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Scotland, Social and Domestic
Social Customs


The customs of a people are the ordinary developments of their inner life. These may be of an ephemeral character, but they point to the different stages of thought and action through which the nation has passed. They have seldom been dwelt upon by the historian.

The middle class of society in Scotland was, a century ago, very imperfectly defined. The farmer was head of the house, while his hinds were held as members of the family. Except the married servants, every one connected with the farm dined together at the same board. The farm kitchen was termed the ha'; it was the dining-room of the establishment. The farmer or gude-man sat at the upper end of the table; next him sat the gudewife, and at each side of the upper end were arranged the children and visitors. The hinds were seated at the lower end of the board. In some farmhouses a line drawn with chalk distinguished the upper from the lower end of the table. In others the family salt-dish was placed so as to denote the boundary line-between the members of the family and their dependants. Dinner was commenced with broth, better known as kail. There was no tureen; the plates were filled direct from the kail-pot by the maid-servants, who supped their own share on their knees, seated on stools at the fireplace. When any of the hinds desired a second supply of broth he rose from his place, and proceeded to the kail-pot. All sat at table with unwashen hands. The hinds retained their bonnets, unless when the gudeman asked a blessing, when each drew his bonnet over his eyes. The broth was supped with short spoons from plates of timber or pewter. The spoons were made on the premises from the horns of slaughtered cattle.

After the kail a joint of beef or mutton was placed on a wooden trencher before the gudeman, who took from his pocket a clasped knife and fork, with which he "divided" it. The expression divide had a literal significance, for the joint was not sliced, but cut into lumps proportioned to the capacities of the different consumers. Knives and forks were presented to strangers, but the ordinary company separated and ate their portions with their fingers. When the joint was eaten, the broth which remained in the pot was placed upon the table, and was served along with a copious allowance of oatcakes and barley bannocks.

Butcher meat was not a uniform part of the farmhouse dinner. It appeared just thrice a week, while its place was on other days supplied with such dairy produce as butter, cheese, and eggs. Those days on which animal food was not presented were termed meagre. Twice or thrice a year the farmer dined alone. These were the occasions of the parochial clergyman's annual visitation, or when some notable friend from a distance chanced to arrive. At such times the gudewife served her husband and the guests. Dinner being brought in, she proceeded to wipe the- chairs with a fine linen towel, and invited the company to sit. Then placing herself behind her husband's chair she gently reminded him from time to time of his duties as a host, and in the intervals of serving snatched from his plate with her fingers a potato or portion of meat. She joined freely in the conversation, and sat down to serve the haggis or pudding.

The morning and evening meals at the farmhouse consisted of porridge or brose. Porridge was made of oatmeal boiled in water to a proper consistence. Brose was prepared by mixing a few handfuls of meal with hot water in a wooden dish. The latter description of food was prepared by the hinds for their own use.

At breakfast and supper the members of the family took their viands apart; but all assembled together in the ha' for evening worship. The practice of family devotion was during the last century nearly universal. The farmer and his wife breakfasted and supped on porridge; but the dish was rendered more palatable by the rich cream with which it was supped. The gude-man prefaced the matutinal meal by swallowing a glass of whisky, which was designated his morning. In upland districts a second dram, or "mindram," was administered at noon. A laird in Forfarshire, who died within the recollection of the writer, took eight drams as his ordinary allowance daily.

In upland districts the natives subsisted chiefly on venison. The ancient Highlander prepared his venison without fire. The steaks or slices were simply compressed between two battens of wood, so as to force out the blood. This species of food was acceptable at all hours. In the county of Perth salmon was so abundant that the farm hinds stipulated on engaging that it should not be presented to them as food oftener than thrice a week. The great-grandfather of the writer engaged his farm servants on this stipulation.

Tea was introduced into Scotland in the spring of 1682 by the Duke of York. He was residing at Holy-rood as Commissioner to the Scottish Parliament, and in order to conciliate the nobility, he caused his Duchess and the Princess Anne to provide a grand entertainment for the ladies of the court. Tea formed part of the fare; it had not been seen in Scotland before. It was sold at Edinburgh twenty-five years later at 25s. per pound. Physicians prescribed it to their delicate and more opulent patients. A century ago tea was sparingly used in the Scottish farmhouse. Some of the gudewives dispensed with the liquor, and entertained their guests with the leaves mixed with butter.

With the exception of tea and sugar, farmers seldom obtained any articles of food from the shops. Ale was brewed on the premises. The household bread was baked by the gudewife and her maidens. A bullock, called the mart, was killed at Martinmas; a few crock ewes were killed about the same season. These were carefully cured, and constituted the family provision in beef and mutton during the year. Whisky and other potent liquors were obtained from the smugglers; the casks were concealed underground.

The family garments were, like the household food, prepared upon the farm. Both wool and lint were spun on the premises. The parish tailor made periodical visits, and remained till he had fashioned or restored garments for all the male portion of the establishment. He was recompensed with the daintiest food, and wages varying from twopence to fourpence a day. The females of the family were expected to fabricate their own apparel, and to keep the household in stockings.

The costume of the Scottish farmer a hundred years ago may be described. His head was protected by a round blue bonnet, the flat circle of which was in front raised to an angle, terminating in a point. Hats were introduced for Sunday wear about the beginning of the last century. The neckcloth or overlay consisted of a square of tweeling or coarse yarn, which, after twice enclosing the neck, was buttoned in front to one of the vests. Two vests were worn, the lower of which was termed the surcoat. This garment was made of plaiding, and was closely buttoned over the breast. The upper vest or waistcoat was provided with skirts extending to the thighs. It was made secure to the loins by a belt of buff leather. The coat, or uppermost garment, was worn only on Sundays or holidays, or when visitors were expected. It was a capacious garment, liberally adorned with gilt or brass buttons. The coat and upper vest were of hodden grey, or dark blue, the wool having been procured and spun on the farm. The trousers, fashioned of the same material, descended a little below the knee, where they were met by hose of grey plaiding, to which they were buttoned. The feet were enclosed in shoes of neat leather, fastened with brass buckles. Highland farmers wore brogues, composed of half-dried leather, with holes to admit and let out moisture. The ancient brogues were constructed by huntsmen, who encompassed their ankles with undressed deer's hide, hair outwards. These were laced upon the feet and limbs with leathern thongs.

The farmer's wife was unambitious of showy attire. Her gown, a garment worn only on Sundays, was of homespun material. Her outer dress usually consisted of a short gown, which rested loosely on the shoulders, and otherwise resembled the farmer's upper vest. She wore hoggens, or stockings, which enclosed the ankles, leaving the feet uncovered. When she proceeded abroad, she threw round her person a plaid, in the ample folds of which she was enabled entirely to enshroud herself. The wives of traders adopted a similar outdoor attire. An English tourist,* who visited Edinburgh in 1746, thus describes the street costume of the citizens' wives:—

"The women here use the Scots plaid3 about their heads and shoulders, exactly of the shape and worn after the same manner with the Flemmingers' veils; only these are of different colours, made of worsted, and the foreigners' always black silk : these are very good cover-sluts, and serve to hide the nastiness of their undress."

Shortly after her wedding, every Scottish matron prepared her shroud. She inured her children to hardiness by denying them the use of shoes and stockings. Servants were apparelled in the same manner as the master and mistress, but in materials of coarser texture. The wages of farm servants in 1750 averaged £3 per annum, with a cow's pasture, two ells of harn, and as much hodden as would make a jacket. Occasional farm labourers, or orra men, were more liberally recompensed. The following letter, addressed by a neighbour to Mr. Archibald Dunbar, of Thundertown, Nairnshire, sets forth the remuneration given to this class of operatives in the middle of last century :—

"Elgin, May 1st 1749. "Honkd Sir,—I have inquired for Mail men which are very ill to he hade this Busie time of year. I have found tuo, and they are to find other tuo; they desire you'l send word tuo days beforhand because they are for common hyred befor hand there wadges is Sixpence pr- day with a bottle of ale and a pig of Bread, but I bargent at Seven pence for all. They cannot tell how much they cane thresh in a day it is according to the Cornis being good or bade to Thresh. They desire that four horses be sent about Ten o Clock the day they begin & then they cane tell how much they eane doe against night. I thinke it would be proper to send in a man to grieve them as straw is so valowable a thing. Since the Comprising cannot be fownd there is no help for it is all.—Honrd" Sir your most obed*- Humble Ser*-Alexander Pierson."

In 1750 female servants received the half-yearly recompence of ten shillings, with the privilege of sowing a little lint, and the bounteth of a pair of shoes. These shoes were called "single soles," and it was expected that the wearers would in the evening hours double or treble the soles with their own hands. As shoes were worn by the maidens only on Sundays and holidays, a single pair of shoes was more than sufficient for a year's wear. Even the female servants of the Lords of Session performed their domestic duties barefooted. In 1770 the half-yearly wages of domestic servants had increased to 25s. and 30s. The yearly wages of superior housekeepers did not exceed £3 in 1744. The following letter on this subject, from Mr. James Bennett, writer in Aberdeen, to his client, Mr. Archibald Dunbar, may be read with interest:—

"DR Sir,—I have now to advise, that a few days ago I had an answer from the Gentlewoman (Mrs. Larges) which I wrote you about: she is willing to engage with you @ £3 per annum. She writes that she only takes in hand, to keep House, look over the Cook &c, in short to do every thing thats usuall for one in her station, unless the teaching of Children which she by no means will promise to do. If she can answer your purpose in this shape I shall be glad, as I know she is an excellent, honest Servant, & has been in the Familly of Elsich for about 10 years.—I am with great regard Dr- Sir your most obliged and most humb- Servt- James Burnett.

"Aberdeen 3 Novr. 1744."

While the remuneration of domestic and farm labourers was so limited, it is proper to refer to the prices of provision at the same period. Beef was sold at 2d., mutton and lamb at l^d., per lb. of 17J ounces. Cheese brought only 3d. and 4d. per lb. of 24 ounces. Beef was used sparingly. The slaughter of an ox in a country hamlet was regarded as an event. A crowd assembled, and the animal was led to the slaughterhouse, having on its head a chaplet of flowers, while a piper preceded, discoursing martial music.

The farmer's household fuel was prepared in the muirs and commons. It consisted of peat and bogwood for the winter fires, and of broom and whin for use in summer. Coal was discovered in the thirteenth century. The Abbot of Dunfermline received authority to work a coal mine in 1291, and about the same period it was dug up and burned as fuel by the monks of Newbattle. Monks gave portions of coal, or " black stones" to the poor as alms. But coal was not generally used till the forests were broken up, and wood and charcoal became costly. Coals were first statedly used at the blacksmith's forge, then in the kitchen of the lesser barons, ultimately in the farmer's ha'.

The imperfect condition of the roads prevented the use of coal in districts far apart from the coal-fields. Except the highway from Glasgow to Edinburgh, and from Edinburgh to Berwick, there were no turnpike roads in Scotland before 1750. Bridges were rare, and many travellers perished in attempting to cross the fords of rivers. In 1760 the Marquis of Downshire, in attempting to make a journey through Galloway in his family carriage, was obliged to stop near Wigton and remain in his vehicle during night. When the roads were impassable, carts were in little use. Carriers conducted the transmission of goods in sacks suspended on the backs of their horses. The horse of the farmyard was used in carrying the master and mistress to church, or in aiding to carry seedcorn to the fields. Horses, being little used, were imperfectly attended to. The carrier and hawker fed their horses on bruised thistles ; the farm horse had his pease-straw in winter, and in summer the straw of oats and barley.

Oxen were used for draught and tillage. In hard and clayey soils, eight oxen were yoked together to drag a single ploughshare. The unwilling ox was goaded by a long rod pointed with a sharp instrument. When manure began to be used in husbandry, women were employed to carry it to the fields in wicker baskets. In certain localities sledges drawn by cattle were early substituted.

The tenantry possessed no stimulus to the cultivation of their waste lands. They had no leases, and might be removed at the landlord's will. The poverty of the landowners ultimately led to a better state of things. On entering a farm, the tenant was expected to pay a grassum, and the payment of this impost was turned to account by the lessee to extort leases from reluctant proprietors. When a large grassum was offered, leases extending to three lives would have been conceded.

The payment of cane or dairy tribute was a burden which considerably oppresed the tenantry. The tenant became bound to provide eggs and butter and a certain number of fowls for the landlord's table at all seasons and on the shortest notice. Farmers were not unfrequently obliged to purchase fowls and dairy produce at high prices, to fulfil the stipulations of their lease. The system of thirling the tenantry to particular mills was one of the latest restrictions on Scottish husbandry.

Nearly every farm consisted of two portions, which were styled infield and outfield. The infield portion was enclosed, and in the immediate vicinity of the homestead. It was entirely under tillage, the crops raised consisting chiefly of oats and bear, or barley. Wheat was seldom raised, and always in small quantities. The outfield, or unenclosed portion, was no better than moorland, from which "the hardy black cattle could scarcely gather herbage enough in winter to keep them from starving." Towards the latter part of last century an entire change was effected. Through the exertions of Lord Karnes, Sir John Sinclair, and others, an impulse was given to agricultural improvement. The Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, established in 1783, has fostered enterprise and encouraged competition, and under its auspices Scottish husbandry has become popular throughout the world.

Attachment to the ancient owners of the soil was formerly cherished among the rural population with the warmth of a passion. Clansmen acknowledged the Mac-nab, or the Mackintosh, or Glengarry, long after these chiefs had ceased to possess any territorial importance. The Scottish lowlander also was proud of the old families, and rejoiced to uphold their importance. The departure of a landed family from their possessions was a cause of deep lamentation to the tenantry, even though the departing owners had extorted rack-rents and possessed no personal virtues. The successors of old families were proportionately obnoxious. The most abundant beneficence on the part of new comers did not propitiate the favour of those who, remembering the old folks with a species of loyalty, could only regard their successors as intruders. Early in the present century Mr. Izzet, an opulent hat manufacturer at Edinburgh, purchased an estate in Perthshire, and proceeded to reside on his possession. He was persecuted; his windows were broken ; he was assailed with threatening missives, and was denounced as a trader who had no right to occupy a manor-house. Old hats were thrown into his policies and placed upon his gateposts. He sold the property in disgust, and returned to the capital.

In 1783, Mr. William Forbes, a prosperous trader in London, purchased the estate of Callander, which had formerly belonged to the noble house of Callander and Linlithgow. Mr. Forbes was a person of most liberal views, and at once indicated his intention to employ many labourers on his demesne, to attend to the interests of his tenantry, and liberally to support the poor. Weekly at Callander House a number of indigent persons received a supply of clothes, food, and money. The new landowner was foremost in every scheme for the benefit of the neighbourhood. His efforts to reconcile the inhabitants to his possession of the Callander estate altogether failed. He was abused by old and young. He was occasionally mobbed. People broke into his demesne, destroyed his fences, and violated his flower-gardens. Mr. Forbes bore all these indignities with composure; he overcame prejudice at the last.

Respecting the convivial habits of the Scots much has been written. About a century ago the ordinary beverage of the people was a light home-brewed ale. This liquor was manufactured in every hamlet. The brewers were generally the publicans' wives, and the occupation would seem to have thriven with them, for "a brewster wife" became a designation for any female who was enormously fat. In 1661 twelve brewster wives, all of portly condition, undertook a race to the top of Arthur's Seat, for the prize to the winner of a cheese weighing one hundred pounds.

The ale produced at the public breweries was of three qualities; it was distinguished at the country residence as ostler ale, household ale, and best ale. The first was drunk in the stable, the second was the ordinary beverage of the domestics, and the best or strong ale was prepared for the family table. But the upper classes usually drank claret. The price averaged fivepence per bottle. When a vessel laden with the precious liquor arrived from Bordeaux at the port of Leith, the owners immediately notified the intelligence by carting a number of hogsheads through the streets, and causing an attendant to proclaim where the liquor might be purchased. Casks were also hurled about on wheelbarrows, and the claret sold in stoups. The "stoup of old claret" is frequently mentioned by Sir Walter Scott.

Claret was formerly imported from the mainland into the Western Isles. This was forbidden in 1609; but finding that the practice continued, the Privy Council in 1616 issued an "Act agans the drinking of wynes in the Yllis." Of this ordinance the tenor was as follows:—

"Apud Edinburgh xxvj of Julij 1616.

"Forsamekle as the grite aud extraordinar excesse in drinking of wyne commonlie vsit amangis the commonis and tenentis of the Yllis is not onlie ane occasioun of the beastlie and barbarous cruelteis and inhumaniteis that fall is oute amangis thame to the offens and disple-sour of God and contempt of law and justice, bot with that it drawis nvmberis of thame to miserable necessite and powertie sua that they ar constraynit quhen thay want of thair nichtbouris. For remeid quhairof the Lordis of Secrete Counsell statvtis and ordanis, that nane of the tenentis and commonis of the Yllis sail at ony tyme heirefter buy or drink ony wynes in the Yllis or continent nixt adiacent, vnder the pane of twenty pundis to be incurrit be euery contravenare toties quoties. The ane half of the said pane to the Kingis Maiestie and the vther half to thair maisteris and landis-lordis and chiftanes. Commanding heirby the maisteris landislordis and chiftanes to the saidis tenentis and commonis enery ane of thame within thair awine boundis to sie thir present act preceislie and inviolablie kept and the contravenaris to be accordinglie pvnist and to vplift the panes of the contravenaris and to mak rek-ning and payment of the ane halff of the said panes in [his] Maiesteis excheckar yierlie and to apply the vther halff of the saidis panes to thair awne vse."

A more stringent ordinance was passed in 1622. We present it entire.

"ACT THAT NANE SEND WYNIS TO THE ILIS.

"Apud Edinburgh 23 Julij 1622.

"Forsamekle as it is vnderstand to the Lordis of Secreit Counsell that one of the cheiff caussis whilk procuris the continewance of the inhabitantis of the His in their barbarous and inciuile form of leeving is the grite quantitie of wynes yeirlie caryed to the His with the vnsatiable desire quhair of the saidis inhabitantis are so far pos-sesst, that quhen their arryvis ony ship or other veshell thair with wynes they spend bothe dayis and nightis in thair excesse of drinking, and seldome do they leave thair drinking so lang as thair is ony of the wyne rest and sua that being ouercome with drink thair fallis out mony inconvenientis amangis thame to the brek of his Maiesteis peace. And quihairas the cheftanes and principallis of the clannis in the Yllis ar actit to take suche ordour with thair tenentis as nane of thame be sufferit ta drink wynes, yitt so long as thair is ony wynes caryed to the His thay will hardlie be withdrane from thair evil custome of drinking, bot will follow the same and continew thairin whensoeuir thay may find the occasioun. For remeid quhairof in tyme comeing The Lordis of Secreit Counsell ordanis lettres to be direct to command charge and inhibite all and sindrie marsheantis skipparis and awnaris of shippis and veshellis, be oppin proclamation at all placeis neiclful, that nane of them presoume nor tak vpoun hand to carye and transporte ony wynes to the His nor to sell . the same to the inhabitantis of the His except se mekle as is alloued to the principall chiftanes and gentlemen of the His vnder the pane of confiscatioun of the whole wynes so to be caryed and sauld in the His aganis the tenour of this proclamatioun or els of the availl and pryceis of the same to his Maiesties vse."

These repressive measures deprived the Hebrideans of the wines of Bourdeaux, but did not render them more temperate. They had recourse to more potent beverages. Their ancestors extracted a spirit from the mountain heath; they now distilled usquebaugh, or whisky. Whisky became a greater favourite than claret, and was drunk copiously, not only in the Hebrides, but throughout the Highlands. It did not become common in the Lowlands till the latter part of the last century. The Lowland baron or yeoman, who relished a liquor more powerful than claret, formerly used rum or brandy.

The old nobility, when they had tired of claret at their feasts, introduced the punch-bowl. Several bottles of brandy were poured into it. Sugar and hot water were added, the latter sparingly. The merchants of Glasgow prepared punch of rum, which was drunk cold.

The ancient drinking vessels consisted of horns mounted with silver. During the reign of James III. mazers or goblets were used by the sovereign and nobles. Certain families possessed drinking vessels of peculiar construction. Sir Walter Scott mentions, as the prototype of the Poculum Potaiorium of the Baron of Bradwardine, a massive silver beaker in the shape of a lion, which was preserved at Glammis Castle, the ancient seat of the Earls of Strathmore. It contained an English pint, and it was the established rule that when the vessel was set before a guest, he should drain off its full measure of wine in honour of the noble owner.

Sir Walter Scott furnished in his own person some materials for an anecdote in connection with the lion beaker of Glammis. He has recorded that, during a visit to the castle, he had the honour of swallowing the contents of the vessel. But the occurrence had a sequel for which we are indebted to another informant. The contents of the lion proved somewhat too potent for the great Minstrel, who, on leaving the castle, lost his way. He called at the parish manse to receive directions, but in remounting his horse dropped his whip, which next day was picked up by the clergyman's wife. This lady, Mrs. Agnes Lyon, was an accomplished verse-writer; she celebrated Neil Gow, by composing his "Farewell to Whisky," and she was afterwards induced to try her powers of song somewhat at the expense of the author of "Waverley." We quote Mrs. Lyon's verses :—

"Within the towers of ancient Glammis
Some merry men did dine,
And their host took care they should richly fare,
In friendship, wit, and wine.
But they sat too late, and mistook the gate
(For wine mounts to the brain).
Oh, 'twas merry in the hall, when the beards wagg'd all,
Oh, we hope they'll be back again,
We hope they'll be back again.

"Sir Walter tapp'd at the parson's door,
To find the proper way;
But he dropt his switch though there was no ditch,
And on the steps it lay.
So his wife took care of this nice affair,
And she wiped it free from stain;
For the knight was gone, nor the owner known,
So he ne'er got the switch again;
So he ne'er got the switch again.

"This wondrous little whip remains
Within the lady's sight;
(She crambo makes, with some mistakes,
But hopes for further light);
So she ne'er will part with this switch so smart,
These thirty years her ain;
Till the knight appear, it must lie here,
He will ne'er get his switch again,
He will ne'er get his switch again."

In a note appended to "The Pirate," Sir Walter Scott thus describes a large drinking vessel kept at Kirkwall:—"The bicker of St. Magnus, a vessel of enormous dimensions, was preserved at Kirkwall, and presented to each bishop of the Orkneys. If the new incumbent was able to quaff it at one draught, which was a task for Hercules or Rorie Mhor of Dunvegan, the omen boded a crop of unusual fertility." In a "Description of the Isles of Orkney," published in 1700, the bicker of St. Magnus is referred to in these terms:—"Buchanan tells a story which is still believed here, and talked of as a truth, that in Scapa—a place about a mile from Kirkwall to the south—there was kept a large cup, which, when any new bishop landed there, they rilled with strong ale, and offered to him to drink, and if he happened to drink it off cheerfully, they promised to themselves a noble bishop, and many good years in his time."

In the beginning of the sixteenth century, the dining rooms of country landowners were neither lathed nor plastered. The dining tables were supported on tressels, which at the conclusion of the dinner were "closed," or folded up, the boards being raised against the wall. When served up, dinner was announced by the clangour of horns and trumpets. At the beginning of the repast, and at its close, a servant proceeded round the table, carrying a basin; another followed, bearing a towel. This arrangement was needed, since knives and forks were unused. Two persons were served from one plate. The plates or trenchers were commonly of wood, but occasionally consisted of thick slices of barley bread. These were afterwards thrown into the alms-basket, and distributed to the poor. One drinking vessel, which was usually composed of timber, served the entire company. The more recherche viands consisted of swans, cranes, and sea-gulls, which were eaten with bread, sweetened with honey, and flavoured with spices. "Redfische," as salmon was then called, was partially used, but the porpoise was considered a greater delicacy.

When James ascended the English throne, knives had been introduced at table, but forks were still unknown. The knife used was the JocHeleg, derived from the name of its original maker, John of Liege, a celebrated cutler of the sixteenth century. The clergy carried a knife and fork with them when they expected to be asked to dine in the course of their pastoral visitations. Glasses were rare even in good families within a century and a half. Armstrong of Sorbie, a celebrated border laird of the last century, used to remark that "the world was better when there were more bottles and fewer glasses! "

There were special occasions of rural festivity. The more notable were when the country squire succeeded to his inheritance, when the heir was christened, and when each young member of the family left the parental home to begin the battle of life. About a year after the death of his predecessor, every landowner gave a grand entertainment to his dependants and neighbours. The birth of the firstborn was celebrated by bonfires on the hills and a banquet to the tenantry. When a young member of the family was proceeding to leave home for the city or a foreign shore, he received his foy (feu-de-joie), that is, his father handed him a sum of money for the entertainment of his companions. The Scottish fashionable dinner- party early in the last century was attended with proceedings differing essentially from those which obtain in modern society. When dinner was announced, the ladies proceeded from the drawing-room together. The gentlemen followed in single file. When the members of both sexes reached the dining-room, partners were chosen, each gentleman selecting a lady as his associate at table. These old-fashioned dinners displayed a vastness unknown at modern tables. Barley broth was invariably presented as the first course. It was composed of the liquor of beef, boiled with greens and thickened with barley. During winter the beef was salted; the summer beef was of the coarsest quality, since the cattle were fed during winter on straw and the hay of natural grasses, turnips and artificial grass being yet unknown. Cabbages were boiled with their stems. The barley was ill prepared; it was neither milled nor scaled, but simply bruised in a trough, rubbed with a coarse cloth, and partially winnowed. Friars' chicken, a dish so named from being a favourite in the religious houses, was always presented; it consisted of chickens cut into small pieces, and boiled with eggs, parsley, and cinnamon. Cocky-leeky was equally popular; a well-fed cock was boiled with young leeks. A boiled pig frequently occupied the centre of the board. The haggis was an unfailing accessory. Along with the broth cabbiclaw was occasionally presented. This was a salted cod-fish served up with horse-radish and a sauce, prepared with eggs and butter. Roasted provisions were not common, since the culinary appliances for their production were imperfectly understood. A spit was the only instrument used in roasting; it was turned by the younger handmaiden, or by a dog specially trained for this cruel service.

The following extracts from the treasurer's book of the Edinburgh Town Council, in relation to the cost of a corporation dinner in October, 1703, may be read not without interest:—

At the entertainments of the country gentry, liquor was used sparingly during the progress of the repast. A dram was swallowed after fish, and the haggis was jocularly said to deserve a second. Port and sherry were placed on the table, but were seldom used. Champagne appeared only at the tables of the nobility.

When the ladies rose to depart, they bade farewell to the society of their male friends for the remainder of the evening. "The retiring of a guest to the drawing-room," writes Dr. Strang, "was a rare occurrence indeed; and hence the poor lady of the house was generally left to sip her tea in solitude, while her husband and friends were getting royal over their sherbet."

Even in more polished circles the after dinner conversation was boisterous. Oaths were common. The jests were petty and loathsome. Potations were protracted for six or eight hours. Those who joined the ladies hastened back to their boon companions to resume the revelry they had left. When the dinner hour was four o'clock, the loud merriment of the company began to subside about eleven. At that hour most of the guests were asleep under the table. Before midnight, the entire party sank into a drunken slumber. While these convivial practices existed among gentlemen, the manners of the gentler sex were only slightly in advance. Dames of the highest rank indulged in conversation which would now be characterised as indecorous or profane. A Scottish gentlewoman, describing the ladies of Edinburgh during the earlier portion of the last century, remarks that " many of them threw aside all restraint." The following letter addressed to Mr. Archibald Dunbar, of Newton, by Mrs. Brodie, of Brodie, wife of the Lyon King at Arms, is sufficiently curious. It is dated " Brodie House, June 6th, 1749."

"Sir,—The bearer is sent with one of our mares to your neighbourhood in order to be carryed to your horse, if you please to allow it; I know you will not refuse the horse without a good reason, but if there is any that makes it inconvenient, I beg you will send the mare back with the same freedom that I sent her.

"There are two other mares here that I am told should be sent to a horse, but whether to yours or not shall be determined by your answer, which I again beg may be a refusal, if the thing is improper. I am ashamed to give you so much trouble, and hope you will not take it amiss if we should beg to be alowed some share in the food of a beast that seems full as useful to your friends as to yourself, as was mentioned formerly.

*'It will give me much pleasure to hear that your family at home and abroad are well; you and they have the kindest good wishes of my children as well of, Sir, your most humble and obleged servant

"Mary Brodie."

The absence of female delicacy during the early and middle portions of the last century may be traced to a temporary reaction from that scrupulosity of demeanour which set in soon after the Reformation. The Reformers prohibited as sinful both music and dancing; proscribed minstrelsy and sent pipers and fiddlers into exile. They destroyed or sold church organs, and insisted that a precentor or master of the song could efficiently conduct the psalmody of congregations. To obliterate the recollection of the hymns sung in the choral services, they caused them to be parodied in profane ballads. The tunes of "John come kiss me now," "Kind Robin loes me," and "John Anderson my Jo," were originally adapted to words of sacred song, which were chanted by cathedral choirs. A subsequent attempt to spiritualize some of these secular ballads resulted in a ludicrous failure.

The love of music was anciently a characteristic of the Scottish people. So early as the twelfth century many of the clergy played upon the harp. At festivals the harp was handed round, and the members of the company sang to it by turns. At the coronation of Alexander III., in 1249, a harper, arrayed in a scarlet tunic, discoursed the genealogy of the monarch upon his knees. James I. accompanied songs of his own composition on the harp and lute." He introduced organs into the cathedrals and abbeys ; he composed anthems, and established a choral service for church music.

James III. was a patron of the musical arts. He invited celebrated musicians to his court, and conferred on them emoluments and honours. Of these the most conspicuous was William Rogers, an Englishman, who, having accompanied an embassy of Edward IV., was induced permanently to attach himself to the Scottish Court. Under royal patronage he founded a musical school, in which he inculcated a scientific knowledge of his art. He received the honour of knighthood, and was sworn of the Secret Council; but, like other favourites of his royal master, he was, in 1482, put to death by the nobility.

The musical tastes formed in his boyhood were sedulously cultivated by James IV. He played skilfully on various instruments, and retained a choir of thirty-one English minstrels, under Sir Richard Champlays, as a portion of his household. Queen Mary was an accomplished musician. The enticing strains of David Eizzio, an Italian musician of obscure origin, recommended him to her confidence, and conduced towards those misfortunes which, commencing with the slaughter of that hapless favourite, embittered her future life.

The Scottish harp was doomed at the Reformation. When the lofty music of the organ was put to silence, the strains of the harper no longer rang in the baronial mansion. Harp and church organ disappeared together. Only two specimens of the ancient harp have been preserved. These are retained in the family of Robertson of Lude. One of the instruments was, in 1563, presented by Queen Mary to Beatrice Gardyne, an ancestress of the family.

The clairschoe, an instrument resembling the harp, with strings of brass wire, was anciently used in the Highlands. For several centuries it has been silent. The monicordis was a favourite instrument at the court of James IV. According to Mr. Robert Pitcairn, it was a one-stringed instrument; Dr. Jamieson describes it as having many chords, which the name would imply. It was probably a sort of violin. The bagpipe, used by eastern nations, seems at length to have found a home in the Highlands and islands of Scotland.

About the close of the seventeenth century the Church withdrew its anathemas against dancing, and permitted musicians to practise their art uncensured. On the 22nd November, 1695, the Feast of St. Cecilia, a musical concert was held at Edinburgh. The orchestra consisted of upwards of thirty amateur performers, nineteen of whom were persons of rank. A weekly dancing assembly was established at Edinburgh in 1723; it was numerously attended, and was followed by similar assemblies in other towns. The town-council of Glasgow in 1728 appointed a dancing-master, with a salary of £20, to teach dancing to the families of artisans. In 1762, two hundred gentlemen in Edinburgh subscribed towards the erection of an assembly-room. This was constructed at the junction of the Cowgate with Niddry's Wynd, a locality now sufficiently humble, but then a fashionable centre. It was known as St. Cecilia Hall.

The levity which had characterized the manners of Scottish gentlewomen was followed by a marvellous reaction. From 1760 till the close of the century matrons of rank were remarkable for a dignified reserve. Unless among old and familiar friends, they were difficult of approach and excessively haughty. They taught their daughters to repel the advances of those gentlemen whom they casually met in society. They adopted a style of dress which admirably suited their lofty manners and repulsive behaviour. They wore gowns with lengthy waists, and the skirts distended by hoops to the girth of four and a half yards. They disfigured their faces with patches, and drew their hair down upon their foreheads, which they strewed with hair-powder. Their head-dresses, composed of Flanders lace and ribbons of showy colours, were placed on the front of the head, and towered upwards for six or eight inches. They wore high-heeled and sharp-pointed shoes. In their chairs they sat with an upright stiffness; they always wore gloves. Elderly spinsters were distinguished by wearing small white aprons. They spoke familiarly only to those whom they had long known. To ordinary remarks they replied by an umph! and were careful not to smile. In walking out they were attended by their handmaids in close-fitting, short-sleeved gowns and white mutches, but without shoes or stockings. Instead of parasols, which were unknown, they used green paper fans, nearly two feet long, which they carried attached to their waists by a ribbon. In church they enwrapped their heads and shoulders in plaids of black silk.

Married ladies took snuff, which they carried in small boxes, and handed to their friends. No unusual gift from a young gentleman to the fair object of his affections was a little snuff-box, adorned with devices emblematical of love and constancy.

The Scots were anciently fond of ornamental and ambitious clothing. On this subject we quote from an Act of the Estates passed in 1457, in the reign of James II.

"That sen the realme in ilk estaite is greatumlie pured throwe sumptous claithing baith of men and women, and in special within Burrowes and commons of Land wart, the Lordis thinkis speidful that restriction be thereof in this manner: That na man within burgh that lives be mechaiidise bot gif he be a person constitute in dignitie as alderman, baillie, or either gude worthy men that ar of the Councel of the toune, and their wives weare claithes of silk nor costly scar-lettes in gownes or furrings with mertrickes. That they make their wives and dauchters in like manner be abuilzied, gangand and corres-pondant for their estate, that is to say, on their heads short curches, with little hudes, as ar used in Flanders, England, & uther cuntries. And as to their gownes, that na women weare mertrikes nor letteis, nor tailes unfitt in length nor furred under, bot on the Halie-daie. And in like manner the Barronnes, and uther puir Gentlemen, and their wives, that ar within fourtie pound of auld extent. And as anent the commounes that na laborers nor husband men weare on the wark daye, bot gray and quhite, and on the Halie-daie bot licht blew, greene, redde, & their wives richt-swa, & courchies of their atom making, & that it exceed not the price of XI. pennyes the elne. . . . And as to the Clerkes, that nane weare gownes of scarlet, nor furring of mertrikes, bot gif he be ane person constitute in dignitie in Cathedral or Colledge Kirk : or else, that he may spende two hundreth markes, or great Mobiles, or Doctoures."

The costume of the Scottish gentleman of the last century may be described. Each wore a wig, copiously sprinkled with scented hair-powder. In retiring to his chamber, every gentleman placed his wig on a block outside the door, that it might be repowdered for the following day. Landowners and personages of distinction wore in the cities cocked hats; younger persons used velvet caps. Some invited attention to their importance and rank by fringing their hats or caps with gold or silver lace. In most districts hats were worn only by the clergyman and the schoolmaster. The bonnet, which has been described as the head-dress of the Scottish yeoman, was, with a corresponding difference of quality, common to all classes. Black clothes were never worn, except at funerals. The coat was blue or grey, or a sort of dingy brown; the waistcoat of a gaudy buff or striped. Shirt ruffles were universal; they were displayed conspicuously. The neck was inclosed in a white stuffed neckcloth, which nearly covered the chin. Drab breeches with white stockings, and shoes with large shoe-buckles, or boots and tops, completed the costume. In the Highlands the chiefs used brogues made of skins, tanned with the bark of the willow, and sewn with leathern thongs. From a pocket in the waistband of his breeches, under the waistcoat, every gentleman of consideration displayed a watch-chain, to which was attached a bunch of seals. As he walked out, he grasped a long staff, which he moved forward as if groping his way. During wet and cold weather, the more dignified citizens of Glasgow wore scarlet cloaks. Towards the close of the last century the long staff was replaced by the gold-headed cane.

The evening dress of the gentleman of fashion was sufficiently imposing. He wore a blue or brown coat, a white satin vest and black silk breeches with silk stockings of the same colour. Both his wig and whiskers were carefully curled and sprinkled with fragrant hair-powder.

The Highlander has always dressed differently from the Lowland Scot. Every Celt wore a kilt or philabeg, with a plaid of the same material swung across his shoulders. These plaids were often seven or eight yards long ; they were a protection against rain by day, and at night suited the threefold purpose of blanket, sheet, and counterpane. Every Highlander wore a plume in his bonnet, and carried a pouch to hold his money, his tobacco, and his snuff-box. In full dress he wore a dirk ; a knife and fork were stuck into his stockings, a little below the knee. Every clan has its distinctive tartan, the ancient livery of the chief. Tartan is believed to have been invented by Margaret, the queen of Malcolm Canmore, as a substitute for the system of tattooing which obtained previously.

Besides a distinctive tartan, each Highland clan formerly bore particular insignia. Thus, the Macleods wore juniper; the yew was the badge of the Frasers ; the Macdonalds bore the crimson heath, and the box was carried by the Mclntoshes. Certain clans possessed a particular war-cry. That of the Grants was Craigelachie. To the call of Tullicliard the McKenzies sounded to arms. Every clansman regarded his chief as the father of his people. Chiefs of renown received special names to denote their patriarchal dignity or individual qualities. The Duke of Argyll was termed Mac Callum More, or the son of the great Colin. The Highland chief, with an income of £400 per annum, maintained a state not inferior to that of a German prince. Though occupying a square tower of four or five storeys, each storey comprising only one apartment, he kept a numerous household. His principal officers were his henchman or secretary, his bard, spokesman, sword-bearer, carrier-over fords, the leader of his horse, his baggage-bearer, his piper and piper's attendant. Of these the more important functionaries were the henchman, who conducted correspondence, and the minstrel, who celebrated the doughty deeds of the chiefs progenitors, preserved his genealogy, and sang his personal achievements. The latter office was hereditary, unless the heir was absolutely incapable of performing the minstrel duties. For the maintenance of the bard, a portion of ground was allotted; it was the best cultivated portion of the chief's possessions.

The accommodations of the Lowland baron were not more ample than those of the chieftain. His apartments were few, and excepting the dining-hall were circumscribed. The internal walls of each apartment exhibited the native masonry, though wainscoting latterly became common. The furniture of the Scottish manor a century ago was convenient and substantial. The principal rooms were carpeted. The dinner-tables were made of oak, and supported on well-carved pedestals. There was a rage for family portraits, which covered the walls of the dining-room and entrance hall. In the manors of the more opulent, the family arms were conspicuously displayed in the oak panelling, along with representations of scriptural scenes, or of some remarkable events connected with the history of the house. Fire grates were confined to the reception rooms; in all the bed-rooms fire was kindled on the hearth. Bedsteads were not common. There was one for the laird and lady; the other members of the family and the guests slept in box-beds provided with sliding doors, which enclosed and concealed them. Silver plate was rare; a large silver salt-cellar, which was placed in the centre of the dinner table, constituted the most valuable article. Servants were called by a handbell, or by the forcible impress of the heel upon the hard floor. In front of the house was a dais, or stone seat, covered with turf, on which the laird could sit to enjoy his tobacco pipe; also a loupin-on-stane, a raised platform of masonry, for the accommodation of gentlewomen, in mounting or dismounting their horses. The garden, which immediately adjoined the mansion, was laid out with grass walks, and ornamented with plants of holly and boxwood shaped into grotesque figures of men and animals. Flowers, with the exception of tulips, were seldom cultivated.

The farmhouse consisted of three or four apartments; it was roofed with thatch, and fronted the farm-yard. The presence of the manure-heap before the windows was so familiar that it never occasioned inconvenience. The farmer retained the kindly feelings of bis neighbours by giving an annual dinner and by attending the district club. The dinner took place some days after the killing of the mart. It was sometimes called "the spare-rib dinner," because the principal dish consisted of a roast of that portion of the animal. The farmers' club assembled in a central tavern. Business commenced over a substantial repast. Broth was, as usual, the first portion of the feast. It was anciently composed of nettles boiled with sheep's head and trotters. Cromwell's soldiers introduced cabbages into Scotland, and these were substituted for the coarser vegetable. The castock or stem was eaten with the joint, constituting the second part of the entertainment. But every hospitable gude-wife showed kindly feeling by warning her guests to "stick weel to the skink and not trust to the castocks." When potatoes became common, about 1760, castocks disappeared from the dinner table, and were preserved for the beggars. Eating and drinking constituted nearly the entire proceedings of the old farm club. When agriculture was better understood, farming societies were formed, with their attendant shows and competitions. But these are comparatively modern.

Eighty years ago business proceeded slowly, even in the commercial centres. The Glasgow merchants dined at one o'clock, and closed their warerooms til] the repast was concluded. Their wives were content to entertain their female friends in their bedrooms, while they permitted their guests to aid in gathering up the fragments, washing the teacups, and adjusting the apartment.

The procedure attendant on courtship and marriage may next be mentioned. Prior to the Reformation a practice called hand-fasting existed in Scotland. At the public fairs, men selected female companions with whom to cohabit for a year. At the expiry of this period both parties were accounted free; they might either unite in marriage or live singly. From the monasteries friars were despatched into the rural districts to inquire concerning hand-fasted persons, and to bestow the clerical benediction on those who chose to exchange their exceptional condition for a state of matrimony. Hand-fasting was one of the social irregularities which the Reformers sought to suppress. In 1562 the Kirk-session of Aberdeen decreed, that persons who had been cohabiting under hand-fast engagements should forthwith be joined in wedlock. Except in Highland districts, where it lingered, hand-fasting ceased within twenty years after the Reformation.

Among the peasantry, betrothals were conducted in a singular fashion. The fond swain, who had resolved to make proposals, sent for the object of his affection to the village alehouse, previously informing the landlady of his intentions. The damsel, who knew the purpose of the message, busked herself in her best attire, and waited on her admirer. She was entertained with a glass of ale; then the swain proceeded with his tale of love. A dialogue like the following ensued:—"I'm gaun to speir whether ye will tak' me, Jenny?" "Deed, Jock, I thocht ye micht hae speir't that lang syne." "They said ye wad refuse me, lassie." "Then they're leers, Jock." "An' so ye'll no refuse me, lassie?" "I've tell't ye that twice owre already, Jock." Then came the formal act of betrothal. The parties licked the thumbs of their right hands, which they pressed together, and vowed fidelity. The ceremony possessed the solemnity of an oath, the violator of such an engagement being considered guilty of perjury. In allusion to this practice, a favourite Scottish song commences,—

"There's my thumb,
I'll ne'er beguile thee."

The pressure of moistened thumbs, as the solemn ratification of an engagement, was used in other contracts. The practice, as confirmatory of an agreement, existed both among the Celts and Goths. The records of the Scottish courts contain examples of sales being confirmed by the judges, on the production of evidence that the parties had licked and pressed their thumbs on the occasion of the bargain. The Highlander and the Lowland schoolboy still lick thumbs in bargain making.

At the close of the eighteenth century another method of betrothal was adopted. When the damsel had accepted her lover's offer, the pair proceeded to the nearest stream, and there washing their hands in the current, vowed constancy with their hands clasped across the brook. A ceremony of this description took place between Burns and "Highland Mary." When the parties had mutually betrothed themselves, they proceeded diligently to revive their acquaintance with the Church Catechism, for every clergyman insisted that candidates for matrimony should be able to repeat the Creed, the Commandments, and the Lord's Prayer. A marriage was stopped by the Kirksession of Glasgow in 1642, until the bridegroom should inform himself of these religious fundamentals. Latterly the Church has permitted persons to enter into the nuptial bonds without any inquiry as to their scriptural knowledge.

Between the first Sunday of the proclamation of banns and the day of marriage, forty days were allowed to elapse. The reason of the delay has not been explained. On the evening before the wedding, the bride was attended by her maidens, who proceeded to wash her feet. Much diversion was a concomitant of the ceremonial; it ended with festivities.

A wedding was the most important of rural celebrations. When a country bridal was arranged, the neighbours hastened to send contributions. At a remote period, a penny Scots, equal to a modern shilling, was levied from those who intended to be present at the festival; hence the name Penny Bridals. During the last century these entertainments were prepared in pic-nic fashion. Lairds contributed joints of beef and mutton; cheese, eggs, and milk came from the farm dairies, and the minister and schoolmaster supplied the cooking utensils. The relations of the bride provided only one dish, which was designated the "bride's pie." Every guest was privileged to receive a portion of it.

In the Highlands marriages were solemnized in the churches. In Lowland districts the nuptials were generally performed at the residence of the bride's parents. There was a custom in certain localities, where the bride went bareheaded to the nuptial ceremony, and so continued all that day, but was covered ever after. Nearly all avoid contracting marriage in May. The Lowlander was disinclined to marry on Friday. In Ross-shire that day was deemed the most hopeful for the occasion. In Highland districts a marriage was held only to promise good fortune, when prior to the ceremony all knots in the apparel of both parties had been loosened. At present no couple in Orkney would consent to marry unless in the increase of the moon.

When the marriage ceremony was performed, the bride received the congratulations of her relatives. She was expected to proceed round the apartment, attended by her maidens, and to kiss every male in the company. A dish was then handed round, in which every one placed a sum of money, to help the young couple to commence housekeeping.

At the marriages of persons of the upper class, favours were sewn upon the bride's dress. When the ceremony was concluded, all the members of the company ran towards her, each endeavouring to seize a favour. When the confusion had ceased, the bridegroom's man proceeded to pull off the bride's garter, which she modestly dropped. This was cut into small portions, which were presented to each member of the company.

After luncheon the bride and bridegroom prepared to depart on their trip. They passed through a double file of their friends and the household domestics, each of whom carried a slipper. When the couple had entered their carriage, a shower of slippers was thrown, in token of "good luck."

It was the duty of the bridegroom's man to attend to the public intimation of the nuptials. We present some specimens of matrimonial announcements from the Glasgow Journal one of the most fashionable of Scottish intelligencers a century ago.

"March 24, 1744.—On Monday last, James Dennistoun, junior, of Colgreine, Esq., was married to Miss Jenny Baird, a beautiful young lady."

"May 4, 1747.—-On Monday last, Dr. Robert Hamilton, Professor of Anatomy and Botany in the University of Glasgow, was married to Miss Molly Baird, a beautiful young lady with a handsome fortune."

"August 3,1747.—On Monday last, Mr. James Johnstone, merchant in this place, was married to Miss Peggy Newall, an agreeable young lady, with £4,000."

At rural weddings the newly married pair remained to enjoy the festivities provided for them by their friends. A hundred persons frequently assembled on these occasions, and the rejoicings were protracted during a succession of days. Francis Semple of Beltrees has, in an amusing song, described the merriment attendant on the Penny Bridal. Some of his verses are subjoined,—

Fy let us a' to the bridal,
For there'll be liltin' there,
For Jock's to be married to Maggie,
The lass wi' the gowden hair;
And there'll be lang-kale with pottage,
And bannocks o' barley meal;
And there'll be good saut herrin',
To relish a cogue o' gude yill.

And there'll be Sandie the souter,
And Will wi' the mickle mou',
And there'll be Tarn the plouter,
And Andrew the tinkler I trow;
And there'll be bow-leggit Kobbie,
Wi' thoomless Katie's gudeinan,
And there'll be blue-cheekit Dallie,
An' Laurie, the laird o' the Ian'.

* * * * *

And there'll be girnagain Gibbie,
And his glaikit wife, Jennie Bell,
And mizly-chinned flytin' Geordie,
The lad that was skipper himsel';
There'll be a' the lads wi' the lasses,
Sit down in the mids o' the ha',
Wi' sybows and reefarts and carlins,
That are baith sodden an' raw.

And there'll be badges an' brachen,
And fouth o' gude gabbocks o' skate,
Powsoudie and druminock an' crowdie,
And caller nouts put on a plate.

* * * * *

And there'll be meal-kail an' castocks,
Wi' skink to sup till ye rive;
And roasts to roast on a brander
An' flouks that were taken alive.

Scraped haddocks, wilks, dulse an' tangle,
And a mill o' gude sneeshin' to pree;
When weary wi' eatin' an' drinkin',
AVe'll sup and dance till we dee.
Fy, let us a' to the bridal,
For there'll be liltin' there,
For Jock's to be married to Maggie,
The lass wi' the gowden hair.

During the seventeenth century Penny Bridals had degenerated into scenes of social disorder. In 1645 they were condemned by the General Assembly, and in 1647 the Presbyteries of Haddington and Dunbar insisted on their suppression as "the seminaries of all profanation." By these courts it was ordained that not more than twenty persons should assemble at weddings, and that piping and dancing should cease. Kirksessions subjected pipers and tiddlers to their severest censures for discoursing music at bridals. Persons who were convicted of "promiscuous dancing" were mulct in considerable penalties and placed on the stool of repentance. Ecclesiastical tribunals subsequently discovered that the irregularities at the penny wedding did not arise from the arts of the musician or of the dancing master, but were owing to the quantity of liquor which was consumed. They passed regulations to check the extent of the potations. It was provided that the festivities should not be prolonged beyond a single day. The presence of strangers from neighbouring parishes was prohibited, except when a considerable payment was made to the Kirksession for the privilege of receiving them. When marriage feasts were furnished by publicans, Kirksessions ruled that the laivin should not exceed a certain amount. A lawin of six shillings of Scottish money, was commonly allowed.

When the bride was led into her future home, she paused on the threshold, and a cake of shortbread was broken on her head. The fragments were gathered up and distributed among the young people as dreaming hread. In some districts of the Highlands the newly married couple were sent to sleep in a barn or outhouse, while the neighbours made merry in their dwelling.

The pastime of winning the broose was common at marriages in the southern counties. After the marriage, the men of the bride's party rode or ran to the bride's former dwelling, and the first who entered it was held to have won the broose. It was a nominal honour, for a basin of soup constituted the prize.

In allusion to this practice an anecdote may be related of the Rev. William Porteous, the eccentric minister of Kilbucho, who, at the close of his marriage service, and almost as a part of it, used to exclaim, "Noo, lads, tak' the gait, and let us see wha amang you will win the broose."

In border villages, and certain towns of Ayrshire, those who had been present at the bridal assembled next morning to creel the bridegroom. The process consisted in placing upon his back a creel, or wicker basket, and then laying a long pole with a broom affixed over his left shoulder. Thus equipped, he was forced to run a race, while the bride was expected to follow, to disengage him of his burden. The alacrity with which she proceeded in her chase was supposed to indicate her satisfaction with the marriage. In Argyllshire the bride and bridegroom made daily processions, preceded by a piper. They visited those families who had contributed to their bridal festivities. These processions closed on the eve of the kirking day, after which the couple settled down to the ordinary concerns of housekeeping.

In Haddingtonshire, a burlesque serenade, termed Kirry wery, was enacted at the doors and windows of persons who for a second time had entered into matrimonial bonds. The serenade was conducted by youths, who made a sort of mock music with kettles, pots, and other culinary utensils, accompanying the din with boisterous shouting.

Pay weddings are still common in the upper ward of Lanarkshire, chiefly among the mining population. Every marriage is celebrated on Friday, and is followed by a tavern dinner, to which the neighbours contribute. The festivities are continued during the whole of Saturday, which is styled the baching up day.

The notorious marriages of Gretna Green have almost ceased. In the beginning of the century a man named Paisley, who was originally a tobacconist, performed these weddings. The parties who sought his aid declared before him that they were single, and that they desired to be united in matrimony. He then pronounced them married, and handed them a certificate in the subjoined form. The style and orthography are preserved:— "This is to sartify of all persons that may be concerned, that A. B., from the parish of C, and in the county of D., and E. F., from the parish of G., in the county of H., and both comes before me, declayred themsels both to be single persons, and now marryied by the form of the Kirk of Scotland, and agreable to the Church of England, and given under my hand this — day of 18 — years." Paisley's terms varied according to the rank and condition of his employers. He married the poor for a noggin, that is, two gills of brandy. Many persons visited him from motives of curiosity. He prosecuted his vocation nearly fifty years.

In the burgh of Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, till within the last twenty years, persons were married, without proclamation of banns, by a peculiar arrangement on the part of the authorities. A friend of the parties was sent to the Procurator-Fiscal, to lodge information that they had been married without legal banns. The Fiscal summoned the delinquents before the Sheriff, who, on their admitting the charge, imposed a fine of five shillings. The Fiscal took the penalty, and handed to the parties a printed form, duly filled up, which, by discharging the fine, certified the marriage. Ruglen or Rutherglen marriages have passed into a proverb.

A birth was attended with much concern to the wives of the neighbourhood. They hastened to make personal inquiry concerning the mother's health, and to embrace the young stranger. Every new-born child was, irrespective of the season of the year, plunged into a vessel of cold water. Before touching the infant the female visitors crossed themselves with a burning brand. When the heir of an estate was born, he was exhibited to the tenantry. The neglect of such a proceeding would have led to unfavourable rumours concerning the appearance of the young stranger. There is a tradition in Fifeshire that one of the infant kings was exhibited to the public on a payment proportioned to the rank of each spectator, and that the humbler classes were admitted to see the juvenile monarch on the presentation of a small coin, equal to the English halfpenny, and which consequently was styled a bawbee.

In a note to "Guy Mannering," Sir Walter Scott has supplied some curious information respecting certain festive practices which obtained at births. We quote his own words:—"The groaning malt was the ale brewed for the purpose of being drunk after the lady, or goodwife's safe delivery. The ken-no has a more ancient source, and perhaps the custom may be derived from the secret rites of the Bona Dea. A large and rich cheese was made by the women of the family, with great affectation of secrecy, for the refreshment of the gossips who were to attend at the canny minute. This was the ken-no, so called because its existence was secret (that is, presumed to be so) from all the males of the family, but especially from the husband and master. He was accordingly expected to conduct himself as if he knew of no such preparation; to act as if desirous to press the female guests to refreshments, and to seem surprised at their obstinate refusal. But the instant his back was turned, the ken-no was produced, and after all had eaten their fill, with a proper accompaniment of the groaning malt, the remainder was divided among the gossips, each carrying a large portion home, with the same affectation of great secrecy."

The customs which attended occasions of death and burial were sufficiently singular. When the head of a family died, large spots of white paint were strewn on the door of his dwelling. In towns and villages, every death was announced to the neighbours by the church officer, who proceeded through the streets uncovered, ringing a bell, and announcing the event. This ceremony was styled, "The passing bell." The body of the deceased was watched from the hour of death till the day of interment. This practice was known as the lykwake, or latewake.. In the duties of watching, all the neighbours took part; it was continued day and night, one party of watchers succeeding the other. In Lowland districts, the watchers dispensed with conversation, and occupied the time in imbibing liquor, with which the chamber of death .was copiously supplied. In the Highlands the watchers relieved the monotony of their occupation by various amusements.

"At burials," writes Mr. Shaw in his History of Moray, "they retain many heathenish practices, such as music and dancing at likewakes, when the nearest relations of the deceased dance first. At burials mourning women chant the coronach, or mournful extemporary rhymes, reciting the valorous deeds, expert hunting, &c. of the deceased. When the corpse is lifted, the bed-straw on which the deceased lay is carried out and burnt in a place where no beast can come near it; and they pretend to find next morning, in the ashes, the print of the foot of that person in the family who shall die first."

An intelligent English tourist discovered that the same practices existed in Argyllshire early in the present century. "In some parts of the country," writes Dr. Garnett, "the funeral dances are still kept up. These commence on the evening of the death. All the neighbours attend the summons; and the dance, accompanied by a solemn melancholy strain called a lament, is begun by the nearest relatives, who are joined by most of those present; this is repeated every evening till the interment."

In Morayshire, during the seventeenth century, musicians were hired to discourse strains for the entertainment of those who attended the latewakes of the opulent. The following receipt is extracted from the entertaining work of Captain Dunbar:— "I, Thomas Davidsone, Maister of the Musick Schooll in Aberdeene, grants me to have receaved all and hail the soume of two pound, auchteine shillings Scotts money, for singing at umquill Sir Robert Farquhar of Monnay his Lyk be this my tikit of resset subscryvit with my hand, at Aberdeene the 13 day of Januaris 1666 yeers. Thomas Davidsone."

In some of the outlying districts the proceedings of the latewake culminated in a festival, at the chesting of the corpse. This took place on the night preceding the funeral, the festivity being known as the dargies or dirgies. The occasion was often attended with boisterous levity and merry-making. When the apartment became crowded, some of the company would seat themselves in front of the bed in which the corpse lay uncoffined. On such occasions the company looked upon the remains of mortality without feelings other than those which would prompt the merry laugh or excite the ill-timed jest.

Persons whose education might have led society to expect becoming behaviour at their hands, indulged in practical jesting at the latewake. About the close of the last century a dargies was held in the parish of Monifieth, Forfarshire. A large gathering took place in the chamber of the deceased. Among the number was Mr. William Craighead, the parish schoolmaster, a man of some literary attainments, and author of a popular system of arithmetic. There had been much romping and giggling on the part of the female portion of the watchers, and Mr. Craighead unwisely judged that an alarm which he planned with a confederate would check the evil. Having induced the watchers to leave the apartment for a little, he hastily removed the corpse into the barn, while his confederate lay down in the bed, habited in the dead man's shroud. It had been arranged that on a renewal of the merriment he should rise up to startle the company. The gaiety had some time been resumed, when Mr. Craighead, surprised that his confederate gave no sign, opened the shroud and found that he was dead. The impressive event put a perpetual stop to the improper merriment of the dargies in that district of the Lowlands.

The length of the latewake depended on the rank or circumstances of the deceased. A pauper's "lykwake" lasted only so long as the carpenter was occupied in preparing a coffin. The latewakes of the opulent lasted two or three weeks. Dying persons anticipated the gathering of their friends on these occasions with considerable satisfaction, and not unfrequently gave instructions that liberal festivities should be provided. Sir Alexander Ogilvy, Bart., of Forglen, a Judge of the Court of Session, died in March, 1727. Dr. Clark, his Lordship's physician, in calling at his residence on the day of his decease, was admitted by his Lordship's clerk. "How does my Lord do?" inquired the physician. "I houp he's weel," replied the clerk, who conducted the physician into a room, and showed him two dozen of wine under the table. This was sufficient intimation of his Lordship's decease. Other visitors presented themselves, and the clerk proceeded to relate full particulars of his Lordship's last hours, as he hastily passed the bottle. The visitors rose to depart. "No, no, gentlemen," said the clerk, interrupting their egress, "it was the express will o' the dead that I should fill ye a' fou', and I maun fulfil the will o' the dead."

Funerals were scenes of enormous dissipation. When the hour of starting was fixed at two o'clock, the company were expected to assemble about eleven. The interval was spent in drinking. A person waited at the gate and offered a glass of whisky, which was drunk in silence, and with a slight inclination of the head. Another glass of the potent liquor was offered at the threshold, which was likewise duly drained off out of respect for the deceased. The proceedings in the interior were protracted to four and five hours, when the viands were profuse and the liquor was bountiful.

When "the lifting" was announced, only a portion of those assembled were able to proceed on their mission. Many lingered about the premises or proceeded to the nearest tavern to continue their potations. Of those who could walk to the churchyard only a few might be entrusted with carrying the bier. The procession was marshalled under a master of ceremonies, generally a discharged recruit. Anciently, at the funerals of distinguished persons, torch-bearers preceded, sounding trumpets. Highland chiefs were conducted to their last resting-places amidst the wail of the coronach. This was sung by hundreds of voices, and its doleful strains must have reverberated far among the hills. The coronach has been superseded by the far-sounding pibroch. At most funerals in Argyllshire a piper preceded, accompanied by a party of hired female mourners, uttering lamentations. The corpse was borne on handspikes by eight of the company, who were relieved at certain stages, when the procession halted on the word "Relief" being sung out by the conductor. When the men were too drunk to convey the body, women undertook the duty.

Dr. Garnett relates the following occurrence:—"A person, originally from Oban, had spent some time in the neighbourhood of Tnverary, in the exercise of some mechanic art; and, dying there, his corpse at his own request, was carried by his friends towards Oban for interment. On a hill between Inverary and Loch Awe, just above Port Sonachan, they were met by the relations of the deceased from Oban, who came to convey the corpse the remainder of the journey. The parting could not take place without the use of spirits, which had been plentifully provided by the Oban party; and before they separated, about forty corpses were to be carried down the hill; in these however animation was only suspended, for they all recovered next day."

An occurrence of even a more degrading character took place at the funeral of Mrs. Forbes, of Culloden. When the funeral party reached the place of interment it was found that the corpse had been forgotten. Duncan Forbes, a son of the deceased, had conducted the festivities ; he subsequently became a most distinguished Judge, and President of the Supreme Court.

When the company had committed to the dust the remains of friend or neighbour, they proceeded to renew their potations. In the Lowlands funeral parties adjourned to the different taverns. In Highland districts, the company retired to the hill-side, where, accompanied by a piper, they spent the remainder of the day in dancing and drinking toasts.

That such occasions should have been attended with disputes and brawls cannot excite surprise. Often deadly encounters took place just after the combatants had stood together at the grave of a neighbour. In 1707, David Ogilvie, of Clunie, thrust himself on a funeral party at Meigle, Perthshire. He induced several of the party to accompany him to the tavern. After drinking hard he proceeded to ride homeward in company with Andrew Couper, younger, of Lochblair, a neighbouring landowner. A quarrel arising from a trivial occurrence, both parties used hard words. At length Ogilvie drew a pistol from his belt and shot his companion dead. He effected his escape, but became insane. A similar tragedy took place at Forfar on the 9th May, 1728. Charles, sixth Earl of Strathmore, accompanied Mr. James Carnegie, of Finhaven, to the dinner table of a gentleman whose daughter's funeral they had attended. After drinking together for several hours they quarrelled. A scuffle ensued, when Lord Strathmore received a fatal wound. Carnegie was tried for murder before the Justiciary Court at Edinburgh, but was acquitted by the jury on the plea that he was "mortally drunk" when he committed the fatal act. So lately as the commencement of the present century the County Courts were occasionally occupied in arranging differences which had occurred between persons walking together to the grave of a friend.

As in Greece before the time of Solon, funeral banquets were provided on a scale of sumptuousness, which proved nearly ruinous to children and heirs. Two years' rents of a Highland landlord would have been expended in the convivialities attendant on his funeral. In many instances widows found themselves impoverished by discharging the costs of their husbands' funerals. When Lachlan Mackintosh, chief of clan Mackintosh, died in 1704, entertainments were provided at his mansion for a whole month. That the provision might be properly prepared, cooks and confectioners were brought from Edinburgh. This expenditure embarrassed the heads of clan Mackintosh for four or five generations. Sir William Hamilton, Lord Justice Clerk, died early in the last century; his funeral cost upwards of £5,000 Scottish money, equal to two years of his lordship's salary. The funeral expenses of Sir Hugh Campbell, of Colden, in 1716, amounted to £1,647, which included an item of £400 for whisky. The expense of emblazoning with heraldic devices the hearse and horse cloths used at the funeral of Mrs. Barbara Ruthven, daughter-in-law of Sir Hugh Paterson of Bannockburn, in 1695, amounted to £240. In thickly peopled districts, a thousand or fifteen hundred people frequently assembled on the occasion of a funeral.

The extraordinary numbers who assembled at funerals suggested the use of such meetings for political purposes. When Campbell of Lochnell was interred in 1714, about 2,500 persons, well armed, under the command of Rob Roy, joined the procession. They availed themselves of the occasion to deliberate on certain Jacobite measures.

Letters of invitation to funerals were seldom issued. There was another method of securing an attendance. A person was sent round the district with a bell which he rung at intervals, and then called out, " All Brethren and Sisters, I let you to wit that there is a brother departed this life, at the pleasure of Almighty God; they called him------, he lived at------. All brethren and sisters are expected to attend the funeral, which is to take place at------."

There were funeral ceremonials common to different . districts. In Caithness a hand-bell was rung, and a flag displayed in front of the processions. "It is," communicates Mr. Sheriff Barclay, "not more than sixty years, since was pulled down an ancient chapel near the cathedral of Glasgow, where a bell was rung whilst funerals passed to the ancient church-yard, and when it was expected that those at the funeral would in return drop a piece of money in an aperture in the wall surrounded by a suitable scriptural quotation." "Up to the same period," adds Dr. Barclay, "great numbers of beggars surrounded the house from which funerals departed, and received pence doled out to them, and which, if withheld, brought a severe censure on the surviving relatives." In some districts, gentlewomen followed the bier, arrayed in showy garments and decked with ornaments. Females of the humbler ranks attended funerals in red cloaks. The inhabitants of the Hebrides strewed plants and flowers on the coffins of their relatives. The people of Orkney buried their dead in their shrouds and uncoffmed. The southern portion of the cemetery was selected as the place of honour. Unbaptized children were buried under the dropping of the church roof. At Edinburgh persons who committed suicide were interred in the lonely burying ground at St. Leonard's Hill. It was one of the superstitions of the Argyllshire Highlanders, that the spirit of the last person who was buried watched the churchyard till the occurrence of the next funeral.

Notwithstanding their coarse fare, imperfect lodgment, and excessive drinking, the inhabitants of Scotland have generally been long-lived. To a pamphlet . of Dr. John Webster, of London, physician to the Scottish Hospital, we are indebted for a list of persons who died in Scotland during the past century at ages far exceeding the ordinary span of human life. We quote some remarkable examples :—

In 1736 John Ramsay died at Distrey, at the age of 138. Alexander McCulloch, who had been a soldier in Cromwell's army, died at Aberdeen in 1757, aged 132. In the same year John Walney, the survivor of eleven wives, died at Glasgow at the age of 124. Donald Cameron, who was a bridegroom in his hundredth year, died at Rannoch in 1759, aged 130. In 1762, Catherine Barbour died at Aberdeen at the age of 124. John Mouret died at Langholm in 1766, aged 136. Archibald Cameron died at Keith in 1791, aged 122. An inspector of lead works at Edinburgh died in 1793 at the age of 137.

Before the establishment of public journals, with their accompanying obituaries, the Scots testified their sentiments respecting notable persons deceased in epitaphs, which passed from mouth to mouth. Those individuals who had excited dislike, but whose positions in life enabled them to resist censure, were sure not to escape satire at the hands of the epitaph writers. A MS. volume, in the handwriting of Sir James Balfour, and preserved in the Advocates' Library, contains a collection of epitaphs written upon conspicuous Scotsmen of the seventeenth century. Some of these are complimentary, others are crushing pasquinades. An exacting money-lender is thus depicted:—

"Heir layes ane vsurer of an excellent quality, That never tooke his principal! vithout his venality."

Sir Thomas Hamilton, of Priestfield, Lord President of the Court of Session, and latterly Earl of Haddington, died in 1637. He had awakened some hostile feelings, for on his decease his epitaph was written in these sarcastic lines:—

"Heir layes a Lord, quho quhill he stood,
Had matchles beene had he heene------

"This epitaph's a sylable shorte,
And ye may adde a sylable to it;
But quhat yat sylable dothe iniporte,
My defuncte Lord could never do it.'

Sir William Alexander, of Menstry, Earl of Stirling, a man of remarkable culture and boundless ambition, excited the envy of the nobles without evoking the sympathy of the people. A poet, a scholar, a man of refined manners and elegant conversation, he might have enjoyed a lasting prosperity by being content to dwell peacefully on his paternal acres. But he courted ambition, and gaining ascendency over a weak prince, he went to court, where high offices and honours awaited him. He became successively Master of Requests, Secretary of State, Keeper of the Signet, Commissioner of Exchequer, and Extraordinary Judge of the Court of Session. He received knighthood, was raised to the peerage, was elevated to an earldom. The profits of the copper coinage were conferred upon him. By royal charter he received a grant of the minerals and metals in the Crown lands, with a reversion of the gift to one of his sons. Further, he was empowered to vitiate the medium of exchange, by producing a base coin, denominated turners. Higher privileges were granted. He was appointed Lieutenant-General of Nova Scotia, with a grant of territory equal to several States of the present American Union. In connection with his Transatlantic possessions he obtained vice-regal honours,—he could create baronets and appropriate the fees. For his sons he procured state offices and emoluments. ,Fond of show, he built a splendid mansion at Stirling, adjoining the royal palace, and furnished it in a style of great magnificence. He closed his career unhappily. He had contracted numerous debts, and his creditors at length seized his estates, including the lands of Menstry. He died at London in 1640. At the command of Charles I., with whom, as well as with James VI., he had been a constant favourite, his remains were conveyed to Stirling, and there interred by torchlight in an aisle of the High Church. A monument, long since demolished, recorded his titles and virtues. His failings are set forth in these lines, contained in Sir James Balfour's " Collection," and now for the first time published:—

"Vpone ye twelfe day of Appryle,
In Stirling kirke and Bowies yle,
The Nova Scotia Governouris,
The Tinkeris of ye New Tumours,
Wes castin in a hole by night,
For evill doers hattes ye light.
Earles of a housse in Strevelinge touue,
"Whilk I heir tell will be pulled doune;
For whay ther master, ye Earle Argyle,
Fra wham thesse mooneshyne Lordes did wyle
Ther feus of lait. They were his vassalls,
Tho' now become grate Dinuie vassells,
"Will pull it doune, as I suppose,
Becaus it standes juste in his nosse.
The Eeassone no man can denay it,
"Whay that ther buriall was so quiet;
Becaus ther Landes beyond ye lyne
Layes so far off, as I devyne,
Ther subjects in ye winter wither
Could not conveniently come hither.
Yet Victrie, quhen ye spring begins,
He's vow'd to mourne in Beaver skins,
Becaus his pattron, as ye know,
Became Knight Beaver longe agoe.
Some Baronetts hes vowed to make
Ther Orange Bibands to turne blaike.
Both Tullieallan and Dunipeace
And Thornton's wold qhyte their place,
To have their moneyes back againe,
"Wich they on him bestowed in vaine,
"With many a poor gentleman more,
Whose meins this Earle did devore.
Yet I am glad for Mr. Harrey,
"Who drunken Vanlor's lasse did marey;
"Who, to redeime his father's land,
"Will give ten thousand pounds in hand.
I think he'll scorne to take ye name
Of Mr. of worke for very shame;
Or to he Agent to the Burrowes,
To quhom he •wrought a thousand sorrowt
Ane Earle, a Viscount, and a Lord,
"With such poore stylles will not accord.
Yet to conclude, t'will make a verse
Vpone My Lord hes father's hearse.

EPITAPH.

Heir layes a farmer and a miliar,
A poet and a Psalme booke spiller,
A purchasser by hooke and crooke,
A forger of ye service booke,
A copper smith who did much euill,
A friend to Bischopes and ye Devil,
A vaine, ambitious, flattring thing,
Late Secretary for a king;
Four Tragedies in verse he penn'd,
At last he made a Tragicke end.
The Beggars that could mak no verse,
Strewed on ther Tourners on his herse.


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