Rough Scan
~VI~
 
THE folks that writes what they Ca' Autobiographies must hae awfu' good memories; but I nottice that, when they're no' sure what to say next, they aye put in a letter they've got from some freen o' theirs. That's an easy way to make a book. It minds me of a story-book the young leddies used to read when they were bairns. It was ca'ed the Fairchild Family, and every chapter ended with a prayer and a hymn. Miss Celandine was mad at it; she skipped every one. The objeck of the work was to show how easy folk could break the Commandments without notticin', and the two young ladies in the book and their brother managed to get through the whole ten in the course of two volumes, and them just bairns! It was an awfu' warnin'.
Miss Celandine says it's time I was tellin' about me bein' converted when I was a lassie. No' me. I dinna approve o' the folk that "thank God through the medium of the newspapers." But I'll tell about Mrs M'Curd and me goin' to the Revival Meetin', for never will I forget it, and me left sittin' unconverted to the very end!
It was a leddy from the IJnited States of America that came to Edinbury no' very long syne to see if she couldna convert the ne'er-do-weels, backsliders, and ither unregenerate folk that canna be got to enter a kirk door. So she took a hall, no' to put them off it, like. It was ca'ed the Oddfellows' Hall, and weel named, for the congregation was gey queer-lookin'. Mebbe you'll wonder what me and Mrs M'Curd was doin' among them. It was her. A neebor had been tellin' her what a wonderful gift o' the gab the leddy from New York had, and she was set to go to hear her, and nothing would serve her but she would ha' me to go wi' her, to keep her company.
We landed at the hail in good time; there was just three young leddies in afore us. There was a row of wooden chairs on the platform, and a table wi' a water-bottle and a tumbler on it; it mun be drouthy work preachin'. There was more folk came efter us, and finally a row of leddies and gentlemen (there was only three of the latters) come in by a back door and sat down on the chairs; the one that preached was in the middle. And, mind you, she did it fine! It was a long discourse-I dinna mind the text. Mrs M'Curd said there was no text; and she ca'ed it a dangerous innovation, and the thin end o' the wedge, forbye. But mebbe no' bein' in a pu'pit, let alone a kirk, was some excuse. I was dumbfoundered, though, when the preacher-leddy said that a' her dear sisters on the platform had been converted through her instrumentiality; what a faimly! Seeven o' them, an' a' grown-up! Wise-like women too, and weel put on.
But wait or ye hear what occurred when the sairmon was concluded. It ended with implorin' a' the souls no' yet converted to see and be quick aboot it. And then the leddy steppit forrit to the very edge of the platform, and says she, "Will anyone who has been converted here to-night stand up?" There was a fearfu' silence for a meenit, and naebody seemed like to rise; when, on a sudden, the three young leddies near the front stood up as one man. The Revivalist was real pleased, and efter givin' thanks, she tried again. "Will anyone who was converted last night stand up?" And up rose one o' the gentlemen on the platform as quick as lightning. And, would you believe it, he was her brither! And her never knew he was converted; that made nine o' a faimly. Efter that she tried "five years ago; ten years ago; twenty ears ago," and who do ye think was one of the latters? Mrs M'Curd. And me never notticed the difference, though I kent her long afore that!
When it came to forty year ago the folk a' sat still, no' bein' inclined to let on that they could mind as far back, and Mrs M'Curd gave me a dunch with her elby. But I didna lift her. I was meanin' to rise at "fifty years ago," but the American leddy was discouraged with naebody risin' to forty year, so she gave out a hymn, and me still sittin' among the unconverted! I was black affrontit.
Mrs M'Curd and me very near cast out on the road home. She said I should have stooden up at twenty year ago, for if I was converted fifty year ago, then I was converted twenty year ago, and it would have been company for her. She's a grand head for theology, but she's easy annoyed if ye conter her, so I just said "mebbe," and dropped the subjeck, thankfu' to get away home, and it near ten o'clock.