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TITLE
'Nelly Gundy'
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_JOHN_HORNE
PLACENAME
Wick
DISTRICT
Eastern Caithness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS: Wick
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
John Horne
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1384
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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This extract is from 'Nelly Gundy', one of the 'Caithness Originals' in John Horne's book of the same name, published in 1906. It is read here by James Miller.

'When 'Nelly Gundy' died in 1863 the town of Wick was bereft of an outstanding 'character.' Nelly was eighty years of age at her death, and for more than half that time she sold 'gundy' to the lieges of the Royal burgh in the shelter of the Old Tolbooth stair. Two abandoned soap-boxes completed her shop fittings - one for counter and the other for seat, and all the street was her shop door; and here, in all weathers, Nellie could be found resolutely attending to business. At first she occupied 'Charlie Bruce's corner' with her neighbour Kirsty, and at last she wound up on the steps of Colvin's shop in Stafford Place; but in the long interval between she 'kept shop' at the Tolbooth stairs.

It was no ordinary task to induce Nelly to sell her goods - so singular is this mixed world! A purchaser had to be careful as to how he set about buying, for Nelly was a virago of pronounced likes and dislikes. Was he a laddie who had ever tormented her? Then he might whistle for gundy, or get it by any other method he liked; he certainly would not get it from Nelly. But he would get something else - a blistering tonguing, a raking up of all his antecedents, and a street advertisement of the misdeeds of his family and their relations to the third and fourth generations, flung to the ears of everybody within half a mile of her voice.

'Gie's a pennyworth o' gundy,' he says, approaching in good faith.

'Na; fient a bit ye'll get; ye nor 'e lek o' ye!'

'Why, Nelly?'

'Jist, ye little devilag!'

He is hurt, and retorts, 'I'm no a devil, bit ye're ane!'

'Nane o' yer impidence, ye brat! Hame an' rock yer sister's bastard bairn!'

John Horne was born 10 May 1861 at 12 Louisburgh Street, Wick, to Donald Horne and Jane Taylor. After leaving school, he worked for the local newspaper 'The Northern Ensign' as a compositor for eight years in Wick. He attended Spurgeon's College in London and on completing his training he undertook work for the Baptist Church in Scotland.

In 1886 John became the first minister of the Baptist Church in Ayr before moving on to Springburn Baptist Church, Glasgow. He suffered a breakdown in health while he was at Springburn and after a rest he went to Kirkintilloch Baptist Church.

In 1909 he left the Baptist Church to take over father-in-law's business - wholesale and retail boot and shoemaking in Ayr. He married Margaret Morrison on 6 June 1889 in Ayr and died at his home at Norland, Longbank Road, Ayr on 10 November 1934.

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'Nelly Gundy'

CAITHNESS: Wick

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: John Horne

This extract is from 'Nelly Gundy', one of the 'Caithness Originals' in John Horne's book of the same name, published in 1906. It is read here by James Miller.<br /> <br /> 'When 'Nelly Gundy' died in 1863 the town of Wick was bereft of an outstanding 'character.' Nelly was eighty years of age at her death, and for more than half that time she sold 'gundy' to the lieges of the Royal burgh in the shelter of the Old Tolbooth stair. Two abandoned soap-boxes completed her shop fittings - one for counter and the other for seat, and all the street was her shop door; and here, in all weathers, Nellie could be found resolutely attending to business. At first she occupied 'Charlie Bruce's corner' with her neighbour Kirsty, and at last she wound up on the steps of Colvin's shop in Stafford Place; but in the long interval between she 'kept shop' at the Tolbooth stairs.<br /> <br /> It was no ordinary task to induce Nelly to sell her goods - so singular is this mixed world! A purchaser had to be careful as to how he set about buying, for Nelly was a virago of pronounced likes and dislikes. Was he a laddie who had ever tormented her? Then he might whistle for gundy, or get it by any other method he liked; he certainly would not get it from Nelly. But he would get something else - a blistering tonguing, a raking up of all his antecedents, and a street advertisement of the misdeeds of his family and their relations to the third and fourth generations, flung to the ears of everybody within half a mile of her voice.<br /> <br /> 'Gie's a pennyworth o' gundy,' he says, approaching in good faith. <br /> <br /> 'Na; fient a bit ye'll get; ye nor 'e lek o' ye!'<br /> <br /> 'Why, Nelly?'<br /> <br /> 'Jist, ye little devilag!'<br /> <br /> He is hurt, and retorts, 'I'm no a devil, bit ye're ane!'<br /> <br /> 'Nane o' yer impidence, ye brat! Hame an' rock yer sister's bastard bairn!'<br /> <br /> John Horne was born 10 May 1861 at 12 Louisburgh Street, Wick, to Donald Horne and Jane Taylor. After leaving school, he worked for the local newspaper 'The Northern Ensign' as a compositor for eight years in Wick. He attended Spurgeon's College in London and on completing his training he undertook work for the Baptist Church in Scotland. <br /> <br /> In 1886 John became the first minister of the Baptist Church in Ayr before moving on to Springburn Baptist Church, Glasgow. He suffered a breakdown in health while he was at Springburn and after a rest he went to Kirkintilloch Baptist Church. <br /> <br /> In 1909 he left the Baptist Church to take over father-in-law's business - wholesale and retail boot and shoemaking in Ayr. He married Margaret Morrison on 6 June 1889 in Ayr and died at his home at Norland, Longbank Road, Ayr on 10 November 1934.