Rough Scan








 
      JEEMS 
        AT PAISLEY RACES
      WHEN I first mentioned, BAILIE, 
        that I wis thinkin’ o’ going tae Paisley Races, Betty fented, an’ the 
        minister, wha wis in getting a cup o’ tea wi’ us, held up his hauns in 
        horror, an’ cried oot, "I’m afraid, Mr Kaye, ye’re goin’ tae turn 
        a backslider in yer auld age."
      "The way o’ the worl’ a’ ower," 
        says I. "If a man tak’s a holiday tae go tae see the Regatta at the 
        Lairgs it’s quite richt an' very praiseworthy, but if he goes to a racecourse 
        he’s on the fair way tae ruin. One o’ the standing questions at a bankrupt’s 
        examination is, ‘Did ye ever go tae so and so races?’ an’ if the answer 
        is, ‘Yes,’ the Sheriff tak’s aff his specs an’ gies a sigh, as much as 
        tae say there’s nae use asking ony mair questions; that settles the hale 
        thing. The natural ootcome o’ a’ races, he seems tae say, is bankruptcy; 
        as if a man couldna enjoy, in an innocent war, withoot bateing, sick an 
        exhilarating sicht as a horse race.
      I’m nae sporting man, BAILIE; I need hardly 
        tell ye that; in fac’, I’m ower sair hauden doon wi’ the cares o’ a family 
        an’ opposition in trade tae gie my time tae frivolity. I’ve seen me, to 
        be sure, takin’ a bit haun’ at the cards for a bawbee the gemm at my ain 
        fireside, an’ whiles I’ve gane doon tae the Green tae see the boat races; 
        they’re handy, forbye costing naething.
      Hooever, as I like to carry oot my ain 
        ideas, I determined the week afore last that Betty an’ me should see a 
        horse race for oorsel’s, even though I should be deposed frae the eldership, 
        as the minister hinted it micht be my portion.
      Behold us, therefore, a respectable middle-aged 
        couple, last Friday week, quietly daunering ower the racecourse at Paisley, 
        looking at the cartfuls o’ cockernuts, the lorries o’ beer, the barrels 
        o’ milk, the barrowfuls o’ grozzets, an’ a’ sichlike, the proprietors 
        o’ which were dealin’ them oot tae the hungry an’ thirsty. Then the carts 
        that were there, like the sand o’ the sea, quite beyond coonting! The 
        horses in thae carts were tethered tae the hin’ end, while the proprietor 
        stood in between the trams dealin’ oot tum’lers o’ ale or cuttin’ up a 
        loaf an’ a bacon ham, an’ gluin’ the slices thegither wi’ mustard.
      Aifter that there were weein’ machines, 
        nit barrows, an’ tents, an’ the tents were a’ crooded.
      A wee bell rang, an’ a’ the horses cam 
        forrit tae be ready. They were bonnie things as they arched their necks 
        an’ pawed the grun’, impatient tae be aff. Ilka ane’s skin shone like 
        satin, an’ I lauchs as I said tae Betty, "The minister declared racing 
        wis great cruelty; my! if he wis jist oot here noo an’ saw the racers, 
        an’ then took a look at some o’ yon lame, heart-broken skeletons that 
        draw coals aboot the toon, I’ll bate he wid change his tune."
      The crood, the great unwashed, as the 
        scientific folk ca’ them, gathered noon an’ gazed wi’ admiration at the 
        horses an’ their riders, an’ when one o’ the jockeys asked a man what 
        o’clock it wis, that man wis at once exalted intae a sort o’ hero. He 
        had actually had the honour o’ speaking tae a jockey. I bocht a catalogue 
        free a laddie, an on readin’ it I saw that there wis only one horse wi’ 
        a genuine Scotch name. This wis "Lord Clyde," so I made up my 
        mind that if I did bate a sixpence I wid wager on the Scotchman, jist 
        tae encourage native talent.
      At lang an’ last the horses got ready, 
        an’ I hurried Betty awe’ tae a quiet corner o’ the course tae hae a guid 
        view. The starter waved a red flag, aff they went, teering doon tae us, 
        the silk sleeves o’ the jockeys blawin’ in the win', an' the horses fleein’ 
        as if they kent their fame rested on their performance that day. I took 
        aff my hat an’ rattled my stick in’t, as I’ve seen the horse coupers at 
        a fair daeing, an’ I says tae a man that wis staunin’ next me, "The 
        fire engines is naething tae this! " "Ah," he cries, "this 
        is no like the Darby." "No," says I, "an’ neither are you 
        like the Prince o’ Wales, still this is the best we can manage." 
        On they cam’, an’ by us wi’ a thunderin’ o’ the grun’, an’ I got quite 
        excited. On gaed my hat, an’ aifter them I ran, although I couldna keep 
        lang at their heels, as ye may readily suppose.
      Faur awe’ at the winning post, I heard 
        a great commotion, an’ as I lightit a ceegaur I remarked tae Betty, "That’s 
        the death-knell o’ mony a hard-earned Paisley weaver’s haufcroon. It’s 
        queer that folk canna come oot here an’ buy tippence worth o’ plooms, 
        an’ enjoy themselves rationally withoot bateing."
      As we were daunering alang a man comes 
        up, an’ says tae me—
      "D’ye want a ‘tip’?"
      "Weel," I says, "I don’ 
        know that I deserve ane, but I’m never against takin’ onything that’s 
        gi’en me for naething, altho’, as a rule, I fin’ it’s generally no much 
        worth. But what were ye going tae tip me for?"
      "If I tell ye what horse ‘ll win, 
        will ye put a soy. on?"
      "D’ye mean a hale poun’?"—" 
        I do.’
      "Then I certainly will nutt. If ye 
        were sure, I micht risk eighteenpence, or if ye could tak’ your solemn 
        affadauvit I micht even say haul-a-croon, but abin that I widna go, altho’ 
        Gladstone himsel’ wis the jockey. No, no, poun’ notes are no sae easy 
        got, my man." So aff he went.
      Anither race came on, an’ Betty an’ me 
        got near the winning post tae see’t weel. As the horses cam’ fleein’ in, 
        the crood fairly tore ower yin anither, some crying cot, "Yellow 
        wins"; then ithers, "Green wins"; an’ again, "Black wins." 
        Sae I turns tae a polisman that wis aside me, an’ whispers, "There 
        must be something wrang in this race, they canna a’ win surely." 
        The man in blue, hooever, paid nae attention tae me, sae I cam’ awa’ again 
        an' saw a raw o’ big umberellas wi’ a lot o’ men below them wi’ fancy 
        hats.
      Some o’ the men had wee bags at their 
        side, an’ they were constantly crying cot, "Two to one on Nebuchadnezzar 
        bar one;" "ten to one on the field."
      "What is’t yer selling?" says 
        I; "is it chape rings, or Turkish rhubarb, or what?" He didna 
        condescend tae answer me, so I says tae Betty, "Here’s an empty
      umberella, 
        we’ll awa’ in here and eat oor sandwiches in peace. It’s vera thochtfu’ 
        o’ the Paisley Magistrates tae put up thae fine shelters frae the rain 
        o’ yesterday an’ the sun o the day vera kind indeed." So in we
      gaed.
      "I hope you’re comfortable," 
        says the man next door.
      "Vera," says I, helping Betty 
        tae a sandwich.
      "Do you fancy ony o’the horses?" 
        says he.
      "Oh, I fancy them a’," says 
        I, "but they’re beyond me. I must just look on in respectful admiration, 
        an’ in my mind’s eye compare their fine proportions wi’ the mules that 
        rin oot past my coal ree in the caurs. Your guid health, sir, an’ may 
        ye sell as mony o’ thae rings, or whatever it is ye hae got, as ye wid 
        wish, and so go hame rejoicing."
      "Will you bet on any of them?"
      "Oh, I micht put a sixpence on one 
        jist for fun—when you’re oot for a holiday sixpence is neither here nor 
        there. Put a sixpence on ony o’ them ye like, for I’m nae judge, an’ if 
        we loss we can go haufers."
      Jist then a great crood cam’ up an’ cries 
        oot tee me, "Oor horse won."
      "Wool, I’m sure I’m delighted tae 
        hear o’t," says I, "I’m sure I wid like if they a’ won
      thegither, 
        if it wid be ony satisfaction tae ye."
      "Where’s the man we staked our money 
        wi’?" says they.
      "That’s mair than I can tell ye," 
        says 1; "ye had better ask oor freen in the next compartment."
      "Come on wi’ the money," cried some. 
        Ithers cried, "He’s a confederate! a welsher! get the polisman!" 
        an’ they made a rush at me.
      "Gentlemen! gentlemen! what’s a’ this 
        aboot?" says I. "Can a body no eat a sandwich in peace? Go oot 
        o’ this, or I’ll knock the umberella doon aboot your heids."
      My certy, BAILIE, it got serious; they 
        made a bringe at me tae get the money they said that they had won, an’ 
        I got my hat bashed an’ my specs broken; but fortunately two polismen 
        cam’ up an I explained matters, so they convoyed us up tae the Railway 
        Station amid a howling that ye wid hae thocht it wis Jamie Carey himsel’ 
        they had a grip o’, an’ no a decent coal merchant frae Stra’bungo.
      A’ things considered, I’ll no try ony 
        mair races, an’ I’m going tee invite the minister up, when I’ll mollify 
        him wi’ a gless o’ toddy and a ceegaur, an’ get him tae say naething aboot 
        it. I’ll tell him I’m an erring brither, deeply grieved—as I am—at the 
        frailty a’ puir human flesh
      .