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24th July 2009


Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

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Dear Friend

It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at
http://www.electricscotland.com/rss/whatsnew.php  and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter. In the event the link is not clickable simply copy and paste the link into your browser.

See o
ur Calendar of Scottish Events around the world and add your own at http://www.electricscotland.com/familytree/calendar_help.htm

CONTENTS
--------
Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
Poetry and Stories
The Writings of John Muir
Robert Burns Lives!
The Scottish Church
Old World Scotland
The Bark Covered House
Fraser's Scottish Annual
Some Scotch Words Explained


ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
----------------------
Spent a few days in Toronto this week and attended a Knights Templar Garden Party which was great fun. Amazing the varied background of the Knights and Dames and the work they not only do in Canada but also all over the world.

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Our Aois Community is moving ahead and at time of writing we have some 171 active members. As some of you will know we're now making our weekly newsletter available through this service.

As I mentioned in the special one off mailing I sent we're now moving our newsletter to our Aois Community.

Few points I would like to make...

First, when you sign up through the registration process you will receive an email asking you to confirm that you are who you say you are by clicking on a link in that email. When you click on the link it also sends an email to Steve, our admin, to say you're awaiting activation. Once he activates your account he will send you another email confirming this and that's you now a full member of the service. This just means you need to watch out for those emails. This is the system we are using to try and eliminate spammers from the service.

Second... I have been asked by a couple why you are asked to give your Date of Birth. The reason is simply to comply with family friendly legislation. Should we pick up from the date of birth that the person is under age then we are required to ask for their parents email address. This is so we can email them informing them that their child has applied for an account and asking their permission to allow them to join.

I might also add that this system wasn't built with children in mind but we've already come across one parent who wanted to allow their child in to play games in the arcade. This also allows them to record their high score.

Should we end up with more than a few children then we'll arrange to block most of the forums from them and perhaps just add a couple of children's forums.

Third... One of the benefits of becoming a member of the Aois Community is that you can receive an email alert when a new newsletter gets put up. That said, it also allows you to reply to that newsletter with a message to me if you wish and we also have the ability to add a poll to it. And so we could have an exchange of views about the contents of that weeks newsletter.

Should you wish to get an email alert telling you the newsletter is available simply select the Electric Scotland Newsletter forum. Look at the menu bar where you'll see "Forum Tools" and from there you'll find the option to "subscribe" to that forum.

Fourth... By using this system it is now possible for us to record the number of times the newsletter has been viewed which from my personal point of view is a very useful statistic :-)

I hope you will all find the new system to be workable for you and hopefully you'll also get benefits from your membership. You of course can view the newsletter as a Guest at http://www.scotchat.org/vbull/forumdisplay.php?f=14

You can join our Aois Community by going to http://www.scotchat.org/vbull and clicking on "Register" in the menu bar.

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Should you be attending the Clan Gathering in Scotland this month please do send us in any pictures you take as I'll build a photo gallery of the event to put onto the site. This way folk that couldn't make it over there will at least be able to enjoy it through your pictures :-)


ABOUT THE STORIES
-----------------
Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter or on our site menu.


THE FLAG IN THE WIND
--------------------
This weeks Flag is compiled by Jim Lynch in which he gives us his usual mixture of stories about politics in Scotland. There is also a very good review of the Gigha Homecoming Music Festival.

There is also an article which I'll copy here...

Is the law an ass?

This week I was struck, yet again, by the tale of Gary McKinnon, a young Scot, with Asperger’s syndrome, who hacked into the Pentagon’s computer systems from his girl friend’s aunt’s house in London, using his own email address. Apart from the embarrassing fact that a teenager was able to hack into their systems in the first place, he was trying to find out about UFOs, he has offered to plead guilty in England under the Computer Misuse Act. The English Director of Public Prosecutions says that he cannot prosecute, and Gary is due to be extradited to America to stand trial there; his case has been appealed unsuccessfully to the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights, but it seems that the Establishment is determined to have him extradited to America, where he will probably spend the rest of his life in gaol.

Also this week we read of the case of a Russian oligarch, one Oleg Deripaska, who is being sued by a former associate, Michael Cherney, who now resides in Israel, and claims to be a part owner of a Russian oil company called Rusal; Mr Deripaska is reputed to be the richest man in Russia. Apparently the law of the disputed contract is Russian, a lot of it is in the Russian language, and the events leading up to it all took place in Russia. However, the pact is claimed to have been entered into in a London hotel in 2001, so the English High Court has ruled that the case should be heard in England; Mr Deripaska disputes this ruling.

I have no comment on the rights and wrongs of the Russian case, but merely point out the oddity that two Russians, neither of whom are citizens of the UK, are involved in a dispute relating to issues in Russia and are having their case decided in London; in contrast Gary McKinnon, who is a UK citizen, and who committed his offence in London, is to be extradited and tried in the United States of America.

Something amiss, surely?

You can read the Flag at http://www.scotsindependent.org

Christina McKelvie MSP's Weekly diary is not available as the Parliament are now on the Summer recess.


Poetry and Stories
------------------
I should add here that John is taking 4 weeks off to enjoy a summer holiday so no poems or Short Story for the next week.

You can read other stories in our Article Service and even add your own at http://www.electricscotland.com/article

In particular I noted Donna had sent in an article about "Naming the Grandchildren" which I thought I'd include here...

John Ross Flood

We choose to call you Ne-Don, OO-hah-zhingah which translates to

Flood-Little Cook.

These names are handed down from your ancestors, Ross. Your gggrandfather John Flood was an outstanding gentleman. He was appointed as bodyguard to Queen Victoria in England. He came to the United states and is buried at Nardin, Oklahoma, out of Blackwell.

Your gggrandfather Samuel Little Cook (Oo-hah-Zhingah) was given the name Little Cook by interpreters who did not know the total meaning of what was his place in the tribe. He was of the rain band and had a position as elder over his clan. His duties were to divide the food, the hunt. He was chosen to do this because he was honest, dependable, and not partial. As leader of his tribe he was respected because he saw to the taking care of any of those who needed counsel or help. Samuel was a business man of his day and owned a sawmill. He rose every morning early to go to his work. As a girl I was privileged to use his old desk with the quartz cube inkwell he left when he died. He was bi-lingual and could speak English as well as his own language, fluently.

Bryce

We are going to call you Mii zhingah, Little Sun. I give you this name in the memory of my old friend, Bill Little Sun, who lived a long, productive life. He had a large family and saw to it they all were educated. He was gentle, kind and faithful to friends and family. I believe he would be honored to have you carry his name.

Morgan

Your grandmother, Esther Epperson, has expressed her desire to have you carry Grandmother, Velma Pensoneau Jones’s name, which is: Mii Mah Shin, Rising Moon. We feel the time you spent with Grandmother Jones before she died, gave you an opportunity to be tutored by her and that you do, indeed, have many of her ways.

Anna

Last but not least. Dear Anna, I wish to give you my name, Jen’ nee. It was the name of Chief Standing Bear’s Mother. You will need to do some study and research about your ancestor so you will know what a great man he was.

Donna Colleen Jones Flood

Names of the children to date:

Rhonda Louise Flood, Wahk-Chah-Ska, White Flower

Mark Joseph Flood, Ponca Ska, White Ponca

Kay Flood Bojourquez, Easch Stah Moth Aunk-they,

Sky Eyes

Elizebeth Borjourquez, , Easch-Stah, Ne-Om-Bah, Bright Eyes, The name of

Chief Standing Bear’s Sister

Alicia -Me-Kah-Yah, Ne Om Bah, Bright Star

John Ross Flood, Ne Don-(Flood) OO-Hah-Shing gah, (Little Cook).

Bryce Bojouraquez- Mii-Shingah, Little Sun

Morgan Brown-Mii Mah Shin, Rising Moon

Anna Flood, Jen ne’ Water woman

These names are handed down or go to the elements as is the custom for the He Sah Dah, Rain Band.

We were honored to have Sam Little Cook’s gggrandson, Chris Little Cook, to come help us with this name giving. He performed the smoke ceremony with cedar and explained to the children the reason for using the cedar tree’s branches.

The tree stays green all year round and is said to be a favorite tree of the Creator.

When the branches are burned they give off a smoke and in this way the Creator’s attention is caught and he takes notice of our prayers which are prayers for the children to have their names.

Chris brushed the smoke off toward the child with an eagle feather fan and each one held out their hands to receive the fragrance, where upon, they took the smoke in their hands and brushed it over their own body.

This was the first time Chris performed this ceremony but he was given instructions from his father, Edwin Little Cook, who told him, as the eldest son, he has the right to accomplish this name giving.

The customary feast was served to guests, but the name giving itself was for the children and their excitement, respect as well as gratitude for their names was enough to make our hearts glad.

My daughter Kay and I worked for three days to make the event successful and we felt blessed and thankful to our Creator for the beauty of his earth and his people which is made available to us through prayer.


The Writings of John Muir
-------------------------
We're now onto our 9th and penultimate volume. The last two volumes are actually a biography of him including many letters he sent and received.

We have almost completed this volume with just one chapter to go. The chapters up so far are...

Chapter I. The Ancestral Background
Chapter II. Life on a Wisconsin Farm, 1849-1860
Chapter III. As a Questioner at the Tree of Knowledge
Chapter IV. The Sojourn in Canada, 1864-1866
Chapter V. From Indiana to California, 1866-1868
Chapter VI. Following the Sheep, 1868-1869
Chapter VII. First Yosemite Years, 1869-1870
Chapter VIII. Yosemite, Emerson, and the Sequoias
Chapter IX. Persons and Problems

Chapter VI contains an interesting incident...

Some mountaineer had tried to establish a claim to the Flat by building a little cabin of sugar pine shakes, and though we had arrived early in the afternoon I decided to camp here for the night as the trail was buried in the snow which was about six feet deep, and I wanted to examine the topography and plan our course. Chilwell cleared away the snow from the door and floor of the cabin, and made a bed in it of boughs of fernlike silver fir, though I urged the same sort of bed made under the trees on the snow. But he had the house habit.

After camp arrangements were made he reminded me of my promise about the gun, hoping eagerly for improvement of our bill of fare, however slight. Accordingly I loaded the gun, paced off thirty yards from the cabin, or shanty, and told Mr. Chilwell to pin a piece of paper on the wall and see if I could not put shot into it and prove the gun's worth. So he pinned a piece of an envelope on the shanty wall and vanished around the corner, calling out, "Fire away."

I supposed that he had gone some distance back of the cabin, but instead he went inside of it and stood up against the mark that he had himself placed on the wall, and as the shake wall of soft sugar pine was only about half an inch thick, the shot passed through it and into his shoulder. He came rushing out, with his hand on his shoulder, crying in great concern, "You've shot me, you've shot me, Scottie." The weather being cold, he fortunately had on three coats and as many shirts. One of the coats was a heavy English overcoat. I discovered that the shot had passed through all this clothing and into his shoulder, and the embedded pellets had to be picked out with the point of a penknife. I asked him how he could be so foolish as to stand opposite the mark. "Because," he replied, "I never imagined the blank gun would shoot through the side of the 'ouse."

You can read the rest of this chapter at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/muir/vol9_chapter6.htm

The rest of the chapters can be read at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/muir/index.htm


Robert Burns Lives!
-------------------
By Frank Shaw

Burns the Improviser by Robert H. Carnie

This is the last speech I have at this time from the files of the late Dr. Robert Carnie. His son Andrew has been quite gracious in allowing me to share the work of his father with our readers. Just who is Robert Carnie? This Dundee Scot is a graduate of the University of St. Andrews and earned a PhD in English literature. His life was spent teaching at various colleges in England and Scotland and then for 20 years at the University of Calgary in Canada. Bob was also an author, and his inspiring and wonderful book, Burns Illustrated, published by the Calgary Burns Club, was reviewed October 30, 2008 on my website A Highlander and His Books and can be found at http://www.electricscotland.com/familytree/frank/burns_illustrated.htm.

Like most of us who speak and write about Robert Burns, Dr. Carnie was an avid collector of signed decorative books on Burns. In 2006 this wonderful book collection was donated to the University of Calgary. Dr. Patrick Scott, Director of Special Collections, Thomas Cooper Library, and Professor of English at the University of South Carolina, said in the Significant Scots section on www.electricscotland.com that “Bob was the bard, distinguished life member and past president of the Calgary Burns Club and a life member and frequent speaker at the Schiehallion Scottish Society.” To read more about the remarkable Dr. Carnie, please refer to http://www.electricscotland.com/other/carnie_robert.htm

(FRS: 7.22.09)

You can read the rest of this article at http://www.electricscotland.com/familytree/frank/burns_lives60.htm

And you can read other articles in this Robert Burns Lives! series at http://www.electricscotland.com/familytree/frank/burns.htm


The Scottish Church
-------------------
From Earliest Times to 1881, By W. Chambers (1881)

Our thanks go to John Henderson for sending this into us.

we've added the final lecture which now completes this book...

Lecture XII
How far an outgrowth from the past, and an expression of the religious thought and life of Scotland By the Rev. James Macgregor, D.D., Senior Minister of St Cuthbert's Parish, Edinburgh.

IN discharging the duty which has been imposed upon me, I have, in this concluding lecture, to review the ground traversed by my predecessors; to trace the historic links which connect the existing Church of Scotland with the distant past and to indicate its present position, aims, and prospects.

You can read this lecture at http://www.electricscotland.com/bible/scottishchurch/mTheChurchOfThePresentDay.pdf

The other pages can be read at http://www.electricscotland.com/bible/scottishchurch/


Old World Scotland
------------------
Giving Glimpses of its Modes and Manners, By T. F. Henderson (1893).

Added further chapters this week...

Chapter XV. Squalor
Chapter XVI. Football
Chapter XVII. Assassination
Chapter XVIII. New Light on the Darnley Murder
Chapter XIX. The Highland Chief
Chapter XX. Executions
Chapter XXI. The Lockman

Chapter XIX starts...

His office had a hoarier antiquity than that of kingship itself; he represented chieftaincy in almost its most antique form. Indeed if chieftaincy underwent a change after the break up of the larger tribes, the probability is that it was a change towards the earlier and simpler form. Also the attempt at feudalism was successful within but a very limited area of the Highlands, and even here the success was more apparent than real. The two systems could never properly commingle, for chieftaincy was independent of material considerations. Besides, most clansmen were simply hunters, or herds, or raiders, as their forefathers had been from time immemorial. The circumstances and surroundings seemed to defy change. Of the arts of civilised life they, less than two centuries ago, knew practically nothing. Their social system pointed backwards to primeval ages. To them the past alone was great; the future could be great only in so far as it resembled the past.

The reverence with which the chief was regarded was neither official nor personal in the usual sense. The clansman honoured the dead more than the living, and the common ancestor above all his descendants. The chief was the representative of this common ancestor, and of an uninterrupted succession of ancestral chiefs whose achievements in war and whose prowess in the chase were the perpetual theme of the bardic songs and recitations which formed the true litany of the clan. The consideration which determined succession was nearness of relationship to the common ancestor. Hence the brother of the reigning chief was preferred to the son in the case of mental and physical fitness the elder son by concubinage or handfast marriage to the son of priestly marriage. Failing brothers or sons, the choice was limited to the Gaeilfine, or relations to the fifth degree. The successor was recognised during the chief's lifetime. That an interloper should usurp the office was almost beyond the bounds of possibility, for it was guarded as with a wall of fire, by sacred tradition; and that it could not be degraded by one unworthy or unfit was guaranteed by a privilege of veto vested in the elders of the elan. No young chieftain who had failed in the test of valour—generally the leadership of some desperate raid—was permitted to rank in the succession ; and if, after attaining the dignity, he approved himself incompetent or tyrannical, lie might be summarily removed.

The goodliness of the chieftain's heritage was truly remarkable. Does any worthier or more genuine sphere for ambition now exist? Probably no human being ever cherished a profounder sense of personal dignity—undoubtedly a most important aid to happiness. Though rude might be his dwelling and squalid his surroundings, no monarch ever received such noble homage.

The rest of this chapter can be read at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/oldworld/chap19.htm

The book index page can be found at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/oldworld/index.htm


The Bark Covered House
----------------------
We have several new chapters up for you to read...

Chapter 6. how We Found Our Cattle
Chapter 7. Trouble Came on the Wing
Chapter 8. Hard Times for Us in Michigan, 1836-7
Chapter 9. A Summer Hunt
Chapter 10. How We Got Into Trouble One Night and I Scared
Chapter 11. The Indians Visit Us—Their Strange and Peculiar Ways
Chapter 12. The Inside of Our House—A Picture from Memory

Here is "How we found our cattle" starts...

THE old cow always wore the bell. Early in the spring, when there were no flies or mosquitoes to drive them up the cattle sometimes wandered off. At such times, when we went to our chopping or work, we watched them, to see which way they went, and listened to the bell after they were out of sight in order that we might know which way to go after them if they didn't return. Sometimes the bell went out of hearing but I was careful to remember which way I heard it last.

Before night I would start to look for them, going in the direction I last heard them. I would go half a mile or so into the woods, then stop and listen, to see if I could hear the faintest sound of the bell. If I could not hear it I went farther in the same direction then stopped and listened again. Then if I did not hear it I took another direction, went a piece and stopped again, and if I heard the least sound of it I knew it from all other bells because I had heard it so often before.
That bell is laid up with care. I am now over fifty years old, but if the least tinkling of that bell should reach my ear I should know the sound as well as I did when I was a boy listening for it in the woods of Michigan.

When I found the cattle I would pick up a stick and throw it at them, halloo very loudly and they would start straight for home. Sometimes, in cloudy weather, I was lost and it looked to me as though they were going the wrong way, but I followed them, through black-ash swales where the water was knee-deep, sometimes nearly barefooted.

I always carried a gun, sometimes father's rifle. The deer didn't seem to be afraid of the cattle; they would stand and look at them as they passed not seeming to notice me. I would walk carefully, get behind a tree, and take pains to get a fair shot at one. When I had killed it I bent bushes and broke them partly off, every few rods, until I knew I could find the place again, then father and I would go and get the deer.

Driving the cattle home in this way I traveled hundreds of miles. There was some danger then, in going barefooted as there were some massasauga [The prairie, or Michigan variety of rattlesnake. Formerly abundant, as Nowlin notes, with the settlement of the country they have tended to disappear. They are still found in southern Michigan, however, and their possible presence is still to be reckoned with by rural dwellers and visitors.] all through the woods. As the country got cleared up they disappeared, and as there are neither rocks, ledges nor logs, under which they can hide, I have not seen one in many years.

You can read the rest of this chapter at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/bark/chapter6.htm

You can read the other chapters at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/bark/


Fraser's Scottish Annual
------------------------
We have added some more articles from this publication...

Scottish Poet in Canada
"The Soul of Every Living Thing"
The Highland Scotch U.E. Loyalists
The Stones of St Andrews
Drummond of Hawthorndon
The British Empire and Necessary Changes
The Greatness of Scottish Women

Here is a bit from "The Highland Scotch U.E. Loyalists"...

BEFORE 1775 many natives of the Highlands of Scotland emigrated to America and settled within the borders of what is now the United States. Sometimes this emigration was of an individual character, but the emigration whose influence is yet distinctly felt in the Dominion of Canada and the United States was different in cause and character. Whole families, many times whole communities, were compelled to leave the glens they loved so well and seek new homes in America.

The Highlanders, like all peoples that live in rocky picturesque countries, love their home, their family and their freedom. From earliest times the Highlanders sought foreign service in various capacities. Accustomed as they were to scanty fare at home, their industry, perseverance, frugality and honesty soon enabled them in more highly favored countries to acquire a competency. With this the wanderer returned to his native hills and heath to live in homely affluence the rest of his days.

When families or communities migrated it was from necessity, not from choice. When they bade adieu to their past surroundings it was with a heavy heart, because they never hoped to return. The preparation for the journey has been graphically described by more than one writer. They approached the kirk and the adjoining yard with tears in their eyes. They kissed the walls of the sacred edifice, they prostrated themselves on the mounds of earth that marked the resting-place of their departed ones, and after a short prayer they moved slowly away from the hallowed scenes with heavy steps and aching hearts.

A Highland poet thus describes. them:

Farewell to the land of the mountain and wood,
Farewell to the home of the brave and the good,
My bark is afloat on the blue-rolling main,
And I ne'er shall behold thee, dear Scotland, again!

Adieu to the scenes of my life's early morn,
From the place of my birth I am cruelly torn;
The tyrant oppresses the land of the free
And leaves but the name of my sires unto me.

Oh I home of my fathers, I bid thee adieu,
For soon will thy hill-tops retreat from my view,
With sad drooping heart I depart from thy shore
To behold thy fair valleys and mountains no more.

'Twas there that I wooed thee, young Flora, my wife,
When my bosom was warm in the morning of life,
I courted thy love 'mong the heather so brown,
And heaven did I bless when it made thee my own.

The friends of my early years, where are they now?
Each kind honest heart, and each brave manly brow;
Some sleep in the churchyard, from tyranny free,
And others are crossing the ocean with me.

Lo! now on the boundless Atlantic I stray,
To a strange foreign realm I am wafted away;
Before me as far as my vision can glance,
I but see the wave-rolling wat'ry expanse.

So farewell, my country and all than is dear,
The hour is arrived and the bark is asteer,
I go and forever, oh! Scotland adieu
The land of my fathers no more I shall view.

-PETER CRERAR.

You can read the rest of this article at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/canada/annual/article76.htm

The other articles can be read at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/canada/annual/index.htm


Some Scotch Words Explained
---------------------------
I thought it was about time I helped with your education and mind they'll be a test next week!!! :-)

Many Scottish terms have crept into English and require no comment, The best known of these are; `wee', that is `small'; 'bonnie', `beautiful'; `bairn', `child'.

There is a peculiar tenderness in these words that is lost in the translation.

`Bonnie Scotland', for example, is a term of endearment as well as of description. It brings a whole picture before the mind; and you can see the sun shining, and hear the larks singing. And you almost listen to the plashing of the burn at the foot of the brae.

`Bairn', meaning `child', is not known to all Southerns. And on the other side a word very like it, `bearings', (meaning `whereabouts'), is scarcely understood by the Northern peasant.

An English schoolboy when on a walking tour in the Lothians once lost his way. He called at a farmhouse and enquired of the "motherly body" he met there if she could direct him. "Can you help me, please?" he said. "I have quite lost my bearings".

He probably dropped the g of the last word; but even if he hadn't, this common nautical expression was quite strange to the farm-girl. Her amazement was unbounded when she noticed how young her interrogator was.

"Lost your bairns!" She exclaimed. "An' is their mither with them?" This so electrified the tourist that he deemed it prudent to beat a hasty retreat.

The game of cross purposes between English and Scotch is not uncommon. Once an English sportsman, who was staying at an inn for the summer fishing, was much troubled to get the right fly. He tried to get one of the maids to bring him what he wanted, but she could not understand.

"Dear me," he said at last impatiently, "did you never see a horse-fly?"

Willing to please, she replied apologetically: "Naa, Sir, A never saw a horse fly; but onct A saw a coo jump over a precipice"

But even the Scottish language itself has certain local usages that may be misleading. It seems that once upon a time in Edinburgh the word "carry" got to be used in a kind of technical sense, meaning "show upstairs", "usher in". Now one day an aristocratic lady belonging to that stately city was expecting two friends in the afternoon. So she had ordered her new Highland servant to "carry up the ladies" to the drawing-room when they should arrive.

The Highlander, however, had learned his English out of books, and was quite unacquainted with the local idiom. He took the word literally.

When the time came round, the aristocratic lady was aroused by hearing a funny scuffling noise on the stairs. Emerging from her room to ascertain what was the matter, she was horror-struck to perceive Donald ascending the stairs with some difficulty, bearing an indignant and struggling lady in his arms. It seems that he had said to the visitors: "Bide the rest of ye here awhile: I'll take this little one first."

In Edinburgh there are many words in common use that much resemble French. In fact these words are distinctly of French origin, and are only slightly Scotticised from the original. 'Douce' and `dour' speak for themselves. Then 'vizzy' means to `aim at'; and 'dementit' means `out of patience'.

`To fash oneself' means 'to be troubled about'. These and several others of a similar kind betray their derivation at a glance.

Some words closely resemble Dutch. Indeed the Lowland dialect possesses hundreds of these resemblances.

A good story is told of a learned professor and his nephew, who once visited Rotterdam and tried to discover the house where Erasmus was born.

The professor knew Dutch very well out of books; and could read, without too much trouble, the writings of two hundred years ago. But he could not make himself in the least degree intelligible when he tried to speak the language.

After repeated and disheartening attempts to secure the needful information from a derisive streetboy, the traveller was inclined to give up the quest in despair, when his nephew interposed: "Let me try Scotch on him, uncle, I bet I'll get something out of him."

He looked the youth straight in the face and said, broadly with emphasis: "Com' here; com' here, noo, an' tell 's, whaur's the hoose o' Erasmus?" At once the streetboy grasped the situation. "Jao, baas;" he said. "Zeker". And leading him to the well known gable he pointed it out triumphantly. "Doar heb je het huus van Erasmus." He thought it was some Hollander from far away, perhaps from the Betuwe.

And for the matter of that, it would not be difficult to imagine a conversation in Lowland Scotch which the same Rotterdam street-boy could have easily followed. Here it is: "What for thing is that, Davvid, afore yir dure?" "It's a lang, brade stane for the new kirk; an' it's a bit sherp on the tap. I'll breng it tae the kirk the morn, an' set it whaur it'll no hinner folk gangin' oot or in." Speak these sentences deliberately and every Dutch peasant will understand them.

A still more striking resemblance to Dutch lies in the Scottish love of diminutives. These, however, are formed in many cases by a clever use of the words `bit' and `wee'.

If we take the word dog, for instance, we can pile on diminutive upon diminutive in the Lowlands in a way that quite outdistances any dialect in the Netherlands.

Little dog is "doggie"; if it is to be still smaller, we may say "a bit doggie". If smaller still "a wee bit doggie". We reach the climax of diminutiveness in "a wee bit doggetie".

As a contrast to this similarity to Dutch one cannot help noticing how easily Scotch can drop its consonants. Burns has rendered this peculiarity familiar to all English readers, when he uses pu' for pull, and fu' for full, and a' for all; but it is not so well known that one can have an entire conversation in vowels.

Dean Ramsay instances the following. A woman entered a draper's shop, examined some cloth lying on the counter for sale, then looking up said, interrogatively: "Oo?"

"Aye, oo"; said the shopman. She continued: "A' oo'."

"Aye; a' oo," was the prompt reply.

She repeated her question more explicitly: "A' aeoo?" To which the reassurance was forthcoming: "Aye a' ae oo."

The explanation is simple. The woman wishing to know the quality of the cloth she was about to buy said: "Wool?" The shopman's answer was: "Yes; wool."

She then asked: "Is it all wool?" and he replied "Yes, all wool."

Not satisfied, she enquired again: "Is it all the same wool?" "Yes," he said. "It is all the same wool."

Most of the characteristically Scotch words require to be translated, if indeed translation be possible. There are two adjectives continually appearing in poetry, which can, no doubt, be adequately rendered in English.

These are 'braw' and 'couthie'. 'Braw' means `fine' or `strapping,' and is the term generally applied to the lads. 'Couthie', or loving, is of course the word to be applied to the lasses.

Among terms, however, that cannot be translated the most remarkable are 'pawky' and `canny'.

'Pawky' means slow, knowing, sly, shrewd, very modest in manner, but very keen of insight. There are many flavours of pawkiness, like fine brands of wine.

Here is one with a touch of pardonable insolence. A young, bombastic, preacher had wearied everybody with his affectations and with his extraordinary demeanour in the pulpit. At the close of the service he was introduced to a plain old laird, who had been especially restless. They had some talk together, and amongst other things the youth informed the old gentleman that he was very tired. "Tired, my man!" said the laird, "you tired? Man, if you are half as tired as I am, I pity you."

But mostly pawkiness is not so tom-plain, thought it may be sarcastic enough. "Come and dine with me next Friday," said a masterful old dame in Edinburgh to an acquaintance. He was quite willing to go, but answered in that semi-apologetic manner which some people affect: "Yes; I will, if I am spared." "Weel," replied the lady "if you're dead, I'll no expect you."

But, as generally understood, pawkiness as a rule wears a more benignant aspect, and may even be deferential. An inexperienced sportsman was out shooting once, and had missed all the birds in the course of the morning. At last, towards mid-day, he thought he hit one, and said excitedly: "Keeper, keeper, that bird will come down." "Aye, Sir," was the patient but significant response; "It will come down, when it's hungry."

One of the most pawky remarks that tradition gives us refers to a minister's long sermons. They were very long - these sermons - and though he was a good preacher, his people did not care for hearing so much at a time.

They had protested again and again, but without avail. Indeed he seemed rather to expand than to contract these admirable prelections of his.

One day he exchanged pulpits with a neighbouring clergyman. The stranger preached quite a short discourse, and despite of the fact that it was a trifle abrupt about the end, everybody was pleased.

When all was over, he seemed to feel that something required explanation. And in the vestry he told his elders how it was his sermon was so short. "I had my sermon written," he said; "and had left it on my study table. At the last moment, however, my favourite terrier entered the room in my absence, and worried the manuscript, devouring the last half. "I'm exceedingly sorry," he added.

"It's a right," said the elders, "there is no need to apologize for such an excellent sermon."

A quiet voice was heard from the end of the table: "Could ye no give oor Minister a young pup from that fine terrier dog of yours?"

As for 'canniness', that is perhaps best exemplified by the proverbial phrase: `A Scotch mist', meaning 'a regular downpour'.

One can allot high praise to something by using that canny and highly characteristic formula: "It is no bad" or, "It might be waur."

There was a fearful scrimmage once between a farmer and a gamekeeper; and the case came up for trial. The lawyer wanted to show that the farmer was quarrelsome and questioned him accordingly, asking him did he not fight with every gamekeeper he met. "Me feicht! A niver feicht with onybody."

"Did you not with George Lawson?"

"Hoots, man, A see what you're at, noo. Geordie and me had a bit o' an argument. He called me a lear; and A just flung him over the dike. But there was nae feichtin' about it, ava'" (ava - at all).


And that's it for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)

Alastair
http://www.electricscotland.com 


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