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Scottish Review

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Early Travellers in Scotland
Edited by Hume Brown (1891)


This is an interesting book and it does reveal some interesting information about Scotland. Here are a couple of examples...

THE SCOTS ON THEIR MILITARY EXPEDITIONS
(Froissart, Chronicles, vol. i. chap. 17).

THE Scots are bold, hardy, and much inured to war. When they make their invasions into England, they march from twenty to four-and-twenty leagues without halting, as well by night as day; for they are all on horseback, except the camp-followers, who are on foot. The knights and esquires are well mounted on large bay horses, the common people on little galloways. They bring no carriages with them, on account of the mountains they have to pass in Northumberland ; neither do they carry with them any provisions of bread or wine; for their habits of sobriety are such, in time of war, that they will live for a long time on flesh half sodden, without bread, and drink the river water without wine. They have, therefore, no occasion for pots or pans; for they dress the flesh of their cattle in the skins, after they have taken them off; and, being sure to find plenty of them in the country which they invade, they carry none with them. Under the Haps of his saddle, each man carries a broad plate of metal ; behind the saddle, a little bag of oatmeal: when they have eaten too much of the sodden flesh, and their stomach appears weak and empty, they place this plate over the fire, mix with water their oatmeal, and when the plate is heated, they put a little of the paste upon it, and make a thin cake, like a cracknel or biscuit, which they eat to warm their stomachs: it is therefore no wonder, that they perform a longer day's march than other soldiers.

A FRENCH ARMY IN SCOTLAND THE FRENCH OPINION OF
THE SCOTS (1385) (vol. ii. chaps. 2 and 3).

News was soon spread through Scotland that a large body of men-at-arms from France were arrived in the country. Some began to murmur and say, "What devil has brought them here? or who has sent for them? Cannot we carry on our wars with England without their assistance? We shall never do any effectual good as long as they are with us. Let them be told to return again, for we are sufficiently numerous in Scotland to fight our own quarrels, and do not want their company. We neither understand their language nor they ours, and we cannot converse together. They will very soon eat up and destroy all we have in this country, and will do us more harm, if we allow them to remain amongst us, than the English could in battle. If the English do burn our houses, what consequence is it to us? We can rebuild them cheap enough, for we only require three days to do so, provided we have five or six poles and boughs to cover them." 

And so in the first example you learn how the Scots went to battle and in the second you get a sense of how they survived the many wars that went on in Scotland.

There are many wee accounts throughout this book which give us valuable insight into Scotland in the old days.

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