She chose her own 
church for the resting-place of her remains as a sanc- 
tuary of safety and repose. A railway parliamentary 
bill, ho\vever, overrides founder's intentions and Epis- 
copal consecrations. Where once stood the beautiful 
church of the Holy Trinity, ,vhere once the" pealing 
organ" and the" full-voiced choir" were daily heard 
"in service high and anthems clear"-where for 400 
years slept the ashes of a Scottish Queen-now re- 
sound the noise and turmoil of a raihvay station. 
But we have another example of the uncertainty of 
all earthly concerns, and one ,vhich supplies a Scottish 
reminiscence belonging to the last seventy years. 
Wilhelmina, Viscountess Glenorchy, during her life- 
time, built and endo,ved a church for two ministers, 
who were provided with very handsome incomes. 
She died 17th July 1786, and was buried on the 24th 
July, aged 44. I-Ier interment took place, by her own 
direction, in the church she had founded, immediately 
in front of the pulpit; and she fixed upon that spot 
as a place of security and safety, ,vhere her mortal 
remains might rest in peace till the morning of the 
resurrection. But alas for the uncertainty of all 
earthly plans and projects for the future !-the iron 
road came on its reckless course and swept the church 
away. The site was required for the North British 
Railway, which passed directly over the spot where 
Lady Glenorchy had been buried. Her remains were 
accordingly disinterred 24th December 1844; and 
the trustees of the church, not having yet erected a 
new one, deposited the body of their foundress in the 
vaults beneath St. John's Episcopal Church, and after 



SCOTTISH LIFE J: CHARACTER. 846 


resting there for fifteen years, they were, in 1859, 
removed to the building which is now Lady Glen. 
orchy's Church. 
In our reminiscences of many changes ,vhich have 
taken place during fifty years in Scottish manners, it 
might form an interesting section to record some pecu- 
liarities ,vhich 're rna in. I mean such peculiarities as 
yet linger amongst us, and still mark a difference in 
SOllle of our social habits from those of England. Some 
Scottish usages die hard, and are found still to supply 
anlusement for southern visitors. To give a few ex- 
am pIes, persons still persist among us in calling the 
head of a family, or the host, the landlord, although 
he never charged his guests a halfpenny for the hospi- 
tality he exercises. In games, golf and curling still 
continue to mark the national character-cricket ,vas 
long an exotic amongst us. In many of our educa- 
tional institutions, ho\vever, it seems no\v fairly to 
have taken root. 'Ve continue to call our reception 
rooms "public rooms," although never used for any but 
domestic purposes. Military rank is attached to ladies, 
as ,ve speak of 1\Irs. Lieutenant Fraser, Mrs. Captain 
Scott, lYlrs. l\lajor Smith, l\Irs. Colonel Can1pbell. On 
the occasion of a death, ,ve persist in send ing circular 
notices to all the relatives, \r hether they kno,v of it 
or not-a custom which, together ,vith men wearing 
weepers at funeral solemnities, is unkno,vn in Eng- 
land." Announcing a married lady's death under her 
maiden name 111USt seem strange to English ears-as, 
for example, ,ve read of the demise of 
irs. Jane 
Dickson, spouse of Tholnas :\forison. Scottish cookery 
retains its ground, and hotch-pot-eh, minced collops, 
sheep's head singed
 and occasionally haggis, are still 
* And yet, eVen as we write, weeper
 seeDl tu he rassing int3 
relOini.s
ellP
. 



846 


REJ.}fI1VISOENCES OF 


marked peculiarities of the Scottish table. Thes6 
social differences linger amongst us. But stronger 
points are ,vorn away; eccentricities and oddities 
such as existed once ,vill not do now. One does not 
see why eccentricity should be more developed in one 
age than in another, but \\re cannot avoid the conclu- 
sion that the day for real oddities is no more. Pro- 
fessors of colleges are those in whom one least expects 
oddity-grave and learned characters; and yet such 
have been in former times. 'Ve can scarcely now 
imagine such professors as we read of in a past gene- 
ration. Take the ca.se of no less distinguished a 
person than Adam Snlith, author of the IVealth o.f 
Nations, ,vIto went about the streets talking and 
laughing to himself in such a n1anner as to rnake the 
market women think he was deranged; and he told 
of one himself who ejaculated, as he passed, "Hech, 
sirs, and he is weel pat on, too!" expressing surprise 
that a decided lunatic, who froln his dress appeared 
to be a gentleman, should be permitted to walk abroad 
unattended. Professors still have their crotchets 
like other people; but v
"e can scarcely conceive a 
professor of our day coming out like Adanl Slnith. 
and making fish wives to pass such observations on 
his demeanour. 
Peculiarities in a people's phraseology may prove 
more than we are aware of, and ma.y tend to illustrate 
circumstances of national history. Thus many words 
which would be included by Englishmen under the 
general terln of Scotticisms, bear directly upon the 
question of a past intercoursè \vith France, and prove 
how close at oue tilne must have been the influence 
exercised upon general habits in Scotland by that 
intercourse. Seoto-Gallic words were quite different1y 
8ituated from French \\'orùs and phrases adopted in 



SOO'1"l'ISH LIFE" d- OHAllAOTER. 84i 
England. \Vith us they proceeùed from a real 
admixture of the t\VO peoples. 'Vith us they form 
the ordinary COlnnlon language of the country, nnll 
that was from a distant period moulded by French. 
In England, the educated and upper classes of late 
years adopted French ,vorùs and phrases. "Tith us, 
some of our French derivatives are gro,ving obsolete 
as vulgar, and nearly all are passing from fashionable 
society. In England, ,ve find the French-adopted 
words rather receiving accessions than going out of 
use. 
Examples of words such as we have referred to, as 
showing a French influence and admixture, are familiar 
to many of my readers. I recollect SOlne of them in 
constant use amongst old-fashioned Scottish people, 
and those terms, let it be renlembered, are unkno,vn 
in England. 
A leg of mutton ,vas al \\Tays, ,vith old-fashioned 
Scotch people, a gigot (Fr. gigot). 
The crystal jug or decanter in '\vhich ,vater is 
placed upon the table, ,vas a caraff (Fr. carafe). 
Gooseberries \vere groserts, or grossarts (Fr. gro- 
seille ). 
Partridges were pertricks,-a word much more 
formed upon the }
rench perdrix than the English 
partridge. 
The plate on ,vhich a joint or side-dish was placed 
upon the table ""as an ashet (Fr. assiette). 
In the old streets of Edinburgh, ,r here the houses 
are very high, and ,,'here the inhabitants all live in 
flats, before the introduction of soil-pipes there ,vas 
no method of disposing of the foul ,vater of the 
household, except by thro\ving it uut of the windo\v 
into the street. This operation, dangerous to those 
outsidè, \vas liIniteù to certain hours, and the well 



:548 


REJfINISOENOES OF 


known cry, which preceded the missile and ,yarned 
the passenger, was gardeloo! or, as Smollett writes 
it, gardy 100 (Fr. garge de ]' ean). 
Anything troublesome or irksome used to be called, 
Scotticè, fashious (Fr. facheux, facheuse); to fash 
one's-self (Fr. se facher). 
The small cherry, both black and red, common in 
gardens, is in Scotland, never in England, termed 
gean (Fr. guigne), from Guigne, in Picardy. 
The terln dambrod, ,vhich has already supplied 
materials for a good story, arises from adopting French 
terms into Scottish language, as dams were the pieces 
with \vhich the game of draughts ,vas played (Fr. 
dammes). Brod is board. 
A bedgown, or loose felnale upper garlnent, is still 
in many parts of Scotland termed a jupe (Fr. jupe). 
In Kincardineshire the ashes of a blacksmith's 
furnace had the peculiar name of smiddy-coom (Fr. 
écume, i.e. dross). 
Oil, in common Scotch, used always to be ule,- 
as the uley pot, or uley cruse (Fr. huile). 

Iany of my readers are no doubt familiar with 
the notice taken of these words by Lord Cockburn, 
and ,vith the account ,vhich he gives of these Scottish 
words derived from the French, probably during the 
time of Queen ßfary's minority, when French troops 
were quartered in Scotland. I subjoin a n10re full 
list, for \vhich I am indebted to a correspondent, 
because the ,yords still lingering amongst us are in 
themselves the best RÉl\IINISCENCES of former days. 


Scotch. English. 
Serviter Napkin 
Gigot (of mutton) 
Reeforts Radishes 
Grosserts Gooseberries 
Gardyveen Case for llolding wine 


French. 
From Serviette. 
, , Gigot. 
, , Raiforts. 
" Groiìeilles. 
,. Gard
-v
 



THE READER 


F 'Olll a ';uafer-colour draL('Ùlg b.y 
lIE_YRr lV. KERR, 
I.R.Sui., R.S.TI: 






SCOTTISH LIFE d: CHARAOTER. 3" 


Scotch. 


Jupe 
Bonnaille 


Gysard 
DaIn brod 
Pantufles 
Haggis 
Gou 
Hogue 
Grange 
1rlouter 
Dour 
Douce 
Dorty 
Braw 
Kimmer 
J alouse 
Vizzy 
Ruckle 
Gardy-Ioo 


Dementit 
On my verity 
By n1Y certy 
Aumrie 


English. 
Part of a woman's dress 
A parting glass with a " 
friend going on ajourney 
Person in a fancy dress 
Draught-board 
Slippers 
Hashed Jnea.t 
Taste, smell 
Tainted 
Granary 

Iiller' s perq u isi te 
Obstinate 
!!ild 
Sulky 
Fine 
Gossip 
Suspect 
'ro aim at, to examin
 
Heap (of stones) 
(Notice 'well known in " 
Edin burgh) 
Ou t of patience, dcranged 
Assertion of truth 
Assertion of truth 
Cupboard 


Walise Portmanteau " 
Sucker Sugar " 
Edinburgh Street Ory :-N eeps like sucker. 
neeps 1" (turnips). 
Cakes of triangular shapes " 


.t'etticoat-tails 


...\shet 11eat-dish 
Fashious Troublesome 
Prush, 
Iadame * Call to a cow to come for- 
ward 


French. 
" Jupe. 
Bon aller. 


Guise. 
Dammes. 
Pantoufles. 
Hachis. 
Gout. 
Raut gout. 
Grange. 
Mouture. 
Dur. 
" Doux. 
Dureté. 
Bra ve. 
Comm
re. 
J alouser. 
Viser. 
Recueil. 
Gardez-l' eau. 


" 


It 


u 


" 


" 


,. 


" 


" 


" 


" 


" 


" 


" 


" 


" 


" 


Dementir. 
Verité. 
Certes. 
Almoire, in old 
French. 
Valise. 
Sucre. 
\Vhae'll buy 


" 


" 


" 


" 


Petits gatelles 
(gateaux). 
.Assiette. 
Facheux. 
A pprochez, 
1\-Iadame. 


" 


" 


* This expression was adopted apparently in ridicule of the 
Frpnch applying the word "Madame" to a cow. 



350 


REJIINISOEJ.,TCES OJl 


I dwell the more minutely on this questiou of 
Scottish words, from the conviction of their being so 
characteristic of Scottish humour, and being so dis- 
tinctive a feature of the older St."ottish race. Take 
away our Scottish phraseology, and we lose what is 
our specific distinction from England. III these 
expressions, too, there is often a tenderness and 
beauty as remarkable as the wit and humour. I 
have already spoken of the phrase" Auld-Iang-syne," 
and of other expressions of sentiment, which may be 
compared in their Anglican anù Scotch form. 



JitJO'l'TISB LIFE &l: CHAR.ACTER. 
J 


CONCLUSION. 


I A)[ very anxious to bear in mind throughout these 
Reminiscences
 and to keep in vie\v the saIne feeling for 
my readers-viz. that such details regarding the 
changes ,vhich Inany living have themselves noticed 
as taking place in our customs and habits of society 
in Scotland, should ahvays suggest the question to the 
thoughtful and serious mind, Are the changes ,vhich 
have been observed for good I Is the ,,"orld a better 
,vorld than that ,rhich we can remember 
 On son1e 
important points changes have been noticed in the 
upper classes of Scottish society, ",-hich unquestionably 
(tire Ï1nprovements. :For example, the greater atten- 
tion paid to observance of Sunday, and to attendance 
upon public \vorship.-the partial disappearance of 
profane s\Vearillg and of excess in drinking. But 
then the painful questions arise, Are such beneficial 
changes gene'Joal through the whole body of our 
countrymen 
 may not the vices and follies of one 
graJ.e of societ.y have found a refuge ill those that are 
of a lower class 
 may not ne\v faults have taken their 
place "r here older faults have been abandoned 
 Of 
this \ve are quite sure-no lover of his country can 
fail to entertain the anxious wish, that the change \ve 
noticed in regard to drinking and s\vearing 'vere uni- 
versal, and that \ve bad sonle evidence of its being 
extended through all classes of society. "T e ought 
certainly to feel grateful \vhen \ve reflect that, in 



852 


REltfI...Y"ISCE1{CES OF 


many instances which \ve have noticed, the ,vays and 
customs of society are Inuch inlproved in common 
sense, in decency, in delicacy, and refinement. There 
are certain modes of life, certain expressions, eccen- 
tricity of conduct, coarseness of speech, books, and 
plays, which were in vogue amongst us, even fifty or 
8ixty years ago, which would not be tolerated in 
society at the present time. 'Ve cannot illustrate this 
in a nlore satisfactory manner than by reference to 
the acknowledglnent of a very interesting and charm- 
irig old lady, who died so lately as 1823. In 1821, 
Mrs. Keith of Ravelstone, grandaunt of Sir 'Valter 
Scott, thus writes in returning to him the \vork of a 
felnale novelist \vhich she had borrowed from him out 
of curiosity, and to relnind her of " auld lang syne : " 
-" Is it not a very odd thing that I, an old 'v oman 
of eighty and upwards, sitting alone, feel myself 
ashamed to read a book which, sixty years ago, I 
have heard read aloud for the amusement of large 
circles, consisting of the first and most creditable 
society in London f' There can be no doubt that at 
the time referred to by Mrs. Keith, Tristram Shandy,. 
Tom Jones, Humphrey Clinker, etc., \vere on the 
drawing-room tables of ladies ,vhose grandchildren or 
great-grandchildren never sa,'" them, or would not 
acknowledge it if they had spen them. But authors 


... Sterne, in one of his letters, describes his reading TristraIll 
Shandy to his wife and daughter-his daughter copying fronl 
his dictation, and Mrs. Sterne sitting by and listening whilst 
she worked. In the life of Sterne, it is recorded that h
 used 
to carry about in his pocket a volume of this sanle work, and 
read it aloud when he went into company. Admirable reading 
for the church dignitary,. the prebendary of York! How wen 
adapted to tIle hours of social intercourse with friends! How 
fitted for domestic seclusion with his fanlily! 



. SCOTTISH LIFE &: CHARACTER. 358 


not inferior to Sterne, Fielding, or Smollett, are now 
popular, '\vho, \vith Charles Dickens, can describe 
scenes of human life with as much force and humour, 
and yet in whose pages nothing will be found which 
need offend the taste of the most refined, or shock 
the feelings of the most pure. This is a change where 
there is also great improvement. It indicates not 
merely a better Inoral perception in authors themselves, 
hut it is itself a homage to the improved spirit of the 
age. "... e '\vill hope that, ,vith an improved exterior, 
there is improvement in society within. If the feelings 
shrink from \vhat is coarse in expression, we may hope 
that vice has, in some sort, lost attraction. At any 
rate, from ,vhat we discern around us we hope favour- 
ably for the general improvement of mankind, and of 
our o\vn beloved country in particular. If Scotland, 
in parting ,vith her rich and racy dialect, her odd and 
eccentric characters, is to lose something in quaint 
humour and good stories, we will hope she may grow 
and strengthen in better things-good as those are 
\vhich she loses. Ho,vever this may be, I feel quite as- 
sured that the examples which I have now given, of 
Scottish expressions, Scottish modes and habits of life, 
and Scottish anecdotes, which belong in a great measure 
to the past, and yet which are remembered as having a 
place in the present century, must carry conviction that 
great changes have taken place in the Scottish social 
circle. There were some things belonging to our 
country \vhich we must all have desired should be 
changed. There were others which we could only see 
changed with regret and sorrow. The hardy and simple 
habits of Scotsmen of many past generations; their in- 
dustry, economy, and integrity, ,vhich made them take 
so high a place in the estimation and the confidence 
of the people alnongst whom the.}" dwelt in all countries 



854 


RE},{INISCENCES OF 


of the world; the intelligence and superior ec.lucation 
of her mechanics and her peasantry, combined with a 
strict moral and religious derneanour, fuUy justified 
the praise of Burns when he described the humble 
though sublime piety of the "Cottar's Saturday Night," 
and we can ,vell appreciat,fj the testimony ,vhich be 
bore to the hallo,ved power" and sacred influences of 
the devotional exercises of his boyhood's home, when 
he penned t.he immortal ,vords :- 


"From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs, 
That makes ber loved at home, revered abroad." 


On comparing Scotland past \vit.h Scotland present, 
we cannot evade the question, .ATe "scenes like these" 
-devotional domestic scones like thei;e-become less 
frequent than they "1'ere 
 Do they stil1 hold their 
place by the cottar's fireside, or are they becoming only 
a reminiscence of \v hat was once a national distinction 1 
'Vhatever be our religious opinions, or ,vhatever be our 
views on questions of ecclesiastical polity and church 
order, no Scotsman who desires the happiness and 
honour of his country could avoid a deep regret at 
the very idea of Burns' "Cottar's Saturday Night" 
having become a tl}ing of the past; and yet we must 
not shrink from inquiry into the true state of the case. 
I have asked the opinions of friends both of the Estab- 
lished and the Free Church, who have met my in- 
quiries in a fair aud c:tndid spirit, and, from the 
answers I have received, 'have come to something like 
the following conclusion:- I believe such scenes as 
Burns' "Cottar's Saturday Night" are still to be Dlet 
with in all their freshness and all their fervour in the 
dwel1ings of a good religious peasantry; but in some 
places ,the cottar population -itself has undergone a 
great change. Two causes have combined to produce 



SCOTTISH LIFE & CHARACTER. 
:;
 


this effect :-An extensive system of emigratioll ha.
 
thinned the older families of the soil, ,vhilst, the prac- 
tice of bringing in mere labourers has in many districts 
made the old fanlily donlestic firesides less numerous. 
'rhen, alas! alas! we fear cottar 
IORALITY has not. 
been such as to keep up the practice. Reports made 
t.o both the General AsseID blies of 1871 on this 
question ,vere far from being satisfactory. Dr, Begg, 
too, in his striking and able pamphlet on the" Ecclesi- 
astical and Social Evils of Scotland," refers to "symp- 
toms of a nation's degeneracy lvhich seem multiplying 
in Scotland ;" also to a " gro,ying amount of heathen- 
ism and drunkenness." 
'Vith such representations before us regarding a 
decline of domestic Inorality, 'ye cannot expect to see 
much increase of domestic piety. Burns, after he had 
becon1e 1o,vered in nloral feelings by those licentious 
habits and scenes into which he unfortunately fell after 
he had left his father's house, ,vas not hypocrite 
enough to profess the same love and interest for the 
scenes of his innocent and early days. The country 
clergy of Scotland have their many difficulties against 
,vhich they are to contend; and many obstacles "rhich 
they have to meet. But let not the domestic piety 
of the lowest cottages of the land be lost sight of. 
The results of such worship a.re so blessed upon the 
inmates, that the practice should every'v here be urged 
upon their flocks by the clergy, and encouraged by all 
means in their po,ver; and in that view it would, I 
think, be desirable to circulate short forms of prayer 
for family use. 1\Iany such have lately been publish- 
ed; and, ,vhatever difference of opinion may be enter- 
tained as to the comparative merits of extempore" or 
liturgical prayer for the public ,vorship of the church, 
there can be no question that in many instances It 



:\56 


BEAfINISCEj.VCES OF 


form must be very useful, and often essential at the 
cOlnmencement, at least, of cottage worship. I have 
known cases where it has been declined on the plea 
of inability to conduct the service. 
There are numerous indications that, on the 'lvhole, 
a regard for religion and religious ordinances is not 
losing ground in Scotland. The great number of 
churches-and of handsome churches-that are spring- 
ing up, indicate, by their attendance, ho,v much hold 
the subject has upon the people. The ample funds 
raised for charitable and for missionary objects give 
good testimony in the cause; and, in regard to the 
immediate question before us, one favourable result 
may be reported on this subject-the practice and 
feelings of domestic piety and family ,vorship have, 
at any rate, extended in Scotland in an upwa'rd direc- 
tion of its social life. Beyond all doubt, ,ve may say 
family worship is more frequent, as a general practice, 
in houses of the rich, and also in the houses of farmers 
and of superior operatives, than it was some years ago. 
The Montrose anecdote about family prayers, told at 
page 64, could hardly have place now, and indeed 
many persons could not understand the point. 
I hope I am not blinded to the defects of my own 
countrymen, nor am I determined to resist evidence 
of any deterioration which may be proved. But I 
feel confident that Scotland still stands pre..eminent 
amongst the nations for moral and religious qualities. 
The nucleus of her character will bear comparison 
with any. 'Ve will cherish hope for the mental tone 
of our countrymen being still in the ascendant, and 
still imbued with those qualities that make a moral 
and. religious people. 'Ve have reason to know that 
in many departments of business, Scottish intelligence, 
Scottish character, and Scottish services, are still de- 
eidAdly at 3 premium in the market. 



SCOTT/S." LIFE J: CHARAOTER. 357 


But no\v, before concluding, I am desirous of record- 
ing iome Reminiscences upon a phase of Scottish 
RELIGIOUS history which involves very important 
consequences, and which I would not attempt to 
discuss without serious consideration. Indeed I have 
sometimes shrunk from the discussion at all, as lead- 
ing to questions of so delicate a nature, and as in- 
volving matters on which there are so many differences 
of opinion. I refer to the state of our divisions and 
alienations of spirit on account of religion. 
The great Disruption, which nearly equally divided 
the National Church, and \vhich took place in 1843, 
is no\v become a matter of 'reminiscence. Of those 
nearly connected with that movement, some were 
relatives of my o,vn, and many ,vere friends. Unlike 
similar religious revolutions, that which caused the 
Free Church of Scotland did not turn upon any 
difference of opinion on matters either of doctrine or 
of ecclesiastical polity. It arose entirely from differ- 
ences regarding the relation subsisting between the 
Church and the State, by which the Church was 
established and endowed. The great evil of all such 
divisions, and the real cause for regret, lie in the 
injury they inflict on the cause of Christian unity and 
Christian love, and the separation they too often 
make bet\veen those who ought to be united in spirit, 
and ,vho have hitherto been not unfrequently actually 
joined for years as companions and friends. The tone 
which is adopted by publications, ,vhich are the 
organs of various party opinions amongst us, sho\v 
ho\v keenly disputants, once excited, will deal ,vith 
each other. The differences consequent upon the 
Disruption in the Scottish Church called forth great 
bitterness of spirit and much mutual recrimination at 
the time. But it seenlS to me that there are indica- 
20 



858 


'REJII.J.VlSGEJ.Y'CES Or"' 


tions of a better spirit, and that there is more tolerance 
fi ad Illore forbearance on religious differences amongst 
Scottish people generally. I cannot help thinking, 
ho\vever, that at 110 period of our ecclesiastical annals 
was such language made use of, and even against 
those of the highest place and authority in the 
Church, as ,\re have lately nlet with in the organs of 
the extreme Anglican Church party. It is nluch to 
be regretted that earnest and zealous men should 
have adopted such a style of discussing religious 
differences. I cannot help thinking it is injurious to 
Christian feelings of love and Christian kindness. It 
is really sonletimes quite appalling. From the same 
qua.rter I nlust expect myself severe handling for 
some of these pages, should they fan into their ,vay. 
We cannot but lament, however, when ,ve find such 
language used towards each other by those ,vho are 
believers in a common Bible, and who are followers 
and disciples of the same lo,vly Saviour, and indeed 
frequently members of the same Church. Bigotry 
and intolerance are not confined to one side or another. 
They break out often where least expected. Differ- 
ences, no doubt, will al,vays exist on many contested 
subjects, but I ,vould earnestly pray that all SUCH 
differences, amongst ourselves at least, as those "rhich 
injure the forbearance and gentleness of the Christian 
character, should becolne "Scottish Reminiscences," 
whetber they are cancd forth by the opposition sub- 
sisting between Presbyterianism and Episcopacy, or 
whether they arise amongst Presbyterians or amongst 
Episcopalians themselves. 
To my apprehension Scotland has l'ecently seen a 
most painful indication of the absence of that charity 
\\rhich, according to St. Paul, should "never fail " 
alnongst a Christian people. 'fhe act of t,vo l
ngli::5h 



.""COTT/S1I LIFE It: CHARA01'ER. 
59 


Prelates officiating in one of the Established churches 
has called forth a storIn of indignation as loud and 
vehement as if in a heathen land they had fallen down 
before the image of a heathen deity, and worshipped 
in a heathen temple. Then the explanation ,vhich 
has been given by apologists for these services is not 
the least relnarkable feature of the transaction. These 
ministrations have bF.en caUed "l\fission Services," 
and, in so far as I enter into the meaning of the 
phrase, I "Tould solemnly and seriously protest against 
its being made use of in such a case. " JJfission 
gervice" can only be applied to the case of a mis- 
sionary raising his voice "in pa-rtibus injideIÙtrn," or, 
to say the least of it, in a land ,vhere no Christian 
church ,vas already planted. 'Vhen I think of the 
piety, the Christian worth, and high character of so 
many friends in the Established and other Presbyterian 
churches in Scotland, I would again repeat my solemn 
protestation against such religious intolerance, and 
again declare my conviction, that Englishmen and 
Scotsmen, so far from looking out for points of 
difference and grounds for separation on account of 
the principles on which their Churches are established, 
should endeavour to nlake the honds of religious 
union as close as possible. I can scarcely express the 
gratification I felt on learning from the Scotslllan. 
November 20, that such ,vere the sentÏInents called 
forth by this event in the mind of one of the ablest and 
Illost distinguished Prelates of our dare In reference 
to the Glengarry 
ervices, the Bishop of St. Andre,vs 
(\V' ords,yorth) ha
 declared his opinion, that the 
"subsequent explanations of those services seemed 
to .mar the good work by introducing .questions of 
etiquette, where nothing should have been thought 
of but the 
imple performance of Christian duty 



360 


REJ.1IINISGE1YOES OF 


by Christian ministers for the benefit of Christian 
people." · 
Such is the judgment expressed by the honoured 
and learned Bishop of St. Andrews, ,vhose noble and 
patriotic exertions to draw the Episcopalians and the 
Presbyterians of Scotland closer together in bonds of 
religious feelings and religious worship have been 
spoken of in such terms, and such words have b
en 
applied to his labours in that cause, and to the ad- 
ministration generally of his O\\Tn diocese, by one of 
the very high English Church papers, as have been to 
me a cause of deep sorrow and poignant regret. 
As a Scotsman by descent from Presbyterians of 
high moral and re1igious character, and as an Episco.. 
palian by conscientious preference, I would fain see 
more of harmony and of confidence between all 
Scotsmen, not only as fellow-countrymen, but as 
fellow-Christians. When I first joined the Episcopal 
Church the Edinburgh Episcopal clergy ,vere on most 
friendly terms with the leading clergy of the Estab- 
lished Church. Every consideration ,vas shown to 
them by such men as Bishop Sandford, Dr. Morehead, 
Rev. Archibald Alison, Rev. Mr. Shannon, and others. 
There was always service in the Episcopal chapels on 
the National Church commúnion fast-days. No oppo- 
sition or dislike to Episcopalian clergymen occupying 
Presbyterian pulpits was ever avowed as a great prin- 
ciple. Charles Simeon of Canlbridge, and others üf 
the Churches of England and Ireland, frequently so 
officiated, and it ,vas considered as natural and suit- 
able. The learning and high qualities of the Church 
of England's hierarchy, were, ,vith few exceptions, 
held in profound respect. Indeed, during the last 
hunùred years, and since the days ,vhen Episcopacy 
* Scottish Guardian, vol. ii. No. ix. p. 305. 



SCOTTISH LIFE d: CHARACTER. 36] 


was attacked under the term of " black prelacy;' I can 
truly say, the Episcopal order has received far more 
severe handling in Episcopal England than it has 
received in Presbyterian Scotland. I must think, 
that in the case of t,vo churches where the ground! of 
resemblance are on points of spiritual importance affect- 
ing great truths and doctrines of salvation, and where 
the points of diffm'ence affect questions more of govern- 
ment and external order than of salvation, there 
ought to be on both parts the desire at least to draw 
as closely as they can the bonds of Christian charity 
and mutual confidence. 
I believe it to be very painful to Scotsmen gener- 
ally, ,vhether of the Established or the Episcopal 
Church, that the Presbyterian Church of Scotland 
should be spoken of in such terms as have lately been 
made use of: Scotsmen feel towards it as to the 
Church of the country established. by law, just as the 
Anglican Church is established in England. They 
feel to,vards it as the Church ,vhose ministrations are 
attended by our gracious Sovereign when she resides 
in the northern portion of her dominions, and in 
,,"hich public thanksgiving ,vas offered to God in the 
royal presence for her 
Iajesty's recovery. But more 
important still, they feel to"rards it as a church of 
\vhich the D1embers are behind no other communion 
in the tone and standard of their moral principle and 
integrity of conduct. They feel to,,"ards it as a 
church ,vhich has nobly retained her adherence to the 
principles of the Reformation, and which has been 
spared the humiliation of exhibiting any of her clergJl' 
nominally members of a refonned church, and, at the 
same time, virtually and at heart adherents to the 
opinions and practices of the Church of Rome. 
English people, in speaking of t.he Established Churcb 



862 


RE![[J.VISCENCES OF 


of Scotland, seem to forget ho,v much Episcopalians 
are mixed up ,vith their Presbyterian fello,v-country- 
men in promoting common charitable and religious 
objects. & For example, take my Olvn experience: the 
administration of a very valuable charitable institution 
called the Paterson and Pape Fund, is vested jointly 
in the incumbent of St. John's, Edinburgh (Episco- 
palian), and the two clergymen of St. Cuthbert's 
(Established) Church. Even in matters affecting the 
interests of our own Church we may find ourselves 
closely connected. Take the administration of the 
late Miss Walker's ,vill, and the carrying out her 
munificent bequest to our Church, of ,vhich I am a 
trustee. Of the nine trustees, two are Episcopalians 
residing in Scotland, one an Episcopalian residing in 
England,
and six are Presbyterians residing in Scot- 
land. The primary object of l\tliss Walker's settlement 
is to build and endo,v, for divine service, a cathedral 
church in Edinburgh; the edifice to cost not less than 

40,OOO. The income arising from the remainder of 
her property to be expended for the benefit of the 
Scottish Episcopal Church generally. A meeting of 
trustees was held, November 25, 1871, and one of 
the first steps unanimously agreed upon ,vas to appoint 
the Bishop-Coadjutor of Edinburgh, who is a trustee, 
to be chairman of the meeting. There is no doubt or 
question of mutual good feeling in the ,vork, and that 
our Church feels full and entire confidence in the fair, 
honourable, candid, and courteous conduct of the trus- 
tees to whom in this case ,vill be committed weighty 
matters connected with her interests. 
At one of the congresses of the English Church it 
has been said, and weU said, by 1vIr. B. Hope, that he 
and his friends of the High Church party would join 
as closely as they could ,vith the members of the 



SCOT1'ISII LIFE d: GHARAC1'El
. 363 


ROIUish Church who have taken common cause with 
Dr. Dollinger, "looking more to points \vhere they 
agree, and not to points where they differ." "11y 
should not the same rule be adopted toward
 brethren 
\vho differ from ourselves so little on points that are 
vital and eternal 1 The principle which I would apply 
to the circumstances, I think, may be thus stated: I 
would join with fello\v-Christians in any good works 
or offices, either of charity or religion, where I could 
do so 'without compromise of my o\vn principles. On 
such ground I do not see ,,"hy we should not realise 
the idea already suggested,-viz. that of having an 
interchange between our pulpits and the pulpits of the 
Established and other Presbyterian or Independent 
Churdles. Such ministerial interchange need not 
affect the question of o1-ders, nor ueed it, in fact, touch 
11lanyother questions on which differences are con- 
cerned. 
Of course this should be arranged under due regu- 
lation, and \vith full precaution taken that the ques- 
tions discussed shall be confined to points \v here there 
is agreement, and that points of difference should be 
left quite in abeyance. "\Vhy should we, under proper 
arrangements, fail to realise so graceful an exercise of 
Christian charity 1 "Thy should "\ye lose the many 
benefits favourable to the ad vancement of Christian 
unity amongst us 1 An opportunity for practically 
putting this idea into a tangible form has occurred 
from the circumstance of t.he ne,v chapel in the Uni- 
versity of Glasgo\v being opened for service, to he 
conducted by clergymen of various churches. I gladly 
avail nlys
lf of the opportunity of testifying my grate- 
ful ackno\vledgments for the courteous and generous 
conduct of Dr. Caird, in his efforts to put for\vard 
nlembers of our Church to cunduct the services of the 



364: 


RE.J.1IINISCENCES OF 


College chapel, and also of expressing my adnliration 
of the power and beauty of his renlarks on Christian 
unity and on brotherly love.. 
This is with me no new idea; no crude experiment 
proposed for the occasion. I have before me a paper 
which I wrote some years since, and which I had put 
into the shape of "An Address to the Bishops," to 
sanction such exchange of pulpits, hoping to get some 
of my clerical brethren to join in the object of the 
address. I feel assured much good would, under God, 
be the result .of such spiritual union. If congrega- 
tions ,vould only unite in exchange of such friendly 
offices of religious instruction ,vith each other, how 
often would persons, now strangers, become better 
acquainted! I wish the experiment could be tried, 
were it only to show how prejudices would be re- 
moved; how misunderstandings would be cleared 
away; how many better and kinder feelings ,vould 
grow out of the closer union on religious questions! 
Nay, I would go farther, and express my full convic- 
tion, that my own Church ,vould gain rather tban lose .. 
in her interests under such a system. Men 'would be 
Inore disposed to listen ,vith attention, and examine 
with candour the arguments ,ve make use of in favour 
of our Church views. "\Ve should gain more of the 
sympathy of our countrymen who differ from us, by a 
calm expostulation than by bitter invective. Beauti- 
fully and \visely was it written by a sacred :pen nearly 
three thousan d years ago, "A soft ans,,'er turneth 
away ,vrath." 
I have such confidence in the excellence of my own 


* "What is Religion 
" a sermon by Rev. John Caird, D.D., 
Professor of Divinity in the University of Glasgow, and one of 
lIer 
Iajesty's Chaplains for Scotlanù. See especiaUy concluding 
remarks. 



SCOTTISH LIFE Æ CHARACTER. 3ð5 


Church, that I believe to bring persons into closer 
and kinder connection ,vith our system would be the 
more likely ,vay to gain their approval and their 
favourable judgment. In nothing do we lose more of 
the confidence and estimation of our fellow-country- 
men than in the feeling of our being intolerant and 
exclusive in our religious opinions. It is curious 
people should not see that the arguments addressed 
in a friendly spirit must tell more po,verfully than the 
arguments of one who shows his hostile feeling. 
\Vith these feelings on the subject, it may be easily 
understood with 'v hat pleasure I read, ir
 the Ed.in- 
burgh Courant of November 10th, a report of \vhat 
our Primus (Bishop Eden) said, at the entertainment 
which was given on the occasion of the consecration 
of St. Mary's Church, Glasgow. In speaking on the 
question of Union, the Primus said- 
"I think I may speak for my Episcopal brethren, ",'hen 
I say that if the heads, especially of the Established 
Church of Scotland-for that is the body that has most 
power and influence-if a proposal were made by the 
leading men in that Church, in conCUITence with those 
who holù views sin1ilar to themselves-a conference of the 
representative men of the different Churches-to consider 
in a Christian spirit what our differences are, and what are 
the points on ,vhich we are agreed, we wotùd be most 
happy to take part in it. Such a conference might, in the 
providence of God, lead to our being dra\vn nearer to each 
other. I believe that then the prayer which the Bishop 
of St. Andrews offered up \\9ould be the earlier accom- 
plished, namely, that the Episcopal Churches might be- 
come Reformed, and the Reformed Churches become Epis- 
copal. If any proposal of this kind could be made, 1 
believe ,\\ye \vould be 1110St ready to accept any invitation 
to coneider whether the various Churches might not be 
drawn nearer to each other." (Great applause. 



366 


HEJI J1:{[SCENCES 0 '/fT 


The Coadjutor Bishop of Edinburgh in his address, 
After briefly referring to SOllle proposals that had been 
made for union among the churches in South Africa, 
went on to say- 
." I do say, as one of the Bishops of the Scottish Epis- 
copal Church now, and in reference to what fell fronl the 
Primus, that I most heartily concur in what he said, and I 
cannot but feel that, without the slightest breach of the 
great fundamental principles of the Church of Christ, there 
are Inany points on 'v hich \ve nlay be at one ,,
ith Chris- 
tians who are not part of our organic body. 
"I believe the proposal made by the Primus would 
have the effect of drawing them nearer to us, and be a step 
forward to that consummation which we all desire, and 
\vhich our blessed Lord prayed-with his last breath-' That 
we Inay all be one.' " (Great applause.) 
That two honoured Fathers of our Church, 'our 
Primus and my own Bishop, should have made use of 
such terms, and that their vie,,"s should have been 
received by such an audience with so much applause, 
I could have offered a grateful ackno,vledgment upon 
Iny knees. 
But after all, perhaps, it may be said this is an 
utopian idea, ,vhich, in the present state of religious 
feelings and ecclesiastical dHferences, never can be 
realised. It ,vere a sufficient aus,ver to the charge of 
utopianis7n brought against such a proposal, to plead 
that it ,vas no tnore than \vhat ,vas sanctioned by the 
teaching of God's ,vord. In this case it does not 
seeIn to go beyond the requirements of holy Scripture 
as set forth in St. Paul's description of charity, and in 
other passages which' clearly enjoin Christians to act 
to,vards each other in love, and to cultivate, so far as 
they can, a spirit of nlutual forbearance and of joint 
action in the sacred cause of preaching the truth as it 
is in J esns. I cannot believe that, were St. Pan 1 on 



SCOTTISH LIFE 
 OHARACTER. 367. 


earth, he ,vould sanction the present state of jealous 
separation amongst Christians. Take such separation 
in connection with the beautiful sentiment, which we 
read in Phil. i. 18 :-" What then 
 not,vithstanding 
every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is 
preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will 
rejoice." 
The determination to exclude preaching that is not 
strictly according to our o,vn forms seems to me quit e 
inconsistent ,vith the general teaching of Scripture, 
more particu1arly with this apostolic declaration. But 
I ,yould bring this question to a practical issue, and 
we shall find enough in our o,vn experience to con- 
firm the vie,v I have taken, and to sanction the 
arrangement I propose. To bring for,vard co-opera- 
tion in the great and vitally important work of 
preaching God's word, which has been already effected 
between persons holding on some points opinions 
different from each other, take first the case of re- 
vision of the English translation of the Old and Ne\v 
Testament Scriptures, as it has been resolved upon 
by the authorities of the great Anglican Communion. 
They have had no difficulty in finding Nonconformist 
scholars and divines ,vhose fitness to be associated 
,vith Anglican Churchmen in the great ,york of ar- 
ranging and correcting an authorised version has 
been admitted by all. Thus we have Nonconformists 
and English and Scottish Episcopalians united in 
adj usting the ternlS of the sacred text ;-the text 
from ,vhich all preaching in the English tongue shall 
in future derivf' its authority, and by ,vhich aU its 
teaching shall in future be guided and directed. 
There is arready, ho,vever, a closer and a more 
practical blending of minds on great religious ques- 
tions Dluch differing from each other on lesser points. 



368 


RE
lJ I4VISCENCES OF 


In the field of religious and devotional literature, 
many of our church differences are lost sight of. 
Episcopalian congregations are constantly in the habit 
of joining ,vith much cordiality and earnestness in 
singing hymns composed by authors nonconformists 
with our Church-in fact, of adopting them into 
their church service. These compositions form a 
portion of their ,vorship, and are employed to illus- 
trate and enforce their own most earnest doctrinal 
views and opinions themselves. Ho\v entirely are 
such compositions as the sacramental hymn, "1vly 
God, and is thy table spread," by Doddridge; the 
hymn, "When I behold the \vondrous cross," by 
Isa.ac Watts, associated ,vith our Church services! 
Nor are such feelings of adoption confined to poetical 
compositions. How many prose productions by non- 
Episcopalian authors might be introduced for the 
delight and benefit of Christian congregations! How 
eagerly many such compositions are read by members 
of our Church! With ,vhat delight would many dis- 
courses of this class have been listened to had they 
been delivered to Episcopalian congregations! 'Vhere 

uch hymns and such discourses are admissible, the 
authnts of them might take a part in conducting 
psalmody and in occupying the pulpit for preaching 
to a congregation. If the spirits of such writers as 
Doddridge, vVatts, and flaIl, have been felt to per- 
meate and to influence the hearts of others ,vho have 
heard or read their words of holiness and peace, we 
may well suppose that God would sanction their 
making like impressions, in his own house, upon the 
hearts of those whom they meet there face to face. 
Might they not communicate personally what they 
communicate through the press 1 For example, ,vhy 
should not Robert Hall have preached his SCI'Ill0nE 



SCOTTISH LIFE c!: CHARACTER. 869 
on Infidelity and on the Death of the Princess of 
"r ales, perhaps the t\VO most magnificent discourses 
in the language, in an English Cathedral1 'Vhy 
should not the beautiful astronomical discourses of 
Thomas Chalmers have been delivered in St. Paul's 
or in St. John's, Edinburgh 1 For many years, in 
want of better materials, the sermons of Dr. Blair 
were more used in the Church of England, and more 
read in private, than any sinlilar compositions. It 
has been for years a grováng persuasion in my o,vn 
mind that principles of Christian love and mutual 
harmony are too often sacrificed to the desire of pre- 
serving the exact and formal marks of church order, 
as the Bishop of St. Andrews so happily expressed it 
to preserve etiquette. Surely the great law of Christian 
love \vould suggest and enforce a union at least of 
spirit anlollgst Christian believers, ,vho cannot join 
in the unity of the same organisation. Inability to 
join in the same form of church polity and church 
order need not shut the door to religious sympathies 
and religious communion, \vhere there are so many 
points of agreement and of mutual interest. The ex- 
perience of the past ,viII tend to produce the convic- 
tion that there has too often been in our religious 
disputes a strong tendency in aU Christian denomina- 
tions to make the great principle of love, which is a 
principle to rule in Heaven and for eternity, actually 
subservient and subordinate to a systenl of ecclesi- 
astical order, which, important as it is for its own 
purposes and objects, never can be more than a guide 
to the ministration of the Church on earth, and an 
organisation which must be in its nature confined to 
time. 
Wherever or whenever this feeling may be called 
forth, it is a grievous error-it is a very serious sub. 



370 


RE
IIJ.VISCE};L'ES 0"" 


ject for our reflection, ho,v far such ,yant of sympathy 
and of union ,vith those ,vho do not belong imme.. 
diately to our o,vn church, must generate a feeling 
hostile to a due reception of an important article of 
our faith, termed in the Apostles' Creed the COM- 

IUNION OF SAINTS. According to the description 
given by the judicious and learned Bishop Pearson, 
this communion or spiritual union belongs to all who 
are in N e\v Testament language denominated SAINTS; 
by \vhich he means all who, having been baptized in 
the faith, have this nallle by being called and baptized. 
'fhen he states all Christian believers to have conl- 
munion and fellowsbip with these, whether living or 
dead. We should feel towards such persons (evidently, 
as the good Bishop implies, without reference to any 
particular church order) all sympathy and kindness as 
IDenlbers of the same great spiritual family on earth, 
expectants of meeting in heaven in the presence of 
God and of the Lamb, and of joining in the worship 
of saints and angels round the throne. I have no 
hesitation in declaring my full conviction that such 
expectations of future communion should supply a 
very po\verful and sacred motive for our cultivating 
all spiritual union in our po,ver ,vith all fello,v- 
Christians, all for 'VhOlTI Christ died. It becolnes a 
very serious subject for examination of onr own 
hearts, ho,v, by (refl[
sing any spiritual intercourse 
,vith Christians "rho are not strictly nleJnbers of our 
o,vn Church, ,ve mar contravene this noble doctrine 
of the COllullunion of Saints; for does not the bitter- 
ness ,vith ,vhich sometinles ,ve find all union "rith 
certain fello,,,, -Christians in the Church on earth chill 
or check the feeling of a desire for union with the 
same in the Church above 
 Nay, is there not Inatter 
for lllcn' oS (;j,l'nest thought, ho,y far the violent aui. 



SCOTT1SR Lll?}; ({. CHARACTER. 871 


lTIosity displayed against the snlallest approaeh to 
anything like spiritual communion with all Christians 
of a different Church from their o,vn may chill tIle 
DESIRE itself for "meeting in the Church above 1 " 
Call hatred to meeting on earth be in any sense a 
right preliminary or preparation for desire to meet in 
Heaven 
 Nay, more, should ,ve not carefully guard 
}pst thp bitter displays we see of religious hostility 
may even tend to bring men's minds towards a dis'in- 
clination to meet in Heaven, of ,vhich the most terrible 
condition ,vas thus expressed by Southey:-" Earth 
could not hold us both, nor can one heaven." *- 
One lllark of any particular Church being a portion 
of Christ's Church on earth seems to be overlooked 
by some of our English friends, and that is a mark 
pointed out by our Lord himself, ,vhen he said, "By 
their FRUITS ye shall kno,v them." By this announce- 
ment I would understand that besides and beyond a 
profession of the great articles of the Christian faith, 
I would, as a further criterion of a Christian church, 
inquire if there ,vere many of its members \vho have 
been distinguished for their Christian piety, Christian 
learning, and Christian benevolence. Is all externaJ 
communion to be interdicted with a church ,vhich has 
produced such men as ,ve might name amongst the 
children of our Established and other Churches in 
Scotland 
 Look back upon half-a-century, and ask 
if a similar act ,vith that of the Archbishop of York 
and Bishop of "Tinchester ,vonid then have created a 
like feeling. I can remember ,yell the interest and 
'-' 
adnliration called forth by the eloquence, the philan- 
thropy, and the nloral fervour of Dr. Chalmers, 
amongst the High Church school of the day too- 
the good Archbiship Ho,,
ley, Bishop Blolnfield, Rev 
* See Southey's l1ode'l"ick J book xxi. 



8i2 


REJIIN1S(JENOES OF 


l\Ir. Norris of Hackney, Mr. Joshua \Vatson, etc. I 
remember, too, the perfect ovation he received in the 
attendance of Archbishops, Bishops, Clergy, Peers, 
Princes, etc., of the great London world, at his lectures 
on Establishments. 'Ve can hardly imagine anyone 
saying then, "This is all very well, but the Church 
that produced this man is no part of the true Church 
of Christ, and no English prelate or clergyman could 
possibly take service in it." 
No one, I believe, who is acquainted with my own 
views and opinions on religious subjects would say 
that I look with indifference on those points wherein 
,ve differ from the great body of our fello\v-country- 
men. I am confident that I should not gain in the 
estimation of Presbyterians themselves by showing a 
cold indifference, or a lukewarm attachment, to the 
principles and practice of my own Church. They 
would see that my o\vn convictions in favour of Epis- 
copal government in the Church, and of liturgical 
services in her worship, were quite compatible with 
the fullest exercise of candour and forbearance to- 
wards the opinions of others-I mean on questions 
not essential to salvation. 
I believe that there are persons amongst us coming 
round to this opinion, and who are ready to believe 
that it is quite possible for Christians to exercise very 
friendly Inutual relations in spiritual matters which 
constitute the essential articles of a common faith, 
whilst they are in practice separated on points of 
ecclesiastical order and of church governnlent. I am 
old, and shall not see it; but I venture to hope that, 
under the Divine blessing, the day will come \vhen 
to Scotsmen it will be a matter of reminiscence 
that Episcopalians, or that Presbyterians of any de- 
n01l1i nation, should set the interests of their own 



SOOTTISH LIFE &: OHARAOTER. 373 


oommunion above the exercise of that charity that 
for a brother's faith "hopeth all things and believeth 
all things." Zeal in promoting our o\vn Church 
views, and a determination to advance her interests 
and efficiency, need be no impediment to cultivating 
the most friendly feelings towards those who agree 
with us in matters ,vhich are essential to salvation 
and who, in their differences frOln us, are, I an! bound 
to believe, as conscientious as myself. Such days ,vi]) 
come. 
But now, to close my remarks on national peculi- 
arities, with what I may term a prac/kal and personal 
application. "\Ve have in our later pages adopted a 
more solemn and serious view of past reminiscences as 
they bear upon questions connected ,vith a profession 
of religion. It is quite suitable then to recall the 
fact which applies individually to all our readers. "T e 
shall ourselves each of us one day become subject to 
a '
reminiscence" of others. Indeed, the whole ques- 
tion at issue throughout the work takes for granted 
""hat we must all have observed to be a very favourite 
object with survivors- viz. that the characters of 
various persons, as they pass away, ,viII be always 
spoken of, and freely discussed, by those who survive 
them. 'Ve recall the eccentric, and we are amused 
,vith a remelnbrance of their eccentricities. vVe ad- 
mire the wise and dignified of the past. There are 
some ,,,,lio are recollected only to be detested for theÌ1 
vices-some to be pitied for their weaknesses and 
follies- SOlne to be scorned for mean and selfish 
conduct. But there aré others whose men10ry is 
en1balmed in tears of grateful recollection. There are 
those whose generosity and ,vhose kindness, 'v hose 
winning sympathy and noble disinterested virtues are 
never thought upon or ever spoken of without calling 
2n 



374 


REltflJ..VISOENOES. 


forth a blessing. Might it not, therefore, be goO'{ 
for us often to ask ourselves how u.e are 1ikely to be 
spoken of when the grave has closed upon the inter- 
course bet,veen us and the friends whom we leave 
behind 
 The thought n1Ïght, at any rate_ be useful 
as an additional motive for kind and generous con- 
u 
duct to each other. And then the inquiry would 
come home to each one in some such form as this- 
;, "Tithin the circle of my falnily and friends-,,'"ithin 
the hearts of those ,vho have known me, and ,vere 
connected ,vith me in various social relations-,vhat 
will be the estimate formed of me ,,"hen I am gone 1 
What ,vill he the spontaneous impression procluced 
by looking back on bygone intercourses in life 1 "Till 
past thought of me furnish the memory of those \vho 
survive me with recollections that will be fond and 
pleasing 
 " In one ,vord, let each one ask hitnself (1 
speak to countryn1en and countrywomen), "Will rny 
nalne be associated with gentle and happy 'RE1tIINI. 
SCENCES OF SCOTTISH LIFE AND CHAUACTER' 1 " 



I N D E X. 


. 


· ÄAPLE,' bottle of beer strong 0', 251. 
A bercairner, Laird of, prevented 
from goiug out in '15, 329. 
Aberdeen dialect, perfect specimens 
of, 212, 215. 
Aberdeen elders, opinion of, 26. 
A berdeen provost, wife of, at the 
opera, 214. 
A.berdeen, two ladies of, mutual }'e- 
crimination, 214. 
, A bonnie briùe's sune bnskit: 228. 
Accommodation, grand, for snuff, 26. 
· .Acts 0' Parliament lose their breath 
before they get toAberdeenshire,' 26 
.Adam, Dr., Latin translation of Scot- 
tish eXl)re:;sions, 174. 

dvicc to a minister in talking to a 
þloughruan, 269. 
· 
\ gravesteen wad gie guid hree gill 
ye gied it plenty 0' butter,' 269. 
(.\ hantle 0' miscellawneous eating 
about a þig,' 96. 
Airth, 110usekceper At, on king of BABY, a laddie or a las.
ie, 1&6. 
FranC'e, ;.t Baird, Mrs., of X f'wb
1;h, remark of. 
Alexander, Dr. 'V. Lindsay, 1:38. as to her son in India, 1
6. 
· .\nd what. the devil is it to you Balnamooll, laird of, carriage to haud 
whetheJ' I have a lh'cr or not!' 16. in, 2j6. 
Auecdottls of quaint Scottish chA.rR.c- Baluamoon, laird of, great drinker, 
ter, 317. 
55. 
Angel-worship is not allowed in the I Balnamoon, laird of, joke with hili ier. 
t 'hurch of Scotland, öï. I vant, 2;5. 
Angler and the horse-fly, 
29. Balnamuon, laird of, refuses his wig, 
, .Anither gude Sunday! I dinn3 ken 
55, 
whan I'll get thae drawers }'(.òJ. up,' BalnaIllOOl1, praying and drinking at, 
; 4. 256. 
· Anither bet day, Corna1.' 180. Banes, distinction of, by a beggnr, 
C An inch at the tap is worth twa at 262. 
the boùdam, l
l. Banes, Frasers \\'
el-baIled, 310. 
'An I hadna been an idiot I ndcht 13annockburn, guide to, refusing all 
hae been sleep in' too,' 28-1. Englishman's five shillings, 278. 
Annal
 of the parish. f'xtl'act
 from, Bannockburn, Scottish remal'k upon, 
55, 245. 277. 
ÂDs\ver to stranger lisking tht' way. Baptism. minist
r aud member of l
ii 
247. tiock. Sl. 


Ans'
ersJ dry, specimens of, 
47. 
, A peer 0' anither tree,' 147. 
Appetite, farmer's reason for minis- 
ter's good appetite, 265. 
Asher, minister of Inveraven,aneC'dote 
of ')S'J 
Ath:JI;, "Duke of, and Cultoquhey, 2-1. 
Athole, Duke of, answer of his cottar, 
262. 
Auction, anecdote of spoon missing, 
190. 
Auld lan
 syne, beauty of the expres. 
sion, 174. 
Auld, Rev. Dr., of Ayr, and Rab 
Hamilton, 283. 
Authors, older ones indecent, 352. 
· Ay, ir ye a' up an' awa?' 69. 
'Ay, sbe may prosper, for she bu 
baith the prayers of the gOOfl and 
of the bad; 1';0. 



S7ð 


INDEX. 


Barelay ofUry, M.P., walk to London, Brown, Rev. John, and the auld wifie, 
l
 
 
Bathgate, mending the ways of. SOl. Brown, Rev. John of Whitburn, an- 
Beadle, equivocal compliment to min- swer to rude youth, 300. 
ister's sermons, 335. Bruce, Mr., of Kinnaird, and Louis 
Beadle or Betheral, character of, 30'3. XVI. of France, 3. 
Beast, a stumbling, at least honest, Buccleuch, Duchess of, asking farmer 
272. to take cabbage, 250. 
· Becky and I had a rippit, for which Bull, specimen of Scottish confusion 
I desire to be humble: 312. of ideas, 176. 
Begg, Dr., on Scottish morality of the · Uulls of Bashan' applied by a lady 
present day, 355. to herself, 33. 
Beggar, expressing his thanks to a Burnett, Dr. Gilbert, Bishop of Salis- 
clerical patron, 337. bury, 9. 
Bellman of Craigie, notice from, 296. Burnett, Sir Thomas, of Leys, and his 
Bestial, curious use of word, 202. tenant Drummy, 3. 
Betheral, a conceited one, 304. Burnett, Lady, of Leys, 171. 
Betheral criticising a clergyman, 306. I Burns, a son of, and Charles Lamb, 
Betheral, criticism on a text, 306. I 244. 
Betheral, evidence of, regarding drink- I Burns conducted family worship, 48. 
ing, 106. Burying-place, choice of, 77. 
Betheral, making love professionally, I Bush, conversation with minister in 
805. I church, 342. 
Betheral, on a dog that was noisy, I ßutler and Kincardineshire laird, 321. 
308. ' But my minnie dang, she did though, 
Betheral, on the town bailies, 307. 264. 
Bethernl, Scottish, answer to minister 'But oh, I'm sail' 11adden doun wi' 
on b.eing drunk, 296. the bubbly jock,' 284. 
Betheral stories, 302. ' But the bodies brew the braw drink,' 
Betheral taking a dog out of church, 
64. 
308. 
Betheral's answer to minister, 303. CAMPBELl. of Combie and Miss 
Betherals, conversation of two, re- M'.Kabb, anècdote of, 249. 
garding their ministers, 304. Campbell, Rev. ÐWlcan, 011 lTighhmù 
Blair, Rev. Dr. Hugh, and his beadle, honours, 116. 
305. I Camstradrlale, the DUlllbartonshire 
Blessing by Scottish Bisho1'
, form of, laird, 121. 
become a reminiscence, 66. Canny, illustration uf one of its IIlt'an- 
Blethering, 39. ings, 335. 
Boatie, chara
ter on Deeside, 130, 131. Canterbury, Archbishop of, and the 
Boatie of Deesiùe, and Providence, 21. Dollar man, 216. 
Books, older ones indecent, 352. Carlyle, Dr., account of minister'" 
Border, selvidge, weakest bit of th{! drinking in la
t century, 122. 
wab. 270. I Carlyle, Dr., prosecuted by GeneraJ 
Bowing- to heritors, f;(j, I Assembly for attending theatre, 92. 
Boy, aÎ1ecdote of, 252. Carnegie, Miss Helen, of Craigo, 
Braxfielct, Lord, a man of wit. l[,ti. anecdotes of, 191, 196. 
Braxtield, Lorrl, character of, as a Carnegie, MisR, of Craigo, and 
TameB 
judge, 154. III. and VIII., 100. 
Braxfield, Lord, conducting the trial Carrier, a countr.y, description of his 
of Muir, Palmer, anù Skirving, etl>., journe
'8, 
OO, 
15ft. I Catastrophe, whimsical application of 
Braxfielc1, Lord, delighted with reply t.he word, 325. 
of Scotch minister, 156. · Cauld kail }let again,' 82. 
Brax.fìeld, IJord, spoke the broadest 'Cee,-il: in courtship, may be carried 
Scotch, 155, too far, 191. 
Jjrig-gs, the sergeant, dry ùe
wription Cemeteries, treatment of, much 
ot". hy Scottish nobleman, 29
. changed, 67, 68. 
Brougham, Lord. on SCútth;h diu.lcf,t, Clulhners, Dr., poor woman's reasoll 
11". for hearing. 
7 



INDEX. 


377 


Chllmhers, Robert, Domestic Annals of Collie dogs, sa
acity of, 88. 
Scotland, 10. 'Come awa, Jeanie; here's a Ilian 
Change of national language involves swearin' awfuUy,' 35. 
change of national character, 1;7. 'Come awa, granny, and gang hame; 
Changps, are they for the good of the this is a lang grace and nae meat,' 
whole community? 351. 253. 
Changes, example of, in an old Laird 'Come oot and see a new star that 
seeing a man at the pianoforte, 3.0. hasna got its tail cuttit atf yet,' 246. 
Changes fast going on around us, 137, Confession of faith, 96. 
184, 339. Confirmation, anecdotes concerning, 
Changes in Scottish manners and 20, 32. 
dialect, 184. Constable, Thomas, anecdote of spare 
Changes, interesting to mark, 11. lady, 
3. 
Changes taking place, here noticed, ConviviRlity, old Scottish, and forced, 
14. 101. 
Changes taking place in religiouR fepl- , Conviviality. Scotch, complaint of, by 
ing, 58. a London merchant, 102. 
Changes, various causes for, 14, Corb, and Sir George Ramsay, 259. 
839-341. Corehouse, Lord, prediction of not 
Chaplain of a. jail, humorous reasons rising at the bar, by a :=:;elkirk writer, 
for his appointment, 266. 106. 
Children, curious answers of, 34. C Corp's brither' at a funeral, 
ì4. 
Children, very poor, examples of Cottar's Saturday night, fine picture, 
acuteness, 252. 354. 
Children's di
eases, 206. Country minister and his wife, large 
Church discipline in the Presbytery bed, 197. 
of Lanark, 79. Craigie, Rev. 
rT" find Jamie Flee. 
Churches, a coachman's reason fOT man, 288. 
their increase, 62. Craigmyle, Laird of, and Duchess of 
Churches, architect's idea of difference Gordon, 258. 
bf'tween two, 62. Cranstoun, George, Lord Corehouse, 
Churches, handsome structure of, 158. 
more common, 61. Cream, Billy, landlord of inn at Lau. 
Church discipline, old fasJlioned, 79. rencekirk, and Lord Dunmore, 151. 
Church-going of late neglected in Cross, curious meaning attached to, 
to\Vm
, 97. 338. 
Church-going, Scotchmen not famous (Cry a'thegithcr, that's the way to be 
for, fifty years ago, 57, served" 134. 
Churchyard, drunken weaver in, 68. Cumming, Dr. Patrick, con,.ivia} 
Circuit, a drunken one, 107. clergyInan, 122. 
Circuit, one described by Lord Coe1\.- Cumming, )Iiss, of Altyre, and Donald 
burn, 107. MacQueen, 179. 
Clergy, Gaelic. not judged severely on Cumnock, volunteer::; of, 272. 
a('count of drinking, 109. I Cultoquhey, old Laird of, morning 
mergyman footsore in grouse - shoot- litany, 2-t2. 
ing. 322. Cutt
'-stool, former use of, 78. 
Clerg
.man publicly reùuking his wife, 
80. 
Clerk, John, adrlress to presiding 
judge, 148. 
Clerk, John, answer to Lord Chan- 
cellor, 147. 
Clerk, John, apology for friend in 
Court of Session, 148. 
Cockburn, Lord, and the Bonaly shep- 
herd, 71. 
Cockburn, Lord, on Scottish change
, 
185. 
Cockhuru's .1lenwri-alø, extracts from, 
18.5 


DAFT 
rson, hit:; choice of money, 
290. 
Dale, David, anecdote
 of his 
en'ant, 
140. 
Dalhousie, Lady, 257. 
Dam-brod pattern table-cloth, 
04. 
Dancing, seceder's opinion of, 275. 
Darkness, w}lat is it? 34. 
Davie, chiel that's chained to, If:tt 
Davy GeHatleys, many in the 
country, 280. 
Death, circumstances of, coolly treated, 
75. 




i8 


Death or a sister described by old 
l:tdy, 1Û3. 
Decrees of God, answer of old woman, 
33. 
Degrees sold at northern universitie8, 
167. 
Delicacy of recent authors compareil 
with older, 353. 
Dewar, David, Baptist minister at 
Dunfermline, 266. 
Dialects, distinctions on Scottish, 
211. 
Dialect, Scottish, real examples of, 
172, 173. 
Dialects, provostCJ,Aberdeen and Edin- 
burgh, 217. 
Diamond Beetle case, 158. 
Difference hetween an Episcopalian 
and a Presbyterian minister, 6l. 
Diminutives, terms of endearment, 

06. 
Discreet, curious use of word, 202. 
Diseases of children, odd names for, 
2Û6. 
, Div ye no ken there's aye maist sawn 
0' the best crap?' 136. 
Docl1art, same as Macgregor, 302. 
Dog story, 263. 
, Doggie, doggie,' address of idiot to a 
greyhouncl. 295. 
Dogs in church, anecdotes of, 87, 88, 
308, 309. 
Donald, Highland servant, 142, 
Donkey, apology of his master for 
pntting him into a field, 336. 
Downie, minister of Ban ch ory, and 
son's marriage, 22. 
Drams in Highlands, anecdoteg ut, 
121. 
Dream o( idiot in town of Ayr, and 
apostle Peter, 282. 
Drinking, apology for, SOl. 
Drinking at Balnamoon, 257, 
Drinking at Castle Grant, 120. 
Drinking, challenge against, by l\Ir. 
Boswell of Bahnuto, 102. 
Drinking parties of Saturday some- 
times took in Sunday, 118. 
Drinking party, ' lad employed to 
lowse the neckcloths,' 11 L 
Drinking party, quantity consumed 
by, 10
. 
Drinking reekoncd an accomplish- 
ment, 104. 
Drinking, supposed manliness attach- 
ed fo, 10í. 
Drovers drinking in HighlandSJ, 104. 
Drumly, happy explanation of, 174. 
lJrumUlond of Keltie, anS""f>T to itine- 
rant t.ailor, 235, 


llf'DEX. 


Dun bar, Sir Archibald, account of . 
servant, 170. 
Dundas, Henrr, and Mr. Pitt, 201. 
Dllndrennan, Lord, anecdote of a 8illy 
basket-woman, 287. 
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, addreRs to Dr. 
Cook of St. Andrews, 299. 
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, and 
1r. 
Clarke's big hea(I, 299. 
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, man of racy 
humour, 298. 
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, meeting flock 
of geese, 299. 
Dunlop, Rev. 'Valter, on a taciturn 
brother, 300. 
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, and mis- 
chievouR youths in kirkyard, 299. 
Dunlop, Hev. Walter, answer to two 
young men, 298, 
Dunlop, Rev. Walter, opinion of 
Ed ward Irving, 299. 
Dunmore, Lord, and Billy Cream, 15!. 
, D'ye think I dinna ken my ain groats 
in ither folk':) kail ?' 270. 


EAST LOTHIAN minister and his be- 
theral taking degrees at a northern 
college, 168. 
Economy, specimen of Scottish, 180. 
Edinburgh and Aberdeen proyosts, 
217. 
, E'ening brings a' hamp,' expressed 
by Lord Byron, 
34. 
Eglinton, Earl of, and little boy, 
S8. 
, Eh, man, yonr Psalm buik bas been 
ill buml/ 813. 
e Eh, 1\[ iss J eallY! ye have been Iang 
spa red" 192. 
Eldin, Lord (John Clerk), anecdotes 
of, 146, 147. 
Election, answer of minister to que8- 
tiou, 30. 
Elphinstnne, Lord, and minister of 
CUmberll3.uld,342. 
Endeannent, 
cottish teI11lS of, 87, 
3R 
Englishman, an impruived, 279. 
Entel'teening, curious use of word, 
202. 
E}.iscopalian chapels, anecdote of :-;iI 
W. Forbes, 59. 
Erskine, Colonel, serv:mt proposes an 
aith for his relief, 331. 
Erskine, Hon. Henry, (linner pa.rt
. at 
Lord Armadale's, a
6. 
Erskine, Mr., of Dun, and lis 1I1,1 
::;ervant, 128. 
Erskine of Dun, }'1i
R, 188. 
Estate giving thf' uame to proprietor, 
16, :HO, 



EX3.mfnø.tionø of communicants, 88, 
89. 
Expressions, old Scottish, and modern 
slang contrasted, 207, 20R, 209. 
Expressions, specimens of Scottish. 

07. 


FACTCR3 J proposal to sow field with, 
289. 
'Fab tee, (ab tee,' 217. 
Fail, curiOU8 use of word, 204. 
Family worship now more common, 
64. 
Family worship, remark upon, 64. 
.'armer and senr:mt boy, 254. 
Farmer, answer of. when asked to take 
rhubarb tart, 251. 
Farmer, cool answer regarding notes, 
250. 
Farmer on Deeside and bottle of vine- 
gar, 251. 
Farmer rcru
ing a des8ert spoon, 251. 
Farmer, Scottish, conversation with 
English girl, 328. 
Farms, giving names to tbe tenants, 
241. 
Fash as to taking a wife, 334. 
Fast-day, nRtional. strictues
 in ob. 
Rerving, 1
. 
f Fat for should I gang to the opera, 
just to creat a confeesion?' 214 
Fencing tables, by an old minister, i8. 
Fencing the deil, 324. 
Fergusson oC Pitfour and London 
lady, 260. 
Fettercairn, custom of bowing to 
heritors, 86. 
Fife elder and penurious laird, 29';. 
Fife, Lord, proposal to, by an idiot, 
289. 
C Fin' a rardin' tor yersell, pnir body,' 
263. 
Finzean, Laird of, 8wearing, 59. 
Fisher of men. 316. 
Fit raiment, explanation 0(, by child, 
89. 
F1eeman, Jamie, anecdote of, 288. 
Fleeman, Jamie, the Laird of Udnv's 
fool, life of. published, 288. . 
, Floorish 0' the surfacE>>,' to describe 
a preaeher, 316. 
Forbes, Mrs., of !tfedwyn, fond of tea, 
171. 
Forbes':3 banking-house, anecdotes of, 
10
. 
C Formerly robber8, now thieveR,'147. 
Frail, curious use of word, 204. 
Fraser, Jamie, address to minister in 
kirk, 202. 
Fnulf=lr, Jamie, idiot of Lunan, 284. 


1.:.,TDEX. 


379 


Free Church, roa,I or, , tolls UTIL'O 
high,' 322. 
, Freet's dear
 sin' I s
uld freet in 
streets 0' Aberdeen,' 216. 
French people, a clause in their 
fävour, hya Scottish millistt..r. 263 
Fruit, abstinence from, by minister, 
19. 
Fullerton, :Miss N'elly, anecdote of, 
189. 
Funeral, anecdote of, in Strath
peYJ 
109. 
Funeral, carrying at, or leaning, 295. 
Funeral, extraordinary account of a 
Scottish, at Carluke, 2ï3. 
Funeml of a lairl] of DtInllonnld, 110. 
Funeral. reason fol' a farmer taking 
another gl

s at. 27-1. 
Funeral, reason for a person being 
offieious nt, 274. 
Funeral. taking or(1ers for, on death. 
be<.1, 20. 
Funeral, the coffin forgotten at, 110. 
GALLOWAY LADY declinin
 drink. 
121. 
Garden
tone, J.Jord, and his book at 
the inn, 149- 
Gardenstone, Lord, and his pet pig, 
151. 
Gardenstone, Lord, exertions of, for 
Laurencekirk, 14. 
Gardenstone, Lord, keeping snuff in 
his waistcoat po('ket, 151. 
Gardenstone, Lord, personal reminis- 
cences of, 149-151. 
Garskadden, Laird of, , steppit a,WIl' 
at table, 124. 
General Assembly, minister's prayer 
for, 78. 
George nL, sickness of, advft.ntageou8 
to candlemakel's, 268. 
Ghost appearing to Watty Dunlop, 
299. 
Gilchrist, Dr., a.n::;wer to young minis. 
tel' on Lord's Prayer, 315. 
Gi1chlist, Dr., answer to one ot his 
hearers, who had changed his I'e. 
librion, 315. 
Gillespie, Professor, :md vil1age car- 
Jlenter, 324. 
GilJespie, Rev. Mr., "tDll old womUD 
sleeping \\'118n he preached, 325. 
Glasgow Cathedral, betheral's opinion 
of, 305. 
Glasgow lady nnd carpenter, 
8. 
Glasgow, toast after dinner, hint to 
the ladies, 103. 
Glenorchy, Lady, and the elder at tht' 
I plate at Carrington, 820. 



380 


Glenorchy, Lady, removal of her re- 
mains on account of railroad, 344. 
Gordon, Duchess of, 173. 
Gordon, Duchess of, and the laird of 
Craigmyle, 258. 
Gordon, Lady Susan, and David Tul- 
toch, gO. 
Graham, MiRS Clementina Stirling, 
Mystijlcations by, 177. 
Grave, making love at, 305. 
Gregory, Dr., story of Highland chief, 
15. 
Grieve in Aberdeenshire, opinion of 
own wife, 26. 
Grieve, on Deeside, opinion of young 
man's preaching, 816. 
I Gude coorse country wark,' 806. 
Gudewife on Deeside, 25. 
Guthrie, Helen, and her husband, 83. 
Guy Mannering, extract from, 281. 
HADDOCK, curious use of word, 205. 

 Halbert, smells damnably of the,' 
292. 
Hamilton, Laird, at the palace asking 
the servant to sit down, 260. 
Hamilton, Laird, noted for eccentri- 
city, 260. 
Hamilton, Laird, reasons for not sign- 
ing a bill, 260. 
Hamilton Rab, an idiot at Ayr, 282. 
Hamilton, Rab, idiot, anecdotos of. 
282, 283. 
Hangman, Scotch drover acting as, 
218. 
Harvest, returning thanks for good, 
319. 
Hatter at Laurencekirk, 14. 
Heaven, little boy's refusal of, 77. 
Heaven, old wuman's idea of, 76. 
'He bud tae big's dyke wi' the feal at 
fit o't,' 26. 
He is a wfu' 'snpperstitious,' 205. 
'He turned Seceder afore he dee'd. 
and I buried him like a beast,' 9l. 

Hech, sirs, and he's wool pat on, 
too,' 346. 
C Henny pig and green tea,' 215. 
Heritor sending the hangman of Stir- 
ling to pay the minister, 334. 
H eritors, bowing to, 86. 
I1ermand, Lord, great drinker, but 
5.rst-rate lawyer, ] 56. 
Hormand, Lord, jokes with young 
advocate, 157. 
IIermand, Lord, opinion of drinking, 
105. 
Highland chainnan, 177. 
Highland chief. story of, 16. 


INDEX. 


Highland gentleman. first time in LoJ)o 
don, 16. 
Highland honours, 116. 
Highland inquisitiveness, 247. 
Highlands kept up the custom of clans 
or races. 24l. 
Hill, Dr., Latin translation ofScðtti8h 
expressions, 174. 
His girn'! waul' than his bite. 38. 
Holy communion, several anecdotes 
concerning, 93. 
Home, John, author of Douglas, lines 
on port wine, 327. 
Home, John, remark of, to David 
Hume, 86. 

 Honest men and bonnie lassies,' 250. 
C Honest woman, what garr'd ye steal 
your lleighbour's tub?' 205. 
Honesty declared the best potic:}", 
why? 28. 
Honeyman's, Mrs., answer to Henry 
Erskine's impromptu lines, 326. 
C Hoot! jabbering bodies, wha could 
understan' them!' 198. 
C Horse the length of Highgate.' 201. 
Hospitals, changes in, 12. 
Hot day, cool remark on, 29. 
, Hout, that is a kind 0' a feel,' 4. 
Hurne, David, refused assistance ex- 
cept on conditions, 96. 
Hume, Mrs. C Too poor,' 19. 
Humour of Scotch language, 169. 
Humour, Scottish, described in An. 
n.als of the Parish, 245. 
Humour, Scottish, description of, 169. 
Hymns ancient and modern, 51. 

 I DIDNA ken ye were i'the tou11,' 172. 
Idiot boy and penurious uncle, 295. 
Idiot boy, pathetic story of one re- 
ceiving communion, 294. 
Idiot in Lauder, cheating the seceders, 
289. 
Idiot in Peebles church, 284. 
Idiot, musical one at Stirling, appro- 
priate tune, 2:12. 
Idiot of Lauder, and Lord Lauder- 
dale's steward, 290. 
Idiot, pathetic complaint of, regard.ing 
bubbly jock, 284. 
Idiot, why not asleep in cll urch, 284. 
Idiots, Act of Parliament concerning. 
288. 
Idiots, fondness for attending funerals, 
287. 
Idiots, parish, often very shrewd, 280. 
'I druve ye to your marriage, and I 
shall stay to drive ye to your bur.ia.l, 
189. 



Ir there'
 ail i11 text in a' the BibJe, 
that creetur's aye sure to tak it,' 84. 
, If you dinna ken wban ye've a gude 
servant, I ken whan I've a gude 
place: 129. 
C I hae cuist'n my coat and waistcoat, 

nd faith I dinna ken how lang I 
can thole my breek
,' 13ð. 
c 1 jm
t fan' 8. doo in the ,.OOd 0' my 
r.late: 126. 
C 111 hang ye a' at the price,' 278. 
C I maun hae a lume that'll haud in: 

56. 
C I'm unco vuckie to hear a blaud 0' 
your gab/ 170. 
Inch-b)7e banes, 
ô2. 
C Indeed, sir, I wish I wur,' 
63. 
India, St. Andrew's day kept in, by 
Scotchmen, 18. 
1 never big dykes ti11 the tenants 
complain,' 271. 
Innes, Jock, remark upon hats and 
heads, 267. 
Innkeeper's bill, reason for being 
moderate, 274. 
Interchange of words between minister 
and flock in church, 342. 
Intercourse between classes changed, 
137. 
C I soopit the pu'pit,' 126. 
, It's a peety but ye had been in Para- 
dise, and there micht na hae been 
ony faa',' 19. 
c It'a no the day to be speerin sic 
things,' 72. 
· I've a coo noo,' 335. 
C I was just 8Ìan'ing tiU the kirk had 
skailed,' 17. 
C I was not juist Bae sune doited &..11 
some 0' your Lordships,' 148. 
· I wouldnl\ gie my single life for a' 
the double anes I ever saw,' 136. 


IllDEX. 


38! 


John, eccentric servant, aneedoteR of, 
141. 
Johnstone, :Miss, of Westerhall, speci- 
men of flne old Scotch lady, 187, 
188. 
Johnstone, Rev. Dr., of Leith, and old 
woman, on the decrees of God, 33. 
Johnstone, Rev. Mr., of l\!onquhitter, 
and travelJing piper, 297. 
Judges, Scottish, former peculiarities 
as a type, 145. 
Judges, Scottish, in Kay's Portraits, 
145. 


KAIL, curious use of word, 205. 
Kames, Lord, a keen agriculturist, 
157. 
Kames, Lord, his joke with Lord 
Monboddo,152. 
C Kaming her husband's head: 312. 
Kay's Portraits, 157. 
Keith, )[rs., of Ravelston, her remark 
to Sir W. Scott on old books, 352. 
Kilspindie, Laird of, and Tannachy 
Tulloch, 241. 
Kindly feelings between minister and 
people, 69. 
Kirkyard crack, 137. 
Kirkyard crack superseded by news. 
papers, 137. 


LADIES of Montrose, anecdotes of, 28. 
Ladies, old, of :Montrose, 28- 
Lady, old maiden, of :Montrose, reason 
for not fmbscribing to volunteer 
fund, 197. 
Lady, old, of )fontrose, objections to 
steam vessels, and gas, and water- 
carts, 196. 
Lady, old Scotch, remark on loss of 
her box, 197. 
Lady, Scottish, Lord Cockburn's ac- 
count of, 193. 
JACOBITE feeling, 97, 98. Lady's, old, answer to her doctor, 194. 
Jacobite lady, :reason for not rising Laird, parsimonious, and fool, 291. 
from her chair, 199. Laird, parsimonious, and plate at 
Jacobite toasts, 100. church-door, 297. 
Jaeobite's prayer for the King, 
. LAird, reason against taking his son 
Jamie I.Jfiyal, old servant, anecdotes J into the world, 267. 
ot, 132. Laird reproaches his brother for not 
Jf'emR Robson, ye are sleepin', SO. taking a wife, 334. 
· Jemmy, yon are drunk,' 263 Lairll, 8aving, picking up a farthin ó , 
Jock, dan, attending funeral at 'Wig- 263. 
town, 2
7. Laird,. Scottish, delighted that Christ- 
Jock Grey, supposed original of Davi(1 maR had run away, 2
1. 
GeHatley, 286. Lamb, Charles, saw no 
it in Scotch 
Jock Wabøter, C den gaeR ower,' a pro- people, 244. 
,'erb, 231. Land, differences of, in produce, 268. 
101m Brown. burgher minister, aud an 'Lass wi' the brA.w pJaid, mind the 
C auld wifie,' 69, puir,' 71. 



ftR2 


INDEX. 


Laudamy And calomy,' 277. r :Uncnab, Laird of. bi
 horse 8J1d whll' 
Lauderdale, Duke of, and Williamsoll :!5S. I 
the huntsman, 276. 
lanN&bb, MisR, and Campbell oCCom. 
Lauderdale. Earl of, recipe of his daft bie, 249. 
son to make him sleep, 327. Jl'Pherson, Joe, and his wife 76. 
Laurencekirk, change in, 14. 
[agistrates of Wester An;truther 
Laurencekirk def)cribed in st.yle of and evil-dQ4ars, 307. · 
Thomas the Rhymer, 150. '
Iair 0' your siller and less 0' YOU! 
f..t..t.wson, Rev. Dr. George, of Selkirk, mainners, my Lady Betty,' 320. 
and the student, 301. '
Ia new breeks were made oot 0' the 
Leein' Gibbie, 9. auld curtains,' 253. 
Leslie, Rev. Mr., and the smuggler, 'Man, ye're skailing a' the water' 197. 
300. · Marriage is a blessing to a. f

 a 
, Let her down Donald, man, for she'H curse to many, and a great uuc'er- 
drunk,' 177. tainty to aU: 8l. 
· Let the little ane gang to pray, but ?tIaITiage, oM minister's address on, 3l. 
first the big ane maun t.ak' an oar,' Mary of Guehlres, burying-l)lace now 
21. a mil way, 343. 
l..inties' and ScottiKh øettler in Maetiff, where turned into a grey_ 
C1I.nada, 37. hound, 263. 
Linty offered 1\8 fce for baptism, 37. Maul, ?tIr., amI the .Lairc.l of Skene 
Liston, bir Robert, and Scotchmen 103. ' 
at Constantinol)le, 179. ' Ma

 a puir body like mp. noo gie R 
IJoch, Davie, the carrier, at his boast?' 292. 
motller's deathhed, 28!). C 1\Ie, and Pitt, and Pitfonr,' 144. 
Lockhart, Dr., of Glasgow, and bis son Mearns, Rev. W. of Kinneff, so. 
.T ohn, 85. · )Iem, winna ye tak the clock wi' 
Logan, Laird of, speech at meeting of ye?' 205. 
11eritors, 271. · Mending t11e ways 0' Bathgnte,' Bð). 
'IJord be thank it, a' the bunkers are 1\1 ice consumed lJJiui.
ter's sermon, SO, 
fu' ! ' 286. 
liddens, example of attachment t(\ 
, Lord pity the chiel that's chained to 170. . 
our Davie,' 186. Military rank attached to ladies, 845. 
Lord's prayer, John Skinner"s reason Miligan, Dr., answer to 8. tired clergy 
for its repetition, 265. man, 272. 
Lothian, Lord, in India, St. Andrew's Milton quoted, 29. 
day, 18. 1tIinister and rhubarb biTt, 2M. 
Lothian, Marquis or, and old countess 
1inister, anecdote of lit.tIu boy I'It 
at table, 829. school, 212. 
Lothian, Marquis of, and workmen, Minister asking who was head of the 
13
 hous
31
 
Minister called to a new living, 198. 

lini8ter, conversation with Janet hi
 
palishioner, 264. 
Minister in the north on long sermon. 
312. 
ser- :Minister on a dog barking in ('Inu-cl"t. 
308. 
Minister preaching on the water-side 
attacked by ants, 314. 
Minister publicly censuring hi. 
daughter, 79. 
Minister re3(ling his sermon, 301. 
.Minister returning thanks for good 
harvest, 319. 
Minister, Scottish, aùvice to younS 
preachers, 302. 
Minister, Scottish, remark to a young 
man, who pulled cards out of his 
pocket in cburch, 31R. 


M'CUBBIN, Scotcl\ minister, witty 
unswer to Lord Brnxfteld, 1&6. 
ø['Knight, Dr.,' dry eneuch in the 
pulpit,' 310. 
M'Knight, Dr.. tolk tired of his 
mon, 312. 
M'Knight and Henry, twa toom kirks, 
311. 
M'Knight, Dr., remark on his harmony 
of the four gospels, 311. 

lacleod, Rev. Dr. NormaD, and High.. 
land boatman, 21. 
Macleod, Rev. Dr. Norman, and re- 
vivals, 20. 
'\facJeod, Rev. Dr. Norman, anecdote 
of an Australian told by, 18. 
)f'Lymont., Jolm, the jrliot, 8necd
ß 
of, 280, 2'11 



[}tDEX. 


!sa 


Mini
teT, 
turid, educatior. and plac- I Xoblemnn, mad SCOt.t.fKh, c&utfoul 
ing, 53. answer or, 293. 
Minister, with · great power of watter,' , 
 00, MaJor, ;ye mlLY tak our Jives, 
304. but ye'li no tak our middens,' 170. 
Minister, young, apology for good Suckle, Watty, betheraI. opinion, 305. 
appetite after preaching, 2G5. . 
'\Iinister's mall, account of, 307. · OD, Charlie Brown, what gar
 
 e hl\e 
Minister's man, criticisms of Jlis sic lang steps to yonr frcmt door!' 
master's sermon, 307. 258. 
Ministers, Scottish, a type of Scottish 'Od, freend, ye hae bad a lang spel1 
character, 52. on't sin' I left.' 17. 
Minister sending for bis sermon in 'Od, )'e;re a lang lad; God gie yð 
pulpit, 31. grace, 18R 

hnstrelsy of Scottish Border, Sir Old lad
' speaking of her own dea.th, 
'Valter Scott just in time to save,11 193. 
niss !\liller (Countess of :Mar) and Old sermons, preaching or, 81. 
Scottish Minister, 8T. 01(1 woman, r-emarks of, on the Uß6- 
, 
fiss s.-'Nco1l1Itlimentg, and shedee'd fulues
 of money, 24. 
last nicbt at aicht o'c1o('k.' 143. ' On the contrnry, sir,' 24S. 

fonboddo, Lord, anecdote in Court of I Ony dog micht soon hecome a grey- 
King's Bench, 153. hound by stoPJ,illg here,' 263 

ronboùdo, Lord, theory of primitive · Oor Jean thinks a man perfect lalva- 
men having tails, 152. tion,' 19
. 
:\Ionboddo, Lord, though a. judge, did · Oar John swears nwfu',' 59. 
not sit on the bench, 152. Organ, ma.rk of distinction, 6]. 
:\Ionboddo, Lord, visit at Oxford, 152. Organs becoming more common, 50. 
)foney, love of, discussion on, 24. · Ou, there's jist me and anither la'i8: 
Montrose b!lUie's eldest sou, 198. 34. 
\Iontrose, description of, by an ALer- 
deen lady, 214. 
Montrose lady's idea of man, 192. 
\Iontrose old la(Hes, 28. 
)1ontros
, provost of, conversation 
with an old maid, 190. 
, )fony a ane has complained 0' that 
hole,' 247. 
\luilton, Jock, idiot, snd 0. penurious 
Laird, 291. 

unrimmon 
oor, no choice of wigs 
on, 256. 
Murray, :Mrs., snd the 
alt spoon, 132 
· My mou's 3S big for puddin aA it is 
for kail; 251. 
Mysti.fì,('ation.<;, by Mis
 Clementina 
Stirling GralJam, 177. 


SA, different modifications of the 
word, 181. 
· Xa, ni.l, he's no just deep, but be's 
dru1llly,' 174. 
· Na, na, ye'll aib1ins bite me,' 176. 
f Neebour, wad ye sit a bit 'Wast' '1i9. 

 elson, Lord, c:1.planation of his order, 

i6. 

ichol, an old servant of Forfarshirc, 
135. 
· No anither drap, neither het nor 
csnld, 122. 
Xobleman, hatf-witfM, ;n Canongate 
jail, 2P:i. 


P APERR in pulpit, 319. 
Paradise and 'Vesleyan minister, 19. 
Parishioner, coolness of, when maùe 
an elder of the kirk, 336. 
Paul, Dr.. his anecdotes of idiots, 281. 
Paul, Saunders. of Bancbory, famoul 
for drinking, 103. 
Perth, Lady, remark to a FrencllmaD 
on French cookery, 188. 
Penurious laird and Fife elder, 297. 
Pestilence t.hat walketh in darkness- 
What is it! 34. 
Phraseo)ogy, Scottish, an example of 
pure, 213. 
Phraseology, Scottish, Corre oC, 
6. 
Piccadilly, 16. 
Pig, great broon. 203. 
Pig, Scotch minister's account or eat. 
mg one, 96. 
Pinkieburn, faithful servnnt Rt, 139. 
Piper and the elder, 36. 
Piper aud the wolves, 28. 
Plngging, an odious practice, 125. 
Poetry, ::5cottisb, becoming less popu- 
lar, 40. 
Poetry in Scottish dialect, list of, 41. 
Polkemmet, Lord, account of hisjudi- 
cial preparations, 146. 
PotkeIumet, Lord, his aceount of kill. 
ing a calf, 146. 
PompQ'1I
 minietfr and the anglf'r, 816 



384 


INDEX. 


Pony of Free KiJ k minister running 1 Providence, mi
take of, in re
rd tc 
off to glebe, 31. bairns, 262. 
Poole, Dr., his patient's death an- i Provost of Edinburgh in the Rouse of 
nounced, 143. I Lords in 1786, 201. 
· Powny, grippit a chiel for,' 18
. Psalmody, 8cottish, 48. 
Prayers before battle, 198. Psalmody, Scottish, improvement of 
Preacher, a bombastic, reproved satiri- 50. ' 
cally, 265. Pure language of !Scotland not to be 
Preacher, Scottish, and his small bed- regarded as a provincial dialect 
room at manse where he visited, 175. ' 
319. 
Preacher, testimony to a good, 316. 
Preaching old sermons, 81. 
Precentor reading single line of psalm, 
50. 
Predestination, answer of minister 
about, 30. 
Priest Gordon, genuine Aberdonian 
specimen of, 00. 
Priest Matheson, 9]. 
Professor, P. reverend, his answer to 
a lawyer, 3
2. 
Pronunciation, Scottish, varieties of, 
make four different meanings, 206. 
Property qualification, 335. 
Prophets' chalmer (the miIlor), 320. 
Proprietors, two, meeting of, described 
by Sir Walter Scott, 241. 
Proverbial expressions, examples of 
some very pithy, 227-239. 
Proverbial Philosophy of Scotland, by 
William Stirling of Keir, :M.P., 219. 
Proverb, Scottish, appli,
ation of, by 
a minister in a storm, 229. 
Proverh, Scottish, expressed b)
 Lord 
Byron, 234. 
Proverbs becoming remini$cences, 218, 
240. 
Proyerbs, immense col1ection of, by 
FC'rgusson, 218, 220. 
Proverbs, Scotch, some specially ap- 
plicable to the Deil, 229-231. 
Proverbs, Scotland famous for, 219. 
Proverbs, Scottish, Allan Ramsay's 
dedication of. 225, 226. 
Proverbs, Scottish, Andrew Hender- 
son, 219, 226. 
Proverbs, Scottish, collections of, 218, 
219. 
Proverhs, Scottish, collection of, by 
Allan Hamsay, 225. 
Proverbs, Scottish, Kelly's collectioll, 
218, 219. 
Proverbs, Scottish, mnch used in 
former times, 219. 
Proverbs, Scottish, pre
"y application 
of, 228. 
Proverbs, Scottish, specimens of, in 
language almost ohsolete, 222, 223. 
Providence. 21. 


C RAIMENT fit,' 89. 
Ramsay, Allan, deòication of bis pro- 
verbs in prose, 225. 
Ramsay, Sir George, of Banff, a.nò the 
Laird of Corb, 259. 
Ramsay, two .Misses, of Balmain, 
anecdotes of, 194, 195. 
, Rax me a spaul 0' that bubbly jock, 
173. 
Reason given by an old man for 
marrying a young woman, 248. 
Recess Studies, 12. 
Redd, pigeon found among, ] 26. 
Religion, two great changes in ideas 
of, 63. 
Religious feelings and religious ob- 
servances, 56, 94. 
· Remember Mr. Tamson; no him at 
the Green, but oor ain Mr. Tamson, 
300. 
, Reminiscences' capable of a practicaJ 
application, 273. 
.: Reminiscences' have calJp,d forth 
communications from others, 9, Vi. 
I lleminiscences' includes stories of 
wit or hmnouT, 2.l3. 
. Reminiscences,' object and purpOSf' 
of, 36. 
'Reminiscences,' reeall pleasant asso- 
ciations, 8. 
, Ripin' the ribs: 173. 
Road, Highland, humorously de- 
scribed, 246. 
Robbie A'Thing, 301. 
Robby, a young dandy, and his 01c1 
aunt, 193. 
Robertson, Principal, advice to, b} 
Scotch minister, 10.
. 
llobison, Mrs., answer to gentleman 
coming to dinner, 19-1. 
Rockville, Lord, character of, as a 
judge, 154. 
Rockville, Lord, description of street, 
when tipsy, 154. 
Ruling elder's answer to jokes of three 
young men, 266. 
Rutherfurd, Lorù, and tIlE' BOIlalJ 
sh(>J)h
rrl. 70. 



INDEX. 


385 


8ABBATH-DA Y, and redding up Scottish exþresstuùs, examples of 
drawers, 74. peculiar applications, 202-205, 
Sabbath-day, eggs ought not to be laid Scottish expressions, illustrated by a 
on, 74. letter to a young married lady from 
Sabbath-day known by 8 hare, 74. an old aunt, 207-209. 
Sabbath day, where children go who Scottish gentleman in London, 16. 
1)lay marbles on, 35. Scottish h

OU1' and Scottish wit 
Sabbath desecration, geologist in the 169. 
Highlands, 72. Scottish humow', specimen of, in . 
Sabbath desecration, stopping the Fife lass, 246. 
jack for, 72. Scottish minstrelsy, 11. 
Sandy, fine specimen of old servant, Scottish music, charm of, 42. 
129. Scottish peasantry, character of, 70. 
C Sayawa', sir; we're a'sittin' to cheat Scottish peasantry, religious feelings 
the dowgs,' 88. of, 70. 
Scotchman, notion of things in Lon- Scottish peasantry, religious feelings 
don, 16. of, changed, 65. 
Scotchman of the old school, judg- Scottish phraseology, articles on, in 
ment of, upon an Englishman, 279. Blacku'ood, 38. 
Scotchman on losing his wüe and cow, Scottish psalm-tunes, some written by 
316. operatives, 49. 
Scotch minister and his diary regard- Scottish shepherd and Lord Cockburn. 
ing quarrels with wife, 312. 71. 
Scott, Dr., minister of Carluke, 274. Scottish shepherd and Lord Ruther- 
Scott, Dr., on his parishioners dancing, furd, 70. 
274. Scottish songs, collections of, 46, 47. 
Scott, Rev. Robert, his idea of ]Çel- Scottish stories of wit and humour 
Bon's order, 276. 243. 
Scott, Rev. R., of Cranwell, anecdote Scottish verses, C'hann of, 41. 
of young carpenter, 139. Scottij)h words of French derivation, 
Scott, Sir'Valter, and the blacksmith 348, 349. 
on the battle of Flodden, 2,;. Scottishness of the national humonr 
Scott, Sir 'Valter, did not write poetry 246. 
in Scottish dialect, 40. Seceder, au old. would not enter parish 
Scott, ;:;i!' Walter, hi::; story of sa.)e uf churct. 301. 
antiques, 183. 
ecession Church, professor in, to a 
Scott, Sir Walter, his Rtory or two young student, 301. 
relatives who joined the Pretender, Sedan chairs, 176. 
183. Sennon consumed by mice, 30. 
Scott, Sir Walter, just in time t.o sa.ve Sermons, chauge of character of, 84, 
Minstrelsy of the BorrIer, 11. ::;en.ant and dog Pickle at Yester, 
Scotland, past and present, 354. I 134-5. 
Scotticisms, expressive, pOlllted, and Servant, answer of, to his irascible 
pithy, 181, 182. master, 1

S. 
Scotticisms, remarks on, by Sir John Servant, answer or, when told to go, 
Sindair and Dr. Beattie, 20. 129. 
Scottish architect on English leases, Servant and Lord Lothian. 134. 

3. Servant, 
Irs. 
IuITay, and the spoon, 
Scottish boy cleverness, 253, 2[,-1. 132. 

cottish conviviality, 0)11, 101. Servant of Mrs. Ferguson of Pitfour, 
Srottish cookery, 345. ] 43. 
Scottish dialect, difference between ;:;ervant of 
Irs. Fullerton of l\lontrl'se, 
Aberdeen and Southern f::Icotch, 2] 7. 143. 
Scottish dialect, reference of, to Eng- SerV31lt, old, reason for doing as lla 
ligh, 185. likeù. 1.14. 
Scottish dialect, specimens of, 178, Servant praying for her minist.er', 300. 
179. Servant taxed with being drunk, hi!! 

cottish economy, specimen of, in answer, 2ü3. 
London, 180. 
en'ant6, ùome
tic Scottish, 127. 
Scottish elders and miuisters, anec- 'She juist felloo. hersel at Craigo WI 
dotes of, 71. straeberries anù 'r
arn,' 193 



88ð 


INDEX. 


C She-. bounter tlu
n she's better: 
!28. 
'She will be Dear me to close my een,' 
24-8. 
Shire1f, Rev. Mr., and member of his 
church who had left him, 315. 
Shirra, Rev. :Mr., on David saying 
· All men are liars,' 314. 
Shot, a bad one, complimented on 
success, 2;0. 
Siddons, Mrs. , respected by Edin- 
burgh clerg)', 92. . 
Silly, curious use of the wori, 204. 
Singing birds, absence of, 
n America, 
37. 
Sins, Aberdeen mother proud of, 215. 
· Sir, bæby I'll come farther,' 28l. 
· Sit in a box drawn by hrutes,' 153. 
Skinner, Bishop, and Aberdeen old 
couple, 33l. 
Skinner, Jolm, Jacobitism of, 43. 
Skinner, John, of Langside, his 
defence of prayer-book, 265. 
Skinner, Rev. John, author of several 
ScottiHh songs, 42. 
Skinner, Rev. John, lines on his 
grandson leaving Montrose, 45. 
Skinner, Rev. J oIm, passing an Allti- 
burgher chapel, 46. 
Sleeping in church, 80. 
Sleeping in church, and snuffing, 319, 
Slockin'd, never, apology for drinking, 
301. 
Hmitb, Adam, marked as most eccen- TAILOR, apology for his clothes not 
tric, 346. fitting, 338. 
Smith, SydnflY, opinion of Scottish · Take out that dog: he'd wauken a 
wit, 243. Glasgow magÜ
tràte.' 309. 
Smuggler, case of one in cburcù, 300. Taylor, Mr., of Loudon, description 
· 8neck the door,' 217. of his theatre by his father from 
Snuff-box handed rouDtl in ehurcbu;, Aberdeen. 213. 
343, Term-timeofll:'nsive to Scottish lairds) 
8nuff, grantl accommodation for, lt6. 261. 
Snuff, Im'pit soopit for, 1
t5. I Texts, remarks upon, 84. 
:Snuff put into thf, >>ermou, 319. · 'flIat's a. lee, Jemmie.' 157. 
:-5nutr-taking, 124, \ Theatre, clergy useù to atttmd, ill 11S4, 

oldier, an old, of the 42rl, l':lntiúu8 
2. 
about tbe nalne of Gnthaw, 338. Theatre, clerical non-attendance, 9:3. 
· Some lowk like }Jarritch, and some I 'The Lreet's stamJiu' j' the ]..)cel wi 
like I)addocks,' 
l'3s. ma,' 215. 
· Some strong 0' the aêlple,' 251. " 'The <leila ane shall pray fvr them 011 

ong
, drinking, 117. IlLY plaid,' 99. 
Sovereign, when new, a curiosity, 3:-$(). 'rile fool and the miller, 2HÒ. 

peat 0' praying and apeat o' drinking, , The man rcads,' 333. 
257. 'Them 'at drink by themsellli Ula) 
Speir, daft Will, and Earl of Eglinton, just Üsh by tbeJl1sells: 131. 
285. 286. ' There'll }JC a. walth 0' images there_ 
Speir, da.ft Will, auswer to master 60. 
about his dinner, 286, ' There'
 Kinnaird greetiu' as if there 
Spinster, elderly, areh reply to, by a WEtS nae a 8aunt Oil earth but hiw- 
younier member, 192. sell and the King 0' Frances,' a. 


Stipend, mintster'Ii, l'e&8011s afl&tnMt 
its being 1arge, 269. 
Stirling of Keir, evidence In favou.r 
of, by the miller of Keir. 98. 
Stirling of Keir, lecture on proverbs, 
227. 
Stl'a'von, wife's desire to Le buried in, 
71. 
Strikes, answer upon, by a master, 
271. 
Stewart, Rev. Patrick, sermon con- 
sumed by mice, 30. 
Stone remo\'ed out of the way, 27. 
Stool, a three-legged, thrown at hUB. 
band ùy wife, 312. 
Stout lady. remark of, 22. 
Strnnraer, old ladies on the Britisk 
victories over the French, 198. 
Sunday sometimes included ill Satur. 
day's drinking party, 118. 
Suppers once prevalent in Scotland, 
118. 
Sutherland, Colonel Sandy, hiN dil a 
like to the French, 330. 
Swearing by Laird of Finzean, 59. 
Swearing by Perth writer, 5R 
Swearing common in Scotland for 
merly, 58, 5g. 
Swine, dislike of, in Scotland, 04. 
Swinophobia, reasons for, 95. 
Smith, Sydney, remark
 of, on mm 
not at church, 57. 



.
 


1..YDBX. 


88i 


Waverley quoted, 
7. 
Webster, Rev. Dr" a five-bottle man, 
122. 
, Weel then. neist time they sall get 
"na'u: ava,' 133. 
'We'll stop now, bairns: I'm no 
Ilter- 
teen ed, ' 28. 
· We never a bsol ve till after thrH 
several oppea.rancu,' 156. 
West, going, ridiculous application of 
179. 
'Wha' are thae twa beddu-looking 
bodies?' 303. 
· 'Vhat a nicht for me to be fieein 
through the air,' 1
8. 
'What ails ye at her wi' the green 
gown!' 132. 
· WLat gars the laird of Garskadden 
look Rae gash?' 124. 
"Vhat is the chief end of man?' 86. 
· When ye get cheenge for a saxpence 
here, it':; soon slippit awa,' 180. 
'V'hisky, limited blame of, 73. 
, W)JÏted sepulchres,' applied to clergy 
in surplices, Inverncss. 32. 
'Vife, cool opinion of, by hushand, 25. 
Wire, rebuke of, by minister, 80. 
'ViCe taken by ber husband to Bao- 
chory, 332. 
Wig of professor in Secession Church 
301. 
Williamson the huntslliø.n and Duke 
of Lauderdal,
, 277. 
, Will ye tak your haddock wi' w the 
day t' 205. 
Wilson, Scottish vocalist, modesty of, 
191. 
Wind, Scotch minist.er's prayer for, 'i8, 
W olvea and the piper, 28. 
Wool, modificationi of, 181. 
UNBELIEVf;R described 1.)). ScotcL I 
lady, 188. ' YEa' speak sac genttd now that I 
dillna ken wha'K Scotch,' 184. 
VIE\V of things, Scottish matter of' Yeddie, daft, remark on a club-foot, 

cl,HR 

 
Vomit, if not strong enough, to Dt" 'Ye should hae titeekit your neive upo' 
returned, 337. , tllat,' 
.n. 
I 'Y e've been lang Cook, Cooking them, 
W AMHINO llisbes on the 
aùhath da
'." but ye"'6 ùi
hecl them a.t last,' 2
9. 
13. Young man and l'ards in church, 313. 
Waverle
'. old lad)' discovering the I 'Your hospitality border:i up(ln 
&:
thOI uf. i70. brutality,' 1O
. 


'There'lJ nae wail 0' wigs on Munrim- 
mon Moor,' 256. 
· There's neither men nor meesic, and 
fat care I for meat!' 214. 
, They may pray the kenee:i atf their 
breeks afore I join in that prayer,' 
gP. 
· They neither sald ba nor bum,' 133. 
'Thirdly and lastly' fell over the 
pulpit stairs, 332. 
Thomson, Thomas, described in Aber- 
deen dialect, 213. 
Thomson, two of the name prayed for, 
300, 
Thrift, examples of, in medicine, 337. 
Tibbie, eccentric servant, anecdote 
of, 141. 
Tiger and skate. stories of, 24. 
Toast8 after dinner, 112, 117. 
ToaRts, collection of, in the 1)ook 
· The Gentleman's New Bottle COUl- 
panion.' 117. 
Toasts or sentiments, specimens of, 
114-116. 
Tom;st, En
1ish, asking Scottish girl 
for horse-tlies, :
29. 
Town Council, '}Irotit but not honour,' 
199. 
Tractarianism, idea of, by an old 
Presbyt.erian, 60. 
· Travel from Genesis to Revelation, 
and not footsore,' 322. 
Traveller'li story, treatment of, 24. 
· Troth, mem, they're jUit the gude- 
man's dud clae
,' 75. 
Tulloch, David, Jacobite anecdote of, 
at prayerø, 98. 
Turkey leg, devilled, and !ìervant, U8. 
Tweerldale, LOT(I, and dog Pil'kle, 134. 



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Rams
y, Edward B
nnermnn: 1793-1872. 
Dean R
msav's Reminiscences of Scottish life 
t.. 
& character. (By Edward Bannerman Ramsay] With 
sixteen illustrations in colour from original 
wa ter-colo'lr dra\'li ngs by 11. W. Kerr. ChicaGo" 
A.C. McClurg & Co.; Edinburgh, T.N. Foulis, 1908 
[v] )87p. 16 col. plates. 20cm. jndex. 


1.Scotl

d-Socirtl life 2nd customs. 2.Anecdotes-Scot- 
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