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Mirth and Dancing
An Examination Paper


1. Who said, and in what circumstances, the following?

(a) "I'll mak siccar."
(b) "I will bell the cat."
(c) "It came with a lass, and it will go with a lass."
(d) "The monstrous regiment of women."
(e) "Better bairns greet than bearded men."

2. What do you know of (a) Margaret Logie, (b) the Wolf of Badenoch, (c) Jingling Geordie, (d) the Guidman of Ballengeich, (e) Sawney Bean, (f) Toom Tabard?

3. What was Robert the Bruce's mother tongue, and do you know anything of his linguistic attainments or limitations?

4. "Berwick-on-Tweed is an English town which gives its name to the adjacent Scottish county." Discuss this statement with a wealth of historical detail.

5. Who was Captain Green, and what is his importance in the history of Scotland?

6. Who was the "Admirable Crichton", where was he born, and what did he do?

7. Why was the Battle of Bannockburn?


I. Say why the following dates are memorable in the history of Scotland, viz.: 1638, 1643, 1679, 1690, 1712, 1843, 1903, 1931

2. Who were (a) the Cameronians, (b) the Burghers and the Anti-Burghers, (c) the Glassites, (d) the Morisonians?

3. Who were (a) Jupiter Carlyle, (b) the Apostle of the North, (c) Rabbi Duncan, (d) the Great Norman, (e) "Orwell", (f) A. K. H. B.?

4. What is "moderating in a call"?

5. When you read in the newspapers that "the Rev. Mungo Mucklebairn preached the church vacant" you do not understand anything derogatory to the man of God's pulpit powers. What do you understand?


1. Why is a fiscal so called?

2. Why do clever people go to Scotland to commit suicide?

3. How many judges are there in (a) the Court of Session, (b) the High Court of Justiciary?

4. Distinguish between (a) a law-agent, (b) a procurator, (c) a solicitor, (d) a Solicitor of the Supreme Court, (e) a writer, ( f) a Writer to the Signet.

5. What, if anything, do you understand by stellionate and how would you distinguish it from (a) hamesucken, (b) stouthrief and (c) spulzie?

6. What is a "paper lord"?


I. The following familiar quotations are all from Scottish authors. Identify.

(a) "'Tis distance lends enchantment to view."
(b) "Uncertain, coy, and hard to please."
(c) "Oh, what a tangled web we weave,
     When first we practise to deceive!"
(d) "Let me make the songs of a nation, and I care not who makes the laws." (Think twice before answering this: there is a catch.)
(e) "Great Nature's plan."
(f) "Britannia rules the waves."
(g) "My name is Norval."
(h) "Only for telling a man he was wrong,
     Two lovely black eyes!"

2. Name the author of the quotation in Misc. I, below.

3. What do you know of (a) Mansie Wauch, (b) Johnny Gibb of Gushetneuk, (d) Jeems Kaye?


1. Pronounce the following place-names so as not to excite the derision of the natives: (a) Milngavie, (b) Buckhaven, (c) St. Ninians, (d) Friockheim, (e) Polmadie, ( f ) Stonehaven, (g) Mallaig, (h) Monzie.

2. Identify as nearly as you can the following districts of Scotland: (a) Kyle, (b) Angus, (c) Lennox, (d) Mearns, (e) The Merse, (f) Cunningham, (g) Buchan, (h) The Stewartry.

3. "O who be ye would cross Loch Gyle,
    This dark and stormy water?"

Where is Loch Gyle? And - though this does not, strictly speaking, belong to this section - do you see anything in the boatman's question to suggest that he was the local idiot?


1. Translate accurately into standard English:
(a) "A daimen icker i' the thrave."
(b) "His lyart haffets."
(c) "I on the question targe them lightly."
(d) "Tirl the hallions to the birses."
(e) "Painch, tripe, or thairm."
(f) "The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle,
    Fair play, he cared na de'ils a boddle."

2. Quote any passage from Burns indicative of his views on Sabbath observance.

3. See page 84 and give a conjectural restoration of the line that Burns somehow couldn't remember.


1. "Cam' ye by Athol, lad wi' the philabeg." What precisely is a philabeg?

2. Spell without hesitation the name that is pronounced Cohoon. (For a written answer the time allowed is 5 seconds.)

3. (a) Name the Universities of Scotland in order of seniority. (b) Is there anything in its history or constitution that distinguishes Edinburgh from the other Scottish Universities?

4. When did Scotland begin to play golf?

5. What is a schooner of beer?

6. What are (a) a Banavie flea, (b) a Glasgow magistrate?

7. "I'm sair hadden doon wi' a bubbly jock." Does this convey any meaning to you, and if so what, and explain why and all about it?

8. In the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries respectively Scotland had three transcendent mathematicians: (a) The first made the modern methods of calculation, but thought nothing of that. He believed his life's work was his demonstration that the Pope was Antichrist. (b) The second made discoveries in geometrical theory equal to Euclid's, but during the 'Forty-five Rebellion he had to apply his science to the art of fortification, and ultimately died from the effects of the privations he suffered during the campaign. (c) The third was the greatest physicist of his age, but he declined to join the Royal Aeronautical Society on the ground that flight by means of a heavier-than-air machine was a demonstrable impossibility. Can you name the three men?

9. When and where was the first Rugby international played between Scotland and England, and who won?

10. You are, perhaps, nobody in particular, but it has fallen to you to preside at a public dinner in Edinburgh, to which a number of important people have been invited. You have on either side of you at the chairman's table the Secretary for Scotland (a commoner), the Earl of Mar, the Earl of Derby, Mr Bertrand Russell, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the Lord President of the Court of Session and two Lords-Ordinary, the Sheriff of the Lothians, the Sheriff of Lanarkshire, the Lord-Advocate, the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Minister of St. Giles', and the Principal of Edinburgh University, who is, of course, a knight. Indicate according to the subjoined plan, how you should find them placed?

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