Rough Scan
~VIII~
 
The young ladies has been away at Kilmorag to see about the pentin' of the house, and Miss Jean left word that me and Mrs M'Curd was to go and see the Pictur-house while they were away; it was to be a treat from her, and we were to sit in the best seats, so as to see a'thing that was to be seen. There's no set time for the show to begin appearin'ly; go when you like there's aye picturs jumpin' off and on the black-board, and a gentleman playin' tunes on the pianny. It's what they ca' a Cinema. I never saw one afore, although many's the time I've etten cinamon drops; they're fine. The best seats was up the stair, and when we got to the top and inside a door, here's the whole place like mirk midnight! How I got creepit down the inside stair without breakin' my neck I'm sure I'll never ken. I was just sittin' down on an auld gentleman in the dark, when up he rose in an awfu' fright, and dunched down a seat for me next him. I was thankfu' to sit down anywhere, and I laid my bag on the empy place next me to keep it for Mrs M'Curd. But it was empier than I thought, and my bag fell right through to the floor wi' a fearfu' clash, the seat no' bein' there at the time - a daft-like arrangement. There was no' a sign of Mrs M'Curd, and I couldna seek her, for the gentleman had snecked my skirt in that firm, and I didna like to bother him to let me out, so I just sat still and looked afore me. A pictur was fleein' awa', and I didna see right what the subjeck was, but no sooner had it disappeared than I was dumbfoundered to see written up in green letters wi' a red stroke round them, "Where is she?" "That's just what I would like to ken," says I. "Beg pardon?" says the gentleman. "I'm wonderin' where Mrs M'Curd is," I says. He thought a wee, and then he says very polite-like, "May I ask how you know her name?" "Hoots!" says I, "Mrs M'Curd and me has sat in the same pew in the kirk for very near twenty year." That settled him, and he held his tongue for a whilie. "Where is she?" flew out, and in dashed a pictur of a young lady and gentleman fleein' along a country road all in a trem'le. I hadna time to see right what she had on, when away they flichtered, and two gentlemen in a motor-car appeared. The car was rushin' along at a fine rate without gettin' much forarder, when it flew away a'thegither, and here's the young lady and gentleman back again. This time they were appearin'ly baith afflicted with St Vitus's dance - awfu' jerky. He had his arm round her waist, and she was talkin' away to him real affectionate-like; by the way she opened her mouth I would jalouse that the gentleman was very near stone-deaf-poor felly. The next pictur was a nottice to say "Were they married?" "What for are they aye givin' guesses?" says I. "Beg pardon," says the gentleman. Afore I got time to say anither word in they come again, bigger nor they were afore, laughin' and carryin' on rideeclous. But that was the end of the story, and up went the gas, and the whole place was as light as day in a jiffy. And if you'll believe me, here was me and one old gentleman sittin' our lee-lane in the front row of the best seats, cheek by jowl, and no' anither person in the same compartment but Mrs M'Curd sittin' on a step half-way down the stair! I wagged to her to come forret, and the gentleman tried to rise to let her by, but he's coat was snecked in too, and we baith had to stand up afore we could get our clothes eckstrickated. Up rose the seats too, and naething but sittin' firm on them would keep them flat for a second; yon's a maist annoyin' invention.
Efter that we saw dizens of picturs with bits of writin' in between. Some of them was ca'd "Interest," and we saw bum-bees buzzin' about and makin' honey. No wonder it's dear; yon's an awfu' work! It minded me of the verse Miss Celandine used to say when she was a bairn-
 
==How doth the little busy bee
===Delight to bark and bite,
==To gather honey all the day,
===And eat it up at night.
 
I liked the "Travel" pieturs best, though. Would you believe that we saw the hotel the young ladies and me was in in Paris, and I was enabled to pint out to Mrs M'Curd the very windy the wee pussy fell out of! Many a time I've told her the story; it was a fair trogedy. The kitling was pure white, and it belonged to a young lady that was livin' high up in the hotel. One fine day it went outside the windy to smell the fresh air. Unfortnitly it set its paws on the edge of a wee box that was standin' on the windy-sole, and away went the box, and the pussy, an' a'! The first we heard of the accident was by means of the head-waiter burstin' into the room, cryin' out something about the Shah. Away went Miss Celandine down the stair, fleein' like an antilope, and me efter her. It was a solemn percession that I met comin' up the stair - Miss Celandine was first carryin' the corpse as flat as a pancake; efter her was the young lady, immersed in tears; the waiter was hind-most dichtin' his een on a table-napkin. The young lady flung hersel' on a sofy, and gave way to her grief; "Tootott, ma feel," says she in the French language (she spoke it fine, bein' French hersel'), meanin', "Tootott, my daughter"; a perfeck profanity. Then Miss Jean came to the fore, and she rang for milk and brandy, and Miss Celandine and her and me combined got it down the cat's throat. Efter a wee whilie it gave a kind of hiccup, and then a wink and a sneeze; finally it sat up and began to lick its jaws and clean its bit face. You'll mebbe no' believe me when I tell you that, no more nor a week efter, it played the very same trick again, alightin' exackly in the middle of a gentleman's hat! He was hurt at it, and up he came in a tirrivee, with the pussy scamperin' behind him, and his hat in his hand; it was that way bashed that it minded me of a concerteeny, so it did, and the hair was rugged off it with the cat's claws, but no doubt it would break the fa'. Mrs M'Curd and me saw the very windy, mind you, and it all came back to me as clear as day. Anither interestin' place we saw was no' exackly the seleck boardin'-house we bode in when we stopped in London, but it was a church that you could see the crown of-what they ca' the "dome" - if you stuck your head out of the back windy; it was ca'ed St Paul's, if I'm right. But anyway, it minded me of the boardin'-house, and the work Miss Jean had to keep Miss Celandine from puttin' an affrontin' nottice in the visitors' book. And did we no' find out syne that she did it efter a'! Miss Celandine never can hold her tongue long when she's done a mischeef, and it was in the train on the road home that she let out that she had got a haud of the book at the last meenit. At first she wouldna say more than just that she had put "a few well-chosen words" (allow her!). But efterwards she said it was a piece from a well-known gentleman, that was a poet to his trade, ca'ed Danty, namely, "Abandon hope all ye who cuter here." We'll no' need to try that boardin' house again in a hurry, and us recommended by Lady Lindesay!
To reshume. We walked home and enjoyed our teas fine-finnan haddies and scones.
I notticed that there was a marked cessation of Samson efter we sat down to our teas: he never once asked in or out for mebbe half an hour.
You'll never guess what was keepin' him quiet, though-he was chewin' the ends off of Mrs M'Curd's bonnet-strings! She laid her bonnet on the wee table in the kitchen to save goin' up the stair, but the strings was danglin' down, and that's a thing Samson canna abide. So here, when I went to lift the bonnet, if the strings wasna etten half-way up! Mrs M'Curd was real nice about it-I will say that-she said the strings was mebbe ower long; and they were pretty well through anyway, and short strings was worn. So Kirsty cut off the wet ends, and tied up the wee bits that was left, tidy-like, but poor Mrs M'Curd had a docket look, and I was vexed for her; it cast a gloom over the evenin'.