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Dance Madge Wildfire's Strathspey 4064

See also: Madge Wildfire's Strathspey (S32, 3/4L, Sir Walter Scott, The Heart of Midlothian)

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

Devised by
John Sutherland (1820)
888/888/866/866 = 91% (1 turn), 69% (whole dance)
  • Strathspey setting, Strathspey travel
Published in
Recommended Music
Extra Info
The instructions for bars 9–16 have changed more than once over the years (details courtesy of the MiniCrib team). …

The instructions for bars 9–16 have changed more than once over the years (details courtesy of the MiniCrib team). The original publication and some revised editions of Book 9 say the three couples cross “passing right shoulder”. The publication “101 Scottish Country Dances” and a number of subsequent editions of Book 9 changed that to cross “giving right hands”. In the latest RSCDS edition of Book 9 (published in 2009) they just cross “passing by the right”. The 2013 edition of the RSCDS manual is more explicit, saying that while the original specified no hands, these days usually hands are given.

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
1c+2c+3c circle6 and back (to sidelines)
1c+2c+3c cross RSh ; cross back RSh
1c turns BH moving down to face 1cnrs while{4} 2c turns BH {2} and casts up to 1pl while{4} 3c turn BH to 3pl ; 1c set to 1cnr | to 2cnr
Reels3{6} on opposite sides, Rsh to 2cnr | 1c cross RH to 2pl (2,1,3)
Madge Wildfire's Strathspey 3/4L · S32
1s+2s+3s circle 6H round & back
1s+2s+3s cross passing RSh & cross back passing RSh (some editions have cross RH & cross back RH)
1s+2s+3s turn 2H moving down to face 1st corners while 2s turn 2H & cast up to 1st place & 3s turn 2H to 3rd place
1s set to 1st corner & set to 2nd corner
1s dance reels of 3 on opposite sides, 1s giving RSh to 2nd corners & 1s cross RH back to own sides

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Added on: 2015-12-08 (Truus de Ceuster)
Quality: Good

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