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Weekly Mailing List Archives
20th April 2007

It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at 

Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
Tartan Day in Toronto
The Scottish Nation
The Southern States of America
Poems and Stories
Clan Newsletters
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Congress in Columbia, Tennessee May 8-11, 1889. (New Book)
When the Steel Went Through
History of Scotland
Highlanders in Spain

As I was in Toronto for the Tartan Day Dinner didn't have quite as much time for the newsletter this week but hopefuly still of interest. I did manage to get up the pictures for you and more of that below.

The Clan MacMillan Branch of Texas is now forming and will have an inaugural gathering in Austin on June 12th.George MacMillan, Chief of Clan MacMillan, will be in attendance. If you are interested in joining the Texas Branch (open to all MacMillan and sept families) and attending the gathering as a charter member, please visit our website at :

The Washington St. Andrew’s Society announces the National Kirkin’ Of The Tartan 2007. This is an extraordinary event in the life of the Metropolitan Washington DC Scottish Community. The Kirkin’ takes place April 21st this year at the Washington National Cathedral located the upper part NW Washington DC near the Maryland line. Pipes & Drums, in full regalia, step off at 3:30 PM sharp. See

Reserved seating must be obtained in advance--preferably via e-mail but also by phone, from the Society's Sergeant-at-Arms and Chairman for the Kirkin, David Stewart McKenzie. David may be reached by leaving a telephone voicemail message at (202) 345-0843 or 962-2156, or preferably by e-mail at:, with a message title “KIRKIN2007".

Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter and pick up poems and stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and others.

Mind that The Flag is now in two sections (1) Political and (2) Cultural.

It's Richard Thomson's turn this week and he's giving his views on the state of play of the parties with only a couple of weeks left until the elections.

Still haven't heard from Linda so can only assume she's working hard on the elections.

You can view MSP Linda Fabiani's weekly diary entries at 
Email Linda at

In Peter's cultural section we get...

Scotland’s foremost problem over the centuries has always been how to deal with a larger, stronger and wealthier neighbour. A neighbour who, for obvious reasons, was keen to secure her northern border. In the wake of the declining so-called incorporating Union of 1707, the relationship between Scotland and England is still top of the political agenda and a lasting solution has still to be found. Devolution is no more than a staging-post in finding that solution. For the Scottish Parliament to have less power than the Manx Tynwald is an insult to the nation of Scotland and the only logical conclusion is Scottish and English ( and Welsh) Independence. As Alex Salmond, Leader of the Scottish National Party, well put the matter:

“After [Scottish] independence England will still be our biggest pal, our biggest friend, our biggest trading partner and people north and south of the border find that a very attractive proposition.” (9 April 2007)

Alex Salmond spoke for us all, as a relationship of equals threatens neither partner. It would help both Scots and English to rediscover their own cultural roots and distinctive identity. It is only to the benefit of Scottish Nationalism that the English rediscover their own identity. Increased use of symbols of nationality by the English such as the St George’s Cross is to be welcomed. During recent international football competitions England has been awash with red and white flags. Moves are afoot to make St George’s Day (23 April) a public holiday – in English terms a bank Holiday and an increasing number of events are being held, the length and breadth of England, to mark this important date. Google in St George’s Day 2007 and you will find a host of events being organised from bodies as diverse as English Heritage and the Boy Scouts. A golden opportunity to celebrate and enjoy English traditions such as real ale and Morris dancing. Appropriately St George’s Day is also the birth and death date of England’s National Bard – the incomparable William Shakespeare, so what better day to celebrate all that is best in England. Like St Andrew’s Day, St George’s should be a public holiday.

This week’s recipe features a dish which is also very popular in Scotland, but is seem internationally as being essentially English – Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding. We can all join in celebrating England’s National Day and raising a glass to the day when England is independent again.

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding

Ingredients: Fore rib beef (about 4 kgs/9 lbs), French trimmed, boned and rolled; olive oil; salt; freshly cracked black pepper

For the Yorkshire pudding
3 eggs; 115g/4oz flour; 275ml/½ pint milk; beef dripping; salt

Method: Preheat the oven to its highest setting. Rub the beef with the olive oil, salt and pepper all over. Put a heavy-based roasting tray on the hob and when hot, add the beef. Sear the beef quickly on all sides to colour and crisp the outside. Transfer the beef immediately to the oven and leave the oven on its highest setting (about 240C/460F/Gas 8) for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and roast for half an hour per kilo for rare, adding another ten minutes per kilo for medium rare, 20 minutes per kilo for medium, and 30 minutes per kilo for well done. Remove from the oven and place on a board or tray for resting. Loosely cover with foil and rest the meat for a minimum of 40 minutes before carving, letting the precious juices that have bubbled up to the surface seep back into the flesh. Also, as the meat relaxes it becomes easier to carve.

For the Yorkshire pudding, mix together the eggs, flour and a pinch of salt. Add the milk, stirring constantly, until you have a runny batter. Leave this to rest, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Place 1cm/½in of beef dripping in the bottom of each pudding mould, or if you are using a rectangular roasting tray, place 1cm/½in of beef dripping across the bottom. Heat the dripping in the oven (at 240C/460F/Gas 8) for about ten minutes, until it is piping hot. Remove the roasting tray from the oven, pour in the batter, and immediately return to the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown and crispy, making sure not to open the oven door for the first 20 minutes. Serve immediately with the carved roast beef.

You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and lots more at

Tartan Day in Toronto
There were two events this year to celebrate Tartan Day in Toronto. First was the outdoor event and we have some pictures up courtesy of David Hunter which you can see at

The other event was the Tartan Day Dinner at Casa Loma which was an outstanding success. Usually this event closes around 11pm but this year it was more like 1am before most got chased out :-)

Jean Watson was awarded the Scot of the Year and I had the pleasure of picking her up and escorting her to the dinner. You can see pictures from this dinner and 4 small videos which I hope you'll enjoy. I think I must have lost weight as my kilt kept falling down and I spent most of the night between taking pictures yanking it back up :-)

You can see all the pictures and videos at

The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us. She has now got her cast off at long last and she's now doing some typing but tells me she's making lots of mistakes so it might be a wee while until she is back up to speed. Always nice to see some steady progress :-)

Now moved onto the G's and added this week are Gavin, Ged and Geddes.

Here is a bit from the Geddes entry...

GEDDES, a surname, evidently the plural of Ged, those of this name bearing also three pikes in their arms. The estate of Geddes in Nairnshire belonged at one period to the Roses, one of whom, Hugh rose of Geddes, by his marriage with Mary de Bosco, heiress of Kilravock, became the founder of that ancient family. It now belongs to a family of the name of Mackintosh. There was at one time a family of Geddes of Geddes, as the Geddeses of Rachan are said to have been descended from them. In the parish of Nairn there is a hill called the hill of Geddes.

GEDDES, MICHAEL, an eminent divine of the church of England, and ecclesiastical writer, was born about 1650. He was educated at the university of Edinburgh, which city is supposed to have been his native place, and having taken the degree of M.A., he was, in July 1671, incorporated in the same at Oxford, being one of the first four natives of Scotland who were admitted to the benefits of the exhibitions founded by Bishop Warner in Baliol college. In 1678 he went to Lisbon as chaplain to the English factory there. In 1686 the Inquisition, taking offence at the exercise of his functions, cited him to appear before them, and, in violation of the privilege guaranteed by the commercial treaty between England and Portugal, prohibited him from continuing his ecclesiastical duties. The English merchants immediately wrote to the bishop of London, representing the hardships of their case, and showing their right to a chaplain; but before their letter reached that prelate, he was himself suspended by the ecclesiastical commission appointed by James the Second of England, who was then endeavouring to establish popery at home.

In May 1688, Mr. Geddes returned to England, where he took the degree of LL.D., and after the promotion of Dr. Burnet to the bishopric of Salisbury, he was chosen by that prelate to be chancellor of his church. He died before 1714. Bishop Burnet speaks in very respectful terms of him in his ‘History of the Reformation.’ During his residence at Lisbon, Dr. Geddes had collected a mass of historical materials from scarce books and manuscripts in the Spanish and Portuguese languages; and in 1694 he published the ‘History of the Church of Malabar,’ in one volume, translated from the Portuguese; which was followed by other works, a list of which is subjoined.

History of the Church of Ethiopia. To which are added, An Epitome of the Dominican History of that Church; an Account of the Practices and Conviction of Maria of the Annunciation, the famous Nun of Lisbon. Lond. 1696, 8vo.

The Council of Trent no free Assembly; with an Introduction concerning Councils, and a Collection of Dr. Vorga’s Letters. Lond. 1697, 1714, 8vo.

Miscellaneous Tracts. Vol. I. Lond. 1702, 8vo. Vol. Ii. Lond. 1705, 8vo. Vol. Iii. Lond. 1706, 8vo. The same, reprinted. Lond. 1714, 1730, 3 vols, 8vo. Containing, among other things, the History of the Expulsion of the Moriscoes out of Spain; History of the Wars of the Commons of Castile; View of the Spanish Cortes or Parliaments; Account of the Manuscripts and Reliques found in the Ruins of the uninhabitable Turpian Tower, in the city of Granada, in 1588, and in the mountain called Valparayso, near to that city, in 1595; View of the Court of Inquisition in Portugal; View of all the Orders of Monks and Friars in the Roman Church, with an account of their Founders.

Several Tracts against Popery. Lond. 1715, 8vo.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other entries at 

The Southern States of America
Published in 1909.

Added this week are...

The History of Texas - Chapter II
Texas as a Republic

The History of Texas - Chapter III
Texas in the Federal Union, 1845 - 1861

The History of Texas - Chapter IV
Texas in the Confederacy, 1861 - 1865

Here is a bit from Chapter IV...

Contributions in Men and Supplies to the Confederate Government.

Texas was formally admitted to the Confederacy by an act of congress approved March 2, 1861, but not until Governor Houston had been deposed was the authority of the general government fully recognized within the state. In the meantime the President, Jefferson Davis, had assumed control over all military operations in the various states having reference to other states or foreign powers. Although authorized to organize a provisional army, President Davis did not call on Texas for troops at once, as it was generally believed that war would be avoided. In April the firing on Fort Sumter and Lincoln's call for volunteers effectually dissipated this hope; yet even after hostilities had begun the belief was prevalent that the war would be only of short duration. In April the Confederate government requested Governor Clark to get 3,000 troops in readiness for service, and shortly afterwards asked for 5,000 more. These were first raised as state troops and then mustered into the Confederate service. In June an additional 2,000 were called for. Meanwhile a number of companies, battalions and regiments were raised by individuals with the permission of the Confederate authorities and without the intervention of the state. These were mustered directly into the Confederate army and were taken out of Texas. However, most of the troops raised in 1861 remained in the state, for it was believed that the war would not last long enough to justify taking them on the long and expensive trip to Virginia.

In the state elections of that year Edward Clark, supplanter of Houston, was narrowly defeated for the governorship by Frank E. Lubbock, who exerted himself to the utmost to put the state into a better condition of defense and to furnish needed support to the general government. By this time the course of events in the North and the energetic determination of Mr. Lincoln to reduce the South to submission at any cost made it clear that a more thorough organization of methods of raising troops and supplies was necessary. When the legislature met that winter it proceeded first to raise a mounted ranger regiment for service against the Indians on the frontier, and then to divide the state into thirty-three "brigade districts" for the more orderly and expeditious enlistment of soldiers. All able-bodied men between the ages of eighteen and fifty years, except certain public and quasi-public officials, were declared subject to military service and were to be enrolled in companies. Companies and regiments thus enrolled were under State authority until called for by the general government and mustered into its service. In the early spring heavy demands were made upon Texas for men. She had already contributed more than 16,000 [War of the Rebellion Records, Series IV., Vol. I., P. 983.] to the Confederacy, but the burdens of extended operations necessary to meet the heavy attacks planned against the Southern states east of the Mississippi required that the whole strength of every part of the new government be brought into action. By the Confederate "conscript law" of April 16, 1862, all men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five were to be taken immediately into active service. None were to be enlisted for less than three years or for the war. Those in Texas above the age of thirty-five who did not volunteer for Confederate service remained in reserve as state troops; but as the war progressed and the condition of the government became more precarious, the age limit was extended again and again until the country was drained of its men, both young and old. Governor Lubbock responded energetically to the continuous call for men, notwithstanding the exposed and precarious condition of the defenses of the state, especially along the coast; but he was greatly hampered by numerous permits injudiciously granted by the Confederate authorities to individual officers to enlist men in Texas without regard to the arrangement devised by the state government. In this way more men were being drawn out of Texas than the requisition called for, and it was only after repeated protests on the part of Lubbock that the practice was stopped.

You can read the rest of this chapter at 

The book index page is at

Poems and Stories
Donna has started a series of stories about her 93 year old Mother which can be seen at

She has up the first 10 pages and here is the first page to read here...

The man who walked through the door of Wimpy’s Café stood out like velvet in a bin of calico. He was tall, well dressed in a business suit and carried a brief case. The line of men on the stools at the counter barely looked up from their plates of home cooked fare. The food was what brought the workers, cowboys, truck drivers and small families into the eating establishment. Someone always seemed to keep the juke box plugged with change and it sawed out country music which always soothed the patrons, somehow. Velma, the owner, was alert to anything just a bit out of the ordinary and this distinguished person before her certainly sent up a red flag. Would he bring good news, tax problems, legal questions or some other difficult situation? Little did Velma know of the great changes this man would make in her life and the lives of her family.

She was Native American in an area populated by descendants of land rush people, who staked their claims for Indian land, busted the sod, or branded their cattle with their mark. Years later someone would refer to her as the little Chinese woman who had owned Wimpy’s. Something in their minds couldn’t see a Native American female with the business acumen to successfully operate an eating establishment where everyone wanted to go. Her serving up fat, long French Fries, huge hamburgers, chicken fried steaks, mashed potatoes and daily baked hot rolls just wasn’t in their understanding of what was making the place work. Velma let any racial remarks roll off and continued her 24 hour a day job with determined steps.

“Yes Sir? Is there something we can do for you?” Polite conversation works for any situation and it was what Velma used with the gentleman at this time.

“Well, yes! As a matter of fact I would like to speak with you on a confidential matter?” He handed her his business card to show he was associated with an organization called, “Oklahoma For Indians Opportunity,” or shortened to the acronym, ‘O.I.O.” She knew of their work via the grapevine but other than that was not familiar with what they actually did.

“You have caught us in a busy, noon rush hour. Is there another time we can talk?” Velma continued with her cordial manner.

“If you have some time when we could sit down for a while. What I need to talk about will take some thought.”

Clan Newsletters
Added the Jan 2006 newsletter of the Clan Colquhoun of America at

Added the March and April newsletter of Clan Am Cu at

Scottish Canadian Newspaper
Added another issue of this newspaper...

June 18, 1891 at

You can see all the issues to date at

Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Congress in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania May 29 to June 1, 1890.
Have now made a start at this volume on the Second Congress and here is how the first chapter starts...

The origin and history of the first Scotch-Irish Congress, held at Columbia, Tennessee, in May, 1889, were briefly sketched in our initial volume published last year. It has been decided that each annual volume shall contain a similar account of the Congress held during the year of its publication; and it is in pursuance of this design that the following sketch of the second Congress has been written.

The first Congress was called and came together as a mass-meeting of Scotch-Irish people, and not as an organized body. Before its adjournment, however, the Scotch-Irish Society of America was formed, in order to carry out in a systematic manner the objects for which the Congress was assembled.

These objects were outlined in our first volume, but it may be interesting to repeat them here in more detail.

They may be conveniently grouped under four heads, all intimately connected, but more or less distinct—historical, educational, fraternal, and patriotic. Our first object is to collect materials for a complete history of the Scotch-Irish race—a work which, strange enough, has never before been undertaken. It is said that the Scotch-Irish have been too busy making history in deeds to take time for writing it in words. If this be true, it furnishes all the greater reason why they should now stop long enough to take stock of accumulated achievements. A perusal of this volume will alone be sufficient to convince the reader, if he has never taken thought of it before, how rich must be the inventory. To study the great historic forces which have molded the character of the Scotch-Irish people, and have shaped their career, to trace them from Scotland to Ireland, and from Ireland to all parts of the world, will be a subject of deepest interest to students of history. To an American, however, especially if he be of Scotch-Irish extraction, the record of the race in our own land will be found most attractive, for no other people have contributed so much to our greatness and prosperity. As a race their influence has not been properly recognized, but as individuals they have been known as leaders in every sphere of public and private life. The materials for the general history are to be gathered from the records of these typical men of the race. Their deeds have in some instances been recorded in biographies and histories, but the great multitude of them have been preserved only in the memory, and will soon be lost to the world, unless engraved on more enduring tablets. The reminiscences and traditions retained only as recollections with the old family papers, and relics preserved in thousands of households throughout our land, furnish rich stores from which to draw numerous sketches worthy of being written and read.

It is the purpose of our Society to stimulate the writing of such sketches, and afterward to gather them into our archives, together with all relics and other data that can be obtained. In addition to this historical matter bearing on the individuals, families, and communities of the race, eminent scholars will be invited to write on particular phases of Scotch-Irish character and achievement. Branch organizations, co-operating with us, will also assist in gathering the desired materials.

Our Society will publish a series of annual volumes, called "The Scotch-Irish in America." Each volume will contain the proceedings and addresses of the preceding yearly Congress, with such other matter as shall be selected from the archives.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The book index page is at

When the Steel Went Through
By P. Turner Bone

Have continued to put up this book with another 6 chapters...

Mountain Division C.P.R., 1885
Mountain Division C.P.R., 1886
C.P.R. Short Line, State of Maine
Scotland Again, 1889
Location of Railway, Regina to Prince Albert, 1889
Calgary and Edmonton Railway, 1890-91

And here is a bit from the Calgary and Edmonton Railway chapter...

THE NEW YEAR at the ranch began with temperatures well below zero. Consequently I did not stir far from the house for the first week or two. But after that, it was fairly mild for the rest of the winter, and I was able to go farther afield in comfort.

I spent some time going with Bryce Wright to the foothills, and cutting down trees for fence posts; afterwards hauling these to the ranch. John Turner stayed at the ranch and looked after it while we were away. I helped also on other jobs, and altogether had a pleasant time.

Toward spring, however, I moved to Calgary in order to be on the spot when word should come telling me to report for duty on the location of the Calgary & Edmonton Railway.

I put up at the Royal Hotel, which was owned and run by James Reilly — "the people's James". There, I made the acquaintance of quite a number of people who were boarding at this hotel. Among these, were Col. Wainwright and his two attractive daughters. One of these ladies afterwards was married to Thomas Stone; and the other later became Mrs. Dudley Rickards.

I recall, too, meeting then for the first time, Dr. Lafferty who was at that time Mayor of Calgary; William Pearce, Inspector of Mines; Dr. H. B. Mackid; and his young son, Stewart Mackid, now one of the leading surgeons in Calgary.

The project of the Calgary & Edmonton Railway included a line from Calgary to MacLeod, as well as the one from Calgary to Edmonton. And James Ross, who was still engaged in finishing the construction of the railway from Regina to Prince Albert, had also undertaken the construction of the C. & E. Rly.; and Holt, Mackenzie, and Mann, were his associates on this work too.

Individually, each of these four was prominent among the railway contractors of the day; and thus associated, they might well be referred to as the Big Four in railway promotion and construction.

One day, about the middle of April, I happened to be engaged in a game of billiards at the hotel, when I received a telegram telling me that a camp outfit was on the way from Regina to Calgary, and that I was to take charge of it on its arrival. I at once put away my billiard cue, and hurried to the station to find out when the outfit was due to arrive.

It arrived that evening. It consisted of tents and full equipment of wagons and mules; and was accompanied by Jack Lee, who had been one of the teamsters on our locating party the year before. He promptly got the outfit unloaded, and the mules stabled in Bain's stable.

Stewart, who held the position of Chief Locating Engineer, arrived the following morning, and I learned from him that he was putting two parties in the field: one to locate the line from Calgary to Red Deer; and the other to locate from Red Deer to Edmonton. I was to have charge of the former party; and M. MacLeod was to have charge of the latter. I learned, too, that Lumsden would be the Inspecting Engineer for the government.

I spent a few days looking over the ground with Stewart until the members of my party arrived; and as soon as I got them together I started locating up the Nose Creek valley on the north side of the Bow River.

I was highly pleased to have my old friend Mather as transitman on my party. I had not, however, met the leveller before. I remember well his appearance and genial personality, and still retain pleasant recollections of our fellowship on that work. But I never heard what became of him afterwards; and his name has completely slipped my memory. So, much to my regret, I can only speak of him now simply as the leveller.

The other members of the party were: Cameron, rodman; Symonds and Norquay, picketmen; Simon and Bell, chainmen; Lee, Hall, Forrest, and Bliss, teamsters; and the axeman and cook, whose names I do not recall.

Mather had gone in for photography as a hobby, and he took some interesting photographs of our camp, and of the members of the party, which vividly recall the appearance of each individual.

The party proved to be an excellent one. Each one knew his job, and did it well. All were keen to do their best. So, with such a party it did not take long — some eighteen days — to get to Red Deer, and connect with MacLeod's line there. We then moved back to Calgary and started locating the south branch to MacLeod.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

History of Scotland
In 6 volumes By Patrick Fraser Tytler (1828)

I have now completed the first volume of this publication and made a start at the second volume. The first volume of course includes accounts of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce so I hope you enjoy reading those chapters. As all the chapters are .pdf files I'll just point you at the index page of this publication which is at

Highlanders in Spain
By James Grant (1910)

Now up to Chapter 9 of this book so 6 more chapters added this week. Here is a wee bit from Chapter 8...

'One, two, three — six to one! the rascally cowards ! Draw, Alister, — draw and strike in,' cried Ronald, unsheathing his sword — an example which his companion was not slow in following, and all three were soon engaged, two to one, against the assailants of Alvaro, who were surprised at this unexpected attack, and fought with double desperation to escape. The whole of Ronald's long-nourished love of tumult, his fiery spirit and inherent fierceness, broke forth in this martial fray, and indeed he was put to his mettle. No fewer than three of the ruffians fell upon him pell-mell, cutting and thrusting with their long blades, while they watched every opportunity to use the sharper stilettoes which armed their left hands. Ronald's regimental gorget saved him from one deadly thrust at his throat, and the thick folds of his plaid, where they crossed the iron plate of his left epaulette-strap, saved him from more than one downright blow. Sweeping his long claymore round him, with both his hands clenched in its basket-hilt, he fought with the utmost energy, but only on the defensive, and was compelled to retire backwards step by step towards the quay of the Guadiana, where he must have been inevitably drowned or slain, but for the timely interference of a fourth sword, which, mingling its strokes with theirs, struck the three Spanish blades to shivers. Two of the fellows immediately fled, and plunging into the river swam to the opposite bank ; the third would have followed, but Ronald, grasping him by the throat, adroitly struck the poniard from his hand, and pinning him to the earth, placed his foot upon his neck. At the same moment Alister Macdonald passed his long claymore through the body of the fourth, who fell shrieking — 'Santa Maria! O Dios! O Dios! and almost instantly expired. The other two, who had been driven far off by the Spanish officer, now fled, and the brawl was ended.

'Hot work this, gentlemen,' said Campbell, in his usual jocular tone. It was his sword which had intervened so opportunely between Ronald and destruction. 'The fray has been bravely fought and gallantly finished.'

You have drawn your sword to-night for the first time, Stuart, and proved yourself a lad of the proper stuff. Keep your foot tight upon the growling scoundrel, and if he dares to stir, pin him to the pavement. This affair beats hollow my brawl at Grand Cairo, when we were in Egypt with Sir Ralph. By-the-bye, what did the fray begin about?'

'I am sure I cannot say,' replied Ronald, panting with his late exertion; 'but for your prompt assistance, major, it might have ended otherwise. Alister, I am glad you have disposed of your opponent in so secure a manner, — yet his horrid death-cry rings strangely in my ears.' A grim smile curled the handsome features of Macdonald, who wiped his sword in his tartan plaid, and jerked it into the sheath in silence.

'Senores—officiates, I thank you for the good service you have rendered me to-night,' said the Spanish officer in good English while he made a low obeisance, 'and am happy that you have all escaped unharmed; but we must dispose of this remaining villain. Be pleased to stand aside, senor, that I may run him through the heart. A fair thrust from the blade of a noble cavaliero is too good a death for such a fellow.'

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

I got sent this in and as I'm now living in Canada thought I'd pass it on :-)

Until the deaths of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, probably almost no one outside their home country had been aware that Canadian troops are deployed in the region. And as always, Canada will bury its dead, just as the rest of the world, as always, will forget its sacrifice, just as it always forgets nearly everything Canada ever does.

It seems that Canada's historic mission is to come to the selfless aid both of it's friends and of complete strangers, and then, once the crisis is over, to be well and truly ignored.

Canada is the perpetual wallflower that stands on the edge of the hall, waiting for someone to come and ask her for a dance. A fire breaks out, she risks life and limb to rescue her fellow dance-goers, and suffers serious injuries. But when the hall is repaired and the dancing resumes, there is Canada, the wallflower still, while those she once helped Glamorously cavort across the floor, blithely neglecting her yet again.

That is the price Canada pays for sharing the North American continent with the United States, and for being a selfless friend of Britain in two global conflicts. For much of the 20th century, Canada was torn in two different directions: It seemed to be a part of the old world, yet had an address in the new one, and that divided identity ensured that it never fully got the gratitude it deserved. Yet its purely voluntary contribution to the cause of freedom in two world wars was perhaps the greatest of any democracy.

Almost 10% of Canada's entire population of seven million people served in the armed forces during the First World War, and nearly 60,000 died. The great Allied victories of 1918 were spearheaded by Canadian troops, perhaps the most capable soldiers in the entire British order of battle.

Canada was repaid for its enormous sacrifice by downright neglect, it's unique contribution to victory being absorbed into the popular Memory as somehow or other the work of the "British."

The Second World War provided a re-run. The Canadian navy began the war with a half dozen vessels, and ended up policing nearly half of the Atlantic against U-boat attack. More than 120 Canadian warships participated in the Normandy landings, during which 15,000 Canadian soldiers went ashore on D-Day alone. Canada finished the war with the third-largest navy and The fourth-largest air force in the world.

The world thanked Canada with the same sublime indifference as it had the previous time. Canadian participation in the war was acknowledged in film only if it was necessary to give an American actor a part in a campaign in which the United States had clearly not participated - a touching scrupulousness which, of course, Hollywood has since abandoned, as it has any notion of a separate Canadian identity.

So it is a general rule that actors and filmmakers arriving in Hollywood keep their nationality - unless, that is, they are Canadian. Thus Mary Pickford, Walter Huston, Donald Sutherland, Michael J. Fox, William Shatner, Norman Jewison, David Cronenberg, Alex Trebek, Art Linkletter and Dan Aykroyd have in the popular perception become American, and Christopher Plummer, British.

It is as if, in the very act of becoming famous, a Canadian ceases to be Canadian, unless she is Margaret Atwood, who is as unshakably Canadian as a moose, or Celine Dion, for whom Canada has proved quite unable to find any takers.

Moreover, Canada is every bit as querulously alert to the achievements of it's sons and daughters as the rest of the world is completely unaware of them. The Canadians proudly say of themselves - and are unheard by anyone else - that 1% of the world's population has provided 10% of the world's peacekeeping forces. Canadian soldiers in the past half century have been the greatest peacekeepers on Earth - in 39 missions on UN mandates, and six on non-UN peacekeeping duties, from Vietnam to East Timor, from Sinai to Bosnia.

Yet the only foreign engagement that has entered the popular on-Canadian imagination was the sorry affair in Somalia, in which out-of-control paratroopers murdered two Somali infiltrators. Their regiment was then disbanded in disgrace - a uniquely Canadian act of self-abasement for which, naturally, the Canadians received no international credit.

So who today in the United States knows about the stoic and selfless friendship its northern neighbour has given it in Afghanistan and who is the largest provider of oil to the US? Rather like Cyrano de Bergerac, Canada repeatedly does honourable things for honourable motives, but instead of being thanked for it, it remains something of a figure of fun.

It is the Canadian way, for which Canadians should be proud, yet such honour comes at a high cost. This past year more grieving Canadian families knew that cost all too tragically well.

And that's all for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)


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