Rough Scan
~V~
 
MANY'S the journey I've taken in my lifetime-haith long, and short, and middlin'-but mebbe I've set out for Dunbar oftener nor any other place. We aye went there in the summer-time, when the bairns was wee, for the sake of the fresh air, the house at Kilmorag bein' shut up. But go where you like, the platforms and the folk on them are just six and sax. There's aye people hangin' on the last words of ither folk - and them perfeck strangers - and payin' no attention to their ain freens. It's funny what keen they are to hear what's no meant for them! It used to make me mad to see our own housemaid, Merran, no' attendin' half to the directions I was givin' her, and the ither people round the carriage-door feared to loss a single word I said.
Then, when the train moved, and everybody cried, "Good-bye," and "Write soon," and "Love to Maggie," etc., the meenit it was really of! we a' sat down sudden in the midst of a fearsome silence, and examined yin anither, gey suspeecious-like.
It's a queer thing, mind you, that we a' start on the journey of life withoot kennin' that we're away! Mebbe it'll be the same when we start on our last and our lanesomest journey-it wouldna be a bad plan either.
Naething parteecler happened for a long time efter the bairns went to the school; and then, all of a sudden, when Miss Isabelette was just settin' out to be a young leddy, at the age of nineteen, did she no' go and get married! She was aye one to do things in a hurry, and nothing would halt her when she once made up her mind. I was tellin' her the last time she was here with her bairns (when she was hearin' them say their prayers) about hersel' when she was seeven year auld. She was extry sleepy one night, and when she was half-way through her prayers, she give a fearfu' yawn, and then she says in a hurry, "And the rest's the same as last night, O Lord ! " and with that she bounced into her bed, and was asleep in a jiffy!
Miss Isabelette's freens aye ca'ed her marriage "a perfeck Idle" - meanin' a fair romance - but she never was one for idleset; no' her. The way o't was as follows: Her Uncle Nigel - her faither's youngest brother - havin' died in the East of some foreign disease, a freen o' he's, namely, Captain Lindesay, wrote home givin' a beautiful history of the sad event. Appearin'ly he was the only ither white gentleman in the place. We decided that Miss Isabelette was the proper person to answer the letter, and thank the Captain for his kind attentions, although Miss Jean had a neater hand-of-write (I must say that), and she was firmer in the spellin' too. We had an awfy work to get Miss Isabelette to set to-she had an ill-will at writin' letters-but if she had never written that letter, she might just have been plain Miss Murray yet; but wait till ye hear! At the hinder-end she wrott a long letter, stickin' out her tongue at the kittle bits (as she does to this day when she's drivin' her motor-caur, parteeclarly at the corners), and askin' how to spell a word nows and thens. An' she aye said the same thing when she was tellt, "I thought so, but it looked queer." Nane o' us would she allow to see the letter, and away it went, with an expensive stamp on it. The Captain read it solemnly from beginnin' to end, and says he to hissel', "That's the woman I'm going to marry!" Did you ever? And him had never set eyes on her, nor heard her voice!
Home he came, in a great hurry to see his sweetheart, and he took the precaution to bring a ring with him. It was very near big enough for his joe to put her wee heid through-outsize, it was-but they got it taken in, and it looked fine, "like a diamond in the sky," as the poet says. Miss Celandine said it was lucky for the Captain that her sister was pretty; and so she was, with bonny blue eyes and curly fair hair; but beauty is deceitful and favour is vain, as Solomon learnt from experience.
Miss Jean aye said she knew Miss Isabelette would be married by the way she sang a song ca'ed in Italian "Non mi voglio maritar," meanin', "I do not wish to be married." Every verse ended with, "No, no, no; no, no, no!" louder an' louder, and were seven "noes" at the very end. And efter singin' that song till the whole family was fair sick of it, she went and married without a blush! "There's naething for misdeeds but mends," as the sayin' is.