THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION THIS Boundary Commission, BA1LIE, is the latest fad. The worl’s fu’ o’ fads, noo. Why can they no’ let us leeve in peace? Last Tuesday I got a telegraph in an awfu’ hurry, saying I wis tae act on the Commission as I wis a local man an’ could advise. So, efter giein’ the laddie instructions tae wee oot a cart o’ coals intae hunnerwechts, an’ no gi’e ower guid wecht, I got my face washed, an’ my Court suit on’ an’ lichtin’ a ceegaur, I step’t intae a cab an awa’ I gaed. The only Toon Cooncillor that wis aboot at the time objected tae the expense o’ a cab, but I said that the echteenpence wid maybe be the savin’ o’ oor independence, for it wid help tae awe the Commission. Besides, I couldna be expected tae be trailin’ awa’ doon Croon Street an’ ower the Jail brig’ wi’ one o’ the tails o’ my robe in ablow each oxter tae keep it oot o’ the dirt. On gettin’ intae the cab, I tell’t the cabman tae drive canny, so that I micht enjoy my dignity a’ the langer. Arriving at the Court, the cab door wis opened, an’ I wis ushered cot, an’ as I flung awa’ my ceegaur I said toe the cabman, "Jist wait, John," an’ he touched his hat an’ said, "I will, your reverence." He wis an Irishman, an' I suppose he thocht that wis the highest title he could gi’e me. [I may here say that we ha’e nae official carriage in Stra’bungo hired at ninepence an oor like them in Glasgow; but we didna want tae let on that. So we dressed the cabman up wi’ an auld white hat o’ mine wi’ a black band roon’t, an' an aristocratic ulster that I lent him, which looked like a rale nobleman’s coachman’s tippet; so nae wonder the polisman at the door touched his hat tae me.] I wis conducted thro’ the lobbies an' up one stair an’ doon anither till we arrived at the room where the Commission wis sitting—jist a vera or'nar room, and jist vera or’nar folk they were—a’ ranged roon a table, an’ no one wi’ a Court suit on but mysel’. Hooever, I never let on I noticed that, an’ the Commissioners a’ shook hauns wi’ me an’ hoped I was weel. "Middling," says I, "jist middling. Hooever, I am here tae assist you as four as lies in my power; but," leanin’ doon tae the Chairman, I whispers, "I suppose it’s a’ humbug this enquiry?" "‘Deed is it, Sir Jeems," says he, "just humbug. Keep your mind easy, only don’t say I said that. Folk get up these agitations, so we are sent down to enquire into them. We must do something for our money, you know. But all these Commissions are the same. They make a lot of enquiries, and then just let things remain as they were. However, we ‘ll proceed to business. Call in the first witness." So the first witness cam’ in, an’ who wis this but Mr Pinkerton. I never wis so surprised in my life, for I thocht Stra’bungo wisna tae come up at this sittin’. Mr Pinkerton looked ower at me an’ gi’ed a nod—quite a familiar nod. "Dinna look at me; look at the Chairman," says I, letting on I didna ken him. For it micht spoil our hale case, ye see, if they thocht him an me wis freens. "What is your name?" says I, sternly. "Och, ye ken fine," says he. "No familiarity here," says I, "or I’ll commit ye. What is your name, again I ask?" "Michty me, Mr Kaye, dae ye"— "Sweer him!" whispers I toe the Chairman. "Oh, we don’t swear them here," says he. "Weel, speak sharply tae him," says I. "Witness," says he, " what is your name?" "Peter Pinkerton." "Peter Pinkerton," says I, "you are not bound toe say anything, but anything you do say may be used against you." Mr Pinkerton leaned across the table an’ whispered, "Mr Kaye, can ye no tak’ my part?" "Witness," says I, "don’t attempt tae tamper wi’ justice; it’s a serious matter." "A serious matter, indeed," says the Chairman. "A vera serious matter," says I " The well-being o the hale o’ Glesca is concerned in it. Noo, gang on wi’ your story." "Ahem," says the Chairman, "Mr Pinkerton, you are Senior Magistrate of Strathbungo?" "Senior Bailie only, my Lord. We hae a Provost, Sir J"- "Janitor," I cries out, "there’s an awfu’ draft cumin' in someway. See whaur it is." The janitor began rinnin’ roon the room tryin’ the windows, an’ when they were a’ lookin’ at him I shook my nieve at Mr Pinkerton tae mak’ him un’erstaun he wisna tae refer tae me at a’, an’ he gie’d me a wink, so I saw it wis a’ richt. The Chairman gi’ed anither "Ahem," an’ says, "Well, never mind about your Provost. Are you an important burgh?" "Extraor’nar." "Large population?" "Not sae much for quantity as for quality." "Indeed?" "Aye, an’ ancientness." "Oh!" "The ancientish burgh a’ roon about, except Ru’glen." "And everything within yourselves?" "Weel, no jist everything, but what we hivna got we can pay for." "What are you noted for?" "The finest park in Scotland, the Crossmyloof bakery, the only place in the three kingdoms whaur ye will see a baronet selling coals by the hunnerwecht, an’ I mysel’, my Lord, am the only purveyor o’ smoked ham tae the Queen in Scotland." "Anything else?" ‘Weel, our Provost has shaken hauns wi’ the Queen and Prince o’ Wales—and the folk leeve tae an extr’ornar age." "Now what about your means of extinguishing fires?" "Oh, we hae a reel." "A what?" "A reel." "A Scotch reel?" "Weel, I suppose it is—it’s ane o’ thae gutta-percha things." "Have you an efficient staff?" "Oh, aye; twa slaters an’ a jiner." "Noo, witness, attend tae me," says I, "will ye sweer ye ha’ena a plumber forbye?" "Dod, I forgot him," says Mr Pinkerton. "Aye, I thocht so," says I, making a note on my sheet o’ blotting paper. "Any public debt?" "Nane. We pay for everything as we go alang." "Are you a happy and united community?" "Oh, extr’ornar. We are like a band o’ brithers. We hae one kirk, one hall, one school, an' we’re a’ sae intimate with each ither that if one has sassages for his dinner the hale toon kens about it, jist as if the bellman had cried it. Happy! I should think sae," an’ Mr Pinkerton, worthy man, smiled a self-satisfied smile, an’ when the Chairman wisna looking, gi’ed me a wink. "You don’t wish to be annexed to Glasgow?" "Annexed tae Glesca? I should think no. The Glesca folk come rinnin’ oot toe us looking for hooses. Ye never hear o’ Stra’bungonians wanting tae flit intae Glesca." "I’m afraid, however, that the smallness of your burgh will make us throw you into Glasgow." "Sma’ness, my Lord! Is quality toe go for naething? Look here, your Hunours, alloo me tae use a familiar illustration. Stra’bungo is like the sma’ hauf-sovereign beside the big copper penny o’ Glesca." I here interposed. I took aff my specs, laid them doon on the dask before me, put my thooms in my waistcoat, an leanin’ back in my chair, I said, "Bailie Pinkerton, you seem to be a vera intelligent witness. Now, what wid be the result if we annexed Stra’bungo tae Glesca?" "We wid jist a’ gang oot farder—oot by Giffnock—every house an’ shop in Stra’bungo wid be tae let at the term." "I’m afraid we canna annex them, your Lordship," says I. "Just what I was going to say," he replied. "I’m sure we can’t. It wouldn’t be safe. What with the Irish in rebellion, and the crofters making a very good attempt at it, we must at all hazards keep Stra’bungo quiet." "No, it canna be dune, I see that," says I. So we tell’t Mr Pinkerton that he could go, an’ then the Chairman said, "Whatever we do with Crosshill and Guvanhill, and all these mushroom burghs—and it’s likely we will anex them to Glasgow—Stra’bungo must be free." "An’ unfettered," says I. "An’ unfettered," says he. "Free as the ostriches or the eagles that soar in the heavens," says I. "As free as them," says the Chairman. "Gi’e me your haun," says I. "There it is," says he. "You’re a brick," says I, giein’ him a crack on the shouther that made him jump up as if he had got a galvanic shock, "Noo," says I, "we’ll adjourn the enquiry an’ go awa an' get some refreshment." "Right you are," says he. So we adjourned, an’ that’s the way Stra’bungo wis saved.