Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Whole Contents of the Paper. Rambling Recollections of My Schools and School Days.

Article XVII written by Alexander Gunn was published in the Northern Ensign on 17 Nov 1881 – Part D
A Badbea lintel and fireside. This may have been the house of David Sutherland

“News travelled very slowly in those days, and was but very imperfect often when it did come to hand. There was not much startling news came our length, and I must say that a newspaper was not the most welcome visitor to us. If my father got hold of a paper, our good neighbour, David Sutherland, got word of it, and whatever business might be on hand, and however important or pressing, it got leave to stand, and David came to our fireside, when the whole contents of the paper were gone into, and every word read, and read aloud, with the greatest interest. If David got a paper he acted in like manner. We could not imagine how the old folks felt such an interest in reading the papers. As for us, it was the greatest punishment that could be inflicted upon us, as we dare not move from our seats, or speak a word louder than a whisper. Should we forget ourselves, and speak a loud word, we did not miss our punishment. We could sit a live long winter night and listen to stories about fairies and ghosts till our hair would stand on end like a porcupine’s quills with fair fright, and not a single word out of our head, but we had no taste for politics, or general news, and we could not conceive how anybody else could have cravings that way.”
John O Groat Journal 1845

“A brutal murder was committed at Wick about this time. How the intelligence reached our length I cannot say. Such horrible affairs were not so common in those days as, alas, they are now. Years might pass without a single case occurring in Scotland, or England. There were, however, a few cases of murder in dear Ould Ireland even in those quiet time, even before the shooting of landlords had found a place among the sports in the Irish calendar, and a man in our neighbourhood declared his partiality for Irish newspapers, because, he said, there were murders and outrages reported in them pretty often.”

(To be continued.)