Rough Scan

      SKATING maybe be a’ very guid,
      BAILIE, but gie me a guid lang smooth slide. Skating may be vera bonnie 
        tae look at, an’ may mak’ them that are skating vera prood o’ their accomplishments, 
        but for fun, for daffing, for warmth, and for excitement gie me, I say, 
        a slide. Jist look at them a’ in a raw on the bank o’ the pond, ane ahint 
        the ither, big anes and wee anes mixy-maxy, like oor rifle corpses; aff 
        the first ane goes, then anither, an’ anither, and sae on, till every 
        ane arrives at the end o’ the slide, and then, if they’re onything o’ 
        keen sportsmen an’ ken their business, they’ll hae anither slide tae come 
        back on, sae they slide baith ways; an’ guid help ony interloper that 
        daurs tae slide against the grain—he’s trippit up in the twinklin’ o' 
        an e’e, an’ doon he goes a’ his length like a hunner o’ coals.
      There ye see a big chap leading aff, then 
        a wee ane wha slides alang wi’ his hauns in his pouches quite joco, then 
        an auld man whase arms are thrown oot a’ their length an’ his feet wide
      apairt, an’ him spinning roun' an' roun’ like a peerie, wishin’ he was 
        aff but canna get, then a middlesized ane wha, frae being a wee bowlie 
        in the legs canna tak’ a big enough race, an’ disna secure enough force 
        tae drive him tae the end of the slide, and anither catching up on him 
        their legs get fankled an’ doon they come, an’ then comes a reg’lar
        Every ane goes doon, till at last there’s a reg’lar humpluck o’ them, 
        ane abin the ither, heeds an’ thraws. Aifter lying a wee tae recover their 
        breath they begin tae rise up, an’ hae’n seen what damage has been done 
        they begin again an’ "keep the kettle biling." But noo-a-days 
        the folk are unco genteel; the march o’ civilisation drives guid roaring 
        fun oot o’ their heeds an’ mak’s them enjoy fun that’s sae harmless in 
        its character that it winna crush the breest o’ their shirt or tousel 
        their weel—brushed hair. I’m vexed tae see the guid roaring gemm o’ shinty 
        deeing oot, an’ in place o’t a mamby-pamby gemm ca’ed lawn tennis, a gemm 
        a man ocht tae be ashamed tae play at—a gemm fit only for bairns and
        But, BAILIE, the gemms past an’ present are a kin’ o’ index tae oorsel’s. 
        We were rough an’ ready, but we were honest; noo we’re genteel! 
        an’ plausible, but double-faced, cheating ane anither, robbing the widows 
        and orphans, an’ takin’ advantage o’ oor ain flesh an’ bluid. It’s terrible,
      Hooever, when speakin’ o’ slides ye maun 
        bear in min’ when I say slides I dinna mean slides on the pavement. No, 
        that’s a wee beyond my philosophy. I canna thole them. Jist last Tuesday 
        Betty an’ me were comin’ doon Egelton Street; I wis weel wrapped up wi’ 
        my gravat, an’ Betty had her muff, an’ clasped in her hauns inside the 
        muff she had a wee black bottle o’ speerits that she wis taking tae an 
        auld body that wis fashed wi’ tick-dol-aroo or rheumatics, I forget which. 
        Weel, ye’ll no hinder puir Betty tae walk on a slide. She walked on’t 
        a vera wee bit, then her feet gaed frae her, an’ doon she cam’ an’ the 
        muff flew up in the air an’ then cam’ doon wi’ a crack on the street. 
        Being arm-in-arm, I wis upset as weel, and I got sich a tummel that it 
        was naething short o’ a miracle that saved me frae being made a lameter 
        for life; as it was, my hench was sair for a day or twa, an’ even yet, 
        when weein’ a hunnerwecht o’ coals a stoon whiles gangs through it that 
        mak’s me jump.
      Aifter I got up, an’ wis rubbin’ my heid 
        wi’ the one haun, an’ puttin’ oot the ither tae help Betty up, I felt 
        a maist extror’nary strong smell o’ whusky, an' I says tae a dacent auld 
        man that wis helping me tae get Betty up—I had nae min’ o’ the bottle, 
        ye ken—I says, says I, "Is there any distillery near this?" 
        "Aye," says he, "it’s in yer wife’s muff"; and then 
        the haill crood burst oot a-lauchin’. Guid save us, that wis the smell!—no 
        an unpleasant smell, mind ye, on a cauld nicht, at the fireside wi’ the 
        kettle bilin’—but in broad daylicht, ye ken, I wis fair ashamed, an’ faith 
        I micht be, for jist as they were a’ lauchin’ at us, an’ saying we were
      fou, an’ carrying mair hanme, wha. cam’ by but oor minister, arm-in-arm 
        wi’ Mr Sawmon, that keeps the opposition coal ree across the street frae 
        me; an’ the minister, seein’ Betty speechless, an’ me wi’ my face a’ thrawn 
        wi’ pain, says—
      "Mister Kaye, I mak’ it a pint never 
        tae admonish a man whan he’s been tasting; but at a more fitting season—when 
        ye’re sober—I’ll hae a few words tae say tae ye." And Mr Sawmon says, 
        wi’ a snigger, "Aye, aye! a bonnie elder! Fou, an’ it no eleeven 
        o’clock yet! Ye’ll hear mair aboot this." An’ by my sang I did; for 
        next mornin’, when the cairter cam’ wi’ the coals frae the pit, he says, 
        aifter a remark aboot his "puir beast," an’ the bad roads, "It 
        wis an awfu’ peety, Mr Kayo, ye broke the bottle when ye tummled, or a 
        body micht hae got a drap this cauld mornin. An’ the bairns a’ jined hauns 
        roun’ the gate an’ sang—
                  "For we’ll jine the teetotal,
                  And break the wee bottle,
                  And never get fou again."
      BAILIE, I’m on my p’s and q’s enoo—watchful 
        an’ wary—circumspect till the thing’s blawn by; but I fear that’ll no 
        be in a hurry, if Mr Sawmon can help it. A’ things considered, I’m no 
        sure if I shouldna score oot the first six lines o’ this letter; for ye 
        see hoo a slide has blastit my character. But no! conscious o my innocence—although 
        even my ain guid-brither ‘ll no believe me—hoo wicked the warl’ is— I’ll 
        say what I think, an’ haud my heed up as high as ever.