XII A DREADFUL DISASTER IN THE GARRET. I’M shure I needna trauchle to haud in aboot the bawbees! That man o’ mine wud ramsh an’ hamsh an’ fling awa’ mair than I cud save although I was a millionaire. Nae farrer gane than lest nicht I heard some ongaens up the stair. What’s he up till noo? thinks I to mysel’. Ye ken our garret? It’s a snod bit roomie, an’ we sleep up there i’ the simmer nichts, for the doonstair room gets that het an’ seekrif, I canna fa’ ower ava sometimes. So I have the garret made rale snod an’ cosie. There’s a fine fixed-in bed, an’ I have the room chairs I got when my Auntie Leeb de’ed, wi’ a tidie or twa ower them, an’ an auld-fashioned roond tablie ‘at I bocht at a rowp—ane o’ thae anes that cowps up an’ sets back to the wa’ when you’re no’ needn’t. Auntie Leeb left me her big lookin’ gless too. Ye mind she had a shooster shopie at the fit o’ Collie Park, an’ she had a big lookin’ gless for her customers seeing hoo their frocks fitted. Ay weel than, I set the gless juist up again the wa’ at the end o’ the garret, firnent the fireplace an’ it made the roomie real cantie an’ cheerie lookin’. When I heard the din Sandy was makin’, I goes my wa’s up the stair on my tiptaes. It was juist upo’ the stroke o’ nine o’clock, an’ I was juist noo dune shuttin’ the shop. The door was aff the snib; an’, keep me, when I lookit in, here’s Sandy wi’ an Oddfella’s kilt an’ a bushbie on, an’ his ilky-day’s claes lyin’ in a pozel on the table. I kent the kilt whenever I saw’t; it was the ane Dauvit Kenawee wears in the Oddfellas’ processions. Sandy was berfit, an’, I’m shure, if ye’d seen him! Haud your tongue! Ye never saw sic a picture. I suppose he’d taen aff his buits no’ to mak’ a noise. Ay weel, here he was wi’ a bawbee can’le stuck up again’ the boddom o’ the lookin’-gless, an’ him maleengerin’ aboot i’ the flure afore’t, wi’ the shaft o’ the heather bissam in his hand, whiskin’t roond his lugs, progin’ aboot wi’t, an’ lowpin’ here an’ there like a hen on a het girdle. He croonshed doon, an’ jookit frae side to side, an’ then jamp straucht up an’ lut flee at something wi’ the bissam shaft. Syne he stack the end o’ the stick i’ the flure, an’ bored an’ grunted like’s he was rammin’t through a pavemint steen. “That’s anither settle’t,” says he, pullin’ up his stick, an’ gie’n’t a dicht wi’ the tails o’ his kilt; syne makin’ a kick at something wi’ his berfit fit— ”Let us do or die,” says he; “Scots wha hae; Wallace an’ Bruce for ever; doon wi’ every bloomin’ Englisher; rip them up; koo-heel!” Then he whiskit half-roond aboot, an’ lut flee at a seckie o’ caff I had sittin’ in a corner. “Come on, Mick Duff; every deevil o’ ye! Change your slaverie,” he says akinda heich oot, an’ then he lut yark at the seck again an’ missed, an’ made a muckle hole i’ the plester. He stoppit an’ harkin’t for fear I’d heard the stishie he was makin’. I never lut dab, but keepit juist as quiet’s pussy. “Auch, she’s i’ the shop,” he says heich oot; an’ then he floo back an’ forrit, fencin’ an’ jookin’, an glowerin’ at himsel’ i’ the lookin’-gless, an’ girnin’ his teeth like a whitterit. I raley thocht the man had gane skeich. He made a sweech wi’ the bissam shaft ‘at garred the licht o’ the can’le waggle frae side to side. Syne he straughtened himsel’ up afore the gless, an’, touchin’ the ruif wi the point o’ his stick, he says, “Viktory, viktory! Bannockburn is wun. Hooreh! Hooreh!” Juist at this meenit there was a rare like’s fifty thunderbolts had burst in Kowper Collie’s auld-iron yaird. You never heard sic a soond. It was like the crack o’ a hunder cannon; an’ in an instant a’ was dark, an’ there was a roeshil o’ broken bottles that garred me think there had been an earthquake i’ the back shop. Doon the stair I floo; but, afore I was half-roads doon, Sandy jamp clean on my back—kilt, bushbie, an’ a’thegither. Doon I gaed like a rickel o’ auld beans, an’ Sandy ower the tap o’ me, heels-ower-gowrie. When I cam’ to mysel’, here’s Sandy lyin’ streekit oot on his face i’ the middle o’ a box o’ Hielant eggs that I’d juist noo opened. The strap o’ the bushbie was roond his thrapple, an’ was juist aboot stranglin’ him, when I cut it wi’ the ham knife. Then he akinda half-turned roond, an’ says be, “O Bawbie! I’m deid. There’s a bomshall gane throo my backbeen.” “Rise up,” says I, “there’s mair than you deid. There’s twal’ or fifteen dizzen o’ gude eggs bruist to bits. Whatever ‘ill I do?” He raise up; an’ if ye’d only seen the sicht! It’s as fac’s ocht, it was eneuch to fleg the French. Never will I forget it while I draw breath. He lookit like some berfit tinkler wife that had been foo, an’ had fa’in, ower the heid, intil a barrel o’ yellow oker; an’ stickin’ on his weyst there was ane o’ my winda tickets— ”Just in To-Day.” “O, Bawbie!” he wheenged, “gae up the stair an see if the ruif’s aye on. I think somebody’s been hoddin’ dianamite in oor garret.” When I gaed up the stair wi’ a licht, what did I see but my Auntie Leeb’s braw lookin’-gless a’ to flinders i’ the flure? The licht o’ the can’le had burned up against it, an’ riven’t a’ to pieces. When I turned roond, here’s Sandy stappin’ ooten his kilt, an’ gaen awa’ to pet on his troosers. “Alick Bowden,” says I—an’ my very hert was greit— ”Alick Bowden“— I aye ca’ him Alick when I’m angry— ”this maun be the end o’t. I canna thole nae mair.” “For any sake, Bawbie,” he brook in, “dinna say naething the nicht, or I’ll pushon or droon mysel’. I wiss I had been smored amo’ thae eggs”; an’ doon the stair he gaed, wi’ his breeks in his oxter. I juist had to g’wa’ to my bed an’ lat a’thing aleen, an’ I ac’ually grat mysel’ ower asleep. I didna ken a Sandy comin’ till his bed ava; an’ when I raise i’ the mornin’ a’ thing was cleared awa’, an’ the garret an’ backshop a’ sweepit an’ in order, an’ Sandy was busy i’ the yaird hackin’ sticks, an’ whistlin’ “Hey, Jockie Mickdonal’,” juist’s as gin naethin’ had happened. He’s been stickin’ in like a hatter ever sin’ syne, an’ has a’thing as neat’s ninepence; so I canna say a single wird. But is’t no raley something terriple?