John McCullagh March 9, 2006
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To escape the dreaded arranged marriage, the young couple in love would run away together to the house of good friends – or the male’s relatives. 

Now this is long before the Gretna Green marriages of living memory! That was a small village in Scotland where lovers could marry legally despite parents who would put obstacles in their way – but it was the middle of the last century! We’re talking of a century before that again!

The woman had to sneak out of her parents’ house at night. The man would be outside waiting for her with his Blackfoot. He was the man that would make the negotiations – and the marriage arrangements with the parents – when the runaway was over!

The couple would leave for the designated house and spend the night – or sometimes a whole week – there. Then the woman’s relatives had to go and fetch her back. It was traditional that they bring a bottle of whiskey to aid the negotiations.

The female’s relatives -anxious to preserve her reputation – would unhappily agree to the match.

And on the latter point rested the whole matter! What if the man should welsh on the bargain at this stage? What price then, the reputation of the poor jilted girl? What option did she have foreby enforced emigration?

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