Rough Scan








 
      JEEMS 
        AND THE HEN
      DEAR BAILIE,—Oor kirk is bound 
        tae be famous. Every noo an’ again something happens that mak’s it flash 
        like a comet through the sky o’ oor domestic, hum-drum life. Last Sawbath 
        it wis vera close an’ sultry, an’ the minister, after wiping his
      broo, 
        waved tae the beadle tae open the door an’ gie us a breath o’ fresh air. 
        It wis rale pleasant for us a’, an’ I felt faur mair comfortable as I 
        leaned ower an’ fell fast asleep again. I don’t know hoo it is wi’
      ithers, 
        but, speakin’ for mysel’, when I fa’ asleep in the kirk I aye keep one 
        ear open tae hear when the minister gies a sigh an’ says, "I add 
        no more." On this occasion I hadna been lang asleep when I fancied I heard 
        a commotion, an’ some o’ oor bairns laughing an’ moving aboot on their 
        sates. I thocht may be it wis a baptism, so I waukened up an’ looked aboot. 
        The minister wis still preaching awa, but I noticed he wis vera agitated 
        like, an’ the first thing I heard wis, "Teuky, teuk, teuk, teuk."
      "Oh, Jeems," whispers Betty, 
        "it’s a hen."
      "A what?" says I.
      "A hen," says she, "a tappit 
        hen; d’ye no see’t doon there?" So I looked, an’ there wis a fine 
        fat broon hen that cam’ in at the open door an’ walked doon the passage, 
        and had noo stopped tae "get its bearings," as the sailor bodies 
        say. It wis staunin’ wi’ its neck streetched oot, an’ its heid on one 
        side, staring intently at auld Mr Jamieson, wha wis that ashamed he lifted 
        his book tae let on he wis looking up a new hymn. The folk that were near 
        it were a’ quite abashed, an’ blushing like onything, but them that were 
        awa’ a bit were quite delighted, the bairns particularly, an’ they a’ 
        streetched their necks oot tae get a guid look at the "fun."
      The minister here whispered doon tae the 
        beadle, an’ he, buttoning his coat an’ getting a haud o’ the lang pole 
        the hae for lichting the gas, advanced at a steady pace up the passage 
        till he got gey near the hen, when he made a rin at it tae chase it oot. 
        Hens, hooever, are often like pigs—when ye want them to go one may they’re 
        determined tae go the ither, so this hen, instead o’ rinning quietly oot 
        tae the door, as it should hae dune, gaed a terrified "Teuky, teuk,
      teuk, teuk," an’ flew ower the beadle’s heid, an’ lichtit on my book 
        board on the front o’ the gallery.
      "Guid gracious, it’s up aside us
      noo," cries I. "Haun me up yen umberella, Betty," so my 
        auldest laddie reached me the umberella, an’ I took guid aim, an’ cam’ 
        doon wi’ a reeschle as hard as I could. Being a wee nervous, for it wis 
        an uncommon predicament tae be in, I missed the hen, but struck time fingers 
        o’ one o’ my ain bairns, wha began tae yowl oot as if he wis killed.
      "Oh, man, Jeems, ye’re aboot the 
        maist unhandy men ever I saw," says Betty.
      "Unhandy," cries I, quite angry, 
        "d’ye think I hae practised this kin’ a’ work afore?" An’ in 
        my rage, an’ withoot thinking, I flung the umberella oot o’ my haun an’ 
        it went careering through the air like a balloon till it lichtit on the
      gasalier, and hung there, tae the unbounded delight o’ the bairns. The 
        hen, meanwhile, in her fricht, cried "Teuky, teuk, teuk,
      teuk," 
        an’ took anither flee awa’ doon below again, an’ lichtit on the heid o’ 
        Mr M’Cunn. Man, BAILIE, ye wid hae thocht it wis acting one o’ yon ticht 
        rope dancers ye see in the circus, as it tried tae balance itsel’ on his 
        wig, an’ as it stuck its claws in an’ flapped its wings tae steady itsel’, 
        Mr M’Cunn cried oot—
      "Oh, dear, oh dear, this is awfu’," 
        an’ really I wis vera vexed tae see my auld freen in sich a predicament, 
        but what could I dae? So I held up the twa wee’est anes so as they could 
        look ower easy, for I aye like to see the bairns happy.
      The hen at last, tryin’ tae turn a
      sommerset, 
        fell in among their feet, dragging Mr M’Cunn’s wig wi’t. It then seemingly 
        ran in below the sates towards the pulpit, an’ ye could trace its career 
        by seeing the ladies squealing an’ jumping up on the sates, an’ the men 
        smashing at it wi’ umberellas and saum books.
      The minister, noo speakin’ in his loodest 
        tones, said, "Really, this must be stopped at once," an’ he 
        looked up tae me as if he wid say, "Mr Kaye, could ye suggest
      naething?" 
        So I stood up an’ cries, "That wis jist what I wis thinking mysel’. 
        Has naebody some millens in their pockets?" . Seemingly naebody had, so 
        the hen got walking on, emergin' in front o’ the precentor’s box, when 
        it took anither survey o’ the situation, till a zealous worshipper stood 
        up an’ flung his hat at it, when wi’ anither lood "Teuky, teuk,
      teuk, teuk," it flew against a gasalier, an’ doon cam’ a shooer o’ broken 
        gless on the puir precentor, wha dookit his heid tae escape it.
      It wis bad enough tae hae the uproar, 
        but when it cam’ tae damage being dune it was serious, so hauf a dizzen 
        men jumped frae different pews, an’ concentrating their forces, made a 
        dive, but oor freen by this time had on her war paint, an' flew ower their 
        heids and intae a sate.
      My qeneralship here cam’ intae requisition, 
        so I handed my bairns tae Betty, an’ I leaned ower the front o’ the gallery 
        an’ directed the forces doon below. "It’s in beside Mrs M’Faurlan; 
        haste ye, Wullie, afore it flees oot again. Mrs M’Faurlan, sit steady,
      mem, an’ no fricht it—in there, Jamie; mak’ a grab at it."
      Jamie did, but in his earnestness he tripped 
        on the footboards an’ fell heid lang, an’ as they a’ gathered roon tae 
        draw him oot, the hen crept up the sates an’ then ran intae the passage, 
        an’ wi’ a terrified "Teuky, teuk, teuk, teuk,’ got oot at the door 
        as fast as it could, a dizzen o’ the younger rinnin’ after it intae the 
        plot, an’ for fear it wid spile the flooers they chased it richt intae 
        the road. I don’t know why it wis, but I particularly noticed they didna 
        come back again, an’ I heard one o’ oor young anes whispering, "By gum, 
        I wish we had got oot." When we got hame, I took him intae my ain 
        wee room, from which he emerged s sadder, and a sorer, an’, it is to be 
        hoped, a wiser boy.
      The beadle then shut the door, an’ locked 
        it, an’ put a form up against it, the minister coughed and said, "I 
        wis observing, thirdly, brethren," an’ a’ wis harmony again.