03 November 2012

The character and attachments of a Scotchman


'You do not know the genius of that man's country, sir,' answered Rashleigh; 'discretion, prudence, and foresight, are their leading qualities; these are only modified by a narrow-spirited, but yet ardent patriotism, which forms as it were the outmost of the concentric bulwarks with which a Scotchman fortifies himself against all the attacks of a generous philanthropical principle. Surmount this mound, you find an inner and still dearer barrier - the love of his province, his village, or, most probably, his clan; storm this second obstacle, you have a third - his attachment to his own family - his father, mother, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, and cousins, to the ninth generation. It is within these limits that a Scotchman's social affection expands itself, never reaching those which are outermost, till all means of discharging itself in the interior circles have been exhausted. It is within these circles that his heart throbs, each pulsation being fainter and fainter, till, beyond the widest boundary, it is almost unfelt. And what is worst of all, could you surmount all these concentric outworks, you have an inner citadel, deeper, higher, and more efficient than them all - a Scotchman's love for himself'.

- Sir Walter Scott, Rob Roy, 1817.
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