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"What's the matter, Watty, wi' you?
"Ay," quo' Watty, "things are alter'd,
"I've been poor, and vex'd, and raggy, Try'd wi' troubles no that sma'; Them I bore-but marrying Maggy
Laid the cape-stane o' them a'.
"Night and day she's ever yelping,
Wi' the weans she ne'er can gree: When she's tir'd wi' perfect skelping, Then she flees like fire on me.
"See ye, Mungo! when she'll clash on
"O for gudesake keep frae cuffets !" Mungo shook his head and said; "Weel I ken what sort o' life it's; Ken ye, Watty, how I did?
"After Bess and I were kippled,
Soon she grew like ony bear, Brak my shins, and when I tippled, Haurl't out my very hair!
"For a wee I quietly knuckled;
But when naething could prevail, Up my claes and cash I buckled'Bess, for ever fare ye weel.'
"Then her din grew less and less aye, Haith I gart her change her tune; Now a better wife than Bessy
Never stept in leather shoon.
"Try this, Watty-When ye see her
Laughing, sangs, and lasses' skirls,
In the thrang o' stories telling,
Shaking hauns, and ither cheer, Swith! a chap comes on the hallan, "Mungo, is our Watty here?"
Maggy's weel kent tongue and hurry
In came Watty's scolding wife.
"That ye'll ne'er in Mungo's seek me-
Never gloom when I come hame.
Kick my shins, or rug my hair-
This upo' your saul you swear?"
"O-h!" quo' Meg;-" Aweel," quo' Watty,
Maggy syne, because he prest her,
Aff gaed bannet, claes, and shoon;
Here is a study of North British rustic manners, in which the public-house is clothed with the most seductive charms that the most skilful adjustment of circumstances, ingeniously founded on the maladministration of domestic life, can accomplish.
National objection to Solitary Drinking-Stratagem to frustrate it-Baillie Days-Harbour Usages-Steam Boat Usages-Wages-Unloading VesselsMagistrates' Notice-Creeling-Coal Mines-Sailors-Blacksmiths-Printers -Female Hat Manufacturers-Hoc Manè-Salmon Fishers-Despotism of the Usages-Seamen.
IN Scotland there still exists a loathing terror, even in the regular drunkard, at being considered a solitary drinker; and, but for the amazing number of drinking usages, (so convenient for Scotch topers,) this would be an element of transcendent usefulness in temperance reformation. A man, although craving for the base enjoyment, dares not, in general, even in his own house, ask a dram for himself from the cupboard; or if he could be supposed to have so far given way to appetite,
his wife could with extremest difficulty be got to accede to his request, if the liquor was to be drunk by himself, without some stranger to partake. Such a one, however, has been known to achieve his purpose in a circuitous method:-He goes out and secretly invites a neighbour to come in on pretence of business the case now changes; etiquette not only removes all objections to his dram, but demands the appearance of the whisky-bottle-and the character of the mistress of the house for courtesy is now at stake, and the necessity of solitary operations superseded.
Many men have been known in Scotland to live as drunkards, and as drunkards to die, by drowning or other accident while in a state of intoxication, and yet who scarce ever had been known to drink alone;-a very singular national trait, and worthy of the most profound consideration, in connexion with the subject of which we are treating, and to which we may be permitted again to recur.
In country places, when half-a-dozen men are working together at some job, on the motion of one, more forward or thirsty than the rest, they will join together for a dram. When small farmers are behind-hand in their ploughing, their neighbours occasionally give them a day's work, (called in some parts a baillie-day,) when whisky is given to the ploughmen at the average of seven glasses per man throughout the day this may be intended for refreshment, but it is partly in the way of courtesy and etiquette, and its result is often to drive the whole party to a public-house revel in the evening.
A joint newspaper is frequently rouped, i. e. auctioned among the subscribers, and the price spent by them whisky.
In the small harbours, at export of corn and potatoes, there is a whisky usage called sack-money; and if it be not granted, the parties will keep or cut a sack in revenge. In discharging cargoes of coals, slates, and other commodities, the consignee is expected to treat the crew, the carters, and weighers, or to be considered as mean and paltry. The freight and wages are afterwards generally paid in a public-house, and part of it drunk.
A party of Paisley operatives treating their families to a steam-boat jaunt on the Frith of Clyde, it was observed that one of their number was collecting money among the rest; the reason of which was, that he being fond of music, had resolved that this elegant gratification should be added to the pleasures of the party; and he had at his own risk provided a bass and two violins for the occasion. He was at the same