The Scotch Fiddle

Do you ever read anything and wonder what in the world it is? Most of the time, I can figure out what a term that is now long dead means because I've read a great deal over the years. However, I have always wondered about a term used in "Rainbow Valley" by Faith when she is convincing Norman Douglas to return to the church. She tells him, "...You are an old vampire and I hope you'll have the Scotch fiddle!"

That is a saying that she heard from Susan that she herself didn't understand. I've been curious and googled it. All I can find is that it is "the itch." That seems bad enough to wish on someone and explains a lot from that passage.

Are there any terms in books that you've wondered about? If so, please feel free to share them.
10 Responses
  1. DylanLeeLo Says:

    I remember when I was little and I read Anne i didn't know what gables were. I figured that it meant the shutters because they were green. But know I know. I also don't know what a flounce is. Is it just the ruffly part at the hem of the skirt? That's what I picture when I hear the word flounce. But I have never researched it or anything, for fear that it wouldn't mean what I thought it meant at all.


  2. LOL! That reminds me of Anne not liking diamonds because they aren't purple.


  3. Alisa Goode Says:

    Haha I am reading that and googled it for the very same reason.


  4. Anonymous Says:

    According to this site (at the end of the article), "the Scotch fiddle" was scabies. O.O
    http://scottishfiddlemusic.com/tag/scotch-fiddle/


  5. Sabrina Says:

    I stumbled on this site for the same reason, the yelling at Norman Douglas! I read somewhere that it meant crabs


  6. Rebekah West Says:

    I think it is scurvy (vitamin c deficiency). That would explain why Norman said he'd had it as a boy, and LM Montgomery would not likely reference crabs (though at first I thought so too!)
    One of the first symptoms of scurvy is a rash. It seems it was named that because it used to be that servants in Scotland ate nothing but oatmeal porridge, which was inexpensive, but not nutritionally balanced.


  7. Rebekah West Says:

    I think it is scurvy (vitamin c deficiency). That would explain why Norman said he'd had it as a boy, and LM Montgomery would not likely reference crabs (though at first I thought so too!)
    One of the first symptoms of scurvy is a rash. It seems it was named that because it used to be that servants in Scotland ate nothing but oatmeal porridge, which was inexpensive, but not nutritionally balanced.


  8. Al O Says:

    The scotch fiddle is having the itch due to crabs.


  9. Chingachgook Says:

    Clearly, Scotch Fiddle, in the context of Rainbow Valley, is an itching rash of some kind. The author is unlikely to have had a sexually transmitted disease in mind when she used the expression. Most likely thinking of scabies which is caused by a burrowing mite, or perhaps the more common problem of lice.


  10. Jaie Says:

    Crabs aren't just sexually transmitted ;) what Norman most likely had, was an itching rash, thanks to scabies. Scurvy is incredibly unlikely, especially in a shipping harbour, where all the sailors would have by this time understood the need for lemons.