Rough Scan
~XIII~
 
THE day Miss Celandine and me inspected Holyrood Palace we came home up the steep brae that ends opposeed Regent Terrace. It's a kind of a gairden, and we sat down on a seat to get a bit rest. There was a good few bairns playin' about, and Miss Celandine was that diverted listenin' to their conversation that she wrott it all down when she got home. She says I'm to put it in here, and I'm to call it "War News: delayed in transmission," because the wee bairn that started the discussion had a heavy stammer.

No. 1 (two feet high by two and a quarter broad, comfortably seated on damp grass; bursting with information, but impeded by defective utterance).- "Ma faither is a - is a - is a tellitolial."
No. 2 (with inexplicable bitterness).- "He is no'!"
No. 1.- "He is so."
No. 2 (with positive fury).- "He is no', I'm tellin' ye!"
(Complete collapse of No. 1, and sudden cessation of hostilities.)
No. 3 (tactful young lady, breaking an awkward silence).- "Mine's lays mines in the sea."
No. 2 (sceptically).- "Whit kin' o' mines?"
No. 3.- "Jist mines."
No. 2.- "What for?"
No. 3.- "Jist for mines."
No. 2.- "Where dis he put them?"
No. 3.- "Thonder" (pointing vaguely in the direction of the North Pole).
No. 2.- "Havers!"
No. 1 (arousing suddenly from a state of lethargy).- "Ma faither - ma faither - ma faither is a tellitolial."
No. 2.- "Yur a leear; he's a fruiter."
(Repulse and temporary withdrawal of No. 1.)
No. 3 (more tactful than ever).- "Puir wee tot; she means a 'torryterrial.' Div ye no,' dearie?"
CHORUS (as one man).- "She dis nut!"
No. 4 (in a superior tone).- "My daddy has gone away to fight."
ELIPHAZ, THE TEMANITE (with gloomy satisfaction).- "He'll get killed."
No. 4 (cheerfully).- "Ugha; he's a preservist."
ELIPHAZ (unconsciously associating ideas).- "He's a sweet yin. Whae's he gaun tae fecht wi' next?"
No. 4 (airily).- "I dinna mind his name the now; he's a Jairman gentleman."
No. 3.- "His name's Kayser, but they call him 'Ananias' for a by-name; it's in the papers."
ELIPHAZ (as one reminded of an old friend).- "Oh ay, Ananias; I mind him in the Testament; he was an awfu' leear, and they wound him up and carried him out and buried him."
No. 4.- "Ay, that's him; I kenned he was a Jairman gentleman."
ELIPHAZ (not without hope).- "He'll get killed too if he disna watch hissel'; he's no' ower particular what he says whiles."
No. 1 (who has been husbanding wind for a final effort).- "Mafaither'satellitolial!"
No. 2.- "Aw, haud yer whisht, Jaisie; ye're a prood wee besom."
No. 6 (elderly young lady, whose hair is tied up with wilted crape).- "My father has gone to heaven."
(Horror-struck silence, followed immediately by disorderly retreat of the entire company, dragging the daughter of the Territorial in the rear, singing, "in accents of that unknown tongue," something which sounded like "Loot Bedania.")
 
When the bairns were a' away home Miss Celandine and me sat quiet a whilie enjoyin' a fine view of the Canongate, includin' the kirk and the kirkyaird. We read in the guide-book that "the ancient motto which is graven round the figure of King David's stag bearing the Holy Rood upon the burgh seal was Sic itur ad astra, meanin', 'This Way to the Stars.'" Seemingly they had the motty in their minds when they built the houses, they're that high!
We got into the Portobella caur near the jail, no' many folk bein' in it. There was a stoutish leddy sittin' next to me with one o' these wee dogs they ca' Peekineases in her airms. Appearin'ly it was sufferin' from cronick bronkittics, it was breathin' that heavy, and its eyes was fair startin' oot of its heid, puir wee cratur.
A decent-lookin' woman came in with a laddie about five year old. The bairn was awfu' taken up with the animal, and efter starin' steadily at it for a whilie, he turned to his maw, and says he, "Mither, that's a dug!" "Ye're no' to say 'dug,'" says she, affrontit-like. "It's no' 'dug,' it's 'doag.'"
"'Doag,'" says the bairn, real biddable; and then he lookit up in his mother's face, and says he, "But it's like a dug." And that's just about as much as onybody could say for it, thinks I to mysel'.