Rough Scan
~VII~
 
Miss CELANDINE is that set on gardening the now that she canna wait till she gets to the West Coast, and she's begun to make a rockery in the back-green here. She's bought a magazine tellin' how to do it, and she aye comes in and reads me the bit, and then she gets me to go out and help her, and me that stiff in the legs! "According to the materials on hand let the rockery be fashioned." That's the way the book began-gey pompish-like. "Aweel," says I, "we've no rocks on hand that I'm aware of, so we'll just need to wait till we get to Kilmorag; two or three rocks off a the shore there will never be notticed."
But when once Miss Celandine's mind is set on a thing, nothing will daunten her, so she never let on she heard me. Away she went out-bye, and she worked away till she found some bricks and four great big stones that had been left behind when the wall was sorted; and then back she came with her hands as black as soot, and the book open at the place. "Now, Marget, listen," says she; "the book says we are to 'Put the rockery up in such a way as if nature had had a hand in the construction.'" "So it will," says I, "ill-natur, if I'm to help wi' it anyway;" and 'deed I was very near lossin' my temper when Miss Celandine told me that it was not natur that was wanted, but grace.
"Hoots, lassie," says I, " you would think it was a kirk we was goin' to build!" But I soon fand out that there's mair grace needed to ereck a rockery nor a kirk; when once a kirk is built it stays up a whilie, but the rockery was aye fallin' down, and I was feared for my corns.
The next thing was to get flowers to grow on it, and the book said, "Near the ground-line may be planted saxifrages, sedums, and ajuga; further up polystichums, chionodoxa, lucella, and other pretty Alpine plants." Did ever you hear the like! Miss Celandine said she would just be doin' with ferns and ivy till she could find out, causually-like, how to prenounce Alpine plants. But she's never got that length. When she was stickin' in a fern she took out of the box at the drawing-room windy, I heard her give a squeal, and when I went to the door to see what was the maitter, here she is fleein' to the house for refuge. One of the stones had couped when she meddled with it, and out flew thousands of clipshears, centipedes, etc., etc. Miss Celandine never could abide wild insecks, and she said there was about 5000 of them, and they were a' running efter her. It was a peety we had no insecticides handy, but I've notticed that Miss Celandine has no' been near so set on the rockery sinsyne.
But she's awfu' set on me gettin' my caird taken, and so is Miss Jean. It seems that Lady Lindesay has been askin' for it, and Kirsty and Merran are aye at me to get my photygraph done. Miss Celandine says it will be needed, for she is intendin' to be a great poet, and a'body conneckit with her will be famous. She's been tellin' me that "The Funeral of 'Powsie-Wowsie'" will be in all the papers, anyway if I'm spared no' to get over my last illness, and there'll be a photygraph needed for the Evenin' News. A perfeck haver! She's begun her poetry-book though, and it's dictated to me. First, there's my name with "To" at the top, and then it proceeds as follows, namely: -
 
My second-cousin! My first aunt!
 
(Miss Celandine used aye to ca' me "Aunty" when she was a bairn.)
 
Who fostered me - tender plant.
 
She never had a thing the maitter with her; but she says now that many's the pain she had in her wee inside, and nobly concealed for fear of Gregory's mixture - I dinna believe a word of it.
 
Who ran to catch me when I fell,
And very wisely let me yell.
 
I've heard something like that afore, but Miss Celandine says that all great minds are liable to say the same thing twice. I've notticed mysel' that Mrs M'Curd and me is apt to say "It's warm the day," at the very same meenit; it's queer.
 
Who grew in beauty by my side, [that's me)
Not so much high as passing wide;
Who taught me to unfasten strings,
And many other useful things;
And pointed me the way to heaven,
And put me to my bed at seven.
 
There's to be more.
When it was settled that I was to be done, there arose a deeficulty about dressin' mysel'. I was for puttin' on my Paris bonnet that I bought in Brussels, but Miss Celandine said I minded her of a defiant washer-wife in it (it's the way the feather cocks up and wags), and Miss Jean says I'm "just sweet" in my kep; so I put on the black silk gown the young ladies gave me, and the real lace collar that belonged to Mrs Murray, and my hair brooch, and my waterproof, and Miss Jean carried my dress kep-the one with the lilac ribbon bows-and a clean hanky, in a sma' band-box, for I had to hold up my skirt - it was a dirty day.

The gentleman was ready for us, and I put off my bonnet in a wee room furnished with a looking glass and a comb. Miss Jean sorted my hair; she aye tells me that I've got "quaint straight curls, like horns." (It's out of a poetry-book, you may be sure; how can curls be straight?) The gentleman then proceeded to let down the scenery. There was a kind of a seashore, and a water, and a high hill with a grand castle on it, at my back; and me sittin' on a chair in the very middle, with my right foot stuck up on a footstool and my elby restin' on a wee round table. I was vexed that I had kind o' overlooked my feet, and here had I no' put on the boots I got soled and heeled for coarse weather; I could have carried my Florence boots with me, and changed my feet in the wee room, so I could. But Miss Jean said she didna think they would be much notticed. I was glowerin' frae me like a wull-cat, and the gentleman had stuck his head under the clout for the last time, when in came Miss Celandine! She was to meet us efter I was taken, but there she was too soon, and naitrally she begude to find fau't. She said my hanky on my lap gave me an awfu' hungry-like look-as if I was waitin' for my tea, and no' likely to get it-and she didna care for the fixed gloom of my expression. I was tellin' her to hold her tongue, when the gentleman said, "Close the lips, please" (to me!) and when I shut my mouth he says, "Not too firmly," so I opened it a wee bittie. "A little more," says he. I did my best, and I was fair provoked to hear Miss Jean murmuring, "'The little more, and how much it is!'" and Miss Celandine said loud out that I was dreadfully sharky-lookin'. The gentleman took out his head, vexed-like, and asked could I no' look more cheerful? Miss Ce]andine whispered, "Fais la risette  monsieur," and I couldna help smilin', for that's what the French nurses aye said to the babies at Grenoble, meanin', "Smile to the gentleman," - and afore I knew how I was lookin' the photographer shut the lid with a snap, and lo and behold it was done! And the last time I got my caird taken (it was at Portobella, on the Queen's Birthday), I had to glower at a fixed spot for mebbe two meenits, and no' wink once. I doubt it was ower quick this time to be well done; but we'll see.
Miss Celandine was for buyin' me a silver frame on the road home if Miss Jean would advance her the money; but Miss Jean said she would do nothing of the sort, and Miss Celandine settled to wait till Christmas.