~I~ I'm real thankfu' that I'm safe home. "Hame's hamely," as the de'il said when he fand hissel' in the Court of Session. Christina and Merran are tellin' me that I'm lookin' fine efter my traivels. I was glad to hear it, for Miss Celandine said she had notticed symptoms of curvature of the stomach the night I put on my new gown. That was the last night we were at the Seleck Boarding Establishment in London, and glad was I that it was the last night, for what between tongs and texts I was fair sick of other folk's houses. What for can they no' get tongs that'll grup? It was the very same way wherever we went, i.e. the two shanks was that loose that they folded over yin anither perfeckly tired-out like; or else naething on earth would make them open more nor a crack till you gave them an awfu' jerk, and then out they flew as wide as the coal-bunker, let alone the coals. Coals is wee in England by ours. The texts was anither provoke. They minded me of the hints the minister aye reads out in the English Church when the poke is handed round; I dinna like yon. There was one house I mind where the texts was by-ordinar. The very windy-curtain had one pinned to it, namely, "Lean hard." My certy! And me leant quite naitral-like on a chair when I was tidying up the room, and the back of it come away in my hand! Miss Jean used aye to tell me that "Old women's window-plants have guardian angels," when she was admirin' the pots on the windy-sole in the kitchen. But that was when I was at home to look efter them mysel'; naebody would ken them now. Miss Celandine says that mebbe I'm under the statutory age for gettin' a flower-angel. I'm no' sure, but there's been negleck some way. Mrs M'Curd gave me a maidenhair fern at the back-end of the year, and the leaves is that wee now that you wouldna ken what it was meant for, and my castor-oil bush is dwinin' terrible. I bought it at the door from a man that just needed ninepence to secure a grand poseetion as head-gardener to a lady in a self-contained house in Morningside. Castor-oil's a thing I never could enjoy, some way, but the plant was bonny when it was new. No smell. Miss Jean said she thought there must be a worm in the pot, and she told me to water it with mustard and water. So I did, and, if you'll believe me, it wasna more than two meenits before up came the worm lookin' annoyed-like. Poor wee beastie, it would mebbe no' like the mustard. Miss Celandine took it out to the back-green on a sheet of paper; she said it would do fine to kill the weeds. But the queer thing is that my castor-oil bush is no' a bit better! It's awfu' yelly-lookin'. Miss Celandine says it's a judgment on me for accusing an innocent fellow-worm unjustly-a perfeck haver. There's an awfu' odds on the neighbourhood since we've been away! The folk next door has had their washin'-house windy-pane mended, and the back-door is pented green-no' a bright green-a kind-o' solemn shade; it'll wear fine, I would jalouse. There's a ticket with "To Let, furnished or Un-furnished" on No. 19, so the faimly will be thinkin' on flittin', but they're no' goin' to let on if they'll take the furniture with them or no'. But the Bank beats a'! It's done up inside and out as good as new, and they've got all the latest improvements and addeetions, includin' an iron umberelly-stand inside, and one of thae daft-like whirligig things at the door. I canna bide them. Miss Celandine says that I'll mebbe get snecked in some day, owin' to me bein' inclined to ombongpong, and she's feared I'll stop the machinery, and they'll no' be able to eckstricate me from my unpleasant poseetion for hours; dear peety me! But she went in with me hersel' the day, in the same compartment, and the door whirled round fine, and let us out inside. But I was that nervish for fear we would stick, that I couldna mind if I had put my pocket ablow the skirt of my gown or under my strippit petticoat. And Miss Celandine cast up that she had requested me to keep my purse nearer the surface when I was goin' to the Bank with her. And what with one thing and another, I was that putten-about that when the gentleman behind the counter told me to sind my name, I stuck my pen into the wet-sponge dish, and I wunnered when it wouldna write black; I was fair affrontit. But I ken fine they put the damp-dish in the place the ink should be on purpose, so they do. I got my book at long and at last, by means of Standing at a hole with "P" painted over it, and Miss Celandine and me got safely home. It's a chancy thing goin' to a Bank, though, mind you, and I'm aye glad when the term-day's bye.