THE LAW OF GRAVITATION AULD Mr M’Cunn is an extror’nar scientific man, aye propounding some new theory aboot something, and fairly bamboozling plain-sailing folk like mysel’ that are quite content tae tak’ things as they come, withoot diving awa’ doon tae the age o’ antiquities tae fin’ oot the why and the wherefore. The ither nicht as we were haeing a smoke, Mr M’Cunn spiers quite sharply—"What gars the epples fa’ aff the trees, Mr Kaye?" "Guid gracious, Mr M’Cunn," I says, "what a like question. Were ye tasting afore ye cam in?" "No," he replies, "I’m in sober earnest!" "Well then," I remarks, it disna say much for your intelligence. What mak’s the epples fa’ aff the trees? What’s tae bin’er them fa’ing aff?" "Tut! tut! ye dinna un’erstaun me; why do they no hing on for ever?" "Why dae they no’ hing on for ever ?—because they fa’ aff!" "But what gars them fa’ aff?" "What wid mak’ ye fa’ aff?" "Noo, Mr Kaye, there’s nae use in getting angry or in bantering me. Answer my question scientifically!" "Weel , a’ the scientifically that I can answer’t is that epples, grossats, an’ everything I ken o’—except maybe oranges, and I’m no acquant aboot them—fa’ aff if they’re pulled. I suppose it’s the wecht that does it." "Man, Mr Kaye, it’s weel seen ye never read Sir Isaac Newton. It’s the law o’ gravitation does it." "I’ve heard o’ the gravitation water works oot at Barrhead," I says, "but never o’ gravitation epples." "But it’s the law o’ gravitation, Mr Kaye; the earth attracts the epples tae it, and so they fa’." "Oh, Mr M’Cunn," I says, "ye re getting faur ower deep for me! Ye’re ga’ing ower the score a’thegither! talking aboot the earth attracting epples. Why does it no’ attract your heid?" "Because it’s fastened en." "And, guid gracious, is an epple no fastened en?" "Oh, Mr Kaye," he says, "ye’re ower thick-heided—ye don’t un’erstaun thae scientific things. Noo, for instance, if ye throw up your hat intae the air, why does it fa’ doon again?" "Mr M’Cunn," I replies, "I’m afraid there’s something serious wrang wi’ ye. I doot—I doot—there’s a slate aff. This is awfu’." "Aye, but answer me, Mr Kaye." "Ye’ll get nae answer frae me—if ye dinna like tae ask sensible questions ye can let it alane. Hae ye been reading ony o’ Bradlaugh's a books?" "Gravitation again, Mr Kaye! and noo, if ye row a bool alang the floor, why will it go a certain length and then stop?" "Mr M’Cunn," I says, "this is getting waur and waur. I wish ye were safely hame and in yer ain bed for I don’t want ye to be taking ill here, and if I’m ony judge ye’re in for a sharp attack o’ something. Tae think that a man o’—is it sixty-nine en seeventy ye are?" "Sixty-nine." "Weel, tae think that a man o’ sixty-nine wid be havering awa’ aboot epples fa’ing aff trees and bools rowing alang the floor, and tae say it’s science! Ye were talking aboot Sir Isaac Newton and the epple. Was that him that fired at the epple on his gran’faither’s heid? There’s a recitation aboot it." "Oh, that wis William Tell—a different man a’thegither. You’re no well read, Mr Kaye." "Weel," I says, "certainly I’m no weel up in scientific subjects like you, but I try tae be as practical as I can, and I look at what’s going on roon aboot me, and I often see in the papers that money is chape. Noo, Mr M’Cunn, that has often puzzled me, and I wid like ye tae explain it. When money is at its very chapest, wid ony o’ the banks gae me a poun’ note for nineteen shillings? And they talk aboot money fluctuating! Guid gracious, it’s aye fluctuating—frae one pocket tae anither.’ Mr M'Cunn, wi’ a’ his science, couldna explain this—he owned he was bate, and said he agreed wi’ me a poun' was a poun’ a’ the warld ower. "Noo, Mr M’Cunn," I says, "that’s jist whaur ye gang aff the reel, ye see; ye haver awa’ aboot epples fa’ing aff the trees—what dis it matter tae you or me whether they fa’ aff or no, ye canna prevent it, I suppose—an’ yet ye never fash your thoom aboot this money being chape, altho’ it micht be worth something tae get tae the bottom o’t. If I wis hauf as clever as ye are, I wid never rest till I kent what it meant. Hooever, whatever it may be in London, it seems tae be aye the same hereabouts, so we’ll say nae mair aboot it, but jist sit intae the fire, an’ I’ll gie ye a guess that oor minister gaed at a party I wis at the ither nicht— "‘Why is a wee bird sitting en a telegraph wire like a penny?’ Noo, what d’ye think o’ that ane? Could ye answer’t—No, I tbocht no. It’s a gey deep ane—’Because its heid’s on the one side an’ its tail’s on the ither.’ It’s no often ye hear as guid a ane as that, Mr M’Cunn."