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misconstrued, and create a coldness with their future wives. A young man lately withdrew his name from a Temperance Society, unable to endure the taunts he should sustain, and the risk of offence he should give, in refusing to taste and drink healths at his marriage; after this was over, however, he rejoined the Society. On the greater part of the continent of Europe, it is seldom, generally speaking, that a young woman drinks ardent spirits. In the case of a betrothed girl, if her intended husband should witness such an unusal breach of good morals, it might possibly lead to a rupture, without any fear of an action of breach of promise of marriage on behalf of the female. But how fatal is the difference in our boasted country! A young man is forced to offer liquid fire to his sweetheart, and she is no less obliged to receive it! "How is it possible to court a lass without whisky?" was somewhat of the reply of a young peasant when pressed to join a Temperance Association. So that as whisky is the instrument of courtesy in this country, a girl necessarily conceives herself neglected, by deficiency of her lover in the usual treat of this wretched poison.
At registration of names with the parish clerk for marriage, a compliment of whisky is necessary to a few near relations and intimate friends of the couple. In some places an additional and larger meeting is held on the Monday preceding the proclamation of the banns, where another mystery of whisky is celebrated, and the bride is presented with gifts.
Courtship Usages, continued-Marriage-Usages at Baptisms and at Funerals -Lord Teignmouth's Account of Scotch Funerals-Case of successful Change of Funeral Usages-Corollary, Power of Combination of a Few-Pay-night Usages-Call on Managers of Sabbath-Schools and Mechanic Institutions their Case-Statistical Statement of the Expense of certain Usages-Raising of the Wind-Present to Mechanics' Library of Usage-money-Treats to Servants, &c.-Washer-women.
In some large towns, where there is little opportunity of rural walks and silent retreats for courtship, the lover puts on his best clothes, and having previously sent a message to his fair friend, they meet in a respectable public-house; and instead
of whispering their vows in unison with the zephyrs among the leaves, and under the moon's silver light, they talk over their matters as they can, amid the clatter of tumblers and pint stoups; whilst the blushes of the maiden, if she has any, are gaudily revealed in the glare of the gas-lights. This is scarcely endurable, but the sequel is worse. The publichouse, in this manner, acquires a sacred character; it is firmly associated with the most delightful hours of the most delightful season of life; and after marriage, when a smiling offspring arrives, it is quite usual, in such communities, for a man and wife, after a walk through the streets and public resorts with their children, to finish the enjoyment of the holiday with a family party in the same fatal whisky-receptacle where they first breathed to each other the voice of love.
In some parts of the south of Scotland, when a young man steals away to see his sweetheart, he hides in his “maud,” or plaid, a bottle of whisky. This is intended to bribe any individual who might otherwise be disposed to interrupt the tender interview. It frequently happens that the companions of the lover discover the intended meeting, and consider it a good jest to intrude their company, partly for the purpose of obtaining a dram, and also to create a partial disturbance of a love scene. This practical sort of joke is termed "hunting of the maud." It is said frequently to end in a drunken debauch.
The use of ardent spirits at the ceremony of marriage among the operative classes is too well known to require any comment; and sometimes even the mob, collected at the door while the rite is performing, must be pleased and pacified from outrage by a treat of liquor.
A Gipsy Wedding.-"A wild and singular scene was exhibited on the Dunkeld road, on Monday last. A band of gypsies, numbering upwards of a dozen, encamped at the road side, when two of the party were joined in wedlock, according to the fashion of their people. A deep carouse followed the ceremony, which was kept up for many hours, so long indeed as any of the ruin' remained, or they were able to swallow the liquor. At the commencement of the debauch, mirth and good humour prevailed among the troop; but as the whisky did its work, very different feelings were manifested. Ere all was ended, men and women were shouting, cursing, and fighting together in one general melee; and when no longer able to'wag a tongue, or lift a hand,' the party dropped down here
and there upon the road, in the stupor of intoxication, the bride and bridegroom being snugly 'bedded' in a ditch!"
Besides the profuse drinking that occurs on the immediate occasion of a birth or funeral, the general practice throughout the country is, to give a glass to every one that comes into a house after a birth till the baptism. This is sometimes the sole reason for precipitating the rite; sober people wishing to dismiss the whisky jar as soon as possible. On calling the attention of a respectable minister to this point in a committeeroom just before a Temperance meeting, he took notice of the baptismal drinking usages in his speech; and stated that, only a few weeks before, he had baptized a fine healthy child; that he learned that the usual orgies took place in the afternoon, that the mother of the infant went to bed in a state of intoxication, in consequence of which she overlaid the child, and it was found in the morning deprived of life. This statement was received with a thrill of horror by the whole meeting.
On the event of a decease, every one gets a glass who comes within the door, until the funeral, and for six weeks after it. An undertaker charges more for his workmen on account of the want of work he must sustain from the mad profusion of families on these occasions. The ordinary drinking on a funeral-day is too well known by the Scotch to need further notice; nevertheless, we shall just quote what an English gentleman, Lord Teignmouth, thinks of it. His Lordship observes, that, "at the more recent funeral of a distinguished officer, a large body of Highlanders assembled. A man of the country, pointing out to me the place of interment, spoke of the circumstance with characteristic animation: 'Oh, sir, it was a grand entertainment; there were five thousand Highlanders present, and we were very jolly: some did not quit the spot till next morning, some not till the day following; they lay drinking on the ground; it was like a field of battle.' At a late interment in Ross-shire the mourners engaged in a general row, and the loss of lives was the result, a consequence by no means uncommon. Nor are such excesses confined to the Highlands and Islands. They occurred a short time ago at the funeral of one of the lairds of Cantyre, near Campbelltown, on which occasion the mourners were so intoxicated, that they jostled each other in their way to the grave. The funeral and festal preparations are inseparably blended in the mind of the Highlander.* Again; the better
Sketches of Scotland. Lond. 1836.
classes became habituated to this fiery and poisonous drug (whisky) by the unfortunate custom, still prevalent in the North, of taking a glass of it as a dram before breakfast. I found it the invariable practice at all the houses, whether of clergymen or sheep-farmers, in the western parts of Sutherlandshire, in which I breakfasted; and frequently witnessed the most simple and undissembled astonishment at my not complying with it. Nay, in the northern counties, it is no uncommon thing to see ladies toss off a glass of whisky at the early hour in question-but under the less startling designation of bitters, which it assumes when administered to female lips."
His Lordship afterwards states, that three rounds of whisky is what he had seen in the Hebrides at a funeral. At his inn the company afterwards continued drinking and singing till past midnight, making an uproar that prevented the possibility of sleeping. In talking on this point with a respectable minister, he told me the following anecdote. Requiring some repair to be done to his house, he applied to the master joiner whom he was accustomed to employ, who sent him a workman for the purpose in the afternoon. When about to give directions regarding the job, he found the man was intoxicated, and incapable of proceeding, and he was therefore under the necessity of dismissing him. On noticing the subject next day somewhat sharply to the employer, his remonstrance was met with a look of unfeigned surprise on the part of the master, who assured him most anxiously that there must have been some mistake, for if any of his men could be remarked as being most particularly correct, John Ritchie was the man. On describing his person and appearance, however, it was evident there was no mistake. But the master suddenly pausing, and musing for a few seconds, exclaimed, "I know it now! aye, poor man, it may be very true, for he had a little child buried that same day that must have been the reason. "I was horrified," exclaimed the minister, "to hear one respectable man justify another respectable man for an act of brutality and sin, on the ground of his suffering one of the severest strokes that God inflicts on his creatures. But this is a rule of Scottish life."
In a large town in the west of Scotland, it was lately the custom to invite some hundreds of the inhabitants to funerals; to admit them all within the house, at great expense and
* Sketches of Scotland, p. 202.
trouble, when the family was by no means in a state to be harassed with wholesale preparations, or, it may be, well provided, by the demise of a father, for extra expense. People seemed to forget, that to those who have long hung in tortured suspense over the deceitful revolutions of a death-bed, repose and quiet are absolutely necessary; and that after vigils of protracted sleeplessness and anguish, it may be dangerous, with unstrung nerves, to encounter the noise and distraction of the undertaker's hammer, and to admit hundreds of uncon cerned spectators into the inner sanctuary of domestic woe. Regardless of these considerations, however, multitudes were introduced, all the large rooms crowded, and sometimes a neighbour's apartments put into requisition; liquor and bread were handed round: for although in other countries they weep and fast, in this merry land the chief part of our external mourning for the dead consists in eating and drinking.
This method of conducting burials, though an intolerable nuisance, was submitted to for many years, because it was the custom. As, however, the practice came within the range of drinking usages, an individual interested in the abolition of these, adopted means for a general change, which proved quite successful, in as far as the drink, expense, and invasion of health and peace of families were concerned. The alteration was finally received with much favour and approbation by all ranks, and has been acted upon ever since. The first part of the reform process was a series of reiterated conversations with a wide range of individuals successively, upon the inconvenience and evils of the then method of interment, and the necessity of a change. As the doctrine of " Anti-usage” was at that date obscure and unknown, it took about eighteen months to convince a suitable number of inhabitants, that it was possible to attempt an alteration with a prospect of success. When matters were ripe, a select meeting was called: some of the parties were influential, but the number was not above six and thirty; they all agreed, and signed a resolution, that when it should please Divine Providence to bring death into any of their families, they would resolutely adopt the new plan. The subscription paper was carried round, and more individuals attached their names; and in the mean time the usage power was broken; the whole community prepared themselves to abandon it. In one week's time (notwithstanding some wavering, especially of female relations) the new plan was adopted throughout, and fairly superseded the former ceremony. Besides the direct advantage obtained at the