Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Last Scots post for a while

Here is a website that contains many happy, sad, pathetic, and uplifting stories. The following story falls under the "pathetic" category. (I have read other versions of this story, but I like this version. It is too old to not be in the public domain.)

"Many years ago John Macduff and his young bride left Scotland on a sailing vessel for America, there to seek his fortune. After tarrying a few weeks in New York, they went West, where they were successful in accumulating a good competence. By and by his wife's health began to fail. The anxious husband said that he feared she was homesick.

" 'John,' she replied, 'I am wearying for my ain countrie, will ye no' tak' me to the sea, that I may see the ships sailing to the homeland once more?'"

"Her husband's heart was moved with compassion. In a few weeks he sold their Western home and took his wife East to a pleasant little cottage by the sea, whose further shores broke on the rocks that line the coast of Scotland. She would often sit and gaze wistfully at the ships sailing from the bay, one after another disappearing below the horizon on their way to her ain countrie. Although she uttered no complaint, it was evident that she was slowly pining away. John was afraid that she would die in a foreign land; and as an effort to save her he sold his New England home, and took her back across the ocean. She speedily recovered by the keen mountain air, the sight of purple heather, nodding bluebells, and hedge-rows white with fragrant hawthorn blossoms in bonnie Scotland, her own dear native land. To her it was home. And there is no sweeter word in any language than 'home.' "

Now that's pathetic, no? I can hardly see through the tears as I type this even now. Part of Max - the callous, cynical part of Max - wonders idly whether she might not have died in the foreign land even if she had been happy there, and whether perhaps ol' John might have foreseen that before he drug her off to America from her dear highland hame. But that is not germane.

Anyway, after reading this account (supposedly) a young woman wrote the words to a famous hymn entitled "My Ain Countrie." Here is the first verse (since you are already in a sad state from reading the above, and since I need to stick some more Scottish stuff in this post.)

"I am far frae my hame, an' I'm weary aften whiles,
For the lang'd-for hame-bringin', an' my Father's welcome smiles;
An' I'll ne'er be fu' content until my e'en do see
The gowden gates o' heaven, an' my ain countrie."

Please, don't stop reading here. This post will start getting interesting shortly, k?

The above pathetic story reminded me right away of Lizzie Borden. I'm sure she popped right into your mind too, as you sniffled and blew your nose repeatedly reading the above patheticness. You remember Lizzie: "I think there may have been an old ax down in the cellar if I'm not mistaken." That Lizzie.

Well, cutting to the chase, no pun intended or even noticed until now, Lizzie was acquitted of hacking up her pa and her step-mother and lived until she was sixty-something in the same town of Falls-something Massachusetts, living well on her pa's money and its subsequent investments. Actually the story of her life after the murders is quite interesting, and you can read it, if you want, right HERE on one of my favorite "inquiring minds need to know this stuff" websites, "FindADeath dot com." But the thing that interested me (enough to make me do this post, anyway) was the fact that one of the things on Lizzie's list of funeral requests to be done after she had shuffled off this mortal coil was to have the above song sung. (Inside a locked empty house, too!)

She had several other last requests on her list too (which you can read in its entirety at the above-linked findadeath site - I read for about a half hour there) but the fact that she wanted this song sung after she died (the first and last verses, anyway) got me to wondering if she was Scottish? I had never heard that before, and maybe she wasn't. Maybe she was just a heartless gold-digging murderess who liked to hear words sung which she couldn't understand the meaning of.

And yet...



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