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> Issue 46 > Page 67 - A Visit with Frank & Margaret MacRae

Page 67 - A Visit with Frank & Margaret MacRae

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/8/1 (157 reads)

And her mistress couldn't swii . So as the tide was coming in, the servant girl made for shore. She got ashore, and she didn't let anything on to the mistress; and the mistress never noticed that the tide was coming in. When she looked up, the tide had surrounded her on the reef. There was no way of her getting in without having to swim. The girl was on the shore. So she called out to the girl to extend her hand. And the girl answered her and said she wouldn't. She told her that she just didn't want to save her life because she was wanting to get into her place with her husband. And the well-to-do lady, as she was there on the reef waiting for the tide to get so high that she would be drowned, she com? posed a song. And the girl, the servant girl, was on the shore. She was listening to the song that her mistress was making, and it stayed with her. And she went home. She made a story to the mistress's husband, saying that she had been caught out on the reef and she couldn't save her and she was drowned. And he believed it. After quite a period of time had gone by, he and the servant girl became good friends, and they finally got married. And they had a child. And one day he was com? ing home from wherever he was working, and he heard her singing a lullaby to the child. The window was open. And he paused to hear what she was singing. She was sing? ing the song that his (first) wife had com? posed when she was on the reef. When he heard that, he realized then what had hap? pened, that his (first) wife h'ad been left, that the servant girl had left (her) to drown on the reef. And so they separated then. That was the end of their relation? ship. And the mistress, before she died, she had 3 children. She made the song, and she men? tioned about the 3 children and how they would miss her. She asked the servant girl to look after them for her. And the ser? vant girl didn't care about anything but to get all that she owned, including her husband. And that's the song that's here (Gaelic Songs in Nova Scotia). The song was in the form of a lullaby. The servant girl used it as a lullaby. The (mistress) just made the song as she was sitting on the reef there waiting for the tide to drown her. She mentioned how she would be drowned, and how they would come, and how they would find her on the reef. Her child would seek the mother's breast at night, and the breast would be--what we had in the song was that the breast woulH~ be full of salt water 'cause she had drowned. It's very touching, (When you say "what we had in the song"--) Yes, it's a little different in this (book), to what we had. (Verse 9:) "'S ann bhios cioch do mhathair.../Loma-lan saile." ("Your mother's breast will be full of brine.") (That's a powerful image--the image of go? ing for a mother's milk and getting brine.) I prefer the way we had it to what's here (in the book). It seems like that's the way we learned it from his mother. And his mother didn't read Gaelic. (Where did she learn her songs?) Probably her grandmother, I would say, maybe. She lived a lot with her grandmother. WE BUY AND WE SELL AND WE'RE AS NEAR AS YOUR TELEPHONE Sid's Used Furniture Phone 564-6123 436 Charlotte Street, Sydney - 40 YEARS OF SERVICE TO CAPE BRETON - ?I|E
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