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Edward Bannerman Ramsay
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 430 pages of information about Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character.

[132] Related.

[133] Outrun.

[134] Tune.

[135] Curtsied.

[136] Fallen.

[137] Surprise.

[138] Christmas.

[139] Pasch or Easter.

[140] Early.

[141] Severe.

[142] The proper orthography of this expression is deoch-an-doruis (or dorais). Deoch, a drink; an, of the; doruis or dorais, possessive case of dorus or doras a door.

[143] Praise.

[144] Tears.

[145] Thatch.

[146] It has been suggested, and with much reason, that the reference is to a fly sticking on a wet or a newly painted wall; this is corroborated by the addition in Rob Roy, “When the dirt’s dry, it will rub out,” which seems to point out the meaning and derivation of the proverb.

[147] A young bullock.

[148] Saddle for supporting panniers.

[149] Vol. i. p. 134.

[150] Shy.

[151] Empty.

[152] Stoop down.

[153] Wave.

[154] The way.

[155] Fox.

[156] Trust to.

[157] Chirping.

[158] Even in Forfarshire, where Carnegies abound, we had Craigo, Balnamoon, Pitarrow, etc.

[159] This custom is still in use in Galloway; and “Challoch,” “Eschonchan,” “Tonderghie,” “Balsalloch,” and “Drummorral,” etc. etc., appear regularly at kirk and market.

CHAPTER THE SEVENTH.

ON SCOTTISH STORIES OF WIT AND HUMOUR.

The portion of our subject which we proposed under the head of “Reminiscences of Scottish Stories of Wit or Humour,” yet remains to be considered.  This is closely connected with the question of Scottish dialect and expressions; indeed, on some points hardly separable, as the wit, to a great extent, proceeds from the quaint and picturesque modes of expressing it.  But here we are met by a difficulty.  On high authority it has been declared that no such thing as wit exists amongst us.  What has no existence can have no change.  We cannot be said to have lost a quality which we never possessed.  Many of my readers are no doubt familiar with what Sydney Smith declared on this point, and certainly on the question of wit he must be considered an authority.  He used to say (I am almost ashamed to repeat it), “It requires a surgical operation to get a joke well into a Scotch understanding.  Their only idea of wit, which prevails occasionally in the north, and which, under the name of WUT, is so infinitely distressing to people of good taste, is laughing immoderately at stated intervals.”  Strange language to use of a country which has produced Smollett, Burns, Scott, Galt, and Wilson—­all remarkable for the humour diffused through their writings!  Indeed, we may fairly ask, have they equals in this respect amongst English writers?  Charles Lamb had the same notion, or, I should rather say, the

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