After the substantial dinner at Helen M’kidd’s, and the tumbler of toddy, we deemed it advisable to pay for what had been consumed; every one of us began to feel that he was on very good terms with himself, and therefore much inclined to be on the same with his neighbours. So the conversation soon became more cheering and animated, and if it lost some of its clearness and precision, it was considerably augmented in quantity, from the fact of three or four speaking at once, at nearly the full stretch of their voices. 

During a temporary lull, which was occasioned by all simultaneously discovering that the glasses were empty, and our thirst increasing, and while the tumblers were being replenished by the hostess, the fourth gentlemen (who we have omitted to introduce to our readers, but who was like the Provost, one of the magnates of Dufftown; and in addition to being master of nearly every story or legend connected with the locality, could, when sufficiently elevated, give a pretty good song.

After the usual etiquette in such matters – the hums and haws – the hoarseness of the singer, the want of a song, &c., had been all gone through – Mr Mac-muckle-o’-little – for such was his appropriate name – cleared his throat, took another drop to grease the windpipe, for fear of friction, and sung as follows, to the air of – “Woo’d an’ married, an ‘a’ ”: –

  1. Our castles- their grass grown turrets,
    Their ramparts and’ battlements gay-
    Our stanes, the memento o’ heroes,
    And graves, where their ashes decay.

     

  2. Our courts, an’ our councils, an’ a’,
    Our wisdom, an’ justice, an’ law;

    Our jail, wi’ its bonnie bit steeple,
    The bell, an’ the knockie, an’ a’.

     

  3. Hurra for our lith sheltered forest,
    Our streamlets, an’ brown heather hills;
    Our haughs, and green airn bogies,
    An’ funes of our auld fusky stills!

Read the complete lyrics here. 

At the conclusion of the song, Jock – who was now in that happy state called by the experienced “half glorious,” and, of course, oblivious of his former misfortunes at Dufftown, rose to compliment the singer, and expressed himself to the following effect:- I say, Provost an’ Master Cameron, that’s nae only a well-sung sang, bit it’s a sang that ony chiel that can sing maan sing weel. I say that is a sang, that a body can gi’ heed tae frae beginnin’ to end, an’ nae be tir’t fan it is deen. Its nae ony o’ yer mawkish milk-an-water faldurals that they mak’ up noo-a-days: sic like as a sang till a cabbage stock, or a littie to a daft qucan’s sharger queets (which last, by the way, disna half plase ony dacent body, sin’ it lukes gey like that the hussie hadna’ jist been managing her un’er duds wi’ the maist degree o’ decorum fan she lat the rhymer get sic a sklaint at them). 

Na, na; this is jist the right kin’ o’ sang, and has nane o’yer prowlin’ lovers in’t – nor daft descriptions o’ een an’ hair, that’s fint a bit better than ider folk’s, and whilk gay aften bit conceals a fause an’d pridefu’ heart. Troth, bit I wad gi’e another roun’ to ken fatten a clever chap pat sic a piece thegither – that in sae mony lines can enumerate, in sic a style, wantin’ brag or ‘zaggeration – a’ the comforts an guid things that he has, sae as to mak’ himsel’ an’ a’ ither body contented wi’ the blessins that Providence has gi’en them.

We were fortunately able to inform Jock that the author was a native of Dufftown, but residing now, and for some time back, at Edinburgh; who is also writer of several finer pieces, though none of them have ever been so popular in Dufftown. Of course, a bumper was immediately dedicated to him, at the request of Jock, who now seemed, under the inspiring influence of the excellent toddy of the hostess, to be acquiring a fluency of speech and clearness of judgement which he had not before exhibited, beside showing that as his courage or intellect seemed to rise, his prejudices and peculiarities seemed to diminish. After several ineffectual attempts to get another song, the Provost volunteered a story, which he named ‘THE KININVIE BEGGAR”’.