Consider the Lilies – Chapter Fourteen Notes

Mrs Scott gets up and finds Donald Macleod playing with the children. He talks about the way Highlanders are treated.

She decides not to stay in bed any longer.

What does she mean by “it was too late and too early to begin”?
“Too late” – she had begun to soften.
“Too early” – she did not have the strength to be as severe as she once was.

The Highlanders

What does the game suggest about how they are treated?
It’s a metaphor (toy soldiers for real soldiers) – they are treated as though they are worthless – not as people. “You can’t kill all of them”.

How does Mrs Scott confirm this?
“…my husband used to have a uniform like that.” Use of past tense – he is dead.

What does Donald Macleod say about the way town people (Edinburgh) look on Highlanders’?
They patronise them – “As if I were a fool, and they could cheat me”
What does he think about his father’s faith in the bible?
• It is mislaid because God did not save him. “I could do nothing about it.” Mirrors Mrs Scott’s powerlessness about her son.
What is the point of his own writings?
• “…to tell the truth of what is happening to us.” To spread the word about the clearances.
Why had his brother refused help from the Duchess of Sutherland?
• Because he felt the medicines were pointless – they would die when they were put out of their homes anyway. “If you came here to keep us healthy so you can put us out at the end you can keep your medicines.”

What effect had this had on his wife?
• She resented his refusal as their child died as a result. She “has never forgiven him”.

How does all of this highlight the present situation with Patrick Sellars?
• It shows the wealthy have no real care for the highlanders. That’s “what I think of Patrick Sellar and his kind.”

Donald Macleod

What does he look like?
• Bald with greying hair. Twinkling, intelligent blue eyes. Protruding nose.

What do we learn about his attitude to children?
• He loves his children. He tries to educate them about the fate of soldiers. Slaughter at Waterloo.

To sharing?
• He encourages his children to share – a positive example. “I brought them from Edinburgh for the two of you.” Socialism?

To religion?
• He respects Mrs Scott’s faith but doesn’t believe himself after his father was killed. “…you’’ find my father’s Bible in the drawer if you need it.”

Sum up his personality.
• He loves his kids. He’s trying to do right for his family. Wants to save the highlanders. He’s stubborn. Physically strong. Generous and kind-hearted.

Mrs Scott: we have learned about certain events through her memories and she has been hard on herself. How does Donald Macleod put a different view forward about:

her husband?
• He was not treated correctly – was meaninglessly killed.

Elizabeth?
• She was not suited to her son. A frivolous, impractical girl.

Iain?
• “High standards… adventurous…”

The Bible?
• Doesn’t believe in it but respects Mrs Scott. Reading the Bible will not save you.

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