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Scotland and the Scots, 1707-2007

Christian Auer

II. Jacobitism

7. Dialogue between a Gentlewoman and her Maid, 1745

Texte intégral

  • 9 M. Lynch, Scotland: A New History, London: Century, 1992, p. 337.

1The Lyon in Mourning, the collection compiled between 1746 and 1775 by Robert Forbes (1708-1775), a convinced Jacobite and a minister who later became Bishop of Ross and Caithness, constitutes one of the best contemporary records of the Jacobite rising of 1745-46. During the rising Robert Forbes was imprisoned in Stirling Castle. His manuscript collection, which includes accounts of battles and of the cruelties of Jacobite persecution, was printed in three volumes for the Scottish History Society in 1895-96. Michael Lynch has argued that the collection has participated in creating what he calls the “cult of Jacobite nostalgia”: “Culloden has become the symbol of the death of an old order as well as the emblem of the calculated brutality of the army of the Duke of Cumberland. Both are to a large extent the product of a remarkable work of propaganda, The Lyon in Mourning, a massive collection of the documented genocide of a people.”9

2“Genuin Dialogue between a gentlewoman at Derby and her maid Jenny, in the beginning of December 1745, taken from the Chester Journal”, in Robert Forbes, The Lyon in Mourning, or, A collection of Speeches, Letters, Journals etc. relative to the Affairs of Prince Charles Edward Stuart by the Rev. Robert Forbes A. Bishop of Ross and Caithness 1746-1775, vol. 2, Edinburgh: T. and A. Constable, 1895, p. 55-57.

  • 10 Prince Charles Edward Stuart (1720-1788) was the grandson of king James II and VII, who had been de (...)

gen. Jenny, Come here: I’m told that you have been
To see this man.
jen. What man? gen. Why you
have seen
The young Pretender
10, hussy, at his lodgings.
Is it not so? Come tell me without dodging.
jen. Why really, Madam, I was passing by
Thinking no harm—not in the least—not I,
And somebody or other that I met.
gen. What somebody? jen. Indeed now I forget—
Said what a handsome man he was—And so,
Begging your pardon, Madam, I did go,
But had no ill intention in the thing,
A cat may look—as folks say—at a king.

gen. King—do you call him? Ye rebellious slut.
jen. I did not call him so, good madam, but—
gen. But me! no butting! Not another day
Shall any rebel in my service stay.
I owe you twenty shillings, ther’s a guinea,
Pack up—And go about your business, Jenny.
Matters indeed are come to a fine pass,
The next thing, I suppose, you’ll go to Mass.
jen. To Mass! What road? For I don’t know the place,
Nor could I tell which way to turn my face.
gen. Turn! You’ll turn Papist, and believe black’s white.
jen. Why, bless me, Madam, I han’t lost my sight.
gen. And then the priests will bid you cut my throat.
jen. Dear, loving Mistress, how you talk by rote.
I would not hurt a hair of your dear head
Were all the priests in Mass to kill me dead;
And I don’t say it with design to brag,
Since I’ve been with you, you han’t lost a rag.
I cut your throat! because I saw the Prince,
And never thought of black or white e’er since.
gen. Good! this is you that did not call him king.
And is not Prince, ye minx, the selfsame thing?
jen. You are so hasty, Madam, with your snarles,
Wou’d you ha’ me call the gentleman plain Charles.
gen. Prince Charles again! Speak out your treason-tales,
His Royal Highness, Charles, the Prince of Wales.
jen. Oh! Madam, you say more of him than me,
For I said nothing of his pedigree.
gen. Pedigree! Fool! What would the wench be at?
What pedigree has any bastard brat?
jen. Nay—I’m no Harold. Be he what he will,
He is a charming man to look at still.
When I was got in there amongst the throng
His Royal Highness — —
gen. Hussey, hold your tongue.
jen. You call’d him so yourself but just e’en now.
gen. Yes, so I did. But then the manner how.
jen. And will you turn a servant out of doors,
Because her manners ben’t so fine as yours?
gen. Jenny, I say you had no business neither
To see the creature, or go near him either.
jen. Creature! Nay, pardon, Madam, he is no creature,
But a sweet comely Christian, ev’ry feature.
gen. No creature! Would you worship him, you dunce?
jen. I would you were to see his worship once.
gen. How can the girl cross questions like a fool;
Or think that I should go and see the fool?
Jenny, tho’ you have done so far amiss,
I pity such an ignorance as this;
If you’ll go mind your work as heretofore,
And keep at home, I’ll pass the matter o’er.
jen. Ah! Madam, you’re so good. Let me but speak
My simple mind, or else my heart will break,
I’ve such a strange foreboding in my heart.
If you but saw him once, we should not part.
Do see him once. What harm is there in seeing?
If after that there be not an agreeing—
Then call me twenty rebel sluts, if you,
When you have seen him, ben’t a rebel too.

Now whether Jenny did persuade her dame
Has not as yet been trumpeted by fame.
Sometimes there happens to be secret views
That are not put into the publick news.
But by report that private rumor gives,
She’ll never part with Jenny while she lives.


9 M. Lynch, Scotland: A New History, London: Century, 1992, p. 337.

10 Prince Charles Edward Stuart (1720-1788) was the grandson of king James II and VII, who had been deposed in the Revolution of 1688. Charles’s opponents referred to him as “The Young Pretender”.

© Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2013

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