Frae: R. De Bruce Trotter, Galloway Gossip (1901), pp. 234-237

CURIOUSLY there wus a man they ca’t – but we’ll better no say whut they ca’t him; but hooever, he gaed awa abroad, aither tae Englan or The Indies, A’m no sure whitch; but he made a hantle o’ siller, an cam hame an bocht a great skreed o’ lan’ aboot Ba’maghie or somegate, an turn’t a great laird; an like ower mony new made lairds, he had “richts o’ property” on the brain.

There wus a man they ca’t Davie Maclellan took yin o’ his farms, an he cam frae aboot Anwoth somegate, an sae he wusna joost the man yt should ‘a taen a farm frae a new laird; Ayrshiremen’s best for that.

The cothooses wus perfet rauchles an wud harly haud thegither, an the cotmen had tae mak bits o’ drains in the floors, tae the doors, tae lead oot the rain-water yt cam in through the roofs; for the thack wus rotten, an the last farmer wudna aloo them aither strae or rashes tae theek them wi. The byres an stables wusna muckle better, but they wur dry owerheid, for beass is ey better mindit aboot a farm nor cotmen.

Ye see the beass costs siller, an cotmen disna; an if yin o’ them dees, ye can ey get plenty mae for the hirin, an sae folk’s no ower particklar aboot the hoosin o’ them; but it’s different wi the beass.

The dykes wus in an awfu state too, but the laird promies’t tae pit everything tae richts, an sae Davie enter’t the farm, never dootin the word o’ a gentleman – an a larid.

Hooever, yae wunter pass’t, an twa wunters pass’t, an nae signs o’ the new cothooses, or the new dykes, or naething; sae awa he gaed tae the larid again, an quarrel’t him aboot it; an the laird tell’t him yt if he wus that anxious aboot his plewmen he micht joost gang an big the hooses hissel, for he hadna time tae fash with them.

“O! weel!” says Davie, “if that’s the wey, A’ll sune get them biggit, an as sune as they’r dune A’ll bring ye the accounts, an ye’ll settle them.”

“Verra weel,” says the laird, “that will be all right; just get them built and bring me the accounts.”

“A’m much obleege’t tae ye,” says Davie, “they’r no fir for swine-sties the wey they ir, an the men canna get their wark dune for hosstin; an there’s been nine burials oot o’ the fowr hooses sin A cam; it’s joost fearfu.”

An sae Davie gaed aff rejoicin.

Weel, it wusna lang or he had them biggit, for there wusna muckle biggin aboot a cothoose in thae days; whun the wur dune he took the accounts tae the laird.

The laird, efter the traditions o’ his cless, deny’t liability, an refuse’t tae pey, an tell’t Davie yt if he likit tae put up new hooses whun naebuddy wantit them, he wud joost hae tae pey for them hissel.

Davie wus wil’, an swure in Scotch till his tongue micht ‘a been blister’t, but it wus nae use; for the larid swure in Scotch an English, an half-a-dizzen ither languages yt Davie didna ken a word o’, an sae Davie had the warst o’t, especially as the laird waff’t his airms till he lookit like a wunmill, an dance’t an stampit till he wus black o’ the face.

Davie gaed hame bleezin, an summons’t the laird for the price o’ the hooses, but he made naething o’t, for the Steward said he had nae writins on’t, an a verbal promise without proof, though made by a larid, wusna worth a snuff; an if he chuse tae big hooses on another man’s grun, he wud joost hae tae pey for them, an be thankful he wusna poonish’t for pittin them there athoot leave.

Sae Davie gaed an pey’t them, an as sune as he had the receipts in his pooch, he gaed an set lunt tae the thack, an in less nor an hour the haill fowr o’ them wus brunt useless.

He swure he had a richt tae do wi his ain as he likit, an he did it, but the laird took another view o’t, an had him apprehendit, an severely fine’t for’t, an the Steward tell’t him he ocht tae be thankfu he wusna sent afore The Lords an trasportit. Dave declare’t the hooses wus his ain, for he biggit them an pey’t for them; but the Steward explain’t yt if he put ocht up on another man’s lan’, it becam the ither man’s property at yince.

Hooever, Davie pey’t the fine, an gaed hame an read ower his tack, an every omission or breach o’ contract by the laird, Davie had him up afore his betters, an gar’t him pey ten times the price o’ the cothooses, till at last the laird wus gled tae gie him a haill year’s rent tae gae oot o’t.

It wusna lang till there wus a score o’ Ayrshiremen lookin efter’t, but the laird had gotten sic a name, an the dykes an hooses wus sic a wreck, yt he could harly get half the rent Davie gied for’t, forbye spennin mair nor echt hunner poun’ on improvements, afore onybuddy wud gae in tae’t.



Partial Glossar

Definitions frae DSL (links are tae the relevant entries).

  • Hantle ‘A considerable quantity (of things), a large number (of persons), a great deal.’ [HANTLE]
  • Somegate ‘Somewhere.’ [SOME]
  • Rauchle ‘A loose, untidy heap of objects, e.g. a dry-stone wall, a tumbledown house; a conglomeration; anything dilapidated or ramshackle.’ [RAUCHLE]
  • Thack ‘As in Eng., the covering of straw, heather, reeds, etc., laid on a house-roof, a hay-rick or corn-stack for protection, the material used for thatching.’ [THACK]
  • Theek ‘To thatch, to cover a roof, hay-or corn-stack, etc., with thatch.’ [THACK]
  • Beass ‘Applied most commonly to cattle and horses; but used of beasts generally and also applied to insects and to body and head vermin.’ [BEAS’]
  • Quarrel ‘To find fault with (a person), to reprove, rebuke.’ [QUARREL]
  • Big(g) ‘To build, construct (in gen.).’ [BIG(G)]
  • Fash ‘To trouble, bother oneself, to take pains.’ [FASH]
  • Hosst ‘To cough.’ [HOAST]
  • Or ‘Before; until.’ [OR]
  • Waff ‘To wave, cause to move to and fro with a regular motion, to wag.’ [WAFF]
  • Athoot ‘Without. [ATHOOT]
  • Lunt ‘A match, a piece of inflammable material used to ignite an explosive or kindle a fire, for one’s pipe, etc., a light. Also in n.Eng. dial. Phr. to set (alunt to, to set fire to.’ [LUNT]
  • Ocht ‘Ought’. [OCHT]
  • Ocht ‘Anything.’ [OCHT]
  • Tack ‘A lease, tenancy, esp. the leasehold tenure of a farm, mill, mining or fishing rights, tax- or toll-collecting, etc.’ [TACK]
  • Gar ‘To make, cause; to force, compel, esp. to make (a person) do (something).’ [GAR]
  • Forbye ‘Let alone, not to mention, far from, much less.’ [FORBY]