Generation: D

? Robertson

Margaret Mackay

Father: John Murray Mackay, "Ben Reay"
Mother: Annie Matheson McLachlan

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There were critics of Margaret. Let them rest in peace, for none was so very serious!

Here's how I found her!

In my early boyhood days, up till I was about 14 years old I met her from time to time, mostly at her parents' home in Radnor Street. She gave me a consistently generous welcome, in her very slightly spluttering type of speech, with a wet kiss, bending over me, patting me on the shoulder, asking me how I was, making me sit down at once an eat the most delicious cake, with some milk (probably delivered like all milk then from an open cart and can).

In retrospect of course I can see that Freud would explain all this. Her smile and welcome were genuine, as if I were the only little angel in her life. (Some angel, if she only knew, I was not uninterested in Saint Michael. No I've got this sentence all wrong. Michael killed the evil dragon, but who was the Prince of Devils?) Anyway, Margaret's mothering instinct was strong. In 1915 I called at her father's house at Ardgay and got a very fine welcome again, just as when I was a boy. I had a kilt this time!

I am not sure of the next date, for Dr. Robertson of Ardgay reports that Margaret died in 1949. Anyway, Bill Mackay and I decided to have a motoring holiday in Sutherlandshire, and at the same time to collect some data about our Mackay ancestors. We each bought a wee black notebook for our entries (What an unfortunate colour). We decided to visit Margaret at Ardgay. Since I had last seen her she had married a local retired farmer called Robertson, in 1926, a year before old Ben Reay had died. Margaret was Robertson's third wife. Robertson was now most comfortably installed in old Uncle John's chair and feeling real pleased with himself. "All set for the Duration". Margaret received us warmly and fed us well, and one noted with interest the old Radnor Street family idols still bright and shiny and orderly around the house. Bill entered all the data in his wee black book.

After the meal Robertson took Bill and me into the lounge to show us some postcards of photos he carried in his jacket pocket. One was of intercourse between two animals of different species, I think a horse and a cow. The other of union between two elephants, which he said lasted for three house. I was a good thing it was not a film show, otherwise we would have been late in getting to our hotel!

Our pleasant visit had a sequel a few years later. I am not sure whether I then knew of Margaret's death, but MBM and I decided to look in a "Ben Reay". All was gloom. Margaret had not long since died. Robertson's third wife had gone aloft, suddenly (high blood pressure, with no warning). Robertson was in old Uncle John's chair. Almost as soon as I entered the room he asked me if I had the wee black book! (It reminded me of Blind Pugh passing the Black Spot to Captain Flint in Treasure Island). Then Robertson let out about Margaret's thoughtlessness in dying without leaving a will. He would have to buy his own house, the one he lived in, would have to get a valuer up from Edinburgh to assess its value, and that was expensive, and then he would have to remit that sum to somebody in Canada whom he had never seen, and didn't care about (Margaret's niece).

Oh! What a wonderful day! God bless the niece!

"Ben Reay" 1967 is now in the ownership of Robertson's doctor son and his wife. They have kindly offered to send me Old Ben Reay's Bible which they found mouldering in an outhouse at the back, and which I will gladly accept. The doctor says he has mild angina and retired early from public health practice. Do they get angina in the public health service?

In sending me the bible Dr. Robertson added "Margaret was the essence of kindness to me, and I had a great regard and affection for her".

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