Whole proceedings of Jockey and Maggy (1803)

Whole proceedings of Jockey and Maggy  (1803) 





I. Jockey and Maggy's Courtship, as they were coming from the Market.

II. The wonderful Works of our John, shewing how he made Janet like an Elshinbaft, and got his ain Maggy wi’ Bairn forby.

III. The wonderful Works of our John made manifest before the Minister.

IV. How Jockey and his Mither went away to see his Bastard Child.

V. How Jockey had another Child, and could not get it baptized until he mounted the Stool; with an Account of his Mither's Death and Burial; Also an elegant Elegy on the same Occasion.



Printed by J. Morsen, Cowgate.



Jockey.HEY Maggy wiltu stay and tak kent fouks hame wi' ye the night?

Mag.] Wiltu come awa’ than Johnny, I fain wad be hame or the kye come in, our meikle Riggy is sic a rummling royte, she rins ay thro’ the byre, and flicks a the bits a couties; my mither is na able to had her up to her ain stake.

Jock.] Hute, we’ll be hame in braw time woman; And how’s a' your fouks at hame?

Mag.] Indeed I canna well tell you, man, our guidman is a’ gane wi’ the gut, my mither is very frail, my father he’s ay wandering about and widdling amang the beasts.

Jock.] But dear Maggy, they tell me we’re gawn to get a wedding of thee and Andrew Merrymouth the laird’s gardener.

Mag.] Na, na, he maun hae a brawer lass to be his wife than the like o’ me, but auld Tammy Tailtrees was seeking me, my father wad a bane me to tak him, but my mither wadna let, there was an odd debate about it, my guidame wad a sticket my mither wi’ the grape, if my father had na chanc’d to founder her wi’ the beetle.

Jock.] Hegh woman, I think your father was a fool for fashing wi him, auld slavery duse, he wants naething of a cow but the clutes, your guidame may tak him hersel, twa auld tottering stumps, the tane may fair the tither fu' well.

Mag.] Ach man! I wad a tane thee or ony body to bane them greed again, my father bled my guidame’s nose, and my guidame brak my mither’s thumb, the neighbour’s came rinning in, but I had the luck to baud my father’s hands, till yence my guidame plotted him wi' the broe that was to mak our brose.

Jock.] Dear Maggy, I hae something to tell you ah ye wadna be angry at it?

Mag.] O Johnny, there’s my hand I'se no be angry at it, be what it will.

(Shake hands for fear of an outcast.)

Jock.] Indeed Maggy, the fouk of your town an the fouk of our town, says we are gawn to be married? What sayest thou?

Mag.] I wish we ne’er do war, O Johnny! I dream’d of you lang syne, and I liket you ay after that.

Jock.] O Maggy! Maggy! doit thou not mind, since I came to your father’s bull, wi’ my mither’s cow, ye ken she wadna stand, and ye helped me to haud her; ay after that they scorned me that I wad be married on a you.

Mag.] It’s very true man, it'll be an'odd thing an it be; but it's no fa' back at my door, I ashure you.

Jock.] Nor at mine, but my mither bade me kiss ye.

Mag.] Indeed shall ye Johnny, thou’s no want twa kisses, ane on every side o’ the mouth, man.

Jock.] Ha! ha! Maggy, I’ll hae a merry night o' kissing you shortly.

Mag.] Ay, but Johnny, you maun stay till that night come it's best to keep the sealt till the feast day.

Jock.] Dinna be angry Maggy, my wife, to be, but I have heard my mither say in her daffin, that souk sud ay try gin their house will haud their plenishen?

Mag.] Ay, but Johnny, a, wife is ae thing and a house anither, a man that's a mind to marry a woman he’ll no mak her a whore.

Jock.] ’Tis a’ true Maggy, but fouks may do it yence, or they be married, and no hae nae ill in their minds

Mag.] Aha, Johnny, mony a ane has been beguil'd wi’ yence, an’ do it yence, ye may do it ay, what an we get a bystart, an’ hae to suffer for the foul act of fornication

Jock.] Ay, but my mither says, if I dinna get thee wi bairn, I’ll no get thee, so ’tis the surest way of wooing.

Mag.] Indeed Johnny, I like you better nor ony lad I see, an I sall marry you an yence my father’s muck were out; my mither downa wirk at the midden.

Jock.] A Maggy, Maggy, I’m fear’d ye beguile me and then my mither will murder me for being so silly?

Mag.] My jo Jockey, tell your mither to provide a’ things for the bridal, an I sall marry you in three ouks after this, but we maun gie in siller to the precentor, a groat and a drink to the bellman, and then the kirk wa’s maun hear o’t three Sundays or it come.

Jock.] But Maggy, I’m no to mak a blin bargain wi’ you nor naebody, I maun ken o’ your things and ye sall ken o’ mine.

Mag.] I ken well what I was to get, an gin my mither like the bargain well, she’ll mak it better? but an my father be angry at the match, l darna meet you to be married.

Jock.] I see na how he can be angry, I wet well I'm a gay sturdy fellow, when I laid a bow and five pecks, o’ beer on the laird’s Bawsy,and he’s as bilshy a beast as is in a’ the Barronry.

Mag.] Ay, but my mither is ay angry at ony body that evens themselves to me, an it binna them she likes, indeed she bade me tak ony body if it was na auld tottering Tammy, for his beard is ay brown wi' sucking tobacco, and slavers a’ the breast o' his secket.

Jock.] O! Maggy, tak me an I’ll tell you what I hae; first my father left me when he died fifty merks twa ducks, twa pair o’ sunks, the hens, an the gaun gear was to be divided between me aa my mither, an' if she died first, a’ her gear was to come in amang mine, an if I died before her a’ my gear was to come back to her again, an her to marry another man if she cou’d get him. But since 'tis happened sae, she is to gie me brucky and the black mare, the ha’f o’ the coys, three spoons, four pair o' blankets an' a can as she's to big a twa bey to her ain gavel to be a dwelling-house to me an’ my wife, an em to get the wee byre at the end of the raw, to hand my cow an twa couties: the ha’f o’ the barn and a bed o’ the kail-yard as lang as she lives, an when she dies am to pay for the yerding o’ her honestly, an a’ the o’er-come is to be my ain; and by that time I’ll be as rich as e’er my father was before me.

Mag.] Truly, Johnny, I'se no say meikle to the contrair, but an ye hae a mind to tak me wi’ what I hae, tell me either now or never, for I’se be married or lang gae?

Jock.] I wat well I’m courting in earnest, tell me what you hae, an we’ll say nae mair but marry ither.

Mag.] I’se tell you a’ I ken o', whate'er my guidame gies ye’s get it?

Jock.] That’s right, I want nae mair, ’tis an unco thing to marry a naket woman and get naething but twa bare legs.

Mag.] O Johnny ye’re in the right o't for mony ane is beguil’d and gets naething, but my father is to gie me forty punds Scots that night I am married, a lade o’ meal, a furlet o’ groats, auld Crummie is mine since she was a ca’f, and now she has a stirk will tak the bill e’er Beltan yet, I hae twa stane o’ good lint, and three pockfu’s o’ tow, a good ca’fbed, twa bousters and three cods, with three pair o' blankets, an a covering, forby twa pair to spla, but my mither wadna gie me creesh to them, an ye ken the butter is dear now?

Jock] Then fareweel the night Maggy; the best of friends maun part, an to maun thy twa legs yet.

Mag.] I wish you well Johnny, but say nae mair till we be married, and then lad.

(Hame gaed Maggy and tell'd her Mither)

Mag.] O mither! I hae something to tell ye, but ye maun tell my father?

Mither.] Dear Maggy, and what is that.

Mag.] Mither am gaun to be married an the muck were out.?

Mit.] Dear Maggy, and wha’s thou gaun to get, ’tis no auld bubly Tammie?

Mag.] Na, na, he’s a braw young man, and has mair gear nor ilka body kens o’, guess and I’ll tell you, ’tis Johnny Bell, and his mither sent him to the market just to court me.

Mit.] Deed Maggy ye’ll no be illyoked with him he’s a gay well gaun fellow, right spruce, maist like an ill-far’d gentleman. Hey guidman, do ye hear that our Maggy is gawn to be married an the muck were out.

Father.] Na, na, I'll no allow that until the peats be cuslen and hurl’d.

Mag.] O Father! ’tis dangerous to delay the like o’ that, I like him an he likes me, ’tis best to strike the iron whan ’tis hot.

Fat.] An wha is she gaun to get guidwife?

Mit.] An wha think ye guidman?

Fat.] A what wat I herie, an she please hersel, am pleas’d already.

Mit.] Indeed she’s gawn to get Johnny Bell, as clever a little fellow as in a' the Barronry where he bides.

Fat.] A well, a well herie, she’s your’s as well as mine, gie her to wha ye please.

Mit.] A well Maggy, I’se hae a’ things ready, an I’ll hae thee married or this month be done.

Mag.] Thanks to ye Mither, mony guid turn ye done me, and this will be the best, I think.

(Hame goed Jockey to his Mither, crying.)

Jockey.] Mither! Mither! I made it ont, her mouth is sweeter nor milk, my heart plays a’ whilkie whaltie whan I kiss her.

Mit.] Fair fa’ thee my son Johnny, thou’s gotten the gest o’t at last, and whan is thou gaun to be married.

Jock.] Whan I like mither, but get the masons the morn to big me my house, for I’ll, bag a’ my things in right good order.

Mit.] Thou’s want for naething my bairn, but pusht forward as fist as ye can.

The wooing being o’er and the day being set, Jockey’s mither kill’d the black boul horn’d yeal Ew,e that lost her lamb the last year, three hens an a guse fitted cock to prevent the ripples, five pecks o’ mant masket in the muckle kirn, a pint o’ treacle to mak it thicker and sweeter an maumier for the mouth; five pints o’ whisky, wherein was garlic and spice, for raising o’ the wind an the clearing o’ their water, the friends an good neighbours went a’ wi’ John to the kirk, where Maggy chanced to meet him and was married by the minister; the twa companies joined together ane came hame in a crowd, at every change-house they chanced to pass by, Providence stopt their proceedings, with fall stoups, bottles and glasses drinking their healths, wishing them much joy, ten girls and a boy; Jockey seeing so many wishing well to his health, coupt up what he gat for to augment his health and gar him live long, which afterwards coupt him up, and proved detrimental to the same.

So home they came to the dinner, where his mither presented to them a piping hot haggies, made of the criesh of the black boul horn'd Ewe, boil’d in the meikle pat, mixt with bear-meal, onions, spice, and mint; this haggies being supt warm the foaming swats and spice in the liquor, let John’s belly a bizzing like a working fat, and he playing het-fit to the fidler, was suddenly seized with a bocking and rebounding gave his dinner such a backward ca’, that he lost a’ but out the girt bits he seythed thro’ his teeth; his mither cried to spence him, and bed him with the bride; his breeks being fil’d, they washed both his hips, laid him in his bed, pale and ghostly was his face, and clos’d were baith his een, ah, cries his mither, a dismal day indeed, his bridal and his burial may be on ae day: some cuist water in his face, and jag’d him wi’ a needle, till he began to rouse himself up, and rap out broken words. Mither, mither, whar am I now? Whar are you now my bairn, says his mither, ye’re bedet, an I’ll bring the bride to you. Bedet, an is my bridal done else. Ay, said she, here’s the bride to ly down wi’ you. Na, na, said he. I'll no ly wi’ that unco woman indeed, if it binna heads an thraws the way I ly with my mither? O fy! dinna affront yoursel: The bride saus a crying, O mither! mither! was this the way my father guided you the first night? Na, na, thy father was a man o’ manners and better mettle, poor thing Meg, thou’s ca'd thy hogs to a bonny market. A bonny market says his mither, a shame fa’ you an her baith, he’s wordy o’ her tho’ she were better nor what she is, or e’er will be. His friends and her friends being in a mixt multitude, some took his part an some took her’s, there did a battle begin in the clap of a hand, being a very fierce tumult, which ended in blood, they struck so hard with stones sticks, beetles, and barrow trams, pigs, pots, stoups, trenchers, were flying like bombs and granadoes. The crook, bouls and tangs were all employed as weapons of war: till down came the bed with a great mou of peats. So this disturbet their bedding.


NOW though all the ceremonies of Jockey and Maggy’s wedding were ended, when they were fairly bedded, before a wheen rattling unruly witnesses, who dang down the bed aboon them; the battle still increased, and John’s work turn’d out to be very wonderful, for he made Janet, that was lass his mither's lass the last year, grew like an elshin-haft, and got his ain Maggy wi’ bairn forby.

The hamsheughs, were very great, until auld uncle Rabby came in to redd them, and a sturdy auld fellow he was, stood lively wi’ a stiff rumple, and by strength of his arms rave them sundry, sturgen the tane east and the tither west, until they stood a’ round about, like as mony breathless forsoughen cocks, and no ane durst steer anither for him, Jockey’s mither was driven o'er a kist, and brogit a her hips on a round heckle, up she gat and running to fell Maggy’s mither with the ladle, swearing she was the mither of a’ the mischief that happened, uncle Rabby ran in between them, he having a great long nose like a trumpet she recklesly came o'er his lobster-neb a drive wi' the ladle until the blood sprang out an ran down his auld grey baird, and hang like snuffy bubbles at it; O! then he gaed wood, and looked as waefu’ like as he had been a tod-lowrie come frae worrying the lambs wi’ his bloody mouth. With that be gets an auld stail, and rives awa’ the supple, then drives them a’ to the back o’ the door, but yet nane wan out; then wi’ chirten and chappen, down comes the clay hallen and the hen bawk wi’ Rab Reid the fidler, who had crept up aside the hens for the preservation of his fiddle.

Ben comes the bride when she got on her coat, clappet Rabby’s shoulder, and bade him spare their lives, for there is blood enough shed in ae night, quoth she; and that my beard can witness, quoth he. So they all came in obedience to uncle Rabby, for his souple made their pows baith saft and fair that night; but saft Maggy Simpson sat by the fire and picket banes a’ the time o’ the battle; indeed quoth she, I think you’re a' fools but mysel; for I came here to get a guid supper, and ither fouk has gotten their skin well pait.

By this time up got John the bridegroom, that was Jockey before he was married, but coudna get his breeks, yet wi’a horse-nail he tucket his sark tail between his legs, that nane might see what every body should hide, and rampingly he cries settle ye, or I’ll gar my uncle settle ye, and saften your heads wi’ my auld supple.

Poor Rab Reid the fidler took a sudden blast, some said he was raw-turn'd wi’ the fa’, for he bocked up a’ the barley, and then gar’d the ale go like a rainbow frae him, as brown as wort brole.

The hurly-burly being ended, and naething but fair words an shaking o’ hands which was a sure sign o' an agreement they begun to cow their cutted lugs, an wath their fairs, a but Jockey’s mither, who cries out, a black end on you and your wedding baith; for I hae gotten a hunder holes dung in my arfe wi’ the round heckle teeth.

Jockey answers, A e’en had you wi’ them than mither, ye will e’en be the better fair'd.

Up gets auld Rabby, an auld Sandy the suter o’ Seggyhole, to put every thing in order; they prapet up the bed wi’ a rake and rippling kame, the bearers being braken, they made a solid foundation o’ peets, laid on the calf-bed and bowsters, where Jockey and Maggy was beddet the second time.

Jockey not being used to lie wi’a naked woman, except heads and thraws wi' his mither, gets his twa hands about the bride’s neck, and his hough out o’er her hurdies, saying, I ne’er kist wife nor lass naked before, and for fainess I’ll bite you. I’ll bite you, &c. Naething mair remarkable till about half a year, an four oukes thereafter, in comes Marion Mushet running bare-foot and bare-legit, wi’ bleart cheeks an a watery nose, cursing and banning, greeting an flyting.

Marion enters. Crying, an whar’s John?

His mither answers. Indeed he’s out in the yard powing kail runts.

Mar.] A. black end on a him an his runts baith, for he’s ruin’d me an my bairn.

Mit.] Ruin’d you! it canna be; he never did you ill, nor said you ill, be night nor be day, what gars you say that?

Mar.] O woman! our Jenny is a’ rowing like a pack o’ woo? indeed she’s wi’ quick bairn, and your John is the father o’t.

Mit.] Our John the father o’t! had, there enough said, lying lown, I trow our John was ne’er guilty o’ sic a sinfu' action: Dafo woman, I trow it'll be but wind that hoves up the lassie’s waine, she’Il hae drunken some four drink, like raw sowens, or rotten milk that mak’s her sae.

Mar.] A wae be to him an his actions baith, he’s the father o't, fornicator dog that he’s; he’s ruin’d me an my bairn; I bore her and brought her up honestly, till she came to you; her father died and left me wi’ four o’ them, there wasna ane o’ them cou’d pit on anither’s claes, or tak a louse aff ither.

Mit.] I bid you haud your tongue, an no oven your bystarts to my bairn, for he’ll ne’er tak wi’t: he, poor silly lad, he wad ne’er look to a lass, be’s to lay her down. Fy Maggy cry in o’ John, and let’s ratify’t wi’ the auld ruddoch; ay, ye’re no blate for saying sae.

Mar.] Be angry, or be well pleased, I’ll say’t in ’a your faces, an I’ll ca’ you before your betters about it or lang gae.

John enters] A what want ye now, is our brose ready yet?

Mit.] Ay brose, black brose indeed for thee my bairn; here Marion Mushet saying ye hae gotten her dochter wi’ bairn.

Jock.] Me mither! I ne’er lay in a bed wi’ her dochter a’ my days; it’ll be the young laird’s, for saw him kiss her at the Lammas fair, and let glam at her nonsense.

Mit.] Ay, ay, my man Jonnny, that’s the way she has gotten her belly full o’ bairns; ’tis no you, nor the like o’ you, poor innocent lad, that gets bystart weans; a wheen silly lowns, every one loups on anither, and gies you the wyte o’t.

Mar.] You may say what you like about it, ’tis easy to ca’ a court whar there’s nae body to say again, but I’ll tell you a’ I ken about it, and that is what she tell’t me’ and you guidwife, tell't me some o’t yoursel; an gin ye hadna brought in Maggy wi’ her muckle tocher atween the twa, your Jockie and my Jenny had a been man an wife the day.

Jock.] I wat well that’s true?

Mit.] Ye filthy dog that ye are, are ye gaun to confess wi’ a bystart an it no yours; dinna I ken as well as ye do wha’s aught it.

Jock.] Ay but mither, we may deny as we will about it but I doubt it will come to my ain door at last.

Mit.] Ye silly sumph an senseless fallow, had ye been knuckle deep wi the dirt drap ye might a said sae, but ye tell’t ma lang fyne that ye couldna lo’e her, she was so lazy an lown like; besides her crooket fit an bow’d legs.

Jock.] Ay, but mither, do ye mind since ye sent me out to gie her the parting kiss at the black hole o’ the peet stack, she rave the button frae my breeks, and wad gar me do’t; and bade me do’t, an cou’d stesh, an blood refuse to, do’t; I’m sure mither, I cou’d ne’er get her wi’ bairn wi’ my breeks on.

Mit.] Na, na, poor simple silly lad, the weans no yours, ilka ane loups on o’ anither, an you’ll get the wayte o’ a’ the bystarts round about.

Up gets Maggy wi’ a rore, and rives her hair, cries her back, belly an baith her sides; the weed and gut gaes thro’ my flesh like lang needles, nails, or elshin irons. Wae be to the day that e’er I saw his face, I had better married a tinkler, or a followed the sogers, as mony a honest man’s dochter has done, and liv’d a better life than I do.

Up gets Joekey an rins o’er the rigs for John Roger's wife; auld Kitty the howdy, but or he wan back she parted wi' Patrick thro’ perfect spite an then lay twa fauld o’er a stool in a swoon.

Jock.] A well, a well sirs, tho’ my first born is e'en dead without seeing the light of the world; yes a' get bread an cheese to the blythemeat, the thing we shou'd a war’d on the banket will fair the burial, an that will ay be some advantage; an Maggy should, die. I maun een tak Jenny the tane is as far a length as the tither; I'sa be furnish’t wi’ a wife between the twa.

But Maggy grew better the next day, and was able to muck, the byre: yet there gaed sic a tittle tatlin thro’ the town, every auld wife tell’d anither o't, and a’ the light hippet hissies that rins between towns at een, turning at their tow rocks, spread it round the kintry, and every body’s mouth was fill’d wi’ Jockey and Jenny, and how Maggy had parted wi’ bairn.

At last Mess John Hill hears of the horrid action, and sends the elder of that quarter and Clinkum Bell the grave-maker, to summon Jockey and Jenny to the session, and to see how the stool of repentance wad set them, no sooner had they entered the door but Maggy fa's a greeting, and wrining her hands; Jockey’s mither fell a flyting, and he himfelf a rubbing his lugs, and riving his hair, saying, O gin I were but a half ell higher, I sud be a soger or it be lang: an gie me a good flail or a corn fork, I sun kill Frenchmen anew, before I gade to face yon flyting ministers, an be set up like a warld’s wonder on their cock-stool or black-stool, an wha can hide the shame, whan every body looks to them, wi' their sacken sarks or gowns on them, like the piece of an auld canvas prickt about a body for naething but what every body does amaist, or they be metried as well as me.

Mit.] My man Johnny, ye re no the first that has done it, an ye’ll no be the last; een mony o' the ministers has done it themselves, hout ay, your father and I did it mony a time.

Mag.] Ay, ay, and that gars your son be so good o't as he is, the thing that’s bred in the flesh, is ill to pit out o’ the bane.

Mit.] Dait woman, what way wad the warld stand if fouks wadna mak use o’ ither? 'tis the thing that’s natural, bairns getting; therefore it's no to be feunard at.

Mag.] Ay, ay, but an they be for the like o that they should marry

Mit.] But I think there’s little ill tho’ they try it ance or twice or they be married? his an unca'thing till a body to be bound to a business, if they dinna ken whether they be sole for it or no.

Mag.] Ay, ay, that’s your way of doing and his, but it’s no the way of ither honest fouk: see what the minister will say to it.

Mit.] The minister is but a mortal man, an there's defections in his members as well as mine.

Mag.] Ay, but fouk should ay strive to mortify their members.

Mit.] An that is your Whigry? Will you or ony body else, wi’ your mortifying o' your members, prevent what’s to come to pass? I wish I saw the minister an his elders, but I’se gie him scripture for a' he’s done yet; tell na me about the mortifying o’ members, gin he had gotten a bystart, let her an him feed it between them, an they su'd gie t soup about; but she maun keep it the first quarter, an be that time muckle black lady will be cauft, we fall fell the cauf an foster the wean on the cow’s milk; that’s a better mense for a saut, than a’ your mortifying o‘ members, an a' your repenting stools; a wheen Papist rites an rotten ceremonies, fashing fouks wi sack gowns an buttock-masts, an I dinna ken what, but bide you till I fee the minister.


NOW Jockey an his mither went into the little byre, and held a private meeting, nane present but auld Brucke an the twa brutes the bits a couties.

Mit] Ya filthy dog an be drown’d to you, how could ye confess fae meikle to maislie blanket Marion, altho' she be her mither.

Jock.] O mither! mither! say nae mair about it, my ain wind has dung me dourly! sadly have I suffered for that, an'ye ken a’ the misery's com’d o er our Maggy, my mouth’s the mither o’t, fae had your tongue I tell ye now.

Mit.] An tell y me to haud my tongue, an ye had a houden your tongue an your tail, an a done as I bade you, ye didna hane sae muckle ado the day, daft silly dog it thou is.

Jock.] Mither, mither, gie's nane o'your mocks nor malice for tho' I got the wean, ye hae as muckle the wyte o't as I. Ga seek me out my three new sarks, an Sundays shune, an I'se gang whar ne'er man saw my face before; neither wood, water, nor wilderness sall haud me again.

Mit.] My braw man, Johnny, ye manna do that, stay at hame wi me, an let a stout heart to a stay brae, I'se gang to the session wi' you, gang whan you like.

Jock.] A well mither, I sall do your bidding for ance yet, but whan the minister flytes on me, answer ye him, for I canna speak well again.

Mit.] Say nea mair, I ha a pockfu’ o' petitions to louse an put to him and his elders, an if thou maun gae to their black stool, it's no be thy lane sall sit upon't

Jock.] But mither, wither sall I deny the doing o't; or confess the game was at the getting o't.

Mit.] Ay, ay, confess ye did it, but say but ance, an that was on the terms of marriage, the way that a' our kintry bystarts is gotten.

Now Jockey being three times summon'd to the session and did not appear, the session insisted for a warrant from the justice of the peace, which was readily granted, more for diversion than justice sake; be warrant given to John King the constable, who went away with Clinkem Bell on Saturday's morning, and catched John just at his brose, hauls him awa, ane at ilka oxter like twa butcher dogs hinging at a bill a beard, his mither follow'd, driving him up with counsel, my braw man Johnny, haud up your head, an dinna think shame, for o' your fauts is but perfect honesty, you're neither a thief, whore, nor horse-stealer.

Then Maggy ran for uncle Rabby, an uncle Rabby sent for Sandy the Souter of Seggyhole, the Souter saddled his mare, an uncle Rabby got aff at the gallop on his grey powney, west the hags, an o'er by Whitehill-sheugh, the nearest, and was at Sir James the justice lang or John was brought into judgment.

John enters before the justice with a red, red face like a well paid arse, faus down on his knees, saying, Guide’en Mr Jutice Sir James ant please yout honour, ye manna put me in prison, for I'm not a malefactor, but a poor honest kintryman, that was born in an ill planet, my mither says’t, I had the ill luck, of a misfortune to fa' foul wi fornication, an got my mither's lass wi bairn the last year, an they’re' gaun to father't on me the year.

The justice smiling, answer'd, Indeed John, I think it is but very just and reasonable, that ye be accountable this year, for your last year’s labours.

Jock.] Ay, ay, stir, I have laboured very fair since my father died; but our plough canna get gane for frost this four days.

Just.] Ay, but John, that's no what I mean 'tis the child you got last year, ye must be answerable for this.

Jock.] A deed stir, there was twa o’ them, but there is ane o them dead.

Just.] A well then John, you’ll have the more to give the one that’s alive.

Jock.] O! but stir, it's my ain wean that’s dead, the ane I got wi' my wife; I dinna ken whither the uther be mine or no.

Just.] Your’s or no sir, when ye told me ye got it; if ye should get it wi’ a beggar wife at the back o a dyke, what’s that to the purpose, when it is of your getting, you must maintain it.

Jock.] O yes, stir, I'm no refusing to gie meat an meal to mamtain’t; but my mither winna let me to the black stool.

Just.] Why not go to the black-stool, when guilty of such a sinful action as deserves it, if you have any reason why you should not go, argument it in the session, and clear yourself if you can.

John's mither enters, and addresses herself to the servant lass thinking she was the justice's lady.

Indeed mistress madam, if ye were a kintry goodwife like mysel, I cou’d tell you a’ about it, but you that’s ladies, I canna ase freedom wi’ ye, because I haena Latin. But waes me, we that’s poor fouk is born to mony saelins an backward fans, this lad is my son, an am his mither, he has had the foul fortune to get a bystart bairn, nae doubt but we hae a’ been guilty o’ as muckle, an ne’er a word about it, a what say ye madam?

Off goes the lass, saying, Foul fa’ the wife, for I was ne’er guilty o’t.

Just.] Well goodwife, what is the reason but ye let your son give satisfaction to the kirk?

Mit.] Deed stir, he’s no denying the bairn, but he’ll no hae the black-stool.

Just.] Ay, but I'll tell you, them that gets a bastard, gets the black-stool to the bargain, and as he is in my hands now, he must find caution that he will answer the session, and be subject to the law.

Mit ] Ony thing ye like, stir, but that shamefu' stance, the black-stool; here‘s uncle Rabby, an auld Sandy the Soutor, will be caution that we’s face the session on Sunday, the lad‘s wae enough he did it, but he canna help it now, the weans born and by hand: Sae guidnight wi' your honour's ladyship 'tiz the first time e‘er I was before you.

On Sabbath after sermon the session met, John and his mother is call'd upon, he enters courageously, saying, Goodeen to you Master Minister, bellman an’elders a‘, my mither an me is baith here.

Mess John.] Then let her in, come awa' goodwife, What’s the reason you keep your son so long back from answering the session? you see it is the thing you are obliged to do at last.

Mit.] Deed stir, I think there needs na be nae mair wark about it I think, whan he's gien the lazy hulk the mither o't baith meal an groats to maintain't ye needna sash him, he's a dutifu' father indeed, weel I wat, when he feeds his bystarts sae weel.

Mess John.] Woman are you a hearer of the gospel? that ye reject the dictates of it, how come you to dispise the discipline of the church? Is not offenders to be rebuked and chastised!

Mit.] Yes stir, a' that is very true, but I hae been three or four times thro' the Bible and the New testament, and I never saw a repenting stool in’t a‘, them whare cou‘d the first o‘ them come frae, the Apostles had nane o‘ them. But a daft history Book tells me, that the first o‘ them was used about Rome amang the Papists, an ay whan ony o‘ them turn‘d Whigs, they were put on a four neuked thing, like a yarn-winnel blades, an rive a‘ their gouls findry till they turn‘d Papists again n then for anger they put them on a black stane or stool, in the mids o‘ the kirk, an the sock gown about them, wi‘ the picture o‘ the de‘il an Satan on‘t, a sweet be wi‘ us, we sudna speak o‘ the ill thief in the kirk, but it is a mercy the minister's here an he come, but that was the original o‘ your repenting stools, an whan the Whigs chac'd awa‘ the Papist souk out o‘ this country, they left a wheen o‘ their religious pictures and the stool o‘ repentance was amangst the spoil, but ye’se no get my bairn to set upon a thing as high as a hen bawd, an ilka body to be glowrin at him.

Mess John.] Woman I told you formerly that any who refuses submission to the government of the church, is liable to excommunication: an that we are to put the law in execution against adultery and fornication, or the sin thereof lies partly on our head.

Mit.] As for your sin of adultery, I have naething ado wi‘t, I ken my son is a fornicator, an ye can neither mak him better nor war nor he is, there‘s nae man can keep a standing in their ain hand, fortune I mean, if it be a sin let him confess't, an forsake it, and we‘s pay the buttock-mail and mak nae mair about it.

Mess John.] Goodwife, you need not think your son will pass so, more than others that have been before him, he must actually come before the congregation three Sabbaths before he be absolved from the scandal, and get the benefit of any church privileges like any other honest man.

Mit.] Indeed Mess John, my son will never set his hips upon‘t: if he maun come before you, I'se gar him stand a bit back frae't, an hear what ye hae to say about fornication, twa harmless free bodies, passing their trial to see what they can do ye that's Whigs may mak enough o't, but I think nae muckle about it.

Mess John.] Woman ye may go home and see what you have to do; ye have a very bad tongue: ‘tis no you we are to tak account of.

Mit.] Ay, ay, ye that's ministers an modest, fouk may say sae, but if my son had taen as good rent of his tail, as I can do o‘ my tongue, there had na been sae muckle about it, a wheen silly lowns kens na what they were made for, or how to guide a thing when they get it.

Mess John.] Put her cut, she's going to speak baudy.

Mit.] O ay, stir, I‘se gang out, but I'll hae my bairn out wi’ me.

Mess John.] We must first ask some few questions at him, there's no harm can come on him here.

Mit.] For as good company as you think yourselves, I wad rather hae him in anither place.

(John's kept in and his Mother put out.)

Mefs John.] Well John, you must tell us whether this child was gotten before you was married, or since, for I suppose by the time of the birth it is much about the same time?

Jock.] Hout ay, stir, it was gotten lang or I married, I needna forget the getting, it was'nae sae easy to me.

Mess John.] How long is it since ye was first acquaint?

Jock.] Just when she came to be my mither's lass, I never saw her but ance before, an gin I had never seen her, I had never kend her after sic a fashious fashion.

Mess John.] How long was she serving with your mother?

Jock.] Just twa hailyerts; an I got her wi’ bairn about a year after she came, and 'tis no a year yet since I was married.

Mess John.] Dear John there is a contradiction indeed, a woman cannot go two years with child.

Jock.] Deed stir, it was then the wean was first gotten.

Mess John.] A John, John, I find you out to be a sinful liver, you and that woman has had carnal dealings for some time; it is ill keeping the cow out of the corn, if she once get a way of going to it, ye should actually a married the poor woman, when ye cohabited so long together.

Jock.] No stir, we didna cow-habit together, tho she kist me, an I kist her, sometimes in the barn, an sometimes in the byre; nane kent o’t but my mither, an she wadna let me tak her, but sent me awa ta court our Maggy.

His mither cries thro’ the hole o' the door: A ye senseless sumph, is that a’ the thanks I get for counselling you to do well, war na me ye wad a been married on a lown-like, leepet, lazy lump, who had neither wit nor wyles, no sue muckle judgment as wyle the wind frae her tail but lute it gang afore fouks.

Up gets the elders, crying, Fy, fy, Duncan the bellman, drive that wicked wife frae the door, she disturbs us all.

Duncan runs to the door whispering, shame fa, you for a wife, haud out o’ that: but I wad rather hear you, as hear them yet.

Mess John] Now John, will ye be so plain as tell me whether ye promised to marry the woman or no, when ye lay with her.

Jock.] Na, stir, I didna, ly wi’ her, for the herd an me lay in the byre bed, an she lay in the little lang-sadle at the hallan end.

Mess John.] ’Tis all one whether ye lay with her or no, when ye have got her with child, that’s what ye confess.

Jock.] I kenna whether I got her wi' bairn or no: but I did wi' her as I wi' did our Maggy, when she fell wi' bairn.

Mess John.] But the question is, whether or no did you promise to marry her when that child was gotten?

Jock.] Hut, tut, stir, ye wad fash souk spiering a' thing, it was her that promist to marry me for the getting o’t.

Mess John.] And did not you do the like to her?

Jock.] A what needed I do the like when she an my mither did it a' but the wean getting, she coudna do that.

Mess John.] Indeed John, you seem to have been a parcel of loose livers altogether.

Jock.] A loose stir, I wish I were loose yet, better be louse than bun to an ill stake.

Mess John.] I see it is needless for me to enquire any further into the matter, I find you out guilty; therefore you must appear publickly on the stool of repentance on Sabbath next, and the two following thereafter, or ye be absolved from the scandal.

Jock.] Indeed Master Minister, am very easy about repentance, and for your stool, tis a seat am very indifferent about, for am but bashful, an as I was never guilty o' getting bystarts, either before sinsyne, except in thoughts, words, deeds an' actions, I think ye may o'ch let me pess, I suffered enough wi' the clash o' the fintry, an loss o'my ain wean, it was the bystart, ye culdna' gar me stand for that.

Mess John.] You appear to be such a stupid fellow, the like of you should neither have lawful child nor bastard, and I admire that such an ideot as you, was allowed to be married to any woman: and you James, who is elder of that proportion, should have given information of this man’s capacity, before he was joined to a wife.

Elder.] Indeed sir, ye ken very well, he answered the questions at the examine, better than any other fouks, and I think he is best married, for he might a gotten mae bystarts and a fasht us.

Jock.] Indeed stir, 'tis very true, for when ance I got the gate o' women, I cou’d na bide arf them, but our Maggy was unco cunnen, she wadna let me do naething but kiss her an kittle her, till ance we was married.

Mess John.] I'll ask no more questions a' him; call in his mither, (in she comes), Goodwife, we have ordered your son to appear three Sundays on the stool, and there to be reproved, before the congregation publickly and be absolved from the scandal.

Mit.] Then the ill thief be in his arse Mess John, gin o’er he set his hip upon’t, my bairn on your black-stool? and wadna't be a great blunder on the auld black face o't, to my son to gang on't before the young laird, who has had twa bystarts an ne'er set a hip on't yet, and he's continually riding on the hissies to this day, and them that winna let him, he rives their duds, and kicks their doups. A dear Mess John, an ye gie gentle fouk a toleration to whore, to fornicate, kiss and cuddle a wee, wi ilka body they like, I'll gie you ten marks and gie't to me an my son too.

Mess John.] And what shall we do with these odious persons?

Elders.] Indeed Sir, we see not what we can make of them.

Mess John.] Make of them, we'll exclude them from all church benefit, and lay them under the lesser excommunication.

Mit.] Indeed stir, take your mind o't as our cat did o’ the haggies when she sippet it a’, an crap in o’ the bag.

If ye winna christen the wean, ye canna hinder us to call a cogfu’ o’ water on the face o’t, and ca’t ony thing we like.

So out she goes, shooting Jockey before her, so John went an pisht on the auld minister's widow’s gavel, and there was nae mair about it that day.


NOW Jockey and his mither came hame together, cheek for chow cracking like twa handguns.

Mit.] I trow I have fought a battle this day an win the field condingly, whan I hae conquer’d a’ the canker'd carles about the kirk.

Jock.] Indeed mither I think ye are a better man nor the minister, an gin ye had Arithmattock and Latin, to ken the kittle figures, you might preach as well as he.

Mit.] I true Jock lad, their black stool o’ sham repentance ne’er got sic a rattle as I hae gient the day.

Jock.] Na, na, mither, a’ the whoromongers that ever set a hip on’t kens na fae muckle about the auld foundation o’t as ye do.

Mit.] But Johnny man, an thou wad start on Monday, ye an I wad go an see the daft jade, Jenny the mither o’t.

Jock.] Wi' a’my heart mither, but we maun gie something an it were an auld servet, or an auld sark to keep the hips o’t warm, young weans is ay wet about the a—e ye ken.

Mit.] A well then Johnny, I’se cry to thee whan the hens begins to keckle, an that’s about the break o’ day, and we's be ready to take the road again Torry-burn day-light; when we’ll ken a t—d by a stane.

Up gets auld Maggy. Jock's mither, in the morning, puts on her kettle, an masks her Yool-brose, the muckle pot hung on the fire a’ night, wi’ the cheek of an auld cow's head, skims ad the fat an make a green cog o’ brose, then pours on a chappin o clean creish like oil, which made a brave sappy breakfast for Jockey an his mither, an Maggy got the cog to scart.

The brose being done, an a’ things ready, he halters the black mare, lays on the sunks and a covering, fine furniture for a country wife.

Jockey mounts an his mither behind him, trots awa, till coming down the brae aboon John Davie’s well; the auld beast being unseery the feet, she foundered before the girth and curple brake. Jockey tumbled o’er her lugs, an his mither out o’er him in the well wi’ a slunge.

Jock.] Ay, ay, mither, tho' I fell ye needna faun abune me, and gin ye had lyne where ye lighted first, ye wadne tumbled into the well: ‘tis an unco thing that a body canna get a fa‘ but ye maun fa' abune them: auld ruddoch it thou is, thou might a hauden better by the rumple, an ye wadna a bruised a' my back wi‘ your auld hard banes, nor a wat a' yoursel sae, an see, how ye have drummel’d a‘ John Davie‘s well.

Mit.] Hech quoth she, I wonder gin I be kill'd, thou always was wont to get the word o' a good rider, baith upon hissies an horses, an this be thy management thou's little worth; fell'd the auld banes that bore thee! sic a bath, as I hae gotten to my Yool, thou coudna gien me a war bed nor a water hole, in a cauld frosty morning; wae be to thee an that ill gotten gett o'thine, O! let never better bounty be gotten wi‘ bystarts getting, an this is so much for the fruits of fornication, a war stance nor the black-stool yet.

Jock.] Let's a be now wi' your auld taunts about bystarts getting, or I'se gie you the wind e‘ the mare's tail, an gar you wommel hame an a' your wat coats about you.

Mit.] Na, na my man Johnny, haud the auld jade till I loup on, we came together, an we‘s gang together, we sall see thy bystart an’ its mither or we gae hame.

Jock.] Wi' a’ my heart mither, but yonder the house an the hens on't, the lum’s reeking rairly, but little ken they wha’s coming.

At length they came to Jenny's mither’s door:

In goes his mither, and in goes his mare,
Himself follows after, cries. How's a’ here?

Mit.] Hech, is that poor body in her bed yet?

Her mither answers.] Well I wat she’s in her bed, and cauld and comfortless is her lying; bystarts getting is just like lent gear, seldom or ever well paid back again; but my poor lassie coudna done war nor she’s done, O! gin she had yielded her body to some bit herd laddie, he wad a seen her long or now.

Mit.] A dear Marion what wad ye be at? Do ye think that our John, wha has a wife o’ his ain, cou’d come an wait on her as she were a dame o’ honour, or yet an honest man’s wife, poor silly lown it he is, an he had thought o’ what he was com’d o’, he wad ne’er a offer’d benevolence to the like o’ her.

Mag.] An ye had been as great an instrogator against his making her double ribbet, as ye are now against doing her justice, for the filthy jumcrack he’s gien her, ye wadna need to ca’ her silly lown the day, and him an honest man; but the ne’er an honest man wad a hoddl’d sae lang on ae poor hidie an then gane awa’ an a married anither for the love o’ a pickle auld clouts, an twa three pockfu’s o’ tow; an she is but a silly lown indeed that lute him or ony rattlescull else, shake their tail sae lang upon her, without his faith, an his troth, an his fist before the minister.

Mit.] A cauld be your cast kimmer, do ye think it your dadeling dochter’s a match fit for my son John; I think less may fair, her father was but a poor cotter carle, an our John's father was a farmer, an altho' they hae faun foul o'ither, I think nae fairly o't; 'tis but a trick o' youth, an the course o' youdeth maun be out? but she may thank good fortune and tell her friends ay, an count it a credit that ever she bore a bystart to the like o’ him; a good fu' fat farmer's son, but ae step laigher nor a laird.

Mag.] A wae be to sic a credit ’tis no worth the cracking o’, and whar was a’ his noble equals whan he bute to lay a leg on my poor hissie, poor clarty clunny it thou is? and if they warna baith ae man’s mak I wad think nae thing o’t; for they war na a needle o’ differ between their dadies an what war they baith but twa sticket taylors at the best; an had as good a gane hame an a counted your bow kail stocks, as come here to count kindred wi’ me.

Jock.] Hout awa’ daft witless wives, I kenna what ye’re flyting about, I wad rather see the wean gin it be ony thing wally an’ like the warld.

Mit.] Indeed sall ye John, you’ll see your sin picture for little siller, a muckle mouth’t haveral it is, just like yoursel.

(The child is presented.)

Jock.] Mither, mither, it has a muckle mouth just like mine, an sees wi baith on’s een, an but five days auld yet.

Mit.] Dear Johnny thou’s no wife man, wad to hae the wean to be blin, the poor thing saw whan it was new born.

Jock.] A what ken I mither, am no sae weel skill'd as the howdies, an' them that’s ny bobbling weans but I thought they had been like the wee bits a whalpies, nine nights auld before they had seen ony.

Mit] Awa, awa, ye witless widdyfu, comparing a beast till a woman’s ain bairnie: a dog is a brute beast, and a wean is a christen’d creature.

Jock.] Na, mither, ’tis no a chrisen’d creature yet for it has neither gotten the words nor the water nor as little ken I how to ca't yet.

Mar.] I wat well ’tis a very uncanny thing to kee about a house, or yet t’ meet in the morning, a bed wanting a name.

Mit.] Hout tout ay, ye ’tis auld wives is ay fu’ o’ reets an religious fashions, them that look to frets, reets follows them, but is six an thirty years since I was a married wife, an I never kend a Sabbath day by anither ane, monny a time till the bell rang.

Mar.] Dear guidwife what need ye speak sae loud? ye fright the wean wi' crying sae, sec as it starts.

Mit.] Ay, ay, the bystarts is ay that way, but ken ye the reason o’ that.

Mar.] Ye that kens the reason of every thing, may soon find out that too.

Mit.] A deed than woman I’ll tell you, the merry begotten weans, ’tis bystarts I mean, is red wood half wittet hillocket sort o’ creatures; for an it bo na ane among twenty o’ them, they're a’ fear’d o' the getting, for there’s few o' them gotten in beds like honest fouks bairns; but in out-houses, auld barns, backs o’ dykes, an kill-logies, whare there’t ay some body wandering about to fear poor needfu’ persons at their job o’ journey-wark: for weel ken I the gates o’t, experience gars me speak.

Jock.] A deed mither that’s very true, for whan I was getting the wean at the black hole o’the peat track, John Gammer's muckle Colley came in behind us wi’ a bow wow o’ a great goul, just aboon my buttocks; an as I am a sinner he gart me loup laverock height, an’ we got the wean for a’ that.

Mit.] A weel then Johnny, that maks my words good yet.

Jenny answers out o’ the bed. A shame fa’ your fashions ye hae nae muckle to keep whan ye tell how it was gotten, or what was at the getting o’t.

Jock.] A shame fa’ yoursel Jenny, for I hae gotten my part o’ the shame else, an gin ye hadna tell’d first there wad nane kend, for naebody saw us but John Gammel's auld colly, and he’s no a sufficient witness.

Mar.] Now guidwife, amang a’ the tales ye hae tell'd me, how is this wean to be maintain'd?

Mit.] Ill chance on your auld black mouth Marion, did not I send you my good sprittled hen, a pund o’ butter an a sixpence, forby a lippy o' groats an a furlet o’ meal; mak her a guid cogfu o' brose, and put a nuist o’ butter in them, to fill up the hole whare the lown came out, an I’ll send mair or that be done.

Mar.] An it be na better nor the last ye may een keep it to yoursel; our groat meal, an gray meal, sand, dust and feeds, course enough to feed cocks an hens, besides a woman in her condition.

Mit.] A foul be your gabs, ye’re a sae gash o' your gabbies, a wheen fools that stives up your gutses, wi' good meat, to gar the worms turn wanton an wallop in your wames; feed yourselves as I do, wi' hacket kail, brose made o’ groat meal, an gray meal, sand, seeds, dust an weak shilling, ony thing is good enough to fill the guts an mak a t—d o'.

Jock.] Na, na, mither, an the wean wed suck our Maggy, I sud tak it hame in my oxter.

Mit.] O ye fool, Maggy's milk is a mould, salt an sapless lang syne; bot I crow she wad keb at it, as the black ew did at the white ew's lamb the last year, sae speak nae mair o’ Maggy’s milk, nor to compare a cat to a creature, the yeal cats is never kind to the kitlens, an the maiden’s bairns is a' unco weel bred.

Jock.] Na, na, ye’re a mistane mither, Maggy has milk yet, for every pap she has is like a burn pig, I'se warrand ye they’ll haud pints the piece.

Mit.] My man Johnny, let them keep the wean that has the wean, we’ll ne’er miss a pockfu' o' meal now an tan, I wadna hae my bed pisht, and blankets rotten for a bow o' the best o't.

Jock.] O mither! I canna lea't, I like it sae weel, it has twa bonny glancing een, just like mine in ma keeking glass, I wonner how I was able to get the like o’t, indeed mither I think mair o’t, nor I do o' my grey horse, Maggy and the four kye.

Mit.] My man Johnny, ye’re at nae strait about bairns getting, some needs to gang to London to learn that auld trade; I ken very weel when ane gets wark lumes right to their hands, nature will teach them how to fa’ too.

Jock.] Now fare you weel Janet, that wean is weal worth the warkmanship, I'll warrand ye weel a wat is’t.

Jenny.] Guidnight wi’ you John, but O man thou’s broken my fortune, I’ll never get mair o’ a man nor I hae gotten, and dear, dear, hae I suffer’d for what I hae done, an if thou had a bestowed thyself on a me, ye see what a bonny bairn time we wad a hane.

Mit.] Thou says it thou’s suffer’d sadly for what thou’s done, but though they wad tak the hyde o’er thy een holes it wadna tak the inclination out o’ thee; for thou'll do’t again, but it’s no be wi’ my bairn I’se warrand thee, an now Johnny come awa hame to thy hauf marrow an use thy freedom as formerly, thou’ll hae weans thick and three fauld; I'll mak thee a decostion o’ cock stanes, lamb stanes, an chicken broe, will gar thee cock thy tail like a mavis, and canter like a Galloway top.


AS Jockey an his mither came hobbling hame together on the outside o' the auld doil'd beast his mither’s black mare; a waefu’ misfortune befel them:—Her hinderlets being wickedly wet, in John Davie's well that morning, an it being a frosty night, her coats was a’ frozen round about her, an the hand harn sark plaid clash between her legs like a wet dish-clout, her teeth gaed like a rattle-bag till; about ha’f gate hame, then she was suddenly seized wi’ a rumbling in her muckle bag, what kintry fouk ca's a rush i’ the guts; Jockey was fash’d helping her aff an helping her on, foul, fat, and dirty was the roa', leaving like half a t—d at every tedder length.

Jock.] Deed mither, I doubt death has something to do wi' you, for there's a rumbling in your wame like an auld wife kirning.

Mit.] Hout tout I canna hear o’t, but they'll be nae fear o’ me now, I am safe at my ain door, thanks to thee and the auld beast it brought me; heat my feet wi’ the bannock stane, and lay me in my bed, fling four pair o’ blankets an a canno’s on me, I'll be weel enough an ance I were better, swieth Maggy gae mak me a cogin’ o’ milk brose an a plack’s worth o' spice in them, nae fear of an auld wife, as lang as she's loose behin, an can tak meat.

Jock.] I sae be’t mither, a e'en fill up the boss o' your belly, you’ll stand the storm better, I'se warrand ye never die as lang as ye can tak oury meat.

Ben comes Maggy wi' the brose; but four soups an a stag fill'd her to the teeth till she began to bock them back again, an ding awa the dish.

Jock.] A mither, mither, I doubt there's mair ado wi' you nor a dish to lick: when ye refuse guid milk meat, I'm doubtfu' your mouth be gaun to the mules.

Mit.] A dear Johnny I'm no willin to die if I cou'd do better; but this will be a fair winter, on auld frail fouks, yet an I wou'd grow better I might live these twenty years yet, an be an auld wife for a' that; but alake a day there is e'en many auld folk dying this year.

Jock.] A deed mither there is fouks dying the year that never died before.

Mit.] Dear Johnny wilt thou bring me the doctor, he may do me some guid, for an my heart wasna sick an my head sair, I think I may grow better yet.

Jock.] A weel mither, I'se bring the doctor, the minister and my uncle.

Mit.] Na, na, bring nae ministers to me, his dry gracks 'ill do me but little guid I dinna want to see his powder'd pow, an' I in sic an ill condition get me a pint o’ drams in the muckle bottle, an’ set it in the hole in the backside o' my bed.

Jock.] A deed mither ye’re in the right o’t, for ye want to be weel warm’d within, to chase the cauld wind an frosty water out at your backside.

Then awa he rins to draff Megs at the kirk town, an brings a bottle in every hand, out wi’ the cork an gies her ane in o’er, she sets it to her gab an swattles up a mutchkin at a waught, which was like to wirry her, till she fell a rifting an roaring like an auld blunderbush.

Mit.] Hech hey co’ she, but that maks an alteration an wears awa the wind.

Wi’ that her head fell to the cod an she fought awa like a very saint or ony sinner.

Jock.] O! Maggy, Maggy, my mither’s lost her breath, (she’ll no live lang without it,) I doubt she be dead already, an’ nae body saw her but ye an’ I, ourselves twa; an she had been fair o’er seen it maks-na, I’ll no haud this a fair strae death indeed, fy Maggy cry in a’ the neighbours to see her die, although she be dead. O an she wad but shake her fit, or wag her muckle tae, it wad ay be some satisfaction; but in came the neighbours in a hush, dinging ither down in the door.

Jock.] Come awa sirs, for my mither’s as dead as a mauk, good be thanket for’t, but I’d rather it had a been the black mare, or the muckle rigget cow, for weel I wat I’ll e’en miss her, for she was a bra’ spinner o’tow; and cou’d a cardet to twa muckle wheels, she had nae faut but ane, an that was her tongue, but she’ll speak nae mair, fy gets a deal or a barn door to straught her on, for ay when she was cauld she was unco kankort an ill to cutch, but I’se hae her yerded or Wednesday een.

Come, come, says Maggy, we maun hae her drest.

Jock.] What dous the fool mean? wad ye dress a dead woman! she’ll never gang to kirk nor market a’ her days again.

Mag.] A dear John be easy, ye ken she manna be buried as she is, a sark an winding sheet is the least she can get.

Jock.] Ah ha, Maggy, is that what you mean, she has a guid new windin sheet, it was ne’er about her shoulders yet, sae Maggy do’t a’ yoursel, an I'se gar Clinkem Bell misure the grave an mak it.

Now when they brought out the corps John told the people they were welcome, to haud in a cheek o’ his auld mither wast the gate; an being laid right on the spakes, ha, ha. quo’ he, this is a bra’ honesty indeed, ’tis mair boukiet nor my bridal was, but when they came to the grave, it was o’er short an strait about the mouth, which set John in a great passion, saying a foul fa’ your naughty fashions master Bellman, did not I packshon wi’ you for the bried o’ my mither’s back an the length o her karkage? an this hole winna haud her, thou’s get nae mair o' my change if I sud die tho morn.

Uncle Rabbie! Whisht, whisht, stir, this sude be a day o’ mourning for your mither, dinna flyte here.

Jock.] What the vengeance Uncle, sudna fouks die when they’re auld? an am I to pay for a hole an get but ha’f a hole; that's the thing that vexes me, but I'se keep twopence out o’ his trencher for't, an' sae will I e'en; but gang ye hame Uncle to get cog an cap for the dradgey, an I’ll see her get fair play or I gae.

Hame they came in a croud an fell to the cheese an cheeks o’ leaves tuth an nail, the ale was handed about in cogs and caps, lashing it down o'er like bleetchers watering their webs; John blutter’d in the cog like a cow in warm water, till the barm an' bubbles came belling out at his nose, saying a guid health to you a’ round about, an’ shoon an’ shortly may we a’ gang the gate my mither’s gane, an I with them a burying amang dogs that speaks against it.

About eight an twenty weeks thereafter, Maggy had a wally wamefu’ weans to bear, an ay whan she cried, John cried, which made a’ the Limmers and auld Katty the houdie laugh heartily to hear them.

Katty.] Here now John, your wife’s brought to bed wi’ a braw lad bairn, gie him your blessing.

Jock.] Well a wat he’s no want that, but an there had a been as muckle din at the getting o’ him, as at the bearing o’ him, it sud ne’er a been gotten for me; Come, come, gets in Uncle Rabby, the corn riddle fu’ o’ the three neuket scons, whang down the cheese like peats, eat and drink as at my mither’s dradgey, till we forget our sorrow, an’ then we’ll see Mess John about a name to him; since we, see 'tis the way o't, that the young comes into the warld and chases out the auld, we maun christen them, an they maun bury us.

Now John and his Uncle goes to the Minister, he enters, saying, guideen to you Mr Minister, ye dinna ken my mither’s dead?

Min.] Yes John I heard so: but how is your wife?

Jock.] My wife stir, a wae worth her, for the wives o’ our town an I hae gotten a waking night wi’ her: but we hae gotten her turn’d an still'd again, she’s born a bra’ wally thumping stirra, he’ll herd the kye belyve to me an he had hoggers on him, an am come to you to get a bit name to him.

Min.] A bit name to him John, if ye want no more but a name, ye may gie him that yourself.

Jock. Na but stir, I want baith the, words and the water, what ye say to ither fouks, say to me.

Min.] A’ but John you must give security or satisfaction, you’re a man under scandal.

Jock.] What the muckle mischief stir, though under scandal or aboon scandal, will ye refuse to chrisen my wean that’s honestly gotten in my ain wife's bed, beneath the blankets; cause I had a bystart, canna ye christen the weel com’d ane, let the bystart stand for its an skaith without a name.

Min.] No John, you have been too slackly dealt with, I’ll bring you to obedience by law, since you eject counsel.

Jock.] A deed stir, I wad think naething to stan’ a time or twa on't to please you, if there were naebody in the kirk on a uke day, but you and the elders to flyte a wee on me; but ’tis war on a Sunday, to hae a body looking an laughing at me, as I had been coding the pease, suppen the kirn, or something that’s no bonny like pissing the bed.

Min.] A weel John never mind you these things, come ye to the stool, its nothing when 'tis over, we cannot say o’er much to you about it.

Upon Sunday thereafter John comes with Uncle Rabby’s auld wide coat, a muckle grey lang tail’d wig an a big bonnet, which cover’d his face, so that he seem’d more like an old Pilgrim than a young fornicator; mounts the creepy wi’ a stiff stiff back as he had been a man of sixty, every one looked at him, thinking he was some old stranger who knew not the stool of repentance by another seat, so that he passed the first day unknown but to very few, yet on the second it came to be known, that the whole parish and many more came to see him; which caused such a confusion that he was absolved, and got his children baptized the next day.

But there happened a tullie between the twa mothers who would have both their names to be John, a weel, a weel, says old John their father to the minister, deed stir ye maun ca’ the tane John and the ither Jock, an’ that will please baith these enemies o' mankind.

Min.] A weel John suppose ye do, it is still twa Johns nevertheless.

Jock.] A deed stir, ye maun gie the wicked a’ their will, we’s ca' the bystart Jockie, an my son Johnny.

Bell: On wi’t some way and let her ca’t as she likes.

Min.] A dear John but ye speak indifferently about this matter, ye know not the nature of it.

Jock.] A mony thanks' to you Mess John, now cause you hae chrisened baith my bairn an my bystart, I hope you’ll forgive me the buttock mail.

Min.] John I desire you to be silent and to speak none here: You must keep a straight walk in time coming, free of scandal or offence.

Jock.] Ay stir, an how think ye the like o’ me car wa’k straight wi’ auld sheveling heel’d shune as mine amang sic rugh rigs, highs and hows as I hae to har through.

Min.] I need not speak to you, you are but a poor mean ignorant person.

Jock.] Na stir, welta wat am neither poor nor yer mean, my mither’s fairly yerded now, guide be thanked, an left a’ she had to Maggy an me.

Min.] But hear ye this John, ye must not kiss any other women but your own wife, live justly like another honest christian, and you’ll come to die well.

Jock.] A black end on a me stir, an ever I lay; unlawfu’ leg upon hissie again, an they sude lie down to me, while our Maggy lass; an for dying there’ nae fear o’ that, but I’ll no get fair play if ye an a the aulder fouk in the parish be not dead before me so I hae done wi’ ye now.



HERE lies the dust of John Bell’s mither,
Against her will, death brought her hither;
Clapt in this hole, hard by his dady,
Death snatch’d her up, ere she was ready;
Lang might she liv’d wert not her wame,
But wha can live beyond their time?
There non laments her but the Suter,
So here she lies looking about her;
Looking about her! how can that be?
Yes, she sees her state better than we.





Now a’ body kens my mither’s dead,
For weel I wat I bore her head,
And in the grave I faw her laid,
’Twas e’en right drole,
For her to change a warm fire-side,
For a cauld kirk-hole.
But ilka ane tell’st just like a sang,
That yon’s the gate we’ve a’ to geng,
For me to do’t, I think nae lang,
If I can do better,
For I true my mither thinks’t nae lang.
What heed we clatter
But thanks to death ay for the suter,
That did not let her get the Suter,

For ’bout her gear wad been a sclutter,
And sae had been,
For he came ay snoking about her,
Late at e’en.
For our Maggy watch’t and saw,
My mither’s back was at the wa’,
But what was mair hach ha’ hach ha’,
I winna tell,
She to do yon stood little awe,
Just like mysell.
But to get gear was a’ her drift,
And used many a pinging shift;
About her spinning and her thrift.
Was a' her care,
She’s gotten but little abune lift,
Wi’ her to wear.


This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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