Rough Scan
~XIX~
 
KILMORAG is quiet-like the now. The folk that had furnished houses in the village are away back to Glasgow, and there's no' a sound to be heard but the wind, and the water, and the birds. When I was standin' at the back-door, I thought I heard a motor-car down by the loch-side, but it was just a bumbee tryin' to get into a red flower that was ower jimp for it; it was a fearfu' size of a bee, though.
The gairden is very near a' etten up, what between the faimly and the birds, and the snails, and the caterpillars, and the visitors, and other insecks. I was away up to the top last week to see if I could get a few peas to brighten up a stew, but there was naething but bare sticks, and empy pods, and withered shanks, and Sam'el Tosh meditatin' among the tombs, so to say. I was askin' him where he had put the Masterpiece Pansies that Miss Celandine and me ordered, for I've never set eyes on them yet; he said he kent naething about them, and mebbe they were the retarded sort, and gairdens was awfu' disappintin', and the weather on the west coast was a' thegither terrible, and the soil was no' near as rich as the Fife soil, and the insecks was that free and impident, and the folks was no' like the Fife folks, and the wasps wouldna kill, and if he was stayin' another simmer he would need a laddie under him for the rough work-a laddie fra Fife, for the west coast laddies was no' like the Fifeshire laddies. Did ever you hear the like? a perfeck Jeremiah.
And there's scarcely a thing left in the shop; and the price they chairge! I went to the village to try to get a cauliflower, for ours is that delicate-lookin' it would be murder to eat them. I saw three in the windy of the post-office, so I went in and I says to the lassie ahint the counter, "How much are your penny cauliflowers?" "Thruppence each," says she; and them very near as wee as our own!
So we've been away up to Glasgow for a day to get in supplies; it's a long traivel to take for tea, coffee, bacon, cheese, etc., but Miss Celandine was needin' boots, and Miss Jean wanted a book, and she said it would be a nice bit change for me, as it was a good whilie since I had had a day out. It was a bonny mornin', and we were off by the quarter to nine boat, and landed at Greenock in good time for the train. In the railway-carriage between Greenock and Glasgow there was two nice-lookin', well-put-on young gentlemen, sittin' opposeed to the young ladies and me. When we were comin' near Paisley, they had a long consultation thegither in whispers, and they aye lookit at me, and juffled a bundle of papers. And what do you think the upshot of it was? They gave me a Track! Me: I aye thought I was ower respeckable-lookin' for that. "Where are your dead?" was the name of it. I was bumbazed, and I just had time to say "Thenk-ye kindly, sir," when they got out at Paisley Station. They would be what they ca' revivialists, mebbe. But it gave me a kind of a turn, mind you, and me settin' out on a day's shoppin', and no' thinkin' about graves or any such thing. My faither and my mother are lyin' side by side in Carldoddie kirkyard, and there's room for me aside them, and here have I been payin' 1s. 6d. a year for cuttin' the grass on the grave for fifteen year and me derivin' no benefit from it whatever! it's a heavy expense. But it's a bonny cementery, and the new bit they've added to it has been a great success; it's very near half-full already-maist encouragin'.
When we got to Glasgow it was rainin', so we took a tacksie. We hadna been five meenits in it afore the clock was standin' at 1s. 2d.! No sooner were we habitted with seein' 1s. 2d. starin' us in the face, than away goes the 2, and in jumps a 4, for all the world like a magic-lantern at a Swaree. "Preserve us a'," says I to mysel', "there's something wrong with the machinery, that clock's feverish." I said nothing to alarm the young ladies, but I keepit my eye on the face of it, and in bangs 6, 8, 10, and no grocer's in sight. It went on that way the whole time we were in the machine, and little did I see of the scenery of Glasgow for watchin' yon clock: it's anxious work; I would raither take a plain cab, and risk the fare.
We had a look-in at the shop-windies.
There was a Rob-Roy tartan mantle with "Chaste" on it that Miss Celandine said would set me fine; but I aye think I'm best in blacks, and so does Miss Jean. We took our lunches in a big restorong with a band playin' tunes to distrack attention, and came away home in the efternoon train. We'll no' be in Glasgow again till we're on the road back to Edinbury, with the summer-time, and the sea, and the hills left ahint us like a dream when it's day. But the country pales upon you when you get ower much of it; "A Yule feast may be done at Pasche," and the weather is gettin' gey cold.
Kirsty and Merran had put in an awfu' day with Master Barney, by their way o't: he's no' habitted to do wantin' Miss Jean. First, he brought up a crab from the shore, and he was playin' with it in the hall, when his mind was distrackit with something he notticed in the gairden. Out he flew, but afore he went he says, "Klistina" (he canna say's r's right yet), "please watch my clab." She seized her chance to put the poor cratur into the loch again, and when she come back Master Barney was crawlin' under the furniture in the hail seekin' his crab. When she told him where it was he flew into a tirrivee and stamped, and roared, and grat, and said she had drowned his "clab." She had an awfu' job to make him believe that it wouldna drown: she had to take him down to the wee pier and show him a crab in the water afore he would leave off lamentin'. Efter dinner Merran met him trailin' Tatty round the gairden with his airms clasped that tight about her waist that she was fair gaspin', and all her legs hangin' down to the ground. She took the pussy from him, and told him he must be carefu' with her, because she wasna very weel. In a whilie he appeared with a stone ginger-beer bottle, and asked Merran to fill it with hot water. She thought he was playin' at a house, so she put a droppie in, and corked it, and away he went quite content. When tea-time came they began to wonder where the bairn was-the house was that still-and find him they couldna! They were gettin' cold wi' fright afore they thought of lookin' in Miss Jean's room. When they opened the door here he was sittin' aside his own wee bed as quiet as a mouse, with the windy-blind drawn half-way down. When Kirsty pulled it up here's Tatty lyin' on the eider-down quilt with the ginger-beer bottle at her feet, and Master Barney's neckerchief folded over her shoulders. He put his wee finger to his lips, and says he, "She's sleeping; she'll soon be better." He's a queer bairn yon! I dinna wonder that his mother ca's him a consolation whiles; I hope he's no doomed to an airly death. Merran was that relieved to find him that she kissed him accidentally, and he up with his wee foot and kicked her as hard as he was able. She carried him down the stair kickin' a' the way, and gave him cake to his tea, but he wasna' his right sel' till Miss Jean got home: then he told her the whole story, and gave Merran a kiss, and went to his bed like a lamb. Poor we mannie, we'll miss him sorely when his faither sets sail.