Hiding behind history

Today I took the two children of my neighbours to the small local museum to see the mask of Alexander Peden. Peden was a covenanter, a minister of the church which broke away when Charles II returned, and he lived a dramatic and cloak and dagger lifestyle preaching and prophesying. The mask, well presented in a darkened room was far more dramatic than this image of it.

It wasn’t the mask which was the problem, it was the curator. Any suggestion that Peden might have been less than a plaster saint was at once talked down. I suggested to the children that what with his prophesying and his mask, Peden, however principled, had a flair for the dramatic. Nope. I suggested that going armed, campaigning for the right to carry a gun, and speaking openly of a desire to kill the King might be a good way of becoming unpopular. Nope. Where DO they get them? This is the second joyless historian I have encountered in Ayrshire, to say nothing of the published ones.

The curator, bless him, killed Peded deader than he had been for the 400 years since his death, worn out but miraculously of natural causes.


4 responses to “Hiding behind history

  1. There are many joyless people in the world.

  2. rosemaryhannah

    It is the fearful desire to make it all respectable that gets to me – tidy it up, have washed out goodies, and watered down baddies. All carbon copies with no real people – instead of the glorious mess of mixed motives and confused people that it really is. And then people tell me they hate history – well of course they do.

  3. it is a fabulous mask

  4. If they do Hallowe’en for school this would be a good costume for the wee chap, wouldn’t it? He would have the panache for it too. Also well enough known locally to have some street cred. I’ll suggest. Oooh I do enjoy being with children again. Being an adult is soooo boring sometimes.

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