Betsy Whyte sings the song then explains the story and motivation to her niece, Mary MacQueen. Two friends, young Johnstone and the young colonel, were courting one another's sisters. They were drinking together, and young Johnstone said he would marry the colonel's sister if he would marry Johnstone's sister. The colonel refused, saying he would just keep the girl as a mistress. Johnstone stabbed him. Johnstone went to his own sister, but she would take nothing to do with him. Then he went to the colonel's sister, who still loved him. But he was jealous when she gave bread and wine to the pursuing soldiers, and killed her. He was a hot-blooded type of person.
Betsy's mother knew all of this song. She cannot remember the last line, but recalls it is something like "lies clasped with her on the floor".
19 verses. Despite the hesitations, a lovely version of the ballad that was Betsy Whyte's masterpiece. On repetition, she changes "false heart" to "jealous heart" in the last verse.
Greig-Duncan vol. 8, p. 342
'The Scottish Ballads' (R. Chambers, 1829) pp. 293-297