JEEMS A BACHELOR I‘M a bachelor enoo, BAILIE. Let me explain mysel’; Betty’s doon the watter. In my young days it wis a vera weel-tae-dae bodie could manage tae get a fortnicht in a room and kitchen at the Lairgs or Millport. Noo, bless ye! the vera puirest maun hae their month—aye, a hale month, and whiles twa—in a cottage. The women are the principal getters up o’ this, as they are the principal benefiters; and ye ken, BAILIE, when a woman wants onything ye may as weel gie in first as last, for ye hae tae gie in some time; I’ve learned that, sae I meekly gie in, and mak’ up my mind for a month’s cheerlessness and solitude, sitting unseen and unsympathised wi’ at my empty kitchen fire. Aye as May comes roon I hae tae begin and read the advertisements o’ coast and country hooses tae let. The column begins wi’ "A" :—" Arran,—Three rooms wi’ nine beds tae let at Corrie. Apply tae Dugald Mackenzie, ferryman, Pirnmill"; then on tae mair aristocratic places— "Kilcreggan.—Neat villa, wi’ the use o’ a boat and the run o’ the garden, near the pier"; and me on. I tried Arran ance. The landlady o’ the hoose retired for the fortnicht tae a shakedoon in the hen-hoose, and we took possession. Providence has wisely ordained it’s a place for stopping at in summer time, when ye can be oot a’ day; for I min’ the twa rooms were sae wee that when we wanted tae get oot we had tae shove the table oot afore us, as we couldna get roond it; and when I wis shaving in the morning I had tae open the skylicht and shove my heid up through the window—an I’m no a vera big man; but it was maybe an extra wee hoose. This year we’re at Millport—that is, the family are. I am aye at the auld address except frae Saturday at 2 o’clock till Monday morning at 10: but it’s a wearisome business tae middle-aged men like me, wha ken the comforts o’ a hoose o’ their ain; tho’ I suppose I’m just like thoosan’s o’ ithers at the present minute. Whiles I think I wid hae made a gran’ martyr; I bear up sae nobly in the face o’ troubles and anxieties combined—one time I’m troubled trying tae blacken my boots wi’ the blacklead, an’ then for onything I ken my bairns hae been coupit frae a wee boat and are being fished oot o’ the water wi’ a hay fork, while Betty is only saved frae a watery grave by her crinoline keeping her afloat till they hae time tae turn their attention tae her—but I bear up, and, making the toddy a wee stronger, I say to mysel’ "I maun jist put up wi’t." One day’s experience is as guid as twenty, as they are a’ much alike. Last Thursday, after a hard day’s work, I went tae bed, end fell into a fine sleep. I slept an’ slept an’ dreamed—I dreamt Betty an’ me an' the bairns were oot in a wee boat; Ii wis oaring awa’ at the neb o’ the boat, an’ Betty wis in the hin’ en’ o’t, while the bairns were hereawa, thereawa, some in the neb, some at the helm. As we were paidlin’ aboot, a pelican or a porpoise or something whummeled ower the boat, end we were sent intae the water; I jumped up on a rock and grippit Betty by the oxter and roared oot for assistance. Jist then I heard the thud o’ a steamer’s paddles in the distance an’ I gied a’ up for lost, an’ wi' an unearthly squeel I wakened tae find I wis in bed, an' Miss M’Fee in the hoose below dauding up wi’ the poker, dootless thinking I wis being murdered in my ain hoose. After getting my breath I jumped up an' set aboot getting breakfast. I discovered there were nae spunks, so putting my nichtcap intae the next door, I got the len’ o’ twa or three, an’ cam’ back tae my fire; getting it a’ nicely built up—paper first, sticks crosswise abin, next a nice layer o’ roond cinders, then a wheen sme’ coal, a’ crooned wi’ a fine layer o’ big bits. I got doon on my knees an’ struck the match against the wa’, but feint a licht; anither strike an’—"Paugh, it’s damp," I said as I threw it awa’, an’ tried anither, but wi’ nae better success. I scraped awa’ till I nearly skinned my fingers, but not a licht. I cam’ tae my last match. Pu’ing doon my nichtcap, an’ pursing my lips, I made my calculations carefully, an’ picking a nice rough bit o’ the wa’, I began—gently at first, but aye getting the firmer, an’—knocked the hale match tae pieces. "Confoond it," I says, ‘1’ll bate a penny thae’s the patent safety matches that’ll strike nae place but on the box—blame them!" An’ sae it wis; I had tae go in next door again an borrow box an’ a’, Mrs Pinkerton apologising for the mistake. Back I comes an’ got the fire set aga’ing, an’ then got the tablecloth laid, an’ a wee bit smoked ham looked oot, an’ the frying pan in order, an’ then retired tae dress while the fire wis ken’lin’ up. In ten minutes I cam’ ben, shaved, an’ dressed wi’ a fine big stauning-up collar that nearly sawed my ears aff; but what wis ma grief tae find the fire—black oot. As the paper wis a’ burned, I had tae get on my knees, tak’ it a’ oot, an’ begin ower again, shoving in a bit coal, an’ then gieing my collar a pull up, so ye can easily jalouse by the time the fire wis lichted the collar wisna vera white. Syne wi’ blawing up the fire, as I couldna get the bellowses, I got sich a taste o’ cinders an’ sulphur in my mooth as wid have alarmed even Dauvit Macrae himsel’. Next I had nae milk, an’ jist as I had poored oot my tea, an’ ta’en up the frying pan, I discovered that I hadna a clean plate in the hoose, so it wis a case o’ either pooring the tea back intae the teapot till I washed a plate, or letting it get cauld. I did neither, but I turned the plate upside doon, an’ then dished the ham on the bottom o’t. Breakfast ower, I awa’ tae my business, got my dinner in the Cooking Depott, an’ then, buying the five o’clock edition o’ my evening paper, back tae my lonely, an’ for the time being desolate, hearth—an’ it wis desolate. Being summer, there wis nae use lichting a fire, and a fire’s aye cheery. I tried tae heat some water for my toddy ower the gas, but it was wearisome wark, first stauning on ae fit, and then on the tither, like a hen on a het girdle; and even when a’ wis done, the water wis smoky tasted; and although I put a wee drap mair spirits in, I didna enjoy it at a’. Then I tried tae mak’ the bed, but it wis an awfu’ job. I never could get the blankets tae lie square. I either flung them richt tae the back o’ the bed, and had tae jump in tae draw them oot, or else I pulled pillows an’ a’ oot on the floor; and then when a’ wis dune, the bed wis fu’ o’ hichts an’ hows an’ humplucks, sae that nae mortal bodie could lie easy in’t. But I needna weary ye—your readers a’ hae a notion of this same sort o’ work in summer. And then the rinning tae catch’ the train on the Saturdays, and then the fleeing doon tae the boat, as if she wid gie awa’ withoot us, and the smoke wi' yer heid in at the engine-room door tae shelter frae the win’. Then the race tae catch the boat on Monday mornin', an’ then tae fin’ the first boat sailing awa’ oot jist as ye arrive; and the polisman wi’ a sweet smile on his face tellin’ ye the boats aye start five minutes earlier on Monday mornin’s-the vera mornin' they should gie ye five minutes mair; an’ then tae come back and find ye’ve left the water rinning in the kitchen for three days, and the folk below flooded, and talking aboot an action o’ damages; and then-BAILIE, I wish oor month wis up.