Rough Scan
~III~
 
MRS M'CURD'S maidenhair fern is stone deid, and she's given me a palm she brought up hersel' instead, I've no' had it for a fortnight yet, but I'm wearied of it already, she makes such a work aboot it. It's naething but a source of anxiety. She never comes to see me but what she asks how it's gettin' on, and if I sponge it every day, and when I watered it; or she says the place is ower hot for it; or it's no' warm enough; or there's a draught! I doubt it's ower parteeclar for a kitchen. It's a long shankie-lookin' srub with sharp leaves - no' very bonny. I tried it on the middle of the dining-room table one day, but Miss Celandine said it would cast a gloom over the the most cheerful meal, and she soon brought it ben again; she said it was ower like Mrs M'Curd for her. Merran canna abide it either, it jags her eyes when she goes forret to the windy; mebbe it'll cure her of wastin' her time lookin' efter Postie.
Mrs M'Curd and me very near had words about it. She says to me last Sabbath, says she, "Why are the ends of the leaves yelly?" Well, ye see, Tatty the cat whiles eats the leaves-she's the only person in the house that really likes the palm, but I wasna goin' to let on to Mrs M'Curd that I kenned that, so I just said, "Yelly?" "Aye," says she, "yelly; it's ower damp; the roots'll rot; and the gas is no' good for it; and the windy near it should be keepit snecked; and the-" "Aweel," says I, "if I'm to be obligated to light, heat, and venterlate the whole kitchen to suit yon palm, it's mair nor I can undertake." So with that she gave a sniff, offended-like, and said she heard the church bells.
I was tellin' Miss Jean, and she said she never heard a sniff like mine's for variety and richness of meanin'; but mind you, Mrs M'Curd can sniff too. Yon meant something.
Tatty's the mother of twenty-nine now, decent beastie, but there's only thirteen of them survived bein' drowned in infancy. The one we've kept this time is a genteel-lookin' kitling-white with a black end to its tail. Miss Celandine ca's it Twopenny.
I mind when Tatty was young we took her to the country with us in a basket, the time we went to a Rectory in Aberdeenshire for the month of August. It was attached to a church they ca'ed Auld Saints, and the house was fornent the churchyard.
One Sabbath day when the laddies with white peenies that sings in the choir were walkin' in two by two, here I sees Tatty walkin' ahint the minister! She had a broad blue ribbon round her throat, and her tail in the air, and she was keepin' step with the procession as neat as you like. I never let on I saw her. Efter a wee whilie she came down the steps and disappeared, and I was hopin' she was away home, when Miss Jean gives me a kind of a meanin' look. Would you believe that Tatty was tryin' to climb a stone pillar the same as if it was a tree, and gettin' on no' that bad! She's a meek cat now by what she was sinsyne.