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´╗┐Title: My Man Sandy
Author: Salmond, J. B.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "My Man Sandy" ***

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[Frontispiece: Cover Art--Sandy]



MY MAN SANDY


BY

J. B. SALMOND



SIXTH EDITION



SANDS & CO.

EDINBURGH: 37 GEORGE STREET

LONDON: 15 KING STREET, COVENT GARDEN

1919



PREFACE.

These sketches are taken from a series written originally for newspaper
purposes.  Revision of them has made their author keenly conscious of
their defects; but Bawbie and Sandy are characters who might be
completely spoiled by improvement.  The sketches are therefore
presented as they were hastily "rubbed-in" for serial publication.

The "foo," "far," "fat," and "fan" of the Angus dialect have been
changed into the more classic "hoo," "whaur," &c.; otherwise the
sketches remain in the form in which they have gained quite an
unexpected popularity amongst Scottish readers both at home and abroad.

ARBROATH, N.B.,
  _April, 1889._



CONTENTS.


     I.  SANDY SWAPS HIS POWNEY
    II.  SANDY STARTS TO STUDY GEOMETRY
   III.  SANDY AND THE DINNER BELL
    IV.  A TALK ABOUT HEAVEN
     V.  MISTRESS MIKAVER'S TEA PARTY
    VI.  SANDY'S SECOND LESSON IN GEOMETRY
   VII.  SANDY'S MAGIC LANTERN EXHIBITION
  VIII.  SANDY AND THE RHUBARB TART
    IX.  THE GREAT STORM OF NOVEMBER, 1893
     X.  SANDY AND HIS FAIRNTICKLES
    XI.  SANDY STANDS "EMPIRE" AT A CRICKET MATCH
   XII.  A DREADFUL DISASTER IN THE GARRET
  XIII.  SANDY AND BAWBIE'S SPRING HOLIDAY
   XIV.  LOVE AND WAR
    XV.  SANDY MAKES A SPEECH
   XVI.  SANDY'S CHRISTMAS PRESENT
  XVII.  AT THE SELECT CHOIR'S CONCERT
 XVIII.  SANDY RUNS A RACE
   XIX.  SANDY REVENGED
    XX.  SANDY'S APOLOGIA



MY MAN SANDY.


I

SANDY SWAPS HIS POWNEY.

He's a queer cratur, my man Sandy!  He's made, mind an' body o' him, on
an original plan a'thegither.  He says an' does a' mortal thing on a
system o' his ain; Gairner Winton often says that if Sandy had been in
the market-gardenin' line, he wudda grown his cabbage wi' the stocks
aneth the ground, juist to lat them get the fresh air aboot their
ruits.  It's juist his wey, you see.  I wudna winder to see him some
day wi' Donal' yokit i' the tattie-cairt wi' his heid ower the fore-end
o't, an' the hurdles o' him whaur his heid shud be.  I've heard Sandy
say that he had an idea that a horse cud shuve far better than poo; an'
when Sandy ance gets an idea intil his heid, there's some beast or body
has to suffer for't afore he gets redd o't.  If there's a crank wey o'
doin' onything Sandy will find it oot.  For years he reg'larly flang
the stable key ower the gate efter he'd brocht oot Donal' an' the
cairt.  When he landit hame again, he climbed the gate for the key, an'
syne climbed ower again an' opened it frae the ootside.  He michta
carried the key in his pooch; but onybody cudda dune that!  But, as I
was sayin', it's juist his wey.

"It's juist the shape original sin's ta'en in Sandy's case," the
Gairner said when the Smith an' him were discussin' the subject.

"I dinna ken aboot the sin; but it's original eneuch, there's nae doot
aboot that," said the Smith.

There's naebody kens that better than me, for I've haen the teuch end
o' forty year o't.  But, still an' on, he's my ain man, the only ane
ever I had, an' I'll stick up for him, an' till him, while the lamp
holds on to burn, as the Psalmist says.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

"See if I can say my geog, Bawbie," said Nathan to me the ither
forenicht, as I was stanin' in the shop.  He'd been sittin' ben the
hoose wi' his book croonin' awa' till himsel' aboot Rooshya bein'
boundit on the north by the White Sea, an' on the sooth by the Black
Sea, an' some ither wey by the Tooral-ooral mountains or something, an'
he cam' ben an' handed me his geog, as he ca'd it, to see if he had a'
this palaver on his tongue.

I've often windered what was the use o' Nathan wirryin' ower thae
oot-o'-the-wey places that he wud never be within a thoosand mile o'.
He kens a' the oots an' ins o' Valiparaiso, but michty little aboot
Bowriefauld.  Hooever, I suppose the dominie kens best.

Nathan was juist busy pointin' oot the place to me in his book when
there was a terriple rattlin' oot on the street, an' aff he hookited to
see what was ado.  He thocht it was a marriage, an' that there micht be
a chance o' some heys aboot the doors.  What was my consternation when
the reeshlin' an' rattlin' stoppit at the shop door, an' I heard
Sandy's voice roarin', "Way-wo, haud still, wo man, wo-o-o, will ye!"

"What i' the face o' the earth's ado noo?" says I to mysel'; an' I goes
my wa's to the door.  Sandy had been up at Munromont for a load o'
tatties.  When I gaed to the door, here he was wi' a thing atween the
shafts o' his cairt that lookit like's it had been struck wi' forkit
lichtnin'.

"What hae ye dune wi' Donal', Sandy?" I speered.

"Cadger Gowans an' me's haen a swap," says Sandy, climbin' oot at the
back o' the cairt, an' jookin' awa' roond canny-weys to the horse's
heid.

"Wo, Princie," he says, pettin' oot his hand.  "Wo, the bonnie laddie!"

Princie, as he ca'd him, ga'e a gley roond wi' the white o' his e'e
that garred Sandy keep a gude yaird clear o' him.

"He's a grand beast," he says, comin' roond to my side; "a grand beast!
Three-quarters bred, an' soond in wind and lim'.  I got a terriple
bargain o' him.  I ga'e Gowans Donal' an' thirty shillin's, an' he ga'e
me a he tortyshall kitlin' to the bute--the only ane i' the
countryside.  He's genna hand it in the morn."

There was nae want o' soond in Princie's wind at ony rate.  I saw that
in a minute.  He was whistlin' like a lerik.

"He sooks wind a little when he has a lang rin," says Sandy; "but
that's nether here nor there.  He's haen a teenge or twa, an' he's
akinda foondered afore, an' a little spavie i' the aft hent leg; but
I'll shune pet that a' richt wi' gude guidin'.  He's a grand beast, I
tell ye!"

Sandy stood an' lookit first up at the horse an' then doon at his
cairt.  "He's gey high for the wheels," he says; "but, man, he's a
grand beast.  He cam hame frae Glesterlaw juist like a bird.  Never
turned a hair.  He's a grand beast."

"Hoo mony legs has he, Sandy?" says I, lookin' at the great, big,
ravelled-lookin' brute.  He was a' twisted here and there, an' the legs
o' him lookit for a' the world juiat like bits o' crunckled water-hose.
The cairt appeared to be haudin' him up, raither than him haudin' up
the cairt; an' he was restin' the thrawn legs o' him time aboot, juist
like a cock stanin' amon' snaw.  "Ye shudda left that billie at the
knackers at Glesterlaw, Sandy," says I, I says.  "I'm dootin' ye'll
ha'e back to tak' him there afore him or you's muckle aulder."

"Tyach!  Haud your lang tongue," says Sandy.  "Speak aboot things ye
ken something aboot.  Wait till the morn.  Ye'll see I'll get roond my
roonds an' a' my tatties delivered in half the time.  I'll ha'e rid o'
a' my tatties an' be hame gin ane o'clock, instead o' dotterin' awa'
wi' a lazy brute like Donal'.  I'll beat ye onything ye like, Gowans
'ill be ruin' his bargain gin this time; but he'll no' get him back
noo.  I'll go an' see an' get Princie stabled."

Sandy gaed inby to the shafts, but he sprang back when Princie ga'e a
squeek an' garred his heels play tnack on the boddom o' the cairt.

"That's the breedin'," says Sandy, gaen awa' roond to the ither side o'
the cairt.

"It soonded to me like the boddom o' the cairt, as far as I cud hear,"
says I, I says; but Sandy never lut on.

The brute had a nesty e'e in its heid.  It turned roond wi' a
vegabon'-like look aye when Sandy gaed near't.  He got up on the front
efter a while, an' ga'e the reinds a tit, an' Princie began to do a bit
jeeg, garrin' Sandy bowse aboot on the front o' the cairt like's he was
foo.  Sandy ga'e him a clap on the hurdles to quieten him, but aye the
hent feet o' him played skelp on the boddom o' the cairt, till I thocht
he wudda haen't ca'd a' to bits.  Syne awa' he gaed full bung a' o' a
sudden, wi' Sandy rowin' aboot amon' the tatties, an' hingin' in by the
reinds, roarin', "Wo! haud still," an' so on.  Gin he got to the fit o'
the street there was a dozen laddies efter him; screamin', "Come on you
lads, an' see Sandy Bowden's drumadairy.  By crivens, he's gotten a
richt horse for Donal', noo."

Sandy didna come up frae the stable till near-hand eleven o'clock, an'
I didna say ony mair aboot his braw horse.  I've heard the minister
say, it's the unexpectit that happens.  That's aye the way wi' Sandy, I
can tell you.  I aye expect that something will happen wi' him that I'm
no' expectin'; so I find it best juist to lat him aleen.

Next mornin' he gaed awa' gey early to get yokit, an' he took Bandy
Wobster wi' him to gi'e him a hand.  It was twa strucken 'oors afore he
got to the shop door wi' the cairt, an' baith him an' the horse were
sweitin' afore they startit on his roonds.  Sandy was lookin' gey
raised like, so I lut him get on a' his tatties an' said naething.

Stumpie Mertin cam' by, an', lookin' at Princie, gae his heid a claw.

"What are ye stanin' glowerin' at?" says Sandy till him, gey snappit
like.

"Whaur did ye get that hunger'd-lookin' radger, Sandy?" says he.  "That
beast's no' fit for gaen aboot.  The Cruelty to Animals 'ill nip you,
as shure's you're a livin' man."

"Tak' care 'at they dinna nip you, for haein' a wid leg," says Sandy,
as raised as a wasp.  "Awa' oot o' that, an' mind your ain bisness."

"That's been stealt oot ahent some menagerie caravan," says Stumpie;
an' awa' he gaed dilpin' like's he'd made a grand joke.

The policeman cam' doon an' settled himsel' aboot ten yairds awa' frae
Princie, put his hands ahent his back, set forrit his heid like's he
was gaen awa' to putt somebody, an' took a lang look at him.  "That's a
clinker, Sandy," says he.  "That billie 'ill cover the grund."

I didna ken whether the bobbie meant rinnin' ower the grund, or
coverin't efter he was turned into gooana or bane-dust; but I saw the
lauch in his sleeve a' the same.

Gairner Winton cam' doon the street at the same time, an' the bobby an'
him startit to remark aboot Sandy's horse.

"A gude beast, nae doot," says the Gairner; "but Sandy's been gey lang
o' buyin' him.'

"He's bocht him gey sune, I'm thinking," says the policeman.  "Gin he'd
waited a fortnicht, he'd gotten him at twintypence the hunderwecht."

Sandy never lut dab 'at he heard them.  The cairt was a' ready an'
Sandy got up on the front and startit.  A' gaed richt till he got to
the Loan, when Princie startit to trot.  The rattlin' o' the scales at
the back o' the cairt fleggit him, an' aff he set at full tear, the
lang skranky legs o' him wallopin' about like torn cloots atween him
an' the grund.  A gude curn wives were oot waitin' their tatties, an'
they roared to Sandy to stop; but Sandy cudna.  The tatties were
fleein' ower the back door o' the cairt, an' the scales were rattlin'
an' reeshlin' like an earthquake; an' there was Sandy, bare-heided, up
to the knees amon' his tatties, ruggin' an' roarin', like the skipper
o' some schooner that was rinnin' on the rocks.  I'll swear, Sandy got
roond his roonds an' a' his tatties delivered in less than half the
time Donal' took!  The wives an' laddies were gaitherin' up the tatties
a' the wey to Tutties Nook; and gin Sandy got to the milestane his
cairt was tume.  By this time Princie was fair puffed out, an' he
drappit i' the middle o' the road, Sandy gaen catma ower the tap o' him.

Donal's back till his auld job!  Sandy lost thirty shillin's an' a
cairt-load o' tatties ower the heid o' Princie; an' as for the he
tortyshall kitlin', I've never heard nor seen hint nor hair o't.



II.

SANDY STARTS TO STUDY GEOMETRY.

"Man, Bawbie, I think I'll see an' get into the Toon Cooncil some o'
thae days," says Sandy to me the ither forenicht.  "Me an' some o' the
rest o' the chaps have been haein' a bit o' an argeyment i' the
washin'-house this nicht or twa back, an' I tell you, I can gabble awa'
aboot public questions as weel's some o' them i' the Cooncil.  I ga'e
them a bit screed on the watter question on Setarday nicht that garred
them a' gape; an' Dauvit Kenawee said there an' then that I shud see
an' get a haud o' the Ward Committee an' get a chance o' pettin' my
views afore them.  They a' said I was a born spowter, an' that wi' a
little practice I cud speechify the half o' the Cooncil oot at the
door."

I hit Sandy blether awa' for a whilie, an' syne I strikes in, "Ay,
juist that, Sandy; but you'll mibby g'wa' an' get that tume saft soap
barrel scraipit oot, an' the wechts gi'en a black lead; an' we'll hear
aboot the Toon Cooncil efter your wark's dune."

"Oh, but I'll manish that, Bawbie," says he, gey snappish-like; "but
still a man wi' brains in's heid canna juist be setisfeed wi' saft soap
an' black lead a'thegither."

"Ow weel," says I, "you wud mibby fa' in wi' a fell lot o' baith o'
them, even i' the Toon Cooncil.  When you're wantin' a favour, a little
saft soap--altho' it's only scraipins--is sometimes a very handy thing
to hae; an' if you dinna get what you want, you can pet on the black
lead syne.  There's a fell lot o' that kind o' thing gaen on, an' nae
mistak'.  There's Beylie Thingymabob, for instance--but, of coorse,
that's no' the point----"

"What I was sayin'," brock in Sandy, "was that when a man's heid's fu'
o' brains, an' them wirkin' juist like barm, he maun hae some
occupation for his intelleck, or his facilties 'ill gie wey.  There's
Bandy Wobster, for instance, tak's up his heid wi' gomitry an'
triangles an' siclike, juist 'cause he has some brains in his heid, an'
maun occupy them; an' what for no' me as weel?"

"Gomitry an' triangles!" says I.  "Ye'll mibby be for into the flute
band next, are ye?  Weel, I'll tell you this--I ken naething aboot the
gomitry, or what like a thing it is; but if you bring ony o' your
triangles here, wi' there ping ping-pinkey-pingin', I'll pet them doon
the syre; that's what I'll do.  I like music o' near ony kind.  I can
pet up wi' the melodian or the concertina; but yon triangle thing I
wudna hae i' the hoose.  You can tell Bandy Wobster he can keep his
triangles for his parrots swingin' on.  We want neen o' them here."

"Tut, Bawbie, 'oman," says Sandy, "you're juist haiverin' straucht
forrit.  It's no' flute band triangles I mean ava.  It's the anes you
see in books--a' shapes an' sizes, ye know.  Bandy learned a' aboot
them when he was at the sea.  Sailors learn aboot them for measurin'
hoo far onywey is frae ony ither wey, d'ye know, d'ye see?  Bandy tells
me that gomitry--that's what they ca' the book fu' o' triangles--is a
grand thing for learnin' you to speak; an' he offered to gi'e me a
lesson or twa."

"That'll be whaur Bandy gets a' his gab," says I.  "I think, Sandy," I
says, says I, "that you've mair need to learn something to garr you
haud your tongue.  You've nae need for learnin' to speak, weel-a-wat,
excep' it be to speak sense; an' I dinna suppose gomitry 'ill do you
ony guid that wey.  It's made but a puir job o' Bandy Wobster, at
onyrate."

"That's a' you ken, Bawbie," says Sandy.  "There's mair in Bandy than
the spune pets in; mind I'm tellin' you.  He was tellin's aboot some o'
the exyems in gomitry lest nicht, an', I'll swag, he garred Cocky
Baxter, the auld dominie, chowl his chafts."

"Exyems!" says I.  "Is that the same as exy-oey we used to play at on
oor sklates at the skule?"

"No, no, no, no, no," says Sandy.  "What are you haiverin' aboot,
Bawbie?  It's a different kind o' thing a'thegither.  The first exyem
is that onything that's equal to the same thing as ony ither thing, is
equal to the thing that's equal to the thing to which the ither thing's
equal, d'ye know, d'ye see?"

"By faigs, Sandy," says I, "that's waur than exy-oey yet.  What was't
you said?"

"It's as plain as twice-twa's fower, Bawbie, if you juist watch," says
Sandy.  "If ae thing is equal till anither thing, an' the ither thing's
equal to some ither thing that's equal to the thing that the first
thing's equal till, then you can easy see that the ae thing 'ill be
equal to the ither, as weel as to the ither thing that they're baith
equal till."

I thocht Sandy was raley gettin' akinda lichtwecht, d'ye ken, for I cud
nether mak' heid nor tail o' his confused blethers.

"Keep me, Bawbie, do you no' see through't?" he says, glowerin' at me
wi' a queer-like look in his e'e.  "Gie's three bawbees!  Look now;
there's thae three bawbees.  Weel than, here's twa here, an' there's
ane there.  Noo, this ane here is equal to that ane there, an' this
ither ane here is equal to that ane there too; so that, when they're
baith equal to that ane, the teen maun be equal to the tither.  A blind
bat cud see that wi' its een shut."

Sandy set himsel' up like's he'd pey'd a big account or something, an',
gien his heid a gey impident cock to the tae side, he says, "D'ye no'
see't?"

"See't?" says I, I says.  "What wud bender's frae seein't?   An' is
that what gomitry learns you?" says I.

"It is that," says Sandy.  "That's the first exyem."

"Weel," says I, "it tak's a michty lang road to tell you what ony
three-'ear-auld bairn in the G-O goes cud tell you in a jiffy."

"Ah, but it's the mental dreel that's the vailable thing," says Sandy.
"It learns you to argey, d'ye no' see?  If I had a glisk at gomitry for
a nicht or twa, an' got a puckle triangles an' parilelly grams into my
heid, I'll be fit to gie a scrieve on the watter question, or the
scaffies' wadges, that'll garr some o' oor Toon Cooncillers crook their
moos.  Wait till you see!"

"Ay, Sandy," says I, "you'll go an' get the swine suppered an' your
ither jobs dune, an', gin ten o'clock were here, you'll get a coo's
drink, wi' plenty o' pepper in't, an' get to your bed.  Thae
washin'-hoose argeymints are affectin' your nervous system, I'm
dootin'.  Rin, noo, an' see an' stick in."

I raley thocht, mind you, the wey the cratur was haiverin', that he
wantit tippence i' the shillin'.

"I wad juist like you to hear ane o' oor debates, an' you'd cheenge
your opinion," says Sandy.  "Bandy promised to tell's something the
morn's nicht aboot the postylate in gomitry.  I juist wiss you heard
him."

"What wud there be to hear aboot that?" says I.  "Oor ane's juist the
very same; he's near-hand aye late."

"Wha?" says Sandy, wi' a winderin' look in his e'e.

"Oor postie!" says I; "he's aye late.  You'll of'en hear his whistle i'
the street when it's efter ten o'clock at nicht."

Sandy gaed shauchlin' oot at the door, chuck-chuck-chuckin' awa' till
himsel' like a clockin' hen, an' I didna see hint nor hair o' him for
mair than twa 'oors efter.  But what cud ye expeck?  That's juist aye
the wey o' thae men when they get the warst o't.



III.

SANDY AND THE DINNER BELL,

Crack aboot holidays!  I tell you, I'd raither do a day's washin' an'
cleaning', ay, an' do the ironin' an' manglin' efter that, than face
anither holiday like what Sandy an' me had this week.  Holiday!  It's a
winder there wasna a special excursion comin' hame wi' Sandy's bur'al.
If that man's no' killed afore lang, he'll be gettin' in amon' thae
anarkist billies or something.  I tell you he's fit eneuch for onything.

We took the cheap trip to Edinboro, juist to hae a bit look round the
metrolopis, as Sandy ca'd it to the fowk i' the train.  He garred me
start twa-three times sayin't; I thocht he'd swallowed his pipe-shank,
he gae sic a babble.

We wasna weel startit afore he begude wi' his nonsense.  There was a
young bit kimmerie an' a bairnie i' the carriage, an' the craturie grat
like onything.  "I winder what I'll do wi' this bairn?" said the
lassie; an' Sandy, in the middle o' argeyin' wi' anither ass o' a man
that the Arbroath cricketers cud lick the best club i' the country,
says, rale impident like to the lassie, "Shuve't in ablo the seat."

"You hertless vegabon," says I; "think shame o' yoursel!  Gie me the
bairnie," says I; an' I got the craturie cowshined an' quieted.

There was nae mair nonsense till we cam till a station in Fife wi' an'
awfu'-like name.  I canna mind what it was, an' never will, I suppose.
The stationmester had an awfu' reed nose--most terriple.

"Is the strawberries a gude crap roond aboot here?" said Sandy till
him, out at the winda; an' you never heard what lauchin' as there was
on the pletform.  The stationmester's face got as reed's his nose, an'
he ca'd Sandy for a' the impident whaups that ever travelled.

Sal, Sandy stack up till him, though; an' when the train moved awa' the
fowk hurrehed like's it had been a royal marriage.  The stationmester
didna hurreh ony.

Gaen ower the Forth Brig I thocht twa-three times Sandy wud be oot at
the window heid-lang.  I was juist in a fivver wi' him an' his ongaens.
Hooever, we landit a' richt in Edinboro.  An' what a day!  I thocht
when we got to a temperance hotel at nicht that I had a chance o' an
'oor's peace.  But haud your tongue!  Weesht!  I'll juist gie you the
thick o' the story clean aff luif.

It was a rale comfortable-lookin' hoose, and we got a nice
clean-lookin' bedroom, an' efter a'thing was arranged, Sandy an' me
gaed awa' doon as far as Holyrood, whaur Queen Mary got ane o' her
fiddlers killed, an' whaur John Knox redd her up for carryin' on like a
pagan linkie instead o' the Queen o' Scotland.  Weel, it was gey late
when we got back to oor hotel, an' we juist had a bit snack o' supper,
an' up the stair we gaed.  We were three stairs up.  We had a seat, an'
a crack an' a look oot at the winda, for we saw a lang wey ower the
toun, an' it was bonnie to watch the lichts twinklin' an' to hear the
soonds.

Twal o'clock chappit, an' we thocht it was time we were beddit.  I was
anower, an' Sandy was juist a' ready, when he cudna fa' in wi' his
nichtkep.  It was in a handbag o' Sandy's, and he had left it doon in
the lobby.  Sandy canna sleep without his nichtkep--no' him!

"What am I genna do?" says Sandy.  He was in his lang white nichtgoon,
and he gaed to the room door an' opened it.  He lookit oot, but a'thing
was as quiet's death.

"I'll rin doon for't," says he; "a'body's beddit.  I'll juist rin doon,
an' I'll bring up my umberell an' my hat at the same time, for fear
they micht be liftit.  You never can tell."

Awa' doou the stairs he gaed in his lang nichtgoon, for a' the earth
juist like some corp escapit frae the kirkyaird.  He wasna a meenit oot
when I dreedit something wud happen, an' I juist sat up tremblin' in
the bed.

Sandy got doon to the lobby a' richt; an' a'thing was dark, an' as
still's the grave.  He scrammilt aboot till he got the bag; syne he
fand for his lum hat, an' put it on his heid.  He got his umberell in
his oxter, an' the bag in his hand, an' then he fand roond juist to see
if there was naething else he had forgotten.  By ill-fortune he cam' on
the handle o' the denner bell, an' liftin't, it ga'e a creesh an' a
clang that knokit a' the sense oot o' Sandy's heid, and wauken'd half
the fowk i' the hoose.  Sandy took till his heels up the stair; an' a
gey like picture he was, wi' his lang, white sark-tails fleein' i' the
air, a lum hat on his heid, an umberell in his oxter, the bag in ae
hand, an' the denner bell i' the ither, bangin' an' clangin' at ilky
jump.  It wudda frichten'd the very deevil himsel'.  The stupid auld
fule had gotten that doited that he cam' fleein' awa' wi' the bell in
his hand.

There was a cry o' fire, and a scream o' murder, an' in half a meenit
the hotel was as busy as gin it had been broad daylicht.  Sandy forgot
hoo mony stairs he had to clim', and he gaed bang in on an auld sea
captain an' his wife, in the room below oors.  It fair paralised baith
o' them, when they saw Sandy comin' burst in on them wi' his black
tile, his white goon, his umberell an' bag, an' the denner bell.

"P'leece, p'leece," roared the captain an' his wife--an' Sandy oot at
the door.  Awa' alang a passage he gaed, fleein' like a huntit tod.  I
heard him as gin he'd been doon in the very bowels o' the earth cryin',
"Bawbie, Bawbie!  Oh, whaur are ye, Bawbie?"

"Wha i' the earth is he, or what's ado wi' him?" I heard somebody speer.

"Gude kens," said anither voice.  "It's shurely some milkman wi' the
bloo deevils."

"Milkman!  What wud a milkman do wi' an umberell, a portmanty, an' a
lum hat?"

Juist at that meenit Sandy cam' fleein' alang the passage again, an' by
this time a' the fowk in the hotel were oot on the stairs.  If you had
only seen the scrammel.  They scoored doon the stairs, into pantries,
in below tables; the room doors were bangin' like thunder, an' Sandy's
bell was ringin' like's Gabriel had lost his trumpet.  You never heard
sic a din.  I saw him comin' leggin' up the stair.  The stairheid was
fu' o' fowk, a' oot in their nicht-goons to see what was ado; but, I
can ashure you, when they saw Sandy comin' fleein' up, they shune
disappeared.  Six policemen cudna scattered them so quick.  He came
spankin' into my room, an' drappit intil a chair, fair oot o' pech.

"Oh, Bawbie, Bawbie!" he cried, "gi'e's a drink.  Tak' that umberell,"
he says, haudin' oot the bell to me.  "I've been fleein' a' roond
Edinboro wi' naething on but my nicht-goon, an' my lum, an' a' the coal
cairters i' the kingdom ringin' their bells at my tails.  Sic a wey o'
doin'!  O dear me!  I wiss I was hame again!  O dear me!"

"That's no an umberell, you doited fule," says I.  "That's the denner
bell you've been fleein' aboot wi' i' your hand."

Sandy lookit at the bell; an' you never saw sic a face as he put on.
He lut it drap on the flure wi' a clash like a clap o' thunder, an' I
heard a crood o' fowk scurryin' awa' frae oor bedroom door.

I tell'd the landlord hoo the thing happened, an' next mornin' at
brakfast time you never heard sic lauchin'.  A' the chaps were clappin'
Sandy on the shuder; an' ane o' them says--"Ay, man; it's no mony fowk
that tak's their lum hat an' their umberell to their bed wi' them."

But the auld skipper was the king amon' them a'.  Hoo he raggit Sandy
aboot bein' a somnambulashinist or something.

"When you want to steal a denner bell," he said to Sandy, "carry't by
the tongue, man.  It's safer that wey.  Bells an' weemin are awfu'
beggars when their tongues get lowse."

The captain was rale taen wi' Sandy, an', mind you, he hired a cab an'
drave Sandy an' me a' roond the toon.  He said he was bidin' in
Carnoustie, and he wadna hae a nasay but we wud come an' hae a cup o'
tea wi' him.  "An' if you'll bide a' nicht," he said, "we'll be awfu'
pleased.  An' I'll chain up the denner bell i' the dog's cooch juist
for that nicht."

Ay, weel! it's fine lauchin' noo when it's a' ower.  But if you'd been
in my place, you wudna lauchen muckle, I'se warrant.



IV.

A TALK ABOUT HEAVEN.

Sandy got a terrible dose o' the cauld lest week.  I never hardly saw
him so bad.  He was ootbye at the plooin' match lest Wedensday, an'
he's hardly ever been ootower the door sin' syne.  There was a nesty
plook cam' oot juist abune his lug on Setarday, an' he cudna get on his
lum hat; so he had to bide at hame a' Sabbath, an' he spent the feck o'
the day i' the hoose readin' Tammas Boston's "Power-fold State" an' the
"Pilgrim's Progress."  Ye see, Sandy's a bit o' a theologian aye when
he's onweel.  If he's keepit i' the hoose wi' a host or a sair heid,
Sandy juist tak's a dose o' medicin', an' starts to wirry awa' at
Bunyan or the Bible.  He's a queer cratur that wey, for as halikit a
character as he is.

But we had a kind o' a kirk o' oor ain on Sabbath i' the forenicht, for
Dauvid Kenawee cam' in, an' syne Bandy Wobster; an' they werena weel
set doon when in cam' Jacob Teylor, the smith, an' Stumpie Mertin alang
wi' them.  Gairner Winton cam' in to speer what had come ower Sandy,
for he hadna seen him at the kirk.  Ye never saw sic a hoosefu'!  Sandy
was sittin' at the fireside wi' an auld greatcoat an' a hairy bonnet
on, an' a' the sax o' them fell to the crackin', ye never heard the
like.  Ye wudda really thocht it was a meetin' o' the Presbitree--they
were a' speaking that throwither.

"An' what was the minister on the nicht, Gairner?" I says, says I,
juist to stop them yabblin' aboot politicks, an' a' the like o' that
nonsense on Sabbath nicht.

"He had twa texts the nicht, Bawbie," said the Gairner.  "He took the
wirds in Second Kings, second an' elevent, an' in Luke, nint an'
thirtieth, an' a fine discoorse he made o't, aboot Elijah bein' taen up
to heaven in the fiery chariot, an' comin' again a hunder or a thoosand
'ear efter, juist the same billie as he gaed awa'.  He made oot that
we'd meet a' oor deid freends in heaven again, an' juist ken them the
same as though they'd only been awa' frae hame for a cheenge for a
while."

"I dinna haud wi' yon view o' the thing ava," said Bandy Wobster.  "He
wud hae's a' believe that fowk never grow a bit aulder in heaven.  The
thing appears to me to be ridic'lous.  Elijah, a thoosand 'ear efter he
was taen up, cam' back withoot being a bit cheenged ether ae wey or
anither; that was his idea o't."

"It's a gey ticklish subjeck," put in the Smith; "but, faigs, lads, I
haud wi' the minister."

He's an awtu' nice, cowshis man the Smith.  Ye wud sometimes think he
was meent for a minister, he says things that clever; an' a body aye
feels the better efter a crack wi' him.

"Ye see," he gaed on, "I wadna like it to be ony ither wey.  Ye mind o'
my little Elsie?  Puir lassie, it's--lat me see; ay, it's twal' 'ear
come Mertimas sin' she was taen awa'.  Ay, man; an' she taen mair o' my
heart wi' her in her bit coffinie than she left ahent her.  A bonnie
bit lassie she was, Bawbie, as ye'll mind.  She was juist seven past
when she was taen awa'; an' when I meet her again, I wud like her to be
juist the same bonnie bit lassokie that cam' in wi' her pawlie that
Setarday efternune an' tell'd me she had a sair heid--the henmist sair
heid ever she was genna hae.  Ye see, lads, if Elsie was growin' aulder
in heaven, she wud be a woman nearhand twenty gin this time, an' she
wudna be the same to me ava."  An' the Smith lookit into the heart o'
the fire like's he had tint something; an' I saw his een fill.

"That's the minister's wey o' lookin' at the thing too, I think," said
the Gairner; "but I canna juist fathom't, I maun admit."

"There's something in what the Smith says," said Bandy; "but if there's
to be nae growin' ony aulder i' the next world, there'll be some fowk
'ill hae a gey trauchle.  There was Mysie Wilkie's bairn that de'ed
doon there i' the Loan a fortnicht syne.  It was a puir wammily-lookin'
cratur, an' was only but aucht days auld when it took bruntkadis an'
closed, juist in an 'oor or twa.  Mysie, puir cratur, never kent.  She
was brainish a' the time, an' she follow'd her bairnie twa days efter.
D'ye mean to tell me that Mysie 'ill be dwanged trailin' throo a'
eternity wi' a bit bairnie aucht days auld, an' it never gettin' even
the lenth o' bein' doakit, lat aleen growin' up to be able to tak' care
o'ts sel?  The thing's no rizzenable."

"But there wud be plenty bit lassies to gie the bairn a hurl in a
coach," said the Tailor.  "I dinna see hoo Mysie cudna get redd o' her
bairn for an' oor noo an' than."

"But that wud juist be a dwang to the lassies, syne," answered Bandy.

"That's a thing I've often thocht aboot mysel'," says Sandy; "an' the
only wey I cud mak' it oot was that a'body in heaven 'ill be juist i'
their prime.  I've thocht to mysel' that a' the men folk wud be, say,
aboot thirty-five 'ear auld, or atween that an' forty, an' the weemin
mibby fower or five 'ear younger."

"An' wud they be a' ae size, d'ye think?" says Stumpie Mertin.
Stumpie's a tailor, ye see, an' I suppose he'd been winderin' aboot hoo
he wud manish wi' the measurin'.

"I canna say naething aboot the size," says Sandy; "it's the auldness
we're taen up aboot i' the noo."

"Na, na, Sandy; your wey o't 'ill no' do ava," said the Smith.
"There'll be bairns an' auld fowk in heaven as weel's here.  Auld fowk
'ill no' get dune or dotal, like what they do i' this world,
undootedly; but there'll be young fowk for them to guide an' advise.
It wud be a puir wey o' doin', I'm thinkin', whaur naebody was wyzer
than his neeper, an' whaur ye wud never hae the chance o' doin' a
freend a gude turn."

"It's past my comprehension," said the Gairner.  "Maist fowk thinks
it'll be a braw place, whaur there'll be nae trauchle or trouble wi'
onything; but I doot we maun juist tak' the Bible for't, lads, an' hae
faith that it'll be a' richt, whatever wey it comes aboot."

"There's ae thing, though, that I dinna haud wi' the minister in ava,"
said the Smith.  "I canna thole the idea o' great croods o' stoot men
and weemin daidlin' aboot a' day doin' naething but singin' hymes.
I've often thocht aboot that, an' raley, Sandy, I dinna think I cud be
happy onywey if I didna hae my studio an' my hammer wi' me; for I'm
juist meeserable when I'm hingin' aboot idle.  As for singin', I canna
sing a single bum.  It's no' like the thing ava for weel-faur'd fowk to
do naething but trail aboot sing-singin' week-in week-oot.  It may do
for litlans, an' precentir budies, like Mertin here; but able-bodied
fowk, wi' a' their faculties, cudna pet up wi't for a week, lat aleen
a' eternity."

Stumpie's an awfu' peppery budy, an' though the Smith leuch when he
made his joke at the tailor's precentin', Mertin got as raised as a
wasp, and he yattered back--"You'll maybe be better aff i' the ither
place, wi' your auld horse shune an' your smiddy reek, ye auld
acowder----"

"Toot, toot, Mertin; dinna get angry," says the Smith.  "It was but a
joke, man.  I've nae doot that I wud hardly be i' the right place amon'
angels an' sic like billies.  But I tell ye what it is, I maun wirk for
my livin' in heaven as weel's here, if ever I get there.  I cud never
pet aff my time gaen aboot doin' naething an' that's whaur I differ
frae the minister."

"But I think we're tell'd that there'll be mony mansions," says I; "an'
nae doubt there'll be mony kinds o' occupation too.  There'll be a
chance for's a' bein' happy in oor ain wey, I'm thinkin'.  I only wiss
we was sure we wud a' get there."

"Ah, Bawbie, lassie, that's whaur you're wyzer than the whole dollop
o's," says the Smith.  "We're takin' up oor heids aboot a place we may
never get till; an', I'm thinkin', it'll be better for's a' to stick in
here an' do what's fair an' richt.  If we mak' shure o' that, we may
lave a' the rest till a higher hand."

Mistress Kenawee landit in to see what had come ower Dauvid, an', dear
me, when I lookit at the tnock, here, it was five meenits to ten.  We'd
been argeyin' that muckle aboot eternity, that we'd forgotten aboot the
time a'thegither.



V.

MISTRESS MIKAVER'S TEA PARTY.

I'll swag, mind ye, but the men's no' far wrang when they say that
weemin have most dreedfu' lang tongues.  Dod, mind ye, but it's ower
troo; it's ower troo!

Mistress Mikaver wud hae me alang to a cup o' tea lest Teysday
efternune; so I gae my hands an' face a bit dicht, an' threw on my
Sabbath goon, an' awa' I gaed.  I fell in wi' Mistress Kenawee on the
road, an', gin we landit, there was a gaitherin' o' wives like what you
wudda seen ony mornin' at the Mossy Wall afore the noo water supply was
brocht in aboot the toon.

Mysie Meldrum was there wi' a braw noo print frock on.  Hand your
tongue!  Five bawbees the yaird!  I saw the very marrows o't in Hantin
the draper's remmindar winda.  But, faigs, Mysie was prood o't, an' nae
mistak.  It was made i' the first o' fashion, a' drawn i' the briest,
an' shuders as big's smokit hams, wi' Mysie's bit facie lookin' oot
atween them, like's she was sittin' in an auld-fashioned easychair.
But, of coorse, I never bather my heid aboot what wey fowk's dressed.

Mistress Mollison was juist as assorted as uswal.  She'd as muckle on
as wudda dressed twa or three folk, an' she was ill-cled at that.

"What'll hae come o' her seal jeckit?" says Mistress Kenawee to me, wi'
a nudge, when we gaed ben the hoose to get oor things aff; but I said
naething, for, the fac' o' the maitter is, I thocht Mistress Kenawee a
fell sicht hersel'.  There was a great target o' black braid hingin'
frae the tail o' her goon, an' the back seam o' her body was riven in
twa-three places.  An' if the truth be tell'd, I wasna very braw
mysel'.  Thinks I to mysel', as I've heard the Gairner's wife say, them
that hae riven breeks had better keep their seats.

Gairner Winton's wife was there, lookin' as happy an' impident as
uswal; an' Ribekka Steein cam' in juist as me an' Mistress Kenawee were
gettin' set doon amon' the rest.  Mistress Mikaver was quite my leddy,
an' was rinnin' frae the teen to the tither o's juist terriple anxious
to mak's a' at hame, an' makin's a' meesirable.  I windered that the
cratur didna gae heidlang ower some o' the stules she had sittin'
aboot; but she got through wi' a' her fairlies an' the tea maskit
withoot ony mishap, an' we got a' set roond the table for oor tea.

Mistress Mikaver had oot her mither's cheenie, an' a braw tablecloth,
o' her mither's ain spinnin' she tell'd's.  She has an awfu' hoosefu'
o' stech, Mistress Mikaver; press efter press, an' kist efter kist fu'.
I ashure you, the lass that gets young Alek 'ill no want for providin'.

She had a'thing in fine order; it was a perfeck treat to sit doon; an'
I noticed a braw noo pentin' o' the scone-baker hung abune the chumla.
He maun hae left a fell feck o' bawbees, for I ashure ye his weeda has
a fu' hoose, an' aye plenty to do wi'.

Weel-a-weel, we had oor tea, as I was tellin' ye, an' a fine cup it
was.  Eh, it's a nice thing a cup o' fresh tea.  There's naething I
like better; it's that refreshin', especially if you've somebody to
crack till when you're at it.  An', I'll swag, we didna weary for want
o' crackin' that efternune.  The Gairner's wife an' Mysie Meldrum are
twa awfu' tagues for tongue; an' some o' the rest o's werena far to the
hent, I'm dootin'.

"Noo, juist see an' mak' yersels a' at hame," said Mistress Mikaver, in
her uswal fizzy kind o' wey.

"An', as the auld sayin' is, gin ye dinna like what's set doon, juist
tak' what ye brocht wi' ye," says Mistress Winton, an' set's a' to the
lauchin'.  You never heard sic a cratur for thae auld-farrant sayin's;
an' Mysie's no' far ahent.  Dod, they pappit ane anither wi' proverbs
juist like skule laddies wi' snawba's.

"There's Moses Certricht's wife awa' by there," says Mistress Kenawee,
pointin' oot at the winda.  "She's a clorty, weirdless-lookin' cratur.
I'm dootin' Moses hasna muckle o' a hame wi' her, the gloidin' tawpie
'at she is."

"Eh, haud your tongue!" said Mistress Mollison.  "The puir man's juist
fair hudden doon wi' her, the lazy, weirdless trail.  But it's the
bairns I'm sorra for.  Ye'll see them i' the mornin' gaen awa' berfit
to the skule, an' a seerip piece i' their hand, wi' fient o' hand or
face o' them washen, an' their claes as greasy as a cadger's pooch.
It's a winder to me 'at Moses disna tak' to drink."

"He has himsel' to blame," brook in the Gairner's wife.  "She cam' o'
an ill breed.  He kent what she was afore he married her.  Ye canna
mak' a silk purse oot o' a soo's lug.  Eh, na!  Gin ye want a guid
sheaf, gang aye to a guid stook."

"You're richt there, Mistress Winton," said Mysie.  "Tak' a cat o' your
ain kind an' it'll no' scart ye, my mither used to say; an' I'm shure
I've seen that come true of'en, of'en."

"They tell me," said Mistress Kenawee, "that Moses gie's her
seven-an'-twinty shillin's every week to keep her hoose wi'.  What she
does wi't it beats me to mak' oot.  Mony a mither wud be gled o' the
half o't i' the noo, an' wud feed an' deed half a dizzen bairns on't."

"But Moses is a fooshinless, hingin'-aboot kind o' a whaup," says I.
"The blame's mibby no' a' on ae side o' the hoose.  There's lots o'
your braw billies ye wudna need to follow ower their ain doorstap.
When there's din an' dirt i' the hoose, the wife aye gets the dirdum.
Moses has ower muckle to say aboot the wife.  She may be ill, but he's
no' the pairty to saw't like neep seed ower a' the countryside."

"You're richt there, Bawbie," said Mistress Winton.  "I've tell'd Moses
that till's face afore the day.  They're scarce o' noos that tells
their father was hanged."

"He's an ill man that blackgairds his wife, altho' she were the
deevil's sister," says Mysie; an' even Ribekka gae her moo a dicht, an'
whispered to hersel', "Eh, aye, that's a troo sayin'."

"I'll no' say a wird again' men," said Mistress Mikaver, "for Wellum
was a guid man to me"; an' she took a lang breth throo her nose, an'
lookit up at the picture abune the chumla.  "I think I've seen Moses
the waur o' a dram; but he looks a quiet eneuch stock," gays she.

"He's some like my man," I strak in.  "He's gey an' of'en oot aboot
when he shud be at hame.  There's no' muckle hertnin' for a woman when
she's left to trauchle day oot day in wi' seven litlans, an' a
thrawn-gabbit footer o' a man juist comin' in at diet times, rennyin'
aboot first ae thing an' syne anither, threapin' that his porritch is
no' half boiled, simmerin' an' winterin' aboot haen to wait a meenit or
twa for his denner or his tea.  Moses Certricht's a soor, nyattery bit
body, an' he tarragats the wife most unmercifu' aboot ilky little bit
kyowowy.  She may be nae better than she's ca'd.  She has nae throwpet
wi' her wark, an' she's terriple weirdless wi' her hoose; but she get's
michty little frae Moses to mend her--that's my opinion."

"Muckle aboot ane, Bawbie, as the deil said to the cobbler," says
Mysie.  "I wudna say but you're mibby richt eneuch."

"Dawtit dochters mak' daidlin' wives," said the Gairner's wife.  "She
was spoilt at hame, afore Moses saw her.  Her mither thocht there was
nae lassies like hers, an' I'm shure she saired them hand an' fit.  But
you'll of'en see't, that wirkin' mithers mak' feckless dochters.  At
the same time, as my mither used of'en to say, an ill shearer never got
a guid heuk, an', I daursay, Moses an' his wife, as uswally occurs,
baith blame ane anither."

We feenisht oor tea, an' got set doon at the winda wi' oor stockin's
an' oor seams, juist to hae a richt corrieneuchin, as Mistress Winton
ca'd it.  Mysie an' me were baith at ribbit socks, so we tried a stent
wi' ane anither.  But Mysie's tongue gaed fully fester than her wires,
an' I'd raither the better o' her.  She forgot a' aboot her intaks, an'
had her stockin' leg a guid bit ower lang when she cam' to the tnot on
her wirsit.

"A thochtless body's aye thrang," said the Gairner's wife, as Mysie
began to tak' doon what she'd wrocht.

"Toot ay," said Mysie.  "Gin a budy be gaen doon the brae, ilky ane
'ill gie ye a gundy."

The twa keepit at it wi' their proverbs till I got akinda nervish, d'ye
ken.  They were that terriple wyze, that, as fac's ocht, mind you, they
near drave some o' the rest o's daft.

"Did you hear tell that Ribekka here was genna get Jeems Ethart?" said
Mistress Mollison to the Gairner's wife, juist to get her on to Beek's
tap.

Ribekka blushed like a lassie o' fifteen, an' bringin' her tongue alang
her upper lip, she shook her heid an' says, "Juist a lot o' blethers.
Jeems wudna hae a puir thing like me."

"Ye dinna tell me!" said Mistress Winton, never lattin' wink she heard
Ribekka.  "That's the wey o't is't?  Imphm!  What d'ye think o' that,
na?  Weel dune, Ribekka.  He's a fine coodie man, Jeems; an' he'll tak'
care o' Ribekka, the young taed.  Wha wudda thocht it?"

Ribekka had her moo half fu' o' the lace on her saitin apron, an' was
enjoyin' the raggin' fine, altho' she was terriple putten aboot, wi'
her wey o't.

"Better sit still than rise up an' fa'," said Mysie.  "Gin I were
Ribekka I'd bide my leen.  I wud like to see the man that wud tak' me
oot o' my present state."

"He wudna need to be very parteeklar," says I, juist to gie Mysie a
backca'; for she was sailin' gey near the wind, I thocht.  "When I was
young," I says, says I----

"Auld wives were aye gude maidens," the Gairner's wife strak in; an' I
saw I was cornered, an' said nae mair.

"An' a weeda man too!" said Mysie wi' a grumph.  "Better keep the deil
atower the door than drive him oot o' the hoose."

"'Saut,' quo the souter, when he ate the soo, an' worried on the tail,"
was the Gairner's wife's comment; an' Mysie didna like it, I can tell
ye.

"You wasna in that wey o' thinkin' when Dossie Millar, the skulemester,
used to come an' coort you, when you was up-by at the Provost's," said
Ribekka to Mysie.  "If it hadna been for the lid o' the water-barrel
gien wey yon nicht, you michta been skelpin' Dossie's bairns the
day--an' your ain too."

We a' took a hearty lauch at Ribekka's ootburst.

"Eh, that was a pliskie," said Mistress Kenawee.  "Dossie got a gey
drookin' that nicht.  They said it was ane o' the coachmen that was
efter Mysie that sawed the lid half throo; an' when Dossie climbed up
to hae his crack wi' Mysie at the winda, in he gaed up to the lugs.
The story was that Mysie fair lost her chance wi' him, wi' burstin' oot
lauchin' when he climbed oot o' the barrel soakin'-dreepin' throo an'
throo.  He never got ower't, for it got oot aboot, an' the very bairns
at the skule began to ca' him the Drookit Dominie.  He got a job at the
Druckendub skule, an' never lookit Mysie's airt again."

"You're grand crackers," said Mysie.  "Ye ken a hankie mair than ever
happened; but, the man that cheats me ance, shame fa' him; gin he cheat
me twice, shame fa' me.  That's my wey o' lookin' at things."

This kind o' raggin' at ane anither gaed on for the feck o' the
forenicht, an' we were juist i' the thick o' a' tirr-wirr aboot the
best cure for the kink-host, when the doonstairs door gaed clash to the
wa', an' in anither meenit in banged Sandy in his sark sleeves, an' his
hair fleein' like a bundle o' ravelled threed.

"Michty tak' care o' me, Sandy," says I, I says; "what's happened?"

"Aye the mair the merrier, but the fewer they fess the better," says
Mistress Winton.

"Wha's been meddlin' wi' you, Sandy?"

But fient a wird cud Sandy get oot.  He was stanin' pechin' like a
podlie oot o' the watter, an' starin' roond him like a huntit dog.

"Fiddlers' dogs and fleshers' flees come to feasts unbidden," said
Mysie; but Sandy gae her a glower that garred her steek her moo gey
quick.

"What i' the earth's wrang, Sandy," I says, gien him a shak'.

"Wh-wh-whaur's the g-grund ceenimin, Bawbie?" says Sandy.  "There's a
tinkler wife needin' a bawbee's-wirth, an' I've socht the shop heich
an' laich for't."

"Keep me, Sandy," says I, "is that what's brocht you here?  You'll get
it in a mustard tin in the pepper drawer.  But wha's i' the shop?"

"Oo, juist the tinkler wife," says Sandy.

"Weel, did you ever?" said Mistress Kenawee, haudin' up her hands.

"No!" said Sandy, turnin' to her gey ill-natured like.  "Did you?"

"That's a type o' what ye ca' your men," says Mysie.  "Weel, weel;
they're scarce o' cloots that mend their hose wi' dockens."

"Bliss my hert, Sandy, she'll be awa' wi' the till atore ye get back,"
I said.  "Rin awa' yont as fest as your feet'll cairry ye."

"The fient a fear o' that," Sandy strak in.  "I gae the pileeceman
tippence to stand at the door till I cam' back.  I'm no' juist so
daft's a' that, yet."

"An' the tinkler wife wants a bawbee's wirth o' grund ceenimin?" said
the Gairner's wife.  "That fair cows the cadger."

"I'll rin than," said Sandy.  "I'll fa' in wi't a' richt noo; ye needna
hurry, Bawbie," he added, as he made his wey oot; an' syne wi' the door
in's hand, he says, "The pileeceman's in a hurry too, ye see.  He has
to hurl hame Gairner Winton.  He's lyin' alang in Famie Tabert's
public-hoose terriple foo"; an' awa' he floo, takin' the door to ahent
him wi' a blatter like thunder.

If you had seen Mistress Winton's face!  It was a picture.  She shogit
her heid frae side to side, wi' her moo shut, as if she wud never
open't again; but efter a whilie she spat oot twa-three wirds, juist
like's they'd been burnin' the tongue o' her.  "A dog's tongue's nae
scandal," she yattered oot.

"Better the end o' a feast than the beginnin' o' a pley," said Mysie.
"We mauna lat onybody get cankered.  Come awa' and sit doon, Mistress
Winton.  Bawbie's man juist wantit a dab at ye.  Dinna mistak' yersel';
the Gairner's as sober's a judge, I'se warrant."

But the crackin' wudna tak' the road somewey efter this.  There was a
fell feck o' hostin', an' ow-ayin', an' so on; so I cam' my wa's hame
afore aucht o'clock, for I was juist sittin' on heckle-pins thinkin'
ilka meenit Sandy wud be comin' thrash in on's, roarin' he'd set the
parafin cask afeyre.  I was gled when I got hame an' fand a'thing in
winderfu' order; although Sandy was gien Nathan coosies i' the shop
jumpin' ower the coonter wi' ane o' his hands in his pooch.  It's juist
his wey, the cratur.  He canna help it.

"Was the tinkler wife here when you cam' back?" I said to Sandy.

"Oo, ay," says he.  "I gae her her ceenimin."

"There wudna be muckle profit oot o' that transaction, efter deduckin'
the pileeceman's tippence," I says, says I.  "Hoo did ye no' juist say
that the grund ceenimin was a' dune?"

"'Cause that wudda been a lee," said Sandy.

"Weel, ye cud sen ye didna ken whaur it was," says I.

"That wudda lookit ridic'lous, an' me the mester o' the shop," said
Sandy.

"Weel, but d'ye no' see that it was ridic'lous to gie a pileeceman
tippence to watch a tinkler wife that wantit only a bawbee's-wirth o'
grund ceenimin," I says gey sharp till him.

"Better g'ie the pileeceman tippence than tak' the cratur afore the
shirra for stealin', an' mibby hae the toon peyin' a lot o' bawbees for
keepin' her in the gyle, forby railroad tickets for her and twa peelars
up to Dundee.  That wudda been fully mair gin tippence," said Sandy.

Argeyin' wi' Sandy's juist like chasin' a whitterit in a drystane dyke.
When ye think you have him at ae hole, he juist pops throo anither.
Tach!  When he's in thae argey-bargeyin' strums o' his, I canna be
bathered wi' him!



VI.

SANDY'S SECOND LESSON IN GEOMETRY.

Wi' a' his foiterin' weys, there's a winderfu' speerit o' independence
aboot Sandy, d'ye ken?  He disna care aboot being dawtit by onybody,
especially by folk he disna like.  Juist the ither day, for instance,
Sandy was jumpin' doon aff the fore-end o' his cairt.  His fit had
tickled in aboot the britchin somewey, an' he cam' lick doon on the
braid o' his back i' the gutter.  The bobby was stanin' juist ower the
road at the time, an' cam' rinnin' across wi' his moo wide open.

"Keep me, Sandy, cratur," he says, "what's happen'd?  Did you fa' aff
the cairt?"

"G'wa an' mind your ain bizness," says Sandy, jumpin' up, an' gien
himsel' a shak.  "The cairt's my nain; I can come doon afen't ony wey I
like."

The bobby gaed awa' rubbin' his chin.  "Dod," he saya to Stumpie Mertin
at the corner o' the street "that man Bowden's the queerest jeeger ever
I cam across.  He cam' thrash doon on the kribstane there i' the noo,
an' when I ran anower to see if he was ony waur, he juist gae me
impidence, an' said he cud come doon aff his cairt ony wey he liket.
Did you ever hear the like?"

"He's a queer chield, Sandy," said Stumpie.  "There's some folk thinks
he wants tippence i' the shillin', but it's my opinion there's aboot
fourteenpence i' the shillin' o' him.  He's auld wecht; mind I tell
you."

That's exactly my ain opinion, d'ye ken; an' it akinda astonished me to
hear Stumpie speakin' sense for ance in's life.  He's uswally juist a
haverin' doit.

But that's no' what I was genna tell you aboot.  Sandy and Bandy
Wobster have had a terriple fortnicht's colligin' thegither.  Every
ither nicht they've been ether i' the washin'-hoose or i' the garret;
an' Sandy's been gaen aboot scorin' a' the doors wi' kauk, an' makin'
rings an' lines like railroads an' so on a' ower them.

"What's this you an' Bandy's up till noo?" I says to Sandy the ither
mornin', juist when we were sittin' at oor brakfast.  "I howp noo,
Sandy," I says, says I, "that you'll keep clear o' the eediotikal
pliskies you played lest winter."

"You can wadger your henmist bodle on that," says Sandy, as he took a
rive ooten a penny lafe.  "There's to be ither kind o' wark on this
winter.  Bandy an' me's been busy at the gomitry.  Man, Bawbie, it's
raley very interestin'.  You mind I spak to you aboot some o' the
triangles an' things that it tells you aboot afore?"

"Weel, look here, Sandy," I says, "I notice you've been scorin' every
door aboot the place wi' your triangles, an' they're juist the very
shape o' the ane Ekky Hebbirn played in the flute band; an', as I
tolled you afore, I'm no' to hae ane o' them aboot the hoose.  Preserve
me, man, you'll get as muckle music oot o' the taings, an' mair."

"Keep on your dicky, 'oman," says Sandy.  "You're clean aff the scent
a'thegither.  There's nae music aboot gomitry triangles ava.  They've
naething to do wi' music.  They're for measurin' an' argeyin' oot
things till a conclusion.  Flute bands!  Sic a blether o' nonsense.  I
maun lat you see the triangle book.  We was haen a bit rin ower the
exyems again lest nicht juist.  Noo, juist to gie you an idea, Bawbie!
You mind I tell'd you the exyem aboot things bein' equal to ane anither
when they're equal to some ither thing that's equal to the things that
are equal to ane anither?"

"I mind aboot you haiverin' awa' some nonsense o' that kind," says I;
an', as fac's ocht, I cud hardly haud frae lauchin' at the droll look
on Sandy's face.

"Weel," he gaed on, "that was the first exyem; the henmist is that the
whole is greater than its pairt.  That means, d'ye see, for instance,
that my cairt's bigger gin the trams."

"Hoo d'ye mak' that oot?" says I.  "Michty me, man, if the trams were
nae bigger gin the cairt, hoo wud Donal' get in atween them?  The
thing's ridic'lous."

"You're no' seein't," says Sandy.  "Tak' the back door o' the cairt,
for instance.  The back door's only a bit o' the cairt, isn't?  Weel,
than, shurely the cairt's bigger than the back door."

"You're haiverin' perfeck buff," says I.  "The back door's juist exakly
the same size as the cairt, or you wud never get it fessend on.  Ony
bairn kens that, gomitry or no gomitry."

"Bliss my hert, Bawbie," says Sandy, gettin' akinda peppery, "shurely
to peace a scone's bigger than a bit o' a scone."

"There's nae doot aboot that," says I, "if the scone that you have a
bit o' is nae bigger gin the scone that's bigger gin the bit o' the
ither ane."

"That's teen for grantit, of coorse," says Sandy.

"But I dinna see hoo that mak's ony difference to the back door o' the
cairt," says I, I says.

Sandy took a gey wild-like bite at his row, an gae twa-three o' his
chuck-chucks, an' then he says, "Man, Bawbie, you weemin fowk have nae
rizzenin' faculty.  Naebody wi' ony logic wud need twa looks to see
brawly that onything's bigger than a bit o't, or, as the book says,
that the whole's greater than its pairt.  That's self-evident.  Tak'
the Toon Cooncil, say.  It's shurely bigger than ony ane o' the
Cooncillers."

"Is't na?" I brook in gey quick.  "Juist you speer at Bailie
Thingymabob, an' you'll shune find oot whuther he thinks the Toon
Cooncil or him the biggest o' the twa."

"Auch, Bawbie; you're no wirth argeyin' wi'," says Sandy.  "You've aye
sic a desjeskit wey o' lookin' at things.  What's the sense o'
bletherin' aboot Bailie Thingymabob?  Preserve me! if he's only an
echteent pairt o' the Toon Cooncil, shurely common sense 'ill lat you
see that the Toon Cooncil's bigger than he is.  Ony bit loonie in the
tower-penny cud see that in a blink."

"Very weel," says I; "juist speer at Bailie Thingymabob himsel'.  I'll
swag, if you tell him he's only an echteent pairt o' the Toon Cooncil,
he'll be dealin' wi' anither tattie man gin neist mornin'.  Sandy,
loonikie, your exyems may do amon' your triangles an' sic like
fyke-facks an' kyowows, but they're a' blethers you see brawly ony
ither wey."

What a raise Sandy got intil!  He was that kankered that he took twa or
three ill-natured rives o' a shreed o' breed, an' a gullar o' tea, an'
fair stankit himsel'.  It gaed doon the wrang road, an' Sandy was
nearhand chokit.

"Sairs me richt for argey-bargeyin' wi' a doited cratur that canna see
a thing that's as plen's a pikestaff," he says, efter he had gotten his
nose blawn.  Syne he cowshined doon a bittie, an' says, wi' a bit
snicker o' a lauch, "I maun hae you tried wi' the pond's ass anowerim."

"An wha micht he be?" says I.

"That's the fift proposition, Bawbie," says Sandy.  "It's ca'ed the
pond's ass anowerim.  That's Latin for the cuddy's brig.  If you canna
get ower't, you're set down for an ass."

"Have you been ower't, Sandy?" I says, says I.

"No' yet," he says, never lattin' wink that he noticed the dab I had at
him; "but I'm beginnin' to see throo't, I think.  Gin I had anither
glisk or twa at her I'll be on the richt side o' her, I'se wadger."

Fient a glint o' sense cud I see in Sandy's palaver; so I says, says
I--"What is this fift proposition you're haiverin' aboot?"

"Weel, it's juist this," says Sandy; an' he began to mak' a lot o'
fairlies wi' his finger amon' the floor aff the rows on the table.
"Look sae, there's what ye ca' a soshilist triangle.  Weel, you see the
twa corners at the doon end o' her hare?  They're juist the very
marrows o' ane anither; an' if you cairry the lines at the side o' them
here a bit farrer doon, an' get in ablo the boddam o' the triangle,
ye'll find that the corners aneth the boddam are juist the very marrows
o' ane anither too.  D'ye see?"

"Ay, Sandy," I says, says I, "you'll better awa' an get Donal' yokit.
I dinna ken what use thae soshilist triangles an' ither feelimageeries
like hen's taes are genna be to you, but I howp they'll no' be learnin'
ye to gie fowk jimp wecht, or it'll juist be the ruin o' your trade.
I've nae objections to you haein' a hobby; but shurely you cud get a
better ane gin a lot o' thae blethers o' Bandy Wobster's.  Get ane o'
thae snap-traps, or whativer ye ca' them, for takin' photographs; get
on for the fire brigade or the lifeboat, join the Rifles or something.
There wud be some sense in the like o' that.  But fykin' an' scutterin'
awa' amon' exyems, as you ca' them, an' triangles, an' a puckle things
like laddies' girds and draigons, that nae livin' sowl cud mak' ether
eechie or ochie o'----Feech!  I wudna be dodled wi' them; juist a lot
o' laddie-paddie buff."

Sandy jamp aff his seat an', rammin' on his hat, gaed bang throo the
shop, yatterin', "Auch, haud your gab; that claikin' tongue o' yours
mak's me fair mauchtless.  I micht as weel argey wi' the brute beast i'
the swine-crue till I was black i' the face."  An' oot at the door he
gaed, halin't to ahent him wi' a bang that garred the very sweetie
bottles rattle.



VII.

SANDY'S MAGIC LANTERN EXHIBITION.

I was juist gaen oot at the back door on Wednesday nicht last week when
I hears some crackin' gaen on i' the washin'-hoose, an' I lookit in to
see wha was there.

"Man, that's juist the very dollop," says Sandy, as I lifted the sneck.

Dauvid Kenawee an' Bandy Wobster an' him were stravagin' roond aboot
the place wi' a fitrool an' a bawbee can'le, an' I saw immidintly that
there was something i' the wind.  I was juist clearin' my throat to lat
them ken there was to be nae mair o' their conspiracies in my
washin'-hoose, when Dauvid slippit in his wird afore me.

"Come awa, Bawbie," he saya, says he, in his uswal quiet wey.  "We were
juist seein' aboot whuther we micht hae a bit magic lantern exhibition
here on Setarday nicht.  I have a class at the Mission Sabbath Schule,
ye see, an' I was genna hae them at a cup o' tea on Setarday, an' I
thocht o' gien them a bit glisk o' the magic lantern.  Robbie Boath,
the joiner, has a lantern he's genna gie's the len' o', an' Sandy here
thinks he can wirk the concern a' richt."

"I've nae objection to onything o' that kind, whaur gude's genna be
done," says I.  "But it's no' nane o' your electric oxey hydropathic
kind o' bisnesses, is't?  I winna lippen Sandy wi' onything o' that
kind, for I tell ye----"

"Dinna you bather yoursel, Bawbie," brook in Sandy.  "This is a parafin
lantern; juist as easy wrocht as your washin' machine there."

"Ay weel, Sandy," says I, "gin ye get on wi' your magic lantern as
weel's ye generally manish wi' the washin' machine, when I'm needin' a
hand o' ye, I'll swag Dauvid's bairns 'ill no' be lang keepit."

"Tach, Bawbie, you're aye takin' fowk aff wi' your impidence," says
Sandy, gey ill-natured like.

But Dauvid an' Bandy juist took a bit lauch at him.

Weel, than, to mak' a lang story short, Setarday nicht cam', and the
magic lantern wi't.  Dod, but Sandy had a gey efternune o't.  He was
steerin' aboot, carryin' in soap boxes for seats to the bairns, an'
learnin' up his leed aboot the pictures, an' orderin' aboot Nathan; ye
never heard the like!  I heard him yatterin' awa' till himsel' i' the
back shop, "The great battle o' Waterloo was fochen in echteen fifteen
atween the English an' the French, an' Bloocher landit on the scene
juist as Wellinton was gien the order--Tuts, ye stupid blockheid,
Nathan, that saft-soap barrel disna gae there--'Up gairds an' at
them.'"  He gaed on like this for the feck o' the efternune, an' even
in the middle o' his tea, when I speered if it was het eneuch, he
lookit at me akinda ravelled like, and says, "Although ye was startin'
for that star the day you was born, stride-legs on a cannon ball, ye
wudna be there till ye was mair than ninety 'ear auld."

"Wha's speakin' aboot stars?" says I; "I'm speerin' if your tea's het
eneuch?"

"O, ay, yea, I daursay; it's a' richt," says Sandy.  "I was mindin'
aboot Sirias, the nearest fixed star, ye ken.  I winder what it's fixed
wi'?"

Seven o'clock cam' roond, an' Dauvid's bairns gaed throo oor entry
like's they'd startit for Sandy's fixed star.  They wudda gane through
the washin'-hoose door if it hadna happened to be open.  I had
forgotten aboot them at the time; but, keep me, when they cam' oot o'
Dauvid's efter their tea, I floo to the door.  I thocht it was somebody
run ower.

Sandy had on his sirtoo an' his lum gin this time, an' he was gaen
about makin' a terriple noise, blawin' his nose in his Sabbath hankie,
an' lookin', haud your tongue, juist as big's bull beef.  He gaed into
the washin'-hoose to cowshin the laddies, for they were makin' a
terriple din.

"Now, boys an' loons--an' lassies, I mean," says Sandy, "there must be
total nae noise ava, or the magic lantern 'ill no wirk."

"Hooreh!  Time's up!" roared a' the laddies thegither; an' they
whistled, an' kickit wi' their feet till you wudda thocht they wud haen
my gude soap boxes ca'd a' to crockineeshin.

Dauvid appeared to tak' the whole thing as a maitter o' coorse, an'
when I speered if this was juist their uswal, "Tuts ay," says he, "it's
juist the loons in the exoobrians o' their speerits, d'ye know, d'ye
see."

Thinks I to mysel', thinks I, I wud tak' some o' that exoobrians oot o'
them, gin I had a fortnicht o' them.  A Sabbath class!  It was mair
like a half-timers' fitba' club.  But, of coorse, it's no' ilka day
they see a magic lantern.

Mistress Kenawee, an' Mistress Mollison an' her man, the Gairner, an'
the Smith, an' I cudna tell ye hoo mony mair, had gotten wind o't, an'
the washin'-hoose was as foo as cud cram.  There was a terriple
atramush amon' the laddies when the can'le was blawn oot, an' syne
Sandy strak a spunk an' lichtit his lantern, an', efter a fell lot o'
fykin', he got her into order.

Sandy gae a keckle o' a host, an' syne he says, "Now, boys an' girls
an' people, the first picture I'm genna show you is Danyil in the den
o' lions.  There he is sae!" an' he shot in the picture.

It was an awfu' queer-like picture.  I cud nether mak' heid nor tail
o't.  It was a' juist akinda greenichy-yallichy like, like's somebody
had skelt a pottal o' green-kail or something on the sheet whaur the
picture was.

"I'm dootin' there's something wrang wi' the fokis," says Bandy Wobster.

"Juist you look efter your ain fokis, Bandy," says Sandy, gey peppery
weys, "an' lat ither fowk's fokises aleen."

"Are ye share you're richt wi' the picture?" Dauvid Kenawee speered.

"There's naething wrang wi' the picture," says Sandy.  "Ye see that
kind o' a broon bit doon at the fit there?  That's ane o' Danyil's
feet."

"Look the number o' the slide, Sandy," said Bandy, "an' mak' shure
you're richt.  They're mibby oot o' order."

"You're oot o' order," said Sandy, as angry as a wasp.  "Haud that lum
hat, Bawbie!" he says; an' he oot wi' the picture, an' roars
oot--"Number 2217!  Look up 2217, Nathan, i' the book there, an' see
what it says."

Efter kirnin' aboot amon' the leaves o' his book for a meenit or twa,
Nathan got up his nose to the moo o' the lantern an' read oot--"A slice
o' a drunkard's liver."

"What d'ye say?" says Sandy.  "Lat's see't."

"A slice o' a drunkard's liver," says Nathan again.

Sandy grippit the book, an' efter a meenit, he says, "Ay, man; so
you're richt.  There's been some mixin' amon' the pictures.  This is a
slice or section o' a drunkard's liver," he continued, "showin' the
effeks o' alcohol."

The laddies hurraed the drunkard's liver like onything, an' this gae
Sandy time to get his breath, an' to dicht the sweit aff his face.

"That's the kind o' a liver ye'll get if you're drunkards," said Sandy.
"The action o' the alcohol dejinerates the tishie until the liver
becomes akwilly ransed, an' the neebriate becomes a total wreck."  At
this the laddies an' lassies clappit their hands like a' that.

"See that ye never get a drunkard's liver," said Sandy in a solemn
voice; an' ane o' Dauvid's laddies says, "By golly, I wudna like a
sowser o' a liver like that, onywey," an' set a' the rest a-lauchin'.

"Attention!" shouted Dauvid till his class; an' Bandy Wobster--wha was
busy glowerin' at the drunkard's liver, an' windrin' what like his ain
was, nae doot--strak in, without kennin', wi' "Shoulder arms!" an' the
laddies roared an' leuch till you wud actually thocht they wudda
wranged themsel's.  Gin they stoppit, Sandy had fa'in' in wi' Danyil,
an' there he was, glowerin' at's a', life-size, an' twenty lions
wirrin' a' roond aboot him.

Sandy tell'd the story aboot Danyil, an' hoo he was flung in amon' the
lions for no' bein' a vegabon'; an' faigs, mind ye.  Sandy got on
winderfu'.  The laddies paid fine attention, an' ye cudda heard a preen
fa'in' when Sandy was speakin'.

"There's no' nae lions' dens nooadays, ye see," say Sandy, to feenish
up wi'.  "What is't they do wi' creeminals or notorious fowk noo?"

"Pet them on for Toon Cooncillers," said ane o' the biggest o' Dauvid's
laddies; an' Bandy Wobster lut oot a great ballach o' a lauch, an'
roared at the pitch o' his voice--"Confoond it!  Feech!  I've swallowed
a bit tobacco!"

Then there were pictures o' Joseph an' Moses, an' a great lot mair
Bible characters, the loons roarin' oot the names generally afore the
pictures were half in sicht.  They were roid loons, an' nae mistak',
but I can tell ye they had the Bible at their finger nebs.  Dauvid was
as prood's Loocifer aboot the laddies answerin' so smert; but Sandy
hardly liked it.

They had a' the Bible stories as dare's dare cud be, an' whenever ony
picture appeared they had a' the story roared to ane anither afore
Sandy got his fokis putten into order.  Bible knowledge is a grand
thing, nae doot; but the laddies fair took Sandy's job ower his heid;
an' he hardly liked it, as ye'll readily understan'.

But the local characters gae Sandy a better chance, an', I ashure you,
he took full advantage o't.  He gae a lang laberlethan aboot some o'
the pictures--keep me, if he'd carried on like yon at ilky picture, he
wudna been dune when the forenune bells wudda been ringin' for the kirk
next day.

"I have noo some kapital pictures o' auld Arbroathians to show you,"
said Sandy to the bairns "the reg'lar rale Reed Lichties.  An' I howp
the laddies here 'ill tak' a lesson frae them, an' stick in an' get
their pictures in magic lanterns efter they're deid too, an' get great
big mossyleeums--that's thae great muckle sowsers o' gravesteens, juist
like mill stalks, ye ken--oot in the Warddykes Cemetery, wi' their
names chiseled on them in gold letters."

The loons riffed an' clappit their hands at this like's they were a'
wishin' they were deid an' buried ablo a big gravesteen.

Efter a lot o' palaver, Sandy shot in his first local picture.

"This is Provost----  What was his name again?  Be was wint to be a
great lad at----  Man, what's his name again, Bandy?" says he.

"I dinna ken, Sandy," said Bandy; "but it strik's me you have him into
the lantern upside doon.  He's stanin' on his heid."

"He was a gey upside-doon character, at ony rate," said the Smith.  "He
was juist aboot as muckle use the tae wey as the tither."

Sandy got his Provost putten richt; but some o' the rest o' his
notables were juist as pranky.  They cam' in backside-foremost,
upside-doon, lying alang the floor--ye never saw the like--until Sandy
was near-hand at the swearin'.  "Confoond thae Provosts and Bailies,"
says he, "I never saw sic a set."

"Ow, ow, Sandy," says I, "ye needna get angry at thae bodies; they're
a' deid."

"Ay weel, we'll hae a whup at some o' the livin' anes," says Sandy.
"Gie me up some o' thae slides in the green box," he cries to Nathan.
"Whaur hae ye putten the Provosts an' the Bailies?"

"I have them a' in my breeks' pooch," says Nathan.  "They're a' richt."

"An' whaur's the drunkard's liver?"

"O, I laid it on the boiler-heid, alang wi' Danyil an' some mair."

"See an' no' be mixin' them than," said Sandy, shovin' in another
slide.  "This, as you'll easily recognise, is Bailie Thingymabob."

The laddies gae the Bailie a roond o' applause, an' Bandy Wobster says,
"Man, but he's awfu' indistink, Sandy.  Ye can hardly mak' him oot."

"That's no' to be windered at," says Sandy.  "I never fell in wi'
onybody that cud mak' him oot.  Ye canna expeck a magic lantern to do
what ye canna do yersel'.  It'll be a bad job for the Bailie, I can
tell you, when fowk begin to mak' him oot.  The next picture is
Cooncillor Spinaway."

"Ay, I'll go doon the yaird an' hae a reek," says Bandy, gettin up frae
his seat, an' settin' a' the loons a-lauchin'.

"Ye needna gae awa' i' the noo," says Dauvid.  "Wait till you see the
rest o' the pictures."

"Dinna mistak' yersel'," says Bandy in laich, "when that cove's gotten
on his feet he'll no' sit doon for half an 'oor.  I never saw him get
up yet but he gae a'body mair than their sairin' o' sooage, an'
main-drains, an' gas-warks, an' so on afore he feenisht.  Wait till you
see."

"Haud your haiverin' tongue," said Sandy.  "Bliss your heart, he's in
the magic lantern.  He canna speak there."

"I daursay you're richt," says Bandy, clawin' his heid.  "Weel, the
Provost shud juist keep a magic lantern handy, an' gar him bide in't.
That wud keep him quiet at the meetin's."

"We'll lat ye see a picture o' the whole Toon Cooncil, noo," said
Sandy; an' in cam' the picture.  "There's been some mair mixin' again,"
said Sandy, gey kankered like.  "That's shurely no' the Toon Cooncil.
What's number echteen, Nathan?"

"The pleg o' locusts in Egypt," says Nathan.

"Hoo's that gotten in there, ava?" says Sandy.

"O, they'd juist putten't amon' the ither plegs," brook in Bandy
Wobster.

"Here's a very interestin' slide," says Sandy, as he put in the next
picture.  "This is a picture o' the deputation that waited on some o'
the members o' the Toon Cooncil at lest election an' priggit wi' them
to bide in, altho' they were awfu' anxious to hae dune wi't."

"That's like a picture o' a bunghole withoot a barrel roond it," said
ane o' Dauvid's laddies.

"There's naebody there, Sandy," said Bandy Wobster.

"Ay, but that's the deputation tho'," said Sandy.  "They're mibby
inveesible, but that's them for a' that.  The name's on the picture.
You can look yersel', if you dinna believe me."

"Ay, Pepper's Ghost!" roars oot the Smith.  "He waits on lots o' fowk
aboot election times.  He's juist a perfeck scunner, nominatin' fowk
against their will, an' draggin' them into publicity when they wud far
raither be kickin' up some ither kind o' a row."

He's an awfu' haiverin' body the Smith sometimes.  When he's sensible,
he's juist akinda ridic'lously sensible; an' when he's' no', he's juist
as far the ither wey.

"Deputations is aye anonimous," says Sandy.  "They aye turn up wi' a
nomdy plum.  It's juist the men's modesty that keeps them oot o' sicht.
They pey a' their veesits throo the nicht, an' fient a cratur kens
eechie or ochie aboot them.  Man, I like modesty.  I've a great respeck
for a deputation that keeps oot o' sicht."

"C'wa wi' some mair pictures," roared some o' the laddies, an' Sandy's
grand perrygrinashin ended a' o' a sudden.

"The next picture is a very interestin' ane," said Sandy, efter he'd
gotten a breath.  "This is ane o' the famous meal mobs.  You see the
crood o' men, sae, they're a' roarin' thegither.  There's neen o' you
loons 'ill mind o' the meal mobs," said Sandy, "but I mind o' them
fine.  A gey toon it was i' thae days.  You'll notice the auld
Toon-Clark i' the middle there, wi' his hands up, threatenin' to send
for the pileece, an' a' the crood yalpin' at him like as mony dogs.  I
can tell you loons, ye may thank your stars that you wasna born when
wey-o'-doin's like that was carried on i' the toon.  You dinna ken
naethin' aboot it.  There's been naethin' like it i' the toon o'
Arbroath sin'----"

"Hold on, Sandy," roared Nathan; "that's the wrang picture you have in
again; here's the meal mob here.  Look an' see what's on that ane."

"A Presbitree Meetin'!" read oot Sandy; an' you wudda thocht the Smith
an' Bandy Wobster were genna ding doon the hoose wi' their noise an'
roarin' an' lauchin'.

"I thocht they were gey black-lookin' gentry for a meal mob," says the
Smith; an' Bandy nodded his heid an' leuch, an' says, "Man, Sandy's a
perfeck genius as fac's ocht, I hinna heard onything like him."

I hinna time to tell you aboot a' the rest o' the exhibition.  It was a
treat in mair weys than ane.  Sandy lut's see a lot o' notables like
Mester Gladstone, an' Blind Hewie, an' Steeple Jeck, an' the Prince o'
Wales, an' Burke an' Hair, an' the Jook o' Argile, an' Dykin Elshinder.
But the crooner o' them a' cam' when Sandy says--"Noo, here's
Snakimupo, the famous king o' the Cannibal Islands, an' his favourite
squaw, that eats missionaries, an' Bibles, an' poopits whenever they
can get a haud o' them"--an' in he shot--wha d'ye think?  Juist Sandy
an' me oorsels, life-size--ay, an' bigger!

"O, golly midgins!" says ane o' Dauvid's lassies, wi' her hands up, an'
her moo an' her een wide open.

You never heard sic a riffin' as there was, the laddies a' roarin' "The
King o' the Cannibal Islands," an' Sandy wirrin' like a perfeck terrier.

"That's some o' Robbie Boath's wark," he says in laich till himsel',
wi' an awfu' girn on his face.  "He gae me that picture special, an
tell'd me the name o't, an' said to feenish wi't.  But gin he disna get
a stane o' diseased pitatties frae me the morn that'll mak' him onweel
for a i'ortnicht, my name's no Si Bowden."  Syne he added heich oot,
"Noo, loons and lassockies, that's a'.  It's aboot time you was
toddlin' awa' hame noo; an' I howp you've a' enjoyed it."

Dauvid proposed a vote o' thanks to Sandy; an' you wudda thocht a' the
steam-engines atween this an' Glesca had gotten into oor washin'-hoose,
wi' their whistles on full-cock.  The noise was something terriple.  I
had to pet my fingers in my lugs, an' rin.



VIII.

SANDY AND THE RHUBARB TART.

Was ever a woman so provokit wi' a ramstam, dotrifeed gomeral o' a man?
Sandy Bowden 'ill hae me i' my grave yet afore my time, as share's I'm
a livin' woman.  There's no' a closed e'e for me this nicht; an'
there's Sandy awa' till his bed wi' his airms rowed up in bits o' an
auld yellow-cotton apron o' Mistress Mikaver's mither's.  Eh, sirce me;
an' me was so happy no' mony 'oors syne!

We gaed awa' to hae a cup o' tea wi' Mistress Mikaver--that's the
scone-baker's widow, ye ken.  Her auldest laddie's been awa' oot amon'
the Reed Indians, or some o' thae ither lang-haired, naked fowk 'at
never wash themsel's; an' they say he's made a heap o' bawbees.  He's a
snod bit stockie--a little beld, an' bowd-leggit, an' wants a thoom.
But, I'll swag, the young kimmers that were at the pairty didna see
muckle wrang wi' him.  There was as keen competition for him amon' the
lassies as gin he'd been a gude-gaen public-hoose puttin' up for
unction.

Me an' Sandy landed amon' the first o' the fowk.  A'thing was richt
snod, I assure ye.  Mistress Mikaver had the stair noo whitened, an'
every stap was kaumed an' sandit, ye never saw the like.  An' there she
was hersel' wi' her best black goon on, no' a smad to be seen on't, an'
her lace kep an' beady apron.  She was a dandy, an' nae mistak'.

Afore Sandy got up the stair he manished to mairter the feck o' his
Sabbath claes wi' the whitenin'; an' I was akinda feard Mistress
Mikaver micht mistak' him for the scone-baker's ghost.  But we got him
made gey snod, an' syne we gaed inby to the ben-hoose fireside, an' had
a crack wi' young Aleck.  That's the son's name.  Sandy an' him got
started aboot mustaings, an' Indeens, an' boomirangs, an' scoots an'
ither scoondrils, till I cudna be deaved ony langer wi' their forrin
blethers; so ben to but-the-hoose I gaed to hae a twa-handit crack wi'
Aleck's mither.

When I opened the door, here's as mony lassies as wudda startit a noo
mill.  They'd been a' deckin' themsel's but-the-hoose afore they cam'
ben to see Aleck, d'ye see?  He made himsel' rale frank, an' speer'd
for a' their mithers, an' a'thing; an' then we got roond the ben-hoose
table, an' had a fine game at the totum for cracknets.

Sandy juist got gey pranky, as uswal, afore he was lang startit.  He's
aye the same when he gets amon' young lassies, the auld ass 'at he is.

"T tak's them a' but ane," he roared in the middle o' the game; an' he
grippit up a nivfu' o' the crack-nets, an' into his moo wi' them.  His
een gaed up intil his heid, an' gin I hadna gien him a daud i' the
back, that garred the nets flee oot o' his moo a' ower tha table, he'd
been a chokit korp in a meenit or twa, juist as shure's the morn's
Setarday.

But little did I think what was afore's!  Gin I'd kenned, I'd latten
him chok, the mairterin' footer 'at he is.

We a' gaed awa' doon the yaird aboot half-past seven, to see a noo
henhouse 'at Aleck had been tarrin' that efternune.  He maun be a handy
earl, mind ye.

"Tak' care o' your frocks, for that tar's weet yet," says Aleck to the
lassies.

"Ay, man, so it is," says Sandy, takin' a slaik o't aff wi' his
fingers, an' syne dichtin't on the tail o' his sirtoo, the nesty
character, 'at I shud say sic a wird!

"Man, Aleck," says Sandy, when we were a' on the green juist takin' a
look roond aboot's, "it looks juist like the streen that you sat up 'on
that very tree there, an' pappit Gairner Winton wi' oslins that you'd
stealt ooten his ain gairden.  I mind I was here when he cam' doon to
tell your father aboot your ongaens.  You was a wild tyke o' a laddie,
I can tell ye.  Your father gae you an awfu' paikin'; but fient a hair
did you care.  He wasna weel dune tannin' you when you was roarin'
'Hairy Grozers'--that was a by-name o' the Gairner's--in at Winton's
shop door.  You was a roid loon."

Aleck took a richt herty lauch at Sandy's blethers, an' the twa o' them
were juist thick an' three-faud afore they were half-an-'oor thegither.
Yet wudda thocht they'd kent ane anither sin' ever they were doakit.

Gin we cam' back, Aleck's mither had a fine supper a' ready on the
table.  She had a can'le here an' there, an' pucklies o' chuckinwirth
an' persly scattered roond the rob-roys.  It was awfu' nice.  It would
raley garred ye think ye was amon' braw fowk.  I was juist sittin'
admirin't when Aleck says, "Ay, then, are ye a' ready?"

We had to hover a blink till Mistress Mikaver ran ben the hoose for a
knife to Mey Mershell.

"Mester Bowden 'ill say the grace noo," says Aleck; an' Sandy was on
his feet like the shot o' a gun, hostin' to clear his throat.  I
dreedit he wud mak' a gutter o't somewey or ither, an' so I keepit my
een open.  Sandy shut his, an' so did a' the rest.  He leaned forrit
an' spread oot the muckle clunkers o' hands o' him on the tap o' the
peat o' a big roobarb tert.  "O Lord," was a' the len'th he'd gotten,
when in he gaed, up near to the elbas amon' the het roobarb; an' by a'
the skoilin' an' roarin' ever I heard, there never was the like!  A gey
grace it was, I can tell ye!  It'll no' be the morn nor next day 'at
I'll forget it.  He roared an' yowled like I kenna what, an'
black-gairded reed-het roobarb terts, till I thocht he wudda opened the
very earth.

"O, haud your tongue, Sandy Bowden!" I cried, my very heid like to rive
wi' his yalpin'.

"Haud my tongue?" says he.  "Hoo can I haud my tongue, an' my airms
stewin' amon' boilin' jeelie?"

Juist at this meenit Aleck aff wi' Sandy's coat syne he but the hoose
wi' him an' garred him shove his airms ower the heid in his mither's
floor pock.  It deidened the pain in a wink, an' efter a whilie we got
the airms rowed up.  I cudna gae ben to bid the ither fowk guid-nicht,
my hert was that sair; an' Sandy was hingin' his heid like a sick dog.
Puir man, he has mibby mair than me to thole; but I wudda gien a
five-pound note 'at I hadna left my ain hoose this nicht.  I'll awa' to
my bed, for my hert's perfeckly i' my moo.



IX.

THE GREAT STORM OF NOVEMBER, 1893.

Eh, sirce me, what a nicht we had on Setarday mornin'!  O, haud your
tongue!  Though I should live lang eneuch to bury Sandy Bowden, an' hae
a golden weddin' wi' my second man, I'll never forget it.  It mak's me
shaky-trimilly yet to think aboot it.  Sandy's gaen aboot wi' a' the
hair cut aff the back o' his heid, an' fower or five strips o' stickin'
plester battered across his scawp.  He got an awfu' mishap, puir man.
I thocht his heid was a' to smash, but, fortunately, it turned oot
fully harder than the biscuit tin it cam' into contact wi'.

It would be aboot ane o'clock or thereaboot when Sandy gae me a daud
wi' his elba that garred me a' jump.  I had an awfu' busy day on
Friday; an' I was sleepin' as soond's a tap.

"'Oman," says he, "there's something fearfu' gaen on doon the yaird
somewey.  Wud that be the Dyed Wallop an' her man fechtin', or what i'
the world's earth can it be?  Harken, Bawbie!  Did you ever hear sic
yawlin'?"

"Bliss me, Sandy man," says I, "that's the wind soochin' throo the
trees in the banker's gairden, an' fizzin' in amon' the pipes o' the
water barrels.  It's shurely an awfu' nicht o' wind."

Juist at this meenit you wudda thocht the very deevil himsel' had
gotten grips o' the frame o' oor winda.  He garred it rattle like the
thunder at Hewy White's theatre; then he yawled, an' hooed, an' growled
like five hunder cats an' as mony dogs wirryin' them, an' a' the fowk
'at echt them fechtin' at the same time.  This feenisht up wi' a
terrific yawl; an' Sandy dived doon in ablo the claes.

"Ye fear'd nowt," says I, "what are ye fleein' awa' doon there for?
Ye'll hae my feet sterved to death wi' cauld.  Lie up on your pillow
an' lat the claes doon to the fit o' the bed."

For a hale strucken 'oor this gaed on, an' sometimes I akwilly thocht I
fand the bed shakin'.  Oor birdie (he hings at the winda) began to
wheek-wheek wi' fear, an I wanted Sandy to rise an' tak' the puir
cratur doon.

"The feint a-fear o' me," says he, the hertless skemp 'at he is.  "If
you want the canary i' the bed aside you, you can rise an' tak' him
doon yersel'."

I raise an' took the puir craturie doon, an' hang him up on the ither
side o' the room; an,' mind ye, ye wud raley thocht the bit beastie
kent, for it gae a coodie bit cheep or twa, an juist cooered doon to
sleep again.  Juist as I was gaen awa' to screw doon the gas, it gae
twa or three lowps, an' oot it gaed; an' afore I kent whaur I was,
there was a reeshilin' an' rummelin' on the ruif that wudda nearhand
fleggit the very fowk i' the kirkyaird.  I floo to my bed, an' in aneth
the claes, an' lay for a meenit or so expectin' the cuples wud be doon
on the tap o's, an' bruze baith o's to pooder.  Efter the rummelin'
haltit, I fand aboot wi' my fit for Sandy; but he wasna there.

"Preserve's a'," says I, heich oot, "whaur are ye, Sandy?  Are ye
there?  What's come ower ye?  Are ye deid?"

"I'm here, Bawbie," says a shiverin' voice in aneth the bed.  "I'm
here, Bawbie.  Ye'll hear Gabriel's tuter juist i' the noo.  O, Bawbie,
I've been a nesty footer o' a man, an' ill-gettit scoot a' my days.  I
wiss I cud juist get hauds o' the Bible on the drawers-heid, Bawbie.
Did ye hear the mountins an' the rocks beginnin' to fa'?"

"Come awa' 'oot ablo there, Sandy," I says, says I, "an' no' get your
death o' cauld, an' be gaen aboot deavin fowk wi' you an' your reums.
The mountins an' rocks is the brick an' lum-cans aff Mistress
Mollison's hoose, I'm thinkin'."  An' I cudna help addin'--"It's ower
late to be thinkin' aboot startin' to the Bible efter Gabriel's begun
to blaw his tuter, Sandy.  Come awa' to your bed!"

Sandy got himsel' squeezed up atween the bed an' the wa'; an' at ilky
hooch an whirr 'at the wind gae he wheenged an' groaned like's he was
terriple ill wi' his inside; an' aye he was sayin', "I've been a lazy
gaen-aboot vegabon', an' ill-hertit vague.  O dear, Bawbie, what'll we
do?"

I cam' to mysel' efter a whilie, an' raise an' tried the gas, an' it
lichtit a' richt.  The wind was tearin' an' rivin' at the ruif at this
time something terriple.  "We'll go doon the stair, Sandy," says I; an'
I made for the door.

"For ony sake, Bawbie," roared Sandy oot o' the bed, "wait till I get
on my breeks.  If ye lave me, I'll g'wa' in a fit--as shore's ocht."

We got doon the stair an' I lichtit the fire an' got the kettle to the
boil, an' we sat an' harkined to the wind skreechin' doon the lum, an'
groanin' an' wailin' amon' the trees ower the road, an' soochin' roond
aboot the washin'-hoose.  I raley never heard the marrow o't.  The
nicht o' the fa'a'in' o' the Tay Brig was but the blawin' oot o' a
can'le aside it.  I' the middle o' an awfu' sooch there was a fearfu'
reeshil at oor door, an' Sandy fair jamp aff his chair wi' the start.

"A'ye in, Sandy?" cried Dauvid Kenawee, in a nervish kind o' a voice.

I awa' an' opened the door, an' here was Dauvid an' Mistress
Kenawee--Dauvid wi' his pints wallopin' amon' his feet, an' his weyscot
lowse, an' Mistress Kenawee juist wi' her short-goon an' a shallie on.

"This is shurely the end o' the world comin'," said Mistress Kenawee,
near greetin'.  "O dear me, I think something's genna come ower me."

"Tuts 'oman, sit doon," says Dauvid, altho' he was in a fell state
aboot her.  I cud see that brawly.

The sicht o' the puir wafilly budy akinda drave the fear awa frae me;
an' I maskit a cup o' tea, an' crackit awa till her till we got her
cowshined doon.  Their back winda had been blawn in, and Dauvid had
tried to keep oot the wind wi' a mattress; but the wind had tummeled
baith Dauvid an' the mattress heels ower gowrie, an' the wife got intil
a terriple state.  They cudna bide i' the hoose ony langer, an' i' the
warst o't a', they cam' awa through a shoer o' sklates, an' bricks, an'
lum-cans, an' gless, to see if we wud lat them in.

I garred Sandy pet on a bit ham, and drew anower the table, and tried
to keep them frae thinkin' aboot it; but at ilka whizz an' growl the
wind gae, baith Sandy an' Mistress Kenawee startit an' took a lang
breath.

I'm shure we hadna abune a moofu' o' tea drucken, an' Sandy was juist
awa' to tak' aff' the ham, when the fryin' pan was knockit ooten his
hand, an' doon the lum cam' a pozel o' bricks an' shute that wudda
filled a cairt.  Sandy fell back ower an' knockit Mistress Kenawee
richt i' the flure.  The ham dip gaed up the lum in a gloze, an' here
was Sandy an' Dauvid's wife lyin' i' the middle o' a' the mairter o'
rubbitch.  Mistress Kenawee's face, puir thing, was as white as a
cloot; but Sandy's was as black as the man More o' Vennis, the bleckie
that smored his wife i' the theatre for carryin' on wi' a sodger.

What a job Dauvid an' me had gettin' them roond.  We poored a drappie
brandie doon baith their throats; an' Sandy opened his een an' says,
"Ay; I've been an awfu' blackgaird; I have that!"  He had come doon wi'
the back o' his heid on a biscuit tin fu' o' peyse meal, an' had
smashed the tin an' sent the meal fleein' a' ower the hoose.  But the
cratur had gotten an awfu' tnap on the back o' the heid, an' he was
bluidin' gey sair.  Gin daylicht brook, Dauvid an' me had gotten the
twa o' them akinda into order, and Sandy was able to open the shop.  He
had an awfu' ruggin' an' tuggin' afore he cud get the door to open; an'
he cam' into me an' says, "Dod, Bawbie, I think the hoose has gotten a
terriple thraw.  The shop door 'ill nether go back nor forrit!"

I gaed oot to see what was ado.  Eh, sirce, if you had only seen oor
street!  The beach ootby at the Saut Pan, whaur there's a free coup for
rubbitch, was naething till't!  It juist mindit me o' the picture, in
oor big Bible, o' Jerusalem when the fowk cam' back frae Babylon
till't--it was juist a' lyin' a cairn o' lowse steens an' half bricks.

There's neen o's 'ill forget Friday nicht in a hurry, or I'm muckle
misteen.



X.

SANDY AND HIS FAIRNTICKLES.

There's twa things Sandy Bowden's haen sin' ever I got acquant wi'
him--an' that's no' the day nor yesterday--that's fairntickles an'
cheepin' buits.  I never kent Sandy bein' withoot a pair o'
'lastic-sided buits that gaed squakin' to the kirk like twa croakin'
hens.  I've seen the fowk sometimes turn roond-aboot in their seats,
when Sandy cam' creakin' up the passage, as gin they thocht it was a
brass-band comin' in.  But Sandy appears to think there's something
reverint an' Sabbath-like in cheepin' buits, an' he sticks to them,
rissen be't or neen.  I can tell ye, it's a blissin' there's no' mony
mair like him, or we'd hae gey streets on Sabbath.  The noise the
maitter o' twenty chields like Sandy cud mak' wi' their buit soles wud
fair deave a hale neeperhude.

Hooever, it wasna Sandy's buits I was to tell you aboot; it was my
nain.  But afore I say onything aboot them, I maun tell you aboot the
fairntickles.  As I was sayin', Sandy's terriple fairntickled aboot the
neck an' the sides o' the nose, an' oor lest holiday made him a hankie
waur than uswal.  He's a gey prood mannie too, mind ye, although he
winna haud wi't.  But I can tell you it's no a bawbee-wirth o' hair oil
that sairs Sandy i' the week.  But that's nether here nor there.

Weel, Sandy had been speakin' aboot his fairntickles to Saunders Robb.
Saunders, in my opinion, is juist a haiverin' auld ass.  He's a
hoddel-dochlin', hungert-lookin' wisgan o' a cratur; an', I'm shure, he
has a mind to match his body.  There's naethin' he disna ken
aboot--an', the fac' is, he kens naething.  He's aye i' the wey o'
improvin' ither fowk's wark.  There's naethin' Saunders disna think he
could improve, excep' himsel' mibby.  I canna be bathered wi' the
chatterin', fykie, kyowowin' little wratch.  He's aye throwin' oot
suggestions an' hints aboot this and that.  He's naething but a
suggestion himsel', an' I'm shure I cud of'en throw him oot, wi' richt
gude will.

Weel, he'd gien Sandy some cure for his fairntickles, an' Sandy,
unbekent to me, had gotten something frae the druggie an' mixed it up
wi' a guid three-bawbee's-wirth o' cream that I had in the upstairs
press.  He had rubbit it on his face an' neck afore he gaed till his
bed; but he wasna an 'oor beddit when he had to rise.  An' sik a sicht
as he was!  His face an' neck were as yellow's mairyguilds, an'
yallower; an' though I've taen washin' soda, an' pooder, an' the very
scrubbin' brush till't, Sandy's gaen aboot yet juist like's he was noo
oot o' the yallow fivver an' the jaundice thegither.

"Ye'll better speer at Saunders what'll tak' it aff," says I till him
the ither mornin'.

"If I had a grip o' Saunders, I'll tak' mair than the fairntickles aff
him," says he; an' faigs, mind you, there's nae sayin' but he may do't;
he's a spunky carlie Sandy, when he's raised.

But, as far as that's concerned, I'm no' sorry at it, for it'll keep
the cratur awa' frae the place.  Sin' Sandy put that sofa into the
washin'-hoose, him an' twa-three mair's never lain oot o't.  Lyin'
smokin' an' spittin' an' crackin' aboot life bein' a trauchle, an' so
on!  I tell you, if it had lested muckle langer, I'd gien them a bucket
o' water sweesh aboot their lugs some day; that's juist as fac's ocht.

But I maun tell you aboot my mischanter wi' my noo buits.  I'm sure it
has fair delighted Sandy.  He thinks he's gotten a hair i' my neck noo
that'll haud him gaen a while.  He was needin't, I can tell you.  If
ilky mairter he's made had been a hair in his neck, I'll swag, there
wudna been room for mony fairntickles.

Weel, I gaed awa' to the kirk lest Sabbath--Sandy, of coorse, cudna get
oot wi' his yallow face an' neck.  He had a bran poultice on't to see
if it wud do ony guid.  I canna do wi' noo buits ava, till I've worn
them a while.  I pet them on mibby to rin an errand or twa, till they
get the set o' my fit, an' syne I can manish them to the kirk.  But I
canna sit wi' noo buits; they're that uneasy.  I got a noo pair lest
Fursday, an' tried them on on Sabbath mornin'.  But na, na!  Altho' my
auld anes were gey binkit, an' worn doon at the heels, I juist put them
on gey hurried, an' aff I set to the kirk, leavin' Sandy to look efter
the denner.

I was feelin' akinda queerish when I startit; but I thocht it was juist
the hurry, an' that a breath o' the caller air wud mak' me a' richt.
But faigs, mind ye, instead o' better I grew waur.  My legs were like
to double up aneth me, an' my knees knokit up acrain' ane anither
like's they'd haen a pley aboot something.  I fand a sweit brakin' oot
a' ower me, an' I had to stop on the brae an' grip the railin's, or,
it's juist as fac's ocht, I wudda been doon i' the road on the braid o'
my back.  I thocht I was in for a roraborialis, or some o' thae
terriple diseases.  Eh, I was feard I wud dee on the open street; I was
that!  Mysie Meldrum noticed me, an' she cam' rinnin' to speer what was
ado.

"I've taen an awfu' dwam, Mysie," says I.  "I think I'm genna dee.  Ye
micht juist sit doon on the railin's aside's till the fowk be by."

"I think we're aboot the henmost, Bawbie," says she.  "We're gey late;
but I'll bide aside you, lassie."

We sat for the maitter o' ten meenits, an' I got akinda roond, an'
thocht I wud try an' get hame.  Mistress Kenawee had putten on her
tatties an' come oot for a dander a bittie, an' noticed the twa o's; so
she cam' up, an' I got her airm an' Mysie's, an', though it was a gey
job, we manished to get hame.  An' gled I was when I saw Sandy's yallow
nose again, I can tell ye, for I was shure syne I wud dee at hame amon'
my nain bed-claes.

"The Lord preserve's a'!" says Mysie when she saw Sandy.  "What i' the
name o' peace has come ower you?  I'll need to go!  I've Leeb's bairns
at hame, you see, an' this is the collery or the renderpest or
something come ower you twa, an' I'm feard o' smittin' the bairns, or I
wudda bidden.  As shure's I live, I'll need to go!" an' she vanisht oot
at the door wi' a face as white's kauk.

"I think I'll rin for the doctor, Bawbie," said Mistress Konawee.  She
kent aboot Sandy's fairntickles afore, of coorse, an' Sandy's yallow
fizog didna pet her aboot.

"Juist hover a blink," says I, "till I see if I come to mysel'."

I sat doon in the easy-chair, an' Sandy was in a terriple wey aboot me.
He cudna speak a wird, but juist keepit sayin', "O dinna dee, Bawbie,
dinna dee; your denner's ready!"  He lookit me up an' doon, an' then
booin' doon till he was for a' the world juist like a half-steekit
knife he roars oot, "What's ado wi' your feet, Bawbie?  Look at them!
Your taes are turned oot juist like the hands o' the tnock, at twenty
meenits past echt.  You're shurely no genna tak' a parrylattick stroke."

I lookit doon, an' shure eneuch my taes were turned oot an' curled
roond like's they were gaen awa' back ahent my heels.  Mistress Kenawee
got doon on her knees aside me.

"Preserve's a', Bawbie," says she; "you have your buits on the wrang
feet!  Nae winder than your knees were knokin' thegither wi' thae auld
worn-doon heels turned inside, an' your taes turned oot."

But I'll better no' say nae mair aboot it.  I was that angry; and
Mistress Kenawee, the bissam, was like to tnet hersel' lauchin'; but; I
ashure ye, I never got sik a fleg in my life--an' sik simple dune too,
mind ye.



XI.

SANDY STANDS "EMPIRE" AT A CRICKET MATCH.

I was sittin' on Friday nicht, readin' awa' at some bits o' the
_Herald_ I didna get at on Fursday, when the shop door gaed clash back
to the wa', an' in hammered fower or five bits o' loons a' at the heels
o' ane anither.  When they saw me, they stood stock still, dichtin'
their noses wi' their jeckit sleeves, an' glowerin' like as mony
fleggit sheep.

"Go on, Jock," says ane o' them, gien anither ane a shuve forrit.
"You're the captain; speak you."

Jock gae a host, an' syne layin' his hand--a gey clorty ane it was--on
the coonter, an' stanin' on ae fit, he says--"Isyin?"

"Wha micht he be?" says I.

"Sandy," said the captain.

"What Sandy?" says I.

"No," said ane o' the birkies ahent; "your Sandy--Sandy Bowden."

"Ay, he's in," says I; "but you shud mind an' gie fowk their richt
names when ye're seeking them.  Ye micht hae smeddum enough to say
Mester Bowden, or Alexander Bowden.  Your teacher michta tell't ye
that."

I gaed awa' doon the yaird to get Sandy, an' juist as I was gaen oot at
the back door I heard ane o' the sackets sayin', "What's she chatterin'
aboot?  She ca's him Sandy hersel'; I've heard her of'en."  Did ever ye
hear what impident young fowk's gettin' noo-a-days?  It's raley
terriple.  When I was young, if I'd sen the like o' that, I'd gotten a
smack i' the side o' the heid that wudda garred the wa' tak's anither.

"Oo, ay," says Sandy, when I tell't him.  "That'll be the lads frae the
Callyfloor C.C.  They said they were mibby genna look yont the nicht."

He cam' up an' took the loons to the back shop, an' I heard them sayin'
they wantit him to be empire at their match wi' the second eleven o'
the Collie Park.  There was a fell kurn fowk cam' into the shop, an' I
didna hear nae mair; but efter a whilie Sandy cam' to the door wi' the
laddies, an', gien his hand a wave, he says to them, as they were gaen
awa, "A' richt than; three sharp; I'll do my best."

"What's this noo?" says I.  "Nae mair o' yer fitba' pliskies, I howp."

"Oh no," says Sandy.  "That's a deputation frae the Callyfloor C.C.  I
gae them a tume orange box a week or twa syne to haud their bats an'
wickets, an' they made me their pattern."

"A gey queer pattern," says I, wi' a lauch.  "Faigs, Sandy, if they
shape themselves efter your pattern, their mithers an' wives--if ever
they get that len'th--'ill lose a hankie o' sleep wi' them, I'm
thinkin'."

"Auch, Bawbie, ye're juist haverin' like some auld aipplewife," says
Sandy.  "That's no' the kind o' pattern I mean;" an' awa' he gaed for
the _Herald_ an' turned up a bit noos I never noticed, sayin' that
"Alexander Bowden, Esq., had been elected patron of the Cauliflower
C.C., and had contributed handsomely to the funds of the club."

"Oo ay!  I see," says I.  "An' what did you handsomely gie to the funds
o' the club?"

"O, that's juist the orange box," says Sandy.  "But they want me for
empire the morn's efternune.  They're genna play the second eleven o'
the Collie Park C.C. a match at bat an' wickets on the Wast Common.
It'll be a rare affair.  Ye micht get Mistress Kenawee to look efter
the shop for an 'oor or twa, an' come ootbye, Bawbie."

Ay, weel, to mak' a lang story short, Sandy an' me got ootbye to the
Wast Common on Setarday efternune; an' awa we gaed up to a corner o'
the Common whaur there was aboot a hunder loons gaithered.  The loonie
that they ca'd the captain cam' forrit.  He was berfit, an' had his
jecket an' weyscot aff, an' his gallaces lowsed i' the front an' tied
roond his weyst.

"We've won the toss, Sandy," says he, "an' the Collie Park's genna
handle the willa first.  We've sent them in to see what they'll mak'."

Sandy took me up the brae a bit, an' I got set doon on the girss wi'
Nathan aside me.  I took him wi's juist to explain the match, d'ye see,
an' aboot the bats an' wickets, an' sic like, an' so on, because I'm
no' juist acquant wi' a' the oots an' ins o' the thing.  A lot o' the
loons gathered roond an' lay doon on the girss, an' they keepit their
tongues gaen to the playin', I can tell ye.  Ye wudda thocht they kent
mair aboot cricket than the loons that were playin'.

Weel, the match got startit.  They set Sandy at the end nearest the
dyke; an', faigs, he lookit gey weel, mind ye.  The captain loonie
wirks at the heckle-machines, an' he'd gotten a len' o' the second
foreman's white canvas coat, an' gae't to Sandy.  It was to keep his
shedda oot ahent the bailer's airm, Sandy said; but it didna appear to
mak' ony difference to his shedda.  It was juist in the auld place, as
far as I cud see.

Very weel, than, the match began, as I was sayin', an' a'thing gaed
richt eneuch for a little.  The Collie Park lads did fine for a while,
but some o' them didna get so lang strikin' the ba' as ithers, an' they
began to roar cheek.

"Noo, Batchy," said some o' them, as a gey mettled-lookin' loon got the
bat, "strik' oot.  Lat's see ye knokin' the colour oot o' Snapper
Morrison's ballin'."

Sal, mind ye, an' Batchy wasna lang o' doin' that.  He shut his een,
an' hit sweech at the ba', an' awa' it gaed sailin' ower the dyke.

"Well away," roared the loons roond aboot me.  "That's a sixer.  Play
up, Batchy!"

Batchy spat in his hands, an' set himsel' up for the next ba'.  He lut
drive at it, but missed, an' doon gaed his wickets.  Ye never heard sic
a row.

"A bloomin' sneak!" roared a' the laddies aside me thegither.  "Dinna
gae oot, Batchy.  It rowed a' the road."

There was an awfu' wey-o-doin', an' aboot fifty laddies roond Sandy, a'
yalpin' till him at ae time.  Efter a lang laberlethan, the bailer got
three shies at Batchy's wickets, because he tried to het what they ca'd
a sneak.  But he missed ilky time, an' syne Batchy wallapit the ba' a'
ower the Common, an' floo frae end to end o' the wickets like's he
wasna wyse.  It was gey slow wark for Sandy though, an' I think he had
gotten tired, for the laddies roond aboot me began to say, "There was
thirteen ba's i' that lest over; I think Sandy Bowden's dreamin'," an'
so on.  I think mysel' Sandy had been doverin', for the ba' hut
Batchy's wicket, an' every ane o' the loons playin' gae a yowl at the
same meenit--"How's that?"  Sandy near jamp ootin his white coat wi'
the start; an', takin' till his heels, he was a hunder yairds doon the
Common afore ane o' the laddies grippit him by the tails, an' speered
whaur he was fleein' till.

"I was gettin' hungrie," says Sandy.  "I was gaen ower to the toll for
a biskit."  That was a lee; for he tell'd me efter, he dreedit, when he
heard the roar, that it was ane o' Sandy Mertin's ki gane wild; an' he
took till his heels, thinkin' it was efter him.

"That bloomin' empire's a pure frost," I heard some o' the loons
sayin'.  "He canna coont; an' noo he's genna stop the match 'cause he's
hungrie.  Wha ever heard o' an empire gettin' hungrie?"

Sandy got back till his place, an' the match gaed on.  "Over comin'
up," said the ither empire forby Sandy; an' the laddie that was ballin'
says, "Ay weel, than, I'm genna see an' get wid."  He gae his arm an
awfu' sweel roond, an' instead o' sendin' the ba' to the wickets, it
gaed spung ower an' hut Sandy a yark i' the side o' the heid.

"There's wid," said the ither empire; "but it's no' a wicket for a'
that."  Sandy was springin' aboot wi' his heid in his oxter, an' a' the
laddies roarin' and lauchin' like to kill themsel's.

I was ance genna gae doon an' tak' him awa' hame; but I thocht it micht
look raither queer, so I lut him aleen for a little.  The captain
loonie began to ball, an' a gey wild-lookin' bailer he was.  The Collie
Park's henmost man--he was a little berfit craturie wi' nicker-buckers
an' a straw hat--was in, an' the captain gae him an awfu' crack below
the knee wi' the ba'.

"How's that?" he yowled at Sandy.

"Man, I believe that's fell sair," says Sandy, rubbin' the swalled side
o' his heid.

A' the loons startit to the lauchin', an' the captain roars again, "Ay,
but how is't?"

"Ye can easy see how it is," says Sandy.  "The ba' strack him a yark on
the kut."

There was mair lauchin', an' I saw Sandy was gettin' raised.

"Is't l--b--w., ye stewpid auld bloit?" said the impident little wisgan
o' a captain, stickin' himsel' up afore Sandy.

"I'll l--b--double you," says Sandy, "if ye gie me ony o' your chat, ye
half-cled horn-goloch 'at ye are"; and he took the sacket a kleip i'
the side o' the heid wi' his open luif that tummeled him ower the tap
o' the wickets like a puckle rags.  In half a meenit a' the hunder
laddies were round Sandy, an' him layin' amon' them wi' ane o' their
ain wickets.

I'll swag the Gallyfloor C.C. got something frae their pattern lest
Setarday efternune that they'll no forget in a hurry.  Some men on the
Common cam' doon an' shoo'd the loons awa' frae pappin' Sandy wi' duds,
an' we got hame withoot any farrer mishap; but a' forenicht I heard
Sandy wirrin' awa' till himsel', an' sayin' ilky noo an'
than--"Ill-gettit little deevils; an' me gae them an' orange box too!"

Nathan cam' in juist afore I shut the shop, an' tell'd Sandy that there
had been an' awfu' row on the Common.  "Some o the lads i' the
Callyfloor," said Nathan, "were blamin'the captain for gien you cheek,
an' said the wallop i' the lug he got saired him richt.  So he got on
his jeckit an' his buits, an' got a haud o' the best bat an' the ba',
an' then he roars a' his micht, 'The club's broken up.'  You never saw
sic a row as there was.  Willy Mollison's i' the club, an' he's gotten
three bails an' a wicket.  That's better gin naething.  I nailed twa o'
the bails till him out o' Tarn Dargie's pooch, when he was fechtin' wi'
the captain.  Snapper Morrison didna get onything; but he ower the
Common dyke an' in the road; an' when I was comin' hame I saw him
leggin' in the Loan wi' the orange box on his heid.  He had nabbit it
oot o' Tooties' Nook, whaur they keepit their bats an' wickets.  It's a
gude thing they're broken up at onyrate.  I'm in the Collie Park, an'
they're the only club that cud lick his lads."

"O, that's a' richt," says Sandy; an' awa' he gaed, as pleased as you
like.  When I dandered doon the yaird to get a breath o' fresh air,
efter I shut the shop, here's him tumblin' catmas, an' stanin' on his
heid i' the middle o' the green, gien Nathan an' twa or three ither
loons coosies!  Did you ever hear o' sic a man?



XII.

A DREADFUL DISASTER IN THE GARRET.

I'm shure I needna trauchle to haud in aboot the bawbees!  That man o'
mine wud ramsh an' hamsh an' fling awa' mair than I cud save although I
was a millionaire.  Nae farrer gane than lest nicht I heard some
ongaens up the stair.  What's he up till noo? thinks I to mysel'.  Ye
ken our garret?  It's a anod bit roomie, an' we sleep up there i' the
simmer nichts, for the doonstair room gets that het an' seekrif, I
canna fa' ower ava sometimes.  So I have the garret made rale snod an'
cosie.  There's a fine fixed-in bed, an' I have the room chairs I got
when my Auntie Leeb de'ed, wi' a tidie or twa ower them, an' an
auld-fashioned roond tablie 'at I bocht at a rowp--ane o' thae anes
that cowps up an' sets back to the wa' when you're no' needn't.  Auntie
Leeb left me her big lookin' gless too.  Ye mind she had a shooster
shopie at the fit o' Collie Park, an' she had a big lookin' gless for
her customers seeing hoo their frocks fitted.  Ay weel than, I set the
gless juist up again' the wa' at the end o' the garret, firnent the
fireplace an' it made the roomie real cantie an' cheerie lookin'.

When I heard the din Sandy was makin', I goes my wa's up the stair on
my tiptaes.  It was juist upo' the stroke o' nine o'clock, an' I was
juist noo dune shuttin' the shop.  The door was aff the snib; an', keep
me, when I lookit in, here's Sandy wi' an Oddfella's kilt an' a bushbie
on, an' his ilky-day's claes lyin' in a pozel on the table.  I kent the
kilt whenever I saw't; it was the ane Dauvit Kenawee wears in the
Oddfellas' processions.  Sandy was berfit, an', I'm shure, if ye'd seen
him!  Haud your tongue!  Ye never saw sic a picture.  I suppose he'd
taen aff his buits no' to mak' a noise.

Ay weel, here he was wi' a bawbee can'le stuck up again' the boddom o'
the lookin'-gless, an' him maleengerin' aboot i' the flure afore't, wi'
the shaft o' the heather bissam in his hand, whiskin't roond his lugs,
progin' aboot wi't, an' lowpin' here an' there like a hen on a het
girdle.  He croonshed doon, an' jookit frae side to side, an' then jamp
straucht up an' lut flee at something wi' the bissam shaft.  Syne he
stack the end o' the stick i' the flure, an' bored an' grunted like's
he was rammin't through a pavemint steen.

"That's anither settle't," says he, pullin' up his stick; an' gie'n't a
dicht wi' the tails o' his kilt; syne makin' a kick at something wi'
his berfit fit--"Let us do or die," says he; "Scots wha hae; Wallace
an' Bruce for ever; doon wi' every bloomin' Englisher; rip them up;
koo-heel!"  Then he whiskit half-roond aboot, an' lut flee at a seckie
o' caff I had sittin' in a corner.  "Come on, Mick Duff; every deevil
o' ye!  Change your slaverie," he says akinda heich oot, an' then he
lut yark at the seek again an' missed, an' made a muckle hole i' the
plester.

He stoppit an' harkin't for fear I'd heard the stishie he was makin'.
I never lut dab, but keepit juist as quiet's pussy.

"Auch, she's i' the shop," he says heich oot; an' then he floo back an'
forrit, fencin' an' jookin', an glowerin' at himsel' i' the
lookin'-gless; an' girnin' his teeth like a whitterit.  I raley thocht
the man had gane sketch.  He made a sweech wi' the bissam shaft 'at
garred the licht o' the can'le waggle frae side to side.  Syne he
straughtened himsel' up afore the gless, an', touchin' the ruif wi the
point o' his stick, he says, "Viktory, viktory!  Bannockburn is wun.
Hooreh!  Hooreh!"

Juist at this meenit there was a rare like's fifty thunderbolts had
burst in Kowper Collie's auld-iron yaird.  You never heard sic a soond.
It was like the crack o' a hunder cannon; an' in an instant a' was
dark, an' there was a reeshil o' broken bottles that garred me think
there had been an earthquake i' the back shop.  Doon the stair I floo;
but, afore I was half-roads doon, Sandy jamp clean on my back--kilt,
bushbie, an' a'thegither.  Doon I gaed like a rickel o' auld beans, an'
Sandy ower the tap o' me, heels-ower-gowrie.  When I cam' to mysel',
here's Sandy lyin' streekit oot on his face i' the middle o' a box o'
Hielant eggs that I'd juist noo opened.  The strap o' the bushbie was
roond his thrapple, an' was juist aboot stranglin' him, when I cut it
wi' the ham knife.  Then he akinda half-turned roond, an' says he, "O
Bawbie!  I'm deid.  There's a bomshall gane throo my backbeen."

"Rise up," says I, "there's mair than you deid.  There's twal' or
fifteen dizzen o' gude eggs bruist to bits.  Whatever 'ill I do?"  He
raise up; an' if ye'd only seen the sicht!  It's as fac's ocht, it was
eneuch to fleg the French.  Never will I forget it while I draw breath.
He lookit like some berfit tinkler wife that had been too, an' had
t'a'in, ower the heid, intil a barrel o' yellow oker; an' stickin' on
his weyst there was ane o' my winda tickets--"Just in To-Day."

"O, Bawbie!" he wheenged, "gae up the stair an' see if the ruif's aye
on.  I think somebody's been hoddin' dianamite in oor garret."

"When I gaed up the stair wi' a licht, what did I see but my Auntie
Leeb's braw lookin'-gless a' to flinders i' the flure?  The licht o'
the can'le had burned up against it, an' riven't a' to pieces.  When I
turned roond, here's Sandy stappin' ooten his kilt, an' gaen awa' to
pet on his troosers.

"Alick Bowden," says I--an' my very hert was greit--"Alick Bowden"--I
aye ca' him Alick when I'm angry--"this maun be the end o't.  I canna
thole nae mair."'

"For ony sake, Bawbie," he brook in, "dinna say naething the nicht, or
I'll pushon or droon mysel'.  I wiss I had been smored amo' thae eggs";
an' doon the stair he gaed, wi' his breeks in his oxter.

I juist had to g'wa' to my bed an' lat a'thing aleen, an' I ac'ually
grat mysel' ower asleep.  I didna ken o' Sandy comin' till his bed ava;
an' when I raise i' the mornin' a' thing was cleared awa', an' the
garret an' backshop a' sweepit an' in order, an' Sandy was busy i' the
yaird hackin' sticks, an' whistlin' "Hey, Jockie Mickdonal'," juist's
as gin naethin' had happened.  He's been stickin' in like a hatter ever
sin' syne, an' has a'thing as neat's ninepence; so I canna say a single
wird.  But is't no raley something terriple?



XIII.

SANDY AND BAWBIE'S SPRING HOLIDAY.

Spring holiday!  Wheesht!  I'll no' forget it in a hurry, I can tell
you.  But I never saw't different.  Holidays are juist a perfeck
scunner, as far as I've haen to do wi' them; an' as for the rest--I'm
shure I'm aye tireder efter a holiday than at the tailend o' a hard
day's wark.  I'm juist a' sair the day wi' sittin' i' the train; an'
yesterday nicht I cud hardly move oot o' the bit, I was that dune.

But I maun tell you the story frae the beginnin'.  You've mibby heard
me speak aboot Meg Mortimer's mither that used to bide at The Drum.
Meg's in a big wey o' doin' noo in Edinboro; but I've seen the day, I'm
thinkin'!  Weel div I mind when her mither flitted ower frae Powsoddie.
She cam' along to oor hoose to seek the len' o' twa kists, juist to gie
her flittin' some appearance on the cairts.  Ay did she, noo-na-na!
What think ye o' that?  They were as puir's I kenna what, an' mony a
puckle meal did they get oot o' oor girnil, for Dauvid Mortimer was a
nice man, altho' he was terriple hudden doon wi' the reums.

Weel, Meg gaed awa' to service, an' fell in wi' a weeda man wi' three
o' a faimly.  I can ashure you there's nae tume kists in her hoose noo.
She has a big wey o' doin'.  Her man's a kind o' heid pillydakus amon'
a lot o' naveys, makin' railroads, and main drains, an' so on.  He's
made a heap o' bawbees.  Mester Blair's his name.  They bide in a big
hoose doon about the Meadows in Edinboro, an' they have a big servant,
and twa dogs; forby a bit lassockie to look efter the bairns.

Meg was throo seein' her fowk no' that lang syne, an' she wud hae me to
promise to come throo wi' Sandy an' see them.  She wudna hae a na-say.
She was aye an awfu' tague for tonguein', Meg.  I mind when she was but
ten 'ear auld, me, that was saxteen or seventeen 'ear aulder, cudna
haud the can'le till her.  She was a gabbin' little taed.  Weel, rizzen
be't or neen, she fair dang me into sayin' I wud come wi' Sandy an' see
her at the spring holiday; an' so we juist had to go.

Sandy gaed on juist like a clockin' hen a' Sabbath efternune an' nicht.
He had the upstairs bed lippin' fu' o' luggitch that he was thinkin' o'
takin' wi' him.  A body wudda thocht he was settiu' aff for a crooze
roond the North Pole, instead o' on a veesit to Edinboro.  He was
rubbin' up his buits, an' syne brethin' on them, an' rubbin' them up
again, an' settin' himsel' back an' lookin' at himsel' in them.  He's a
prood bit stockie, Sandy, mind ye, when there's naebody lookin'.  He
had a' his goshore suit hung oot on the backs o' chairs a' roond the
hoose.  It lookit like's there was genna be a sale or a raffle or
something.

He gaed doon to supper Donal' i' the forenicht, an' I took a dander
awa' doon ahent him, juist to get a moof'u' o' caller air.  When I
landit at the stable door I heard Sandy speakin' to somebody.  I took a
bit peek in at the winda, an' here's Sandy merchin' aboot wi' the horse
cover tied up in a bundle in ae hand, an' a stick i' the ither.  He
stoppit in the tume staw an' laid doon his bundle rale smert like; syne
he lookit ower the buird to Donal', an' says, in an Englishy kind o' a
voice, "Twa return tickets third-class an' back to Edinboro!"  I saw
syne what he was at!  He was practeesin' seekin' the tickets at the
station.  Ow, ay; Sandy's like a' ither body!  He's a gey breezie
carlie when he's awa' frae hame, an' his dickie on!

Sandy had his uswal argey-bargeyin' in the train, an' I thocht ae man
an' him, that cam' in at Carnoustie, wi' his wife, an' a pair o'
nickerbucker breeks on, was genna t'a' to the fechtin' a'thegither.
An' faigs, Sandy snoddit him geylies afore we got to Dundee.

There was a lot o' men' an' loons staiverin' aboot Carnoustie playin'
at the gowf; an' Sandy says--"Look at thae jumpin'-jecks o' craturs wi'
their reed jeckets on, like as mony organ-grinders' monkeys, rinnin'
aboot wi' their bits o' sticks, wallopin' awa' at Indeen-rubber ba's.
Puir craturs!"

Man, the chappie wi' the nickerbuckers got up in an awfu' pavey, an'
misca'ed Sandy for a' the vagues--you never heard the like!

"Look ye hear, my bit birkie," says Sandy, gien a gey wild-like wink
wi' his richt e'e, "you speak when ye're spoken till!  I dinna bather
mysel' wi' paper-mashie peeriewinkles like the likes o' you; but if you
gi'e me ony o' your sma' chat, man, I'll tak' an' thrapple you wi' that
fowerpence-happeny-the-dizzen paper collar ye've roond the wizand o'
ye."

"Wud ye?" said the Carnoustie birkie, jumpin' till his feet.

The train gae a shoag juist at that meenit, an' he gaed doit ower on
the tap o' Sandy, and brocht a tin box doish doon on his heid.  He got
a gey tnap, I can tell you.  Sandy keepit his temper something
winderfu', an' he juist quietly set doon Nickerbucker Tammie on the
seat an' says, "Ay, loonie; juist you sit still there till your mither
gie's your nose a dicht, an' ties your gartins; an' you'll get a piece
an' jeely on't when the trainie stops."

You never heard sic lauchin' as there was; an' Sandy's frien' lookit as
gin he'd haen a dram, an' gotten an awfu' dose o' cauld.  He didna say
"guid-mornin'" when he gaed oot at the Toy Brig Station.

Sandy had twa-three mair pliskies atween Dundee an' Edinboro, but I
hinna time to tell you o' them.  Peety the man that starts to write
Sandy's beebliographie.  If he tells the hale truth, eksettera, he'll
hae a gey job.  The faimly Bible 'ill be like a heym-book aside the
volum.  They'll need to get up early i' the mornin' that reads Sandy's
life, I tell you.  The man that writes it 'ill never win to his bed ava.

Weel-a-weel, we landit at Edinboro, an Meg was waitin's, an' as mony
bairns wi' her as wudda startit a raggit schule--although they were a'
braw an' snod, I ashure ye.

"Keep me, Meg," said Sandy, efter he'd shaken hands wi' her, "is thae
a' your litlans?  Dod, sic a cleckin!"

The ass that he is!  I saw Meg chowl her chafts gey angry like, an' I
took Sandy a doish i' the back wi' my umberell.  "Say Mistress Blair,
ye ill-mennered whaup atyar," says I in his lug; an' he gleyed roond at
me, an' says, wi' anither o' his vegabon'-like winks, "Ay; that's
Wattie Scott's monniment, Bawbie.  A great man, Wattie!  It was him 'at
wret Bailie Nickil Jarvie an' the Reed Gauntlet an' so on.  He bade a
fortnicht wi' Luckie Walker at Auchmithie.  Bandy Wobster's grandfather
sell'd him a dog when he was there.  He was a fine man, Wattie."

Meg an' the bairns an' me gaed into the cab, an Sandy, he wud be up on
the dickey aside the driver.  As I cudda tell'd afore he gaed up, he
wasna there five meenits when he was nearhand at the fechtin' wi' the
man aboot the wey he drave his horse.  I was gled when we landit at
Meg's hoose, for I was expectin' ilky meenit to see the cabby--he was
an ill-faur'd, rossen-faced lookin' tyke--fling Sandy heels-ower-heid
into the cab amon' the bairns--he was black-gairdin' the man's horse
for an auld, hunger'd reeshil, an' praisin' up Donal' that terriple!

"Man, you've juist to lay the reinds on's back, an' he's awa' like the
wind," I heard him sayin'.  "There's naething a' roond aboot can touch
him.  He can trot up the High Road wi' sasteen hunderwecht.  He's a
reg'lar topper!  You should send that hunger'd-lookin' radger o' yours
to Glesterlaw"; an' so on he gaed, an' the man girnin' an' skoolin' at
him like a teegar.

When we cam' aff at the Meadows, Sandy gaed roond aboot the beast,
chucklin' awa' till himsel' juist like watter dreepin' intil a tume
cistern; but he keepit oot o' the reach o' the cabby's kornals.  I
expeckit to see him get roond the linders wi' them for his impidence.

"If you cam' to Arbroath wi' the like o' that, the Croolty to Animals
wud grip you afore you was weel through the toll," he says to the man.
"You'll better g'wa' hame wi't as lang's it's het.  If you lat that
sharger cule, it'll stiffen up, an' you'll never get it oot o' the bit,
till you bring a cairt for't."

The cabby got his bawbees frae Meg, an' drave awa', gien Sandy a glower
like a puttin' bull; but Sandy juist gae a bit lauch, an' cried,
"Ta-ta!"

We got into the house.  Eh, sic a place for stech!  Haud your tongue!
Really yon fair sneckit a'thing.  Sandy could hardly get his hat aff
for glowerin' aboot him; an' when he did get it aff, he handit it to
ane o' the loons; an', afore you cudda sen Jeck Robison, they were oot
at the back door scorin' goals wi't throo' atween the claes-poles on
the green.  Meg was at the hurdies o' them wi' a switch gey quick, an'
sune had Sandy's lum hingin' aside his greatcoat in the lobby.

We wasna lang set doon when in cam' Meg's man.  A brisk-lookin' fellah
he is, I can tell you.  He shook hands wi's as hearty's though we'd
come to gie him a job; an' in five meenits, tooch, you wudda thocht
Sandy an' him had never been sindered sin' they got on their first
daidles.  I'll swag, Meg's fa'in on hex feet, an' nae mistak'!

I'm shure I'm no complainin', but Sandy Bowden's been an unsatisfaktory
man in mony weys; but, as the Bible says, we've a' a dwang o' some
kind, an' if I hadna gotten Sandy, weel, I michta haen a drucken son,
or a licht-heided dauchter.  Wha can tell?  We've a' a hankie mair than
we deserve, nae doot.  I ken I have onywey; but that's nether here nor
there.

We were sittin' enjoyin' a crack, an' lookin' oot at the windas,
watchin' the bairns in their coaches, an' the birds fleein' aboot as
happy as crickets, huntin' for wirms amon' the young girss.

"The Meadows look very pretty i' the noo," said Mester Blair.  "The
very birds enjoy the fresh green grass."

"They do that," put in Sandy.  "It's a treat to see them, puir things.
They are fond o' a bittie o' onything green.  I tak' a bit dander oot
the bunkers on a Sabbath mornin' whiles for a pucklie chuckin-wirth to
Dickie, an' you wud really think the cratur kent.  He gleys doon when I
come in, as much as to say, 'C'way wi't, Sandy; I ken fine you have't
in your pooch!'"

"Bawbie here winna believe me," continued Sandy, gien Mester Blair a
wink, "but I've tell'd her twa-three times that when I've gane doon the
yaird i' the winter-time wi' my auld greatcoat--it's gettin' very green
noo, but it was a bit guid stuff aince in its day--the birds 'ill come
fleein' doon an' sit on the palin' aside me, an' wheetle-wheetle awa'
for a whilie.  It's queer; but that's the effek the green appears to
hae on them."

Mester Blair leuch till I thocht he wudda wranged himsel'.  A richt
hearty laucher he is.  The lauch gaed a' ower him, an' you could hardly
sen futher it was comin' oot o' his moo or his baits, there was that
muckle o't.

Syne Sandy an' him got on to the crack aboot the tattie trade, an' you
wudda thocht Sandy was genna tak' him in for a pairtner, he had that
muckle to tell him.

"An' do you do much wi' the Americans?" said Mester Blair.

"I do a' their trade," said Sandy.  "There's only three o' them buys
tatties in Arbroath noo.  The ither twa's gey queer that wey; they get
a'thing preserved in tins, frae aboot London they tell me."

Mester Blair didna appear to understand Sandy, an' he speered, "Do you
get cash again' Billy Lowden; or hoo d'ye get peyment?"

"If the bawbees is no' at the back o' the cairt, up goes the bawk, an'
Donal' ca's awa," says Sandy.  "Na, na, neen o' your Billy Lowden tick
for me.  I believe in the ready clink."

"Oh, I see," said Mester Blair.  "You get cash at the ship's side.
That is the safe plan."

"As you say," said Sandy, "that's exakly Bandy Wobster's wey o'
pettin't.  I believe in the bawbees afore the tatties leave the back
door o' the cairt.  Short accounts mak' lang freends."

"Do you do onything wi' the Continent ava?" said Meg's man.

"I travel a' ower the toon," said Sandy, "frae Tootles Nook to
Culloden, an' frae the Skemels to Cairnie Toll.  It disna maitter a
doakan to me wha I sell till.  Seven pund to the half-steen, an' cash
doon--thae's my principles; the same price, and the game turn o' the
bawk, to gentle and simple.  When the champions are gude I can manish
twa load i' the day fine, an' if the disease keeps oot amon' them, they
pey no that ill."

Meg's man gey a kind o' a whistle in laich, an' I saw fine syne whaur
he had tint himsel'.  Meg had tell'd him Sandy was a tattie merchant,
an' he'd been thinkin' Sandy had a big wey o' doin', an' sell'd tatties
in shiploads an' so on.  I saw the whole thing in a blink, but never
lut wink, an' Sandy was fient a hair the better or the waur o' Meg's
man's mistak'.

We got a grand denner--something specific.  "This is a kind o' a haiver
o' buff, Mistress Blair," said Sandy, when we got set doon; but I gae
him a kick throo ablo the table that garred him tak' his tongue atween
his teeth.

I needna tell you aboot a' we got to eat; Sandy ate that hearty that he
gaed oot to the simmer-seat efter, an' cud hardly steer oot o' the bit
for half an 'oor.  Really ilky thing was better than anither, an' we
feenished up wi' ice-cream.  Sandy took a gullar o't afore he kent, an'
I think he thocht he was brunt, for he nippit up the water bottle, an'
took a sweech o' cauld watter, an' then gae a pech like's he'd come
ooten a fit.  He was a' richt efter a whilie, but the cratur had
over-eaten himsel', an' he was gey uneasy a' efternune.

Efter we got oor tea, Meg got the bairns a' beddit, an' then her an'
her man, an' me an' Sandy set aff for the theater.  It was a terriple
grand theater, wi' as muckle gold hingin' roond aboot as wud mak' a'
the puir fowk in Arbroath millionaires.  We got a grand seat, an'
a'thing gaed richt till near the feenish.

Mester Blair had what they ca' an opera gless wi' him, an' he handed it
to me to look throo.  Sandy in wi' his hand intil his greatcoat pooch,
an' oot wi' his spygless, a great lang thing' like a barber's pole,
that he wan at a raffle at the Whin Inn.  There was a chappie deein' on
the stage.  He'd stuck himsel' wi' his soord, because a lassie wudna
mairry him, an' he was juist lyin' tellin' a' the fowk aboot crooil
weemin, an' peace in the grave, an' a'thing, when Sandy cockit up his
spygless to hae a glower at him afore he gae his henmist gasp.

I saw the chappie gien a kind o' a fear'd-like start, syne he sprang
till his feet an' roared, "Pileece, pileece! there's an anarkist an' a
feenyin's bom in the theater," an' took till his heels aff the stage.

You never saw sic a wey o' doin'.  You speak aboot peace in the grave.
There wasna muckle peace in the theater.  We was a' winderin' what was
ado, an' Sandy was busy peekin' roond wi' his spygless, when twa
bobbies cam' fleein' anower an' grippit him an' roared till him to
sirrender.  I can tell you, he nearhand sirrendered ane o' the bobbies
wi' the spygless.  If it hadna been for Mester Blair gettin' a haud o'
the wechty end o't, there wudda been a noo helmet, an' mibby a new
bobby needed in Edinboro.

The row was a' ower in five meenits, when Mester Blair explen'd things;
but if he hadna been wi's, I'm dootin' it wudda been a job.  There was
ane o' the great muckle dosent nowts o' bobbies cam' an' gowpit in my
face, an' says, "D'ye think this ane's a woman?"  I fand in ahent's for
my umberell; but my chappie gaed his wa's gey quick, or I'd gien him
the wecht o't across his nose.  It was a gey-like wey o' doin' aboot
naething; but efter we got hame an' had oor supper we forgot a' aboot
it, an' spent a very happy 'oor or twa afore we gaed to oor beds.



XIV.

LOVE AND WAR.

Wudna you winder hoo some fowk grow aye the aulder the waur?  You see
Toon Cooncillors, for instance, gettin' less use the langer they keep
their job; an' ministers--haud your tongue!  If they're no' guid, they
get mair an' mair driech the langer they preach; even their auld
sermons, when they turn the barrel an' start at the boddom o' her,
appear to get driecher than ever.  It's juist the same wi' Sandy--the
aulder he grows he gets the waur, till I raley winder what'll happen
till him.  He's richt sensible an' eident whiles; but when the fey
blude gets intil his heid, an' he gets into the middle o' ony rig, he's
juist as daft as the rochest haflin that ever fee'd.

When I heard the band on Setarday efternune, I threw the key i' the
shop door, an' ran doon to the fit o' the street to see the sojers
passin'.  Wha presents himsel', merchin' in the front o' the band, but
my billie, Sandy.  There he was wi' a hunder laddies roond him, smokin'
his pipe like's he was gettin' his denner ooten't, ane o' his airms up
to the elba in his breeks' pooch, stappin' oot to the musik like a
fechtin' cock, an' his ither airm sweengin' back an' forrit like the
pendilum o' the toon's clock.  To look at him you wudda thocht he was
trailin' the band an' a' the sojers ahent him, he lookit that hard
wrocht.  He never saw me--not him!  His e'en were starin' fair afore
him; he wudna kent his ain tattie cairt, I believe, he was that muckle
taen up wi' his merchin'.

He landit hame till his tea atween sax an' seven o'clock, stervin' o'
cauld, but as happy's a cricket.  "Man, Bawbie," he says, as I laid a
reed herrin' on the brander for him, "there's naething affeks me like
sojers merchin' to musik.  It juist garrs my backbeen dirl, an' I canna
sit still.  When they were doin' the merch-past this efternune, I had
to up an' rin, or I wudda thrappilt some lad sittin' aside's.  That's
the wey it affeks me.  I wudda gien a pound note juist to gotten a
richt straucht-forrit fecht amon' them for half an 'oor."

"You're juist like a muckle bubbly laddie, Sandy," says I.  "It's a
winder you wasna awa' up the toon wi' them to see if ony o' the sojers
wud lat you cairry hame their gun.  I raley winder to see an auld
tattie man like you goin' on like some roid loon."

"That's a' you ken, Bawbie," says he.  "I ken mair aboot thae things
than you, fully; an', though I am a tattie man, look at Abraham Linkin;
he was waur than a tattie man to begin wi'; an' the Jook o'
Wellinton--michty, he was born in Ireland; an' look what he cam' till!
I tell you what it is, Bawbie, if they'd haen me at the battle o'
Waterloo, you wudda heard anither story o't.  I feel'd within mysel',
that if I'd only haen the chance--see 'at that reed herrin's no'
burnin'--I michta been a dreel sergint or a general----"

"A general haiverin' ass," I strak in.  "See; there's your herrin';
poor oot your tea noo, an' haud your lang tongue."

"Ow, weel-a-weel," says Sandy, gey dour-like--he's as bucksturdie as a
mule when he tak's't in's heid--"but we're no' deid yet, an' we'll
mibby manish to garr some fowk winder yet, when a's dune.  What's been
dune afore can be dune again; the speerit o' Bannockburn's no' de'ed
oot a'thegither."

But I left the cratur chatterin' awa' till himsel', an' ran but to sair
some fowk i' the shop.  Did you ever hear o' sic a man?  Dauvid Kenawee
says Sandy's a kind o' a sinnyquanon; an' it's my opeenyin he's no'
very far wrang, whatever that may mean.

As I was sayin', there's nae fules like auld fules.  I put oot
twa-three bits o' things on the green on Setarday forenune, an' I
forgot a' aboot them till efter the shop was shut.  It wud be nearhand
twal o'clock when I ran doon for them.  It was a fine nicht, but
dreidfu' cauld.  Juist as I was gaitherin' up the twa-three bit duds, I
heard voices ower the dyke, an' I cudna but harken to see wha wud be
oot at that time o' nicht.  Fancy what I thocht when I heard Beek
Steein's voice, that bides in Mistress Mollison's garret, sayin', "Eh,
ay, Jeemie; it's an awfu' thing luve.  I hinna steekit 'an e'e for twa
nichts thinkin' aboot ye."

Preserve's a', thinks I to mysel', this is Ribekka an' Jeems Ethart,
the engine-driver.  Jeems is a weeda man, an' Ribekka's like me, she's
on the wrang side o' forty; but, faigs, on Setarday nicht you wudda
thocht they were baith aboot five-an'-twenty.

"My bonnie dooie," I heard Jeems say.  A gey dooie, I says to mysel'.
There's twal steen o' her, if there's a pund.  It wud tak' a gey pair
o' weengs to cairry Ribekka, I tell ye.

"A'ye genna gie's a kiss, Ribekka?" Jeems says after a whilie; an'
Ribekka gae a bit geegle, an' then whispers laich in, "Help yoursel',
Jeemie"--an' there they were at it like twa young anes.

I didna ken whuther to flee up the yaird, roar oot "feyre," or clim' up
on the dyke an' gie them a wallop roond the linders wi' my bits o'
cloots.  So I stud still.

The fient a ane o' them ever thocht there was a livin' sowl within
fifty yairds o' them, an' they were crackin' an' kirrooin' awa' like a
pair o' doos.

"Isn't a peety they dinna ca' me Izik?" says Jeems.

"Hoo d'ye think that?" said Ribekka.

"Cause it wudda lookit so fine--Izik an' Ribekka, d'ye see?" an' they
nickered an' leuch like a' that.

"An' I wudda been Ribekka at the wall," said Beek.

"Exackly," said Jeems; "altho' this auld pump's hardly the kind o' wall
they had in thae days.  I hope there's nae horn-gollochs aboot it."

"There's twal o'clock," said Ribekka; "we'll need to be goin'.
Gude-nicht, Jeems.  See an' mind aboot me.  Gude-nicht."

"Gude-nicht, my ain bonnie lassie," Jeems harken'd in till her.  "Dinna
be feared o' me forgettin' ye.  I never lift a shuffle o' coals but, I
think I see your face.  Every puff o' the engine brings me in mind o'
ye, Ribekka; an' when I sit doon to tak' my denner, I lat fa' my flagon
whiles, I'm that taen up thinkin' aboot ye."

"Eh, Jeems, you're codin' me noo!  But gude-night!  Eh, mind ye, it's
Sabbath mornin'."

"Gude-nicht, my bonnie lassie.  Oh, Ribekka, you're sweeter gin heather
honey.  I wiss Sint Tammas Market was here, an' we'll be nae langer twa
but wan.  My bonnie dooie!  Gude-nicht, my ain scentit geranum," says
Jeems.

I began to be akinda waumish, d'ye ken.  The haivers o' the two spooney
craturs juist garred me feel like's I'd taen a fizzy drink or
something.  You ken what I mean--the kind o' a' ower kittlie feelin'
that's like to garr you screech, ye dinna ken hoo.

"Gude-nicht, Jeems," says Beek again.  "I'll never luve onybody but
you."

"Are your shure?" began the auld ass again; an' me stanin' near frozen
to death wi' cauld, an' cudna get oot o' the bit.

"Never!" said Beek; "never!"

"Gude-nicht, than, dearie, an' see an' no' forget me.  Will ye no'?"

"Ye needna be feared, Jeems.  I luve you alone, an' nae ither body i'
the wide, wide world.  Gude-nicht, my Jeemie."

"Gude-nicht, than, Ribekka, luvie.  An' if you dinna forget----"

But this was ower muckle for me; so I juist roared oot, "Gude-nicht, ye
haiverin' eedeits," as heich as I cud yawl, an' up the yaird at what I
cud flee.

Sandy was beddit on the back o' ten o'clock, an' he was snorin' like a
dragoon when I gaed up the stair.  But when I got anower he jamp up a'
o' a sudden, like's he'd gotten a fleg.

"Keep me, Bawbie, whaur i' the face o' the earth hae you been?" he
says, wi' his een stanin' in's heid, an' drawin' in his breath like's a
shooer o' cauld water had been skootit aboot him.  "You've shurely been
awa' at the whalin'.  Bless me, your feet's as cauld's an iceikle.
Keep them awa' frae me."

Isn't that juist like thae men?  Weemin can beat them in mony weys, I
admit; but, for doonricht selfishness, come your wa's!



XV.

SANDY MAKES A SPEECH.

There's been great gaitherin's in oor washin'-hoose this while
back--"Nochties-an'-Broziana," Bandy Wobster ca'd the meetin's to
Sandy.  The ither Wedensday i' the forenicht--the shop was shut i' the
efternune, of coorse; I'm a great believer i' the half-holiday, you
see.  I think it's a capital idea.  It gi'es a body a kind o' a breath
or twa i' the middle o' the week, an' it pits naebody aboot.  The fowk
juist come for their things afore you shut.  It disna mak' a hair o'
difference.  If you didna open ava, they wud juist come the nicht afore.

Weel, but, as I was sayin', the ither Wedensday nicht I flang my
shallie ower my heid, an' took a stap oot at the back door i' the
gloamin'.  It was a fine nicht, an' I sat doon on the simmer-seat at
the gavel o' the washin'-hoose, an' heard the argey-bargeyin' gaen on
inside.  I stuid up an' lookit in at the bolie winda, juist abune whaur
the skeels sit, an' here was Sandy an' his cronies a' busy crackin' an'
smokin', an enjoyin' themselves i' the middle o' a great steer o' reek
an' noise.

Juist as I lookit in, Bandy Wobster said something to Dauvid Kenawee,
an' Dauvid raise, an' takin' his pipe oot o' his moo, says, "Order!  I
pirpose Mester Wobster to the chair."

"Hear, hear," said a' the rest; an' wi' that Bandy got up on the
boiler-heid on his belly, an' turnin' roond, sat wi' the legs o' him
hingin' ower the front o' the boiler, juist like a laddie sittin' on
the dyke at the Common.  Watty Finlay, the weaver, shuved anower a tume
butter kit for Bandy to set his feet on, an' then a'body sat quiet,
juist like's something was genna happen.

Bandy took a bit tarry string, or tabaka or something, ooten his breeks
pooch, an', nippin' aff a quarter o' a yaird o't, he into his moo wi't.
Syne he swallowed a spittal, an' said--"Freends an' fella ratepeyers."
Bandy never pey'd rates in's life.  He bides in a twa-pound garret i'
the Wyndies, an' hardly ever peys rent, lat aleen rates.  "Freends an'
fella ratepeyers," says he.

Bandy was stan'in' up on the boddom o' the butter kit gin this time,
an' a' the billies were harkenin' like onything.

"Freends an' fella ratepeyers," says Bandy again.  "See gin that door's
on the sneck, Sandy, an' dinna lat the can'le blaw oot."

Sandy raise an' put to the door, an' set the can'le alang nearer Bandy
a bit, an' then sat doon i' the sofa again.

"I hinna muckle to say," says Bandy.  Bandy was brocht up in Aiberdeen,
you ken, an' he has whiles a gey queer wey o' speakin'.  "I hinna very
muckle to say, you ken," says he, "an' konsequently, I'll no' say very
muckle."

"Hear, hear," roared Watty Finlay.

"The Toon Cooncil elections is leemin' in the distance," continued
Bandy, "an', as ceetizens o' the Breetish Empyre, we maun look oot for
fit an' proper persons to reprisent the opinions o' the democracy in
the Hoose o'--in the Toon Hoose, an' on the Police Commission.
Gentlemen----"

This garred a' the billies sit back in their seats, an' dicht their
moos wi' their jeckit sleeves, an' host.  Watty Finlay nearhand cowpit
ower the bucket he was sittin' on; but he got his balance again, an'
sayin', "Ay, man," heich oot, he got a' richt sattled doon again.

"Gentlemen," says Bandy, "the time for action draws at hand.  Oor
watter is no fit for ki drinking; an' there's fient a thing but watter
in the weet dock.  My heart bleeds when I go roond the shore an' see
all the ships sailin' oot o' the herbir, an' no' a livin' sowl comin'
in.  Gentlemen, that herbir's growin' a gijantic white elephant."

"An' so's the Watter Toor, an' the Lifeboat too," roared Dauvid Kenawee.

"The toon's foo o' white elephants, a' colours," said Moses Certricht.
"The Toon Cooncil's made it juist like a wild beast show."

"Hear, hear," cried the whole lot; an' Stumpie Mertin, gettin' a little
excited, roared "Order," an' set them a' a-lauchin'.

"Gentlemen," said Bandy again, "it's as plen's a pikestaff that a' oor
municeepal affairs is clean gaen to the deevil a'thegither; an' I have
much pleasure----"

"Hear, hear," said Watty Finlay, "he's the very man."  There was a bit
lauch at this, an' Watty added, "I mean Sandy, of coorse--no' the
deevil 'at Bandy was speakin' aboot."

"I was genna say," said Bandy, "when I was interrupit by the honourable
gentleman----"

"O, gie's a rest," said Watty; an' Bandy had to begin again.

"I was genna say," he said, "that we maun get a hand o' a puckle men o'
abeelity an' straucht-forritness, an' I have much pleasure in proposin'
a vote of thanks to oor worthy freend, Mester Bowden, for comin' forrit
to abolish the Toon Cooncil o' every rissim o' imposeeshin, till
taxation shall vanish into oblivion, an' be a thing o' the past.
Mester Bowden is a man----"

"Hear, hear," says Watty again.

"Mester Bowden is a man that will never do onything----"

"Hear, hear," Watty stricks in again.  He juist yatter-yattered awa'
like a parrot a' the time.

"Onything below the belt," proceeded Bandy.  "Give him your votes,
gentlemen.  I can recommend him.  Sandy--I mean Mester Bowden, will
stick to his post like Cassybeeanka, or whatever they ca'd the billie
that was brunt at the battle o' the Nile.  He'll no' be like some o'
them that, like Ralph the Rover,

        Sailed away,
  An' scoored the sea for mony a day.

Gentlemen, let everywan here do his very best to get every elektor to
vote for Sandy, Mester Bowden, the pop'lar candidate.  Up wi' him to
the tap o' the poll!"

Bandy cam' doon wi' his tackety buit on the boddom o' the butter kit,
an' in it gaed, an' him wi't, an' there he was, clappin' his hands, an'
stanin' juist like's he'd on a wid crinoline.  You never heard sic a
roostin' an' roarin' an' hear-hearin' an' hurrain'!  I had to shut my
een for fear o' bein' knokit deaf a'thegither.  Stumpie Mertin jumpit
up as spruce as gin he had baith his legs, instead o' only ane, an'
forgettin' whaur he was, he glowered a' roond the wa' an' says,
"Whaur's the bell, lads?"

It was Sandy's turn noo; an' efter Dauvid Kenawee, auld Geordie Steel,
an' Moses Certricht had gotten the chairman pu'd oot o' the butter kit,
an' on to the boiler-heid again, Sandy raise ooten his seat wi' a look
on his face like a nicht watchman.  They a' swang their airms roond
their heids, an' hurraed like onything, an' Sandy took lang breaths,
an' lookit roond him as gin he was feard some o' them wud tak' him a
peelik i' the lug.

When they quieted doon, Sandy gae a host, an' Watty Finlay said, "Hear,
hear."

"Fella elektors," said Sandy, "let me thank you for your cordial
reception."

Sandy had haen that ready aforehand, for he said her aff juist like
"Man's Chief End."  Syne he lifted his fit an' put it on the edge o'
the sofa.  He rested his elba on his knee, an' his chin on his hand,
an' lookit quite at hame, like's he'd been accustomed addressin'
meetin's a' his born days.

"I think oor worthy chairman spoke ower high aboot my abeelity," said
Sandy; "but as far as lies in my pooer, I will never budge from my
post, but stand firm."  At this point, Sandy's fit slippit aff the edge
o' the sofa, an' he cam' stoit doon an' gae Moses Certricht a daud i'
the lug wi' the croon o' his heid, that sent Moses' heid rap up again'
Dauvid Kenawee's.

"What i' the world are ye heavin' aboot that heid o' yours like that
for?" said Dauvid, glowerin' like a wild cat at Moses: an' Bandy kickit
his heels on the front o' the boiler, an' roared, "Order, gentlemen.
Respeck the chair!"

I was juist away to cry--"Ye micht respeck my boiler, raither, an' no'
kick holes i' the plester wi' thae muckle clunkers o' heels o' yours";
but I keepit it in.

Sandy got himsel' steadied up again, an' pulled doon his weyscot, syne
gae his moo a dicht, an' buttoned his coat.  I cud see fine that he was
tryin' to keep up the English; but it wasna good enough.  "I am no' a
man o' learnin'," said Sandy.  "I'm a wirkin' man, an' if I tak' up my
heid wi' publik affairs, it's 'cause I've naething else ado, and it'll
keep me oot o' langer.  As oor respeckit chairman says, I'm no' like
Ralph the Rover, sailin' awa' an' scoorin' the sea for mony a day.
That looks like a pure weyst o' soap--juist like what goes on i' the
Toon Cooncil daily-day.  You may lauch, freends, but it's ower true;
an' wha is't peys for't?"

"It's his!  It's his, lads!" roared a' the billies i' the washin'-hoose.

"It is so," said Sandy.  "Oor Toon Cooncil's juist like this Ralph the
Rover, gaen awa' scoorin' the sea for nae end--for the sea's no'
needin' scoorin'--when he michta been at hame helpin' his wife to ca'
the washin'-machine.  It's usef'u' wark we want.  Neen o' your Bailie
Thingymabob's capers, wi' his donkey engines, eksettera.  Echt thoosand
pound for a noo kirkyaird!  Did ye ever hear the like!  What aboot the
grand view you get?  A puckle o' thae Cooncillors crack as gin they
were genna pet bow-windas into a' the graves, to lat ye hae a grand
view efter you was buried.  Blethers o' nonsense!  That's juist what I
ca' scoorin' the sea like Ralph the Rover."

By faigs, lads, Sandy garred me winder gin this time.  Ye never heard
hoo he laid it into them, steekin' his nivs an' layin' aboot him wi'
his airms.

"Echt thoosand pound!" he roars again.  "That's seven shillin's the
heid--man, woman, and bairn i' the toon o' Arbroath.  What d'ye think
o' that?  But that's no' a'.  There's the toon's midden, too; that's
needin' a look intil."

"Hear, hear," put in Watty as uswal; an' Bandy added, "It has muckle
need, as my nose can tell ye."

"What d'ye think o' a midden i' the very middle o' your toon?" Sandy
gaed on.  "I paws for an answer," he said in a gravedigger's kind o' a
voice.  He crossed his legs ower ane anither, an' put ane o' his hands
in ablo the tails o' his coat; an', gettin' akinda aff his balance, he
gaed spung up again' Bandy Wobster.  There was a crunch an' a splash,
an' there was the chairman's bowd legs stickin' up oot o' the boiler,
an' his face lookin' throo atween his taes, wi' a pair o' een like a
wild cat.  He was up to the neck amon' the claes I had steepin' for the
morn's washin'.  The nesty footer that he was, I cudda dune I kenna
what till him.

"Ye great, big, clorty, tarry beast," I roared in at the winda; "come
oot amon' my claes this meenit, or I'll come in an' kin'le the fire,
an' boil ye."  Sandy bloo oot the can'le; an' by a' the how-d'ye-does
ever was heard tell o', you niver heard the marrow o' yon.  Stumpie
Mertin roared "Order!  Feyre!" at the pitch o' his voice; an' the
chairman was yowlin', "For ony sake, gie's a grip o' some o' your hands
till I get oot o' this draw-wall, or I'm a deid man."

I think he had gotten haud o' a shelf abune his heid, an' giein'
himsel' a poo up; for there was a most terriple reeshel o' broken
bottles, an' beef tins, an' roarin' an' swearin', you never heard the
like.

"What i' the face o' the earth was ye doin' blawin' oot the can'le,
Sandy?" said Dauvid Kenawee.  "Hold on a meenit till I strik' a spunk,
an' see wha's a' deid," he says; an' wi' that he strak' a match an'
lichtit the can'le.  Bandy had gotten himsel' akinda warsled oot o' the
boiler, but Stumpie Mertin had tnakit his wid leg ower by the ankle,
an' there he was hawpin' aboot, gaen bobbin' up an' doon like a
rabbit's tail, roarin' "Murder!"

"I think we'll better lave ower the rest o' the meetin' till anither
nicht," said Moses Certricht, "an' we can look into the toon's midden
some ither time."

"Juist tak' a look roond aboot ye," says I, in at the winda, "an' ye'll
see midden eneuch.  Wha's genna clean up that mairter?  I paws for a
answer," says I, in a voice as like Sandy's bural-society wey o'
speakin' as I cud manish.  "Speak aboot pettin' Sandy Bowden at the tap
o' the poll.  He'll be mair use at the end o' the bissam shaft, I'm
thinkin'."

"C'wey, you lads," says Bandy.  "I'm soakin' dreepin' throo an' throo,
an' it's time I was oot o' this."

"Hear, hear," says Watty again; an' oot the entry they a' merched
withoot a wird.  If I'm no mista'en that'll be the end o' Sandy's Toon
Cooncillin'; an' time till't, I think.  The man's no' wyse to think
aboot ony sic thing.  Perfeckly ridic'lous!

Sandy an' me were oot the Sands enjoyin' a bit walk juist yesterday
efternune, an' we were dreedfu' quiet.  There didna appear to be
onything to speak aboot ava.  So I juist said in a kind o' jokey wey,
"Ay, Sandy, an' hae ye seen the Ward Committee yet, laddie, aboot that
Toon Cooncil bisness."

As shure's ocht, he grew reed i' the face; but he got richt efter a
whilie, an' he says, "We're genna be like the Skule Brod efter this,
Bawbie.  We'll hae oor meetin's in private, an' juist lat you an' the
publik ken aboot bits o' things ya can mak' naething o'.  D'ye see?  If
ye pet your nose in aboot ony bolies harkenin', you'll mibby get the
wecht o' a bissam shaft on the end o't.  That'll learn ye to slooch an'
harken to ither fowk's bisness."

"Keep me!" says I, I says.  "Ye're terriple peppery the nicht, Sandy.
Wha's been straikin' you against the hair, cratur?  It wasna me that
shuved Bandy i' the boiler; but he'd been neen the waur o' a bit steep,
for he trails aboot a clorty-like sicht.  Him speak aboot the watter
supply!  It's no' muckle he kens aboot the watter supply, or the soap
supply ether."

"Look here, Bawbie," says Sandy, "if you're genna rag me ony mair aboot
that, it's as fac's ocht, I'll rin awa' an' join the mileeshie.  I wud
raither be blawn into minch wi' an' echty-ton gun than stand ony mair
o' your gab."

"Tut, tut, Sandy," says I, "keep on your dickie, man.  Ye're no'
needin' to get into a pavey like that.  Keep me, fowk wud think ye was
discussin' the auld kirk questin, the wey you're roarin'.  The
mileeshie wudna hae you at ony rate, an' we're no' juist dune wi' ye at
hame yet.  But neist time you're makin' a speech, Sandy, dinna try an'
stand on ae leg.  That's what put ye aff the straucht.  Ye see----"

I lookit roond, an' Sandy wasna there.  When I turned, here's him
fleein' in the Sands wi' his fingers in his lugs, like spring-heeled
Jeck.  I tell ye, that man winna heed a single wird I say till him.



XVI.

SANDY'S CHRISTMAS PRESENT.

Oh, wheesht!  When Sandy's on for doin' something special, he nearhand
aye mak's a gutter o't some wey or ither.  On Setarday nicht he was
gaen aboot hostin', an' spittin', an' sayin' ilky noo an' than, "Ay,
Bawbie; it's a fine nicht the nicht."  He sweepit oot ahent the washin'
soda barrel twa-three times; then he rowed up the tnock that ticht that
she's never steered a meenit sin' syne.  He took the hammer an' ca'd a'
the coals fair into koom, an' then he redd up at the back shop till I
cudna lay my hands on a single thing 'at I wantit.  I saw fine there
was something i' the wind; but, do my best, I cudna jaloose what it was.

He put on the shop shutters, an' syne screwed aff the gas at the meeter
afore I got the bawbees oot o' the till, an' stack in, ye never saw the
like.  He was that anxious to gie me a hand that he hendered me near
half an 'oor.

This gaed on a' Sabbath!  He was three times at the kirk, an' he
roostit an' sang till the bit lassies i' the very koir lookit aboot
akinda feard like.  But Sandy never jowed his jundie.  He put in
anither button o' his coat, an' stack in till the Auld Hunder like the
Jook o' Wellinton at the battle o' Waterloo.  The koir sang an anthem
i' the efternune, an' Sandy sang anither at the same time, the rest o'
the fowk harkenin' to the competition.  Sandy gaed squawlin' an'
squawkin' up an' doon amon' the quivers, an' through the middle o' what
he ca'd the cruchits, juist like a young pairtrick amon' a pozel o'
hag.  Mistress Glendie, that sits at the tap o' oor seat, is a bit o' a
singer, an' she put back her lugs an' skooled like a fountin' mule at
Sandy, oot at the corner o' her specks; but Sandy never lut dab.  His
een, when he hadna his nose buried in his book, were awa' i' the roof
o' the kirk, an' Mistress Glendie never got a squawk in ava, eksep when
Sandy was swallowin' his spittal.

Gaen to the kirk at nicht was something to mind aboot.  There wasna a
lamp to be seen--an' sic roads!  The very laddies frae the Sabbath
Schule were gaen on the paidmint, whaur there were maist gutters, an'
skowf kickin' them at ane anither.  The middle o' the road cudna haud
the can'le to the paidmints for glaur lest Sabbath.  Sandy an' me gaed
kloiterin' alang the Port, Sandy yatterin' ilky noo-an'-than--"Keep on
the plennies, 'oman."  He was keepin' his e'e on his feet that steady,
that, afore I kent whaur I was, he had baith o's wammlin' aboot amon'
the gutters doon the Dens.  He'd taen the wrang side o' the dyke at the
fit o' the High Road, an' awa' doon the brae instead o' up!  We saw the
muckle lamp up abune the brig juist like a lichthoose twenty mile awa'.
Sandy was widin' aboot amon' the mud, an' his lorn shune liftin' wi' a
noisy gluck, juist like a pump aff the fang.

"I think this is shurely the Sloch o' Dispond we've gotten intil,
Bawbie," says he.

"It looks liker the Wardmill Dam," says I, I says; "but if I get oot
o't livin', I'll lat the pileece hear o't.  A gey Lichtin' Commitee we
have, to hae fowk wammlin' aboot i' the mirk like this on their wey to
the kirk!  There's ower muckle keepin' fowk i' the dark a' roond," says
I, I says; "an' there maun be an end till't.  It's a perfeck scandal."

Juist at this meenit Sandy got grips o' the railin' o' the stair, an'
him an' me got ane anither trailed up some wey or ither.  Gin I got on
the paidmint, I was slippin' here an' there like some lassie on the
skeetchin' pond, till doon I skaikit, skloit on the braid o' my back,
an' left my life-size engravin' i' the middle o' the road.  Eh, it was
a gude thing I didna hae on my best frock!  I shiftit at tea-time, for
thae gutters mak' sic a dreedfu' mairter o' a body.

"It's a black, burnin' shame," says Sandy, as he gaithered me up; "an'
I howp some o' thae Lichtin' Commitee chappies 'ill get a dook amon'
the gutters the nicht for this pliskie o' theirs.  It's a fine nicht
fort.  Fowk peyin' nae end o' rates, an' a' the streets as dark as a
cell--a sell it is, an' nae mistak'.  Feech!  I tell ye, what it is an'
what it's no', Bawbie----"

"Wheesht, Sandy," says I.  "Keep me, if ye go on rantin' like that, the
fowk 'ill think ye've startit the street preachin'.  Haud your lang
tongue.  I'm no' michty muckle the waur."

Sandy took oot his tnife an' gae me a bit skrape; an' we landit at the
kirk an' got a rale gude sermon aboot the birkie 'at belanged to
Simaria an' fell on his road hame, an' so on.  I wasna muckle the waur
o't efter a'--o' the fa', I mean, of coorse, no' the sermon--an', when
we got hame, I got aff my goon; an' tho' Sandy gae the Lichtin'
Commitee an' the gutter-raikers a gey haf-'oor's throo the mill, I
didna think muckle mair aboot it.

But, as I was sayin', this was a' leadin' up to something.  Sandy cudna
sit still at nicht, an' he sang an' smokit till, atween bein' deaved
an' scumfished, I was nearhand seek.  Efter readin' oor chapter, I gaed
awa' to my bed.  I lookit up twa-three times an' saw Sandy sittin'
afore the fire, twirlin' his thooms, an' gien a bit whistle noo an'
than.  Efter a while he put oot the gas, an' syne began to tak' aff his
claes, an' wide aboot amon' the furniture as uswal.  He got intil his
bed efter a quarter o' an oor's miscellaneous scramblin', an' was sune
snorin' like a dragoon.

When I got atower i' the mornin', what is there sittin' on my chair but
a great muckle shortie in a braw box, wi' a Christmas caird on the tap
o't.  When I opened the box here's ane o' my stockin's lyin' on the tap
o' a great big cake, juist like this:--

      To
   B. BOWDEN
    from a
    F IEND

I lookit anower at Sandy, an' here's him lyin' wi' a look on his face
like's he was wantin' on the Parochial Buird.

"Eh, Sandy!  What a man you are!" I says, says I; for, mind you, I was
a richt prood woman on Munanday mornin'.

"It was Sandy Claws, 'oman," says he, lauchin'.  "He cudna get the box
into your stockin', so he juist put your stockin' into the box.  But
it's juist sax an' half a dizzen, I suppose."

I hude up the cake to the licht, an' read oot the braw white sugar
letters--"'To B. Bowden from a Fiend.'  But wha's the fiend, Sandy?"
says I, I says.

"Fiend!" roared Sandy, jumpin' ooten his bed.  "Lat's see't."

He glowered at the cake like's he was tryin' to mismerise somebody; an'
then he says, "See a haud o' my troosers there, Bawbie.  I'll go doon
an' pet that baker through his mixin' machine.  I'll lat him see what
kind o' a fiend I am.  I'll fiend him."

"Hover a blink, Sandy," says I.  "Here's ane o' the letters stickin' to
my stokin'."  Shure eneuch, here was a great big "R" stickin' to the
ribs o' my stockin'; so I juist took a lickie glue an' stak her on the
cake, an' made it read a' richt.  Sandy was rale pleased when he saw me
so big aboot my cake; an' he's been trailin' in aboot a' the neepers to
see "the wife's cake," as he ca's't.  An' he stands wi' his thooms i'
the oxter holes o' his weyscot, an' lauchs, an' says, "Tyuch; naething
ava; no wirth speakin' aboot," when I tell them hoo big I am aboot it.

She's genna be broken on Munanday--Nooeer's-day.  If you're pasain' oor
wey, look in an' get a crummie.  I'll be richt gled to see you, I'm
shure.  A happy noo 'ear to you, when it comes--an' mony may ye see!
Ah-hy!  Gude-day wi' ye i' the noo than!  Imphm!  Gude-day.  See an'
gie's a cry in on Munanday, noo-na.  Ta-ta!



XVII.

AT THE SELECT CHOIR'S CONCERT.

Sin' Friday nicht I've been gaen aboot wi' my hert an' moo fu' o'
musik!  Eh, hoo I did enjoy yon Gleeka Koir's singin'.  I hinna heard
onything like it for mony a day.  D'ye ken, fine musik juist affeks me
like a gude preechin'--an' waur whiles.  I canna help frae thinkin'
aboot it.  The tune I've been hearin' 'ill come into my heid at a'
times; an' here I'll be maybe croonin' awa' i' the shop to mysel' "Will
ye no' come back again?" an' gien somebody mustard instead o' peysmeal,
an', of coorse, it comes back again, an' a gey wey o' doin' wi't, an'
nae mistak'.

But, eh, I enjoyed the Burns Club concert!  Sandy an' me was doon at
the hall on the back o' seven o'clock, an' we got set doon at the end
o' ane o' the farrest-forrit sixpenny seats, an' got a lean on the back
o' ane o' the shilliny anes.  We was gey gled we gaed doon early, for
the hall was foo juist in a clap; an' gin aucht o'clock, Sandy tells
me, they were offerin' half-a-croon to get their lug to the keyhole.
It was an awfu' crush.

There was a gey pompis-like carlie cam' an' tried to birz Sandy an' me
up the seat; but Sandy sune made a job o' him.

"Have you a ticket?" says Sandy.

"Ay, have I," says the carlie, curlin' up his lips gey snappish-like;
"I have a three-shillin' ticket."

"Ay, weel, awa' oot o' this," says Sandy.  "This is the sikey seats,
an' we dinna want ony o' you chappies poachin' amon' his lads.  If
you've only a three-shilliny ticket, you'll awa' oot o' this, gey
smert," says Sandy; an' a lot o' the fowk backit him up, an' faigs,
mind ye, the carlie had to crawl awa' forrit again, whaur he cam' frae.
The cheek o' the cratur!  Thocht, mind ye, he wud get crushed in amon'
his sikey fowk wi' his three-shilliny ticket!

Whenever the singin' began ye wudda heard a preen fa'.  "There was a
lad was born in Kyle," juist nearhand garred Sandy jump aff his seat.
He cud hardly keep his feet still, an' he noddit his heid frae side to
side, an' leuch, like's he was some noo-married king drivin' awa' throo
the streets o' London till his honeymune.  Syne at "My luve she's like
a reed, reed rose," he smakit his lips, an' turned his een up to the
ruif, an' lookit to me twa-three times like's he was genna tak' a dwam
o' some kind.  That used to be a favourite sang o' Pecker Donnit's when
he precentit up at Dimbarrow.  Eh, mony's the time I've heard him at
it.  Ye'll mind fine o' the Peeker?  He bade ower i' yon cottar hoose,
wast a bittie frae the Whin Inn.  He had twa dochters, ye'll mind, an'
a he-cat that killed whitterits wi' a blind e'e.  Eh, ay; that's mony a
lang day syne!  But I'm awa' frae my story.

I cudna tell ye which o' the bits I likeit best.  I juist sat nearhand
a' nicht fairly entranced.  I thocht yon twa kimmers that sang "The
Banks an' Braes o' Bonnie Boon" did awfu' pritty.  Raley, my hert was
i' my moo twa-three times when they were at the bitties whaur they sang
laich, juist like the sooch-soochin' o' the hairst wind i' the
forenicht amon' the stocks.  Sandy was sweengin' aboot in his seat,
like's he was learnin' the velocipede, an' takin' a lang breath ilky
noo-an'-than, an' sayin', "Imphm; ay, man; juist that."  He riffed when
the lassies sat doon, till ye wud thocht he wudda haen his hands
blistered; but I think he was gled o' onything to do, juist to lat him
get himsel' gien vent.

When the koir startit to sing aboot Willie Wastle, Sandy nickered awa'
like a noo-spain'd foal, an' aye when they cam' to the henmist line o'
the verse he gae me a prog i' the ribs wi' his elba, as much as to say,
"That's ane for you, Bawbie!"  But I watched him, an' at the henmist
verse, when they said terriple quick, "I wudna gie a button for her," I
juist edged alang a bittie, an' Sandy's elba missin', he juist exakly
landit pargeddis in a fisherwife's lap that was sittin' ahent's.  There
was plenty o' lauchin' an' clappin' whaur we was, I can tell ye.

I likeit "Scots wha hae," an' the "Macgregor's Gaitherin'."  I thocht
yon was juist grand.  When they were singin' "Scots wha hae," Sandy
glowered a' roond aboot him like's he wudda likeit to ken if onybody
wantit a fecht.  What a soond there was at the strong bits.  The feint
a ane o' me kens whaur yon men an' weemin' get a' yon soond.  At some
o' the lines o' the "Macgregor's Gaitherin'" it was like the wind
thunderin' doon Glen Tanner, or the Rooshyan guns at Sebastypool.  I
cudna help frae notisin' hoo it garred a'body sit straucht up.  When
yon lassie was singin' sae bonnie, "John Anderson, my Jo," a' the
fowk's heids were hingin'; but at "Scots wha hae" they sat up like life
gairds, and ilky body near me lookit like's it wudna be cannie speakin'
to them.

There was ae thing they sang that wasna on the programme that I thocht
awfu' muckle o'.  It was something aboot "Tramp!  Tramp!  Tramp!"  Ane
o' the lassies sang a bit hersel' here an' there, an' eh, what splendid
it was.  She gaed up an' doon amon' the notes juist like forkit
lichtnin', an her voice rang oot as clear as a bell.  It was raley
something terriple pritty.  When she feenished ye wudda thocht the fowk
was genna ding doon the hoose.  "Man, that raley snecks a' green thing;
it fair cowps the cairt ower onything ever I heard," says Sandy, gien
his nose a dicht wi' the back o' his hand.  "That dame has raley a
grand pipe; ye wud winder whaur she fand room for a' the wind she maun
need."  A foll curn fowk startit to the lauchin' when Sandy said this;
but, faigs, mind ye, the lassie fairly astonished me.

When the votes o' thanks were gien oot, Sandy riffed an' rattled oot o'
a' measure.  I thocht ance or twice he wud be up to the pletform to say
a wird or twa himsel', he was that excited.  Syne when "Auld Lang Syne"
was mentioned, he sprang till his feet, evened his gravat, pulled doon
his weyscot, put a' the buttons intil his coat, an' swallowed a
spittal.  An' hoo he tootit an' sang!  I thocht the precentor that was
beatin' time lookit across at him twa-three times, he was roostin' an'
roarin' at sic a rate.  He sang at the pitch o' his voice--

  Shud auld acquantance be forgot,
    An' never brocht to mind,

an' syne gien me a great daud on the shuder wi' his elba, he says,
"Sing quicker, Bawbie"--

  For the days o' auld langsyne.

There was a fisher ahent's that strak' in wi' the chorus an' made an'
awfu' gutter o't.  He yalpit awa' a' on ae note, juist like's he was
roarin' to somebody to lowse the penter; an' though Sandy keepit gaen,
he was in a richt raise.

"That roarin' nowt's juist makin' a pure soss o't," he says, when we
finished.  "Ye wud easy ken he had learned his singin' at the sea"; an'
he glowered roond at him gey ill-natir'd like, an' says, "Haud your
tung, ye roarin' cuif."  Syne he grippit the fisher's hand wi' ane o'
his, an' mine wi' the ither, an' startit--

  An' here's a hand, my trusty fraend, eksettera.

The fisher lookit gey dumfoondered like, an' never lut anither peek;
but Sandy stack in like a larry-horse till the feenish, an' he cam'
hame a' the road sayin', "Man, that's raley been a treat!"

It was that, an' nae mistak', an' as the chairman said, it'll be a
memorable concert to mony a ane.



XVIII.

SANDY RUNS A RACE.

Weel, I'll tell ye what it is, an' what it's no'--I thocht the ither
nicht that Sandy had gotten to the far end o' his ongaens.  If ever a
woman thocht she was genna hae to don her weeda's weeds, it was me.  I
never expeckit to see Sandy again, till he was brocht in on the police
streetchin' buird.  But I'll better begin my story at the beginnin'.
What needs I care whuther fowk kens a' aboot it, or no'?  I've been
black affrontit that often, I dinna care a doaken noo what happens.
I've dune my best to be a faithfu' wife; an' I'm shure I've trauchled
awa' an' putten up wi' a man that ony ither woman wudda pushon'd twenty
'ear syne!  But that's nether here nor there.

Weel, to get to my story.  Aboot a week syne I was busy at the back
door, hingin' oot some bits o' things, an', hearin' some din i' the
back shop, I took a bit glint in at the winda.  Fancy my surprise, when
here's Sandy i' the middle o' the flure garrin' his airms an' legs flee
like the shakers o' Robbie Smith's "deevil."

"What i' the earth is he up till noo?" says I to mysel'.  He stoppit
efter a whilie, an' syne my lad quietly tnaks twa raw eggs on the edge
o' a cup, an' doon his thrapple wi' them.  He brook up the shalls into
little bitties an' steered them in amon' the ase, so's I wudna see
them.  Atower to the middle o' the flure he comes again, an', stridin'
his legs oot, he began to garr first the tae airm an' syne the tither
gae whirlin' roond an' roond like the fly wheel o' an engine.  It
mindit me o' the schule laddies an' their bummers.  Weel, than; I goes
my wa's into the hoose.

"Ay, it's a fine thing an egg, Sandy," says I; "especially twa."  I
turned roond to the dresser-heid, no' to lat him see me lauchin'--for I
cudna keep it in--an' pretendit to be lookin' for something.

"It is so, Bawbie," says he; an' I noticed him i' the lookin'-gless
pettin' his thoom till his nose.  I whiskit roond aboot gey quick, an'
he drappit his hands like lichtnin', an' began whistlin' "Tillygorm."

"I've heard it said," says I, "that a raw egg's gude for a yooky nose."

"You're aye hearin' some blethers," says he; "but there's Robbie
Mershell i' the shop"; an' but he ran to sair him.

I kent fine there was something up, so I keepit my lugs an' een open,
but it beat me to get at the boddom o't.  Pottie Lawson, Bandy Wobster,
an' Sandy have juist been thick an' three faud sin the Hielant games
toornament, an' I kent fine there was some pliskie brooin' amon' them.
They've hardly ever been oot o' the washin'-hoose, them an' twa-three
mair.  Great, muckle, hingin'-aboot, ill-faured scoonges, every ane o'
them!  I tell ye, Sandy hasna dune a hand's turn for the lest week, but
haikit aboot wi' them, plesterin' aboot this thing an' that.  Feech!
If I was a man, as I'm a woman, I wud kick the whole box an' dice o'
them oot the entry.

I gaed by the washin'-hoose door twa-three times, an' heard the
spittin', an' the ochin' an' ayin', an' some bletherin' aboot
sprentin', an' rubbin' doon, an' sic like; but I cud mak' nether heid
nor tail o't.  But, I can tell ye, baith heid an' tail o't cam' oot on
Setarday nicht.

Sandy, as uswal, put on his goshores on Setarday efternune, an' awa' he
gaed aboot five o'clock, an' I saw nae mair o' him till the lang legs
o' him----  But you'll learn aboot that sune eneuch.  It was a sicht,
the first sicht I got o' him, I can tell you.

I was takin' a bit cuppie o' tea to mysel' aboot seven o'clock, for I
had been terriple busy a' forenicht.  Nathan was stanin' at the table
as uswal, growk-growkin' awa' for a bit o' my tea biskit.  "I dinna
like growkin' bairns," I says to Nathan, juist as I was genna gie him a
bit piece an' some noo grozer jeel on't.

"I'm no' carin'," he says, blawin' his nose atween his finger an' his
thoom, an' syne dichtin't wi' his bonnet.  "I wasna growkin'; but at
ony rate I'll no tell ye aboot Sandy.  He said he wud gie me a
letherin' if I was a clash-pie; but I was juist genna tell you, but
I'll no' do't noo," an' oot at the door he gaed.  I cried on him to
come back, but, yea wud!

I saw nae mair o' him for half an 'oor, when in he comes to the back
shop wi' a bundle o' claes an' flang them i' the flure.  "There's
Sandy's claes," says he.  "I got them frae Bandy Wobster at the tap o'
the street.  He got them lyin' oot the Sands, an' he disna ken naething
aboot Sandy."

"O, Alick Bowden," I says to mysel', says I; "I kent this would be the
end o't some day!  He's gane awa' dookin' an' gotten himsel' drooned.
O, my puir man!  I howp they'll get his body, or never anither bit o'
fish will I eat!  There's Mistress Mertin fand a galace button in a
red-waur codlin's guts lest week; an' it's no' so very lang syne sin'
Mistress Kenawee got fower bits o' skellie i' the crap o' a colomy.
Puir Sandy!  I winder hoo they'll do wi' the bural society bawbees?"

"Is Sandy deid, Bawbie?" says Nathan.

"Ay; I doot he's deid, Nathan, laddie," says I.

"An' will you lat me get a ride on the dickie at the bural, Bawbie?"
says Nathan, clawin' his heid throo a hole in his glengairy.

"Haud your tongue, laddie," says I; "ye dinna ken what you're speakin'
aboot."

I gaithered up the claes.  There was nae mistakin' them.  They were
Sandy's!  The breeks pooches were foo o' nails an' strings, an' as
muckle ither rubbish as you wudda gotten in Peattie Broon's, the
pigman's, back shop.  There was a lot o' fiddle rozit i' the weyscot,
an' a box o' queer-lookin' ointment ca'd auntie stuff.  But what strack
me first was that his seamit an' his drawers werena there.  "Cud he
gane in dookin' wi' them on?" thocht I to mysel'.  I cudna see throo't
ava.

I gaed awa' to the shop door juist to look oot, an' I sees Pottie
Lawson, Bandy Wobster, an' twa-three mair at the tap o' the street
lauchin' like ony thing.  I throo the key i' the door in a blink, an'
up the street I goes.  Pottie was juist in the middle o' a great
hallach o' a lauch, when I grippit him by the collar.  He swallowed the
rest o' his lauch, I can tell you.

"What hae ye dune till my man, ye nesty, clorty, ill-lookin',
mischeevious footer?" I says, giein' him a shak' that garred him turn
up the white o' his een.

"Tak' your hand off me, you ill-tongued bissam," saya he, "or I'll lay
your feet fest for you."

"Will you?" says I; an' I gae him a shuve that kowpit him
heels-ower-heid ower the tap o' Gairner Winton's ae-wheeled barrow,
that was sittin' ahent him.  When he got himsel' gaithered oot amon'
the peycods an' cabbitch, he was genna be at me, but Dauvid Kenawee
stappit forrit, an' says he, "Saira ye richt, ye gude-for-naething
snipe 'at ye are.  Lift a hand till her, an' I'll ca' the chafts o' ye
by ither."

"What bisness hae you shuvin' your nose in?" says Pottie Lawson.
"There was naebody middlin' wi' you."

"Juist you keep your moo steekit, Pottie," says Dauvid, "or I'll mibby
be middlin' wi' you.  You're a miserable pack o' vagues, a' the lot o'
ye, to gae wa' an' tak' advantage o' an' auld man!  Yah!  Damish your
skins, I cud thrash the whole pack o' ye."  He up wi' his niv an' took
a hawp forrit.  Pottie gaed apung ower the barrow again, an' sat doon
on the tap o' the Gairner, wha was busy gaitherin' up his gudes.

"Come awa', Bawbie," says Dauvid, takin' a haud o' my airm, "Sandy 'ill
turn up yet."  So awa' we gaed, leavin' the fower or five o' them
wammlin' awa' amon' the cabbitch, juist like what swine generally do
when they get in amon' a gairner's stocks.

"Sandy's a fulish man," said Dauvid, when we landit at the shop door.

"Ye micht as weel tell me that twice twa's fower, Dauvid," says I.
"Fulish is no' the wird for't."

"There's been some haiverin' amon' them aboot rinnin'; an' Sandy, like
an auld fule, had been bouncin' aboot what he could do," gaed on
Dauvid, withoot mindin' what I said.  "Sandy's fair gyte aboot fitba'
an' harryin' an' sic like ploys.  Weel-a-weel, Pottie Lawson an'
twa-three mair o' them got Sandy to mak' a wadger o' five bob that he
wud rin three miles in twenty-five meenits oot the Sands, an' they tell
me Sandy's been oot twa-three times trainin' himsel'.  To mak' a lang
story short--Bandy Wobster gae me the particulars--the race cam' aff
the nicht.  Sandy strippit juist doon at the second slippie on the
Sands yonder.  He keepit naething on but his inside sark, an' his
drawers, an' a pair o' slippers, an' aff he set to rin ootby to the
targets an' back.  He wasna fower meenits awa' when the lot o' the
dirty deevils--that I shud ca' them sic a name--gaithered up Sandy's
claes an' cam' their wa's in the road, leavin' Sandy to get hame the
best wey he cud.  Bandy Wobster gae the claes to Nathan at the tap o'
the street, an' tell'd him he fand them on the Sands."

"But whaur'll Sandy be?" says I.

"That's mair than I can tell, Bawbie; but I'll rin doon for the
mistress, an' she'll look efter the shop till we gae oot the Sands an'
see if we can fa' in wi' him," said Dauvid.

Dauvid gaed awa' for Mistress Kenawee, an' I ran up the stair to the
garret to throw on my bonnet, takin' Sandy's claes wi' me.  Preserve's
a', when I lookit into the garret, here's the skylicht open, an' twa
lang, skranky legs, wi' a pair o' buggers at the end o' them, wammlin'
aboot like twa rattlesnakes tryin' to get to the fluir.  I drappit the
claes, oot at the door, an' steekit it ahent me.  I keekit in aneth the
door, juist to see what wud happen.  Sandy landit cloit doon on the
flure, an' sat sweitin', an' pechin', an' ac'ually greetin'.  What a
picture he presentit!  I cudna tell ye a' what he said.  There were a
lot o' wirds amon't that's no' i' the dictionar'; an' I can tell ye, if
Pottie Lawson an' Bandy Wobster get the half o' what Sandy promised
them, baith in this world an' the next, they'll no hae far to find for
a sair place.

"Man, gin ye'd haen the brains o' a cock spug," I heard him sayin' till
himsel', "ye michta jaloosed they were to play ye some prank.  You
muckle, dozent gozlin'," he says; an' he took himsel' a skelp i' the
side o' the heid wi' his open luif that near ca'd him on his back.  In
his stagger his feet tickled amon' his claes, an' he gaithered them up,
an' lookit fair dumfoondered like.  He put them a' on; an' gyne--what
think you?  Puir Sandy ac'ually sat doon an' claspit his hands, an' I
heard him sayin', "I'm an awfu' eedeit, a pure provoke to a' 'at
belangs me! but if I'm forgi'en this time, I'll try an' do better frae
this day forrit.  An' I'll gie Pottie Lawson a killin' that he'll no'
forget in a hurry.  He'll better waurro, if I get a haud o' him.  I'll
lat Bandy Wobster awa' wi't, 'cause he's no' near wyse, an' he's an'
objeck a'ready."

Juist at this meenit Mistress Kenawee cries up the stair, "Are you
there, Bawbie?" an' I had to rin doon.  I tell'd them Sandy was hame a'
richt.  Dauvid wantit to see him.  But, na na!  I keepit what I kent o'
Sandy's story to mysel'; an', puir cratur, I was raley sorry for him.
He gaed aboot a' Sabbath rale dementit like; an', i' the efternune, I
cam' in upon him i' the back shop dancin' on the tap o' a seek o' caff,
an' sayin', "Ye'll poach neen this winter, ye----" an' so on.

Atween you an' me, it'll no' be a bawbee's-wirth o' stickin' plester
that'll sair Pottie if Sandy gets his fingers ower him.

"Ay, you cam' in withoot chappin' on Setarday nicht, Sandy," I says,
says I, at brakfast time on Munanday mornin', 'cause I saw fine he
wantit to speak aboot it.

"I'll do the chappin' when I get a grab o' Pottie Lawson," says Sandy.
"But I'll tell you this, Bawbie; when I was jookin' alang by the
roppie, tryin' to get hame, it's as fac's ocht, I thocht twa-three
times o' gaen plunk in amon' the water, an' makin' a feenish o't.  I
was that angry an' ashamed.  But, man, I ran up throo the yairds,
without onybody seein's, an' got in at the skylicht.  I'll swag,
Bawbie, I never was gledder than when I cam' cloit doon on my hurdies
on the garret flure.  But, as Rob Roy says, there's a day o' rekinin';
an', by faigs, there'll be some fowk 'ill get the stoor taen oot o'
their jeckits when it comes roond, or my name's no Si Bowden!"



XIX.

SANDY REVENGED.

I was tellin' ye aboot Sandy's caper oot the Sands, when Bandy an'
Pottie Lawson made sic a fule o' him.  We'd never seen hint nor hair o'
them here sin' syne; an' I'm shure they're a gude reddance.  But wha
shud turn up i' the washin'-hoose the ither nicht but Pottie!  He'd
gotten Dauvid Kenawee to speak to Sandy, an' gotten the thing sowdered
up some wey or ither, an' there he was again, as brisk as a bee.  But
Sandy wasna that easy pacifeed.  He didna say muckle, but I'll swag he
gey Pottie a neg on Teysday nicht that he'll no forget in a
hurry--nether will Mistress Mollison.

Mind ye, I didna think Sandy was so deep.  It was a gey trick.  Sandy
was determined to pey aff Pottie in his ain coin, an' he had gotten
Bandy Wobster to kollig wi' him to gie Lawson a richt fleg.

There was a big meetin' i' the washin'-hoose nae farrer gane than lest
nicht; an' efter a fell while's crackin', Bandy startit to speak aboot
mismirizin' an' phrenology, an' that kind o' thing.  Bandy tell'd aboot
some o' his exploits mismirizin' sailors, an' took on to show aff his
po'ers on Sandy.  Sandy was quite open to lat him try his hand; so
Bandy says, "Has ony o' you lads a twa-shilliny bit?"

There was a gude deal o' hostin' an' heid-clawin' at this question,
ilka lad lookin' at his neeper as muckle as to say, "I've naething but
half-soverins i' the noo."

"I can gi'e ye fowerpence o' coppers, if that's ony use to ye," said
Stumpie Mertin, shuvin' his airm up to the elba in his breeks pooch.

There was a burst o' lauchin' at this, an' Sandy says, pointin' wi' his
thoom ower his shuder, "Less noise, you lads, for fear her nabs hears
us."  He little thocht that her nabs--that was me, of coorse--was at
the winda hearin' every wird.  Thinks I, my carlie, her nabs 'ill lat
you hear something the nicht that'll garr the lugs o' ye dirl.

There wasna a twa-shilliny bit to be gotten, so Bandy had to tak' the
lid o' a sweetie-bottle an' mak' the best o't.

"Noo, Sandy," says he, "juist grip that gey firm atween your finger an'
your thoom, an' stare at it as hard's ye can.  Nae winkin' or lookin'
aboot; an', you lads, be quiet.  Noo, lat's see ye!"

Sandy took the bottle lid, an' sat doon wi't in's hand, an' stared at
it like's he was lookin' doon intil a draw-wall.  A' the billies sat
roond starin' at Sandy, an' Bandy maleengered aboot, playin' capers wi'
his airms, an' dancin' like some daft man.  Ye cudda tied the lot o'
them wi' a string, they were that taen up wi' Bandy's capers.  He gaed
forrit efter a while an' pettin' his thooms on Sandy's heid, he says,
in a coalman's kind o' a voice, "Sleep, sleep."

"He's awa' wi't," says Bandy, turnin' roond to the rest o' them.  They
were sittin' wi' their moos wide open, an' a great deal mair mismirized
than Sandy, I thocht.

Bandy grippit Sandy by the shuders an' heized him up on his feet; an'
there he stuid, wi' his een shut' an' his airms an' legs hingin' like's
he was dreepin' o' water.  Bandy shot up his heid an opened his een wi'
his fingers, an' there was Sandy juist like Dominy Sampson i' the
museum.

"Noo," says Bandy, "we'll touch his lauchin' bump"; an' he gae Sandy a
stob aboot the heid wi' his finger, an' Sandy set to the lauchin', ye
never heard the like.

"Stop him, Bandy," says Stumpie Mertin, gey excited, "or he'll lauch
his henderend."

"Peece, vile slave, or I'll dekappytate ye wi' my skittimir," says
Sandy, glowerin' at Stumpie.

"He thinks he's the Shaw o' Persha," says Bandy, fingerin' awa' amon'
Sandy's hair.

Here Sandy took to the greetin', an' grat something fearfu'.

"Bliss me," says Dauvid Kenawee, "I never saw the like o' that.  Is he
ac'ually sleepin'?"

"As soond's a tap," says Bandy, an' he touched Sandy again an' stoppit
the greetin'.  "Noo, we'll see what like a job he wud mak' o' a speech
at a ward meetin'," continued Bandy; an' he gae Sandy a slap on the
shuder an' says, "Noo, Mester Bowden, we're at a ward meetin', an'
you're stanin' for the Cooncil.  There's Pottie Lawson in the chair,
an' it's your turn to speak noo.  Lat's hear ye gie them a gude screed
on the topiks of the day."

Sandy gae a bit hauch, an' swallowed a spittal, an' stappin' forrit a
bittie, began--"Mester Chairman----"  He gae Pottie a glower that
nearhand knokit him aff the box he was sittin' on.  "Mester Chairman,"
says he, "we are gaithered thegither to meet wan anither as fella
ratepayers.  If you want a tip-top cooncillor, I'm your man.
Regairdin' this noo kirkyaird bisness, I think it's ridic'lous to spend
the toon's bawbees buyin' buryin' grund for fowk that's no' deid.  Time
eneuch to look oot for buryin' grund when fowk's deid.  An' lat fowk
bury themsel's, juist as they like.  Lat them look oot for their ain
grund, an' no' bather the ratepeyers lookin' oot grund for them.  We'll
hae to get oor brakfast frae the Toon Cooncil by an' by, an' it'll a'
go on the rates, that's juist as fac's ocht.  A' thing's on' the rates
nooadays, frae births to burals.  But I hear wan of my audience cry,
'What aboot the Auld Kirk?'  Weel, that's anither question.  I think
that the shuner the Auld Kirk's aff the pairis the better.  We've
plenty paupirs withoot it.  If it canna do withoot parokial relief, lat
it into the puirhoose.  That's what they wud do wi' you an' me if we
was needin' on the pairis.  What d'ye think o' that?  Then there's the
toon's wall an' the herbir.  Weel, there's no muckle in ony o' them.
There's hardly ony watter i' the teen, an' there's naething but watter
i' the tither.  But mibby if there was a noo licence or twa doon aboot
the shore, there micht be mair traffik i' the herbir.  The trustees wud
mibby need to chairge shore dues on lads 'at was landit on the kee
noo-an'-than.  They cud be shedild as live stock, altho' they were
half-deid wi' drink an' droonin' thegither.  An' noo a wird or twa
aboot----"

Bandy touched Sandy here, an' he stoppit, an' a' the lads clappit their
hands.

Then Bandy gae Sandy a touch here an' there, an' ye never saw the like.
He ate a penny can'le, an' drank half a bottle o' ink, an' I cudna tell
ye a' what.  The billies lookit as gin they were gettin' terrifeed at
Sandy, when I noticed him gie Bandy a bit wink on the sly; an' I saw
syne that Sandy was nae mair mismirized than I was.

"There's neen o' ye here 'at Sandy has ony ill-will at," says Bandy;
"we'll see what like his fechtin' bump wirks."  Wi' that he gae him a
touch ahent the lug, an' Sandy was layin' aboot him in a wink.  "Dinna
touch him, or he'll mittal some o' ye," says Bandy; an' the billies a'
cleared awa' to the ither end o' the washin'-hoose.

A' o' a sudden Sandy grippit an' auld roosty hewk that was lyin' on the
boiler, an' roarin', "Whaur's Pottie Lawson, an' I'll cut his wizand
till him," he made a flee at the door.  You never saw sic a scramblin'
an' fleein'.  Stumpie Merlin dived in ablo the sofa, an' Dauvid Kenawee
jumpit up on the boiler, an' aff wi' the lid for a shield.  Pottie was
gaen bang oot at the door when Sandy grippit him by the cuff o' the
neck.  But Pottie sprang oot o' the coat--it wasna ill to get ooten,
puir chield--an' doon the yaird a' he cud flee, wi' Sandy at his tail,
whirlin' the hewk roond his heid, an' skreechin' like the very
mischief.  Bandy an' a' the rest cam' fleein' efter Sandy.  Pottie took
the yaird dyke at ae loup, an' landit richt on Mistress Mollison's
back, an' sent her bung into the middle o' a lot o' Jacob's ledder 'at
she has growin' in her yaird.  She gaed clean oot o' sicht, an' juist
lay an' roared till her man cam' oot an' helpit her into the hoose.

"O, it's the deevil fleein' efter somebody," she said.  "An' he has an
auld hewk in his hand, an' I saw the sparks o' feyre fleein' frae his
tail.  An' there's aboot sixteen hunder ither deevils at his heels."

On floo Pottie yalpin' "Pileece," "Murder," "Help," wi' Sandy at his
tails, an' the ither half-dizzen followin' up, pechin' like cadgers'
pownies.  Pottie gaed clash into Stumpie Mertin's coal cellar, an'
lockit the door i' the inside.  Sandy kickit at the door, an' Pottie
yalled like a wild cat.  Sandy cam' awa' an' met the ither billies,
an', stoppin' them, tell'd them he was nae mare mismirized than they
were.  "I wantit to gie Pottie a fleg, an' I think he's gotten't," says
he.  "Him an' me's square noo."

They gaed back to Stumpie's cellar, an' gin this time there were twenty
laddies an' twa pileece roond the door.

"It's Pottie Lawson gane daft," said the laddies to the pileece.  "He's
foamin' at the moo."

Efter an awfu' wey o' doin' they got Pottie haled oot o' the cellar an'
hame; an' it's my opinion he'll never be seen in oor washin'-hoose
again; an' I'm shure I'll no' brak' my heart.

But aboot the can'le an' the ink--you mibby winder hoo Sandy manished
to stamack them.  I gaed in an' smelt the ink.  It was sugarelly
watter, an' the can'le had been cut oot o' a neep an' laid juist whaur
it was handy.

Ye never heard sic lauchin' as there's been sin' the story eekit oot.
Sandy's heid pillydakus amon' them a' noo, an' they think he's peyed
aff Pottie wi' compound interest.  It's made Pottie fearder than ever;
they tell me he's been looking efter a job at the Freek bleechin,', so
as to get awa' oot o' the toon for a while.



XX.

SANDY'S APOLOGIA.

"Are ye there, Sandy?  Sandy, are ye there?  Sandy!  I winder whaur
that man'll be?  He'll gae awa' an' leave the shop stanin' open to the
street, as gin it were a byre, an' never think naething aboot it!  Are
ye there, Sandy?" I heard Bawbie sayin' in her bed the ither mornin'.

"Ay, I'm here," says I.  "What are ye yalp-yalpin' at?  What d'ye want?
I had throo to the cellar to rin for tatties to Mistress Hasties.  What
was ye wantin'?"

"See, look!  Ye micht pet the pot on the fire there, an' warm that
drappie pottit-hoach brue; an' ye'll tak' it alang to Mary Emslie,"
said Bawbie.  "Puir cratur, she's gotten her death o' cauld some wey or
ither, an' I think she's smittit her bairnie; for when I was yont
yesterday forenune, the puir little thingie was near closed
a'thegither.  Juist poor the brue into the flagon, Sandy, an' open the
second lang drawer there, an' ye'll get some bits o' things rowed
thegither, an' tak' them alang an' gie them to Mary.  Turn the
lookin'-gless roond this wey a bittie on the dresser there, an I'll
notice in't if onybody comes into the shop, an' tell them to hover a
blink till ye rin yont to Mary's.  Rin noo, Sandy, an' speer at Mary if
she has coals an' sticks, an' tell her to keep on a gude fire.  Puir
cratur!"

"Mary's a fell lot better the day, she thinks, Bawbie," says I, when I
cam' back; "an' she tell'd me the nurse had been in an' snoddit up her
hoose till her, an' sortit the bairn.  Puir cratur, she ac'ually grat
when I gae her the bits o' things for the litlan; an' tell'd me to
thank ye.  She was terriple taen up when I said you wasna able to be up
the day, an' howps ye'll be better gin the morn."

"I think I'm better, but I'm awfu' licht i' the heid yet," says Bawbie.
"Ye micht get the pen an' ink, Sandy, an' send a scart or twa to thae
prenter bodies.  Juist say I've taen a kind o' a dwam, but that I'll
likely be a' richt again in a day or twa.  An' see an' watch your
spellin'.  Gin ony o' the wirds are like to beat ye, juist speer at me,
an' I'll gie ye a hand wi' them."

"A' richt than, Bawbie; I'll do that," says I.  "Noo, juist try an' get
a sleep for a whilie, an' I'll go ben to the shop dask an' write a
scrift for you."

So noo when I have the chance, I'll better juist mention that Bawbie
got terriple seek i' the forenicht yesterday, an' she hardly ever
steekit an e'e a' lest nicht.  An' nether did I, for that pairt o't,
for she byochy-byochied awa' the feck o' the nicht, an' I cudna get
fa'in' ower.  But I didna say onything, for I doot I'm to blame,
although I've never lutten dab that I jaloosed ony thing had happened.

Bawbie was juist gaen awa' to hae her efternune cup yesterday, an' I
was chappin' oot the dottle o' my pipe on the corner o' the chumla,
when it flaw oot an' gaed oot o' sicht some wey.  I socht heich an'
laich for't, but na, na; it wasna to be gotten.  I thocht syne it had
gane into the fire.  But it's my opinion noo, it had fa'in' into
Bawbie's teapot!  She was sayin' ilky noo-an'-than, "That tea has a
dispert queer taste, Sandy.  What can be the maitter wi't?"  I never
took thocht; but when Bawbie fell seek, an' groo as white's a penny
lafe, thinks I to mysel', "That's your dottle, Sandy Bowden!"  But I
never lut wink; for, keep me, if Bawbie had kent, I micht as weel gane
awa' an' sleepit on the Sands for the next twa-three nichts.  She's a
gude-heartit budy; but, man, she gets intil an awfu' pavey whiles, an'
she's nether to hand nor to bind when she gets raised.  But, for ony
sake, dinna lat on I was sayin' onything.

Bawbie's an awfu' cratur to tell fowk aboot me an' my ongaens.  Weel,
there's a lot o' truth in what she says, I maun admit; altho' she mak's
a heap o' din juist aboot twa-three kyowows, noo-an'-than.  I dinna ken
hoo it is ava', I canna help mysel' sometimes.  Man, the daftest-like
ideas tak' a haud o' me whiles--juist like a flesher grippin' a sheep
by the horns--an', do what I like, I canna get oot o' their grips.

For instance, I was gaen up the brae juist the ither nicht, an' the
kirk offisher was stanin' at the kirk door.

"Wud ye bide i' the kirk for ten meenits till I rin hame for a bissam
shaft?" says he.  "I've broken the ane I have."

"Oo, ay," says I; "I'll do that."

Weel, man, I wasna twa meenits into the kirk when I windered what like
it was for size aside Gayneld Park, an' I thocht I wud see if I cud rin
fower times roond it in five meenits.  I buttoned my coat, an' lookit
the time, an' aff I set up ae passage, ower the pletform, doon the
ither passage, throo the lobby, an' so on.  I was juist aboot
feenishin' when, gaen sweesh oot at ane o' the doors, I cam' clash up
again' the minister, an' sent him spinnin' into the middle o' the
lobby, an' the collection plate in his oxter.

"What in the name of common sense is the matter with you?" said he,
gettin' up, an' shakin' the stoor aff his hat.

"Man, ye shud keep aff the coorse," says I, forgettin' for the meenit
whaur I was.  "I was tryin' to brak' the record."

"Break the record!" he says, in a most terrible fizz.  "If it wasna for
the laws of the country, I'd break your head."

Man, the passion o' the sacket was raley veeshis.  He ac'ually spat oot
the wirds; an', faigs, I steekit baith my nivs an' keepit my e'e on
him, for fear he micht lat dab at me.

Juist at that meenit the kirk offisher cam' in, an' the minister
turned, an' gleyin' roond at me gey feared like, said something till
him, an' I heard them crackin' aboot gettin' me hame in a cab.  I saw
in a wink what they were jaloosin'.

"Ye needna bather your heids ahoot a cab," says I.  "I'm wyser than the
twa o' ye puttin' thegither; so keep on your dickies.  Gude-nicht,"
says I; an' doon the front staps I gaed, three at a time, an' hame.

The beathel cam' doon afore he gaed hame, an' speered what i' the world
had happened.

"I was juist comin' oot at the kirk door," says I, "when the minister
cam' skelp up again' me."  I didna mention 'at I was rinnin'.  "The
cratur drappit i' the flure," says I, "like's he'd been shot; an' then
to crack aboot me bein' daft!  Did ye ever hear the like?"

The kirk offisher gaed awa' hame, clawin' his heid, an' sayin' till
himsel', "Weel, it raley snecks a' thing.  There's some ane o' the
three o's no' very soond i' the tap, shurely; an' whuther it's me or
no', I raley canna mak' oot."

But what I want to lat you see is that I do thae daft-like things
sometimes, I dinna very weel ken hoo.  I canna tell ye what wey it
comes aboot.  Is ony o' ye lads ever affekit like that?  Man, I've seen
me gaen to the kirk wi' Bawbie sometimes, dressed in my sirtoo an' my
lum, an' my gloves an' pocket-hankie, an' a'thing juist as snod's a noo
thripenny bit, an', a' o' a sudden, I wud hae to pet my tongue atween
my teeth, an' grip my umberell like's I was wantin' to chock it, juist
to keep mysel' frae tumblin' a fleepy or a catma i' the middle o' the
road amon' a' the kirk fowk, him hat, sirtoo, an' a'thegither.  What
can ye mak' o' the like o that?  It's my opinion sometimes that I was
never meent to behave mysel'; an' yet I'm sensible o' doin' most
terriple stewpid things of'en.  It's a mystery to me, an' a dreefu'
dwang to Bawbie.  But what can ye do?  You canna get medisin for that
kind o' disease!  As Bawbie says, I'll never behave till I'm killed;
an' the fac' o' the maitter is, I'm no' very shure aboot mysel' even
efter that.  I ken it's an awfu' job for Bawbie tholin' my ongaens;
but, at the same time, if it wasna me, the neeper wives an her wudna
hae onything to mak' a molligrant aboot ava.  As the Bible says, we're
fearfu' an' winderfu' made, an', I suppose, we maun juist mak' the best
o't.



THE END.





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