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Dance Madge Wildfire's Strathspey 20570

See also: Madge Wildfire's Strathspey (S32, 3/4L, Sutherland: RSCDS IX)

Strathspey · 32 bars · 3 couples · Longwise - 4   (Progression: 213)

Devised by
888/888/844/800 = 56% (whole dance)
  • Strathspey setting, Strathspey travel
Published in
Recommended Music
Extra Info
Originally published in 1820 by John Sutherland, Edinburgh in a booklet linked to Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Heart of …

Originally published in 1820 by John Sutherland, Edinburgh in a booklet linked to Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Heart of Midlothian. Madge Wildfire is a character in this novel. Reconstructed by the RSCDS in 2021 to mark the 250th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s birth.

The RSCDS has previously published a different reconstruction of this dance in Book 9 https://my.strathspey.org/dd/dance/4064/

Madge Wildfire's Strathspey

The most colourful character in Sir Walter Scott’s The Heart of Midlothian is the mad woman, Madge Wildfire.

I glance like the wildfire through country and town;
I’m seen on the causeway – I’m seen on the down;
The lightning that flashes so bright and so free,
Is scarcely so blithe or so bonny as me.

Madge, born Murdockson, was described by Scott as “a tall, strapping wench of eighteen or twenty, dressed fantastically, in a sort of blue riding-jacket, with tarnished lace, her hair clubbed like that of a man, a Highland bonnet, and a bunch of broken feathers, a riding-skirt (or petticoat) of scarlet camlet, embroidered with tarnished flowers.” This young woman had been seduced, as had Effie Deans, by George Staunton, alias Geordie Robertson, the minister’s son turned smuggler and highwayman, and had, as had Effie, borne him a child. Odl Meg Murdockson, known as Mother Blood, had arranged a marriage for her daughter with an elderly, but rich, gentleman and since the discovery of the child might prevent the match, Mother Blood killed the child. As a result, Madge lost both her suitor and her sanity.

It was Mother Blood and Madge who held Jeanie Deans prisoner at Newark on her way to London to petition the Duke of Argyll for Effie’s life and freedom. On her return journey Jeanie is witness to the hanging of Mother Blood for witchcraft and to the attack on Madge Wildfire by an angry mob. Jeanie was with Madge when she died at the hospital in Carlisle, the mad woman still singing her snatches of songs in her dying moments.

Scott based the character of Madge Wildfire on Feckless Fanny, a demented woman who wandered with her flock of sheep over the Borders between 1767 and 1775 and who was stoned to death by a mob of youths in Glasgow.

Madge Wildfire's Strathspey 3/4L · S32
Circle6 and back (1,2,3)
All cross RSh | cross RSh back ; 1c turn BH and cast off to 2pl while{4} 2c turn BH and dance up to 1pl while{4} 3c turn P BH (2,1,3)
1c set advancing to 1cnrs | turn 1cnrs BH and face 2cnrs ; set to and turn 2cnrs BH. 1c on midline face Mside, 1W on P’s Right
1c NHJ dance out and cast back to midline facing Wside ; dance out and cast back to 2pl (2,1,3)

Sorry, this browser doesn't seem to do SVG graphics :^(

NameDateOwnerLast changed
TAC SS 2023 Teaching Plan 2023-07-31 Alan Twhigg July 23, 2023, 11:49 p.m.
Kilmorack Winter Social 2 - Friday 14th October - 7:30pm 2022-10-14 Peter Jamieson Sept. 15, 2022, 9:39 a.m.
2022_12_20 BS&RC Christmas Party 2022-12-20 Gerard Elliott Dec. 17, 2022, 12:14 a.m.
2024 Asilomar Weekend - Saturday Kim McGarrity Memorial Ball 2024-11-02 Geoffrey Wood March 28, 2024, midnight
Winter Ball 2022 2022-08-20 Sally Ord March 6, 2022, 7:34 a.m.
Fairmilehead, Edinburgh, 27 June 2023 2023-06-27 John Nuttall June 27, 2023, 10:48 a.m.
Kilmorack 22-23 Dances done in class 2022-08-31 Peter Jamieson May 10, 2023, 8:45 a.m.
Kilmorack Dances done at previous Socials Peter Jamieson June 6, 2023, 7:54 a.m.

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