At home, so close to the Pyrenees and so close to Spain, we have been in spring for a long time.
The peach trees have long since bloomed and the flowers are now turning into fruit, while young branches are starting to grow. The almond trees were covered with white flowers, the honeysuckle imagines it can conquer the world and all the cats in the village live in the fashion of their loves -so we don’t sleep much at night.
So when all of a sudden, winter comes back, we are all horribly surprised. And it has come back, in the form of that wind that has a clear name: the wind that crosses the mountains – the Tramontane in French. It blows for days and days, all filled with snow, frost, cold, it slips under doors, it rushes through an open window, it overturns everything – and then I think of Rob Roy.
Rob Roy, or the unbelievable appearance of the Northern countries in my Southern girl’s universe, these lands where the cold is normal, where everything is strange, where the landscapes are so fascinating, yes when it is so cold, I almost feel like I have been teleported far away in this North that I know only by the stories
I’m not talking about the movie – which I discovered 5 minutes ago – but about this fabulous novel by Walter Scott.
The Highlands – these mountains of Scotland from where we see very strange men suddenly appear, dressed in those woolen skirts so scratchy that they tear your legs (yes, I’m talking about impressions coming from my Algeria, where we don’t have things like that on our skin), Glasgow, which will definitely remain for me this dark and black city, whose coldness grabs your bones and doesn’t let go, and then this incredible questioning that lasts for so long in the novel: but who is Rob Roy?
It is not Frank, we would have understood.
It’s not Rashleigh, that guy reeks of betrayal – could it be the other one, the one who intervenes and disappears? But why? Why tell so much story and call the book that?
I don’t think I read the full version of this book – I know I was totally lost in the various religions that I thought were all “the same” – and I still didn’t understand what a Jacobite was – but that was very secondary.
Because this story is above all a tremendous wind of struggle for Good, against that nasty snake Rashleigh, for the love of the beautiful Diana and yes we are afraid of the redcoats because they are evil (it took me at least 30 years to understand that “English” didn’t mean all those who speak English – but at the same time, in Algeria, a guy from Oran should not be confused with a guy from Algiers, and I’m not talking about a guy from Tlemcen – in fact, the differences appear when you get closer).
Feminism is talked about at every corner, fights are waged – but then Helen, I wouldn’t have liked to meet her so much – as a warlord she stands there; the beautiful Helen – a woman more terrifying than her, I haven’t come across many.
Well, no doubt you are smiling, all of you who know Scotland, the cold, the wind, the rain, all those stories – but then for the others, those who come from elsewhere, then Rob Roy is the incredible story to make you want to meet Scotland and the Scots and to go and put your feet in its paths that look so strange, so rough, to twist your feet in holes invisible to the foreign eye.
I dream of Rob Roy on a stage – it would take several different arts – theatre of course, but also music – but also fighting arts – but also circus arts and also puppetry, when the puppets are whole parts of the story.
Obviously, the story would have to be cut to fit into the time of a performance.
But what a pleasure to see Scotland’s roughest men on a theatre stage!
Featured Image : Glencoe – Scotland .