Humorous Scots Stories and Sketches FOREWORD For over forty years Dufton Scott was known throughout Scotland and beyond for his series of humorous stories and sketches in the North-East dialect. With them he created something quite original in entertainment and his character studies became a popular feature on the concert platform in the early part of the century. They were invariably performed without makeup or character costume, the reciter gaining his effect simply by the use of voice and facial expression. This particular material proved ideal for recording and broadcasting, and with their coming the voice of Dufton Scott became familiar to an even wider public who had never seen him on the platform. 'Dufton Scott's Sketches' was first published during the First World War. New editions with additional sketches appeared in 1923, 1924, 1927 and 1934, and a collected edition in 1953. PREFACE There should be a warm welcome for a new printing of Dufton Scott's '_Stories and Sketches_'. He was a skilled entertainer, and although all his pieces are farcical, sometimes wildly farcical, there is running through them a sharp and very shrewd vein of native realism which pins them down irrevocably to time and place: the time the first quarter of this century, the place Aberdeenshire. Indeed some of them hark back to an even earlier period. At a superficial glance, for instance, the story '_Erchie Fleeman's Coortship_' might seem farce pure and simple. Erchie is a young farm servant with no thought of early marriage in his head. But he is not happy in his job at Striphill: 'The fermer an' me didna agree aufa weel, and I wis thinkin' lang for a change - an' I think sae wis the fermer.' So when the neighbouring farmer of Twirleyneuk, admiring Erchie's rapid technique of pulling turnips, offers him an attractive wage to go there, he is strongly tempted - despite the fact that there is a vacancy only for a _married_ man. Erchie's lightning selection as between three potentially suitable young women, his courtship and his marriage all in the space of six weeks may seem an absurdity - but was it? Despite a degree of social mobility in the farm life of Aberdeenshire last century there was one desperately depressing circumstance: housing for married farm servants was in very short supply, and this is a subject that is treated by William Alexander in '_Johnny Gibb of Gushetneuk_' and in his other books. It had the effect of retarding the age of marriage and of creating much suffering and hardship among those couples who got married before they had a house to go to. It was responsible for the much-attacked 'bothy system' which segregated the unmarried farm servants from the domestic life of the farms, and which, even when the farm hands slept in a 'chaumer' and took their meals in the farm-kitchen, created a great gulf between them and their masters. Now here is Dufton Scott, with great irony, legislating in one of his fictions, to drastically shorten the period of compulsory bachelordom which the vast mass of farm servants had to endure. And out of his choices Erchie is allowed to pick just the right kind of wife - not the over-sheltered and secluded Bella Tait or the over-garrulous Mary Broden, who is in love with the sound of her own voice, but the crofter's daughter Jean Ann Fiddler, milk pail in hand, born to hard work but with a ready laugh. And who can doubt that Scott's picture of the brusque and sudden bargain-making at the Feeing Market, begun by a rude poke in the back and a beckoning gesture, is accurate? Fin we wer oot ower a bittie he says - 'Are ye fee'd min?' I says 'No'. He says - 'Are ye gyaun to fee?' I says - 'Maybe I micht'. Sae he tak's oot his snuff-mull, open't it, an' gaed it a knack or twa o' the side o't, put a speenfu' o' snuff up his nose, shut the boxie again, and says, - 'Wid ye come ta me?' I said that wad depend fat I was seekin', an' I socht three powen mair than I hiv here. 'Weel', says he, 'that's a lot mair nor ye're wirth, but I winna haggle wi' ye. Be hame in gweed time the day efter the term.' Sometimes Dufton Scott achieves his fun by a deliberate parochiality. Mrs Sharpneb is calling on her old neighbour, Mrs Flype, and is anxious to establish the appropriate shade of social superiority, so she tells her that she has persuaded her husband to take her on holiday to the seaside, because, as she says, 'It's so exalting!' But inetead of aiming at Deauville or Biarritz, it seems that her mecca is - Muchalls. Not to be outdone, Mrs Flype thinks up a careful rejoinder. 'Fine did she ken we wad jist be gyaun ta Pitfodels as usual ta pull blaeberries. Bit I thocht I wad gie her a set-doon, so I says as careless-like as I could "Oh, Jeems an' me's thinkin' aboot gyaun ta France..." An I wisna tellin' a lee, we was thinkin' aboot it, though there was awfu' little chance o's gyaun." So there with Muchalls and Pitfodels and the Music Hall resounding to Sousa's marches, and the Murkle Friday throngs in the Catlegate, we rest. To read Dufton Scott again is to recapture the vanished world of sixty years ago and more and the sharp tang of the reductive humour of the North-east. ====_Cuthbert Graham_ Erchie Fleemans Coortship. Two Aherdeenshire farm servants met at a feeing market, and exchanged greetings somewhat as follows: Hullo Willie Bremner, that's nae yersel' is't? Faur aboot hiv ye been hidin' this lang time? Losh bless me! It's nae Erchie Fleeman is't? Man, it's a lang time sin' I've seen ye. Aye, it's a gweed filie noo. Fat's aye daein' wi' ye? Oh, jist wirkin' awa' at the Riggin's. Faur are ye yersel'? Man, I'm in a graun' place ae noo. I'm up at Twirleyneuk yonner; a fine easy place, wi' gweed waages an' a nice hoose ta the wife an' you. Yer nae merrit, are ye? Aye, I'm merrit. I've been merrit a year noo. Weel, weel, ye've ta'en ma breath awa', Erchie. Divn't ye min' fin ye eest ta tell me ye wid niver get merrit? Oh, maybe I did, bit a body niver kens fat they may hae ta dae. Bit come awa' oot o' the stir, an' I'll tell ye a' aboot it. They went to a quiet part of the street, and Erchie told Willie this story of his courtship. Aye, I thocht I wid gar ye jump fin I telt ye I wis merrit, bit wite or ye hear a' the circumstances an' ye'll see fither I'm justifeet or no. It's jist a year past last Mairtimas 'it I wis fee'd at Striphill, an' I wis beginnin' ta tire o't. The fermer an' me didna agree aufa weel, an' I wis thinkin' lang for a change - an' I think sae wis the fermer. An' I min' ae aufa caul' day near the term, I wis pu'in' neeps i' the field on the roadside an' maybe wirkin' a wee bittie fester nor I micht hae been daein' - jist ta keep masel' in heat - fin fa comes by bit the fermer o' Twirleyneuk in his gig. So fin he cam' up ta me he stoppit his horsie an' lookit at me a filie - an' I kent he wis admirin' the wey I wis yarkin' up the neeps, so I stuck inta them. Oh weel, he looks at me a filie, syne he cries oot: "Hie, you amon' the neeps!" (he's an aufa ceeval spoken kin' o' a man, ye ken) - an' I cried back: "Hie yersel'!" Syne he cried : " Ye _can_ pu' neeps." An' I says: "Oh, fairly that." So we news't awa' a meenit, an' the short an' the lang o't wis, that he gaed me a gweed offer ta gyang hame ta Twirleyneuk at the term. An' I wis fairly on for gyaun, 'cas it's a gweed place. Bit there wis ae condeetion aboot it that didna shuit me aufa weel - it wis a _merrit_ lad he wis wintin'. Hooiver, I wisna gyaun ta lose a gweed job for a sma' maitter o' that kin', so I said I wid be merrit afore the term. An' we sattl't there an' than. Weel noo, I gaed hame that nicht an' thocht ower maitters. Here wis me fix't ta gyang hame ta a place at the term an' tak' a wife wi' ma. Af coorse up ta that time I niver thocht o' sic a thing's merryin'. Onywey, I made ma bargain an' I wis determin't ta carry't oot. Bit fa wis I gaun ta merry? Ye see, I wisna verra weel acquant wi' ony o' the weemin i' the district, an' I didna ken the kin' o' ane that wad be maist suitable, an' I didna like ta spier at onybody aboot the maitter, so this is fat I did. I made oot a list o' a' the maist likely lassies I kent, an' I wis ta call upon them ane by ane an' sattle on the first ane that wid hae me. There wis Bella Tait - the seddler's dother - an aufa nice deemie, bit I wis some feart at her - nae at 'ersel' like, bit 'er father's an aufa ill-netter't spit-wirr o' a crater, an' he didna like me onywey, 'cas I didna buy my leggin's fae 'im. Hooiver, she could only say nae, an' there wis nae ill in speirin'. Syne there wis Mary Broden o' Hillhowe. Weel, I wisna jist aufa on for her - oh, she's a rale nice lassie, bit she his a most terrible tongue. I could gie 'er a look-in, onywey. Jean Ann Fiddler wis the neist ane I thocht o'. I considered her a trig kin' o' a bit bodie, bit there wis wird o' Tam Todd o' the Raws baein' an e'e on 'er. Only, if she shuited me, an' wis willin' t' tak' me, I could easy fled Tam awa'. Weel, that wis three for a start, so I put aff nae time. The verra neist nicht efter supper-time I gied my face a wash an' mysel' a bit sort up, an' set oot on my coortin' expedition. I gaed doon first tae the merchant's an' bocht some sweeties tae tak' wi' me, an' held awa' tae Bella Tait's. 'Er father's hoose wis at the roadside, wi' a bonny gairden in the front, an' I held richt up tae the front door, an' knockit, an' winner't fat I wad say first, fin fa should come ta the door bit the mannie Tait himsel'. An' afore I got my mou' open't he snappit oot, "Weel fat div ye wint?" An' I says, "It's a some saft kin' o' a nicht." He says, "Did ye come here tae tell me that?" "Na," I says, "I didna jist exaclt come a' this wey tae tell ye fat kin' o' a nicht it is." "Fat div ye wint, than?" says he. So I says, "A-a-a-is Bella in?" An' he says, "An' fat are ye wintin' wi' Bella?" (Bi this time I wis beginnin' tae wish mysel a gweed bit awa', he wis sae aufa snappy), an' I jist says, "Oh, it's a sma' maitter o' nae consequence. I'll see 'er again," an' I turn't tae come awa', bit the mannie widna lat ma. He took a haud o' ma airm, an' telt ma I hid ta tell 'im fat I wintit wi' _his_ Bella, or he wid gie ma something I widna like. Oh, if I hid _liket_ I could hae turn't the mannie heels ower heid, bit that wid hae feenish't the hale affair. Sae, thinks I, I'll jist tell ye than. An' I gied 'im the hale story, telt 'im a' aboot it, an' feenish't up bi speerin' if he hid ony objection ta my gettin' Bella, if Bella wis willin' ta tak' me. Weel, he harken't ta me till I wis thro', bit his face grew reed, an' fite, syne reed again, an' fin I stoppit speakin', _he began_. - D'ye ken this, Willie, I niver in a' ma life heard the like o' yon. Ye wid hardly believe the things the crater o' a mannie ca'ed me. Oh, if I hid haen ony witnesses handy, I could hae gotten 'im brawly snypet for fat he said. But I'll tak' this credit, Willie, I keepit ma temper. I niver open't ma mou' a' the time he wis speakin', an' he niver stoppit, min' ye, till he wis oot o' breath. Syne fin he couldna say ony mair, I jist quately liftet ma bonnet till 'im, turn't on ma heel, an' mairch't slow doon his gairden walk, open't the gate, gaed oot, shut the gate. - Syne I telt 'im fat I thocht o' him. Oh, I'm nae blawin' aboot it, Willie, bit the mannie gaed inta the hoose an' bang't the door, afore I wis thro' wi' 'im. Weel, that wisna fat ye could ca' a verra promisin' start, bit I didna gie up hope (tho' I began ta winner if it wis wirth a' the bather). So I held awa' ta Mary Broden, ta see foo I wid get on wi' her. She bides wi' 'er mither in a sma' hoosie a bittie faurer on the road, an' bi gweed luck I got Mary in 'ersel', sittin' at the fireside, shooin'. She wis aufa surprised ta see me, bit she made me verra welcome. She invited me inta the hoose an' set me doon at the fireside. We news't awa' a whilie, bit I niver got a chance tae tell 'er fat I wis wintin'; in fac', I hardly got a wird in sideweys. She startit tae gie me a lang rigmarole aboot a frien' o' somebody she kent, that had gotten a letter fae Canada or somewey, sayin' some man-body they kent hid been biggin' a henhoose or something, an' hid tum'elt an' broken the knee-cap o' 'is knee. I wid hae liket tae say it wis a gweed job he didna brak the knee-cap o' 'is heid, but she niver gaed me a chance. Nae seener wis she thro' tellin' me aboot that than she telt me aboot some ither body's little lassie that wis duon wi' the mumps. So I saw _that_ wid niver dae ava (imagine comin' hame at nicht an' gettin' a yabble like yon), an' I wisna lang afore I telt 'er I wid need tae be steppin'. She wis for me tae bide till 'er mither cam' in, an' she wid mak' a cup o' tea - Oh, I could hae deen fine wi' the tea, 'cas I wis dry efter speakin' ta the mannie Tait, but I couldna dae wi' yon tongue; an' I jist said gweed nicht, an' cam' awa'. I've nae doot she's winner't fat I wis seekin'. I wis niver in 'er hoose afore. Jean Ann Fiddler wis neist. Her fowk keep a sma' craftie on the side o' the hill yonner, an' bi the time I got there, it wis beginnin' tae be a bittie dark kin'. Jist as I gaed in aboot, I met Jean Ann comin' fae the byre wi' her milk pail, an', div ye ken, Willie, finiver I saw 'er I says ta masel', "This is the lass for me." She didna notice me till I gaed in aboot an' said, "Ay,ay, Jean Ann. Ye're there, are ye?" She got a gey fleg, bit says, "Ay, I'm here. Fa are ye?" "Erchie Fleeman," I says; "divn't ye ken me?" She says, "Fat are ye seekin' at this time o' nicht?" I says, "_You_ if ye're willin'." Weel, she didna jist exactly say she wis willin', but she took a gweed herty lauch at me, an' I thocht that wis a gweed sign. Oor coortship didna laist lang - it couldna, it only wintit a month o' the term. I needna tell ye ony mair. We got merrit, an' we're gettin' on graun'. Jean Ann's a maist capital wife, bit I've niver telt 'er yet fat wey I cam' tae seek 'er, an' it's maybe jist as weel. An Auction Sale. [THE auction sale, the "rowp," or displenishing sale, by whichever name it is known in country districts, is fruitful of much unconscious humour, as the following monologue indicates. The auctioneer, hammer in hand, is seated in his rostrum, and thus delivers himself:] Weel, seein' there's a gweed curn o' ye in aboot, I reckon we'll start the sale. There's a lot o' stuff o' ae kin' or anither tae dispose o', an' I hope ye'll bid for't as quick's possible ta lat's get feenish't afore it's dark. In order that we may hae as harmonious a start's possible we'll begin by sellin' the auld organ. (Shove forrit the organ, Willie.) Noo, than - there's a first-class, mahogany-plated, deouble-bellowst, free-wheelt, fem'ly organ - an ornament for onybody's hoose. This organ, I may tell ye, has been i' the Bremner fem'ly for seventy-five year, so she's weel season't. I notice there's fower o' the teeth o' 'er broken, tho' she's nane the waur o' that. It'll mak' 'er easier ta play on, nae haein' sae mony notes ta finger. Wi' the exception o' that, she's as soon's a bell. (Fat's that, Willie; ane o' the pedals o't missin'? Oh, man! Faur's Sandy 'imsel'? Hey, Sandy! There's a pedal missin' on the organ.) He says his wife has't on her shooin' machine, bit, as he says 'imsel' it's better withoot it, ye hiv only ta use ae fit. Weel, jist as ye see't; far for't? Will onybody say a powen ta begin wi' - a powen - fifteen shillin's, than - ten shillin's - surely it's wirth ten shillin's. - Fat's that? - Fa said four-pence? - Oh, it's you is't, Jock Pheelup? Nae winner ye're hidin' ahin' the millert, Jock. Four-pence for an organ-gyang awa' an buy a penny fussle, an' ye'll hae thrippence left oot o' four-pence ta invest in a book on economy. Ye're sair needin' something o' that kin' ta check yer extravagance. Will onybody say ten shillin's for the organ? Did ye say ten shillin's, Mains? - Far than? - Fourteen pence! Oh, weel, it's a start, tho' nae a very big ane. I'm bid fourteen pence for the organ - fourteen pence I'm only bid - goin' at fourteen pence - ony advance on - fifteen pence. - I tell ye fat it is, we're gettin' on. I'm bid fifteen pence - fifteen pence I'm offert for the the musical instrucment. I've spent mair than fifteen pence wirth o' breath on't already. Goin' at fifteen pence wirth o' breath on't already. Goin' at fifteen pence. Are ye a' deen? At fifteen pence - going' - it's sell't. Fa's bocht it? It's you, is't, Skirlies? Losh preserve's, man, fat are ye gyaun ta dae wi' an organ? Maybe ye're gyaun ta gie't ta somebody for a merrage present, are ye? - No! - Fat than? Oh! He says he's gyaun ta tak the inside o't oot, an' use the case for a rabbit box ta his laddie. Fat's the next lot, Willie? A tubfu' o' miscellaneous chenna. Noo, here's an assortment o' stuff that wid stock a crockery shop. Foo muckle for the lot? If I dinna get therty shillin's for't, it's nae wirth startin' wi'. Did I hear somebody say sevenpence? Oh, it wis you, Mistress Slater. I'm awfu' pleas't ta see yer face again, an' ta ken yer nerves are better. - Fat is't? - Fa tell't me yer nerves wis better? If ye hadna gey stong nerves, ye widna offer me sevenpence for a lot o' stuff like this. If ye say a shillin' I'll tak yer bid. - Ye'll gie that, will ye? I thocht ye wad. I'm bid a shillin' for the tubfu' o' cheena. Goin' at a shillin' - fourteen pence - saxteen pence. Come on noo. Does that nod mean auchteen pence, Sandy Fraser? - Ye wisna biddin', div ye say? Dinna tell me, I saw ye noddin'. - Oh, that was it. Ye was only movin' yer neck beca'se yer collar was ticht. Ye ocht ta ken better than ta come ta a rowp wi' a ticht collar. Ye'll need ta staun' at peace; a nod's as gweed's a wink ta an auctioneer, ye ken. I'm bid saxt. - auchteen pence - jist in time. The biddin's against ye, Mistress Slater. - Twinty pence - we're gettin' on. One an' eight I'm only bid for a tub full o' plates, joogs, cups an' saucers, milk pans, egg cups, a teapot wi' a crooket stroop, a moose trap, an' I kenna fat a'; an' I'm only bid one an' eight. At _one an' eight_ - goin' - it's yours, Mistress Slater, an' ye've fairly gotten a bargain this time. I think we'll hae a change noo, Willie, an' try them wi' some poulty - that'll maybe wuakin them up a bit. Tak' ower that box wi' the fower spreck'lt hens, an' tak care they dinna peck ye. Noo than, here's a box wi' fower fine, fat, spreck'lt hens. They're gweed birds a' we'll need a gweed price for them. Gie's a fair hid, noo. Twa shillin's-weel, that'll dae for a beginnin'. Twa shillin's I'm offert. Half a croon - three shillin's - three an' six. Goin' at three an' six - fower shillin's - fower an' six - five shillin's. That's a croon I'm bid. This hens, I may tell ye, are the same breed that Jock Sneekum got ta'en up for liftin'. Losh, I maun tell ye the story aboot Jock fin he wis afore the Shirra for't - I'm only bid five shillin's. Fin the case was call't, the Shirra says ta Jock - "Are you the defender?" "Oh no," says Jock, "I'm nae the defender. I engaged that lawyer lad ta defend me. It was me 'at steal't the hens" - goin' at five shillin's for the fower spreck'lt hens-five an' six, thank ye-six shillin's. Bit that wisna the end o't. Jock's lawyer insistet on the case gyaun ta proof, an' he signed ta Jock ta haud his tongue the time the witnesses against 'im were bein' examin't. Bit this wis mair than Jock could dae. Ane o' the witnesses declar't he saw Jock wi' the hens aneath his jecket. He was sure it was _hens_, he said, beca'se he heard them kecklin'. At this Jock jumps up an' cries - "That's a doon-richt lee, than! Ye couldna hae heard them kecklin', for their necks was drawn afore they were aneath my jecket." Six shillin's I'm bid for the hens. Goin' at- six an' six-seven shillin's. Ony mair offers? At seven shillin's! They're yours, Donal' Broon. The wife'll be fine pleas't ta see ye the nicht, fin ye tak hame that bonnie hens ta 'er. (Among the last lots disposed of was an old horse, which the auctioneer sold something after this style.) The next lot that we're gyaun ta expose for sale is the black horse wi' the fite face. Fat's he wirth noo? Will we say ten powen for a start? He's wirth twinty if he's wirth a penny. - Fat said ye, Skirlies? Ye'll gie three powen ; will ye tho'? Tak' care o' yer siller, man. Three powen I'm bid, than, for the black horse wi' the fite face. Goin' at three powen. I see Jamie Quackfit staunin' ower at the back there. Are ye weel, Jamie? I didna notice ye afore! Foo's yon little laddie o' yours aye keepin'? He's a smairt nickum yon. I'll nivver forget the story aboot your laddie an' the minister. I'll jist tell a'body aboot it the time ye're makin' up yer min's ta gie's anither bid. Three powen was the last offer. Ony advance on three powen? - Three powen ten! Three powen ten I'm only bid for the black horse wi' the fite face! This was the wye o't. The minister was veesitin' ae day, an' Jamie's little laddie was playin' i' the yaird. The minister says ta the laddie - goin' at three powen ten-three powen fifteen-we're wearin' up. - The minister says ta the laddie, says he - "I-" he says- "I-" weel I dinna min' fat the minister said ta the laddie, bit it wisna fat the minister said ta the laddie, it was fat the laddie said ta the minister that gart me lauch. This horse is wirth a lot mair than three-fifteen surely - Fower powen - noo we're gettin' on. Fower powen I'm bid-fower-ten - five powen - that's mair like it. The laddie turns roon ta the minister, an' says he - I dinna min' fat he said, bit it was clivver, onywye. - Going at five powen for a bonnie black horse wi' a fite face like that; it's a doonricht shame. Hiv ye yer snuffbox wi' ye, Mullies? Hand it up here than. Thank ye. Man, ye aye keepit gweed snuff, Mullies ; I'll gie ye credit for that. Fat is't the poet says aboot snuff again? It's something like this:- ==Here's gran' provision for the snoot, ==Gweed bless the man that fand it oot ==It clears the brain, an' fulls the nose, ==So here's a (_snuffs_) an' up it goes. I'm only bid five powen for the black horse wi' the fite face. I hope it's nae gyaun ta stick at five powen. I see ye're jist come in aboot, Geordie Sooter. Are ye gyaun tae buy the black horse wi' the fite face? - Ye're nae? Ye've surely had kail ta yer denner the day, Geordie. Five powen I'm bid. - Fat said ye? - Fat wye div I ken ye had kail? Ye've forgotten ta dicht yer fusker, min. Five powen I'm only bid for the black face wi' the fite horse - tits - I mean the fite horse wi' the black face. Ach, I'm gettin' mixt up, an' nae winner. The price I'm offer't's enough ta gar the horse cheenge colour. At five powen-goin' at five powen! Are ye a' dune? - Goin' - gone. An' I wish ye luck o' yer bargain. A Rural Drive. I HAD occasion to visit a certain place on Donside recently, and to reach it I had some four miles to walk from the nearest railway station. After I had got a little on my way I was overtaken by an old firmer, seated in an old trap and driving an old horse. On coming up with me he stopped the horse with a "Whoa, Donalie," and asked if I "was gyaun far." I told him my destination, and he kindly invited me to "jump up aside 'im, an' he wad gie's a hurl up the road a bit." I gladly accepted the invitation, got into the trap, and my companion enlivened the journey with stories and anecdotes of the people who lived in the district and whom we met on the way - something after this: Are ye richt noo? That's richt. (_Come up, Donalie_.) There's nae muckle room, bit we'll maybe manage. Ye'll be a stranger here aboot, I reckon. Aye, I thocht that, or ye wad hae kent _me_. A'body kens _me_ in this district, an' I ken a'body. (_Gee up, Donalie, ye lazy footer_.) He's a slow crater o' a horsie, this. I've haen 'im for fourteen 'ear, an' the langer I keep 'im the mair leeberties he tak's. (_Ca' awa, min_.) Ye winna ken ony o' the places roon aboot this quarter? No, no. Weel, this is Watty Wattendrauch's we're comin' till ae noo, an' a queer crater he is tee. He's a kin' o' - (_Gee up, min_) - he's a kin' o' retir't, as ye wad say. He spen's a' his time in his gairden amon' rhubarb an' bees. An awfu' man for _bees_. Div ye see that lang strip o' skeps aside the dyke there? An' that's Watty 'imsel', see, gyaun aboot amon' them, wi' a veil on ta keep them oot o' his een. I'll jist gie 'im a cry i' the byegyaun. - "Aye, aye, Watty, ye're amon' the bees ; jist that." (_Ca' awa, Donal_.) There was a story gaed the roons aboot Watty there an' Postie Nicholson. Postie had been in aboot wi' a letter ae mornin', an' the time he was staunin' at the door waitin' for Watty ta come fort, ane o' the bees lichtet on his lug. Noo, I dinna ken fat ail't the bee at Postie, onywye it stang 'im: syne't flew awa. So, fin Watty cam ta the door, Postie was busy rubbin' his lug an' mutterin' ta 'imsel' aboot fat he wad dae wi' bees an' faur he wad pit them. Watty speert fat ail't 'im, an' Postie tell't 'im, an' said it was hard lines 'at a body couldna come near the place withoot rinnin' the risk o' bein' stabbet ta death wi' bees. Oh, he said a lot mair than that, bit - (_Tyaut, min, fat are ye stum'lin' like that for? Ye'll be fa'in next, an' you has sair knees onywye - get on there_.) Watty heard a' Postie's complaint an' syne he said he was sorry ta hear ane o' _his_ bees had sae faur forgotten itsel' as ta sting ane o' His Majesty's servants; bit if Postie wad pint oot the bee 'at stang 'im, he wad gie't as muckle as wad mak it feart ta gyang near a postie again. An' that was a' the satisfaction Postie got. Oh, he's an awfu' lad, Watty. He's nae an ill mannie, bit jist queer kin'. Him an' the molecatcher disna get on weel thegither. (_Come awa, min_.) Donalie winna hurry, bit I've seen the day fin he could gang past the milestanes at sic a rate 'at ye wad hae thocht they were palin' posts. (_Gee up_.) Fat was I sayin' again? Oh aye, aboot Watty an' the mole-catcher nae sayin' ae wye. Weel, ye ken, they're baith great gairdners, an' they're awfu' jealous o' ane anither. An' the ane tries ta beat the ither at growin' big cabbages an' rhubarb, an' so on, an' they canna speak ceevil fin they meet. Jist ta let ye ken fat like they are. The molecatcher gaed inta Watty's gairden ae day fin he thocht Watty didna see 'im, an' started ta misher the heicht o' Watty's biggest stalk o' rhubarb, an' news awa ta 'imsel' aboot haein' rhubarb tbat wad beat the best that ever Watty grew in his life. Isn't that richt rucks o' corn ower there? That belangs ta-. Eh, man, did ye see that? Look foo Donalie cocket his lugs fin I said _corn_. (_Gee up, ye greedy crater, ye dinna deserve corn_.) A' the time the mole-catcher was at this, Watty was watchin' 'im oot ahin' the bee skeps, an' a' at aince he broke oot on 'im, an' order't 'im oot o' his gairden, an' tell't 'im if he catch't 'im in't again he wad pull his nose! Noo, ye ken, the mole-catcher has a gweed, fair-sized nose, as noses gyang, an' if Watty did get a neivefu' o't he could get a graun' pull. The mole-catcher gaed awa in a gey hurry, bit he was in an awfu' rage. He met the ferrier on the wye hame, an' laid doon his complaint ta him, an' telt 'im 'at Watty had threet'nt ta pull his nose, an' speert fat he should dae aboot it. Af coorse, this was fine fun ta the ferrier, an' he advised Molie tae gyang back an' tell WattY ta try 'imsel'. "Bit, fat'll I dae if the crater _does_ tak a haud o' my nose?" says Molie. "I dinna want ta fecht wi' 'im." "Oh," says the ferrier, "if ye're feart for yer nose, gie't a gweed rub wi' butter afore ye gyang ower, an' his _fingers'll slip._" Fat said ye, a traction engine comin'? Will Donalie be feart? The traction engine'll maybe get a fleg, bit there's nae ony chance o' Donalie min'in't. Isn't that so, Donalie? See that-never loot on he heard me! (_Gee up, than_.) This is the kirk we're comin' till ae noo, an' that's the manse up the road there, a bittie amon' the trees. Ye dinna ken oor minister, div ye? Weel, he's a richt nice man. A'body likes 'im; bit he's jist a wee thochtie forgetfu' kin'. He had a proclamation o' merrage the ither Sunday, an' fin he cam' ta cry't oot, he couldna get his papers wi' the names on't. So he tried ta manage withoot it, an' he says - (_Come awa, Donal, min_) - he says - "There is a purpose of marriage between-a- between a-." An' he fummelt aboot for his paper, bit couldna get it, so he tried again. "There is a purpose of marriage between- between-." Auld Geordie Snatch, the beadle, cam' ta the rescue, an' says- "Between the cushions an' the seat, sir." (_Whoa, Donal_) See foo willin' he is ta stop. Noo this is your road, ta the richt there, an' I haud the ither wye. Tak care o' yer feet gyaun doon. Are ye richt? - Oh, dinna mention't, ye're verra welcome, I assure ye. (_Come up, Donal._) Selling Sewing Machines. PETER PETTIBRAWN thus describes his experiences as a canvassing agent for sewing machines: Sellin' shooin' machines on commission's like shovellin' sawdust wi' a graip - a lot o' wark for a' the results. I thocht I was in for a saft job fin I got my app'intment, bit I wisna lang or I fan oot it was naething speecial efter a'. The first place I called at was up at the tap o' a lang stair. I knockit at the door twa or three times afore I got an answer. I heard a wifie inside the hoose cry - "Fa's that?" So I cried back - "It's me." Syne she cried, "Fat are ye seekin'?" Noo, ye canna transact bizness very weel thro' a shut door, so I was a bittie at a disadvantage; bit i' the circumstances I thocht it better ta come ta the p'int at aince, so I jist cried - "Are ye needin' a shooin' machine?" Back comes the answer - "No, I'm nae." "Ye widna like ta get a look o' the picters o' them, wad ye?" I cried. She got snappy kin' at that an' says - "No, I widna; gyang awa oot o' that an' nae bather me. I'm parin' tatties." "Weel, weel, I winna hinner ye," says I. "Gweed-bye. I hopy ye'll get yer tatties pair't a' richt." So I cam' awa. There was nae sense in staunin' langer, for I dinna think I wad hae gotten an order. The next door I tried was open't by a little, snappy kin' o' a wifie, wi' her haun's an' face a' blacklead. "Weel, mistress," I says, in as ceevil a wye's I could; "that's a verra fine day." "I'm aware o' that," says she, an' shut the door richt i' my face. I didna like that, so I knockit at the door again. The wifie cam' back, bit afore she got spoken, I says: "I doot it winna be a fine day lang, it's like ta be rain; are ye aware o' that?" An I cam' awa an' left 'er. Weel, I tried a' that street an' didna sell a single machine. Some o' the folk was ceevil an' some wisna. There's some richt ill-naiter't fowk by ithers. I verra near got my nose nippet aff wi' ae spitfire o' a crater. This was the wye o't. I had gotten the door shut sae aften i' my face, 'at I thocht it would be a gweed plan ta shove in my heid as sune's the door was open't. I only did it aince. Fin I knockit at _this_ door, it was only open't a twa-three inches, so I pops in my heid an' says- "Are ye needin' a shooin' machine?" Man, afore the wirds were weel oot o' my mou', bang tee cam' the door. I jerkit back my heid, bit nae quick enough ta save my nose. It was jist catch't by the p'int, atween the door an' the jamb. Eh, man, it was richt sair! I put my haun on the knob o' the door ta lat oot my nose, bit fin I did that the wifie turn't the key i' the lock. An' there was me, fix't like a moose in a trap. I wad 'a' liket ta howl oot, bit I didna want onybody ta see me i' yon poseetion. So I steed there, sufferin' in silence, till I could bide it nae langer. I knocket at the door again, an' cries- "Could I get oot my nose, please?" The door was open't a bittie again, an' I was thankfu' my nose was hale, tho' the p'int o't was squeez't as flat's the blade o' a knife. I had anither misshanter that same day. A great big coal-heaver shov't me doon a lang stair. It was him 'at cam' ta the door, an' as sune's he saw me he startit ta lauch. I tried ta tell 'im I was sellin' shooin' machines, bit he nivver loot on he heard me. Says he- "That's an awfu' like nose ye hae." "Oh aye," I says, "I've had it a lang time." "Bit ye've surely gien't a bit sharpen up at the p'int," says he, an' roar't an' leuch as tho' he had said something awfu' funny. I'm sure _he_ hadna muckle room ta speak. Ye should hae seen his face - ane o' this great, big, roon' - Oh wed, it's nae richt o' me ta criticise the man's face; it was the only ane he had; bit he shouldna 'a interfered wi' my nose! He carry't on awfu' aboot it, an' tell't me I ocht ta see a doctor, an' get 'im ta pit it in a sling for a while. As I was comin' doon the stair, I happen't ta say ower my shoother, that if a doctor saw _his_ face, he wad be wintin ta pit it in a bottle for a curiosity. That was fin he gaed me the shove. I micht hae broken my heid on the stair, bit by good luck I fell on ta a man comin' up. A fine ceevil man this was tee. He says- "That was a nesty shove ye got." "Oh aye," I says, "it was a coorse thing ta dae, bit it disna maitter, I was comin' doon onywye." I aince thocht I was richt for sellin' a machine tho'. A young wife tell't me if I would come in an' rock the cradle a meenit until she wad gyang oot a message, she would see aboot a machine fin she cam' back. I jumpet at the chance; it was the first encouragement I got since I startet. I gaed inta the hoose, an' sat doon at the cradle an' rocket awa at it, an' the wifie put a shawl ower her shoothers an' took a basket in 'er haun' an' gaed oot. I got on fine a whilie ca'in the cradle an' thinkin' on a' the things I wad buy wi' the commission I wad get aff o' the machine I was sure I wad sell, until the bairn startet ta girn. I didna like that, so I shoudet the cradle for a' 'at I was wirth. Bit that seem't ta mak' it waur. I began ta get feart at it, mm' ye, an' wish't the wifie wad hurry back. It was an awfu' perdiciment! I didna like ta hear the crater skirlin', an' ta try an' quaeten't I took it oot o' the cradle, tho' I wisna sure fat wye ta tak haud o't. I was feart it wad br'ak! It grew quaet, tho', min' ye, so I carriet it aboot thro' the fleer, an' sang hushy-baa-loo-baa, an' tell't it some good baurs, an' got on graun' wi't. It was awfu' ta'en up wi' my sair nose. It crawed tiIl't an' tried ta get a haud o't. It did get a grip aince, bit I gar't it lat go, an' it began ta greet again. Bit I wisna carin'; I couldna gie't my nose ta play wi'. Efter a while I got tir't carryin't, an' I set it doon on the fleer. It couldna traivel, for I tried it, bit sat doon. I had an awfu' job ta keep it quaet. I gaed it a big china dog affair aff the dresser, an' it amus't itsel' a few meenits lickin' the paint aff o't, then threw't awa, an' held its hauns oot the wye o' the fire, as tho' it wintit something fae there, I gaed it a fryin' pan wi' a lang hannle, an' _that_ fairly pleas't it. It made an awfu' mess o' itsel', tho', wi' the black seet aff the pan , bit as lang's it was quaet I wisna carin'. Fin I saw't sae weel pleas't wi' itsel', I took a look roon' the wifie's kitchen, an' fat div ye think? She had a fine new shooin' machine sittin' in a corner. Div ye see the trick? She got me ta look efter the bairn on the unnerstaunin' 'at she wad buy a machine, an' she had ane i' the hoose a' the time! I was in a richt rage. If it hadna been that I didna like ta leave the bairn by itsel', I wad 'a left there an' than. The time I was giein' vent ta my feelin's, there was a knock at the door, an' I gaed an' open't it, an' there's a man speirin' if we were a' insur't. This was my chance. "I'm nae richt sure," I says, "bit if ye come in an' bide wi' the bairn a meenit, I'll get the mistress 'ersel' ta ye." He fell inta the trap as easy's I did mysel'. I dinna ken foo he got on, or fat the wifie thocht fin she cam' hame, for I never gaed back ta see. Affectation. THE following story of a friend's affectation is related by Mrs. Flype: There's some folk gettin' richt genteel nooadays. They're beginnin' ta think the auld-fashion't wye o' speakin' Scotch is ower common. It aggravates me something terrible ta see them turnin' up their noses at the gweed braid Scotch oor fathers an' mithers spoke. For instance, there's Mistress Sharpneb that eest ta bide in the same tenement hoose as we did. At that time she was jist as nice a woman as onybody could wish ta hae a cup o' tea an' a crack wi'. I assure ye, I was disapp'intet fin she flittet oot o' the hoose. Ye see, 'er man's a painter, an' a richt nice man he was tee. He used ta whitewash my kitchen wi' valla ochre ilka spring. Bit he got on for a foreman wi' big wauges, so af coorse they had ta flit ta a mair fashionable locality, if ye please! Efter they left, I saw naethin o' 'er for aboot twa month. Bit ae efterneen (I min' I was bakin') there was a knock at the door, an' I cries- "Come in, if yer feet's clean." So the door opens an' I hears an Englishy v'ice sayin'- "Are you in, Mrs. Flype?" I gaed ta the door ta see fa the v'ice belang't ta, an' here was Mistress Sharpneb, dress't up ta the nines. I hardly kent 'er for a meenit, she was sae braw. Efter I got ower my astonishment, I says- "Ae, an' is that yer ain sel', Mistress Sharpneb? It really dis my he'rt gweed ta see ye again. Come awa in by." She cam' in, sayin'- "I was in the district, so I just thocht I would give you a call." My goodness, I near collapsed. She thocht she would give me a call; an' 'er English an' a' 'er orders! I mind fin she eest ta come in withoot knockin', askin' the len' o' my tattie chapper. Aye, an' she wid hae ca'd it a tattie chapper tae. Bit I reckon nooadays it wad be potatie chapper. I dustit a cheer for 'er wi' my apron, an' speert foo she was aye keepin'. "Oh, just fair to middling, thank you, Mrs. Flype," says she, "always able to trauchle away.' Syne I speert if 'er auldest laddie was aye on the milk cairt. She was quite shocked, min' ye. She liftet up 'er haun's an' says- "Oh, bliss you, fie, no! Our John's learning to be an ingineer." I says- "Oh, chase me." Efter a while she got me tell't that her dochter Clementina was taking music lessons, and they had bocht a new second-hand piannie at a rowp. They had fine new wax-cloth for the fleer; it was awful dear, but it was speecial quality. They had a new brass cage for the birdie. They had bocht a new mantelpiece mirror for the parlour, and had used the auld one for the kitching. She had a new Sunday costume, tyler made; awful bonnie; pale blue with snowdraps. Her husband had varnished the new mahogany kist of drawers-. Ae, foo she did blaw, an' I jist loot 'er go on, an' did my bakin'. Fin I _did_ get a chance ta speak I speert if she wid tak a cup o' tea. "Oh no, thank you, Mrs. Flype," says she. "Don't bather stopping your baking. I don't take tea in the afterneens. I sometimes takes a cup of choc'late, but I've gotten't already to-day. Just before I came oot, in fact. Thank you, all the same." Fancy that! "Oh, it's weel ye've gotten't," I says, "for I hinna an inch o' choc'late i' the hoose. I gaed little Jeannie the hinmost bittie I had, afore she gaed ta the school." Jist imagine a woman at her time o' life needin' choc'late. I've nae patience wi' the like o' that. An' ye should have heard 'er fin she spoke aboot the simmer holidays. It was a perfect treat! "Oh, Mrs. Flype," says she, "I had such a bicker with my husband the other nicht. Just a friendly argument, you ken. Of course, we never fecht." (Thinks I, it's changed days wi' ye, than). "John wantit to gyang to the country and I wantit to gyang to the seaside. I do like the seaside, you ken, Mrs. Flype, it's so exalting, so to speak; watching the shippies sailing, and widing about bare-fitted in the water, and catching dilse. Oh, it's such fun! And of course I got my ain wye, and we're going to ging ta Muchalls." "Oh," says I, "that'll be fine; ye'll be the better o' the change, bit I doot my scones are burnin'." I was thankfu' o' some excuse ta turn my face awa, ta nae lat 'er see me lauchin'. Fin she had gotten me weel telt aboot 'er ain bolidays, she says- "An' where was you thinkin' of taking your holidays this year, Mrs. Flype? Fine did she ken we wad jist be gyaun ta Pitfodels as usual ta pull blaeberries. Bit I wad gie 'er a set-doon, so I says as careless like's I could- "Oh, Jeems an' me's thinkin' aboot gyaun ta France. Ta lovely Lucernie, ye ken, Mistress Sharpneb." That was a noser for 'er, I'm thinkin'. An' I wisna tellin' a lee, we was thinkin' aboot it, tho' there was awfu' little chance o's gyaun. She had very little ta say aboot 'er finery efter that. She began ta yawn wi' 'er haun' in front o' 'er moo', an' 'er fingers spread oot, so that I could see 'er new false teeth. Bit I nivver loot on I saw them, an' fin she said she was afraid she would need ta be "steppin'," I didna press 'er ta bide. As she was gyaun doon the stair I notic't ane o' 'er hat-pins was fa'in oot, sae I drew 'er attention till't. "Oh," she says, "what a scutter." She shov't it back wi' sic a force that she jobbet 'er heid an' gart 'er cry, " Fich, aliss; that was sair." Efter I had said gweed day ta 'er I jist gaed inta the hoose an' shut the door an' took a gweed he'rty lauch ta mysel'. Market Adventures. IT was the day after an Aberdeen feeing market, and Francie Howison had but newly returned to the farm where he was at the time employed. He was leaving his present situation at the term, and, as is common in similar cases, had got off for the day to attend the market and secure another "place." He should, however, have returned the same night. He managed to get to the farm unobserved, and, quickly changing the "market clothes" for his working suit, made his way to the stable, where he found his friend, Willie Gable, at work. Willie looked up on Francie's entrance, and exclaimed- "Na; bit faur hiv ye been, Francie, my lad? I thocht ye was tint. Are ye only jist hame?" "Jist this meenit in aboot," answered Francie. "Faur's the fairmer? Has he miss't me?" "Na, na; he hasna been oot ower the door the day - I'm telt he's laid up wi' a sair heid." "Oh, that's capital; we can tak it easy a meenit. Man, I', richt tir't." He seated himself on a convenient heap of straw, and his companion found rest on the stilt of a barrow. "Aye, aye," said Willie, after they were comfortably seated, "an' fat kin' o' a market had ye?" "Oh, naething awfu' speccial; jist the same aul' thing. Stravaigin' aboot here an' there, seein' folk an' lookin' at things, an' so on." "Bit hiv ye gotten anither place?" "Aye: I was fee'd afore I was half an 'oor i' the market. I'm gyaun ta Skypies o' Bainsfit. D'ye ken't?" "I ken faur it is, an' I think I ken Skypies 'imsel' by seein' 'im." "Oh, ye wad fairly ken 'im. A'body kens Skypies. A little mannie, wi' queer fuskers, corduroy leggin's, an' a snuff mull. He aye wears a reid worset grauvit an' a lang hizel stick." "Aye, aye, I ken the mannie. That's jist fa I was thinkin' on. He wirks a lot wi' his snuff mull." "Jist that. Weel, I was staunin' lookin' at a mannie wi' a monkey an' a foul face crankin' an organ, fin I got a dig i' the sma' o' my back wi' a stick. I lookit roon ta see fa did it, an' there's Skypies waggin' on me ta come oot o' the crood. Sae I follow't the craiter, an' fin we were oot ower a bittie, he says- 'Are ye fee'd, min?' "I says- 'No.' "He says- 'Are ye gyaun ta fee?' "I says- 'Maybe I micht.' "Sae he tak's oot his snuff mull, open't it, an' gaed it a knack or twa o' the side o't, put a speenfu' o' snuff up his nose, shut the boxie again, an' says- 'Wid ye come ta me?' I said that wad depend fat I was seekin', an' I socht three powen mair than I hiv here. 'Weel,' says he, 'that's a lot mair nor ye're wirth, but I winna haggle wi' ye. Be hame in gweed time the day efter the term.' "He took anither speenfu' o' snuff, an' I jist jumpit ta the side in time ta save mysel' fae gettin' anither prod wi' his stick, an' aff he gaed. "Man, it was the quickest deen bargain ye ever saw. I didna think he wad hae been sae easy ta deal wi', or I wad hae socht mair." "Oh, yell be a' richt than bit ye hinna telt me fat wye ye didna come hame last nicht." "Jist hae patience, I'm comin' ta that. I met yon glaiket lump o' a chiel', Benjie Tosh o' Grubbybrae. He's an awfu' chap yon; jist as daft's ever. D'ye ken fat he was daein' fin I first saw 'im i' the market? He was dancin' ta the music o' a gyaun-aboot piper. Ye ken, Benjie canna help dancin' fin there's music, bit ye wad hae thocht he widna dae't o' the public street. "The piper was blawin' awa at his pipes an' duntin' his heel o' the grun', an' Benjie, withoot a smile on his face, hoochin' an' dancin' afore 'im as tho' his life depended on't. An' what an awfu' sicht he was ta gang ta a market. His heid was half-cover't wi ane o' yon aul'-fashion't double-snootit bonnets, wi' flaps for coverin' yer lugs, 'at ye tie wi' strings aneath yer chin. Ye'll min' the kin' o' things; they gaed oot o' date aboot the time they startit ta pit newmatick tyres on bicycles. I dinna ken faur Benjie had gotten't. I reckon he jist wort ta be different fae ither folk. I widna hae ta'en sae muckle notice o't if it had been richt on his heid, bit it was a' agley, an' ane o' the flaps was curl't up oot o' sicht, an' the ither ane fleein' afore his face. Syne, ta croon a', he had a drake's feather stickin' on the tap o't. He was a picter, I tell ye. Nae winner a'body was lauchin' at 'im. "He happen't ta look awa fae the piper's face a meenit an' saw me. Syne he stoppit the dancin', an' ower he comes an' gaed me a great clap o' the shoother, an' cries- 'Hullo, Francie Howison, my bonnie loon; foo are ye?' "'Oh, I'm fine, Benjie,' I says. 'Fat's aye daein' wi' yersel'?' an' I gaed 'im a scoor roon' the side o' the heid wi' my bonnet. "Ye see, tho' he's a glaiket kin' o' a chap, ye canna help bein' freenly wi' 'im. "I took 'im awa doon the street wi' me, bit I had an awfu' job keepin' 'im quaet. He interfered wi' a'thing an' a'body. "He gaed in aboot ta a foreign mannie wi' a roon' bonnet an' a lang pole on his shoother, an' strings o' ingans hingin' oot, an' says ta 'im- 'Faur are ye gyaun wi' a' the ingans, min? Ye surely couldna ate a' that yersel'?' Syne he began ta argue wi' the mannie, an' feenish't up wi' buyin' a string o' ingans. I speert at 'im fat he wis gyaun ta dae wi' a' the ingans. 'Och,' says Benjie, 'I'm nae gyaun ta dae onything wi' them; I only bocht them for fun.' I couldna see faur the fun cam' in, carryin' aboot a string o' ingans thro' the streets, an' I telt 'im if he didna pit them oot o' sicht he wisna comin' wi' me. So he strippet them aff the string an' stuff't them inta his pooches. 'We gaed doon ta see the Fish Market efter that. Man, yon's a richt place. There was great heaps o' fish o' a' kin's, an' billies fullin' them inta barra's wi' shovels, an' an auctioneer sellin' them at an awfu' rate. I took Benjie weel oot ower fae the auctioneer tho', ta keep 'im fae biddin'. He wad hae thocht naething o' buyin' a puckle. "The Fish Market's fairly wirth gyaun ta see, tho'. Bit ye hiv ta watch yer feet, the fleer's awfu' slippy. Benjie got an awfu' sit-doon. He was jumpin' oot o' the wye o' a barrafu' o' fish a man was shovin', an' his feet gaed oot aneath 'im, an' he landet up to the neck amon' a great heap o' haddocks. "Noo, there's ae thing aboot Benjie I like. Nae maitter fat happens, he's nivver put oot o' humour. I've seen folk that wad hae been in an awfu' rage if they had gotten yon clyte. Bit nae Benjie. He jist gaed a bit lauch, an' says- 'Man, if that fish hadna been there I wad hae gotten a richt dird yon time.' "I made 'im staun' at peace a meenit till I got the haddocks picket aff o' 'im. They were stickin' a' ower his claes. An' a' the time I was daein' this, Benjie was lauchin' an' cryin' ta a curn lassies wi' lang-heidit beets, wirkin amon' fish oot ower a bittie. "The lassies seem't ta be enjoyin' the fun, bit I didna see muckle fun in't, I tell ye. I tried ta get Benjie ta haud his tongue an' stop makin' faces, bit he keepit cryin' - 'Ae, ye bonnie daurlin's; ye dinna get a lauch like this ilka day. I think there's a fish slippet doon the back o' my neck, Francie; ye micht pull't oot. Are ye gaun ta gie's a Sunday o' yer beets, ye sweet tulips 'at ye are?' I tell ye I was thankfu' fin I got 'im oot o' the market." "If I had been you, Francie," said Willie, "I wad hae gaen awa an' left 'im." "Oh na; I didna leave 'im. We gaed ta the theater efter that. That wis the wye I didna get hame the streen." "Oh, ye gaed ta the theater, did ye? Fat like was't?" "Weel, Willie, the fac' o' the maitter is, I couldna richt tell ye. The thing was weel startet afore we gaed in, an Benjie nivver gied's a chance ta pick up the threeds o't. He keepit speakin' a' the time. He was telt a lot o' times ta haud his tongue. It wasna a richt kin' o' a play 'at was on; it was fat they ca' an opery. 'Marrytanna' was the name o't. There was an awfu' lot o' singin' in't. Gweed singin' it wis tee; bit I wad hae liket it better if I'd kent the sangs. The only sang that was sung that I had heard afore was, 'Let me like a soldier fall.' The chap 'at sang was a capital singer, bit Benjie fair sp'ilt 'im. "A'body was awfu' quaet, an' seemin' ta be enjoyin' the singin' aboot 'Let me like a soldier fall, my breast expandjn' for the ball,' fin a' at aince Benjie says, lood oot- 'That lad seems awfu' anxious for somebody ta sheet 'im. Fat wad he think if I was ta drap 'im wi' ane o' this ingans?' An' he had ane ready ta throw, bit I got haud o' his haun' jist in time. Syne twa lads in uniform cam' an' put's baith oot; sae I couldna tell ye fat like the play was, bit I dinna think-' "That's nae the maister I hear comin', is't?" Francie looks out of the stable window- "Aye, it's him, wi' a cloot roon' his heid; he'll likely be in an ill-humour. We'll better awa an' pretend we're wirkin'." Sandy on Sousa. WHILE on a visit to Aberdeen some years ago, Sandy Macsiccar, from Blowieneuck, heard Sousa's famous band. He enjoyed the music very much, and never tires in describing the performance to his friends: Ye speak aboot music! Yon licket a'thing I ever heard afore inta a tattie basket. It was i' the Music Hall in Aiberdeen I heard it. I nivver was in yon hall afore, an' the first thing that struck me was the eyn o' a seat. It was stickin' oot a bittie i' the passage ta keep the shillin' folk fae the auchteenpences. I was tryin' ta get as far ben the hall's I could, an' that's the wye I didna notic't. There was an awfu' crood, bit I manag't ta get a seat aside a lad and his lass - at least, I took them ta be coortin' the wye they were makin' een at ane anither. They didna seem awfu' pleas't at me sittin' doon aside them, bit I couldna help that. I had ta sit faur there was room. Hooever, I tried ta mak mysel' as agreeable's possible. The lassie was next me an' I says ta 'er, "That's been a richt fine day." She said- "Yes," syne turn't roon' an' spoke ta 'er chap. So, seein' she wisna on for conversation, I took a look aboot me an' watch't the folk comin' ben the hall. I nivver saw sic a lot o' folk a' thegether afore, an' the queer thing was, naebody seem't ta ken their neebour. A'body jist gaed ta their seat an' sat doon an' nivver hardly spoke. There was ae mannie I notic't comin' ben the hall wi' a lum hat an' the awfu'st ill-ta-please girnin' face on 'im ye ever saw. Ye wad hae thocht he was comin' ben the kirk instead o' a hall. He looket aboot 'im ta see faur he wad sit, so I made room for 'im aside me, an' telt 'im ta sit doon an' mak 'imsel' at hame. He sat doon, bit he didna speak ta me. So ta open the conversation I says- "Aye, there's a gey curn folk here, isn't there?" He noddit his heid, bit said naething. Syne I says- "Are ye acquant wi' this Susie man, noo?" He shook his heid this time. I began ta think there was something batherin' the mannie, so I says- "Ye dinna seem ta be in an awfu' gweed humour!" Syne he spoke. He didna say muckle, tho'; he jist says- "I wish you would hold your tongue." I micht hae said mair ta 'im, bit jist at that meenit the band cam' on ta the platform. An' a fine lot o' gweed-lookin' chiels they waur, I assure ye. An' ilka ane o' them was carryin' a playin' thing. I nivver kent there was sae mony different kin's o' music-makin' instruments. There was trambones, cornets, big horns, little horns, tooteroos o' a' shapes an' sizes, flutes, fussels, drums, an' bress clappers. I turn't ta the lassie aside me an' said- "That's a lot o' gey lads, isn't?" She said- "Yes"; an' jist as she said that, Susie 'imsel' gaed a bit tap wi his stick an' they were awa. They carry't me wi' them. I jist fairly forgot mysel'. I sat in my seat an' didd'lt my fit, keepin' time ta the tune, wi' my een starin' oot o' my heid an' my moo' gapin'. Foo lang I carry't on like that I couldna say, bit I was brocht ta my senses wi' a pouk wi' the lassie's elbuck, an' she tell't me ta keep my feet fae 'er taes. My conscience! I had been duntin' awa wi' my big tackety beets on the puir craiter's taes a' the time! I was richt putten oot, an' I says- "I'm verra sorry, lassie; I didna ken I was touchin' ye. Are ye bather't muckle wi' corns?" At this his nabs - "little ta say" - on the ither side o' me, startit ta pouk me wi' his elbuck, so I turn't roon' an' says - "Hiv I been trampin' on your taes tee, man?" He says - "Wisht!" He wasna jist fat ye wad ca' a ceevil man, so I said nae mair, but hark'nt ta the band again. They were inta a new tune - a fine gyaun kin' o' a thing. It gart my bleed rush thro' me like the burn o Muckledoo in spate, an' set my verra taes lauchin'. An' afore I kent o' mysel', my feet were gyaun like flails again. Bit the lassie was ready for me this time. She had 'er feet drawn oot ower a bit. Efter we had gotten a puckle quick gyaun mairch tunes, they began ta play saft, solemn kin' o' things 'at brocht the water ta ma een, an' gart me imagine I heard the auld kirk bell i' Tillyfuttle tollin' for the folk ta come ta the kirk on a Sunday. There was ae awfu' quaet, sad, soordrap tune 'at made a'body sit as quaet's mice. It was sae quaet 'at I began ta feel uncomfortable, an' wantet ta speak ta somebody. I turn't roon' ta the lassie, bit she was sittin' wi' a far-awa look in 'er een, obleevious o' 'er surroondin's, as ye micht say. I was feart the musk was haein' some sair an effect on 'er. There is folk like that, ye ken, for we hiv a cat at hame 'at grew ill ilka time it heard the fiddle. So I thocht it was a kin' o' my duty ta brack the spell. 'Er haun' was lyin' open on 'er lap, so I tickl't 'er palm wi' the p'int o' my finger, an' says, "_Kittlie, kittlie, roon' the haun'_." Man, she jumpit, an' the chap aside 'er gaed me a look like ta knock me doon, an' took chairge o' 'er haun' 'imsel'. There was ae collection o' tunes I was awfu' pleas't wi'. This was a mixter o' a'thing through-ither. There was "Annie Laurie," wi' the neck like a swan; "Jock o' Hazeldene," an' "The Craw kill't the Pussy O," an' fin they were playin' _it_, I forgot mysel' sae far as ta sing't alang wi' them. Only I hadna sung mair than twa lines fin I got a split-pea i' my lug, 'at somebody had blawn thro' ane o' yon tin pluffer affairs at me. The time I was shakin't oot o' my lug, I happen't ta see the chap 'at did it. He was twa seats oot ower fae me gettin' ready ta skite anither ane at me. Bit fin he saw me lookin' at 'im, he shov't his pluffer inta his oxter pooch, an' began ta claw his nose. I wintit ta lat 'im see I kent it was him, so I cries ower- "Aye, aye; ye're jist giein' yer nose a bit claw, are ye? If ye skite ony mair o' yet piz I'll maybe gie ye something else ta claw, my bonnie loon; min' ye that." I didna hear fae him again. I couldna tell ye which o' the music I liket best; it was a' sae gweed, bit "Home, Sweet Home" was extra speecial. It gart _me_ think o' hame, min' ye, an' I winner't if they had notic't ta gie the stirk 'at was nae-weel its medicine. They feenish't up wi' a tune 'at made my hair rise. What a din they made! The whole lot o' them yarkin' in till't for a' they were wirth. It wis wirth twa Aikey fairs an' a cattle show an' a' the fiddlers an' pipers i' them. The only ane i' the hall 'at wisna ony excitet was Susie 'imsel'. He jist steed there, waggin' awa at his stick as tho' it was common wark. D'ye ken, fin I cam' oot o' the hall, I didna ken if my heid or my heels was tapmost! Susie's a gey billie, I tell ye! The Old Bellman. _N.B. - The effect of the following monologue is much enhanced by the reciter pulling an imaginary rope all the time._ [For the purpose of deciding whether they should have an organ in the Church of Bowspindle or not, a special meeting of the congregation was recently called. To remind members of the meeting the church bell was rung. The bell is of the old-fashioned kind, with the bell rope hanging outside, and to ring it the old bellman has to stand by the door; and he generally has a word to say to the members as they pass inside. On this particular occasion I had a chat with the old bellman, who, while ringing his bell, gave me his views on the organ question.] Fat said ye? - Fat's on in the kirk the nicht? Oh, man, great excitement! They're thinkin' aboot stappin' an organ intil 'er. There's been a lot o' speakin' aboot it for a file, bit it's gaun ta be sattl't whether or no the nicht. - Fat's that? - Am I in favour o't mysel'? I am that. Man, an organ wid he a great help ta me. Ye've nae idea foo mony fowk I've ta gang an' wauken up efter a service. Noo, gin there wis a guid-gaun organ in the kirk, ae richt binner o' 'er wid be a' 'it wis wintit. - No, as ye say, there's nae muckle fowk on the road yet, bit och, they're aye lang o' comin' in this pairish. There's auld Sneckie o' Mowatsbrae comin' full-steam aheid. Sneckie aye likes ta be weel forrit. (Fine nicht, Sneckie. Ye've gotten doon? Are ye in favour o' this organ business than? - Oh, ye wid raither hae a harmonium, wid ye? Weel, weel, than.) Sneckie, ye ken, his an auld harmonium o' his ain 'it he bocht at a roup. He'll vote for a harmonium an' syne try an' sell them his ain ane. Oh, Sneckie's a' there. - Eh? Is't sair wark ringin' the bell? - Oh, no, ye get accustomed till't. Fin ae airm's tir't I jist tak's the ither ane. - Na, I winna gie ye a rug at it; ye micht ca' 'er oot o' gear. Man, it's nae ilka ane 'it can ring this bell richt. See, if ye harken till 'er aenoo ye wid jist think she was sayin', "Come awa, come awa, come awa!" The man 'at hid 'er afore me couldna mak naething o' 'er. He ca'd 'er ower quick, ye wad 'a thocht she was sayin', "Collection, collection, collection!" It wi awfa greedy like. See, here's the blacksmith an' the jiner comin' doon thegither awfa freenly like. They'll be discussin' the organ, I'll warrant. They'll be thinkin' if there's an organ on the go they'll get the pittin' in o' 'er atween them. There'll likely be some jiner and smiddy wark ta dee. (Foo are ye, jiner? Oh aye, jist tittin' awa at the towie here. Fine nicht, smith.) The fowk's comin' in aboot noo. (Is my beets sol't vet, sooter? Weel, I think it's aboot time). Man, I eest ta be doon on this organs in kirks masel', bit I chang't my opeenion efter hearin' ane in a kirk in Glesca. - I'm gaun awa ta cheenge my haun'. - Man, this organ wis the finest piece o' archietecture 'at ever I saw - full't the hale gell o' the kirk, an' as mony pipes in 'er as wid 'a made spoots for a dizzen hooses. - Here's Willie Tait comin'. I wid like ta speak till 'im. (I say, Willie, wid ye tell yon auldest laddie o'yours that the neist time 'at he tak's monkey-nuts ta the kirk he'll tak the shalls oot wi' 'im. I've eneuch ta dee withoot swipin' up nit shalls. - Eh? Am I sure it was him 'at did it? - Sure eneuch, for I gaed doon ta the merchant's an' spiert fa bocht monkey-nits on Setterday; an' besides, they war in your seat.) It disna dee ta lat them aff, ye ken. - Oh weel, bit I was tellin' ye aboot the organ I heard. It was raley capital. An' the din it made! Sometimes it made a soochin' soon like the win' blawin' thro' trees. Syne ye wid 'a thocht there wis a lot o' bees bummin' an' birdies chirpin'-it jist pat ye in min' o' a fine simmer mornin'; an' the neist meenit it wid gie a binner an' a bang 'at gart me jump an' made my verra backbane dirl. (Guidevenin', Mr. Blawhard. Oh ay, ye're in fine time). An' the hale thing wis ca'ed b' ae little mannie. I jist saw his heid bobbin', an' got a squint o' his fingers noo an' than, jumpin' aboot amon' the teeth o' 'er. I tell ye, there wid be little fear o' onybody sleepin' i' the kirk fin there's a mull like yon gaun. (Rin, Corbie, or ye'll be ahin'!) I think the maist o' the fowk's in noo. (Noo, look here, shepherd, ye're nae gaun ta tak' that dog in there wi' ye. - I'm nae carin' whether ye keep 'im quaet or no; he's nae gaun in ta this kirk. - It disna maitter, I say he's nae gaun in, an' my wird's law, an' he's nae gaun. Cooch, ye brute!) Man, we hid an awfa t'dee here ae Sunday wi' that dog an' anither ane. They baith cam' inta the kirk wi' their maisters, an' were lyin' quaet eneuch till a bumbee stang some o' their noses, an' it set up a howlin'. Afore we kent o' wirsels they were fechtin' an' rowin' ower ane anither i' the passage. Oh, it wis a guid fecht; bit it was hardly the thing in the kirk, in the middle o' the sermon tee. I think the minister was taen up wi't 'imsel' tho', for fin I gaed in aboot ta stop them he cried, "Lat them be, Willie, lat them be." Syne he min't far he wis, an' said, "Or they'll maybe bite ye." It took fower o's ta kick them oot, an' they feenish't it in the lobby. - Weel, I'm nae gaun tae ring ony mair the nicht. I've ta hing the rope a guid bit up oot o' reach o' the loons. Gin they got a haud o't they wid shak the tongue oot o' 'er. - I reckon I'll awa inside noo an' see foo they're gettin' on. Hugh McCurrie's Marriage. [JOCK MILTON attended the marriage of his friend, Hugh M'Currie, and the following is what he has to say of the event:] Aye, I was at the merrage, an' it was a good merrage. Nane o' yer scrimpy, half-in-half bittie-beef-an'-mustard an' be-canny-wi'-the-butter affairs. Bit a guid, auld-fashion't, help-yersel'-ta-a'thing an'-if-ye-dinna-see-fat-ye-want seek-for't affair. Oh, jist a graun merrage. An' if it hidna been for Bumpie Black I wid 'a fair enjoy't masel'. He spil't it a guid bit. Ye see, I took Bumpie alang wi' ma instead o' a lassie. The invitation 'it I got (an' a richt bonnie ceeval invite it was - a fine floorish't affair, wi' twa doos pickin' ane anither on the tap o' a horse shee) - it was requestin' the pleasure of my company alang wi' a lady friend to the marriage of Bella Giggle to Hugh M'Currie. I didna ken fa this Bella Giggle was, bit I kent Hugh M'Currie fine. Oh, he's an awfa saft, quaet, easy-ozy kin' o' a stock, tho' nae an ill lad. Him an' me aye got on graun thegither. Bit fat wye he manag't ta pluck up courage ta seek ony lassie ta mairry 'im I couldna unnerstaun'. Hooiver, here it was, black upon fite. I was gaun ta tell ye, tho', fat wye I cam' ta tak' Bumpie Black instead o' a lassie. Oh, it wasna 'at I couldna _get_ a lassie ta come. I could 'a gotten seven or echt for that maitter. Bit I aince got a ticket fae Bumpie ta gang ta a soiree wi' 'im, an' I promis't ta tak' _him_ ta the first thing I hid tickets for. An' this happen't ta be Hughie's merrage, an' - weel, _I_ dinna like ta be due naebody onything, so I jist took 'im. Bit I wish I hidna. For fat a cairry-on he held. The day o' the merrage Bumpie an' me set oot, We hid fower mile ta gang, so we jist traivell't. Rumple wis in great speerits that day. He wintit ta tak' me on at hop-step-an'-Ieap on the road, bit I wadna hear o't. I wasna gyaun ta tire masel' oot afore the dancin'. We cam' on a palin' post sittin' b' itsel' at the roadside, an' Bumpie beet ta hae leap-frog ower the tap o't. He gaed ower't richt eneuch, bit he landed heid-first in a ditch, an' made the awfu'st soss o' his Sabbath claes 'at iver ye saw. It jist took aboot an oor's scrapin' af ore he wis a kin' o' presentable. So b' the time we got ta the place faur the merrage was ta be held the ceremony was by an' the minister awa'. Hooiver, we was in time for wir denner, an', as Bumpie Black said, that wis the main thing. Av coorse we hid a' the usual shakin' haun's an' "Foo are ye?" an' "Lang life an' happiness," an' a' that kin' o' stuff ta gyang thro'. That was a rare wife 'at Hughie hid gotten, tho'-nice, fine, gweed-lookin', bonnie-drest, lauchin'-face't deemie. Oh, bit ye should 'a seen Hughie - sic a like ticket he was, wi' his merrage claes, an' his lugs full o' rice. He was drest in a black sartoo coat, an' he lookit awfu' pitten oot like in't, an' he hid on ane o' this new-fashion't double-foldit collars, bit the ane 'at he hid was intendit for somebody wi' a lang neck, an' Hughie has hardly ony neck ava. He drew me awa' ta the side b' masel' an' says (wi' the awfu'st solemn face on), "Man, Jock," he says, "I'm richt happy." "Weel, Hughie," I says, "ye dinna look it." Naether he did. Fat wye could he, fin the half o' his face was aneath his collar? Syne he gaed his heid a jerk the wye o' his wife an' says, "Fat div ye think o' 'er?" "Oh," I says, "she's a nice like lassie, Hughie; bit faur did ye get 'er?" Hughie didna pit me thro' that tho'; he jist says, "We better be movin' the wye o' the table an' get fat's a-gaun." So we _gaed_ ta the table, an' Hughie sat doon at the heid o't aside his wife, an' I sat doon aside Bumpie Black. _He_ wis haudin' a gey cairry-on a' this time wi' lauchin' an' throwin' conversation sweeties ta a' the lassies roon' the table. It took me a' my time ta keep 'im in order. There was a young, bashfu' kin' o' a lassie sittin' aside 'im, an' Bumpie jist tormentit the life oot o' 'er. We werena weel begun fin the rascal took his speen oot amon' his soup an' touch't the back o' the lassie's haun' wi't. It gart her jump, I tell ye. It was a coorse thing ta dee - the speen was burnin' het. I gied 'im a putt, an' spiert fat he meant bi't. "Och, it's a' richt," says Bumpie, "I was jist wantin' ta be sociable." Efter a whilie, fin the beef kin' o' stuff was bein' discuss't, Bumpie hid the hin'-hoch o' a rabbit in his plate, an' he wis makin' an awfu' gutter at it wi' his knife an' his fork. I believe if I hidna watch't 'im he wid 'a hid his fingers at it. He made a great dive at it wi' his fork, stuck it in the wrang place, an' the hoch gaed skytin' oot o' his plate an' landit richt in the lassie's lap. Bit that didna pit Bumpie ony aboot. He jist quaetly liftit it back inta his plate, sayin' ta the lassie, "I think that's my rabbit." I gied 'im anither putt, an' telt 'im he should beg the lassie's pardon. So he turn't roon' ta the lassie an' pintit ta me wi' his thoom an' says, "Jock here says I should beg your pardon, bit it's a' richt, isn't it?" Av coorse the lassie couldna say it wisna. So fat could ye dee wi a cove like that? I widna care't sae muckle if it hidna been me 'at took 'im there. Fin the denner was by the bride's father got up an' said a few wirds, an' socht Hughie ta mak' a speech. It wisna fair o' 'im to seek Hughie ta speak. I kent fine he couldna, he's sa bashfa. Hooiver, Hughie got on ta his feet, laid his moo oot owre the tap o' his collar, pull't his tie ta the side, an' left his finger-marks on't-they war a' mustart-pickit a bittie rice puddin' aff o' his watch-chine, gied a bit hoast ta clear his throat, lookit aboot 'im a meenit, then drew his moo inta its hole again, an' sat doon - niver said a wird! An' av coorse we gied 'im a bit clap. Fin Hughie sat doon Bumpie gied me a nudge, an' says ta me, "Ye ken, Jock, it's the usual thing for somebody ta reply ta a speech o' that kin'- will _I_ dee't?" I says, "Ye better nae!" Bit it was nae eese. Afore I could stop 'im Bumpie was up on his feet; an' in jumpin' up he knockit ower a tumbler o' lemonade 'at the lassie hid sittin' in front o' 'er; says ta her, "Hoot awa!" - then ta the fowk - "Maister Cheerman, ladies and gentlemen, I'm sure we are all very pleas't ta be here, a - in this room - a - just now; and I-I'm we are all very glad to see and hear Mister-a-Mister a-(fat's his name again, Jock?) Mister-['Sit doon!']-I'm sure-(No, I winna sit doon-fat are ye ca'in' me wrang like that for, Jock? M'Currie is't? Weel, foo didn't ye say that at first?)-Maister - M'Currie, an' - an' - an' that. I'm told 'at this is the first merrage 'at Mister M'Currie's iver been at o' his ain, an' I'm sure we all wish 'im joy, an' hope he'll live to see many more similar occasions - an' - an' - a - if a sang'll please ye I'm sure I'll be delighted ta obleege." Noo, that wis jist fat I wis fear't for. Bumpie's a terrible singist. He jist _canna_ sing. I tried ta stop 'im twa-three times wi' nippin' 'im, bit he only stoppit ta tell me aboot it, an' at it again. The sang that he tried ta sing gangs something like this- ==As I cam' ower b' Alford ===Upon a day t' fee, ==I met wi' Geordie- (Fat are ye tit-tit-tuggin' at my jacket like that for, Jock? Dinna dee that again!) =====-Weelimson, ===Wi' him I did agree. ==Wi' my irey irrity irey ow, ===I rey irrity Ann. ==Fin I gaed hame ta Geordie's toon ==='Twas on a- (Fich, min, aliss! That wis sair!) He gaed richt thro' aboot thirteen verses like that, an' fin he feenish't they clear't the tables for dancin' for fear he wid sing again. I wisna on for dancin' masel', so I jist lookit on, an' Bumpie didna dance 'kis he couldna get a partner. I was awfu' taen up i' the fiddler they had. He took things the canniest I iver saw. He restit his elbuck on the mantelpiece an' sawed awa wi' his ither haun' - he was wirth the lookin' at. Bumpie, av coorse, hid ta gang in aboot an' tell 'im fat wye he should haud his bow. An' I dinna ken whether the fiddler intended it or no, bit the p'int o' the bow took Bumpie the finest pouk in the e'e ye iver saw. Then Bumpie startit ta dance without a pairtner. I was fear't there wid be trouble, so I gaed an' said good-bye ta Hughie an' his wife, an' trystit Bumpie ootside wi' an orange. An' fin got 'im oot o' sichi gaed 'im _oranges_. I dinna think he'll seek ta anither merrage wi' me again. Flappers the Mesmerist. THE men employed at the farm of Pitdubb were one evening seated round the bothy fire, entertaining each other with stories of their experiences in the different situations they had filled and of the people they had met. The story of the evening, however, was "Flappers the Mesmerist," and it was told by Jamie Fraser. Weel, lads, says amie, I've met a gweed curn queer chaps in my time, bit the greatest rarity o' a cove 'at iver I hid ony dealin's wi' was a lad 'at cam' hame ta be strapper at Stibblehillock fin was there. We notic't he was something oot o' the common the first time we saw 'im. He hid a great bonnetfu' o' lang strippit hair, the broos o' his een was piebald, an' his een themsel's hid a far-awa, taen-aback look in them. Bit the queerest things aboot 'im was his lugs. They was the drollest affairs 'it iver ye saw - great, big, stickin'-oot lads like saucers. Bit it wisna sae muckle their size - he hid an awfu' control ower them. Withoot touchin' them wi' his haun's, he could gar them play flip-flap against the sides o' his heid. He wisna twa days aboot the place afore we ca'd 'im Flappers, an' the name stack till 'im as lang's he was there. Bit it was a week or so afore we began ta get acquant wi' 'im. He was a bittie staun'-affish, an' niver said muckle ta the rest o's. Hooiver, him an' me happen't to be wirkin' thegither in the harness-room ae day, an' took 'im on ta the subject o' his lugs. He was lookin' oot at the winda awfu' intent like, an' he seem't ta get excited a' at aince, an' the lugs startit ta gyang. This gied me a fine chance, so I says, casual like, "That's a pair o' richt lugs ye hae, min." "Oh, they're good enough, I suppose," says he. "Bit," I says, "fat wye div ye manage ta ca' them?" "Ah," says he, "there's a lot o' folk wad like ta ken that. That's an acquirement." "Oh," I says, "that's a peety. Hiv ye been seein' aboot it?" "Seein' aboot it?" says he. "Fat wad I see aboot it for? Div ye ken it took me near five years' practice afore I could mak' them gyang like that." "Eh, man," I says, "div ye tell ma that? Ye should go on practeesin' an' see if ye could get yer nose ta wag. Gin ye could get yer nose an' yer lugs ta waggle at the same time ye wid mak' a fortune." He said he had something o' mair consequence ta practise nor winkin' noses. "Man," he says, "I'm studyin' a thing aenoo 'at ye ken naething aboot, an' ye widna be ony wiser tho' I telt ye." "Oh, maybe no," I says. "That's awfu' like lugs 'at ye hae onywye." He didna say ony mair for a whilie. He was waitin' for me ta spier fat he was studyin', bit I took care o' 'im. I kent I wid get it withoot spierin', so I jist humm't awa ta mysel' a meenit till he saw 'at I wisna carin'; then he said, "Did iver ye hear o' sic a thing's mesmerism?" "Ay, mony a time," I says, "an' used it tee." He lookit a bittie pitten oot at this, so I follit up my advantage an' telt 'im I rubbit my airm wi't fin it was sprain't, an' fine stuff it was. I bocht a bottle o't at the droggist's, an' my airm was better in nae time. He gaed me an awfu' peetifu' kin' o' a look, shook his heid, an' gied his lugs a flap, an' says he, "Man, ye're awfu' ignorant." "Oh," I says, "thank ye; bit dinna say that ta me again or I'll mak that lugs o' yours 'at they'll niver gie anither wag." There was a kin' o' a cauldness atween's efter that a file. Ye ken a body disna like ta be telt 'at they're ignorant, tho' they mak a mistak'. Ye see fin he spak' aboot mesmerism it was embrocation 'at I min't on, an' some wye or anither it strak me it was the same thing. Hooiver, we werena lang afore we were freens again, an he telt me if I liket ta come ta the byre wi' 'im efter supper-time he wid lat me see fat mesmerism wis. So, jisi for the fun o' the thing, I gaed ta the byre wi' 'im, an' as seen's we war inside he shut the door an' snibbet it, an' says, "I dinna want ony ither body ta see this business, 'kis I'm nae richt up till't mysel' yet, bit first ava I'll explain ta ye fat mesmerism is. It's jist a pure case o' the poo'er o' the min' ower maitter. A lad 'at's a mesmerist jist his ta look inta a body's een an' mak' a few passes afore his face like this; an' gin his min' be stronger nor the min' o' the cove 'at he's mesmerism' he can get control o' his min', an' can mak' his subject dee fatever he wills, d'ye see?" An' I said I saw tho' I didna ken fat he was bletherin' aboot, bit I thocht I'd get the best fun b' sayin' wi' 'im. "Weel," he says, "I've niver mesmerised onybody yet, bit I've manag't a hen, an' I some think I can manage a sheep, so I'm gaun ta hae a try at the big ram at the ine o' the byre there; so come awa ben an' we'll see fat we can mak o' 'im." I telt 'im ta ca' gey canny wi' the ram, for it didna like onybody ta tak' leeberties wi't. "Oh," he says, "the wilder the better. Ye'll see foo I subdue 'im an' bend 'im ta my will." An' afore I could stop 'im he wis in-ower the parteetion aside the ram. So I jist waitit ta see fat wid happen. Hooiver, naething happen't for a meenit or so. Flappers an' the ram jist lookit at ane anither. "Keep quaet noo," Flappers says ta me, "an' I'll fix 'im in a meenit." An' he began ta wave his hauns afore the ram's face, an' says, "Sleep, I command ye; sleep fin I tell ye." Av coorse that wis doonricht nonsense. The ram didna ken a word he wis sayin'. I was astonish't it put up wi' 'im sae lang. Oh weel, this was keepit up for aboot three meenits, till Flappers' lugs began ta wag, an' I think the ram took this for a challenge ta fecht. He doon wi' his heid, liftit his fore-feet, an' the next 'at I saw was Flappers gyaun yark tee ta the side o' the parteetion; an' I hid jist time ta haul 'im oot ower ta save 'im fae anither plout. He wisna muckle hurtit, but he got an awfu' fleg. He shook like a bowl o' pottit-heid, an' his lugs war deein' overtime. He seen cam' till 'imsel', tho'; for b' the time I was thro' lauchin' he wis as richt's a tacket, an' as full o' his mesmerism as iver. "Man, I richt near hid the ram yon time," says he. "Oh, maybe," I says, "bit I wis jist thinkin' the ram near hid you." Noo, ye wid 'a thocht 'it that wid a cure't 'im o' the mesmerism caper, bit it didna-it was only the beginnin' o't. He tried ta mesmerise a' the. Only he didna dee't sae muckle afore fowk efter the ram sortit 'im. He did it fin he thocht naebody wis lookin'. I cam' on 'im ae day staunin' at the ine o' the hoose wi' a big blue-bottle flee in his haun'. He was grippin't b' the wings atween the finger an' thoom o' his left haun' an' wavin' the ither ane afore't. He didna see me, so I jist keepit quaet a meenit. Syne a' at aince I cried, "Keep yer lugs quaet noo, Flappers, an' ye hiv't." What a rage he was in! He loot go the flee an' says, "Oh, ye think ye're awfu' funny, Jamie, bit I'll surprise ye a' yet." Av coorse I hid ta tell the ither lads aboot it, an' that verra nicht fin we were a' in the bothy, jist like we are here the nicht, Alick Munro, the foreman, wi' a wink ta the rest o's, proposed 'at Flappers should gie an exhibeetion o' mesmerism: Flappers kent 'at the foreman was takin' a rise oot o' 'im, an' he was a billie nettl't. "Oh," he says, "you lads thinks 'at I canna hypnotise, bit if ony o' ye like ta gie's a fair chance I'll tak' on haun' ta dee't aenoo." At this, Jock Flett, the orra man, said he hid seen some o' this mesmerism afore, an' he offer't ta gie Flappers a shot at him if Flappers wid learn 'im the wye ta wirk his lugs. Flappers said if he gied 'im a fair chance he wid think aboot it. There wis some mair banter, bit at lang-length Jock wis seatit on the lid o' his kist, an' Flappers in front o' 'im, an' his haun's gaun afore his face the same as he did wi' the ram. I was waitin' till the lugs wid flap to see if Jock wid flee at 'im like fat the ram did, bit instead o' that Jock stiffen't up a' at aince, an' his e'en shut. Syne Flappers says, sharp like, "Stan' up!" - an' Jock jumpit on till his feet at the first tellin', an' that was a maist unusual thing for Jock ta dee - he aye needs aboot a dizzen tellin's afore he'll dae fat he's bidden. Flappers was a bittie ta'en aback 'imsel', for he said, "I hiv 'im! He's awa' quicker nor I thocht he wid be, bit he's clean awa'. I hae 'im i' my poo'er-I can mak' 'im dee onything 'at I like!" The cattleman said he wid believe 'im if he gart Jock pey back a' the tebacca he hid borrow't fae him at ae time or anither. Bit Flappers said if he did that a' the rest o's wid be wantin' back the things we hid lent Jock, an' the peer sclype wid be left wi' naething. Weel, see, he gart Jock sing, an' dance, an' fussle, an' staun' on his heid, an' ye wid hardly believe the things he made 'im dee, till we began ta think there was something in Flappers efter a'. Bit he wis awfu' conceited aboot it. He pints ta Jock staunin' still in the middle o' pittin' on his jacket ootside in, an' says, "Noo, can I mesmerise or can I nae mesmerise?" The foreman said it lookit as tho' there was something in't efter a', an' spiert at Flappers fat wye it was deen. Flappers at this startit ta lay aff a great lang rigmarole aboot the poo'er o' the min' - something the same as he tel't me afore he yokit wi' the ram, an' feenish't up wi', "Bit av coorse it was an easy maitter wi' Jock here - my min's aboot twenty thoosan times mair poo'erfu' than this peer gype's is. In fact, he his hardly ony min' ava. He's jist a teem-heedit -." Bit that was a' the length at he got. Afore we notic't, Jock hid Flappers b' the hack o' the neck an' was shakin' 'im something awfu', an' sayin' atween the shak's, "I'm a peer gype, am I? Ye hiv a stronger min' than me, hiv ye? Ye thocht ye hid me mesmeris't, did ye? Ye couldna mesmerise a teuchat, could ye? I'll shak' the-." Oh, if we hidna haul't 'im awa', he wid 'a aiten Flappers. Jock hid been shammin' a' the time an' nane o's kent. Weel, that was aboot the feenish o' Flappers at Stibblehillock. He gied in his warnin' neist day, said the wark wis ower heavy for 'im; an' the hinmost we saw o' 'im he was takin' ower the hill wi' his bundle on his back, his hair wavin' in the win', an' his lugs flappin' like the wings o' a hen raxin' itsel'. The Knapmill Debating Society [I was not aware until recently that there was a Debating Society in Knapmill, but I am ifnormed by one of the residenters - Watty Portmoak - that such a society does exist. And Watty substantiates his information by giving me the following account of one of their debates]. Ay, we hiv a Debatin' Society in Knapmill, an' a bonnie set o' debaters they are fin they're a' thegither. I dinna ken fa's ta blame for startin'. Some say it was Rab Macfail, the ferrier, bit I'm nae sure, tho' I quite believe it was him; for I've seen 'im wi' my ain een settin' twa dogs at ane anither ta get them ta fecht. Onywye it _is_ startit, an' they hae a collieshangie ilka week up in their heid-quarters. That's in Mains o' Sklatestanes' corn laft. Sklaty gied them the laft on the condeetion 'at they conductet themsel's in an orderly fashion. Weel see, they gyang there ilka week, an' argybargy wi' ane anither aboot the maist rideeculas questions iver heard tell o'. Ae nicht it'll maybe be on - Which is the best sport - playin' cricket or keepin' doos? Anither time - Is't a waur crime ta commit suicide on rottens than ta sheet craws? A widna think onything o' a' that if they wid argy the richt gait, bit they hiv a lot o' ceremonies ta gyang thro' an' Mister Chairmans ta say afore thay can conter ither. I ken fine fat wye they dee 'kis I saw them as it ae nicht. I hid naething else ta dee that evenin', so I thocht I wid gie a look in an' see foo they got on. I'm nae a member, bit naebody tel't me ta gyang oot fin I gaed in, so I jist sat a while. The first thing 'at struck me fin I gaed inta the laft was the laichness o' the reef. I got a nesty skelp on the broo, bit oh, I seen got acquant wi't. The seatin' accommodation micht 'a been better tee. They had ane or twa lang boords ristin' on the tap o' boxes, bit they were a' full fin i gaed in. Hooiver, I didna want. I got haud o' the lid o' a box an' sat on the edge o' it. I wisna lang sitten doon or somebody proposed 'at Chairlie Blacklick wid tak' the cheer. There wisna a cheer ta tak', bit Chairlie jumpit on ta the tap o' an auld corn kist, an' sat on't wi' his legs swingin' ower the side. "Weel, gentlemen," says Chairlie, "if ye're a' comfortably seated we'll get ta business." (I hidna a very comfortable seat, bit bein' a sort o' a stranger, I didna like ta mak' ony complaint). "As was intimated last week, the subject for discussion is, Which is the best state for wirkin' man - mairriet or single? We hae a sprinklin' o' them baith here the nicht, so we'll get the opeenions o' baith sides. An' I houp the rules 'ill be weel carriet oot. Onlyw an member ta speak at a time, an' fin he's speakin' he maun staun up." (Chairlie was sittin' 'imsel fin he said this, bit bein' cheerman he maybe had speecial privileges). "An' if ony member speaks baith at aince he'll be pitten oot. Noo, fa's gyaun ta open the debate?" Chairlie lookit roon aboot 'im for a beginner, bit naebody seem't on for takin' the first yokin'. They lookit inta ane anither's faces, as muckle's ta say, "Will you start?" I began ta think they were maybe bashfa afore me, bein' a sort o' a stranger an' I thocht if I said a wird or twa mysel' it wid get them startit. So I gets on ta my feet, an' I says, "Mr. Cheerman-" (Oh, I gied 'im his full title, tho' I wisna needin' ta be particular wi' Chairlie, 'kis I'm fine acquant wi' 'im). "Mr. Cheerman," I says, "seein' 'at nae ither body's gyaun ta speak, an' considerin' 'at I'm a sort o' a stranger amon' ye, I wid jist like ta say that I'm verra pleas't ta be here, an' at the same time I have much pleasure in calling for a verra hearty vote o' thanks ta the Cheerman." Weel, that gaed flat-naebody took the slichtest notice o' me. Sae I jist sat doon again. Efter a whilie up poppit Bobbie Threedbare, the tyler. Aniver notic't 'it Bobbie wis in the laft ava. He hid been sittin' doon on the fleer wi' his legs curl't aneath 'im like fat he dis at his wark. An' says Bobbie, "Maister Cheerman an' fella-members, bein' a mairriet man, I think I can speak wi' some authority on the subject. I've been mairriet noo for seventeen years, an' that seventeen years hiv been the happiest years o' my life." I jist thocht ta masel' that he maun 'a haen an awfu' time o't afore he was mairriet. Bit bein' a sort o' a stranger I said naething. Bobbie gaed ont a say that it was sae pleasant ta gang hame ta yer ain hoose fin yer wark was deen, an' sit at yer ain fireside an' crack wi' ye ain dear wife. (Thinks I, "Fine day!") Bobbie feenish't up b' strongly advisin' a' the young chaps ta get mairriet withoot delay. Av coorse I could easy see the wye 'at Bobbie wintit the young chaps to get mairriet. There's aye a lot o' new suits wintit aboot a mairriage time. He's a cute lad, the tyler. Syne Eddie Elshiner took the fleer. "Fancy Eddie" we ca' him. He's the masher o' the district - wears collars an' cuffs at his wark, an' a great man b' wye. he drives a traction engine ower at the Muirton yonner, bit he disna like ta be ca'd an engine-driver. He'll tell ye 'at he's a shafoor. He put me in a rale rage a' the time he was speakin'. He tries ta pit on the English, ye ken, an' pits his fit in his moo ivery ither wird. He get up an' says he, "Mr Chairman, etcetera, I have been amused at the remarks of my friend, Mr Threedbare." (_Friend), ye ken! My conscience, they dinna speak ta ane anither fin they meet on the road. I could 'a tel't 'im nae ta be sae mealy-moo't, bit bein' a sort o' a stranger-). Oh, he ayppit awa' in his floo'ry English. He couldn't see the fun of going home and cracking with your wife and dossing your wauges into her lap. He preferred to go home and give himsel' a bit dicht up and go out and enjoy himsel', and nobody to say - Faur are you going? He simply couldn't be soss't with a wife, and be boss't about. All the marriet men that he kent jist had to do fat their wives tel't them. Oh, no, he was a single chap, and a single chap he was going to remain. Oh, he ril't a'body in the laft at 'im - especially the mairriet men. Geordie Fetterton, the souter, got up in an awfu' birr, an' said, "I object ta the remarks o' Maister Elshiner aboot mairriet men. If there's ony mairriet men held doon b' their wives the wye he says, it's the men's ain faut. The first hting a man his ta dee fin he gets mairriet is ta lat the wife unnerstaun at the verra beginnin' that he's gyaun ta wear the whisker. And if he dis that, he'll hae nae difficulty in livin' a very happy life. I wid like ta see the wife 'it wid maister me." says Geordie. An' geordie drew himsel' up wi' an awfu' Scots-wha-hae-wi'-Wallace-bled kin' o' a wye, an' lookit aboot 'im ta see if onybody wid counter 'im. I could hae conter't 'im fine, bit bein' a sort o' a stranger-. "Ay," Geordie says again, "I wid like ta see the wife 'at wid maister me. Oh, no. I've been mairriet seven-an'-twenty year. I was maister the day I was mairriet, an' I'm maister yet." Jist fin he got that length his little laddie shot his heid inta the laft door, an' cried, "My mither sent me ower ta tell ye ta come hame at aince an' hack sticks." Geordie hid ta stop in the middle o' his speech an' trot awa' hame efter his laddie. I didna bide lang efter that mysel'. I was beginnin' ta tire o't. Naebody was speakin' ta ma. Bit I thocht it wid only be a kin' o' ceevil ta say a wird or twa ta them afore I gaed awa'. So I got on ta ma feet an' I said, "Maister Cheerman an' gentlemen, I'm sure I'm verra much obliged ta ye for yer kind conversation and hospitality on this occasion, and I beg ta remain yours in haste." Bit a' the time I was speakin', d'ye see, I was backin' the wye o' the door. An' I niver notic't foo near the door I was gettin' till my fit gaed past the door, an' doon I went. I fell aboot eleven feet. Oh, I wasna touch't. There was a lot o' hay lyin' at the fit. Weel, see, I heard them lauchin' up in the laft aboot it. An' it was the first notice they took o' me the hale nicht. I could hae cried up a lot o' stuff at them, bit bein' a bit o' a stranger, I cam awa. Out of His Element. WHILE Mr. Petticur, Headmaster of Powbraidie Public School, was seated in his parlour one evening, a message was brought him to the effect that William Meigle was at the door, "an' wantit ta speak a meenit." Mr. Petticur asked that he be shown in, and William entered, hat in hand. "Come in, William," said Mr. Petticur. "Come in and sit down." "Na," answered our friend, "I winna sit doon, thank ye kindly, sir. I'm jist on a fleein' veesit, as ye micht say. I'm needin' an obleegement, sir." Mr. Petticur assured him that if it was in his power he would be delighted to oblige him. "I was sure o' that, sir. Weel, I was wintin' ta see if ye wid be as kin's mak' up a bit o' a scrawl o' a letter ta me. I've gotten an invitation ta a big denner affair at the Laird's, an' I'm nae gaun, sir." "Not going, William! Why not?" "Weel, the fact o' the maitter is, sir, I canna be bather't wi't." "But you don't want me to write and say 'ye canna be bather't wi't'?" "Yes, sir, if you please. Bit av coorse ye could pit it ceevil-like. Something o' the 'Courteous-sir' order. Och, ye ken fat wye ta pit it yersel', sir." "I think I can manage it all right. Still I cannot understand why you are not going. I am sure you would enjoy yourself." "No, sir. Excuse me sayin' eechty ta your ochty, bit I dinna care for that kin' o' things. I was aince at ane afore, an' I'm nae gaun ta anither ane." "Indeed?" "Ay. It was at a big hoose in the ceety. A Maister Merryman, a great swell, wi' an esquire ta his name an' a bress plate on his door at' ye could see yer face in. He hurls aboot in a big fite-an-yalla motor-car - saxty can'le poo'er I believe it is. It stuck ae day on the road aside my place, an' widna gyang oot o' the bit wi' 'im, so I yokit ma auld fite meer intil't an' got 'er drawn doon ta the smiddy, faur the smith sortit it. So that was the wye I got acquant wi' 'im, an' he tel't me if I iver happen't ta be his wye ta be sure an' gie 'im a look in. "I thocht nae mair aboot it till ae day fin I happen't ta be in the toon fa did I meet bit ma gentleman? He kent me fin iver he saw me, shook hauns, an' wid hae nae denial bit I should gae hame an' get denner wi' 'im. I tel't 'im I hid gotten ma denner at ane o'clock. He said I could ca' it supper if I liket, bit I hid ta gyang wi' 'im. "Weel, sir, he linkit his airm in mine, an' led me awa' ta his hoose an' introduced me ta his wife, an awfu' nice body, tho' I could hardly mak' oot fat she was sayin', an' I think she hid some deeficulty in kennin' fat _I_ was sayin'. Hooiver, we got on nae that ill, until they said they were expectin' some mair fowk ta their denner. I tried ta get oot o't again b' sayin' I wisna drest for company. "Bit Maister Merryman said if that was a' 'at worried me he had a spare dress suit 'at he wid len' me. So afore I kent o' mysel' I was bundl't up ta a room faur the dress suit was ready for me. I tyauved wi't a lang time afore I got it on, an' sic a like figure I was wi' my swalla-tail! "The collar was the warst job. It was a kin' 'at I wasna in the wye o' wearin'. I reckon I scutter't wi't a quarter o' an 'oor afore I got it on. An' efter I _did_ get it on, I manag't some wye or anither ta fix a puckle hairs o' my whisker in wi' the stud. It was richt nesty. "I wid 'a taen't aff again an' lowsed my whisker bit I was fear't I couldna pit it on again. So I jist gaed doon the stair as I was, an' ilka step 'at I took I tittit my whisker. I wasna comfortable ava. "Anither lad drest like me met me at the fit o' the stair, an' showed me inta a room far there was a lot mair folk. An' I was that taen aback fin I saw them a' that I steppit back an' gaed on ta the chap's taes 'at was followin' me. I turn't roon an' beggit his pardon, an' he said it was all right, tho' he didna look as tho' it was 'all right.' Bit it wasna for me ta conter 'im. "I was jist a kin' o' conscious o' bein' introduced ta this ane an' the next ane, an' ilka introduction meant a nod o' the heid an' a tit o' my whisker. I _was not_ comfortable. "At length we got sitten doon at the table. An' sic a table! A great big floo'r gairden in the middle o't, fower or five different kin' o' knives an' forks an' tumblers - och, jist a rale palaver. "I was set doon atween a nice young lady on ae side o' me an' a decorated kin' o' a lad wi' a spy-gless in his e'e on the ither. An' the man 'at showed me inta the room _he_ jist steed up richt ahin my cheer, an' I ken fine 'at he was jist lookin' straucht at a wart 'at I keep on the back o' my neck. "I didna like 'im staunin' there, sae I put on my English an' turns roon till 'im an' I says, 'Isn't there a chair for you anywhere, sir?' The lady aside me gaed a bit lauch, an' the chap wi' the winda-pane in his e'e, he jist sniccart. "The denner began wi' a splash o' a het kin' o' soup, an' I was just begun ta taste it fin the lady aside me said something. I turn't roun' ta say, 'I beg yer pardon, ma'am,' fin some wye or anither I coupit my plate, an' the het stuff gaed splashin' ower the table an' on ta my knees. "I dichtit up as muckle o't's I could wi' my hanky, an' smil't an' noddit ta a'body roon the table, as tho' I was enjoyin't fine. An' a' the time my knees was jist birslin'. "I couldna tell ye a' the mistak's I made at the table. It was jist nervousness 'at ail't me. Ilka noo an' than my freen wi' the gless in his e'e wid gie me a pouk an' say, 'How are you doing, old chap?' An' I wid say back, 'Nae that ill, thank ye kindly, sir.' "Ane o' the times I thocht I wid gie him a pouk back. Bit I did it at a raither awkward time. He hid a bittie tattie on the pint o' his fork, an' it was jist half-wye atween his plate an' his moo, an' he was gapin' for't, fin I gied 'im the pouk. Sirs! The tattie slippit aff his fork, fell inta his plate, an' sent a shoo'er o' sappy stuff inta his e'e. He didna speir foo I was comin' on efter that. "Anither time I hid a knyte o' plum pudden in my speen, an' I was blawin' on't ta queel't ('kis I canna staun onything het in ma moo), fin the lady socht me ta pass 'er a dishfu' o' prunes. In my hurry ta obleege the lady I stappit the burnin' stuff inta my moo. Eh, man! I loot the dishfa o' prunes fa a' ower the table, jumpit on ta my feet, an' cried, 'Ma moo's roasten!' "Weel, sir, A stappit ma hankie inta ma moo efter't, ran fae the table, up the stair, cheeng't my claes in aboot half the time I took ta cheenge afore, an' oot o' the hoose I gaed as fest's my legs wid cairry me, withoot waitin' ta say good-bye ta onybody. "Sae ye see, sir, I'm nae cuttit oot for that kin' o' thing, an' I'll be muckle obleeg't if ye'll excuse me ta the Laird." Examination of a Witness [SOME amusement was created in the Police Court recently during the examination of a witness in a case of assault and breach of the peace. The witness in question was a raw youth who evidently desired to give as much in formation as was wanted, and in fact gave more. After being shown into the witness-box, and the usual preliminaries over, Counsel took him in hand.] _Counsel_-Your name is Archibald Gordon Flett? _Witness_-Ay, that's my richt name, fihe; but I'm ca'd "Sooricks" as aften's onything. _Counsel_-You are employed at the farm of Rantleshaws, I believe? _Witness_-Oh, weel, I'm there aenoo, bit I'm shiftin' at the term, if aul' Rantlies disna gie my wauges a bit heave up. _Counsel_-That's all right. I understand you attended Hillocks Market on Friday last week. _Witness_-Ay, I was there, bit I didna ken I was ta be till Freday mornin'. I min' i was tyauvin' awa' in the byre fullin' my pipe an' niver thinkin' aboot a market fin in comes the fermer, an' says he-. _Counsel_-Never mind about that. While you were in the market did you witness the quarrel between Simpson and Cairnie? _Witness_-Ay did I. Bit ye dinna ken fat the fermer said ta me fin he cam' inta the byre. _Counsel_-And we do not want to. Did you see-. _Witness_-He says, "Laddie," says he, "ye'll gie yersel' a bit snod up, an' pit a halter on ta the roant stirkie's neck, an' tak' it doon ta the market, an' staun there till I come doon." _Counsel_-But what has all this got to do with the present case? _Witness_-Oh, naething, naething; I wis jist wintin' ta lat ye ken fat wye I cam ta be at the market. _Counsel_-I see. Well, you arrived at the market, and while there-. _Witness_-It took me the best part o' twa 'oors ta arrive at the market tho'. Man, that was the thrawnest crater o' a stirkie 'it iver ye saw. It steed up on the road an'-. _Counsel_-Still you managed, and you-. _Witness_-If it hidna been for a man gyaun ahin wi' a stick I widna hae manag't. _Counsel_-Now that will do about the stirkie. Tell us what you know about this quarrel. _Witness_-Fat wye could I tell ye fin ye aye stop me? Ye're jist like Tam Macoorich. That's the wye he braks in on a body fin they're tellin a story, especially fin there's ony body aside - jist ta show aff. [It was suggested from the Bench that the witness should be allowed to proceed in his own way, as it seemed impossible to get his evidence by any other course. This was agreed to, and he continued as follows.] Weel at lang length I got ta the market, an' socht a loon ta haud the stirkie a meenit or I gaed an' got tebacca. Bit the loon widna dee't, so I gaed an' tied the stirkie ta the corner o' a sweetie staun, fin the mannie it belang't till wisna lookin'. Then I gaed awa' an' got my tebacca, an' was on my wye back again fin I notic't Sneckie Simpson staunin' aside his horse, haudin't up. _Counsel_-What do you mean by his holding the the horse up? _Witness_-Oh, I dinna ken; I reckon it was ta mak' folk think it was staunin' itsel'. Man, ye niver saw sic an apology for a horse in yer life - a great big, concertina-ribbit, hingin'-heidit, mix't-up, humpy-knee't, raivel't affair. It hid fower legs, bit there-. _Counsel_-Excuse my interrupting you again, but what has the appearance of this horse got to do with the case? _Witness_-A'thing. If it hidna been for the horse there wad been _nae_ case. I wish ye had seen't yersel. It was wirth lookin' at, I tell ye. There was mair fowk than me takin' a look, fin Kyarnie cam' in aboot. _Counsel_-Now you are near it. _Witness_-Niver the step! I keepit as far back's possible. _Counsel_-What did Cairnie do? _Witness_-He lookit at the horse. _Counsel_-Was that all he did? _Witness_-Ay; bit av coorse there's different wyes o' lookin', and Kyarnie took the different wye. _Counsel_-What do you mean? _Witness_-Weel, he cam' ower an' fin he saw the horse he gapit his moo - ay, his ain moo, like - an' lookit awfu' astonish't like. Syne he steppit back a bittie, an' shiftet his bonnet ta the ither side o' his heid, an' pat his hauns in his pooches. Then he began ta lauch. _Counsel_-Well? _Witness_-Weel Sneckie didna like it. He steed at the horse's heid an' glower't oot aneath the snoot o' his bonnet at Kyarnie an' says, "Fat are ye lauchin' at, ye muckle, glaiket, fushionless gype? Did ye niver see a horse afore?" _Counsel_-Oh, he said that, did he? And did Cairnie say anything? _Witness_-He didna say muckle. He stoppit lauchin' an' lookit at Sneckie, syne at the horse, then says, "Weel, weel, than." Then ta the lauchin' again. _Counsel_-And then? _Witness_-Syne the fun began, as ye wad say. _Counsel_-Tell us all you know as to what passed between Simpson and Cairnie. _Witness_-I past atween them masel' ta get a better sicht. _Counsel_-What was Simpson doing all this time? _Witness_-Oh, he was ca'in' Kyarnie for a'thing, bit Kyarnie niver lat on he heard 'im. He seem't that ta'en up wi' the horse that he didna notice onything else. Efter he was thro' lauchin' he coontit the horse's legs, then he began ta traivel roon' aboot it, keepin' weel oot ower fae Sneckie. An' ilka ither meenit he gaed his heid a shak' an' his bonnet a shift, an' says, "Weel, weel, than." Fin he got the length o' the horse's heid he stappit his lug forrit an' listen't ta the beast drawin' its breath; then he cried, "Eh, sic a bonny fussler - jist like a mavis, bit on the strong side." _Counsel_-Yes? _Witness_-Ay. Weel, that put the feenishin' touch on Sneckie. _Counsel_-What did _he_ do? _Witness_-He got a cove ta haud up the horse for 'im, an' he threw all his jacket, an' made for Kyarnie, an' made a grab at the collar o' Kyarnie's jacket wi' ae haun and liftit his ither haun. _Counsel_-Well, what happened? _Witness_-A big chiel cam' in aboot an' took a haunfu' o' my lug, an' said, "Was't you 'at tied the stirkie ta the sweetie staun?" _Counsel_-And were they striking each other by this time? _Witness_-Oh, I couldna say; this man pull't me awa' ta look efter my stirkie. It hid taen't inta its heid ta tak' a trot roon the market, bit av coorse, bein' tied ta the sweeties staun, the staun hid ta folla, an' the sweeties tummel't in a' directions. It was a graun picnic for the loons. _Counsel_-So that was all _you_ saw of the fighting? _Witness_-Weel, that was a' I saw o' _that_ ane. _Counsel_-What do you mean by that? Was there more of it? _Witness_-Ay. Efter I had gotten fat was left o' the staunie oot amon' the stirkie's feet, there was a gey hullabaloo atween the man it belang't till an' mysel', bit he wasna needin' ta fa' oot on me. I couldna help-. _Counsel_-We have nothing to do with that here. You may stand down. _Witness_-Are ye thro' wi' me? _Counsel_-Yes. Stand down. _Witness_-Oh, fairly. Fat will ye dee wi' Simpson an' Kyarnie noo? Will ye fine them baith, or fat? _Counsel_-Get down at once. _Witness_-Oh, I'll get doon. Ye hae picket me plenty, bit I daurna spier onything at you. Faur's my bonnet? A Presentation at Dubbie's. [TAM MORTIMER, one of the employees at the farm of Dubbficchar, tells this story of a presentation to the farmer's daughter on the occasion of her marriage.] We had great doin's at Dubbie's last week ower the heids o' a presentation. Dubbie's dother's gyaun ta be merriet, ye ken. She's gettin' a lad fae the toon, an architect kin' o' a crater, wi' a saft hat on his heid, an' specks on his niz, an' knickerbockers. Oh, he's wirth the seein'. We was awfu' ta'en up wi' 'im the first squint we got o' 'im. It was ae day fin Jerkie Hummel an' me was mendin' the palin' on the side o' the road up ta the ferm. Jerkie saw 'im first, an' gaed me a dunt an' says, "Hey, Tam, look at this comin' up the road." I lookit the wye 'at Jerkie pintit; an' there's the lad comin' up the brae, doubl't near twa-faul' on his bicycle an' his nose aboot scrapin' the front wheel, an' the dubs skirpin' on ta his specks. He wis a picter, tell ye. An' he wore spats. We watcht 'im till he was passin', then Jerkie says, "Fine day." The mannie lookit sideways oot aneath's hat an' said, "Yes." I thocht I should say something tee, so I said, "Dubby roads." He says, "Very," an' switch't a nievfu' o't aff o' his broo. Little did we think 'at we were speakin' ta Susie's lad. Only he wasna 'er lad at that time. He saw 'er for the first time that day. He cam' oot ta draw plans for a new byre, an' met Susie at denner-time, an' gaed clean gyte aboot 'er. She's a rare-lookin' lassie, ye ken. Fine, big, sonsie. Och, she wid mak' twa o' him. I believe there was great fun wi' the mannie fin he was takin' the measurements o' the byre. He got "Saps," the orra loon, ta haud the ine o' his tape-line, an' he was busy 'imsel' wreetin' in his book fin a big bubbly-jock 'at had been takin' stock o' 'im a while cam' up ahin 'im an says, "Gobble, gobble, gobble." Losh, the mannie jumpit roon' an' says, "I beg your pardon." So the bubbly-jock said it again, an' cam' a bittie nearer. Man, the lad took ta his heels an' flew roon' the yaird an' the bubbly-jock efter 'im. He wis frichten't oot o' his wits at it. Saps chas't it awa' efter he wis feenish't lauchin', an' got a saxpence for deein't. The covie cam' back ta see Susie ivery ither day efter that, an' aye fin Saps saw 'im comin' up the road he chas't the bubbly-jock inta the yaird, an' the mannie wadna come thro' the gate till it was shiftit. An' av coorse Saps was aye at haun ta chas't awa' an' get his saxpence. Saps made a good lot that wye, an' fin the wird got oot 'at the mannie was gyaun ta mairry Susie an' tak' 'er awa' ta the toon ta bide Saps said it would be a big loss ta him. Bit it was this presentation affair 'at I began aboot. Some o' us boys thocht it wad only be richt ta a' subscribe thegither an' gie Susie some sma' thing or anither, bit we hid an awfu' job afore we got it deen. Ye ken there's jist fower o's at Dubbie's. There's Sautie Mull, Jerkie Hummel, Saps an' mysel'. There wad 'a been nae bather aboot it ava if it hadna been for Sautie. He's a queer lad, yon. He attends a' the poleetical meetin's, lecters, an' debates that are held for miles roon, picks up a lot o' big wirds 'at he disna ken the meanin' o', an' comes hame an' practeeses sayin' them on his. An' the awfu' palaver he hauds aboot onything - he's jist a rale pooshen! We broach't the subject o' the present ta Sautie, an' he said he was quite in homologate wi't, bit if it was ta be done it had ta be done in proper order. First ava we would hae ta form oorsel's inta a committee. Imagine a committee for fower o's! Bit we kent he wadna jine in wi's unless he got his ain wye, so we had a meetin' that nicht in the bothy. Sautie said the first business would be the election of the office-bearers. Fa was gyaun ta be cheerman? He wintit the job 'imsel', bit we didna wint 'im ta get mair say in the maitter than we could help, so I proposed Jerkie Hummel an' Saps seconded, an' it was carriet by a majority. Then he tried for secretary; bit Jerkie proposed Saps, an' I seconded, an' that was carriet by a majority. I dinna suppose Saps kent fat a secretary was, bit it was better ta gie the job ta Saps than lat Sautie get it. If _he_ had gotten on for secretary he wad 'a been sennin' letters an' post-cairds till's ilka day callin' meetin's. He tried for treasurer efter that, bit _I_ was elected. We thocht we had 'im diddl't oot o' a' the app'intments, bit Sautie wasna sae easy diddl't. He got up an' he says, "Maister Cheerman, I move that no member of the committee hold more than one office. Fat are ye gyaun ta dee aboot a _convener?_" There was naebody bit 'imsel' left, so we had ta lat 'im get it, an' we didna ken until it was ower late that the convener was boss o' a' thing. We got a kin' o' a start, syne. The convener said that the first business wad be for the secretary ta draw up a subscription sheet. The secretary said he kent naething aboot subscription sheets, bit he was jist gyaun ta gie a shillin'. At this the convener got up an' said he was surprised ta hear such a statement from the secretary. That wasn't a revokable way to go about the business, and besides, a shillin' wasna half enough. The secretary had made a lot mair aff the mannie for chasm' awa' the bubbly-jock. That was mair nor the secretary could staun. He up an' says fat he got fae the gentleman for wark in connection wi' the bubbly-jock was his ain business, an' he was for nae orders nor impidence fae ony office-bearer in the committee even if he happen't ta be convener. At that the convener spier't at the cheerman if he could see his wye ta pospone the meetin' for five meenits until he wad pull the secretary's lugs. The cheerman fussl't them ta order, or they wid 'a been inta ither. We got as far as agreein' ta gie half a croon the piece, fin the convener proposed that we hae anither meetin' next nicht to discuss fat we wad buy. That brocht Saps on till 'im again. "Gae awa' ye muckle gype," says Saps, "fat wid be the eese o' haudin' anither meetin'? Ye jist like ta hear yersel' speakin' min." Sautie didna like that ava. He grew reed in the face, an' lookit at Saps as tho' he wad a swallit 'im, an' says, "Maister Cheerman, I rise to a pint of order. I object to the secretary addressin' me in that fashion." Syne he jabber't on wi' sic a lang string o' big words 'at I was terrifiet he wad choke 'imsel'. Kennin' Sautie couldna slip the chance o' an aipple, I began ta peel ane 'at I had in my kist, an' the lad was fear't it wad be a' deen afore he got a bit. The sicht o't disappearin' gart 'im shut aff steam, an' brocht his rigmarole o' a speech till a sudden ine wi', "Lat's see a bit o' yer aipple, Tam." I gaed 'im a knyte, an' that keepit 'im quaet. We discuss't aboot fat we would buy a gweed file, bit we sattl't in the hinnerine on a sheep-skin that Jerkie saw hingin' in Milt the butcher's winda. The 'oo o't was dyed a bonnie yalla colour 'at jist match't Susie's hair. Weemin, av coorse, likes a'thing in the place ta match. Milt was wintin' twal' shillin's for't, bit we easy got 'im ta tak' ten. There was the fower o's at 'im at aince, ye ken. Syne cam' the presentin' o't. We sattl't 'at we wad a' gyang ower thegither, an' Sautie wad mak' the presentation, on the unnerstaunin' that he widna frichten Susie wi' lang-nibbit wirds. We selectit a nicht 'at we kent there was nae veesitors, an' mairch't ower ta the hoose in single file, Sautie gaun first wi' the sheep-skin ower his shouther, sayin' till 'imsel' a' the wye something aboot "unostentatious - unostentatious." He was that ta'en up sayin't 'at he wasna noticin' his feet, an' he trippit an' loot the skin fa' amon' the dubs. We gaed it a bit rub wi' wir bonnets an' got it a kin o' richt again. It was auld Dubbie's 'imsel' 'at cam' ta the door, an' I spier't if we cou'd see Miss Pickspud a meenit. Dubbie's seem't ta ken fat was in the win'; he telt's ta haud ben the hoose ta the parlour, 'at she was there 'ersel'. So we held ben, an' Susie cried, "Come in." We shov't Sautie ta the front wi the sheepskin ower his airm, an' afore he was richt ben he began, "Miss Pickspud, dear madam, as you are so unostentatious, so to speak, we, as a committee, thought that, considering you are so unostentatious, as it were, a-we decided a-as a committee, on this auspicious occasion, and a-taking into consideration-" I was fear't he was gyaun ta say "unostentatious " again, so I gied Jerkie a putt an' said, "Tak' it fae 'im!" Jerkie didna need twa tellin's. He jist gaed an' nippet the skin aff Sautie's airm, an' shov't 'im back. Bit if Sautie had ower muckle ta say, Jerkie hadna enough, for he said naething ava. He jist hoppit aff ae fit on ta the ither a meenit, then turn't roon ta Saps an' handit him't. A' this time Susie was sittin' lookin' at's an' winnerin' fat was adee. Peer Saps steed wi' the skin hingin' afore 'im like an awpron, an' says, "This is a sheep-skin." Susie says, "I see that." Saps lookit roon' awfu' peetifu' like at me, so I took a shot at it. Bit I didna pit aff ony time. I jist laid it ower the back o' a cheir an' said, "That's something ta yer hoose, an' we wish ye mony." Then we a' turn't tail an' ran out o' the hoose. Susie was awfu' pleas't wi' her present, tho', an' we've a' gotten an invitation to a fine supper ower the heids o't. So we hiv something ta look forrit till. Rob and the Registrar. CHARACTERS. Mr. FITZPAW - the Registrar. ROB MEALMAKER - from Tippertin. _Scene_-Mr. Fitzpaw's Office, (_Enter_ Mr. FITZPAW. _He sits at writing-table covered with enveloped letters, and begins to examine them_). _Fitzpaw_-Quite a heavy mail this morning. I expect the most of these envelopes contain trouble for me. The post of registrar of births, deaths and marriages is no sinecure. However, I daresay I shall just have to make the best of it. (_Opens letter_.) What's this? (_Reads_)- "Sir, I write you this few lines to let you know that I am well hoping you will look up your books and see how old I am. I should be forty-two but I lost my papers when I was away, so I might not be so much. Hoping you are well as it leave me and oblige your friend, JOHN TOSTIE" Now, who in the world is John Tostie? (_Knock heard_). Come in! (_Enter_ ROB. _He carries a large carpet-bag_). _Fitzpaw_-Good morning. _Rob_-Gweed mornin'! An' it's a richt fine ane. _Fitzpaw_-It is indeed. _Rob_-Aye; it's jist as fine a mornin' as a body could expec' at this time o' the year. _Fitzpaw_-Yes; it is a beautiful morning -a- what- _Rob_-Aye; I think if the rain keeps aff it'll be a richt fine day. _Fitzpaw_-No doubt. _Rob_-So we'll houp the rain'll keep aff. _Fitzpaw_-We will hope so. _Rob_-Aye. (Pause). Ye'll be winnerin' fat I'm wantin? _Fitzpaw_-Well, yes, but perhaps you will tell me. _Rob_-Ye couldna guess? _Fitzpaw_-I am not particularly good at guessing, and it might save time if you told me straight away. _Rob_-Ye're nae in a hurry, are ye? _Fitzpaw_-Yes, I _am_ rather busy this morning. _Rob_-Aye,aye. So ye've nae idea fat I'm seekin'? _Fitzpaw_-Now, how could I possibly know what yon want before you tell me? _Rob_-Oh, that's so. Weel, I'm-. Noo, I've forgotten fat I had ta say first-a-. Fat time is't? _Fitzpaw_-The time? (_Looks at watch_). Twenty minutes to eleven. _Rob_-Is't, fegs? I didna think it was that time. _Fitzpaw_-That is the time. _Rob_-Twinty meenits ta eleven; weel, weel, than. _Fitzpaw (sharply)_-Was _that_ all you wished to know? _Rob_-There was nae ill in my speerin' the time at ye, was there? _Fitzpaw_-Oh, no; certainly not. _Rob_-No; I speer't ceevil at ye, didna I? _Fitzpaw_-And I hope I answered you civilly. _Rob_-I thocht ye was jist a wee bittie snappy like. _Fitzpaw_-Well, what else do you wish to know? _Rob_-Man, ye're in an awfu' hurry! _Fitzpaw_-I have work to do. I cannot stand here all day discussing the time. _Rob_-No, no; bit ye shouldna gyang at sic a rate. Tak' things cannie like. Fat I say is this- _Fitzpaw (interrupting)_-Quite so, but we cannot all take things "cannie like," so you- _Rob (interrupting)_-Maybe no, bit ye wad be a richt lot better if ye did. As I was sayin', an' as I aften say ta Jock Mitchell- _Fitzpaw (testily)_-Now I don't wish to know anything about what you say to Jock Mitchell. _Rob_-Ye dinna? _Fitzpaw_-I do not. _Rob_-There'll be nae eese o' tellin' ye than. Bit I wish ye wadna be sae ill-naiter't like. Ye ken I've come a' the wye fae Tippertin ta see ye the day. _Fitzpaw_-Indeed! Do you come from Tippertin? _Rob_-Fairly. Ye maybe dinna ken Tippertin, div ye? _Fitzpaw_-Oh, yes; I know Tippertin very well. _Rob_-Div ye, min? Man, I'm richt gled I've come in. Sit doon; sit doon. (_Divests himself of his bag and sits on chair_). We'll get on graun' thegither, noo! An' ye ken Tippertin? _Fitzpaw_-Yes, I know Tippertin, but- _Rob_-Man, I'm richt pleas't. I jist think I'm a kin' o' acquant wi' ye. Ye dinna belang ta Tippertin, div ye? _Fitzpaw_-Not exactly, but- _Rob_-Ye'll hae freens there? _Fitzpaw_-Yes, I have. _Rob_-Jist that! Ye dinna ken my folk, div ye? _Fitzpaw_-I am not sure, what is your name? _Rob_-It's Mealmaker - Rob Mealmaker. I'm ane o' the Mealmakers o' Rambiccar, if ye ken the place. _Fitzpaw_-I think I have heard the name. _Rob_-Div ye ken faur Rambiccar is? _Fitzpaw_-I am not quite sure, but we will now- _Rob (interrupting)_-Div ye ken the station? _Fitzpaw_-Oh, yes. _Rob_-Ye ken the brae doon fae the station? _Fitzpaw_-Quite well. _Rob_-Div ye min' the breem bushes at the turn o' the road at the fit o' the brae, on the wye doon fae the station? _Fitzpaw_-Yes, I believe I remember seeing them; but you know- _Rob (interrupting)_-Ye'll niver see them again, than; they're cuttet doon noo. Bit ta gyang ta oor hoose at Rambiccar - ye turn ta the richt-haun' side at the fit o' the brae, an' haud straught on till ye come ta the peat moss, an' if it's dry weather ye haud ower the moss. _Fitzpaw_-I follow you. _Rob_-Aye, bit I michtna be there for ye ta folla. I'm jist explainin' sae that ye could get the road yersel'; d'ye see? Weel, as I said, if it's dry weather, ye haud ower the moss. _Fitzpaw_-And if it is wet weather, you don't go over the moss, do you? _Rob_-Na, if ye tried that, ye wad be ower the queets in a meenit. The moss is awfu' boggy in weet weather, so ye're better ta keep ta the road, an' gyang doon past the meal mull, syne cross the burn, an' haud roon that wye. _Fitzpaw_-I don't think I shall have the slightest difficulty in finding the place. But we are forgetting ourselves. What is it you desire to see me about? _Rob_-Oh, aye. Man, wi' fin'in' oot ye kent Tippertin put that clean oot o' my heid. Div ye aften gyang the wye o' Tippertin noo? _Fitzpaw (aside_-Oh, dear !)-Occasionally. _Rob_-Jist that. Ye'll gyang aftenest i' the simmer I reckon? _Fitzpaw_-Yes; but we will now proceed to- _Rob_-Div ye ken the burn? _Fitzpaw_-I know the burn, and- _Rob_-It's a fine burn for fishin' in yon! _Fitzpaw_-It is very good, but- _Rob_-Ye'll hae fish't in't, I'll warrant. _Fitzpaw_-Yes, often. _Rob_-Man, I aince took the bonniest troot oot o' yon hole aneath the brig ye iver saw. What a brute he was. He misher't- _Fitzpaw_-Quite so. I believe you. But I really must- _Rob_-Aye, ye maun look for me the next time ye're fishin', an' I'll lat ye see the best places for gettin' the troots. _Fitzpaw_-Now, that will do about Tippertin. We really must get to business, as I have other matters to attend to. Please tell me what you want. _Rob_-Bit, man, it's jist a gey business I hiv ta see ye aboot. Only seein' we're sae weel acquant, I winna be sae fear't ta tell ye. Ye ken I'm -a- I'm gyaun ta be merrit. _Fitzpaw_-Oh, I see. (_Opens book_). And you have come to register your marriage? _Rob_-Exac'ly; bit I'm fairly lost at this kin' o' affair. Ye see, I was niver merrit afore. _Fitzpaw_-So I should imagine. When a man has been married more than once he begins to know the ropes. _Rob_-Ken the ropes-oh, maybe. I had a lang crack wi' a merrit chap yesterday, an' he tellt me fat I had ta gyang thro' wi' ye; bit he said naething aboot ropes. _Fitzpaw_-That is merely a figure of speech-but to proceed. When is the marriage to be celebrated? _Rob_-The celebrations 'll start faniver the minister gyangs awa'. _Fitzpaw_-You misunderstand me. _When_ are you going to be married? _Rob_-A fortnicht come Setterday. We're comin' ta the hall here wi't. We're expectin'- _Fitzpaw_-Wait a moment. (_Writes_)-Now what is your name? _Rob_-I thocht ye kent it. _Fitzpaw_-Yes, but I must ask the question just the same. _Rob_-Weel, my name's Mealmaker - Robert Mealmaker - Robert Duncan Mealmaker. _Fitzpaw_-Is that all? Robert Duncan Mealmaker? _Rob_-Aye; I hiv a nickname, bit ye're maybe no seekin' it? _Fitzpaw_-No. Now, whom are you going to marry? _Rob_-An 'oman body. _Fitzpaw_-I daresay it would be. Did you ever hear of anyone marrying a _man_ body? _Rob_-Aye; my mither did it fin she merrit my father. _Fitzpaw_-You are very smart. What is her name? _Rob_-Oh, it's Jean. _Fitzpaw_-Jean what? _Rob_-No; Jean Cruickshank. _Fitzpaw_-Jane Cruickshank-yes. _Rob_-She's ane o' the Cruickshanks o' Striphowe. 'Er father's a brither o'- _Fitzpaw_-Wait a moment, we will come to that presently. You are a bachelor, of course. _Rob_-Na, I gyang ta the Aul' Kirk. _Fitzpaw_-I am not asking which church you go to. I am asking if you are a bachelor. Are you single? _Rob_-Aye; but I'll be merrit shortly. _Fitzpaw_-And your bride; is she a spinster? _Rob_-No, she jist helps 'er mither at hame. _Fitzpaw_-I mean- Has she been married before, or is she a widow, or- _Rob_-Oh, I see fat you mean. There's nane o' the twa o's been merrit afore. _Fitzpaw_-That is what I wanted to know. You are not related to each other, are you? _Rob_-We're awfu' weel acquant-Jean'and me. _Fitzpaw_(_aside_-Oh, dear! This is terrible)-You are not cousins or- _Rob_-No, no; bit we've kent ither a lang time. _Fitzpaw_-What is your future wife's father's name? _Rob_-Aul' Weelum Cruickshank. _Fitzpaw_-William Cruickshank-yes. _Rob_-Ye'll likely ken 'im. A'body kens Weelum. He's an awfu' fine man. He gyangs- _Fitzpaw_-I mean, what does he do. How is he- _Rob_-Oh, he's fine, thank ye. He had an awfu' time wi' a sair tae last winter, bit it's a' richt again. I'll tell 'im ye was speerin' for 'im. _Fitzpaw_-Is he a mason, a slater, a grocer, or what is he? _Rob_-He's nae ony o' that, tho' he's an awfu' handy man, an' could dae a bittie at them a'. He jist keeps a craft. _Fitzpaw_-Then he will be a farmer. _Rob_-Maybe he will some day, bit he jist has a craft ae noo. _Fitzpaw_-He's a farmer if he has a farm, however small. _Rob_-Is he? Weel, ye could jist pit 'im doon a fairmer in a sma' wye. _Fitzpaw_-What is her mother's name? _Rob_-Jean's mither, like? _Fitzpaw_-Of course. _Rob_-It's Mistress Cruickshank _Fitzpaw_-Of course it would be Mrs. Cruickshank, but what is her maiden name? _Rob_-Div ye mean the name she had afore she was merrit? _Fitzpaw_-Certainly. _Rob_-I think it was Jean Bremner. _Fitzpaw_-Jane Bremner-yes. And when were _they_ married? _Rob_-Oh, bit that's mair nor I can tell ye. I didna think o' speerin'. _Fitzpaw_-We cannot go further then. You should have made sure of all those particulars before you came here. _Rob_-Oh, bide ye still, tho'. I got a paper wi' that written oot afore I cam' awa'. They kent I wad be sure ta forget if they didna write it doon. _Fitzpaw_-And have you got that paper now? _Rob_-I think it's 'i my bag here. (_Opens bag and proceeds to take small packages therefrom, laying them on the table, and speaking the while_)-That's currants and raisens; an' that's blacklead, an' that's a new tie I bocht; an'- See, here's a ticketie noo; see if that's it; ye're a better scholar than me. (_Hands paper to Fitzpaw_). _Fitzpaw_-What's this? (_Reads_)- Yellow fish, currants and raisins, snuff, cinnamon, two yards of- _Rob_-Hold on, hold on-(_snatches paper_)-that's nae the richt thing; it's the ticket for my eeran's. They tell't me ta be sure an' tak' hame yalla fish, bit they seem ta be scarce, an' I didna get ony, so I- Oh, man, I believe I hiv the richt paper i' my weskit pooch. (_Searches pocket_). Aye, here it goes. Is that it? _Fitzpaw_-Yes, this is the right one now. You would have saved a lot of time by giving me this at the beginning. Now please be quiet, and I will copy it out. (_Writes_). _Rob_-Oh, I winna say a word. I dinna ken fat they'll say ta me for nae takin' hame yalla fish tho'. Oor folk's awfu' fond o' yalla fish, an' I like yalla fish mysel', bit- _Fitzpaw_ (_angrily_)-Be quiet! You have made me write down yellow fish. _Rob_-That jist shows 'at ye was peyin' mair attention ta fat I was sayin' than ta the ticketie. (_Replaces parcels in bag_). _Fitzpaw_-Now, that is all complete. You will now sign your name. _Rob_-Jist wait a meenit. I've coupit a jar o' seerup ower my eeran's. Sic a soss. Och, it disna maitter. Faur div ye want me ta sign my name? _Fitzpaw_-Down here at the bottom of this sheet. _Rob_-My full name? _Fitzpaw_-Your full name, certainly. _Rob_-Bide ye still, than. (_Writes name slowly_). Will that dae? _Fitzpaw_-That is quite all right, and all that is required. You can get away now. _Rob_-Aye-(_takes up bag_)-I reckon I'll better get awa' noo; it's time I was hame. _Fitzpaw_-Just so. (_Sits at table and proceeds with writing_). Well, good day. _Rob_-Gweed day. Of coorse, it's nane o' my business, bit, if it's nae an impident question, fat wye did ye come ta ken Tipperton? _Fitzpaw_-Well, as I told you, I have friends there. _Rob_-Aye, aye. An' ye jist gyang ta see them like? _Fitzpaw_-Yes, good day! _Rob_-Gweed day. I say, min! _Fitzpaw_-Well? _Rob_-Div ye ken the Ogilvies at the fit o' the hill yonner? _Fitzpaw_-Yes, I do. _Rob_-They're nice folk. _Fitzpaw_-They are indeed; good day. _Rob_-Gweed day. The Ogilvies had a dother merrit nae lang syne. Ye'll hae heard aboot it? _Fitzpaw_-Yes, I did. _Rob_-It was a man fae here aboot 'at merrit 'er. Div ye ken 'im? _Fitzpaw_-There is no one I know better. Now good day. _Rob_-Ye're maybe the man 'imsel', for a' 'at I ken. _Fitzpaw_-Maybe I am. _Rob_-Bit are ye tho', min? _Fitzpaw_ (_aside_-Oh, this is the limit). Yes, I am. Now, _please_ go away. _Rob_-Man, I jist thocht it. Weel, I'm awfu' gled I met ye. I'll maybe come in an' see ye wi' Jean some Setterday efterneen. _Fitzpaw_-You could not come at a better time. (_Aside_-That is my half-holiday, and I shall not be here). _Rob_-Jean 'll _speak_ ta ye mair than I can dae. Ye see, I'm sae bashfu' like. _Fitzpaw_-Yes; I have noticed that. Well, good day. _Rob_-Gweed day wi' ye, than. _Fitzpaw_-Good day, again. _Rob_-Gweed day; an' I'll tell a'body I've met ye. Gweed day. ====(_Exit_ ROB). The Roadman. IF you are familiar with the roads of Aberdeenshire you will have seen him so often that now you probably never notice him - the old roadman at his monotonous task of breaking stones by the side of the highway. He is bent and gnarled and dusty, almost a bit of the landscape itself. Towards, him comes the strangely contrasting figure of a modern hiker, and for a time the rhythmic sound of hammer on stone ceases while the roadman speaks: Eh, fat's that? - Man, A didna hear ye. Far did ye come fae? - Ye're nae sure o' yer road? Far are ye gaun? - T' Inverness! Losh bless me, dresst like that! - Oh! A wisna sayin' there wis onything adee wi't. It's the scarcity o' yer claes a wis thinkin' aboot. Bit ye've maybe mair in that pack ye hae on yer back. - Ye're a lang wye fae Inverness. Are ye jist yersel'? - Think o' that, noo! - Fat said ye? - Ye've traivelled richt up here thro' Scotland - Gweed preserve's! Yer feet maun be gey sair. Sit doon on that stane an' rest yer shanks a meenit. No, thank ye; A niver smokit a cigarette in ma life. A'll jist tak' ma pipe. Dod, fat hiv A deen wi' ma spunks? - Oh, thank ye, thank ye! Machinery for a'thing-spunks are oot o' date noo. (Puff-puff). Ay, ay, man, ye'll he een o' this hikers we hear aboot? - Weel, ye're the first een A've seen. A'm a bittie aff o' the main road here an' miss a lot o' fun-lat's see anither flash o' yer lichter; ma pipe's oot. Thank ye. (Puff). Weel, ye're aboot sax (puff) mile fae the (puff) - the direct road. Bit if ye (puff)-that's better, she's gaun fine noo-if ye wait here a twa-three meenits, ye'll get a lift in a baker's van that'll tak' ye back t' the richt road aboot echt mile farrer on than fin ye left it, so ye winna be sae far oot o' yer coorse efter a'.... An' ye're gaun t' Inverness. Tell me noo, fat div ye dee't for? A mean, traiv'lin' aboot like this an' tirin' yersel' oot fin ye could get the train. Fat said ye? Exercise, scenery, fresh air, weel, weel, than! - ha, ha! - No, ye're richt, it disna appeal t' me. Ye winna catch me scaufin' ower Scotland half nakit, lookin' at scenery, an' A get a' the exercise an' fresh air A need here. - Div A niver tak' a holiday, said ye? Verra seldom; bit fin A div, A gang t' the seaside for a day - it's nae awfu' far - an' ha'e a kirn amon' the rocks, steep ma feet amon' the saut water, pu' dulse. Fin A tire o' that A tak' a traivel oot the road a bittie till A come across somebody brakin' stanes, an' ha'e a crack wi' 'im. Man, ye've nae idea o' the difference there is in stanes in different districts. Noo, that stane that ye're sit tin' on - Fat said ye? - A busman's holiday? Weel, A suppose ye could ca' 't that. A gang an' come b' bus. They're handy, the buses; they gang a' wey nooadays. - Ye think ma job monotonous? Man, A niver notice 't. A've been at it a lang time. Ye widna care for ma wark, wid ye? - No, A dinna suppose ye wid. It widna suit ye. This is een o' the jobs that needs a man wi' a born aptitude for the wark. Ay, A brak stanes fae ae year's ine till anither, an' start on the next year an' wirk awa' till the ine o' it - exceptin', af coorse, fin it's stormy weather or rainin'. Fat div A dee wi' masel' at that times? - Oh, jist wait till the weather's fine again. Ye dinna think ye could bide here? Maybe no, bit a lot o' folks bides here a' their days an' are nane the waur o't. Nae amusements, did ye say? Oh man, man, amusements! - A wite there's amusements. Div ye ken, A think the young folk's gaun oot amon't a'thegither wi' their amusements. Losh! they're nae seener deen wi' their wark than they're awa' t' the toon on their motor bikes t' the picters. -Svne there's this wireless business-an' dances-an' concerts. - Me? Fie no, I niver think aboot gaun t' onvthing fin ma day's wark's deen. The best amusement I can get 's t' sit at the fireside till bedtime. - Man, div ye ken, A hinna been at a concert for aboot fower year. This wis een that wis gotten up t' raise funds for new lamps t' the hall. A got a ticket stappit on t' me, an' A jist gaed for the fun o' the thing. Bit ach! A thochtna muckle o't. - Ye see, we hinna an awfu' lot o' local talent here aboot, an' t' mak' sure there wid be a gweed turn oot, the committee engaged a magic mannie b' the name o' Professor something or anither. He wis-Fat did ye say? Ay, ay, that's fit he wis supposed t' be-a sort o' a conjurer-"sort o'" is jist richt. Weel, they gaed 'im seventeen an' saxpence an' his bus fare, bit it was siller thrown awa', for we niver saw his conjurin'. To let ye unnerstan', the hall we hiv here's nae verra big, an' there's nae a dressin'-room in't. An' this conjurer crater wid not sit amon' the audience afore he gaed his show, as he ca'ed it. An' A dinna winner, for he wis an awfu'-like ticket. He hid great lang hair, stickin'-oot lugs, big horn-rimm't specs, black claes, an' his pooches chock fu' o' rabbits an' doos. So they riggit up a screen at the back corner o' the platform, an' he sat in ahin' it nursin' his widden eggs an' ither gear till his turn wid come roon. Nae very comfortable, bit he wis gettin' seventeen an' saxpence for't, min'. Weel, the concert began - a twa-three songs were sung, an' a tune on the fiddle, an' a'thing gaed a' richt till Jock M'Kechnie got up t' sing a comic sang. Noo, Jock disna stan' up an' sing his sang like ither singers. He dances aboot at the same time, jist t' mak' folk lauch. The platform, bein' only a temporary affair, it widna stan' muckle nonsense, an' fin Jock began t' dance the platform began t' shoggle. Noo, the mannie sittin' ahin' the screen loot fa' some o's widden eggs, an' they roll't on t' the platform amon' Jock's feet. The mannie gaed doon on his knees an' slretch't oot his airms tryin' t' get a haud o' them, at the same time tryin' t' keep 'imsel' oot o' sicht - bit we a' saw his airms. Noo, Jock prancin' abool managed t' tramp on the mannie's han' - A'll say this for Jock, he niver broke his step - bit the conjurer, he gaed oot a yell an' tummel't. This gaed his rabbits a chance. They got oot o' his pooches an' ran on t' the platform, an' the doos got loose an' flappit a' throu' the hall-sic a mixter! Mrs. Wishart wis sittin' on the front seat wi' a little hairy doggie on her lap, an' the doggie thocht the rabbits were there for its special amusement, an' it gaed a yelp an' jumpit oot o' her lap an' on t' the platform efter the rabbits - ye niver saw sic a hullaballoo-legs, airms, rabbits, doos, an' dog a' throu' ither. The rabbits manag't t' get t' the door an' ootside, an' clean awa'. Sae did the doos, an' fin it cam' t' the conjurer's turn he hid naething left t' cairry on wi'. Jist a pure frost - an' A've niver been at onything since... So ye widna like t' bide here? Oh ay! Some o's div leave the place. The best o's bide at hame, bit we gie the weaklin's a little education, an' sen' them sooth, an' they get on a' richt there. They get on for managers o' businesses, an' doctors, an' professors, an' stockbrokers. They're a' ower England an' at the heid o' a'thing. Man, A could tell ye the history o' ilka een that's left this parish for the last forty year. Ye're for aff, are ye? Weel, ye'll jist be in time for the baker's van. Traivel doon there a bittie till ye come t' the crossroads an' stan' up. Fin the baker comes by, he'll lauch at ye, bit niver min'. He'll offer ye a lift. Tak' it, an' he'll tak' ye on t' the richt road. Ye'll be neen the waur o' yer rist, an' A howp ye'll get t' Inverness a' richt. Fat are ye gaun t' dee fin ye get there? - Traivel back again! Weel, weel, it tak's a' kin' o' folk t' mak' a world. Tak' care o' yersel' Ta-ta. Imphm! this winna dee though. He resumes his stone-breaking. My Communicative Friend. WHILE I was standing idly in the Railway Station one afternoon, my interest was caught by the burly figure of a shepherd, complete with staff and collie dog, and carrying an assortment of parcels. To my surprise, he came towards me smiling, deposited his packages on the ground, commanded his dog to lie down, and with a sturdy handgrip greeted me heartily: Hallo, min, foo are ye? Man, A'm awfu' gled t' see ye. Foo are ye keepin? Ye're lookin' fine. Fat o'clock is't? Twenty t' fower-och, A've plenty o' time t' get ma train. Ay, ay, man. An' is a'body weel at hame? - Faur's that dog o' mine gane noo? (Hie, Spotty! Spotty!) Oh, see till 'im there tryin' t' get inta that fishwife's basket. (Hie, Spotty! Come in aboot here.... Gi'e 'im ower the nose, mistress; that's the wey. Lie doon there. Fat are ye stravaigin' aboot at?) Ye'll be winnerin' fat wey A'm in the toon the day; bit, man, A hid t' come in an' get a teeth pull't that's been batherin' me for a while. They're an awfu' bide, the teeth. I canna stan' them dirlin' ava. The best plan's t' get the sair een oot at eence, they dee't sae fleet nooadays. Och, yon lad that I gaed till the day hid it oot afore I got yokit t' yowl. He kent fat t' chairge for't though. Fat div ye think he took for takin't oot? An' he wisna meenits at it? Auchteen pence! A near fentit! Af coorse, it wis a kin' o' ma ain faut. A should ha' made a bargain wi' 'im afore A let 'im yoke wi' me. Bit jist imagine fat that man could mak' gin he got steady wark. It's this new-fangl't kin' o' nippers they use nooadays, an' the stuff they skite inta yer gums, ye hardly ken they're deein't. A min' fin the blacksmith at hame took oot ony teeth that wis needit, bit fowks wis gey sair awa' wi' 'it afore they gaed till 'im. Man, ye hid t' lie doon on yer back on the fleer o' the smiddy, an' he took a grip o' the sair teeth wi' a big nippers - A've kent o' 'im takin' a haud o' the wrang een - an' he put his fit on yer neck an' pull't. (Watch yersel', Spotty. Ye'll get run doon wi' some o' that barras if ye dinna tak' care). Bit, man, it's the same wi' a'thing. Naething but changes an' new weys o' deein' things. The train's nae quick enough for some folk noo. They maun flee! Wis ye iver up in a fleein' machine? I wis up eence. Oh, it's a good whilie seen-lang afore they were sae common. There wis a mannie cam' wi een t' the Cairntrodlie Cattle Show, an' he offert trips in 't at ten shillin's the heid. Naebody wis willin' t' gang, till he said he wid tak' the first twa that cam' forrit a trip for naething t' set the thing agoin'. A happent t' be nearest, an' A wis in ower the thing afore the wirds wis weel oot o' the mannie's moo'. A niver took time t' think, or A michtna ha'e gane. An' better than that, the wife hid been stan'in' at ma back. A niver kent she wis there ava, bit she hid been folla'in' me aboot t' see far A gaed. Onywey she wis in ower the thing at ma back. (A say, laddie, I widna ficher aboot wi' that dog's lugs if I wis you. He micht mak' a snap at ye, an' syne ye wid blame me. Ay, A ken ye wis only clappin' 'im, bit mony a een gets inta trouble for clappin'). The seats were a gey ticht fit, bit t' mak' sure we wid bide in ower them he put straps on's an' tether't's doon. Syne he gaed's leather bonnets t' pit on. Janet Wintit t' keep on her ain hat an' hid wirds wi' the mannie aboot it, till A tell't her she'd better dae fit she was bidden, as it wis unlikely we'd meet onybody on the road that wid be lookin' at her hat. So she took it aff an' cairrit it in her han'. Oh, weel, the mannie startit the machine, the win'mill at the front began t' furl, an' aff we gaed, stottin' alang the grun' at an awfu' lick. It wis gran', an' sent a dirl throu' yer beens like a galvanic battery. Syne the thing began t' rise, an' ma hert cam' inta ma moo' an' stuck there a' the time. They tell't me efter, that fin the machine gaed up pandemonium broke louse amon' the cattle, bit as far as I can mak' oot it wis Geordie Batter's black bull that broke louse amon' the folk. Onywey I kent naething aboot it al the time-A wis busy itherwise. I couldna turn roon' an' see fit Janet wis deem', bit I heard her. Fit she skirl't! I cried t' the driver, "Ye winna need t' toot yer horn as lang's Janet's here." Up we gaed like a bird. An' the noise-haud yer tongue! The engine roar't, an' nearly droon't Janet's skirls, an' the win' in wir faces wis something awfu'. I took a look oot ower the side t' see fat like it wis below, an' what a sicht! Cattle lookit like mice, an' hooses like spunk boxes, an' Janet's hat lookit like a bird as it gaed sailin' gently t' the grun' - she hid tint it. It wis a queer sensation. I cried t' the mannie, "Wis he near the tap o' the brae yet?" bit he niver loot on that he heard me. Up she gaed aye. Syne we began t' get on the level like, an' took a flee roon' the country a bit. What a sicht it wis! An' a' the time A wis like t' be chokit. A thocht it wis maybe the change o' air, bit discover't it wis Janet that hid a haud o' ma collar, an' wis grippin' intill't wi' baith o' her han's. That's the wey she hid lost her hat. The comin' doon wis warst. Speak aboot that sinkin' feelin'! A shut ma een an' howpit the mannie's brakes wis a' richt. Hooiver, we landit on the grun' wi' a hop, step an' leap, an' anither skirl fae Janet, an' I tell ye we were thankfu' t' get wir feet on terra cotta again. (Fat's adee wi' ye, Spotty, waggin' yer tail like that?). Man, wid ye believe that? The dog his mair sense than A hiv masel', an' A've jist time t' get ma train. Lat's see a han' up wi ma parcels. A'm jist awfu' gled - Am awfu' pleas't t' ha'e seen ye-bit losh! A hinna made a mistake, hiv A? Ye're nae fa A thocht ye wis ava. Ha, ha! Weel, weel, efter that! Fancy me thinkin' it was you, an' you some ither body a' the time. Ha, ha! Ye'll be thinkin' A'm a gey queer customer. Bit fin A look at ye richt, ye're nae fa A thocht ye wis. Ha, ha! Bit A'm gled A met ye for a' that, an' we'll maybe meet again some day. Ta-ta wi' ye, than, an' thank ye for helpin' me wi' ma parcels. Fegs, A'll ha'e t' rin, or A'll be ahin. (Come awa', Spotty. Come awa', laddie). A Singing Lesson. (As performed by Tom Morrison and Dufton Scott). Characters. ADOLPHUS SWEETNOTE, a Teacher of Singing. GEORDIE FAIRWEATHER, - fae Miteykebbock. _Scene_ - Sweetnote's Music Room. _Sweetnote is trilling arpeggios when Geordie enters unobserved._ _Geordie_ (_as Sweetnote takes a high note_)-Fat's adee? _Sweetnote_ (_startled_)-I beg your pardon? _Geordie_-I beg yours, an' it's grantit. _Sweetnote_-Where on earth do you come from, and what do you want? _Geordie_-Aff the street - naething. _Sweetnote_-Off the street! What do you mean? _Geordie_-That's far A come I ae - aff the street, an' in at the door. _Sweetnote_-And what do you want? _Geordie_-A telt ye - naething. _Sweetnote_-Nothing? _Geordie_-Ay, an' A've gotten't. _Sweetnote_-Got what? _Geordie_-Naething. _Sweetnote_-I am afraid- _Geordie_-Oh! That's it. Fat are ye feart at? _Sweetnote_-I don't understand you at all. You come in here; you say you want nothing. Well! You have got it, so there is no reason why you should detain yourself. _Geordie_-Is there onybody wi' ye? _Sweetnote_ (_a little alarmed_)-Here! I don't like this. Why did you come in, and why are you keeping your hands in your pockets? What have you got there? _Geordie_-In ma pooches? Oh, jist ma han's an' ma pipe, an' a puckle ither odds an' ines. _Sweetnote_-Oh! Is that all? _Geordie_-Ay, ye see, it's awfu' handy fin yer needin' yer han's t' ken far t' get them. Bit A'll tak' them oot o' ma pooches. (_Does so_). Noo, tell me fat's the maitter. _Sweetnote_-There is nothing the matter that I am aware of, except that you are here. _Geordie_-Oh! Bit A winna bide lang. A jist cam in t' see if A could be ony eese. _Sweetnote_-Any use for what? _Geordie_-A couldna say. Ye see, A wis traivellin' doon the street, deein' naething in partic'lar, an' as A wis passin' by this hoose A heard somebody howlin' oot as though they were bein' hurtit. So jist for the fun o' the thing, an' as A wis in nae hurry, A jist cam' in-an' got you here. _Sweetnote_ (_laughing_)-Oh, I see! But you are not very complimentary. I was practising my scales. _Geordie_-Practeesin' yer scales! A doot A dinna unnerstan' ye. Fat div ye mean like? _Sweetnote_-Well, you see, I am a teacher of Singing - voice production, you know - and in order to keep my voice in pitch I have to practise. The noise you heard, my dear friend, was my running over my notes. _Geordie_-Rinnin' ower yer notes. Oh, A see An' ye trippit on them like. _Sweetnote_-No, I didn't trip on them like. Now you know all about the noise you heard, and, if that is all you wish to know, shall we say "Good-day"? _Geordie_-We could easy say that, bit tell me this: Fat div ye rin ower yer notes, as ye ca't, for? _Sweetnote_-What do you work for? _Geordie_-A widna wirk ava if A could get aff wi't. 'Cause A hiv t' dee't. _Sweetnote_-Just the same with me and my singing - to earn a livelihood - to keep the wolf from the door. _Geordie_-Oh, ye'll fairly keep the wolf fae the door wi' howls like yon. Bit ye dinna mean t' tell me ye can mak' a livin' at that? _Sweetnote_ (_with a sigh of exasperation_)-I make my living by teaching people to sing. Now have you got it? _Geordie_-Oh, A see. An' ye wis jist takin' a bit lesson t' yersel' like. _Sweetnote_-Yes, that's exactly what I was doing. _Geordie_-An' maybe ye wis needin't? _Sweetnote_-Perhaps. _Geordie_-Fat div ye get for the like o' this wark noo? _Sweetnote_-Are you not getting a little too inquisitive? _Geordie_-A'll bet ye couldna learn _me_ t' sing. _Sweetnote_-Well, you certainly don't look a very likely subject, but I'd be quite willing to try. _Geordie_-Ye wid ha'e a gey job, A doot. Fat wid ye chairge? _Sweetnote_-My usual charge is two guineas a quarter. _Geordie_-Oh, it gangs b' wecht, dis't? _Sweetnote_-Not quite; a quarter means twelve lessons of an hour each lesson. _Geordie_-Oh, ay. Ye wid mak' a gweed bit at it if ye got steady wark. _Sweetnote_-Yes, but unfortunately I don't get "steady work," as you call it. _Geordie_-Foo muckle wid ye tak for jist ae lesson? _Sweetnote_-I wouldn't care to take a pupil for one lesson only. _Geordie_-That's a peety. A wid like fine t' sing. _Sweetnote_-You would? _Geordie_-Ay. Nae ony o' yer fine singin', ye ken. A dinna want ony o' yer doh-ra-me-fah-soh kin' o' business. A wid jist like t' be able t' sing a bittie o' a sang a kin' o' half in tune-if ye unnerstan' fat A mean. _Sweetnote_-I'm afraid I don't. What on earth do you wish to sing a "bittie of a song" for? Why not do the thing properly from the beginning? _Geordie_-Na, A hinna time for that. Bit, ye see, A'm sometimes at merridges an' at-homes an' things like that. An' fin there's singin' A'm sometimes socht ta gi'e a sang, an' A've aye t' say, "No." _Sweetnote_-Which is very awkward. _Geordie_-That's jist fat it is. Noo, look here, I happen t' be gaun till a merridge next week. Erchie Footer's gaun t' be merriet t' Bella Muckle o' Mossiepow. Noo, A'm a bittie gone on Erchie Footer's sister, Maggie. (_Sweetnote laughs_). Fat are ye lauchin' at? _Sweetnote_-Sorry. Excuse me. _Geordie_-Oh, A'm nae carin'. A wis sayin' at A'm a bittie fond o' Erchie Footer's sister, Maggie. Wid ye like t' lauch again? _Sweetnote_-No; I'm listening quite seriously, I assure you. _Geordie_-Ay, it's a serious business. Weel, I hiv reason t' believe 'at Maggie's fond o' me. A'm watchin' ye, min'. _Sweetnote_-I'm not laughing. _Geordie_-Ye're coverin' yer moo' a lot wi' yer hankie. Hooiver, this is the bit. Maggie's awfu' fond o' singin'. Noo, if I cou'd stan' up at the merridge an' gi'e a moo'fu' o' a sang, it widna dae ony hairm. _Sweetnote_-Oh, I see the idea. You think your lady-love would like you better if you could sing a song at the wedding. _Geordie_-That's it. Weel, fat aboot it? Will ye dee't, an' fat'll ye chairge? _Sweetnote_-Look here, friend. I have a few minutes to spare before my next pupil is due, and just for the sport of the thing I'll give you a short lesson for nothing. _Geordie_-Will ye, though? Weel, we winna argue aboot the price, an' thank ye. _Sweetnote_-Don't mention it. Now what kind of a song would you like to sing? _Geordie_-Oh, A'm nae partic'lar. Maybe something comic or something sentimental or-och! onything as lang's it's nae ill t' dee. _Sweetnote_-Oh, it must be a _love_ song. Let me see now - how would this do? _Sings_- ==="Come into the garden, Maud, ===Where the blackbirds sweetly sing, ===Come-" _Geordie_-Na, that winna dee. _Sweetnote_-What is the matter with it? _Geordie_-'Cause there's nae blackbirds at Mossiepow. They dee an awfu' lot o' hairm, the blackies, an' fin there's ony comes in aboot aul' Mossie catches them wi' a herrin' net. Na, na, the blackies are feart t' sing in the gairden o' Mossiepow, so A needna try an' tryst Maggie oot t' the gairden wi' a sang like that. _Sweetnote_-What about this one then? _Sings_- ==="Gae bring tae me a pint o' wine, ===And fill it in a silver-" _Geordie_-No, no, ye needna gang ony farrer. _Sweetnote_-No? That is a very good song. _Geordie_-It's a capital song. _Sweetnote_-Of course it is, and I'm sure- _Geordie_-A ken. It's a fine aul' Scotch sang, bit it winna dee. _Sweetnote_-Why not? _Geordie_-Weel, ye see, it wid hardly look weel for me t' stan' up at a merridge an' sing "Gae bring tae me a pint o' wine." It wid look as though A was gi'ein' a ceevil hint 'at A wis dry. Divn't ye ken ony easy-gaun lovey-dovey kin' o' thing - "Bonnie lassie, flee wi' me" - ye ken fat A mean. _Sweetnote_-Ah! I've got it. This is the very thing for you. Listen. _Sings_- ==="Bonnie wee thing, cannie wee thing, ===Lovely wee thing, wert thou mine! ===I wad hide thee in my bosom ====Lest my jewel I should tine." ==How's that? _Geordie_-That's it, min; jist the verra dunt. That verse an' nae mair. Fat wey dis she gang again? _Sweetnote_ (_sings_)-"Bonnie wee thing-" _Geordie_-She's nae jist fat ye wid ca' a wee thing. Maggie's a fine sonsy lass, bit go on, A'll seen learn't. _Sweetnote_ (_sings_)-"Lovely wee thing, wert thou mine." _Geordie_-Jist think on't! _Sweetnote_ (_sings_)-"I would hide thee in my bosom." _Geordie_-It wid tak' a bigger boosum than I hiv t' hide Maggie. _Sweetnote_ (_sings_)-"Lest my jewel I should tine." _Geordie_-There wid be little fear o' tinin' Maggie, bit that's the very thing if I could only manag't. _Sweetnote_-Well, have a try! Come on now- "Bonnie wee-" _Geordie_ (_sings out of tune_)- ==="Bonnie wee thing, cannie wee thing." ===Fat is't again? _Sweetnote_-"Lovely wee thing-" _Geordie_-Oh aye- ==="Lovely wee thing, wert thou mine." _Sweetnote_-"I would hide thee-" _Geordie_-"I would hide thee in my oxter." _Sweetnote_ (_interrupting_)-Bosom, bosom! _Geordie_ (_sings_)- ==="Boosum, boosum, ===Lest my darlin' should be tint." ===A doot A hinna the richt words o' 'er. _Sweetnote_ (_laughing_)-Nor the tune either. Come on and try it over along with me. Sit down on this chair opposite me and we shall sing it together. (_They sit down, each looking into the other's face_). Are you ready? _Both sing, Geordie a little behind Sweetnote-_ ===Bonnie wee thing, cannie wee thing, ===Lovely wee tIling, wert thou mine, ===I would hide thee in my bosom ===Lest my jewel I should tine," _Geordie_-Ay, that's better. A manage a lot better along wi' you. _Sweetnote_-That was much better. You should be all right now. (_Both rise_). Just keep on practising, and you will be able to sing it beautifully by the marriage day. _Geordie_-Oh, A'll keep practisin'. "Bonnie wee thing, cannie wee thing,"- A'm awfu' obleeg't t' ye-"Precious wee thing,"-A'll tell the folks A got a lesson fae ye-"I would hide thee in my boosum,"-A hiv't fine-"Lest ma jewel I should tine." _Sweetnote_-Fine! Well, I'm sorry you have to go and I'm very glad you called and all that. _Geordie_-Oh, that's a' richt. If ye hidna been tryin' ower yer scales A wid niver ha'e come in, an' if A hidna come in A widna ha'e met ye. _Sweetnote_-Ouite true, and if you hadn't met me we would not have been able to say - Good-bye. _Geordie_-Weel, weel, A reckon A better he steppin'. An' if iver A hear o' onybody wintin' singin' lessons, All pit them t' you, an' A'll tell them ye wis the man 'at learnt me. _Sweetnote_-Oh, please don't bother doing that. _Geordie_-A will dee that. Ae gweed turn deserves anither. _Sweetnote_-Well, good-bye. _Geordie_-Gweed-bye, freen' - Gweed-bye. ====(_Exit singing_). A Tug o' War. I WAS present at a certain "Country Games" in an Aberdeenshire village where the principal event of the programme was a "Tug o' War" between teams representing the farm servants and the tradesmen of the district. Just before the match commenced, a very excitable supporter of the former pushed his way to the front and took his stand beside me. On his other side there was a lady with a sunshade. He kept up a running fire of comments before and during the event, and when not speaking, or shouting, or waving his arms, he hopped off one foot on to the other and whistled a tune like "Hey, diddle-diddle-diddle! hey, diddle-diddle-day!" The following will give you some idea of how he conducted himself: "Is the Tug o' War on yet, chap? - Oh! it's neist, is't? - That's fat I wint ta see: I hiv a bet on't wi' Willie Murra' o' Birniebus' - Ye dinna ken Willie, div ye? - No? - Oh! it disna maitter muckle tho' ye niver ken him. (Whistle and hop). Willie's a chap I dinna care very muckle for. - He's awfa pernickety aboot fat he ates. He disna like ingans amon' his broth. (Whistle and hop), Div ye like ingans yersel' noo? - Ye dinna? - Man, ye dinna ken fat's gweed for ye. Ye should gyang in for them. I could eat them raw. Ingans are like this tomata things - ye ken fat I mean, yon reed-cheekit things like aipples, wi' bits stickin' oot o' them like a dumplin' swall't in a cloot. If ye persist in aitin' them ye grow ta like them. (Whistle and hop). Excuse me, mistress, wid ye tak' the spike o' yer umbrella oot o' my lug? I'm sure ye're nae needin' an umbrella on a fine day like this. - Fat div ye say? - It's ta keep awa' the sun? Ye can keep awa' the sun gin ye like, bit vere nae gaun ta scrape aff my lug wi't. - Dangerous things, that umbrellas in a crood, chap. The spike o' that ane micht as easy hae gane inta ma e'e as ma lug, syne faur wid I hae been? (Whistle and hop). I wish that teams wad hurry up. I'm gettin' tir't waitin' on them. - It is tiresome, ye ken, waitin' fan ye've naebody tae speak till. - Oh weel! bit as I wis tellin' ye, I hiv a bet on the ferm servants winnin' wi' Willie Murra'. I happen't tae hear him rinnin' doon oor chaps ae day, an' sayin' the tradesmen wad win, sae I bet 'im a pun o' tibacca they _widna_, an' I some think I'll hae sax weeks' smokin' aff o 'im. (Whistle and hop). Weel, if that disna beat dog-fechtin'an' hens playin' at the dambrods. Look! There's Willie Murra' staunin' ower there, see. - Him wi' the face an' the wirsit monkey in his bonnet. - Hey, Willie? Hey, man! I'm watchin' ye, ma billie. Ye better be gettin' ready my tibacca. - Ha ha! - I'll hae tae keep ma e'e on 'im, ye ken, 'cas if he lost he wad rin awa' an' nae pey his bet. (Whistle and hop). Hey! here's the lads noo. - See. Here's the ferm servants comin' first. Gey stoot knaps, aren't they? That peer fite-face't scrats o' tradesmen'll niver touch them. - I dinna think it. - Div ye see that big, reed-face't fat ane, amon' oor lads? That's Tam Sannieson o' the Mains. Gey stoot birkie, isn't 'e? - They say he's fifteen stane eleven, bit ye could hardly say till a pun'. He gangs tae the eyne o' the rope an' ties't roon his middle an' lies back. - It'll tak' a gey rug tae pull Tam aff o' his feet, I tell ye. - That billie at the eyne o' the tradesmen's rope winna dae't onywey. He's a souter, that lad, an' he keeps hens in his spare time, an' a cat that's a graun' killer o' rats withoot a tail. - Hey! look here. There's the souter houkin' holes in the grun' wi' his taes tae pit his heels in. That disna gie the ferm servants a chance. - Fat div ye say? - The ferm servants are daein' the same thing? - Weel, aren't they quite richt? Foo shouldna they dae't if the tradesmen are daein't? Fair hornie, ye ken. (Whistle and hop). Div ye see that man there wintin' the bonnet wi' the pistol in his haun'? That's the referee - Fin he fires the pistol, that's the signal for them ta begin, an' the twa sides pu' different weys. (Whistle and hop). Watch, noo. Here's the referee liftin' his pistol. They'll be aff in a meenit noo. - Plout - awa' they go. Wisn't yon a bonnie shot? - Come on, noo, lads. Rug for a' ye're wirth. - Watch the hankie. Fan it gangs ower the line there ye'll ken the ferm servants hiv won. - See. Look at Tam Sannieson, foo he's lyin' back. - Ca' canny, lads, dinna be ower veecious. - They're nae movin' yet, bit gie them time, the tradesmen'll seen be oot o' puff. Come on noo, boys, pu' for a' ye're wirth. - Noo, look at Francie Ferguson, there. He's nae pu'in' ava. He shouldna be there. He kens nae mair aboot a tug o' war than a hen kens aboot astronomy. Look foo he's gowpin' aboot him. If I could get a haud o' his lug I wou'd wauken him up. - Pu' up, Francie, man, if oor side loses I'll haud ye responsible for a pun o' tibacca. - Come on noo, boys-!" By this time he was wildly swinging his arms and accidentally hit the lady beside him. "Excuse me, mistress, did I hit ye? Weel, I'm sure I didna intend ta dae't. - Fat div ye say? I shouldna get excited? - Ye wid be excited yersel' if ye had a pun o' tibacca lyin' on't. - I say, min, did ye see me takin' that wifie a cloor o' the lug aenoo? Yon gart 'er winner; an' it peys 'er back for scrapin' my lug wi' 'er umbrella. - Eh, man. Did ye see yon? Losh! I thocht the tradesmen were awa' wi't. - Canny, noo, canny- Ah, bit oor lads are pu'in' themsel's thegither noo. Come on, boys. - Gie's a bittie mair room here, or I'll be knockin' somebody on the lug again. Look at the hankie, it's jist near ower the score. Come awa' - Come awa', come awa' come awa', come awa' - HURRAY!! Fat did I tell ye? The ferm servants hiv won, an' look at Willie Murra' tryin' tae rin aff wi' my tibacca, bit I'll catch 'im." A Rural Referee. [I MET an odl friend of mine the other day int he person of Donald Brown from Glenscutterach, and was rather suprised to find that he was not in his usual good humour. I inquired the reason and learned that he had been taking part in a football match, but it was not the success he would have liked it to be; for between his good lady at home and the footballers he evidently had had a lively time of it. But I will give you the story as I got it from Donald]. They say the aulder a body gets the mair young they growe. An' I think that's the wye wi' me. Man, I made a richt cuddy o' masel' yesterday. I hardly like ta tell ye aboot it. Ye ken this while back Glenscutterach's been gyaun a' ta potterneeshun wi' fitba'. A' the young fowk aboot the place is fitba' mad. They ca' themsel's the Glenscutterach Fleers, an' they flee aboot wi' stippit wirsit jerseys an' breeks 'its far ower short for them efter a ba', an' kick aboot at it like a lot o' young laddies. I reckon ye'll unnerstaun' a' aboot the game yersel', bit I ken verra little aboot it, tho' I likit fine ta gang doon a' see them playin' noo an' than. Bit it wis this yesterday's caper I wis gaun ta tell ye aboot. Ye ken the Fleers his on a match wi' the Heuchsiccar Gallopers, an' there wis great excitement ower the heids o't. So fat wid hinner me ta gyang doon an' see them playin'? I mention't the maitter ta the wife. I telt 'er I wis maybe gyaun doon the length o' the village in the evenin'. Af coorse I didna say I wis gyaun ta a fitba' match, or that wid fairly hae put a damper on't. Oh, it's nae 'it I couldna gang masel' whether she was pleas't or angry, bit there's nae eese raisin' din if ye can avide it. So fin she spier't fat I wis gaun ta dee there, I said I wis gaun ta get some intment for shot jints. Nae 'it I hiv ony shot jints, bit a body niver kens fan they _micht_ hae, an' it's a handy thing ta hae in the hoose. At ony rate that wis the only thing I could think on at the time. But if _I_ wisna needin' muckle, _she_ wis needin' plenty. Man, it's a queer thing, bit I can niver gang fae hame bit I hiv ta tak' hame a great string o' eerans wi' ma. This time she said as lang's I wis the wye I could gyang inta the merchant's an' get marmalite, an' fitenin', an' raisins, an' floor, an' yalla haddocks (if they waurna ower dear), an' spice, an' black threed, an' speir the price o' coal, an' a cut o' grey wirsit ta men' sox, an' gyang inta the souter an' see foo he didna gie's a calendar at Christmas, an' the awfast rigmarole ye iver heard the like o'. Fin I heard the lang lingie I began ta think I micht manage withoot the intment, an' bide at hame; bit I hid aince made up ma min' 'it I wid see that fitba' match, an' fin I mak' up ma min' it'll tak' mair than the wife ta mak' ma cheeng't. So I said I would _get_ the eerans. Bit fat a job I hid ta mom' on them a'. A' the wye doon I keepit sayin' them ower ta masel' for fear I wid forget them. I reckon the fowk 'it met ma on the road thocht I wis dottl't-me gaun wi' ma han's ahin' ma back an' ma heid hingin' doon, mutterin' ta masel': "Marmalite, an' fitenin', an' black threed, an' a cut o' grey wirsit ta men' sox, an' spier the price o' coal-." I tell ye I wis thankfu' fin I hid gotten them a' gaither't thegither. I landit ower at the fitba' green wi' ma airms an' pooches stuff't fu' o' a cargo o' stuff 'it wid 'a stockit a shop. It wis past the time for startin' afore I got in aboot, bit they warna yokit. There wis a brakdoon in the arrangements. The captain o' the Heughsiccar lads objectit ta Peter Tousle, the referee; said Peter widna gie a fair deceesion because he hid an ill-will at their goalkeeper. It seems 'it the goalkeeper hid aince said 'it Peter couldna play the fiddle, an' Peter said he wid pey 'im back for't the first chance he got. Oh, there wis a great hullaballoo aboot it. Bit ta squar up maitters they decided ta get anither referee, ane nae connectit wi' ony o' the clubs. An' lookin' roon for a substitute fa should they licht on bit _me_! Noo, I kent aboot as muckle o' fat a referee wis supposed ta dae as a hen kent aboot plooin'. In fact, the only athletic game 'it iver I gaed in for wis the dominoes. So I wisna on for the job ava. Bit man, baith the sides priggit wi' me ta tak' it on, tilt I said ta masel', "Oh weel, it's jist fun, I micht as weel be in the hert o't." So I gaed ower an' gaed the goalkeeper ma parcels ta haud, an' I wis plankit in the middle o' the green like a stalk o' rhubarb an' a fussle in ma haun'. Foo we got startit I could not say, bit it wisna lang afore they war jumpin' roon aboot me like a lot o' puddocks. I wis beginnin' ta enjoy the fun masel', an' wis watchin' a chance ta get a kick at the ba' fin a' at aince I wis knockit flat on ma face an ma nose dirdit aboot an inch an' a half inta the grun. Which o' them did it I could not say; for they war up an' efter the ba' withoot sayin' as muckle's "Excuse me," an' left ma ta howk fat wis left o' ma nose oot amon' the dubs. I wis in a perfect rage. I got on ta ma feet an' blew ma fussle an' stoppit the game. They a' croodit roon me, spierin' fat wis up, wintin' ta ken if it wis a foul or a touch or a corner-kick or fat. "I couldna exactly say fat kin' o' a kick it wis," I says, "bit it wis a nesty kick, an' I wint ta ken fa knockit me ower." Bit, man, nane o' them wid tak' wi't. They tried ta mak' oot it wis an accident, an' they manag't ta pacify me amon' them, so we got startit again. Bit och, it wis nae meenits afore I wis in anither snorrel. The ba' happent ta come stottin' my wye, so it richt thro' the shafts o' the Gallopers' goal. An' I thocht I hid scor't a goal for the Fleers, but they widna admit it wis a goal - said the referee's kickin' didna coont. As if it made ony difference fa kickit it, as lang's it gaed thro'. They a' startit ta lauch at me. Oh, little wid 'a gart me throw the fussle at them. Bit fin aince I hid taen the thing in haun' I wis determin't ta see't ta a feenish. Only I hidna the same interest in't efter that. Ony mair o' their squabbles I telt them ta sattle themsel's, 'it I wisna lookin'. They were in the middle o' ane o' their rows fin I min't a' at aince I hid forgotten ta buy a scrubbin' brush. So I jist laid the fussle doon on the grun an' slippit awa' ta get it, thinkin' I wid be back afore they miss't ma. Weel, I wisna awa' mair nor a quarter o' an oor, an' fin I cam' back there wis anither lad in my place struttin' up an' doon as tho' the hale place belang't ta 'im. Fin he saw me comin' in aboot he made a face at ma, bit och, I niver min't 'im. I jist made ane at him, an' that wis a' 'it past atween's. I thocht I hid gotten eneuch o't. So I gaed awa' ta the goalkeeper ta get ma parcels, an' fin I cam' in sicht o' 'im there's the goalkeeper sittin' wi' a jar atween his haun's, up ta the een amon' my marmalite, an' aboot a dizzen loons fechtin' wi' ane anither for ma raisins. I creepit quaetly up ahin' the goalkeeper an' dabbit his nose up ta the reet inta the jar, an' says, "Tak' a guid lick as lang's ye're at it, ye hungry hun!" Man, ye should 'a seen his face fin he took it oot o' the jar! It wis clairtit wi' ma guid marmalite. Bit I wis in that great a rage 'it I couldna lauch. I took up the paper bag o' fitenin' an' I jist took 'im fair-. Man, the sicht o' 'im efter that pit me in a better humour. I loot the loons gyang wi' the raisins, liftit up fat wis left o' ma parcels, an' gaed awa' hame. An' fin I gaed inta the hoose - the wife -. Eh, man, man! Are ye mairriet yersel? Ye are? Oh weel, ye'll unnerstaun' a' aboot it than. Lawyer and Client. A HUMOROUS DUOLOGUE CHARACTERS. Mr PUMPUM - Solicitor. JOCK FLYPE - Farm Servant from Kittlyfit. _Scene_ - Mr. Pumpum's Office. (_Enter_ Mr PUMPUM). _Pumpum_-Some genius once said that law was like a little trap - easy to get into but very difficult to get out of. _My_ difficulty is in getting clients to enter. It is now nearly two months since I commenced to practise law on my own behalf, and in that time I have not had a single case worth having. However, I trust things will not be always thus. I know it takes time to work up a practice, but it is very annoying to see my rival, Mr. Leech, across the way, getting as much work as he can do. (_Knock_). Hullo! Who is this, I wonder? Come in! (_Enter_ Jock). _Jock_-Aye, that's been anither day. _Pumpum_-Yes, it has been another day, as you say. _Jock_-It his that. _Pumpum_-And what can I do for you? _Jock_-Fat can ye dee for ma? _Pumpum_-Yes. Do you wish to see me? _Jock_-I _div_ see ye onywye. _Pumpum_-Quite so. I shall put it in another way - Do you wish to consult me? _Jock_-I dinna ken. _Pumpum_-You don't know! I suppose you had some reason for coming in. _Jock_-Oh aye. _Pumpum_-Well, what is it? _Jock_-Bit the fun o' the thing is, I didna ken whether I wis comin' in here or no. _Pumpum_-Indeed? _Jock_-No - in here I mean. Ye see I wis comin' doon the street aitin' a biscuit fin I notic't yer bress plate on yer door, "JOHN PUMPUM, Solicitor," an' I says ta masel', "This is the boy 'it I wint." _Pumpum_-I see. So you just came right in. _Jock_-No, I didna. I steed a meenit until I wid feenish aitin' ma biscuit, an' the time I wis deein' that I happen't ta look ta the ither side o' the street, an' I notic't anither bress plate on a door sayin', "WEELUM LEECH, Solicitor." _Pumpum_ (_aside_)-My rival! _Jock_-So I says ta masel' - There's anither ane. Noo, which should I gyang till? Here's Pump, an' there's Leech-Leech or Pump? An' I couldna mak' up ma min' ava, for, as I said, I micht as weel be pumpit as sookit. Then again I said ta masel', I micht as weel be sookit as pumpit. Amn't I a gey boy? _Pumpum_-Quite so. However, you made up your mind to come here, and- _Jock_ (_interrupting_)-No, I didna. I couldna decide which it wis ta be. Bit div ye ken fat wye I sattl't it? _Pumpum_-I have no idea. _Jock_-Weel, I gaed on ta the middle o' the street, an' I pintit ta the ane an' syne ta the ither, time aboot, an' said- ===Ingerty, fingerty, bingerty, fae, ===An tan, tell-a-ma-nae, ===Black fish, fite troot, ===Eery arry, ye're oot. D'ye see? So Leech wis oot an' Pump wis in. Amn't I jist a gey boy? _Pumpum_-Yes, you are indeed a gey boy, as you say; but now that you have explained why you came to me, perhaps you will- _Jock_ (_interrupting_)-Bit av coorse, div ye see? - if I hid startit ta say, Ingerty fingerty, an' pintit ta Leech first, Pump wid been oot. Amn't I a- _Pumpum_-Yes, you are a gey boy. Now that will- _Jock_ (_interrupting_)-Man, ye've nippit the wirds out o' ma moo. Fat wye did ye ken 'it I wis gaun ta say I wis a gey boy? _Pumpum_-Well, I have had some experience of your little eccentricities. _Jock_-Ma little fat? _Pumpum_-Eccentricities. _Jock_-Aye, aye, please yersel' - little eccent -. Sic a moofa o' a wird! Ye're wirth the watchin'. _Pumpum_-Whatever you say yourself. But now that you have so carefully explained all your reasons as to why you selected my office, and that you are a gey boy, we will perhaps make some progress. Now, supposing you were to tell me just what I can do for you. _Jock_-Man, ye can fairly lay't aff. That's jist the wye 'it Geordie Ferguson gets on fin he's argiein' poleetics. There's nae haudin' 'im in aboot fin he aince gets startit. He goes on- _Pumpum_ (_interrupting_)-Yes, yes; but you are away from the subject again. You wish to consult me about something? _Jock_-Fat wye div ye ken? _Pumpum_-Well, I presume so. _Jock_-Ye presume so? Man, ye fairly hiv ma. _Pumpum_-Have you! What do you mean? _Jock_-Wi' yer "presume so." I dinna folla ye. _Pumpum_-Oh, I see. Well, presume means to suppose, to venture, to be forward or overconfident. Do you understand? When I said I _presumed_ you wished to consult me, I meant, of course, that I _supposed_ you did. Do you follow me now? _Jock_-Imphm. Man, it's surely taen ye a lang time ta learn up a' that. An' fat wis yon ither big wird 'it ye said again? _Pumpum_ (_aside_)-Oh dear me, this is awful! (_To Jock_)-What big word? _Jock_-Min' yon ane, fin ye said ye hid some experiences o' ma - fat wis't again? _Pumpum_-Eccentricities. _Jock_-Eccentricities, eccentricities - that's it. I'll need ta min' on that ane. _Pumpum_-Why do you wish to remember that word? _Jock_-I'll bottle up Frankie Futtle wi't. Frankie thinks he's awfa cliver, ye ken, an' comes the lang weskit wi' me. Fin him an' me's argiein' aboot onything, an' me gettin' the best o't, he comes aff wi' some lang-nibbit wirds 'it I dinna ken the meanin' o', so I canna argy back. Bit the neist time he tries't on I'll jist quaetly say, "Look here, Frankie, that's a' richt eneuch. Bit the whole thing's jist a pure case o' eccentricity, presume, granted, an' suppose." That should dry 'im up. _Pumpum_ (_impatiently_)-Now you must tell me what you want, as I cannot afford to waste time like this. Now, what is it? _Jock_-Oh, bit if ye're ower busy ta tak' on my iob, I can easy haud ower the wye ta Leech. _Pumpum_-I am not too busy to take on your "job," as you call it, if you would only tell me what the job is. It is no good larking like this, you know. _Jock_-Oh no; that's richt eneuch, that's richt eneuch. _Pumpum_-Of course it's right enough. _Jock_-Ay, that's fat I'm sayin'-it's richt eneuch. _Pumpum_-Well, sit down and be serious. What can I do for you? _Jock_ (_sitting_)-Oh, I'm nae sure if I'm wintin' ye ta dee onything yet, until I see fat kin' o' a bargain I mak' wi' ye. Fat's yer chairge? _Pumpum_-Now how could I possibly tell you that before I know what I am expected to do? _Jock_-Oh no; that's richt eneuch. _Pumpum_-Well? _Jock_-Weel, foo muckle wid ye tak' ta (min' I'm only a common wirkin' chap, an' ye maunna pit it on)-foo muckle wid ye tak' ta get a lad 'it I ken - _saiven year in the jile?_ _Pumpum_-I would not undertake to manage that at any price. What is your charge against him? _Jock_-Blackmail. _Pumpum_-Blackmail? (_Aside_)-There is probably something in this after all. (_To Jock_)-Did you say blackmail? _Jock_-Yes, sir-coorse, low, mean, black, tarry mail. _Pumpum_-That is a very serious charge. Who is the blackmailer? _Jock_-Tam Feeshant, ane o' the ill-trickitest sklypes gyaun aboot. Bit I'm for nae mair o' his ill tricks. I'm determined ta pit a stop till't. _Pumpum_-But tell me-how-who has he been blackmailing? _Jock_-Me, sir-me-'it niver did onybody ony ill in ma life. That's fa he's been blackmailin'. Bit I'll hae the law on 'im for't. _Pumpum_-But how has he been blackmailing you? Has he been threatening you? And- _Jock_-He hidna even the mainners ta threaten ma. He did it withoot ony warnin'. _Pumpum_-But how? _Jock_-Wi' a tarry brush. _Pumpum_-I am afraid I do not understand you. Please give me all the particulars. _Jock_-It wis like this. Ye see, I wirk at a place ca'ed Kittlyfit, oot b' Netherton yonner. Maybe ye ken't? _Pumpum_-I don't think so. Proceed. _Jock_-Weel, I wirk there onywye, an' sae dis Tam Feeshant, an' sae dis Frankie Futtle 'it I wis tellin' ye aboot. Bit I've naething against Frankie. He's a conceited kin' o a crater, bit there's nae ill wi' 'im. This Tam Feeshant, tho' he's _nae guid_. Bit I better gie ye the story fae the beginnin'. _Pumpum_-It might be better, but be as brief as you can. _Jock_-Aye, aye. Oh, weel, Auld Kittly (that's the maister 'imsel', ye ken) got a new timmer henhoose pitten up, an' me bein' the maist arteestic kin' o' a chap aboot the place, I got the job ta paint it wi' tar. _Pumpum_-I see. _Jock_-Weel, Kittly gied ma a pailfu' o' tar an' a brush, an' telt ma ta get it deen at aince, an' ta notice an' nae spull mair tar nor I could help. Then he gaed awa' 'imsel' ta a market an' left ma withoot onybody ta watch ma. Only I'm ane o' this kin' o' fowk - I can dee ma wark withoot watchin', d'ye see? _Pumpum_-Quite so. Go on. _Jock_-I'm gyaun. I got startit wi' the job, an' I reckon I did aboot a squar' fit, an' thocht I wid lie doon oot ower a bittie ta see fat kin' o' an effect it hid. So I lay doon, an' I fell asleep. _Pumpum_-Has all this got anything to do with blackmailing? _Jock_-Jist wyte a meenit. I'll come till't by-an'by. Weel, I sleepit langer nor I intended, for fin I waukened it wis denner-time. Man, I jist waukened till a _meenit_. I'm awfa exact. So I jist gaed awa' inta the hoose ta get ma denner, for a body 'it dis a day's wark needs their denner. An' as I'm gyaun inta the hoose I met the maister's little lassie, an' fin she saw ma she gied a scream an' ran awa'. I thocht this awfa queer, 'cas she's aye in the wye o' banterin' wi' ma fin she meets ma. She wid say, "Hullo, Flypie, first ta yer denner again!" An' I wid say, "Hullo, Chase-the-chuckens, foo did ye like the sweeties I didna gie ye last Sunday?" _Pumpum_ (_aside_)-This is simply terrible! (_To Jock_)-Do hurry, please. _Jock_-I niver min't 'er bit gaed awa inta the kitchen, an' a' the rest o' the boys wis seatit roon the table. The kitchie lass wis cairryin ower a big bowl o' tatties, an' finiver she saw me she gied a great skin an' loot the tatties fa' a' ower the fleer. Thinks I, "This is awfa queer." Bit I happen't ta see ma face in the lid o' a milk pail hingin' on the wa', an' fat div ye think? It wis _clartit black wi' tar!_ _Pumpum_-Well? _Jock_-I lookit ower the wye o' Tam Feeshant, an' I saw he wis lauchin' awa' ta 'imsel' an' winkin' ta the ither chaps. An' I notic't there wis some tar on his fingers 'it he hidna been able ta wash aff, d'ye see? _Pumpum_-I see. From that you concluded that he covered your face with tar while you were asleep? _Jock_-Exactly. Noo fat did I dee? _Pumpum_-Well, what did you do? _Jock_-Fat div ye think I did? _Pumpum_-I have not the faintest idea - better tell me. _Jock_-I took up a tattie, an' I gied 'im richt on the broo wi't, an' spier't foo he liket tatties. Wisn't a nesty thing ta dee? _Pumpum_-It was indeed - you might have hurt him. _Jock_-Hurt 'im! I wisna carin' whether I hurt 'im or no. Wisn't a nesty thing o' him ta tar my face? _Pumpum_-It was a rough joke certainly. _Jock_-Wisn't? Did ye iver hear o' a waur thmg ta dee ta a body? _Pumpum_-Just so. Now I have listened very attentively to your descriptive recital, but I fail to see where the blackmail comes in. _Jock_-Ye canna see't sae weel noo, 'cas it's near a' washen aff. Bit ye should hae seen't a day or so efter he did it. I wis jist like a bleckie. I couldna 'a come here the wye it wis, or fowk wid 'a lauchen at ma. _Pumpum_-But, my dear sir, blackening your face is not blackmail. _Jock_-Fat is't than? Slander, maybe? _Pumpum_-The fact is, my friend, it is not worth your while going to law at all. Even if he did blacken your face, you retaliated with the potato, so I think your best plan would be to go home and make friends with Feeshant, or whatever his name is, and call it square. _Jock_-Cat squar'? Niver! Man, it took me near a hale week ta get aff the rochest o't. Bit that's nae the warst o't. I happen't ta be gaun ta a ball that nicht wi' Bella Muckle, bit av coorse I couldna gyang wi' a tarry face. Noo, d'ye ken fat he hid the impidence ta dee? _Pumpum_-What did he do? _Jock_-He hid the impidence ta come an' ask the len' o' my fite tie ta gang ta the ball wi' Bella 'cas I couldna gyang masel'. _Pumpum_-And did you let him have it? _Jock_-Aye, I let 'im have it-het an' reekin'. I telt 'im fat I thocht o' 'im. I says till 'im, "Tam," I says, "an' ye hiv the dooricht impidence ta seek the len' o' ma tie efter fat ye've deen ta ma? Man," I says, "ye ocht ta think shame o' yersel'; bit," I says, "ye winna _get_ the tie." I says, "Ye maybe think ye're awfa cliver," I says, "bleckin' my face an' keepin' me fae the ball, bit I can easy bide at hame," I says; "I can easy wash aff the tar, Tam," I says; "I'll wash't aff, even tho' I wiv ta wash ma face ilka day I'll get it aff, an, fin it is aff," I says, "I'll gang ta the toon an' see my man o' business; an'" I says, "Thomas Feeshant," I says, "ye'll rue the day 'it ye made me a bleckie. An' aye min'," I says, "'it mony an honest face beats beneath a tarry hert, an' dinna think ye're gettin' aff wi't," I says, "for I'll hae the law o' ye, tho' it should cost me half a croon." _Pumpum_-Ahem! You are evidently determined to have the law on him, as you call it, if you are prepared to spend a whole half-crown on it. _Jock_-Oh, bit av coorse I only said that ta frichten Tam. I kent I could get it deen for less than that. _Pumpum_-Indeed! Im ay mention that up to now it has cost you six and eightpence. _Jock_-Na, it hisna deen that. It hisna cost me a penny. Fat wye div ye think it's cost me sax an' auchtpence? _Pumpum_-The six and eightpence is for me. _Jock_-For you! I doot I dinna unnerstaun' ye. _Pumpum_-Oh, don't you? Do you think you can come in here and waste my time for nothing? My fee is six and eightpence, and I would advise you to pay it up at once and go home and make it up with Feeshant. If you persist in chargin him with blackening your face, the chances are that he will charge you with throwing the potato. At any rate, that is my advice, and, as I said before, my fee is six and eightpence. _Jock_-Bit fat's the sax an' auchtpence for? _Pumpum_-_For my advice_. _Jock_-Bit I'm nae takin' yer advice. _Pumpum_-You can please yourself, but that is me fee all the same. _Jock_ (_rising_)-Aye, I think I see ye gettin't. Sax an' auchtpence! Fine wye o' makin' a livin'! Ye're weel nam't Mister Pumpum, but ye'll pump a lang time afore ye pump sax an' auchtpence oot o' me, for a' 'it I hiv on ma's a shillin'; an' I'm gaun ta buy a tippeny bottle o' glue ta poor inta the pooches o' Tam Feeshant's Sunday claes - then I'll maybe ca't squar', as ye say. An' if ye can tak' sax an' auchtpence oot o' fat's left ye're welcome till't. _Pumpum_ (_angrily_)-Then for goodness sake clear out of this at once, and not waste any more of my time! _Jock_-Oh, I'll gang oot; bit I'm sayin'- _Pumpum_-Well? _Jock_-Fat'll Tam think fin he gets his pooches fu' o' glue? _Pumpum_-If I were Tam I would punch your head. _Jock_-He can try that! I wid hae 'im up for aviezandum afore he kent faur he wis. Weel, I reckon I'll need awa'. _Pumpum_-Good-bye! _Jock_-Good-bye! Bit fat wis yon big wird 'it ye said again? _Pumpum_-Oh this is _intolerable!_ _Jock_-Na, that's nae it, bit that's a rale guid ane tee. Oh, I min', it's "eccentricities." I'll min' on't noo. Weel, weel, so long. Gin I hae ony ither jobs I'll pit them your wye. Ta, ta, wi' ye. ====(_Exit_ Jock). _Pumpum_-A few more people like that and this office will be to let! ===CURTAIN.