Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/425

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Old- World Survivals in Ross-shire. 383

the future is by examining the marks in the shoulder-blade bone of a sheep just as is done in the Highlands. In Afghanistan also, the people are divided into important tribal families or clans, each with its distinctive set of colours, corresponding to our clan tartans, with this difference however, that while in the Highlands we used the colours checked, in Afghanistan they have distinctive striped material for the various tribes. I had a piece of Afghan " tartan " sent me from Cabul ; it was in the form of a cummerbund, or might be used as a turban. It was com- posed of red, green, yellow, and gold stripes, and repre- sented the tribal colours of an Afghan noble.

Though tartan as a dress material has ceased to be worn among our women, it is still considered the hall-mark of respectability to possess a shawl of the clan tartan. This is almost invariably given by a bridegroom-elect as a wed- ding present to his intended wife, and is worn by her at her wedding. Afterwards the babies are carried in it to be christened. Though the picturesque in dress is, alas ! fast dying out, and our young women appear at kirk or market bravely and wonderfully got up in parodies of the latest Paris fashions, the older women are still to be seen in tartan shawls and quaintly goffered mutches. On Coronation Day last year, our villagers, not to be behind in loyalty at the crowning of our King, resolved in common with more pretentious places to decorate the village street. Very few among us possessed flags, but every household owned at least one tartan plaid ; and as the tartan peculiar to our district is of a vivid red, the street when lit up with festoons of scarlet tartan, presented a colour scheme far more unique and charming than orthodox flags and bunting would have been. Among the older women also, there is one garment which they make a point of possessing, against the day which will too surely arrive, that one in which they are to be garbed for the grave. This is of course a night-gown but so elaborately frilled and trimmed as to be sometimes quite