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Highland Funeral 21 Oct 1875


Thursday, October 21, 1875

Much grieved at its being a worse day than ever for the funeral of Brown’s father, [He had died on the 18th, aged 86, at Micras, opposite Abergeldie, on the other side of the river.] which sad ceremony was to take place to-day. The rain is hopeless—the ninth day! Quite unheard of! I saw good Brown a moment before breakfast; he was low and sad, and then going off to Micras. At twenty minutes to twelve drove with Beatrice and Janie Ely to Micras. As we drove up (unfortunately raining much) we met Dr. Robertson, and all along near the house were numbers of people — Brown told me afterwards he thought above a hundred. All my keepers, Mitchell the blacksmith (from Clachantum), Symon, Grant, Brown’s five uncles, Leys, Thomson (postmaster), and the forester, people below Micras and in Aberarder, and my people; Heale, Lohlein (returned this day from a week’s leave), Cowley Jarrett, Ross and Collins (sergeant footman), Brown and his four brothers, including Donald (who only arrived last night, and went to the Bush, his brother William’s farm), took us to the kitchen, where was poor dear old Mrs. Brown sitting near the fire and much upset, but still calm and dignified; Mrs. William Brown was most kind and helpful, and the old sister-in-law and her daughter; also the Hon. M. West, Mr. Sahl, Drs. Marshall and Profeit, Mr. Begg, and Dr. Robertson, who came in later. The sons, and a few whom Brown sent out of the kitchen, were in the other small room, where was the coffin. A small passage always divides the kitchen and the sitting-room in this old sort of farmhouse, in front of which is the door — the only door. Mr. Campbell, the minister of Crathie, stood in the passage at the door, every one else standing close outside. As soon as he began his prayer, poor dear old Mrs. Brown got up and came and stood near me — able to hear, though, alas! not to see — and leant on a chair during the very impressive prayers, which Mr. Campbell gave admirably. When it was over, Brown came and begged her to go and sit down while they took the coffin away, the brothers bearing it. Every one went out and followed, and we also hurried out and just saw them place the coffin in the hearse, and then we moved on to a hillock, whence we saw the sad procession wending its way sadly down. The sons were there, whom I distinguished easily from their being near good Brown, who wrore his kilt, walking near the hearse. All walked, except our gentlemen, who drove. It fortunately ceased raining just then. I went back to the house, and tried to soothe and comfort dear old Mrs. Brown, and gave her a mourning brooch with a little bit of her husband’s hair which had been cut off yesterday, and 1 shall give a locket to each of the sons.

When the coffin was being taken away, she sobbed bitterly. We took some whisky and water and cheese, according to the universal Highland custom, and then left, begging the dear old lady to bear up. I told her the parting was but for a time. We drove quickly on, and saw them go into the kirkyard, and through my glasses I could see them carry the coffin in. I was grieved I could not be in the kirkyard.

Saw my good Brown at a little before two. He said all had gone off well, but he seemed very sad; he had to go back to Mirras to meet all the family at tea. All this was terribly trying for the poor dear old widow, but could not be avoided. Already, yesterday morning, she had several of the wives and neighbours to tea. Every one was very kind and full of sympathy, and Brown was greatly gratified by the respect shown to him and his family to-day.


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