The Jazz Age
by Vivian Victoria Duerr
Beat… beat, beat went the drummer’s feet
As the rhythm he brought came alive,
And from a throat came a lonesome note
That spread through the smoke-filled dive.
The patrons swam in a sea of wine,
The boys were really hot;
Dead souls rose in a sea of prose
Out of their neat-laid plots.
A young man’s heart went beat… beat, beat,
In time to that drummer’s drum;
A song was torn from a wailing horn
And echoed by every tongue.
The young man loved his sweet white dove
By the light of that brassy horn.
It wove a note like a storm-tossed boat
In the wake of a newborn morn.
Outside a neon sign flashed red,
Heralding the broken throng.
The gods were here drinking beer;
The drummer was going strong.
But the world can’t last in night for long –
The sun has got to rise.
The piercing light makes the crowd take flight,
And the young man will lose his prize.
Vivian V., No. 2 daughter of the SD household, enters college in September, majoring in business administration.
A Mess of Trouble; 171 Years as Outlaws
Maybe we MacGregors would have behaved ourselves better if there had been printing presses in the Highlands of Scotland in the 17th Century and have pamphleteered our opponents into submission instead of chasing around the countryside making miscellaneous mischief.
Whatever the case may be, it is interesting at this distance of time and space to speculate on the probable course of our lives as individuals and as a clan if we had run from our pursuers and not have been such eager beavers with lethal weapons.
The two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, Scottish bard, has just been celebrated by leal Caledonians around the world, but the mighty feats of arms of the Griogaraich in Glen Fruin that February day in 1603 are but a distant memory recalled by a bagpipe tune, Ruaig Ghlinn Fraoin, which is Gaelic for ‘The Rout at Glen Fruin.’ The pen again demonstrates its superiority over the sword.
The battle climaxed over 150 years of trouble for the MacGregor clan after it lost its rights in Argyllshire in 1432 as tenants-in-chief of the crown and was dispersed eastward under alien landlords. Inasmuch as rents were paid in manual labor and military service, a MacGregor had two masters to serve – his landlord and his clan chief. Over the years the MacGregors acquired a deplorable reputation for assorted mischief, and after an escapade of theirs in 1602, King James VI of Scotland decided to root them out. Having no royal army to do the chore, he commissioned the Lord of Ness, a landholder on the west bank of Loch Lomond, to put them in their places.
News of this commission reached the MacGregors considerably to the north. Alasadir, their chief, decided to take the aggressive. Hurrying south with 300 men, mostly MacGregors, he met the Ness in Glen Fruin, a narrow mountain valley which slants southeasterly to the south end of Loch Lomond a few miles northwest of Glasgow. The Ness expected a battle but not the massacre and pillage that ensued when his men went down like leaves.
James, who became king of England as well as Scotland the following month, when Queen Elizabeth I died, was purple with rage at this insolent affront to his royal majesty. All persons named MacGregor were promptly outlawed and subjected to all sorts of punishments. The penalty for using the name MacGregor was death. The clan went underground by mingling with other clans and taking their names. To circumvent this evasion, the government slapped huge fines on clans which sheltered the MacGregors, with the result that the situation grew worse with the passage of time, and finally the whole clan system had to be abolished in 1746. Not until 1774 did Parliament repeal the penal statutes against the MacGregors and let them use their name again.
When my great-grandparents emigrated from Glasgow in 1862, they represented a more peaceful, citified generation of skilled artisans, some of whom remained in Ontario to clear the land while others came to Cleveland, Ohio to follow their trade of bookbinding. Visiting back and forth across the border for almost a hundred years has resulted in such stuff as SD’s marrying a Canadian girl who was affiliated with the clan. Some persons are confused as to whether SD is a Canadian citizen. No, it just seems so from the frequency with which a certain Buick bearing Illinois license 909 262 is seen parked in or near London, Ont. That’s only SD and his Mrs. inside somewhere talking over clan business, happy to bear his clan name without fear of getting into trouble with Queen Elizabeth II. We have been on the right side of the law for almost two centuries now, and after the experiences we had you can hardly blame us for wishing to stay that way.
FRED C. EICHIN is recovering from an attack of edema, for which he was hospitalized a few days. He has to go very easy, and is unable to answer any correspondence. He wishes to sell all his books on amateur journalism, printing, and the making of books. Such as Spencer’s History of AJ, $3.00; The Typographic Arts, by Stanley Morrison, $1.50. If you would care for a complete list of the 25 items, write to me – not to Fred.
For sale (in Chicago) COMPLETE PRINTING PLANT – only $75.00. 1894 Golding treadle press, 6¾ × 10¾, stands 50” high with flywheel 28” dia. Two rubber rollers. 35 fonts of type. Etc. Write me. I’ll make appointment for you to see it or give you further details, but you will have to do your own packing up and hauling because I am not able to do it for you.
Published by Emerson MacGregor Duerr at Elmhurst, Ill.