Rough Scan
MISS CELANDINE'S been tellin' me that it's high time I was gettin' on with writin' my reminisiencies, or mebbe I'll be dead and buried afore ever I'll can get them feenished.
She says the way to begin is as follows, namely, "The subjeck of this interesting memoir was born at Carldoddie, in the Kingdom of Fife, in the year Anno Domini-" and then I'm to put the exack year. No' me! I'm no' near auld enough yet to be proud o' my age - no' near; so the folk that reads this book will just need to content theirsels with the news that Marget Pow was born in the same year as the ither auld bodies of the same age - or thereabout. And Mrs M'Curd is older nor me.
Then I'm to tell the names and ages of my grandfaither and my grandmither. I dinna mind them. They both died afore I was born-some serious trouble, likely.
Miss Celandine's annoyed-she says a'body has four grandparents each, and where was mine's? They never let on where they were-no' them.
But I mind my mother fine; and the first time ever I tasted sausages (it was at a funeral-tea); and a hat I had when I was ten year auld-pink rosebuds in the front, and long ends hangin' down my back; and the Sunday-school trip when we went to Pitbladdo, and me and all the lassies in the first cart (we traivelled by cart) were set to sing a hymn to put past the time. The teachers seleckit, "We are pilgrims in the narry way to Heaven" - tune, "John Brown's body lies buried in the ground," and the laddies in the second cart were to sing the second verse. Mebbe they didna take the thing up right, but here did they no' commence wi' "John Brown's cuddy has a Stuart-tairtan kult!"
And when the teachers got out of the cart and quarrelled them, they said they would do it different the next time, but a' the differ they made, when their turn came, was, "John Brown's cuddy has a Dolly Vairden hat." The teachers were real ill at it, but laddies are a fair provoke.
If I was tellin' ye a' the important events I mind or ever I went to sairvice, my book would be as long as the one Miss Jean's readin' the now. It's ca'ed Collections and Recollections. I dinna mind the name of the gentleman that wrott it; but if he's putten in a' the collections he's given to, nae wonder it's long! What with collections inside the kirk, and a plate at the door comin' out, ca'ed a "retirin' collection" - and it's queer to see how retirin' the folks are when they see the dish, castin' their e'en down to the ground, and gettin' ahint yin anither in their hurry to get safe past without puttin' in; and collections from house to house; and special collections, and Sustentation Funds, and Jews, and Foreign Mission Skeems, and leddies leavin' books at the door, and they'll call in a few days-it's a regular profession, so it is.
Every time we come back from Kilmorag, when we open up the house, here a perfeck pile of collectin'-books waitin' on us. I aye take a look at them; they're instructive, mind you. Whiles they put the folk that gives the most at the top o' the list, and the "Anons," and "Widdy's Mites," and "A Friend, 1s.," away at the very end, modest-like, poor things; I dinna like that style. Miss Jean's aye keen to give quick. She says, "He gives twice who gives quickly." It's perfeckly true. Many's the time I've notticed it mysel'. If ye give at the very beginning of a collection, they'll be at ye again afore they've got as muckle as they need, so they will: it's maist discouragin' to quick folk like Miss Jean and me. But I'm no' gettin' on with my Recollections; it was collections put them oct o' my heid. No' but what I can mind many a peculiar thing-deaths and marriages and us lossin' the cat, and it yowlin' at the door when a' hope seemed past, and the cloud-burst in the glen when the burn rose that high that there was a trout under the bed. It was the only one ever I catched, although many's the hour I've spent danglin' a string with a crooked pin at the end o't in the watter, catchin' the cauld, and no' anither thing. What burstit the cloud was never exackly fand oot, but that day is spoken about in the Glen yet, and our Trout is aye mentioned; it formed a kind o' silver linin' to the cloud.
I was annoyed, though, to find oot, the very last time I was in Carldoddie, that the folk in the farm lower down the glen let on that they caught three trouts in a tin basin on the same momentious occasion. I dinna believe it. Miss Jean says that fishers' stories about what they catch is just "competitive mythology." I'm no' sure what it means, but it sounds very like the thing, so it does.