Two adjectives from their own form of the English language haunt the Scots. One is 'pawky', the other is 'dour'. The pawky Scot is a person with a droll grin and a wisecrack to accompany it. The dour Scot is a person with a grim expression, a grim mind, and a grim turn of phrase to accompany it. It is a special Scottish talent to combine both characteristics within the same person. Xenophobia is an irrational fear of foreigners, probably justified, always understandable. Xenophobe's Guides—an irreverent look at the beliefs and foibles of nations, almost guaranteed to cure Xenophobia.
A Scotsman likes to feel that, almost by instinct, he could guddle a trout (palm it out of the water) or gralloch a deer (disembowel it with his knife), even if he spends his day driving a bus or designing software.
A kilty cover-up
If the Scots were to shed their seriousness, they would be noisier than the Neapolitans and wilder than the dancing Dervishes. Their reserve is not a defense against the rest of the world: it is a protective cover, like the lid of a nuclear reactor.
Calvinism is still deeply ingrained in the Scottish soul. A Scottish poet, overcome by the joy of sunshine and blue sky, once cried out what a fine day it was. The woman to whom he spoke replied, “We'll pay for it, we'll pay for it.”
Cunning and clever
The Scots respect cleverness and like to feel that they possess plenty of it themselves. In Scotland there is nothing wrong with being clever, so long as you show it by words or actions, rather than by bragging. You don't have to hide it. To say of someone that “he has a good conceit of himself” is neither praise nor blame, just a statement of fact.
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