Culture

The Laird O’ Yarpha: Episode 3

Our hero turns to thinking of taking a wife!


Mansie having become uncontrolled proprietor of “the lairdship” since the demise of his father, began seriously to look about him for a wife: but true to his principles, and the hereditary pride of his house, he determined to put the question to none who could not boast of “gentle blude” and accordingly fixed his wavering fancy on Miss Euphemia ****, a lady of a certain age.

It is true said the enamoured Orcadian, “Miss Effie is neither braw nor bonnie, an no overlie weel-natured, but then she’s o’ the better sort.”

matrimonyThe truth is she knew little or nothing of rural affairs – had heard that the cream she mixed with her tea came from certain quadrupeds vulgarly called “kye” – had a faint notion that butter was produced by churning, and that cheese did not, like potatoes and turnips, grow in the fields.

She had spent a great portion of her life in London with a maiden aunt and on great occasions if she condescended to dance, twas strictly “by the beuk”. Such was the lady whom Mansie, “on desperate deed intent,” wished to elevate to his board-head; but alas! the course of true love on this, as on many other occasions, did not run smooth.

The lady tossed her head, or to use a vernacular phrase, “coost up her nose at him;”  – would listen to no overtures – until our hero’s pride took the alarm, and off he came, but with the old salvo, “She may refuse me this time, but Trow tak me if ever she does’t again.”

Repulsed thus by the only person in the parish at all equal to him in birth, our hero determined not to commit himself a second time to the caprices of the “softer sex”. He well knew that out of his own district he had no chance with any female having claims to gentility; so like a wise man, he gave up all thoughts matrimonial, and applied himself  diligently to his ” horses, ploughs, and kye,” indulging himself occasionally in the society of his neighbours during the winter months, at the ” change-house”, talking parish politics with the smith, and discussing knotty points of scripture with the miller.

Nay, to such perfection did he arrive at length in controversial divinity, that he fairly dumbfoundered the dominie and had even the audacity to attack the ” minister himsel”, one stormy winter day, when they met at a funeral.

No doubt the new ale impelled him to such a desperate deed; but still there was honour even in being worsted by a person of college education, and a placed minister to boot.

” I can neither speak Latin nor Greek, as ye can do, Minister, but I maybe ken, the beuk as weel as some folk that think mair o’ themselves. Is it no beleein scripture to say that the world is as round as a cassie, an gangs whirlin’ an’ whirlin’ round the sun, like a fleeock round the lamp? Doesna the word say that the world is founded on the waters? Answer me that Minister, wi a’ your college lear.”

And he looked round him with an air of triumph. as much as to say, “There’s as muckle sense beneath some folk’s bannets as there is aneath ither folk’s hats.”


Mind on this was published by David Vedder in 1832

 

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