“Whit are ye gaun’ tae write aboot this week?” was the rather startling question a farmer asked as he shook hands with me for the first time: “Ah wiz readin’t afore ah cam awa’. Mony a time ah wunner ‘at sae muckle that womman has in her heid.
Bit ah like best when ye gie’s a big lauch. A wee kin’ o’ sair on the men whiles, are ye no’? Bit mebbe we’re the better o’ kennin’ oor fauts. A bit lauch does us guid though, sae dinna forget that.”
It is a serious matter to find that one is expected to supply the farming world weekly with “a bit lauch;” especially when circumstances and natural disposition tend to keep the grave side of life to the fore. All the more reason, perhaps why we should value the laugh that is kindly and sympathetic and humorous with no vulgarity or hardness or frivolity in it.
The great humorists of literature have been called benefactors of the human race. So in a humble way smaller people do each other good if they can have a laugh together. Farming people are fonder of laughter , and laugh more readily, than any other class of people known to me. It is not that they have a keener appreciation of wit and humour, but that they have a greater love for unrestrained, hearty, physical laughter — if I may call it such.
“That wiz aye the laugh ye ken!” is the phrase that generally concludes the telling of a story perhaps twenty or thirty years old which has never failed to do its duty in setting laughter a-rocking. Once that I was making the plaint of being unable to laugh so easily and so heartily as the older generation of my farming kin, I was told, “Your mooth’s no ‘made that w’y.”
It sounds rather as if Scottish farmers were accustomed to a position among their women of unquestioned supremacy and authority, and an atmosphere of humble flattery, that they should think I am “sair” on them if I venture upon a little mild criticism — for I am sure I deal very, very gently with them —- and dare to poke a little fun at their masculine ways.
I am going to tell a secret that is not a secret. Like many other women who through life have had to shed “sair” tears because of their men folk, I can see the humour of it all through my tears, and love at times to hold my sides and “hae a bit lauch” at them. If they can laugh with me, so much the better.