Scot in British North America Chapter VI - The Women
and the Homes of Scotland
All hail, ye tender
The smile of love, the friendly tear,
The sympathetic glow!
Long since this worlds thorny ways
Had numbered out my weary days,
Had it not been for you.
Fate still has blest me with a friend,
In every care and ill;
And oft a more endearing band,
A tie more tender still.
-- BURNS: Epistle to
O, I hae seen grat anes,
and sat in great has,
Mang lords and mang ladies acovered
But a sight sae delightful I trow I neer spied,
As the bonnie blithe blink o my ain fireside.
My ain friends, my ain fireside,
O sweet is the blink o my ain fireside.
Nae falsehood to dread,
nae malice to fear,
But truth to delight me, and kindness to cheer;
O a roade to pleasure that ever were tried,
Theres nane half sae sure as ones ain fireside.
My ain fireside, &c.
-- ELIZABETH HAMILTON
Glens may be gilt wi
The birds may fill the tree,
And haughs hae a the scented ware
That simmer growth may gie;
But the cantie hearth where cronies meet,
An the darling o our ee
That makes to us a warl complete,
O, the ingle sides for me.
-- HUGH AINSLIE
The wholesome form of the domestic
affections is co-extensive with humanity, and their influence is happily
the property of no single race or nation. Still, as in other cases, the
peculiar form they take, as well as the purity and fervour of their
manifestations, varies considerably, according to the genius, the
temperament, the history, and the general social habits of different
peoples. Napoleon declared that the need of France was mothers, and a
distinguished French writer states that nothing inEngland struck
him so forcibly as its homes. Now any attempt at comparing the
capacities for the highest forms of domestic life exhibited in different
countries would be futile, even if it were successful. Still it may be
well to note that the value of any people as colonists and civilizers
will always depend upon the character and social position of its women.
Female influence is so intertwined with mans every-day life, and isso much an ordinary blessing, that it is too much the habit to take
it as a matter of course, its value, like the value of light, air, or
any other mercy which comes down from the Father of Lights, is never
gauged and prized as it should be, until its loss is felt in absence or
bereavement. At other times woman and her works and ways are too often
treated with the flippant or contemptuous quip, or, what is still more
offensive to the refined and sensitive, with the high strained and
fulsome compliment, not yet out of fashion.
In Scotland, many circumstances have
combined to give the female element large opportunities for home
development, and not a few for conspicuous public action. All those
historic influences which have moulded the national characterthe
invasions, the prolonged wars, foreign and intestine, persecutions and
raids from the mountains or the Borderwhilst they tended to keep
everything else in a state of solution, strengthened wonderfully the
bonds of domestic affection. The love which welled up in the strong and
passionate heart of the Scot could only find solace and satisfaction at
the trysting place or the home fire-side. Hence the fervour of the
poetry of Scotland, especially that branch of it which deals with the
affections. Deprived of peace elsewhere, with stunted apprehension, the
people naturally sought and found their happiness within the household.
Burns expresses the general feeling when he says: -
"To make a happy
To weans and wife
Thats the true pathos, and sublime
Of human life."
The picture of the Scottish household
caught from the poets and romance writers - from Burns, Scott, Hogg,
Ramsay, Tannahill, Galt and innumerable others, is eminently vivid and
realistic. In the absence of any wider sphere of action, home assumed a
prominent place in the thoughts of Scotsmen, not often traceable in
countries where the heart has so many claimants upon its notice and
regard. In the poems of Burns, the whole gamut of love is master and
employed in weaving the most exquisite melody. Is it simple admiration
for women, what can be finer than the well-worn song "Green grow
the rashes, O"?
"Auld nature swears,
the lovely dears
Her noblest work she classes, O;
Her prentice hand she tried on man
And then she made the lasses, O."
From that light vein of
generous appreciation, all the notes in the weird symphony of human
affection are tried in turn, with marvelous power until we reach to the
height of the poem "To Mary in Heaven," or the concentrated
volume of pathos of the verse in the lyric "Ae fond kiss before we
"Had we never loved
Had we never loved sae blindly,
Never met and never parted,
We had neer been broken-hearted."
Of conjugal affection,
the song, "Of a the airts the wind can blaw," short as it
is, it gives full expression. He is speaking of Jean Armour, his wife: -
"I see her in the
Sae lovely, sweet and fair;
I hear her in the tunefu birds,
I hear her charm the air;
Theres not a bonnie flower that springs
By fountain, shaw, or green;
Theres not a bonnie bird that springs
But minds me o my Jean."
Throughout the songs of
Burns, the same intense wealth of affection shines with sterling lustre.
There is another side to the picture, alas! but there the living man,
and not the poet, was at fault. For the most part his songs are full of
healthy, strong human affection, embracing all mankind, but garnering
itself up peculiarly in the closer attachments of the heart. "The
Cotters Saturday Night," and "The Epistle to a Young
Friend" reveal the inner self of the wayward bard. As it was from
life, and lovingly, he depicted the pious home and simple Presbyterian
family worship in the one, so from a sad experience, which had taught,
but not enforced, wisdom, he wrote: -
"The sacred lowe o
Luxuriantly indulge it;
But never tempt the illicit
rove, Tho neathing may
I wave the quantum of the sin,
The hazard o concealing,
But, och! it hardens a within,
And petrifies the feeling !"
"reck the reed, than ever did th adviser," yet one feels a
yearning sympathy for that true-hearted man, whose spirit was so
willing, and his flesh so very weak. Penitent, cautious self-control,
which, in "The Bards Epitaph," he calls "wisdoms
root," was not given to him. The words of that self-indited
coronach are keen and worth the reading more than once.
"Is there a man whose
Can others teach the course to steer,
Yet runs himself, lifes mad career
Wild as the wave;
Here pause and through the starting tear,
Survey this grave.
The poor inhabitant below
Was quick to learn, and wise to know,
And keenly felt the friendly glow,
And softer flame;
But thoughtless follies laid him low,
And staind his name
Dean Stanley has said
that the struggle in Scotland during this century has been a conflict of
the spirit of Knox with the spirit of Burns. Is it quite certain that
such an antagonism really exists? If it were possible-and perhaps for
an outsider it is not-to analyze dispassionately the phenomena of the
two centuries, during the latter part of which these
"representative" Scots left the scene, it would be found that
both of them were diverse developments of the same type of characterbold,
self-reliant, proud, disdainful where there was anything despicable,
fiery, impetuous, independent. Knox was recalcitrant, so was Burns; but
the energetic enthusiasm of the latter, his fine poetic temper, and the
strong predominance of social feeling and passion in his nature made him
a rebel against the restraints of Church or public opinion, even when at
heart he approved of them. The war in his members never ceased, and if
any one really supposes him to have determinedly posed as an enemy to
the Presbyterian spirit of Knox or Melville, he has only to study his
letters, and then compare his poems, as a whole, gross or refined, with
the conscienceless sensuality of Byron.
Burns has naturally
claimed a foremost place in the poetry of the affections; but there are
others who have struck the celestial lyre in strains not less exalted,
in their inspired moments. In the Border Minstrelsy there are so many
touching ballads of hapless love, that it would be hard to select any
without extending this chapter unduly. Professor Murray cites specially
"The Lass of Lochroyan," "Willie and May Margaret,"
"The Dowie Dens of Yarrow"; but one cannot but agree with him
that "Fair Helen of Kirconnell" is unrivalled in impassioned
anguish of expression. It is Adam Fleming the favoured loverat whom
his rival aimed the shot which poor Helen, in shielding her lover,
received in her breastwho sings "I wish I were where Helen
lies," in the plaintive strains of the ballad. The rage, the
revenge, the love stronger than death, and even longing for it, succeed
one another to an admirable and touching climax. The broken-hearted wail
of the concluding stanzas is deeply pathetic:
"I wish my grave were
A winding-sheet draws oer my een,
And I in Helens arms lying
On fair Kirconnel lee.
I wish I were where Helen lies!
Night and day on me she cries,
And I am weary of the skies,
For her sake who died for me!"
On the brighter side of
youthful love, there is, says Professor Murray, a remarkable
susceptibility to the emotional influences in nature. The loves
celebrated in these songs are commonly associated with beautiful scenes;
and thus Maxwelton Braes and Kelvin Grove, Gala Water and the Yarrow,
The Bonnie Woods of Craigilea, and the Birks of Aberfeldy, as well as a
hundred other spots, have attained something like a classical fame.*
Still it will generally be found that the human interest, as might be
expected, overshadows delight in the beauty of external nature; and, in
all the poetry worthy of note, that of Burns and Scott included, there
is hardly a trace of lonely communion with the world around. One of the
best specimens of amatory poetry in this vein, is Hoggs "When
the Kye comes hame." He had, undoubtedly, a keen eye for nature,
and here each verse hints some aspect of the rural scene with the
delight of wooing a bonnie lassie.
"Tween the gloamin
and the wick,
When the kye comes hame."
"Mary of Castlecary" is a gem in its way, far superior to the
"Edwin and Emma" of the ballad and of Goldsmith. Then there
are Tannahills "Jessie, the Flower of Dumblane," Motherwells
"Jeanie Morrison," Lyles "Kelvin Grove," and
innumerable others that will readily occur to the reader. In the
pathetic view of social and domestic life, Smiberts "Scottish
Widows Lament," Thoms "Mitherless Bairn,"
Ballantines "Naebodys Bairn," with that simple little
childhood lyric "Castles in the Air," also Ballantines, are
Scotlands poetic roll,
however, has been made illustrious above measure by the names of an
unprecedented number of female lyricists. ** At the head of these stands
unquestionably Caroline, Baroness Nairne, whether the versatility of her
genius or the marked individuality of her style, be taken into account.
But to enumerate the female poets chronologically we must begin with
Lady Grisell Baillie, "the bravest of all Scottish heroines,"
whose romantic life extended from 1665 to 1746. Her poetic fame rests on
one song, a pathetic wail over a wasted "might have been." The
refrain gives its name to the poem and is repeated in the 1st line of
this, the concluding verse: -
"Oh! were we young as
we ance hae been,
We should hae been gallopin down yon green,
And linkin it ower the lily-white lea;
And werena my heart licht I wad dee."
Allan Cunningham remarked
that this song is "very original, very characteristic and very
irregular; but Lady Grisells life was rather out of the common. She
had the cares of a household laid upon her, when a child. The mother was
a confirmed invalid and Grisell was the eldest of the eighteen children
of Sir Patrick Home, afterwards Earl of Marchmont, who was always in a
stew of political trouble in those early days. The heroine of the house
was sent upon errands, not usually considered domestic. Her father and
her future husbands father were in trouble with the Stuart rulers.
The former escaped to be enobled; the latter suffered for treason when
George Baillie was nineteen and Grisell only eighteen. It would be
curious to know something of the love-passages between these companions
in adversity, when she went to the Tolbooth to see his father, or he
stole forth to carry food to Sir Patrick, in the family tomb of Polwarth,
lying on a mattress, "among the mouldering bones of his fathers,
with his good Kilmarnock cowl drawn well over his brow, defying the
cold, as he whiled away the time in repeating George Buchanans Latin
Psalms," *** the grand text-book by the use of which the Dominies
of those days combined classical Latinity, with a due regard for
religious training. Sir Patrick went over to Holland, and, as luck would
have it, was on the side that turned up right at the Revolution. But
there was a terrible time, meanwhile. Poor Grisell had "the heavy
end of the string to bear," and bore it, as only such a brave
little woman could. The story of her trials and triumphs has been
written by her daughter, and no one can read without rejoicing that the
noble heroine, who sacrificed so much for kith and kin, lived, through
many troubles, a life of peaceful equanimity and died only eight years
after the lad who was destined to be her husband and the father of her
children. At her death she said that "she could die in peace, that
all she desired was to be with George Baillie" and so she died.
When Lady Baille had
about reached middle age, the writer of the most powerful expression of
conjugal love in any language, was born at Greenock. Jean Adams long
life was a sore struggle with poverty. She early ate the bread of
dependence, tried to keep a school for little girls, made a pilgrimage
on foot to London, like Jeanie Deans, though upon a different errand,
and at last died in the workhouse, the day after her name had been
entered on the books as "a poor woman in distress, a stranger who
had been wandering about." Jean Adam was the author of "Theres
nae luck about the house", yet she died without even knowing the
rapturous affection she described, or tasting aught of a mothers
joys. "The last verse," say the authors of the "Songstresses"
(Vol. i.p. 48) is the climax
of the wholethe ineffable melting of the tremulous laughter into a
sudden storm of tears, all glistening as they temper the sunshine of the
"And will I see his
And will I hear him speak?
Im downright dizzy with the thocht,
In troth Im like to greet,"
followed up quickly by
the recovered bell-like ring,
"For theres nae
luck about the house,
Theres nae luck at a,
Theres little pleasure in the house,
When our good mans awa."
Two years after Jean Adam
"was born in the sea-captains house at Crawfordsdyke,"
Alison Rutherford, better known as Mrs. Cockburn, first saw the light in
the mansion-house of Fairnalee near Gala water and the Tweed. She lived
during the greater part of the eighteenth centuryfrom 1712 to 1794and
was long the centre of the cultured society of Edinburgh. The biography
given by the authors of the "Songstresses" extends over more
than one hundred and forty pages; it should be read by all who desire a
more intimate acquaintance with one of the most lively, versatile,
humorous and thoroughly happy women that ever adorned the capital of any
country. Her letters are full of shrewd and pungent remarks upon
society, literature, politics, religion and almost every other topic of
interest in her eventful time from the 45 to the French Revolution.
Written in a pleasant, chatty style, they disclose considerable critical
power, keen discernment of character, and an accurate insight into the
men and doings of the period.++ Our authors observe that "in Alison
Cockburns long careerwhich was long enough to make her a
connecting link between the Edinburgh of Allan Ramsay and Burns and the
Edinburgh of Scotther house was the rallying-ground, while she
herself was a queen of the literati of Edinburgh." (Vol. i. p.
179.) As a poet, she is chiefly known as the writer of another
"Flowers of the Forest," the most popular rendering of the
theme. The refrain in the alternate verses, the "Flowers of the
Forest" are "a wede away" reminds us of one already
quoted. The first verse runs thus:-
"Ive seen the
Of fortune beguiling;
Ive felt all its favours, and found its decay:
Sweet was its blessing,
Kind its caressing;
But now tis fledfled far away."
The author of "The
Flowers of the Forest" was unquestionably Miss Jean Elliott in the
first place, and nothing certainly can exceed its tenderness and
simplicity. In every respect it surpasses the treatment of the same
theme by Mrs. Cockburn:
"Ive heard them
lilting at our yowe milking,
Lasses a lilting before the dawn o day;
But now they are moaning on ilka green loaming-
The Flowers of the Forest are a wede away."
Jean Elliott lived from
1727 to 1805, and died an old maid. Miss Susan Blamire is chiefly known
as the writer of the popular song, "And Ye Shall Walk in Silk
Attire." Jean Glover, who wrote the pretty song "Oer the
Muir Amang the Heather," which opens thus:
"Comin through the
craigs o Kyle,
Amang the bonnie bloomin heather,
There I met a bonnie lassie
Keepin a her flocks the gither."
was an Ayrshire peasant girl, "with
a desperate strain of Gipsy wildness and recklessness in her
temperament." Like the Ayrshire ploughman, she had a quarrel with
the strict discipline of the time; married a strolling player, and died
in Ireland at the early age of forty-two. Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton, the
author of that grand domestic lyric" The Home, Sweet Home of
Scotland "" My Ain Fireside," was Scottish by blood,
nature and education, though born in Ireland. It gives the best
exposition of domestic life among the Scottish people, and the warmth
and power of their home affections. Lady Anne Barnard (17501825) came
of the ancient race of the Lindsays of Balcarres; but she owes no
celebrity to her ancestors, since she immortalized herself in "Auld
Baroness Nairne, lived from 1766 till 1845, and, on the whole, must be
placed at the top of any list of Scotlands female poets. She was born
in the mansion-house at Gask, in Perthshire, between the Grampians and
Octils, with Ben Voirlich for its landmark. Singularly beautiful in
youth, she was known as "The Flower of Snathearn." The work
she performed for Scottish poetry was partly original and partly in the
way of refining the coarse songs in vogue amongst the people. As many of
her songs serve to show, Lady Nairne was strongly Jacobite in her
feelings, and the "Charlie" poetry owes much to her pen. Her
most pathetic pieceone which can never die while human bereavements
point the way to an "eternal hope"is "The Land o
Im wearin awa,
Like snaw-wreaths in thaw, John,
Im wearin awa
To the land o the leal.
Theres nae sorrow there, John,
Theres neither cauld nor care, John,
The day is aye fair in the land o the leal.
and so to the last
hopeful glance towards the "warld ayont "
"Oh! hand ye leal and
Your day its wearin thro, John,
And Ill welcome you
To the land o the leal.
Now fare ye weel, my ain John,
This warlds cares are vain, John,
Well meet and well be fain,
In the land o the leal."
Lady Nairnes versatile talents
embraced a wide range, for we may pass from the paths of this glimpse
"behind the veil" to the serio-humorous "Caller Herrin,"
and thence to the broad fun of "The Laird of Cockpen." The
number of songs she either wholly compiled, or materially altered and
embellished, is considerable, including the "Lass of Gowrie,"
"The Bonnie Brier Bush," "My Ain Kind Dearie, O,"
"Kind Robin Loes Me," "O Waes Me on My Ain
Man," "Saw Ye Nae My Peggie," "The Auld House"
(Gask), "Heres to Them That are Gone," "The Mitherless
Lammie," and a version of "Gude Nicht and Joy be Wi Ye A."
Besides a number of comic songs, there is the Jacobite series, including
"Whall be King but Charlie?" "Charlie is My
Darling," "Hes Ower the Hills that I Loe Weel," and
"Will Ye No Come Back Again?" The attachment to "the lost
cause" runs more or less through most of Lady Nairnes lyrics;
but her strong wealth of wifely and domistic affection is the salient
feature in her noblest efforts.
Joanna Baillies name
is well known in literature, on both sides of the Tweed, for she lived
from 1784 to 1851, in London, when she died at the age of eighty-nine in
England. A good deal of her Scottish poetry was like Lady Nairnes,
merely a re-cast and purified setting of olden verse. Among her
best-known lyrics are "Fy, Let Us A to the Wedding," "Horly
and Fairly," "The Weary Pund o Tow," "Saw Ye
Johnnie Comin," "It Fell on a Morning," "Wood
and Married and A," &c. Of the many other female minstrels
of the North may be mentioned Mrs. John Hunter wife of the
celebrated surgeon and anatomist the author of "My Mother Bids
me Bind my Hair," and other short pieces; Mrs. Grant of Carron:
"Roys Wife of Aldivalloch"; Mrs. Dugald Stewart, wife of
the philosopher: "The Tears I Shed Must Ever Fall"; Mrs. Agnes
Lyon: "Neil Gows Farewell to Whisky"; Miss Graham:
"The Birkie of Bonnie Dundee"; Isobel Pagan: "Ca the
Yowes to the Knowes" (written before Burns song of the same
name); Miss Mary Campbell: "The March of the Cameron Men";
Miss Ogilvy: "The Glomin Horn"; and Mrs. Isa Craig Knox,
who has written the "Burns Centennial" poem, "The
Brides of Quair," "My Mary an Me," and a number of
other lyrics. The contributions to Scottish poetry by its women, gentle
and simple, are unprecedented in the literary annals of any country; and
they are almost uniformly of sterling merit. Naturally enough the
affections form the most prominent feature in these poems, as they do in
those of their brother bards. The same glow, purified, under the gentle
and mellowing influence of the female type of thought and feeling, is
common to both. There is no mistaking the true womanly character of the
poems alluded to, but they have all the fire, energy and pathos of the
male singers, with more of the chaste and pensive tone of colouring,
which sets off the intrinsic beauty of womanhood in manly eyes. The men
of Scotland must have been heroic and love-worthy, or the women who
displayed so deep and fervent a flow of love, wifely, maternal and
patriotic, could never have expended it, in all its fulness, upon them.
The great names that have come down to us in history and literature,
represent but feebly the domestic life of the Scottish people. There are
memoirs, letters, anecdotes, verses from which we can gather an inkling
into the essentially pure, peaceful, happy, and nobly contented little
world in the Scottish home. But since moderns render their verdict upon
a people, as school-boards pay the master, according to results, the
moral tone of the contemporary Scot, at home or in Canada, ought to be
the crucial test of what the mothers and the homes of the land were
through the struggling centuries, and not less in the years of peace,
plenty, and advancement, which have succeeded.
If the men in the old
time fought and suffered like heroes, then wives and daughters were
strong, brave, Christian heroines. In public affairs, the women of
Scotland always took an exceptional part. It was the wife, the mother or
the sweetheart who decked the Highland clansman, and sent him forth with
strong words of cheer to the conflict. And in the Lowlands, the wife of
the noble, the landowner, or the statesman, was no cipher in his
councils or his work. To read of the struggles during the Reformation
troubles, the fierce conflict with the Stuarts after the Reformation, or
the Jacobite risings under the first two Hanoverian monarchs, is to note
the silver thread of womanly courage, perseverance, astuteness and
inventive affection which lightens the dark warp and woof of the texture
woven in these rough looms; once, only, does there appear to have been
any discord in all the struggles of husband and wife, so strong was the
bond of domestic attachment in Scotland. The story of the wife of
Grainge, a Lord of Session, is a melancholy and, happily, an exceptional
one. She had been suspected of abstracting state papersan offence not
considered heinous in the Foreign Office now-a-daysand her husband
and son actually carried her off by night on a fishing vessel, and
immured her alive on the lone island of St. Kilda, beyond the outer
Hebrides, where she lingered for thirty years, till death released
her.+++ But, invariably, with this exception, wherever the student may
turn, he will find the wife and mother the cherished adviser, ally and
effective help-meet of the husband and father, reviving the despondent,
emulating the courage of the brave, and employing her subtle instincts
where the lions skin, as Richelieu said, must needs be eked out by
the foxes. When their lords left the castle, the women of Scotland did
not sit at home, wringing their hands and mumbling dismal laments in
monotones. They were northern Elizabeths on their little Thames, not
content with progresses to Tilbury Fort in war or to Kenilworth in times
of peace. They appeared, for the nonce, as lords of the heritage, could
muster and harangue retainers, rebuke insubordination and vice, and
defend their homes at the head of their people, with a calm vigour of
determination which inspired the brave with new courage, and made a true
man of the coward. Canadians may find at least one noble example of
modest intrepedity, in the hour of danger, in the glowing account of
Mademoiselle de Verchères, in Parkmans" Count Frontenac, and
New France under Louis XIV" *+ What the heroine of that defence
against the Iroquois approved herself, the Scottish ladies often were at
many a trying exigency. No steward or lieutenant in those perilous times
could serve his lord, as the faithful wife, his second self, could serve
him when danger knocked at the postern.
All through the desperate
period from the Restoration, the women of Scotland suffered with
patience, or withstood violence by calm and constant bravery, or with
those illimitable resources which were suggested by the inspiring energy
of religious faith and female affection. In those dark times when
violence, with hoof of steel and heart of stone, rode rough shod over
the land, and trampled out its freedom and independence, the grandeur
and the pathos of Scottish home life, whether in castle or cot, shone
out with something of celestial brightness. Whether it were Margaret
Wilson at the stake below high-water mark, or Lady Caldwell on the Bass
Rock, or Mrs. Veitch, in suffering more than mere bereavement from the
Dragoons, the same heroic spirit, the spirit of an earnest piety, which
was a part of themselves and of their life, sustained them in
tribulation and in death. The words of heavenly assurance and solace
came into the inward ear, and found responses through the tremulous
voice in the words of the Psalm (xliii, 5.)
"Why art thou then
cast down, my soul?
What should discouragethee?
And why with vexing thoughts art thou
Disquieted in me?
Still trust in God; for him to praise
Good cause I yet shall have;
He of my countenance is the health,
My God that doth me save."
That man is to be pitied
whom prejudice, or want of generous human enthusiasm, has rendered dead
to the story of these times-the abiding firmness of its men, and the
unflinching faith, love and tenderness of its long-suffering and
The desperate efforts
made by Lady Argyll to secure her husbands pardon; the supplications
of her daughter to Middletonone of the gang of oppressorsfor her
fathers life, and the Earls temporary escape in disguise from
Edinburgh Castle, by a wifes stratagem, are something of a piece with
much that was done in Jacobite times by Lady Nithsdale and others on
behalf of the Stuart partizans near and dear to them. In every rank of
society, during the troubled history of Scotland, from Marjory Bruce
downwards, the intelligence, the faith, the ardent and unquenchable
affection of its women have stamped their impress not only upon the
history, but upon the character, of the Scottish people. There, if
anywhere, the woman, whether acknowledged as mans equal or not, has
established her claim to be so bound up in his life as to render any
question of superiority or precedence an idle quibble. In war and peace,
in the stronghold, in the cottage, in the cave or the prison, in the
hall or at the modest ingle, she has been his better self, heroic and
undaunted in danger, patient during sorrow or suffering, "a
ministering angel" in the long-drawn hours of darkness and
distress. That the eminently noble type of women which history, romance
and poetry concur in finding north of the Tweed should have failed to
exercise its normal influence upon the national character can hardly be
conceived. Like produces like; and even variations in development,
though they may tend to deterioration, never alter spiritually the main
features of the plan wrought out in broad outline during centuries of
gestation. The domestic life of Scotland is the fountain from whence all
that is good and great in its sons their religious temper, and those
virtues of industry, frugality, integrity and high-mindedness which
distinguish the Scot took their origin. To the home may be traced
the uprightness, and much of the strong persistence in honourable effort
which have made Scotsmen prosperous and successful in lands "near
the setting sun" or upon the dearly prized soil of that auld home
across the sea.
Ballads and Songs of Scotland, p. 79
Songstresses of Scotland ,by Sarah Tytler and J.L. Watson; and the
biographical notices in The Scottish Minstrel, by the Rev. Chas.
Scotland, Vol. i. p. 2.
+Ibid. p. 14.
++Her letters to David
Hume are especially noteworthy and it may be added that she had no tinge
of Jacobitism, unlike most of the literary ladies of the time.
+++ Percy Anecdotes, Vol.
iii, page 544. (Warnes Edition).
*+ Parkman: Frontenac,
*++ Andersons Ladies
of the Covenant, has already been often cited; and it must be again
referred to here, as an admirable collection of facts in proof of the
noble courage and strong religious and domestic affections of
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