SCOTTISH LIFE AND CHARACTER.
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CHAPTER THE FIRST.
I wish my readers always to bear in mind that these Reminiscences are meant to bear upon the changes which would include just such a revolution as that referred to at page 15 in the bonnet practice of Laurencekirk. There is no pretension to any researches of antiquarian character; they are in fact Reminiscences which come almost within personal recognition. A kind friend gave me anecdotes of the past in her hundredth year. In early life I was myself consigned to the care of my grand-uncle, Sir Alexander Ramsay, residing in Yorkshire, and he was born in 1715; so that I can go pretty far back on my own experience, and have thus become cognisant of many changes which might be expected as a consequence of such experience.
I cannot imagine a better illustration of the sort of change in the domestic relations of life that has taken place in something like the time we speak of, than is shown in the following anecdote, which was kindly communicated to me by Professor MacGregor of the Free Church. I have pleasure in giving it in the Professor’s own words:—“I happened one day to be at Panmure Castle when Lord Panmure (now Dalhousie) was giving a treat to a school, and was presented by the Monikie Free Church Deacons’ Court with a Bible on occasion of his having cleared them finally of debt on their buildings. Afterwards his Lordship took me into the library, where, among other treasures, we found a handsome folio Prayer Book presented to his ancestor Mr. Maule of Kelly by the Episcopalian minister of the district, on occasion of his having, by Mr. Maule’s help, been brought out of jail. The coincidence and contrast were curiously interesting.”
For persons to take at various intervals a retrospective view of life, and of the characters they have met with, seems to be a natural feeling of human nature; and every one is disposed at times to recall to memory many circumstances and many individuals which suggest abundant subjects for reflection. We thus find recollections of scenes in which we have been joyous and happy. We think of others with which we only associate thoughts of sorrow and of sadness. Amongst these varied emotions we find subjects for reminiscences, of which we would bury the feelings in our own hearts as being too sacred for communication with others. Then, again, there are many things of the past concerning which we delight to take counsel with friends and contemporaries. Some persons are disposed to go beyond these personal communications with friends, and having through life been accustomed to write down memoranda of their own feelings, have published them to the world. Many interesting works have thus been contributed to our literature