James and the Daughter of Tullochgorum
by: Wheeler, Les
Grant of Tullochgorum had a real bonny dother fa wis thocht a lot o by aa the young loons on Deeside, Donside an Speyside an aul Tullochgorum thocht it wis time she hid a man. He thocht aboot fa wid mak the best match an decided tae mairry her aff tae a neeborin laird fa hid plenty o siller but wis an aul, scroggie carle fa nae young quine wid hae lookit at. But young quines o rich faithers hid tae dae fit they were tellt in them days. Noo Tullochgorum sent an invitation to attend the weddin tae McKenzie o Dalmore, but McKenzie couldna gyang sae a couple o wikks afore the weddin he sent his Ghillie, James McDonald, ower tae Tullochgorum wi his excuse.
Noo, James wis as bonnie a laddie as ye’d find. Big, strong, supple an hardy – jist fit ony lassie wid desire. Weel, through a bitter sna-storm McDonald went an reached Tullochgorum’s hoose. Fa should open the door tae him but the bride-tae-be hersel an as she helped him shak the sna aff o his plaid she wis mair an mair taen wi Big John o the Firs an John McDonald wis jist as taen wi Miss Anne Grant! Before lang merriage tae the aul carle wis forgotten aboot an the twa young eens were draftin a scheme. McDonald passed on the message o his laird, Dalmore, and efter restin for the nicht wis aboot tae set aff for hame. Afore he left Miss Grant o Tullochgorum gave him a ring an he wis tae send it tae her on her weddin day if their plan was tae be attempted. The things young fowk get up till!
“It’s a gey peety,” said McKenzie o Dalmore, spikkin tae James on his return, “that the quine should hae tae mairry tae that nesty aul bodach.”
“Fit wid ye think o me takkin her fae him afore he gets her wedded?” spiers James.
“Dae it an I’ll gie ye the best ferm in the Dalmores!” wis McKenzie’s reply.
Noo, Dalmore an Tullochgorum were gweed freens in the ordinary wye o things sae he widna let James tak ony o his men on his ploy, but James gaed ower tae Inverey far John Farquarson, the Black Colonel, bade an got aa the help he wis needin there.
On the nicht o the merriage the group got tae a sheep-cot near Tullochgorum. In the ha great feastin wis takkin place as wis the custom afore a big merriage. Eence the feastin an dancin wis bye the bride wid leave her faither’s hoose an gyan tae jine her new husband. But during the feastin a stranger arrived an as was typical o the hielands the stranger wis made welcome. The stranger requested permission tae ‘tread a measure’ wi the bride. “Twa if ye like!” says Tullochgorum, happy that his dother wis getting a husband wi plenty o siller.
As the reel proceeded Miss Grant felt a ring being pressed intae her haun. It wis the signal ring an she kent fit it meant. Fin the dance feenished she made an excuse an wint tae her room. She pit on a heavy cloak, for it wis freezin ootside, slippit oot through the kitchie door, throwe the yett an oot tae the sheep-cot far James an the men o Inverey were waitin for her. Noo, it wis aff an on tae Braemar!
Noo, jist imagine the curfuffle that wint on in the ha fin it wis discovered that the bride-tae-be hid skidaddled!. Fitsteps were foond in the sna leadin tae the sheep-cot an the trail leadin awa wis obvious. Tullochgorum gaithert his men an even the aul carle o a bridegroom jined up wi some o his men.
Noo, McDonald an the braw lads o Inverey crossed the Avon at the ford o the roes but the sna wis deep an the lassie couldna gyan ony further. The men cairried her by turns, but Tullochgorum caught up wi them at the Derry Dam. They faced een anither across the burn an Alistair McDougal, swinging a muckle battle-aix abeen his heid, steppit forrit.
“G’wa hame, noo, Tullochgorum. Your dother’s here on her ain free will. Even if ye hid a hunner mair men ye couldna get ower the stream tae face us withoot a lot o fowk getting hurt.”
Efter a lot o thought an argy-bargying the Strathspey men, nae verra happy I’se warrant, turned aboot an went hame. James McDonald and Miss Ann Grant hid won the day.
The next mornin they were merried in Braemar an McDonald went tae McKenzie o Dalmore tae get him tae keep his promise an gie them the best ferm in Dalmore. But McKenzie didna wint tae offend Tullochgorum ower muckle an sae widna fulfil his promise, but he consulted wi Farquharson o Inverey. The Black Colonel gaed them the ferm o Tomlice at Corriemulzie an efter that the McDonalds aye followed the banner o the Farquharsons o Inverey.
Noo, the first Christmas efter this affair Dalmore spent wi Tullochgorum an the een efter Tullochgorum spent wi Dalmore. When Tullochgorum said he was gyan hame, Dalmore was shocked. “Surely ye’ll gyan an see yer dother afore ye gyang back?”
“A dother fa brocht shame on her faither’s name gets nae veesit fae me,” wis the reply.
“Dinna be sae feel,” said Dalmore. “I cairry my heid as hich as Tullochgorum an I veesit her an sae dis Inverey!”
The Black Colonel kent that Grant wis at Dalmore an made sure James an his wife hid aathing they needed for receivin veesitors. Grant o Tullochgorum wis persuaded an fan he arrived at Tomlice he was met by Mrs. McDonald in her best goon.
“A fine trick ye played on yer femily, my lady,” said Tullochgorum.
The lassie said nae a word but handed a fine yalla-haired loon to Dalmore an went tae get McDonald. Dalmore kent fit wis gyan on an pit the young een on tae his grandfaither’s knee. The aul hairt softened at eence.
In cam James o the Firs an Tullochgorum could only be impressed wi his son-in-law. “Weel,” said Tullochgorum, “I canna say that I blame ye for actin the wye that ye did. Seen the Black Colonel jined the company an he agreed tae gie the young couple a bigger fairm up in Gleney an Tullochgorom agreed tae stock it wi the best o sheep an kye. An there the young couple settled doon tae raise a femily an live as happily as they aye wintit till.