Ploughing P25 Chris Guthrie at the Standing Stones. There has been a lengthy drought, and still no sign of rain. P26

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Ploughing

P25 Chris Guthrie at the Standing Stones. There has been a lengthy drought, and still no sign of rain.

P26 The story of how one of Chae Strachan’s children was nearly knocked down by a car, and of how Chae had clouted the driver. He was fined for the assault. Everyone is short-tempered because of the dry weather.

P27 Had John Guthrie managed to keep a civil tongue in his head the family would still be in Echt, and not in Kinraddie. Jean Guthrie’s past, near Aberdeen. Her advice to Chris: Oh, Chris, my lass there are better things than your books or your studies or loving and bedding, there’s the countryside your own, and you its, in the days when you’re neither bairn nor woman. She and John Guthrie had met at a ploughing-match.

P28 They married, but before that Guthrie mightn’t touch her, his face would go black with rage at her because of that sweetness that tempted his soul to hell. After they married and had children he was still roused by her, but he would cry in agony at night when he went with her. She wants no more children but Guthrie insists they will have what God in his mercy sends them. He wouldn’t do anything against God’s will.

P29 The twins arrive, and Jean lost that sweet blitheness that was hers.

P30 Guthrie strikes his son Will for referring to their new horse as Jehovah, a word he’d heard the minister use. Will hated him.

P31 Chris has mixed feelings for her father, for the land, for the life of the land, because she’d met with books. Her father hopes her studies will do him credit. The Guthrie in Chris is pleased, but the Murdoch in her laughed at such an idea. Chris is successful at school, winning prize and becoming dux, but she has mixed feelings about the books she reads.


P32 There were two Chrises that fought for her heart and tormented her - one that hated the land and the folk, and one that loved both, including the Scots tongue.

P33 Reference to the Battle of Flodden, and the overwhelming defeat of the Scots by the English.

P34 John Guthrie’s agonised sense of guilt as his wife suffers another painful labour. Chris’s innocence – she has no idea what her father had to do with her mother’s pregnancy, and has to be told by Will.

P35 Chris repelled by the smell of the doctor’s hands after the delivery. Guthrie’s insistence that despite their growing family, they will not be moving to a larger house.

P35/36 On the road Guthrie’s horse is frightened by a car. The patronising words of the woman in the passenger seat angers him, and he insults her. As a result the lease on his farm is not renewed. He also stands up to the estate agent when he refers to him by his second name only.

P37 The family travel to the Mearns, to the village of Kinraddie. Foul weather, but Guthrie refuses to pay for lodgings on the way.

P38/39 Chris dreams of a man crying out The ships of Pytheas! – a reference to the first (mythical) settler in Scotland.

P40 Guthrie again stands up to someone who he believes to be belittling him, this time to the foreman at the Mains, who he finds shooting on his land. Guthrie would deal with any damn poacher – Jew, Gentile, or the Prince of Wales himself.

P41 Guthrie’s dislike of the Standing Stones.


P42 Against his father’s instructions, Will takes his gun and fires it. When Guthrie finds out he takes his son to the barn to beat him, even though he is seventeen.

P43 Chris at college. Mr Kinloch, one of her teachers, loved the gentry and makes disparaging remarks about her lowly background.

P44 Chris’s essay is so good she is asked to read it aloud to the rest of the class.

P44/45 Still two Chrises. Her friendship with Marget Strachan, who tells her stories of what fools men and women were beneath their clothes, and talks of her fear of dying in poverty.

P45 Chris sick at the thought of her dead body being brought to Marget.

P45/46 Chris sees the vein that throbs in Marget’s throat, and thinks of how it would cease when her life was over, and that when one was dead and still under the grass one would never again see the beauty of nature, the burning whins or the thunder of the sea, things that might not last and so soon went by. So only a fool loved being alive.

P46 Marget kisses Chris as a boy might – Chris is ashamed, but feels it fine for all that. She blushes at the thought of the inhabitants of Blawearie naked, including her parents. But the embarrassment doesn’t last, for nothing endures. Marget off to Aberdeen to live with an aunt.

P47 Guthrie still keen for Chris to continue with her studies, but her mother is concerned that it might send her skite (mad).

P47-51 The story of Andy the daftie, who runs off on a rampage, chasing first Mistress Ellison, then Maggie Jean Gordon, and eventually Chris herself, who hides from him even though she wasn’t over-frightened.


P52/53 When he learns what happened Guthrie thinks the worst – He shamed you then? he asks Chris. It is only then, especially when his eyes slipped up and down her dress that Chris feels sickened and queer.

P53-56 Kinraddie is to have a new minister – several candidates come in the hope of securing the post. The winner, the Reverend Gibbon, succeeds because he delivers a racy sermon based on the Song of Solomon – it was fair tickling to hear about things like that read out from a pulpit, a woman’s breasts and thighs and all the rest of the things...

P56 Guthrie smiles a big sappy smile when the Reverend Gibbon compliments him on the state of his farm.

P57 Gibbon later offers to lend Chris a book to help her with her studies. When she goes to the manse to collect it, it is dark.

P58 The reverend startles her, appearing suddenly amongst the gravestones where she is walking. He stared at her strange and queer then appears to mutter that one’s enough for one day. When Chris asks if he’s read the book he has offered to lend her, he replies Oh like hell!

P59/60/61 When first the cart-shaft then his hammer break, Guthrie loses his temper even with God – Ay, laugh, you Mucker! he shouts to the sky. When washing blankets in a tub outside on a hot day, Chris strips to her underclothes. Her mother laughs at the sight, but when he sees her Guthrie is furious, appalled at what the neighbours might think if they saw her. Later Chris thinks back at the look he had on his face, the look of a caged beast. She speaks to her mother, who warns her that when the time comes she will have to face men without any help, and refers to a time when she, Jean, when she may not be able to thole it longer. Chris realises that everything is changing, that apart from the weather nothing every stayed the same. The demands of the land are wearying, and she thinks of the time when her education will take her away from it, and how she’ll never have a man vex’d with the sight of her. But she can’t say this for certain yet – she is, after all, still only ploughed land, with everything still ahead of her and so much confusion in her mind about what she desires in life.


P62 Someone is calling her. Dod and Alec wave to her from below. There is a flash of lightning in the distance – finally the drought has come to an end.

Drilling
P63 Chris thinks of the day her mother poisoned both herself and the twins. Not only had they died but something died in your heart too, the child in your heart died then.

P64 What also died was the English Chris, the Chris of the books and the dreams – or at least they were folded away, and laid by the dark, quiet corpse that was your childhood. She learns that her mother took her own life because she’d been pregnant again.

P65 When Dod and Alec return to school they’re mocked because of what’s happened. Will is now standing up to Guthrie, and rides off each night on his bicycle refusing to say where. They nearly come to blows. Guthrie arranges for his sister and her husband to take Dod and Alec into their care.

P66 Guthrie and his sister argue over his her wish to make it official and adopt the boys. She insults him over his treatment of Jean. Chris is appalled by such bickering. Will tells her not to let them worry her. He reveals that he’s planning to emigrate to Canada. Chris knows that he’s been seeing a girl in Drumlithie.

P67 Guthrie’s refusal to use a binder during the harvesting – he will only use a reaper. Will says he would be a fool if he were seen driving a reaper. Every harvest something queer and terrible comes over Guthrie.

P68 Guthrie swore even the scythe would yet come back, even though its time was past, so he uses the reaper. Chris works hard in the fields with her father and Will.


P69 A travelling worker – a tink – gets some work at Blawearie during the harvest. When Chris brings him food out in the barn, he pulls her down on the hay, boasting of the young women he’s deflowered.

P70 Chris distressed but not angry. Later, looking out from her bedroom window and taking in the varied smells from the land, she experiences a strange ache, feels the blood beating in her heart, and thinks how easily it would be to return to the barn.

P71 In the mirror she studies her changing body, imagining what it would be like to have a lover, and what he would do.

P72 Chris hears her father get up in the middle of the night and approach her room like a great cat. She is sick with fright. He breathes heavily outside, then leaves. The harvest madness is rife. Sarah Sinclair and Ewan Tavendale, the foreman at Upperhill, are seen coming out of the woods together.

P73 Chae Strachan confronts Ewan Tavendale over the incident – the two come to blows.

P74 The Reverend Gibbon and the Gordoun quean discovered together in the long grass in the garden of the Manse.

P75 Guthrie hardly surprised when he hears the story – ministers these days whored with the rest. He is being eaten away by a bitterness that has grown since he came to Blawearie. The land is hard, and the day of the crofter all but finished. He and others like him are the last of the farming folk.



P76 Rumours that Will’s girl, Mollie Douglas, is pregnant.

P77 Chris meets her by chance. Mollie knows that Chris is inclined to believe the stories too. She declares her love for Will.


P78 Chris and Will go up to the moors together.

P79 She asks him about the rumours.

P80 When he hears who it was that has been spreading these stories, Will threatens to mash his head.

P81 Guthrie confronts Will over the rumours. Will stands up to him, threatening to knock his teeth down his throat if he refers to her again as a tink. The Reverend Gibbon arrives, wanting a word with Will.

P82 Will furious at both of them – You’re so anxious I should lie with my lass and get her a bairn that I’m off to try and oblige you.

P83/84 Story of how the Reverend Gibbon went to Aberdeen and was asked by the nurse to get a chamber pot for his new baby while he was there. He fell in with some friends there, drank with them in the afternoon, almost missed his train, got off past his stop, then when as he went, unsteadily, to board a train back, dropped the child’s chamber pot.

P85 Chae Strachan so short of money that he is forced to sell his corn early. Chris helps his wife with the dinner. As others gather round to eat Chris suddenly hated the lot, seeing them as yokels and clowns...dull-brained and crude.

P86 Chae champions education. Long Rob agrees. The threshers appear again later for food. Will comes in with a man Chris doesn’t recognise – it is Ewan Tavendale.

P87 She feels queer as he shakes her hand. He is known as wild cat, strong and quick. She is both attracted and repelled by him, thinking of the stories about him and Sarah Sinclair. Later on that night, back at Blawearie, Will raises the alarm – Peesie’s Knapp is on fire.


P88 The whole village rallies to help put the fire out. Guthrie is first down at the Knapp, banging the door to get everyone awake and out to safety.

P89 The family are saved but the cattle die in the byre.

P90/91 Afterwards, in the dark, a stranger bumps into Chris. He takes her in his arms rough and strong and kisses her. She scratches his face and kicks him. In bed later on, however, she thinks it was like being bitten by a beast, but as though she’d half liked the beast and the biting. She has a dream that makes her blush.

P92 The family prepare for New Year’s Day. Guthrie wonders aloud why his wife left them.

P93 Long Rob arrives after midnight, warmly welcomed by Guthrie. Chae then appears, already somewhat drunk.

P94/95 Lively conversation. At one point Guthrie smiles at Chae, as though he’d really rather cut his throat than smile.

P96/97 Gossip begins about the fire at Peesie’s Knapp, some saying that Chae started it deliberately in order to claim his insurance. There is to be a bye-election in Kinraddie, its MP having died in London of drink. At a meeting Chae gets into an argument with the Tory candidate. When a steward manhandles him Guthrie punches him on the face. In the end the Liberal wins, but he is never seen in Kinraddie again.

P98 Will’s whistling and secret smiling suggest to Chris he is planning something.

P99 Because of the heat, Chris strips off to her underclothes while she is baking. Ewan Tavendale suddenly appears in the doorway. She feels herself blushing.


P100 She realises he is the man who kissed her after the fire at Peesie’s Knapp. He is looking for Will, and has heard that he is trying to get a job in Aberdeen.

P101 Will announces that he is off to Aberdeen. Guthrie does not reply.

P102 He kisses Chris before he leaves. A queer kind of pain came into her throat, but she dismisses it, since he will be back that same evening. Ten days later they receive a letter telling them that he has gone to the Argentine with Mollie, to work as a cattleman.

P103/104 The gossips have plenty to say about Will’s departure. A week later Guthrie collapses. He curses Chris when she tries to help him. At first she thinks it is only his bad temper, but the next day he is confined to bed, paralysed.

P105/106 The doctor is called. Guthrie now bed-ridden. He uses a whistle whenever he needs anything. Chris quickly becomes exhausted, and at night starts to find herself thinking a thing that wouldn’t bear rethinking out here in the sun. All she wants to do is sleep.

Seed-time
P107-8 Chris at the standing stones. She leans against the large one and finds the sensation strange and comforting. Her thoughts go back to her father’s death nine months before.

P108 Chris having to follow her father’s orders and demands during his illness. His sexual demands are recalled with horror. Her refusal – I won’t.

P109 Guthrie described as a great frog struggling across the floor. Chris has to lock her bedroom door to keep him out. She discovers him dead one morning, so eats the breakfast she has prepared for him herself.


P110 Kinraddie scandalised by Chris’s lack of emotion, her coolness over her father’s death. Her aunt and uncle arrive.

P111 Gibbon pays a visit. Reference to rumours of his drinking and of his singing of bawdy songs. Chris cared nothing for Mr Gibbon... the great curly bull and neither listened nor cared to his prayers for her father.

P112 Guthrie’s funeral. Raining. Neighbours arrive.

P113 Final farewells to Guthrie before the coffin is screwed down, but Chris refuses to kiss the corpse.

P114-5 The coffin is carried to the graveyard and laid in the ground.

P115-6 Chris finds it hard to believe her father is being buried in a box, that she will never see him again.

P116 She finds herself crying at last. Her emotions and the best of her memories of her father come pouring out – Father, father, I didn’t know! Oh father, I didn’t KNOW.At last she fully understands the nobility, self-sacrifice and ultimate tragedy of her father’s life.

P117 Chris sleeps the rest of the day. She awakes no longer afraid, but weeping softly for the father she’d never helped and forgot to love.

P117-8 Semple the lawyer reads out the will. Everything left to Chris, including three hundred pounds of savings. Nothing to Will or to Alec and Dod.

P119 Her aunt and uncle expect her to sell up and come and live with them. Chris goes out into the fields where she feels the overwhelming sense of life’s transitoriness – Nothing endures – and that only the land was forever.


P120 She knows she can never forsake the land or this life of toiling days and the needs of beasts and the smoke of wood fires and the air that stung your throat so acrid, Autumn and Spring, she was bound and held as though they had imprisoned her here.

P120-1 She sets off for Stonehaven to see Semple and settle the matter of her staying on at Blawearie. The students in the train carriage learning French verbs remind her how she can now never return to things so silly.

P122 Old women in the tea shop make her think of how awful it would be to grow old like them, old maids without men, without ever having lain with a man, or had him kiss you and hold you and be with you...

P123 Semple’s shock at Chris’s decision.

P124 By chance she meets Ewan Tavendale in the street.

P125 They have dinner together, then walk to Dunottar. Chris curious about the castle but Ewan uninterested. Afterwards they sit on the sand.

P127 Chris’s changed view of Ewan – she didn’t mislike him any longer, she felt queer and strange to him, not feared... Ewan asks her, Chris, do you like me a bit? She can’t stop herself, however, asking about Sarah Sinclair.

P128 An argument ensues, but quickly the rage went quite from her.

P129 On the train home a strange sweet surge of pity came on her, she leant over and patted his knee, he was only a boy in spite of Sarah Sinclair. She feels the difference between herself and women like Sarah, women who acted like that when they didn’t have men they wanted... hiding it away from themselves till a summer of heat drove one here and there to such acts as affronted Kinraddie.

During the night, a storm begins.


P130 Chris out of bed in the next flash when she realises the horses are still out in the field. She is unable to enlist the help of Uncle Tam, who was feared of the lightning.

P131 One of the horses, old Bob, discovered dead.

P132 As she attempts to take the remaining two horses to safety, Chae and Ewan arrive to help. As instructed by Chae, Ewan takes Chris back to Chae’s house, but returns at once to the field.

P133 Chris, wearing only her underwear beneath her coat, is unable to change in front of Ewan.

P134 She dries out in front of Chae’s fire, close to Ewan. Accounts of how others have responded to the storm – Gibbon, Jock Gordon, Alec Mutch.

P135 Ewan takes Chris home.

P136 They take the horses in to the stable. Ewan puts his arms round Chris. And then he waited a moment and his lips came to hers and they were trembling as her own were, she wanted to cry and she wanted to laugh in a breath, and have him hold her forever, so, in the close, and his trembling lips that came into hers, sweet and terrible those lips in hers. Eventually she tells him, ‘Wait, Ewan!’ She is not afraid, but knows that it could wait for another night’s coming, it was sweet and she wanted it to live and last, not snatch and fumble it blindly and stupidly.

P137 Ewan speaks of marriage. They yawn, laugh, and part. She goes to bed hoping to think of him long and long but the next minute is sound asleep.

P138 Chris’s happiness and her guilt-free expression of it – ...and without a stitch on she did a little dance at her window in the splash of the early sun that came there – what a speak for Kinraddie were she seen!


P138 Gossip about Chris and Ewan in Dunottar already going round Kinraddie. Her aunt fears the worst. Chris’s candid reassurance to her: There’s nothing to cry about yet, Auntie Janet, Ewan and I haven’t lain together.

P139 Her aunt and uncle leave, to Chris’s relief. Mistress Melon arrives.

P140 Chae stays for dinner. Mistress Melon a bit of a gossip but her stories had a lilt and a laugh. Chae’s stories of Africa.

P141 Ewan arrives. Chris knew for one wild passing moment herself both frightened and sorry she should be a woman, she’d never dream things again, she’d live them, the days of dreaming were by; and maybe they’d been the best.

P143 Marriage plans, and plans for Ewan to take over the lease of Blawearie. Mistress Ellison’s suggestive talk makes Ewan blush, but Chris kept cool as ice. Another quarrel results.

P144 She walked home, subdued that night, it wouldn’t always be plain sailing, they’d awful tempers both, of them. Marriage set for New Year’s Eve. Ewan unconcerned that it will take place so soon after Chris’s father’s death. Her uncle refuses to attend.

P145 Reverend Gibbon’s attempt to lecture them over the close proximity of the marriage to Guthrie’s funeral is cut short by Ewan. Wedding gifts. Chae and Long Rob to provide the music at the wedding.

P146 Left alone, Chris looks out at the stars and reflects on the insignificance of human activity. Strange and eerie it was... to think...that this marriage of hers was nothing, that it would pass on and forward into days that had long forgotten it..’


P147 As she prepares for bed, ...somehow it seemed that never again would she be herself, have this body that was hers and her own, those fine lines that curved from thigh to knee hers, that dimple she’d loved when a child....

P148 The day of the marriage. Chris goes out to attend to the animals.

P149 The gravedigger’s wife’s grim revelations about her own marriage are tempered by Mistress Melon’s kinder words. Chris weeps for her mother.

P150 The guests start to arrive –all Kinraddie seemed on the move to Blawearie....

P151 Rev Gibbon’s odd appearance. Ewan and McIvor, the best man, arrive.

P152 The ceremony, whose words Chris had never heard before, this was the first marriage she’d ever been at.

P153 They were lovely words, words like the marching of a bronze-leafed beech on the lips of a summer sky.

P154 The wedding meal.

P155 Wat Strachan is sick after eating too much. Cuddieston and his wife gorge on the food – it was like watching a meikle collie and a futret at meat.... Mistress Munro wolfs down her meal, her head never still a minute...

P156 Long Rob laments the fading out of Scots, but Mr Gordon defends English as the language of progress. Chae defends the machine – the best friend of man – but Long Rob disagrees.

P157 McIvor’s toast. Long Rob’s speech.

P158 The dancing begins.

P159 Ewan tells Chris she’s the bonniest thing ever seen in Kinraddie.


P160 Chae’s solemn advice to Chris. A sack in the barn falls, revealing Gibbon and ‘the maid from the Mains’. He is kissing her like a dog lapping up its porridge.

P161 Munro discovered in the stable beside one of the horses, his arms round the beast’s neck. Mistress Munro clears the table so that she can take what’s left of the food and put it in a bag to take home.

P162 Mistress Mutch’s advice to Chris – Don’t let him saddle you with birn of bairns, Chris, it kills you and eats your heart away, forbye the unease and the dirt of it. Don’t let him, Chris, they’re all the same, men...

P163 Rev Gibbon is out being sick. Long Rob sings ‘The Lass that Made the Bed to Me’. Chris unconcerned by the song’s frankness – she thought the song fine and the lass lovely, she hoped she herself would seem as lovely this night...

P164 More songs – a love song, some lines mentioning poison, one about winter, one about lost love.

P165 Chris sings ‘The Flowers of the Forest’

P166 The dancing resumes. The evening ends with the sugary surge of Auld Lang Syne.


Harvest
P181 Chris at the Standing Stones, thinking back to the six years that have passed.

P182 Doctor Meldrum comes to examine Chris. He informs Ewan that he is to be a father.

P183 Ewan’s compliments to Chris. The rains come. Chris’s hopes that things are changing for the better. Ewan – the crops and the earth in his bones and his blood.

P184 The gossip in Kinraddie is that the child was conceived before the wedding.

P185 Chris’s ‘fancies’ during her pregnancy, chiefly that Ewan lay dead beside her.

P186 Chris – the sap that swelled in branch and twig were one with the blood that swelled the new life below her navel... Her baby is warm and shielded, and saw with her the growth and ripening of that autumn’s corn, yellow and great, and the harvest moons that came so soon in that year...

Chae has news of the outbreak of war. Chris and Ewan unconcerned.



P187 The birth is imminent.

P188 As she prepares herself in front of the mirror, Chris finds it strange to think that her face might be dead and still in another day, that face she looked at now...

P189 In the middle of it all, Chris advises Ewan to boil himself an egg.

P190 The baby is born.

P191 She breastfeeds the baby. Chae brings ‘news’ of German atrocities.

P192 Ewan still unconcerned about the war. Chae’s announcement that he is to enlist in the army.

P193 According to the Reverend Gibbon in his Sunday sermon, the Germans have been sent as punishment for the world’s sins. Many in the congregation leave the service early in protest.

P193-4 Chis and Ewan shut out world events, totally absorbed in their new son.

P194 Gibbon’s next sermon is anti-German. Long Rob suggests the reason behind the change is the risk of losing his kirk and collection. He himself is adamantly against the war.


P195 Gibbon’s references to traitors at home prompts several locals to confront Long Rob over his anti-war position.

P196 Long Rob sees them off with his fists, his feet, and by brandishing his gun.

P197 He confronts Gibbon over his sermon.

P198 Tony the daftie intervenes and keeps the peace. Some stop taking their corn to the Rob’s mill in protest, but others are hardly so daft as leave the best miller around just because of his saying that all Germans could hardly be called tinks.

P199 Chris still blissfully happy with her family – content, content, what more could she have or want from the two of them, body and blood and breath?

P200 Chris’s unsettling vision of Rob and Ewan as two mirages of men dreamt by the land grown desolate against its changing sky’

Chae returns so altered you’d hardly believe it.



P201 Ewan now also thinking of joining up.

P202-3 Cutting down of trees for the war effort, to make aeroplanes and such-like things. Chae incensed.

P203it seemed...every soul made money and didn’t care a damn though the War outlasted their lives; they didn’t care though the land...would soon be a waste...

P204 Kinraddie a strange place and desolate with its crash of trees and its missing faces. The people were money-mad or mad with grief for somebody killed or somebody wounded...

P205 Mistress Gordon’s blinded son. News that Gibbon has gone to Edinburgh to be a ‘colonel-chaplain...or something like that...


P206 His father has arrived to take his place. Chae and Rob still in disagreement about the war.

P207 Chae’s strange vision of a Roman.

P208 Chris wanting another baby. Ewan and Long Rob get their call-up papers. Long Rob resists.

P209 Rob eventually carried off.

P210 Chris missing Chae and Rob. She is determined to have another child. Ewan’s moods growing darker.

P211 He goes to Aberdeen for the day. It is in Chris’s mind to try to conceive another child that night.

P212 No sign of Ewan’s return.

P213 A letter from him arrives – he has joined up.

P214 Will unexpectedly returns. He has joined the French Foreign Legion as an interpreter.

P216 They talk of their childhood, of Chris’s innocence. Will dismisses Scotland - It’s dead or it’s dying – and a damned good job! Chris feels a sudden thrust of anger at his words.

P217 Chris not religious and believes Scotland never really has been either.

P218 Will’s sardonic comment to Mistress Munro. His departure. Occasional postcard from Ewan in Lanark.

P219 Long Rob returns from prison. Munro, Mutch, still disapprove of his anti-war stance, but Chris sympathises. She goes to him with corn and sees an old man it seemed with a white, drawn face, his hands fumbling at the lighting of a pipe.

P220 She has to speak to him roughly, in case she should weep at the sight of him. She cleans his house and cooks a meal for him.


P221 The next morning he is heard singing. A telegram from Ewan saying he’ll be home on leave before going to France to fight. Chris filled with a weeping pity in her heart for him.

P222 Chris busy cleaning and preparing for Ewan’s return.

P222-5 Ewan comes back, totally changed. He gets drunk, uses coarse language, is argumentative, and boasts of the women he has slept with in Lanark. Chris saw the hot smoulder in his eyes... but no blush on his face, it was red with other things. (P223) Their sexual coupling is brutal and brief, a beast-like mauling. She is tormented afterwards by the horror of his eyes upon her. (P225)

P226 After the first night he no longer touches her – it was though he were a cat that played with a mouse... Chris realises he never could vex her again, she was finished with him, either loving or hating.

P227 The conflict reaches a climax when he calls her a bitch and she lifts a knife from the kitchen table. He draws back, frightened. She nows feels a cold repulsion towards him.

P228 Ewan leaves for France, but Chris is unable to say goodbye to him. She watches him go, her heart breaking, and she did not care. Only after he has gone does she begin to feel again her old affection for him – he was hers, hers still in spite of all he had done and said, he had lived more close in her body than the heart that broke now...

P229 Ewan sends a field telegram, saying little. She knows things will never be the same again, but some day he would come back to her. She throws herself into her work on the farm.


P230 She turned to the land, close to it and the smell of it, kind and kind it was...it was wild and a tyrant but it was not cruel. Rob comes up to Blawearie to help her. No-one is taking corn to his mill.

P231 Chris and Brigson hear him singing young Ewan to sleep. Slowly to Chris comes the knowledge she was Rob’s to do with as he willed, as she willed. She wants a man to love her, not such a boy as the Ewan that had been or the poor demented beast he’d become.

P232 Long Rob to enlist the following day - everything she had ever loved and desired went out to the madness beyond the hills.... She puts her arm round his neck and kisses him.

P233 They go to the haystacks – she sought with limbs and blood to die with him then. Afterwards she looks down at the harvest, this harvest gathered to herself at last, reaped and garnered and hers in her heart and body. Rob finally leaves – she never saw him again, was never to see him again.

P234 News of Ewan’s death arrives by telegram. Chris unable to accept it, or to know what to do.

P235 Her denial persists – the War and their fighting, their King and their country can have nothing to do with him. Finally, she does accept the truth and tells her son. In Kinraddie the word is that she has lost her mind.

P236 She rages against those who claim Ewan died for a noble cause. She knows he’d died for nothing, for nothing, hurt and murdered and crying for her, maybe, killed for nothing...

P237 Chae arrives to tell her that Ewan was shot as a deserter. He’d told Chae the wind one day had reminded him of Blawearie, and he had simple turned and walked away.


P238 He had come to his senses, aware of how he had behaved towards Chris at the end. He knew he had lost her, she’d never be his again, he’d known it in that moment he clambered back from the trenches; but he knew that he’d be a coward if he didn’t try though all hope was past.

P239 He’d reminisced with Chae about Kinraddie and Blawearie, and about Chris.

P240 At the end he wasn’t feared or crying, he went quiet and calm. Chris, alone, holds his clothes close to her, and kisses them. – Ewan, Ewan, sleep quiet and sound now, lad, I understand! You did it for me, and I’m proud and proud, for me and Blawearie…

P241 At the Standing Stones she has a vision of him, coming up the hill – she saw the grass wave with no press below his feet, her lad, the light in his eyes that aye she could bring. She reaches out to him, she hears him say he has come home, and he goes into the heart that was his forever.

Epilude
P242 Mutch making more money from new approach to selling cattle – selling and buying them faster, and fattening them up just before they’re sold. With the profits he buys processed foods and whisky.

P243 He sells up. Gordon of Upperhill buys his land for sheep-grazing.

P243-4 Pooty, the shoemaker, loses his mind – he takes his donkey in to live with him, and occasionally maltreats it. Eventually it is shot and Pooty taken to the madhouse.

P245-6 Pooty’s place becomes derelict. News of Long Rob’s death. Memories of Long Rob, his love of horses, his love of singing. These old songs are being replaced by modern American ones.


P246 Gordon buys the mill, and is becoming increasingly wealthy.

P246-7 Gordon breaks up the ploughmens’ trade union. He disapproves of the man his daughter, Maggie Jean, wants to marry, but she deceives him into thinking she is pregnant in order to get her wishes.

P228 Sinclair buys the Knapp and his own place. Sarah, his daughter, marries and moves to the Knapp, but he uses the land for sheep.

P249 News of Chae’s death. Some of his belongings sent home, stained with blood.

P250 The Munros give over most of their land to runs for their hens and make ‘a fortune’. Ellison, grown fat, buys up the Mains, the ruins of Kinraddie House, and Blawearie (for sheep).

P251 Rev Gibbon now in New York. His father retires. Colquohoun, the son of the minister who had previously tried for the post, is his replacement..

P252 Colquohoun makes friends with the ploughmen. He’s thought a Bolshevik. Stories that he has taken up with Chris.

P253 Dave Brown sees Chris and Colquohoun holding hands, and kissing. News that they are to be married - Chris Tavendale had feathered her nest right well, the sleeked creature, who’d have thought it of her? Colquohoun decides that the old stone circle, the Standing Stones – first raised by the earliest dwellers in the area – will be used as a war memorial.

P254 The ceremony of the unveiling of the memorial. Everyone is expected to attend.

P255 Chris and Colquohoun – ...when she looked at the minister as he held the gate it was hardly decent the look that she gave him, they might keep their courting till the two were alone. The memorial to Chae, Ewan, Long Rob and James Leslie is unveiled.


P255-6 Colquohoun’s sermon – With them we may say there died a thing older than themselves, these were the Last of the Peasants, the last of the Old Scots folk. He speaks of how these men’s deaths represent the passing away of the old ways and traditions. There will be new ways, machines, sheep on the land that was once farmed. Nothing, it has been said, is true but change, nothing abides. The men died for a world that is past... but they did not die for this that we seem to inherit. Beyond it and us there shines a greater hope and a newer world, undreamt when these four died.

P257 To the listeners it is all just sheer politics. MacIvor plays ‘The Flowers of the Forest’ on the bagpipes.

P258 Folk said that Chris Tavendale alone shed never a tear, she stood quiet, holding her boy by the hand, looking down on Blawearie’s fields till the playing was over. The others depart, leaving Chris, her son and Colquohoun alone on the hillside.


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