My name is Elwyn Gunn. I was born in the thirty-third year of the reign of King James the Sixth.1611,the same year that they finished his majesty's bible. I was born in a small hamlet, just a few crofts and a mooring for uncles fishing boat. It was known to us and other's in the area simply as Ian's. ( Ian bein' the aforementioned Uncle ).We were far north in the Orkney's on the windy side of the Isle of Yell. We lived a solitary life as we tended our goats and fished where the Ocean meets the Sea.
I was raised by my mother , and assorted relatives, my father having died shortly after my birth. I have three brothers, Josef, Alistair and Alain. My mother had three husbands, each properly dead before the next. Josef is the eldest, bein' the only child o' the first. That husband was a fine seafarin man who unfortunately died in a seafarin accident. Alistair and myself are from husband number twa, and twa we are, bein' born at the same time. Our father was a fine soldierin man who unfortunately died in a soldierin accident. Alain be from the third husband. a fine goat-herdin man who unfortunately died in a ... well ... it wasna pretty. Josef and Alistair are members in good standing of Colonel Gaffney's Regiment of Pike and Shot, whereas Alain is apprentice to a cobbler near Dunbeath. All fine strong lads worthy of their das.
My mother passed in to the arms of the Lord the same year King Charles took the throne. My uncle decided to send me to my brother Alain and his wife. I did not want to go at first , I had never been off Yell. Curiosity and excitement, though , soon replaced any fears I had. My over active sense of adventure took hold. ( I was not supposed to have a sense of adventure, but it was a well established fact that I did ). Besides, uncle thought my prospects for a husband would be better away from my cousins.
Uncle took me in his boat to Dunost where cousin Shamus lives. Shamus took me on to Wick by land to meet my brother Alain. From there we went to Dunbeath where our more distant relatives were. Oh ! the sights I saw. I never realized that there were so many people in all of Scotland. One thing after another had me asking so many questions that I was threatened with the mare's bit were I not quiet. I made it to Alains without having suffered much indignity and settled in with him and his growing brood.
I found my prospects for a husband, though, were not much better in that small village of my brother's. My one respectable offer of marriage had been from an old man of four and forty, and Alain would not do THAT to me. I was restless, though I had honestly tried to be thankful that I had a refuge there. My small journey had made it clear to me that there was much more to life than I had previously imagined. There was only one thing to do. I begged Alain to write Josef in the regiment and bid him to send for me. At last the good Lord granted my wish. Josef wrote back and said that I may come and join himself and Alistair.
It is with them that I am now. A campfollower of Colonel Gaffney's Regiment of Pike and Shot. The regiment is raising men to fight with the colonel for King Gustav in the Germanys. We travel from town to town , large and small, taking and training all who are able. We promise them fame and fortune at the most and food and clothing at the least. So many lads will go and never return, it is sadů but the ones who do will be rich.
Why, you ask, would I choose this life of a campfollower ? A life spent sewing , washing and mending , cooking and cleaning , all for soldiers. A life of going from place to place with no thatch o'er my head and no hearth to put my cup upon. Because in this life I am paid in silver and though it comes from o'er the hills and far away it is pure and ready. Because I will see all the husbands there are to have and choose one that is strong and hale, and with heavy pockets. Because once you have spread your wings just a wee bit it is hard to lay them neatly again. I will follow my brothers and Colonel Gaffney's Regiment to come what may and pray that Our Lord in Heaven see fit to send me a worthy soldier to be content with.
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