Rough Scan
~XI~
 
SHUTTIN' up a house is a fearfu' work, and it's worse when there's domestic animals to colleck. Delilah stayed out till the last meenit, and I had a' the shutters on the low flat shut, and Tatty safe in the basket, afore the wee pussy came yowling to the kitchen-windy. I opened the shutters a bittie, and put up the windy to let her in. She was just comin' when something drew her attention, and down she sat as cool as you like to scratch the back of her ear with her hind-leg-I was fair mad-and the cab standin' at the door! I got a hold of her, though, and pulled her through the bars endways; but she didna like bein' interrupted, and she gave me a fine scratch on the road, the wee vixen! I stuffed her in beside her mamaw, and Merran shut the shutters. When I lifted the basket to carry it up the areastairs, I was surprised to feel how light it was-if Tatty hadna leapt out when I put Delilah in, and me never notticed it in the dark! And here she was sittin' at the head of the stairs lookin' nine ways for Friday. I made short work of her, and the cabman put the basket on the dicky. When I come to the high door I was dumbfoundered to hear Miss Celandine cryin', "Samson, Samson," at the top of the house, for the poor beastie had been a' ready, and dressed in his best collar since mebbe eight o'clock, sittin' aside the boxes in the lobby. Then Miss Jean appeared on the doorstep, and she looked east the road and west the road, and syne she cried "idiot!" (She says it's the name Samson answers to quickest; it's the novelty attracks his attention), but no' a sign of the dog. Down flew Miss Celandine bawlin' "Samson" louder and louder, till the very cabman turned round. "Is it a dog you're lookin' for, mem?" says he. "He's been sittin' in the cab waitin' on ye for very near ten meenits." Yon dog's a fair provoke; there's no' a vehicle that's safe from him, he's aye the first to mount, and nothing will take him out when once he's in.
But we started at last, and thankfu' was I that I had ordered the cab half an hour sooner nor Miss Jean told me. I ken fine what a time it takes to leave an empy house, what with turnin' the water off at the metre, and the gas at the main; and no' leavin' a spark of drippin' or anything to attrack mice; and a' the snibbs in, and the back-door locked; and a ticket in the windy with "Letters and Parcels" on it; and the kitchen fire black out.
Tatty yowled a' the way to the station; she was hurt at her bein' in a basket outside the cab, and Samson loose inside; she kent fine.
Mrs M'Curd was at the station to see us off, and to let Miss Celandine see the new bonnet-strings she gave her, on; they looked handsome-watered ribbon, down to her waist. Samson took a good look at them, I notticed.
The platform was crowded; I would jalouse that there was three people to see away every one that was in the train, all standin' about the doors of the carriages, tryin' to think on something approbious to say, and wearyin' of the job. But they cheered up when the ticket-collector came and banged the doors, and, when the train started, they were wavin' their hands, and cryin' "Good-bye," and smilin' with joy and gladness.
We had two hours to wait in Glasgow before we could get the train that catches the Kilmorag boat, so Miss Jean said we would go either to the pictur-gallery or the cathedral, to put past the time, efter we had had a bit piece. Miss Celandine said "no' her," for she would need to hold Samson's hand a' the time (he's an awfu' nervish beastie), and she would raither sit in the waitin'-room with the maids and the cats, and read her book. Miss Celandine is no' near so keen on picturs and cathedrals as Miss Jean. I was hopin' mysel' that they were mainly confined to Italy, and ither continental localities, and little did I think I would be trailed to a cathedral in Glasgow! It's no' needed. We went in a cab, and Miss Jean walked round and round the place, and saw the cripp and a' thing, and I got a sit-down. I was opposeed a great big windy with picturs on it, red and fearsome-lookin'. I had a work to make out the subjeck. I was thinkin' it was Jezebel, or the Scarlet Woman, or mebbe the Seven Deadly Sins, when, lo and behold, I read up, "Now Hannah feared the Lord!" Allow them! You wouldna have thought it by the pictur. It's no' fair; I dinna think ony of her folk would like to see a respeckable married woman handed down to prosperity like yon, wi' her hair hangin' down her back, and no' dressed like her station in life at a'. I canna understan' what for they dinna employ these ladies that breaks windies reglar to try their hand on some of the kirk windies. If their talents was well direckit there's many a congregation would rise up and call them blessed.
When it came to gettin' on to the steamer Samson very near committed suicide; but at long and at last we were all safe landed at Kilmorag pier in a downpour o' rain. The tide was out, and there was a cruel smell of the sea. The young ladies likes it - they ca' it "eau zone"; French, nae doot.
Bertram's cab was waitin' on us, wi' Stephen, the long-nebbit white horse in it, that took us to the pier seven year ago come November. He never was exackly a racehorse, but he's awfu' slow now, poor beastie; he seemed to be thinkin' on sittin' down every wee while. I doubt he's mair sootable for a hearse. But you daurna say a word to Bertram; he aye says, "Stephen's awfu' wullunt, so he is - he's awfu' wullunt." Anyway, he's no' dangerous - he would raither stand still as risk an accident, and he took us all safe to the old house in course of time.