Rough Scan
~VI~
 
MRS M'CURD and me has had a grand ploy-we went to see Edinburgh Castle.
It was a Thursday efternoon, blowy, but no' a bad day. We walked up the Mound. Mrs M'Curd wasna pleased at the buildin' bein' seetiated high up; she said it would have been far handier down about Princes Street, or, mebbe, Comely Bank (she lives in Raeburn Place hersel'), and genteeler too; we were pechin' when we got to the top of the brae. The first objeck of interest was the Explanade, broad and flat, bounded by a row of monuments on the right, and a row of cabs on the left. They've let the walls get into a terrible state of disrepair-holes round and round-and when we came nearer we saw there was guns keekin' through. I dinna like yon; you never can be sure of guns no' goin' off without word or wittens, whether they're loaded or no' - nesty dangerous things; many a one has been shot dead by them afore ever they notticed.
When we got to the top it was awfu' blowy, and we was glad to get inside a door with "To The Regalia" on it. Mrs M'Curd thought it would likely be a Restorong. No' it; it was just jools of one sort and anither, under a glass shade, with the Crown of Scotland in the middle. We bought a pictur post card, price 2d., tellin' the whole story. It seems that Sir Walter Scott found the regalia where the hielanman found the tongs, in the box where it was packed. It had been lost for more than a hundred year - what careless! You would have they might have notticed it sooner nor that - it was a big box. It would be the Railway Co. would loss it, likely. Mary Queen of Scots the last to wear the crown. Poor young lady, was maist unfortnit in her husbands (three), and wee-ness of the room where James the Sixth was born you wouldna believe. Mine's is twice the size.
The next place we viewed was the Banqueting Hall. It's ill-lighted. I got a fright when we were comin' away. I saw a round, shiny, black thing lyin' in a corner, exactly like a bomm, and I was thinkin' I would be expeckit to plump it into a pail of water, when it turned out to be a wee black pussy-cat. Mrs M'Curd is awfu' feared of cats; she says they whiles go mad, and she would raither have a bomm in the house-the kind that doesna go off. No' me; I dinna like explosions of no sort. I mind once, though, when we were goin' to the sea-side, and Tatty was packed in her basket all ready, Miss Celandine put Gowk on the lid just to torment her, like, and she exploded wi' rage like a ginger-beer bottle-it was awesome to hear her. But she never could abide Gowk, although he was her eldest son, and born on the 1st of April, poor beastie; we used to leave him at home to attend to the mice.
When we had seen the sights inside the Castle, we saw some folk keekin' over the wall out-bye, so we looked over too, and there we saw a sma' cementery, seetiated, so to say, on the rock. There was a bonny row of flowers, and about twenty graves, with different names on every one. The tombstones werena life-sized, and we jaloused that they had been putten-up for bairns-sojer's bairns. We could read the names fine- Pat, and Chips, and Flora, and Yum-Yum (that would be the Chinese language, Mrs M'Curd said), and Little Tim, and Canteen Pet (that would be Chinese too), and Billy. We was refleckin' on the prevalence of infant morality, as they ca' it, when a sojer sittin' on the edge of the wall fit to turn you dizzy, explained that they were dogs' sepulcurs-regimental dogs-maist o' them well stricken in years. Mrs M'Curd was hurt at it; she said it was a perfeck intake, and she was needin' her tea. So we came away down the brae, and home in the car, but not without accident, as you'll hear. The way of it was as follows: -
We took transfers, i.e. green tickets that let you get a bit ride on two different cars, if you're goin' that way, for the same penny. When we landed at the foot of the Mound, here did I no' fling away my ticket as if it had been a wee bit waste paper! And I never minded that I should have keepit it till I was sittin' in the Murrayfield car liable to prosecution for traivellin' without a ticket! It was maist affrontin', and thankfu' was I to pay anither penny for a ticket to hold in my hand for decency's sake. But it was a dear ride to me, mind you, and many a time I thought on my ticket lyin' in the mud and nobody gettin' the use of it. Miss Celandine was interested to hear about the dogs' graves, and she's makin' up an epitaff to put on Tatty's tomb if we're spared to bury her. It's to be-
 
~TATTY~ 
~FIFTH AND ONLY SURVIVING WIFE~
~OF THE LATE~
~CHAMPION HOWLER.~
 
It looks fine. She was wantin' to put below, "Her children rise up and call her blessed," but Miss Jean wouldna let her. If all Tatty's bairns was speakin' at once, it would be a fearsome noise.
Miss Celandine says there was folk that objeckit to me tellin' that the pussies we saw in a church in Rome was principally young married ladies; they said it wasna respeckable. Mercy on us! I would like to ken if it would have been mair respeckable if they hadna been married? But some folks is never pleased.