Rough Scan








 
      JEEMS AS 
        A PEDESTRIAN
      I HARDLY like tae write tae ye 
        aboot it, BAILIE, but I may as weel gie ye my version o‘t, in case ye 
        micht hear ony ither which micht no be true. Weel, Mr M’Cunn an’ mysel’ 
        being stoot—vera stoot, an’ aye gettin’ stooter—we hid mony a consultation 
        aboot hoo tae keep doon oor increasing wecht. We tried dumb-bells, an’ 
        parritch an’ milk three times a day, an’ whisky withoot water, an’ I canna 
        tell a’ what, but naething seemed tae hae ony effect. I wis the warst. 
        I suppose it wis me haein’ an easy mind; but the last six months I got 
        awfu’. If, for instance, I drapped a preen, I couldna stoop doon tae pick 
        it up. Noo, that wis serious ye see, an’ I wis prepared to dae anything 
        tae reduce my corpulence. At this time a freen o’ Mr M’Cunn’s wis telling 
        him that for keeping doon stootness there wis naething like pedestrian 
        exercise, and by that he means no takin’ or’nary walks, but walkin’ as 
        hard as ye could. Tae dae that, hooever, ye must hae some incentive—or 
        at least it wid be better if we had—a wager for a sma’ sum or sich like. 
        Mr M’Cunn an’ me put oor heids thegither an’ talked ower the matter—he 
        wis for trying a thoosan’ miles in a thoosan’ oors, but I said that wid 
        be ower much want o’ sleep for auld folk like us.
      At last we decided tae walk ten miles 
        a day for a week for a bate o’ a pound, an’ if that didna reduce us we 
        micht then fry the thoosan’ miles. So it wis a’ arranged. Mr Pinkerton 
        wis tae haud the money, an’ Mr Pettigrew wis tae be the judge. Ye see 
        it wisna like a common race-it wis in the interest o’ science an’ sufferin’ 
        humanity.
      The flesher gied us liberty tae rin roon 
        his park at Titwood, so we got suits o’ flannel wi’ nae troosers—my suit 
        wis striped red an’ white like a zebra, an’ Mr M’Cunn’s had wee roon yellow 
        dots.
      I felt guilty—like to be oot in the open 
        air withoot a coat, or a waistcoat, or troosers, a’ jist the same, in 
        fac’. as if I had been goin’ tae my bed. Indeed, we had even kin’ o' nichtcaps 
        on. I wis tell't, hooever, that a’ this wis the same as a’ the fuitba’ 
        players wore. The shoemaker wis tae see that everything wis richt an’ 
        proper, him bein’ a kin’ o’ dog fancier an’ runnin’ man onyway, an’ haein’ 
        a knowledge o’ thae things.
      So tellin’ Betty that I wid be awa’ a’ 
        day on business, after breakfast Mr M'Cunn an’ me met in the park, an’ 
        gettin’ on oor flannels in the wee shed that’s for the sheep. we walked 
        oot an’ stood in a raw waiting for the signal.
      We shook hands tae show everything wis 
        m a freenly way, an’ the shoemaker waved his pocket nepkin an’ aff we 
        set. Oor pace wisna quick, but it wis determined—roon an’ roon we
      gaed. 
        Mr Pinkerton an’ Mr Pettigrew, an' a few ither leading folk sat on the 
        dyke an’ smoked, an’ addressed encouraging words tae us, an’ a wheen o’ 
        laddies gathered roon on the road an’ cheered us. Wi’ hard work, an’ in 
        ten instalments, we managed oor ten miles; an’ oh but I wis wearied a’ 
        I crept awa’ tae my bed at nicht withoot even askin’ the laddie hoo mony 
        hunnerwechts he had sell’t that day.
      Noo, ye must understaun’ we hae two newspapers 
        printed oot aside us, an’ next mornin’ each appeared a’ usual One had 
        a paragraph. Here it is:—
      "PEDESTRIANISM.—The worthy Provost 
        of Strathbungo has with characteristic spirit taken on a bet with another 
        sporting gentleman to walk 30 males a day for six weeks. Both have plenty 
        of backers, and as each is certain of success, a merry little plum is 
        in store for the lovers of ‘heel and toe’ on the south-side. Both parties 
        have donned appropriate costumes, and the presence of the genial Mr Pinkerton, 
        who is to be umpire, is a sufficient guarantee that everything will be 
        on the square."
      The ither paper—which is, I may say, my 
        political enemy—said:—
      Two wretched maniacs in Strathbungo have 
        thrown all sense of decorum to the winds, and are now engaged—clad in 
        a costume not much in advance of our first parents—in a demoralising and 
        degrading spectacle of racing each other 1000 miles round a field for 
        a wager. In charity we suppress the names of the principals, as well as 
        of the other persons who are aiding and abetting, but we hope the authorities 
        will interfere and suppress the nuisance which is thus inflicted on a 
        respectable neighbourhood."
      We didna see thae notices themsel’s, but 
        the second mornin’, jist after we had begun oor walk, croods began tae 
        arrive; hansoms drove up wi’ sportin’ looking men, an’ every caur an' 
        omnibus wis crooded, an' a' cam aff jist at oor park, an' as mony as could 
        scrambled up on the dyke, while the rest clustered roon. A wee later on 
        three nit barrows an’ an icecream staun’, an’ an organ man wi' a monkey, 
        took up places on the road, an’ then a barrow wi’ ginger beer an’ biscuits, 
        hurled by a big red-faced woman wi’ a leather bag fu’ o’ coppers hingin’ 
        before her, appeared on the scene, an' was followed by twa or three men 
        wi’ baskets fu’ o’ gingerbread, an’ a height an’ wecht machine on a cuddy 
        cart.
      Tae say, BAILIE, that Mr M’Cunn an’ me 
        were astonished is only tae tell ye the truth; but the road didna belang 
        tae us, sae we pounded on, an’ the crood got bolder an’ cried oot, "Noo 
        the wee ane"—this wis me; "Wire in, bald heid"—this wis 
        Mr M’Cunn. Once I stoppit tae ask what they meant, but as I wis drawin’ 
        my breath tae be able tae speak, I saw Mr M’Cunn cutting awa’ frae me, 
        an’ never lettin' on, so I drew doon my semmit an’ set aff as hard as 
        I could efter him. At this the crood let oot a great cheer an’ cried
      oot, 
        "Man, the wee ane’s gemm; stick in an’ ye’ll bate him yet." 
        I did stick in, an’ wis catching him up, when some ane cried oot, "Pull 
        up your socks," an’ as I stoopit doon I lost a bit again. I wis vera 
        much astonished at the liberty ta’en wi’ us, bat somehoo it encouraged 
        us, an’ we bounded on like twa antelopes as we got excited, an’ Mr M’Cunn 
        broke oot intae a trot, for which the shoemaker made him turn roon three 
        times as a punishment for going oot o’ the walk. But this made him dizzy, 
        an’ jist as I wis fleein’ past him doon he fell.
      Noo wis my opportunity, an’ on I tore, 
        an’ oor polisman cam walkin’ alangside o’ me an’ whispered, "I’m 
        batein’ a shillin’ on you, Provost, dinna gie in." I gied him a smile, 
        an’ confidently replied, "No, if I should rin the soles aff my feet; 
        your shillin’s safe, Rubbart." So being assured he made a rush an’ 
        collared twa wee fellows an’ threw them ower the dyke.
      By mutual consent we stoppit tae hae a 
        drink o’ gruel an’ smoke, an’ then the shoemaker rang a wee bell, an’ 
        aff we set again like giants refreshed, an’ the crood, wha had dispersed 
        a wee, a gathered roon again an' got mair impident than ever, an’ jumped 
        intae the park an' ran alangside o’ us an’ got sae among oor legs that 
        we could hardly walk. But "do or die" wis noo oor motto. Naething 
        wid stop us. I gaed a spurt an' shot by Mr M’Cunn as if he had been staunin’ 
        still. As in my excitement I gied a "hoorah," I felt a prog 
        o’ an umbrella in my semmit, an’ wha wis this but Betty. I stood
      dumbfoonered-speechles-an' 
        Mr M’Cunn flew by me. Betty wis vera dignified.
      "Jeems, pit on your troosers "—
      "But it’s for my health I’m daein’ 
        this; it's no’ a common race"-
      "An’ your waistcoat"—
      "But, my dear, listen"—
      "An’ your coat, an’ come awa’ oot 
        o’ this."
      I swithered a wee; but as I looked alang 
        I saw Mrs M’Cunn an’ her sister wi’ their arms roon Mr M’Cunn’s neck, 
        stoppin’ him; so I whispered tae Betty that I wid rin an’ get on my things; 
        au’ I did, an’ passed Mr M’Cunn, wha wis strugglin’ frantically, but quite 
        powerless tae get awa’, an’ I ran intae the shed an’ slipped on my coat,
      etcetra, and claimed the pound, which Mr Pinkerton at once handed to me 
        as havin’ run the farthest.
      The crood dispersed after haein’ knocked 
        doon the hauf o’ the dyke, cryin’ oot it wis a "sell," an’ we 
        a gaed hame tae Stra‘bungo, where we had hard work tae convince the leddies 
        that we had been daein’ a’ this in the interest o’ oor health, an’ that 
        surely there wis nae harm in that.
      I don’t know what I'll try noo, for I’m 
        as stoot as ever.