Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Old Greenock Characters - Cockin' Kirsty

Another of John Donald's Old Greenock Characters, presented as intended by the author.

Miss McKellar, or “Cockin’ Kirsty” as she was called, resided at the junction of Tannerie Close (Harvie Lane) with Dalrymple Street. She was of medium height, fresh complexion, mincing gait, precise in speech and manner, dressed eccentrically in an old fashioned silk gown with flounces, an equally out of date pelisse, and an early Victorian hat of most intricate trimming. Never without her green silk parasol (in all weathers) and her old, almost blind, dog, her principal object in life while out walking appeared to be to keep the unfortunate animal either immediately in front of her or close by her side, and the parasol was chiefly used for prodding the dog so as to effect her purpose.

She was approaching her residence after an outing one afternoon when she observed her purblind companion trotting dully towards the edge of a deep excavation in the street, apparently unaware of his danger. “The hole, the hole,” she screamed; but she was too late. Over went the dog. A navvy was digging below, and when the brute landed on the back of his neck, his yell of “murder!” might have been heard at Rue-End.

“Miss McKellar and her auld, broon, culy dog,” was the title of a song which I heard sung by the author, a man called Docherty, and known as “the Taylor’s Close poet.” That the lady’s habits were as singular as her dress may be inferred from the fact that it was her invariable custom to bathe in the river below Fort Matilda about six o’clock every morning, rain or shine, frost or snow, all the year round.

Miss McKellar was the daughter of a deceased ship-master and the owner of certain heritable subjects in town, whence she derived her income.

You can read about another unfortunate animal who was acquainted with Cockin' Kirtsy in the rare tale of Cockin Kirsty's Monkey

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