Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Strong Scottish Women

Richard was our CIE tour guide for the city of Edinburgh.  He joined our group, kilt and all.  I enjoyed him as a guide because he shared not only historical facts, but interesting stories of Edinburgh citizens.  Sean Connery is from Edinburgh - but, this post is about strong Scottish Women.

One thing that impressed me about Scotland, was the strong women that helped to shape this country.  Mary Queen of Scots, ring a bell?  Queen at 6 days old, hidden and raised in France, widowed at 18, (forced?) to marry 1st cousin, mother of James VI, forced to abdicate the throne to him at age 1,  murder, scandal and rumors surround her, her whole life.  She later is held in exile in London for over 18 years and found guilty of plotting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth (her cousin) and subsequently beheaded.  Wow, I need to read more about her.

I admire strong women.  I come from a long line of them.  I can imagine, that some great, great, great, great grad mother was cut from the tartan that was wove with these strong fibers.  

There are two stories about two women from different centuries that Richard shared with us.  I wanted to post about them, mostly so I can remember them.

The first was "Half Hangit' Maggie"  As stories go and there are many that follow the life of this woman; I will share it as Richard told us.  The time Maggie lived, superstition and speculation governed the laws.  Many unexplained situations were viewed as being of the "devil" and innocent people were hung or executed for unsustainable reasons.  Maggie, was one such story.  She was working for an innkeeper and had an affair with his son.  She ended up pregnant.  At that time, it was illegal to conceal a pregnancy, however she did.  Her baby was born prematurely and died.  She took him down to the river bank to toss him in, but was unable to do so.  The baby was found laying on the side of the river and traced back to her.  She was found guilty and sentenced to a hanging.  This is where she was hung, this is the marker for all those who were executed here.

Maggie's body was put in a coffin.  On the way to the cemetery, the driver heard kicking and knocking from the inside.  When he opened up the coffin, Maggie was not dead.  As Roman law states, once dead, you're dead - you can't be executed twice.  So, Maggie was "dead" in the eyes of the law.  She was one smart "cookie" as she used that to her advantage.  I don't agree with her methods, but I don't blame  her for using this to her advantage.  She was an untouchable, in the eyes of the court as she was "dead."  She lived the life of a criminal, running a black market, racketeering and prostitution.  All out in the open as she and everyone knew she could get away with it.  When she finally died, some 25 years later, she had a hero's burial.  She goes down in Scottish history as the only person to "beat" the government.  The bar is named after her and is across the street from that execution memorial.  

The other woman comes from more recent of times - Madam Doubtfire.  You know, Mrs. Doubtfire - Robin Williams.  Madam Doubtfire was a local "junk" dealer.  She had a small shop where she sold all kinds of trinkets she picked up from the trash or bartered with from local residents.  I've read she was a "cat" lady too.  Anyway, the author lived in Edinburgh and knew of this local "character" (I use that, because I'm sure she was thought of as that) and chose to use her name in the book that later became a movie.  So, I now find Mrs. or Madam Doubfire lots more interesting, maybe even a little too much like me (wink).

We left Scotland filled with stories, history and a new love of the highlands.

We crossed the Irish Sea and on to my stories of Ireland.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconisn.  
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