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Out in the Forty-Five Duncan Keith's Vow   By: (1836-1893)

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Out in the Forty Five, or Duncan Keith's Vow, by Emily Sarah Holt.

This book is written in the style of a diary written by the youngest of four sisters. She is a very sensitive young girl, and her observations are very acute. Most of them are of a religious nature, and the description of the work of a preacher called Whitefield is very well worth reading. I felt quite emotional while reading it.

As you may gather from the title the book is set in the time of 1745, at the time the Bonny Prince Charlie landed in an attempt to claim his title to the throne, currently held by the Elector of Hanover, who was not very popular among the people we meet in this book, most of whom would be called Jacobites. It is interesting to see that Jacobite families like this one were more or less left alone, except when they actually took up arms.

The book takes about 10 hours to read aloud. Some of the speech is in broad lowland Scots, but you will probably have little difficulty in understanding it.

You will probably come away from reading this book resolved upon an amendment of life. If so then the book has done its work. This is the first book by this author that we have come across (lent to us for the occasion) and I am sure we shall add a few more by her in due course.




"Sure, there is room within our hearts good store; For we can lodge transgressions by the score: Thousands of toys dwell there, yet out of door We leave Thee."


"Girls!" said my Aunt Kezia, looking round at us, "I should just like to know what is to come of the whole four of you!"

My Aunt Kezia has an awful way of looking round at us. She begins with Sophy she is our eldest then she goes to Fanny, then to Hatty, and ends up with me. As I am the youngest, I have to be ended up with. She generally lays down her work to do it, too; and sometimes she settles her spectacles first, and that makes it feel more awful than ever. However, when she has gone round, she always takes them off spectacles, I mean and wipes them, and gives little solemn shakes of her head while she is doing it, as if she thought we were all four going to ruin together, and had got very near the bottom.

This afternoon, when she said that, instead of sitting quiet, as we generally do, Hatty she is the pert one amongst us actually spoke up.

"I should think we shall be married, Aunt Kezia, one of these days shan't we?"

"My dear, if you are," was my Aunt Kezia's reply, more solemn than ever, "the only wedding present that I shall be conscientiously able to give to those four misguided men will be a rope a piece to hang themselves with."

"Oh dear! I do wish she would not!" said Fanny in a plaintive whisper behind me.

"Considering who brought us up, Aunt Kezia," replied impertinent Hatty, "I should have thought they would have had better bargains than that."

"Hester, you forget yourself," said my aunt severely. Then, though she had only just finished wiping her spectacles, she took them off, and wiped them again, with more little shakes of her head. "And I did not bring you all up, neither."

My cheeks grew hot, for I knew that meant me. My Aunt Kezia did not bring me up, as she did the rest. I was thought sickly in my youth, and as Brocklebank Fells is but a bleak place, I was packed off to Carlisle, where Grandmamma lived, and there I have been with her until six weeks back, when she went to live with Uncle Charles down in the South, and I came home to Brocklebank, being thought to have now outgrown my sickliness. My Aunt Kezia is Father's sister, and has kept house for him since Mamma died, so of course she is no kin to Grandmamma at all. I know it sounds queer to say "Father and Mamma," instead of "Father and Mother," but I cannot help it... Continue reading book >>

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