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Scottish Quotations about Scottish Kilts

The Ladies from hell.
German definition of Scottish infantry, 1914—1918

From and after the 1st day of August 1747 no manor boy
within that part of Great Britain called Scotland, other
than such as shall be employed as Officers and soldiers in
His Majesty’s Forces, shall wear or put on clothes
commonly called Highland Clothes, that is to say, the
Plaid Philabeg or Little Kilt, Trowse, Shoulder belts, or
any part whatsoever of what peculiarly belongs to the
Highlands.
Act for the Abolition and Proscription of the Highland Dress.

"KILT, noun. A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland."

"Several wild Scots followed them (the Scottish Army) and they were naked except for stained shirts, and a certain light covering made of various colors"
Anon.

The Highlander has an exclusive advantage, when halted,
of drenching his kilt in the next brook, as well as washing
his limbs, and drying both, as it were by constant
fanning, without injury to either, but on the contrary
feeling clean and comfortable; while the buffoon in tartan
pantaloon, with all its hinged frippery, as some mongrel
Highlanders would have it, sticking wet and dirty to their skin, is not easily pulled off and less so to get on again in
cases of alarm or any other hurry, and all this time
absorbing both wet and dirt, followed up by rheumatism
and fevers which ultimately make great havoc in hot and
cold climates. The proposed alteration must have
proceeded from a whimsical idea more than the real
comfort of the Highland soldier, and a .wish to lay aside
the national garb, the very sight of which has upon
occasions struck the enemy with terror and confusion. I sincerely hope that his Royal Highness will never
acquiesce in so painful and degrading an idea as to strip
us of our native garb and stuff us into a harlequin tartan
pantaloon.
Colonel Cameron (Cameron Highlanders 1804)

The relationship between the War Office and the kilt has
always been somewhat strained. And nothing was
improved in 1939 when, fearing the use of phosgene gas
in the new war, the brass hats in London sent a sample set of pink underwear to the 1st Argylls. The knickers, of
slightly feminine design, were supposed to protect the
Highlander’s unfeminine parts from the burning effects of
the gases. The samples were sent ‘for trial and report’.
There is no regimental evidence of any trial, and the
report is believed to be the shortest in the whole history of the British Army.
British Army

A Highland gentleman told me one day merrily, as we were speaking of a dangerous precipice we had
passed over together, that a lady of a noble family had
complained to him very seriously, that as she was going
over the same place with a gully, who was upon an upper
path leading her horse with a long string, she was so
terrified with thc sight of the abyss, that, to avoid it, she
was forced to look up towards the bare Highlander all the
way long.
Edward Burt

When I started with the Seaforth Highlanders, it was the
kilt or nothing. Or rather it was the kilt and nothing. You
had a mirror set in the concrete at the guardroom. You
had to pass over it before you could get out of the
barracks. The briefest flash of underwear and you
were peeling tatties for a week. When the good Lord
made the Jocks he did not design them to go upstairs in
tramcars. There’s no mystery nowadays about what the
Jock wears under his kilt. He either does or he doesn’t.

The kilt is a corruption of the original Highland feilidh Mor, the big blanket or plaid. The blanket was made of wool and roughly dyed. The colours and patterns or setts
didn’t emerge for a long time. The blanket should be two
yards wide and six yards long. There’s only one way to get into it, and the secret baffled the Sassenach for centuries. First of all you’ve got to lay out its entire length on top of a belt near one end and pleating the blanket to the width of the belt. You then lie down, adjusting the belt to your waist level, and buckle the belt. Sit up, kneeling, and allow the surplus blanket to
drape over one shoulder. Arrange the pleats round your
body and adjust the height of the kilt from the floor. In
this kneeling position the cloth should almost touch the
floor. Almost but not quite, otherwise you will earn (and
deserve) the soubriquet ‘droopy drawers’.

If it’s a cold day you can distribute the top end of the
garment round your upper person. You can keep your
sword arm and dirk arm free by coiling it over both
shoulders. But if you get into a fight or want to charge in
battle it’s a hell of a handicap to be lumbered with twelve
square yards of heavy wool, so, with one quick flick of the belt buckle you can be down to, well, the sight of that, with hairy bare hurdies gleaming in the sunlight, was enough to move the bowels of a sphinx.

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