Rough Scan








 
      A SCHOOL 
        EXAMINATION
      BAILIE, oor local schule examination 
        took place last Tuesday, an’ I, as usual, occupied the chair on the occasion; 
        and, also as usual, I send ye an account o’ the
      meeting. Addressin’ the means, I said—
      "Noo, bairns, I’m here representing 
        the Queen, an’ I’m tae examine ye, and afterwards present the prizes. 
        (Great cheerin’ and clappin’ o’ hauns.) As I wis ance a laddie mysel’—altho’ 
        ye wid hardly think it tae look at me noo, still I wis—I’ll be as canny 
        wi’ ye as I can. One o’ oor great poets, Burns I think, says: ‘Speak gently 
        tae the young; 'tis better far to rule by love than fear'. But remember, 
        while I speak gently, I mean tae be firm wi’ ye a’ the same, for yen eddication 
        costs the ratepayers, whom I represent, a heap o’ siller. A’ thae gran’
      skules, built here and there in Pollokshields, have no been put up for
      naething. What I want tae draw yer attention tae, in the first place, 
        is the lairge and influential company gathered here tae see ye gettin’ 
        your prizes. Ye’ll notice for instance, Mrs Kaye up there, sittin’ next 
        the minister. That’s her wi’ the fushia in her bonnet. Of course ye ken 
        the flooer’s only wax, but it’s a very guid imitation for a’ that.
      Noo, 
        if ye wid jist hing my umberella beside thae bellowses, an’ gi’e me a 
        ruler, we’ll begin. I haud in my haun a fine book, wi’ a red binding an' 
        gilt leaves and a’thegither, tae be presented tae Willyum Macfaurlan for 
        excelling in Jography. Jist so; are ye here, Wullie?"
      "Yes, sir."
      "Then come up! Noo, Wullie, I want 
        tae prove that ye really deserve the book. What year wis it that Christopher 
        Columbus discovered Austreelia?"
      "Please, sir, it wis America he discovered."
      "Wullie Macfaurlan, listen tae me; 
        if ye hiv nae better manners than tae contradict the representative o’ 
        the Queen I maun jist gie the prize tae some ither body!"
      "But it was really America, Mr Kaye," 
        says the schulemaister.
      "Wis it tho’? Weel, maybe it wis 
        efter a’. It’s sae lang, ye see, since I wis at the skule that I whiles 
        forget thae things. Here’s the book, Wullie, and when ye’re an auld man, 
        wi’ sons an’ dochters o’ yer ain, it is tae be hoped the remembrance o’ 
        this great day will mak’ ye as prood s a quaker wi’ a wudden leg."
      "The next prize is a wee green book 
        withoot gilt leafs, tae Rubbert Snodgrass for excelling in Astronomy.
      Noo, Rubbert, I suppose ye’re as weel posted up aboot the stars and comets 
        as if ye had been born and brocht up in them. Ye’ll ken exactly hoo mony 
        thoosan’ inhabitants each has, and hoo mony times they spin roon on their 
        ain axle-trees. I’ll gie ye the prize and let ye go wi’ this advice: next 
        year turn yer attention tae coonting or spelling, or something that’ll 
        dae ye guid when ye go tae be a jiner, or whatever ye’re intendin’ tae 
        be.
      "The third prize is ‘AEsop’s Fables,’ 
        tae Parlane M’Farlane. Bless me, bit that’s a droll kin’ o’ name.
      Hooever, 
        I ance kent a man they ca’ed Gregor M’Gregor, and anither ane Aulav
      M'Aulay. 
        Weel, Parlane, what is’t you’re best at? Oh! aye, 1 see, ‘General Knowledge,’ 
        a very guid thing indeed. Weel, Parlane, there’s a lot o’ fine wee stories 
        here aboot a’ kin’ o’ beasts, dromedaries and sich like. They ca’ them 
        fables because the beasts are made tae speak tae ane anither jist like 
        Christians. There’s only wan fable I mind o’ mysel’. It’s aboot a man 
        they ca'ad Aunra Eccles and a lion. Weel, Aunra had been awa’ oot aboot 
        Demarara or someway, where the lions, they tell me, rin wild on the hills, 
        jist like the sheep in this country. Gaun alang he got a jag in his foot, 
        a thorn or something, and when he sat doon at the side o’ the dyke trying 
        tae get it oot, wha comes alang but a lion, and puir Aunra got a fricht, 
        and little wunner. Hooever, as the story goes, the lion sat doon beside 
        him, and put its paw roon his neck, and actually helped Aunra tae tak’ 
        the thorn oot. Weel, as we’re tell’t, when Aunra cam’ back tae this country, 
        maybe even tae Glasgow, for he had a Scotch name, he one day went intae 
        a wild beast show, and he thocht he saw a lion looking at him very intently, 
        and wha wis this but the vera lion that had taen oot the thorn fae his 
        fit. It put its paws through the cage and Aunra shook hauns wi't, and 
        if I’m no mista'en he bocht it frae the showman, and led it awa’ hame 
        wi’ a string roon its neck, an’ tied it up at nicht in the washin’-hoose. 
        Hooever ye can read the fable for yersel’ in the volume I present ye wi’.
      "There’ll be an interval noo, bairns, 
        o’ ten minutes, so I’ll say a few words tae ye aboot your duty tae your 
        parents; but there’s a wee fellow doon there wi' a red heid, hae ye naething 
        for him, schulemaister? No! Man, I wid like tae see them a’ getting something. 
        Ah! my wee man, maybe ye’ll get a’ the prizes thegither next year.
      "Noo, bairns, pay great attention tae 
        ver lessons, and wha kens but some day ye may get on tae be Provost o’ 
        an important toon like the ‘Shaws. It’s no the first Provost that has 
        been a bare-footed boy wi’ only one an echtpence in his pocket when he 
        entered a toon for the first time. I may tell ye, tho’, that purridge 
        has a great deal tae dae wi’ success in life. There’s naething like purridge 
        for growing laddies. For my am pairt, I firmly believe it’s because the 
        Scotch are sae fond o’ them that they hae made a name for themsels for 
        perseverance and integrity a’ the worl’ ower. Wi’ one and echtpence in 
        your pocket, and a guid appetite for purridge, there’s nae hicht tae which 
        ye may not rise.
      "Oor minister wis telling us at the soiree 
        the ither nicht, aboot some laddie that had made a fiddle oot o’ his ain
      heid, and had as much wudd left as wid mak’ anither ane. Noo, of course, 
        it canna be expected ye wid a’ be as clever as that, still it’s astonishing 
        what can be done by perseverance. Anither thing tae study is ‘carefulness.’ 
        Solomon tells us tae tak’ care o’ the pence and the pounds ‘ll tak care 
        o' themsel’s. I must say I never richtly understood Solomon’s meanin’ 
        here, for onybody that I see wi’ pounds taks far mair care o' them than 
        they dae o’ the pennies. Hooever, it wis a wiser man than me said it, 
        so I suppose it must be correct. I min’ once hearing at a lecture what 
        made a great impression on me, for it showed what could be done by trifles. 
        The lecturer said ‘a ha’pennv a day for a newspaper is no much, but it 
        amounts tee 13s. a year, and in a hundred years tae mair than a thoosan’ 
        pounds.’ So onybody, ye see, can save a thoosan’ pounds by aye gettin’ 
        the len’ o’ their neebour’s paper. Noo, tak’ that tae heart. Anither thing 
        is 'integrity,’ that is—aye tae tell the truth. There’s ony amount of 
        nice wee stories ‘written aboot laddies that used tae own at once tae 
        having stolen peers or plooms, or tied a kettle tae the dog’s tail, and 
        gotten a guid thrashing for’t, still y'll notice they aye get on tae be 
        great men it they tell’t the truth an’ didna’ deny it. Have your foundation 
        in purridge, an’ then have inscribed on your banner
      'perseverance, carefulness, and integrity,' 
        and your journey through this worl’ will be—casualties an’ unforeseen 
        circumstances excepted—a triumphal march ending in an honoured, grave. 
        The minister will now say a few words."
      The minister got up and waved his haun 
        for silence, and he had jist said "Dearly beloved children," when 
        a great commotion wis observed at the far en’ o’ the skule, and some o’ 
        the weans brocht ower a tin can they said they had got lyin’ below a desk. 
        The schulemaister and several others, liftin’ the can, began tae shake 
        it and feel’t a’ roon, and ane said, "It’s like Chicago beef," and 
        anither "It’s liker lobsters," and they gied it anither shake, 
        and I says, as I moved as faur frae it as I could, "Put it up tae 
        your ear, Mr Broon; d’ye hear ony 'ticking?’"
      "I think I do," says he.
      "Dynamite," says I. "Betty, 
        put on your dolman, and we’ll be oot before the crush. As they were baffled 
        at the railway stations they’re trying the schules noo. Lay it doon
      cannie," 
        I cries oot, as I drew Betty doon frae her seat.
      BAILIE, ye talk aboot an alarm o’ fire 
        clearing a building. If ye had seen hoo we cleared oot o’ the schule! 
        I hadna time tae see whether the doors opened ootwards on inwards, for 
        I got oot thro’ the window and roon the corner as fast as I could, and 
        never halted till I got intae the coal ree, where I sat doon on a barrow 
        tae listen for the report. It never cam, hooever, so I went doon tae the 
        schulemaister’s at nicht, and found him in a great huff wi’ me for breaking 
        up the meeting before he got makin’ his speech. "The tin can," 
        he cried in disdain when I mentioned the dynamitards "it wis naething 
        but a bit can wi’ a wheen bools in't."
      Hooever, BAILIE, I don’t see boo I wis 
        tae blame.