Rough Scan
~XXI~
 
MISS CELANDINE has been tormentin me to tell her where I was born, and what my faither's name was, and I dinna ken a' what, for she says that now I'm a celebrated author I'll be put in Who's Who? (the red book that ladies keep to look up ither folk's ages in), and she's been gettin' the nottice ready. She's been ben to let me hear it- "Marget Pow, daughter of Weelum and Jane Ann Pow, born at Carldoddie, Fife; relick of Mr Pow (still-born)." Preserve us a'! that's daft! But she says she canna explain me bein? Mrs Pow, and him no' bein' either dead or alive, any other way. Then there's "Writings: chiefly post-cards; published Marget Pow in Foreign Part's in 1912. Favourite amusement: Tango Teas." I'll no' deny that I enjoy my cup of tea, but I dinna bold with thae foreign teas-just a plain household tea, at 2s. a lb., with a drop cream in it, and a bit hot toast, or a scone and butter, does me fine; I've never tried the Tango Tea. I've been readin' about wonderfu' cutes in the papers and the way to get thin, and the way to get fat; and how to produce a luxurious crop of hair, no maitter if you're perfectly bald. There's an advertizement of a medicine that begins "Tell Everyone I Suffered Two Years with Stomach Indigestion"! Allow her! I hope I've more to do than advertize ither folk's indigestion for them! Then there's a bit that says, "A distinct growth of hair you can actually see, or your money back." I would think so: it's no' likely folk would be content with hair they couldna see. But the stuff seems to give satisfaction. "A Mother" writes to say, "My little boy became completely bald through collecting tramway tickets." That was queer; you wouldn have thought he would have picked them up with his pow. But collectin's an awfu' work-parteeclarly money. However, efter one bottle of the "Hairyleenia," the laddie's head was covered with a luxurious crop of chestnut curls: it would be a great offset to him, poor wee felly; I was glad to hear it; and I hope his mother will have the sense to keep him away from tramway lines for the rest of his life. Miss Celandine has been readin' the paper too, and she's real taken-up with a pictur of two gentlemen-a sma' one ca'ed "Before," and a tall one ca'ed "After" - with "Height increased three inches in three months" written above them. She's advisin' me to try the system; she says it would improve my appearance. No' very likely; it's just a fleein' in the face of the Scripturs, and a' my skirts would need to be let down. I'll be needin' a new black gown for the Sabbath, but I'll wait till we go back to Edinbury to buy it. We'll soon be away now; "The evenin' brings a' hame"; and the year's at the gloamin', and the nights are drawin' in, and lamps are poor efter the electric light, and the weather's saft, and Master Barney's wee breeks is that short and tight! But he's goin' home a reformed character, and the feenishin' touch was done by means of a doll. Miss Somerville brought a wee French bairn that was visitin' her to her tea one efternoon-Mamselle Marjolaine, they ca'ed her. She was very near two year old, but she could scarcely speak a word, either French or English. She could kiss your hand though, and "make a reverence," if you please! It turned out to be a kind of a curtsey, but she was that fat and short that when she tried it she very near couped. She was carryin' the loveliest doll that ever you saw, and Master Barney couldna take his eyes off of it. At last Miss Somerville told Mamselle to let him hold it in his arms. I never saw a sweeter sight than that bairn's face when he got it. He never spoke a word; he just heezed the doll up and down very gently to see it openin' and shuttin' its eyes, and every now and then he looked up at the folk round about him with a heavenly smile, as much as to say, "Did ever you see the like of that?" I never saw a mother look at her first bairn mair reverent and sublime than Master Barney looked at that doll. We thought there would be an explosion when be had to give it up, but no' a bit; he let it go without a word. Miss Jean took her chance and promised him a doll like it, with een that would open and shut, if she never heard another word she doesna like out of his mouth. And he's that carefu'! He's aye askin' if what he's goin' to say is a bad word; and he canna understan' that naebody can tell him without he'll let us hear what it is, and he'll no' risk it; I nottice he's never very sure about "ham." Miss Celandine says we're makin' a perfeck prig of the bairn, and she much preferred his past strong language to his present Glesca accent; but she's contrairy whites: she's been practisin' what she ca's "strong nervous English" hersel' lately ; it's fearsome.
I'm busy: what with shuttin' up the house, and catchin' the cats and keepin' them handy for packin', and one thing and another, there's a terrible lot to do. But I'm thankfu' to say we'll soon be safe back in Auld Reekie.
 
=To him that farthest went away,
=The sweetest music was "come home".