JEEMS AND THE SLIDE 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 stramash. 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 lassocks. 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, BAILIE! 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.