The History of Leith

December 10, 2010

THE VILLAGE PUMP

In addition to the never-failing spring, there was a pump at the other end of the village. Woe to the misguided, forgetful housewife that would stir its handle on Sunday. Only one excuse could serve for making, the pump to flow—the heat of the day and tho thirst of pedestrians who had far to go to church.
I have seen a cart with great broad red wheels come to the ” toun ” a distance of three or four miles, conveying, among a great bed of clean straw, a wife and a little crowd of ” duddy weans,” a spanking daughter with her frock skirt round her shoulders, the husband seated in front driving, and the grown-up sons walking by the side—I have seen that cart stop at the pump, but no other. Passersby might indeed slake their thirst, without sin; but to draw water for the household—•
that would be to shock an entire community.

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