I’m reading a book, The Eagle Cliff, written in 1894, set in the western isles of Scotland. The author, R. M. Ballantyne, tends toward 19th century realism. Characters’ dialogue is written (and spelled) in such a way as to mimic their manner of speech. There are some characters who speak "common" english as it might be spoken in London. These characters’ dialogue is written (almost—some words uncommon in my area are employed, but no unorthodox abbreviations or gross misspellings) just as I would write it in America. Others, speak with some flavor of scottish accent, also using some words that might be considered “scottish english.”
Here's an example:
“Oo ay, we’re somewhere’s wast’ard o’ the Lewis. But whether wast, nor’-wast, or sooth-wast, I could not say preceesely. The nicht, ye see, wass uncommon dark, an’ when the fog came doon i’ the mornin’, I could na’ feel sure we had keep it the richt coorse, for the currents hereaboots are strang. But we’ll see whan it comes clear.”
I can discern nearly all of the words spoken this way. There is one word that I cannot really tell what it means, and I’m not sure if it’s misspelled to reflect how it was pronounced, or if the spelling indicates something about it's meaning, or perhaps both.
It is used almost exclusively at the end of a sentence, as if it were some sort of interjection or word with a multiplicity (or vagueness) of meaning. It is uttered by some (Scottish) seamen, who are prone to a kind of sing-songy speech, as well as unsophisticated villagers.
Here are some examples (emphasis added):
“That's true, sir, but we’ll be none the worse o’ the poy, what-e-ver.” (ch 3)
“Yonder iss the end o’ yer bonnet stickin’ oot o’ his pooch, what-e-ver,” said Donald. (ch 9)
“Me preach!” exclaimed the laird; “I never did such a thing in my life.”
“Maype you'll read a chapter, what-e-ver,” persisted the elder. (ch 11)
I cannot grasp its meaning (or purpose) in these sentences. I was unable to find a “scottish english” lexicon. Can anyone tell me what “modern” word this refers to or what its meaning might be?