AT THE CALICO BALL AS Provost o’ Stra’bungo, I got an official invitation tae the Calico Ball—me an’ Betty. Betty at ance decided tae go as a Newhaven fishwife. It saved her ony expense buyin’ new things, ye see—she jist put on a’ the petticoats she had in the hoose, an’ got a creel on her back, a big mutch on her heid, an’ there she wis. Wi’ me it wis different. Lang did I swither, an’ much tobacco did I smoke in my ain wee room thinkin’ ower the maitter. One nicht the minister cam’ in, an’ he says, "There is only one character in history that resembles you, Provost." "An’ wha micht that be?" speirs I. "Napoleon Bonyparty," says he. "Bonyparty! Oh, but he wis a faur greater man than ever I wis," wis my reply. "Well, certainly, in a way he was, but there are degrees of greatness, Provost." "Weel," says I, smokin’ meditatively up the lum, "nae doot Bonyparty wis a great man, but ye see, minister, he had sensible men tae dale wi’. If he had had a lot o’ auld wives grumblin’ aboot bad coals an’ dour carters setting up ‘cheek,’ an’ then had to put on his coat an’ gae tae preside at a Skule Brod meeting, or sit on the bench dealing oot justice withoot partiality, I’m thinkin’ he wid hae been sair enough put aboot, an’ I’m no sae sure if he wid ha’ dune ony better than I dae. But, minister, Napoleon wis aboot my size, wisna he?" "He was." "An’ stootness?" " I think so." "Then that settles it," says I. Sae I got my sword an’ cockit hat that I use for ceremonials, an’ a pair o’ top boots wi’ the trooser legs inside like a military man, an’ a swallow-tail coat, an’ awa’ we gaed in a cab. "Noo, Jeems," says Betty, as we were hurlin’ alang, "be vera carefu’ aboot that sword, it’s sure tae be gettin’ fankled in aboot yer legs—carry it ablow yer oxter." The cab arrived, an’ we were ushered intae the hail amid the plaudits o’ the assembled crood. "Bonyparty an’ his lass frae Newhaven," the irreligious ragamuffins cried oot. "Frae Stra’bungo," corrects I, turning roon, for I like tae be polite even tae a crood. "Hoora’, it’s Sir Jeems himsel’." they cries. So I took aff my hat an’ made a bow, an’ gathering up my sword, in I walked, followed by Betty. BAILIE, sich a scene as wis in the hall I never saw in a’ my days afore. There wis—Oh, I canna tell ye one-fiftieth part o’ what I saw. Really, I never conceived that sae mony illustrious personages had ever leeved in the worl’ as wis represented that nicht—baith men an women. I walked aboot wi’ Betty on my arm, the observed o’ a’ observers, for it wisna often ye could see a French Emperor arm in arm wi a puir Scotch fisherwoman. Of course, we were jist lettin’ on, still it wis woner’fu’. Noo, Betty, when we were coortin’, was coonted rale guid at singing "Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’," an’ as we were promenadin’ aboot I whispered tae her, "It’s getting a wee monotonous, gie us a verse o’ yer favourite sang." So Betty, being a vera obedient wife, cried oot, "Caller ou! caller ou! " twice, an’ in a minute she wis the centre o’ a curious crood. I gied her a nudge, an’ she cleared her throat an commenced tae sing— Wha’ll buy my caller herring, My bonnie caller herring An’ when she cam’ tae the bit aboot "the lives o’ men," an’ the folk began tae be affected tae tears, I took aff my hat an’ walked in amang them an’ gathered siller for the sick bairns. BAILIE, it wis a gran’ plan. Tae see Napoleon Bonyparty going oot an’ in amang them wi’ his cocked hat in his haun gathering siller, jist like a monkey on an organ, wis what naebody could withstaun. In a wee I had my hat rinnin’ ower, so I carried it awa' toe the Treasurer. Then a bright thocht struck me, an’ I got him tae stick up a bill— GREAT ATTRACTION FOR THIS NIGHT ONLY, NAPOLEON BONYPARTY Will Dance the Heelan’ Fling in full French Costume. To Conclude with the Sword Dance Admission—Sixpence The wee room wis crooded tae suffocation, an’ a guid sum wis gathered for the charity—an’, BAILIE, altho’ I say’t that shouldna say’t, I quite excelled mysel’. I danced till I wis like tae drap doon. I first took aff my hat, an’ then my coat, and then wis unbuttonin’ my waistcoat, but the Secretary said it wid never dae for Napoleon tae be withoot a waistcoat. After I had got a gless o’ cham-pagne, I gaed awa’ intae the ballroom again tae enjoy mysel', an seein’ a nice-lookin’ young lady withoot a partner I took aff my hat, an’ makin’ a how I says, "Parley voo frongsay." Of course, BAILIE, you ken that means, "Can you speak French?" the fact is, I learned it for the occasion frae a Frenchman that stops no faur frae us. But seemingly the young lady didna ken French, for she only stared at me, so I says again tae her, "Parley voo frongsay, mem." She smiled, an’ replied, "Wee, Mossoo." Dod, BAILIE, I thocht she needna be sae unpolite as tae cast up my size tae my am face, but the leddies are gettin’ vera free noo-a-days, so I pocketed my pride an’ says, "Yon exhausts a’ my French, but if ye like we could hae a dance thegither." She said "With pleasure, Mossoo "—ye ken "Mossoo" means "Mister" ower in France. So we commenced the next dance, an’ got on fine, till my sword got lowse someway, an’ got in aboot my legs, an’— I draw a veil, BAILIE, ower the rippit that got up. It seems tae me that I canna dae the vera simplest thing withoot getting intae some habble. I went heids ower heels, knocking my partner doon, as weel as ither twa couple that were near us. I needna tell ye that I wis awfu’ ashamed, while as for my partner, she took a fit o’ hysterics or something, an’ had toe be carried intae the refreshment room. Indeed, that wis where I went mysel’ whenever I wis able tae walk. But a tumble tae a heavy man at my time o’ life is nae joke, so I searched oot Betty, an’ we got a cab an’ gaed awa’, an’ I’m tellin’ nae mair than the truth when I say that Bonyparty going home wis a vera different man frae Bonyparty setting oot.