PRACTEESIN THE SERMON

Frae: R. De Bruce Trotter, Galloway Gossip (1901), pp. 300-301

WHUN Mr G—n heard the gude news o’ the Colonel’s death, he said yt he wus that gled yt he took doon the fiddle an play’t hissel a tune. It wus Colonel G—n’s faither yt put G—e’s brither in the jeyl for prayin for the Queen. A suppose he wud ‘a’ putten him in joost the same if he hadna.

G—e wus a queer kin’ o’ man onywey, an folk said he wus daft. He wus daft aboot lasses, A dersay; but wha isna, some time or anither? an he wus awfu keen tae be mairry’t, only he wantit a young yin, no mair nor seventeen year aul’, an nane o’ the young yins wud hae him.

It’s queer hoo aul’ men ey wants young wifes; an nane o’ the young yins wantit him. Ye see he had nae kirk. If he had ‘a’ haen yin, the same yins wud ‘a’ been fit tae rive him tae bits but they wud ‘a’ haen him.

He ey practise’t his sermons wi the fiddle, an his favourite places for practeesin wus quarry-holes. Ye see he didna read his sermons the wey they do noo; he didna need tae do that, for he believe’t whut he preach’t, an sae efter he compose’t them he gaed his wa’s tae the quarry-hole, an mairch’t up an doon, wi his een on the lift, playin awa on the fiddle like the verra mischief, an roarin oot the sermon at the heicht o’ his voice. The wey he rave’t an rantit, an pavee’t an struttit like a French fencin maister, an the wey he turn’t up the whites o’ his een, every time a mair desperate scraich nor ordinary cam oot o’ the fiddle, ye wud ‘a’ thocht he wus possess’t.

The bits o’ boys an lasses use’t tae get on the quarry-heid, an lie flat doon, an glower ower the broo at him an admire him; an their hair wud be stannin on en half the time. Nane o’ them eve try’t tae interrupt him whun he wus practisin; they wur fley’t for a joodgment.

He wus a fine singer, an a gran preacher, an wusna fley’t tae say whut he thocht; an whun ill-set folk annoy’t him, or some wild ne’er-do-weels wud throw sods or peats at him whun he wus preachin or prayin, he use’t tae stop an gie them a word or twa yt didna please them.

WHUT HE PREACH’T FOR

NAE MENS

Partial Glossar

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

  • Rive ‘To tear, rend, rip, lacerate, of cloth, paper, skin or the like.’ [RIVE]
  • His wa’s ‘with verbs of motion, as comegaeganghasterinslipstapsit, later extended to others, after possess. prons., gen. in the form wa (orig. adv. accus.) or waas (orig. adv. gen., later construed as a pl.), and now only liter. or dial. in Eng. as to go one’s way, etc. The usage is little more than pleonastic, continuing the sense of the verb, sometimes connoting ‘away’.’ [WEY]
  • Verra mischief A’m shair this means the Deil, but A cannae see it in DSL. Trotter yaises the same phrase in the Wigtownshire volume o Gallowa Gossip: even the great Max Muller himself, or the verra Mischief couldna tell which was which.
  • Pavee ‘1. To caper, frisk, move in a quick light way, to cavort, “waltz around”; 2. to adopt an exaggeratedly courtly bearing, to strut, parade oneself, “show off”.’ [PAVIE]
  • Scraich ‘A shriek, screech, shrill strident sound.’ [SKRAICH]
  • Glower ‘To stare with wide-open eyes, to gaze intently and curiously.’ [GLOWER]
  • Fley’t ‘Frightened, scared, terrified.’ [FLEY]
  • Ill-set ‘Evilly disposed, “having evil propensities”; harsh, cruel ; surly, out of humour; lacking generosity, churlish.’