Rough Scan
 






 
       
        XIII
         
        SANDY AND BAWBIE’S SPRING HOLIDAY.
         
        SPRING 
          holiday!  Wheesht!  I’ll no’ forget it in a hurry, I can tell you.  
          But I never saw’t different.  Holidays are juist a perfeck scunner, as far 
          as I’ve haen to do wi’ them; an’ as for the rest—I’m shure I’m aye tireder 
          efter a holiday than at the tailend o’ a hard day’s wark.  I’m juist a’ sair the day wi’ sittin’ i’ the 
          train; an’ yesterday nicht I cud hardly move oot o’ the bit, I was that 
          dune.
        But 
          I maun tell you the story frae the beginnin’.  
          You’ve mibby heard me speak aboot Meg Mortimer’s mither that 
          used to bide at The Drum.  Meg’s 
          in a big way o’ doin’ noo in Edinboro; but I’ve seen the day, I’m thinkin’!  Weel div I mind when her mither flitted ower 
          frae Powsoddie.  She cam’ alang 
          to oor hoose to seek the len’ o’ twa kists, juist to gie her flittin’ 
          some appearance on the cairts.  Ay 
          did she, noo-na-na!  What think ye o’ that?  They were as puir’s I kenna what, an’ mony 
          a puckle meal did they get oot o’ oor girnil, for Dauvid Mortimer was 
          a nice man, altho’ he was terriple hudden doon wi’ the reums.
        Weel, 
          Meg gaed awa’ to service, an’ fell in wi’ a weeda man wi’ three o’ a
        faimly.  I can ashure you there’s 
          nae tume kists in her hoose noo.  She 
          has a big way o’ doin’.  Her 
          man’s a kind o’ heid pillydakus amon’ a lot o’ naveys, makin’ railroads, 
          and main drains, an’ so on.  He’s 
          made a heap o’ bawbees.  Master Blair’s his name.  They bide in a big hoose doon about the Meadows 
          in Edinboro, an’ they have a big servant, and twa dogs; forby a bit 
          lassockie to look efter the bairns.
        Meg 
          was throo seein’ her fowk no’ that lang syne, an’ she wud hae me to 
          promise to come throo wi’ Sandy an’ see them.  
          She wudna hae a na-say.  She 
          was aye an awfu’ tague for tonguein’, Meg.  
          I mind when she was but ten ‘ear auld, me, that was saxteen or 
          seventeen ‘ear aulder, cudna haud the can’le till her.  
          She was a gabbin’ little taed.  
          Weel, rizzen be’t or neen, she fair dang me into sayin’ I wud 
          come wi’ Sandy an’ see her at the spring holiday; an’ so we juist had 
          to go.
        Sandy 
          gaed on juist like a clockin’ hen a’ Sabbath efternune an’ nicht.  He had the upstairs bed lippin’ fu’ o’ luggitch 
          that he was thinkin’ o’ takin’ wi him.  A body wudda thocht he was settin’ aff for a crooze roond the North 
          Pole, instead o’ on a veesit to Edinboro.  He was rubbin’ up his buits, an syne brethin’ on them, an’ rubbin’ 
          them up again, an’ settin’ himsel’ back an’ lookin’ at himsel’ in them.  He’s a prood bit stockie, Sandy, mind ye, when 
          there’s naebody lookin’.  He 
          had a’ his goshore suit hung oot on the backs o’ chairs a’ roond the
        hoose.  It lookit like’s there was genna be a sale 
          or a raffle or something.
        He 
          gaed doon to supper Donal’ i’ the forenicht, an’ I took a dander awa’ 
          doon ahent him, juist to get a moofu’ o’ caller air.  When I landit at the stable door I heard Sandy speakin’ to somebody.  
          I took a bit peek in at the winda, an’ here’s Sandy merchin’ 
          aboot wi’ the horse cover tied up in a bundle in ae hand, an’ a stick 
          i’ the ither.  He stoppit in 
          the tume staw an’ laid doon his bundle rale smert like; syne he lookit 
          ower the buird to Donal’, an’ says, in an Englishy kind o’ a voice, 
          “Twa return tickets third-class an’ back to Edinboro!”  I saw syne what he was at!  He 
          was practeesin’ seekin’ the tickets at the station.  Ow, ay; Sandy’s like a’ ither body!  He’s a gey breezie carlie when he’s awa’ frae
        hame, an’ his dickie on!
        Sandy 
          had his uswal argey-bargeyin’ in the train, an’ I thocht ae man an’ 
          him, that cam’ in at Carnoustie, wi’ his wife, an’ a pair a’ nickerbucker 
          breeks on, was gonna fa’ to the fechtin’ a’thegither.  
          An’ faigs, Sandy snoddit him geylies afore we got to Dundee.
        There 
          was a lot o’ men’ an’ loons staiverin’ aboot Carnoustie playin’ at the
        gowf; an’ Sandy says— “Look at thae jumpin’-jecks o’ craturs wi’ their 
          reed jeckets on, like as mony organ-grinders’ monkeys, rinnin’ aboot 
          wi’ their bits o’ sticks, wallopin’ awa’ at Indeen-rubber ba’s.  
          Puir craturs!”
        Man, 
          the chappie wi’ the nickerbuckers got up in an awfu’ pavey, an’ misca’ed 
          Sandy for a’ the vagues — you never heard the like!
        “Look 
          ye hear, my bit birkie,” says Sandy, gien a gey wild-like wink wi’ his 
          richt e’e, “you speak when ye’re spoken till!  
          I dinna bather mysei’ wi’ papermashie peeriewinkles like the 
          likes o’ you; but if you gi’e me ony o’ your sma’ chat, man, I’ll tak’ 
          an’ thrapple you wi’ that fowerpence-happeny-the-dizzen paper collar 
          ye’ve roond the wizand o’ ye.”
        “Wud 
          ye?” said the Carnoustie birkie, jumpin’ till his feet.
        The 
          train gae a shoag juist at that meenit, an’ he gaed cloit ower on the 
          tap o’ Sandy, and brocht a tin box doish doon on his heid.  He got a gey tnap, I can tell you.  Sandy keepit his temper something winderfu’, an’ he juist quietly 
          set doon Nickerbucker Tammie on the seat an’ says, “Ay, loonie; juist 
          you sit still there till your mither gie’s your nose a dicht, an’ ties 
          your gartins; an’ you’ll get a piece an’ jeely on’t when the trainie 
          stops.”
        You 
          never heard sic lauchin’ as there was; an’ Sandy’s frien’ lookit as 
          gin he’d haen a dram, an’ gotten an awfu’ dose o’ cauld.  He didna say “guid-mornin’” when he gaed oot at the Tey Brig Station.
        Sandy 
          had twa-three maim pliskies atween Dundee an’ Edinboro, but I hinna 
          time to tell you o’ them.  Peety 
          the man that starts to write Sandy’s beebliographie.  
          If he tells the hale truth, eksettera, he’ll hae a gey job.  The faimly Bible ‘ill be like a heymbook aside 
          the volum.  They’ll need to get 
          up early i’ the mornin’ that reads Sandy’s life, I tell you.  The man that writes it ‘ill never win to his 
          bed ava.
        Weel-a-weel, 
          we landit at Edinboro, an Meg was waitin’s, an’ as mony bairns wi’ her 
          as wudda startit a raggit schule—although they were a’ braw an’
        snod, 
          I ashure ye.
        “Keep 
          me, Meg,” said Sandy, efter he’d shaken hands wi’ her, “is thae a’ your
        litlans?  Dod, sic a cleckin 
          !“
        The 
          ass that he is!  I saw Meg chowl 
          her chafts gey angry like, an’ I took Sandy a doish i’ the back wi’ 
          my umberell.  “Say Mistress Blair, 
          ye ill-mennered whaup atyar,” says I in his lug; an’ he gleyed roond 
          at me, an’ says, wi’ anither a’ his vegabon’-like winks, “Ay; that’s 
          Wattie Scott’s monniment, Bawbie.  A 
          great man, Wattie!  It was him 
          ‘at wret Bailie Nickil Jarvie an’ the Reed Gauntlet an’ so on.  
          He bade a fortnicht wi’ Luckie Walker at Auchmithie.  Bandy Wobster’s grandfather sell’d him a dog 
          when he was there.  He was a 
          fine man, Wattle.”
        Meg 
          an’ the bairns an’ me gaed into the cab, an’ Sandy, he wud be up on 
          the dickey aside the driver.  As 
          I cudda tell’d afore he gaed up, he wasna there five meenits when he 
          was nearhand at the fechtin’ wi’ the man aboot the wey he drave his 
          horse.  I was gled when we landit at Meg’s hoose, for 
          I was expectin’ ilky meenit to see the cabby—he was an ill-faur’d,
        rossen-faced 
          lookin’ tyke—fling Sandy heels-ower-heid into the cab amon’ the bairns—he 
          was black-gairdin’ the man’s horse for an auld, hunger’d reeshil, an’ 
          praisin’ up Donal’ that terriple!
        “Man, 
          you’ve juist to lay the reinds on’s back, an’ he’s awa’ like the wind,” 
          I heard him sayin’.  “There’s 
          naething a’ roond aboot can touch him.  
          He can trot up the High Road wi’ saxteen hunderwecht.  
          He’s a reg’lar topper!  You 
          should send that hunger’d-lookin’ radger o’ yours to Glesterlaw”; an’ 
          soon he gaed, an’ the man girnin’ an’ skoolin’ at him like a
        teegar.
        When 
          we cam’ aff at the Meadows, Sandy gaed roond aboot the beast, chucklin’ 
          awa’ till himsel’ juist like watter dreepin’ intil a tume cistern; but 
          he keepit oot o’ the reach o’ the cabby’s kornals.  
          I expeckit to see him get roond the hinders wi’ them for his
        impidence.
        “If 
          you cam’ to Arbroath wi’ the like o’ that, the Croolty to Animals wud 
          grip you afore you was weel through the toll,” he says to the man.  “You’ll better g‘wa’ hame wi’t as lang’s it’s
        het.  If you lat that sharger
        cule, it’ll stiffen up, an’ you’ll never get it oot o’ the bit, till 
          you bring a cairt for’t.”
        The 
          cabby got his bawbees frae Meg, an’ drave awa’, gien Sandy a glower 
          like a puttin’ bull; but Sandy juist gae a bit lauch, an’ cried, “Ta-ta!”
        We 
          got into the house!  Eh, sic 
          a place for stech!  Haud your 
          tongue!  Really yon fair sneckit a’thing.  Sandy could hardly get his hat aff for glowerin’ 
          aboot him; an’ when he did get it aff, he handit it to ane a’ the loons; 
          an’, afore you cudda sen Jeck Robison, they were oot at the back door 
          scorin’ goals wi’t throo’ atween the claes-poles on the green.  Meg was at the hurdies o’ them wi’ a switch 
          gey quick, an’ sune had Sandy’s lum hinhin’ aside his greatcoat in the 
          lobby.
        We 
          wasna lang set doon when in cam’ Meg’s man.  
          A brisk-lookin’ fellah he is, I can tell you.  He shook hands wi’s as hearty’s though we’d came to gie him a job; 
          an’ in five meenits, tooch, you wudda thocht Sandy an’ him had never 
          been sindered sin’ they got on their first daidles.  
          I’ll swag, Meg’s fa’in on her feet, an’ mae mistak’!
        I’m 
          shure I’m no complainin’, but Sandy Bowden’s been an unsatisfaktory 
          man in mony weys; but, as the Bible says, we’ve a’ a dwang o’ some kind, 
          an’ if I hadna gotten Sandy, weel, I michta haen a drucken son, or a 
          hicht-heided dauchter.  Wha can tell?  We’ve a’ a hankle mair than we deserve, nae doot.  I ken I have onywey; but that’s nether here 
          nor there.
        We 
          were sittin’ enjoyin’ a crack, an’ lookin’ oot at the windas, watchin’ 
          the bairns in their coaches, an’ the birds fleein’ aboot as happy as 
          crickets, huntin’ for wirms amon’ the young girss.
        “The 
          Meadows look very pretty i’ the noo,” said Mester Blair.  “The very birds enjoy the fresh green grass.”
        “They 
          do that,” put in Sandy.  “It’s 
          a treat to see them, puir things.  They 
          are fond o’ a bittie o’ anything green.  
          I tak’ a bit dander oot the bunkers on a Sabbath mornin’ whiles 
          for a pucklie chuckin-wirth to Dickie, an’ you wud really think the 
          cratur kent.  He gleys doon when I come in, as much as to 
          say, ‘C’way wi’t, Sandy; I ken fine you have’t in your pooch!”’
        “Bawbie 
          here winna believe me,” continued Sandy, gien Mester Blair a wink, “but 
          I’ve tell’d her twa-three times that when I’ve gane doon the yaird i’ 
          the winter-time wi’ my auld greatcoat—it’s gettin’ very green
        noo, but 
          it was a bit guid stuff aince in its day—the birds ‘ill come fleein’ 
          doon an’ sit on the palin’ aside me, an’ wheetle-wheetle awa’ for a
        whilie.  It’s queer; but that’s the effek the green 
          appears to hae on them.”
        Mester 
          Blair leuch till I thocht he wudda wranged himsel’.  A richt hearty laucher he is.  The 
          lauch gaed a’ ower him, an’ you could hardly sen futher it was comin’ 
          oot o’ his moo or his buits, there was that muckle o’t.
        Syne 
          Sandy an’ him got on to the crack aboot the tattle trade, an’ you wudda 
          thocht Sandy was genna tak’ him in for a pairtner, he had that muckle 
          to tell him.
        “An’ 
          do you do much wi’ the Americans?” said Mester Blair.
        “I 
          do a’ their trade,” said Sandy.  “There’s 
          only three o’ them buys tatties in Arbroath noo.  The ither twa’s gey queer that wey; they get 
          a’thing preserved in tins, frae aboot London they tell me.”
        Mester 
          Blair didna appear to understand Sandy, an’ he speered, “Do you get 
          cash again’ Billy Lowden; or hoo d’ye get peyment?”
        “If 
          the bawbees is no’ at the back o’ the cairt, up goes the bawk, an’ Donal’ 
          ca’s awa,” says Sandy.  “Na,
        na, neen o’ your Billy Lowden tick for me.  
          I believe in the ready clink.”
        “Oh, 
          I see,” said Mester Blair.  “You 
          get cash at the ship’s side.  That 
          is the safe plan.”
        “As 
          you say,” said Sandy, “that’s exakly Bandy Webster’s wey o’ pettin’t.  I believe in the bawbees afore the tatties 
          leave the back door o’ the cairt.  Short 
          accounts mak’ lang freends.”
        “Do 
          you do onything wi’ the Continent ava?” said Meg’s man.
        “I 
          travel a’ ower the toon,” said ~Sandy, “frae Tooties Nook to Culloden, 
          an’ frae the Skemels to Cairnie Toll.  
          It disna maitter a doakan to me wha I sell till.  
          Seven pund to the half-steen, an’ cash doon—thae’s my principles; 
          the same price, and the same turn o’ the bawk, to gentle and simple.  When the champions are gude I can manish twa 
          load i’ the day fine, an’ if the disease keeps oot amon’ them, they 
          pey no that ill.”
        Meg’s 
          man gey a kind o’ a whistle in laich, an’ I saw fine syne whaur he had 
          tint himsel’.  Meg had tell’d 
          him Sandy was a tattie merchant, an’ he’d been thinkin’ Sandy had a 
          big wey o’ doin’, an’ sell’d tatties in shiploads an’ so on.  
          I saw the whole thing in a blink, but never lut wink, an’ Sandy 
          was fient a hair the better or the waur o’ Meg’s man’s mistak’.
        We 
          got a grand denner—something specific.  
        “This is a kind o’ a haiver o’ buff, Mistress Blair,” said Sandy, 
          when we got set doon; but I gae him a kick throo ablo the table that 
          garred him tak’ his tongue atween his teeth.
        I 
          needna tell you aboot a’ we got to eat; Sandy ate that hearty that he 
          gaed oot to the simmer-seat efter, an’ cud hardly steer oot o’ the bit 
          for half an ‘oor.  Really ilky 
          thing was better than anither, an’ we feenished up wi’ ice-cream.  
          Sandy took a gullar o’t afore be kent, an’ I think he thocht 
          be was brunt, for he nippit up the water bottle, an’ took a sweech o’ 
          cauld watter, an’ then gae a pech like’s he’d come ooten a fit.  He was a’ richt efter a whilie, but the cratur bad over-eaten himsel’, 
          an’ he was gey uneasy a’ efternune.
        Efter 
          we got oor tea, Meg got the bairns a’ beddit, an’ then her an’ her man, 
          an’ me an’ Sandy set aff for the theater.  
          It was a terriple grand theater, wi’ as muckle gold hingin’ roond 
          aboot as wud mak’ a’ the puir fowk in Arbroath millionaires.  We got a grand seat, an’ a’thing gaed richt till near the
        feenish.
        Mester 
          Blair had what they ca’ an opera gless wi’ him, an’ he handed it to 
          me to look throo.  Sandy in wi’ 
          his hand intil his greatcoat pooch, an’ oot wi’ his spygless, a great 
          lang thing like a barber’s pole, that he wan at a raffle at the Whin 
          Inn.  There was a chappie deein’ 
          on the stage.  He’d stuck himsel’ wi’ his soord, because a lassie wudna mairry 
          him, an’ he was juist lyin’ tellin’ a’ the fowk aboot crooil
        weemin, 
          an’ peace in the grave, an’ a’thing, when Sandy cockit up his spygless 
          to hae a glower at him afore he gae his henmist gasp.
        I 
          saw the cbappie gien a kind o’ a fear’d-like start, syne he sprang till 
          his feet an’ roared, “Pileece, pileece! there’s an anarkist an’ a feenyin’s 
          bom in the theater,” an’ took till his heels aff the stage.
        You 
          never saw sic a wey o’ doin’.  You 
          speak aboot peace in the grave.  There 
          wasna muckle peace in the theater.  
          We was a’ winderin’ what was ado, an’ Sandy was busy peekin’ 
          roond wi’ his spygless, when twa bobbies cam’ fleein’ anower an’ grippit 
          him an’ roared till him to sirrender.  
          I can tell you, he nearhand sirrendered ane o’ the bobbies wi’ 
          the spygless.  If it hadna been for Mester Blair gettin’ a haud o’ the wechty end 
          o’t, there wudda been a noo helmet, an’ mibby a new bobby needed in 
          Edinboro.
        The 
          row was a’ ower in five meenits, when Mester Blair explen’d things; 
          but if he hadna been wi’s, I’m dootin’ it wudda been a job.  There was ane o’ the great muckle dosent nowts o’ bobbies cam’ an’ 
          gowpit in my face, an’ says, “D’ye think this ane’s a woman?”  I fand in ahent’s for my umberell; but my chappie 
          gaed his wa’s gey quick, or I’d gien him the wecht o’t across his nose.  
          It was a gey-like wey o’ doin’ aboot naething; but efter we got 
          hame an’ had oor supper we forgot a’ aboot it, an’ spent a very happy 
          ‘oor or twa afore we gaed to oor beds.