JEEMS AS A PUGILIST YE may be sure, BAILIE, that it wis faur frae me, a douce, respectable elder, tae hae onything adae wi’ this pugilistic revival, an’ I’m sure, when I daunered awa’ ower tae Mr Pinkerton’s meal store last Wen’sday nicht, after I had shut up, I had nae mair thocht o’ sich a thing than a babby lying in its cradle. Indeed, if the truth must be toll’t, I wis mainly thinking, as I steppit across, if I shouldna put up the coals a penny the hunnerwecht owing tae the guid trade that’s coming roon. In this noble frame o’ mind I lifted the sneck o’ Mr Pinkerton’s door. Jist as I put my heid in, however, I got a crack on my shouther that sent me spinning ower a bag o’ meal an’ made me maist speechless. I lay still a wee, partly tae get my breath, an’ partly tae keep oot the road o’ ony mair sich welcomes. But whenever he sees me, Mr Pinkerton rins ower, an’ grippin’ my haun, cries, "Mr Kaye, excuse us, we didna "— "Mr Pinkerton," says I, "what. does this mean?" "The noble art o’ self defence, Mr Kaye; it’s "— "But what has that tae dae wi’ knockin’ me in amang the meal bags?" "Oh, that wis a mistake, and jist because ye happened tae come in at the time, ye got the blow intended by Mr M’Cunn for the Gallowgate Slasher." "An’ wha’s he, may I ask?" "Mr M’Cunn’s trainer." "An’ d’ye mean tae say, Mr M’Cunn, that you’re going in for fechtin’?" "No! No! no for techtin’, Mr Kaye, only for boxin’. Boxin’ wi’ the gloves, Mr Kaye, wi’ the gloves"— "Oh, wi’ gloves—imphm—jist so," thinks I, as I crawled ower a humpluck o’ emptv bags intae a corner "Noo. Go on," I says, an’ then I sat doon an’ took oot my pipe I saw there wis a few o’ the principal folk aboot the toon present—the beadle, an’ the joiner, an’ the baker, an’ the flesher, an’ sich like. They were sittin’ aboot on boxes an’ barrels, an’ in the middle o’ the floor wis Mr M’Cunn an’ his freen the "Slasher," an ill-looking man in a hairy cap, an' the brig o’ his nose broken. The twa had their coats aff an’ their sleeves rowed up, an’ kin’ o’ big gloves on, makin’ their hauns for a’ the worl’ like an epple dumpling. They dodged roon an’ roon ane anither, an’ tried to hit each ither. but in a vera different way, for Mr M’Cunn made desperate breenges at his opponent, but he never managed tae hit him; while the "Slasher," when he put out his arm, jist gaed Mr M’Cunn a tap on the side o’ the cheek an’ then jumpit awa backwards—smilin’ a’ the time. This gaed on for a while, till Mr M’Cunn threw up his arms an’ cried oot, "Oh, I’m wearied, I’ll stop noo an’ hae a smoke;" an’ he cam’ ower aside me. "What in a’ the worl’ tempted ye tae begin this?" says I "Did ye no see that the Prince o’ Wales an’ a hale lot o’ Members o’ Parliament are patronising this sport?" he replied. "It’s the true British art o’ fechtin’—even ane o’ the learned judges said it wis faur mair manly than the new American fashion o’ using knives. ‘Od bless ye, it’s gettin’ quite fashionable, Mr Kaye. Why, Punch’s principal picter last week wis twa prize fechters. In my case, however, it’s principally tae see if it’ll keep doon my stootness, as our walking match wis a failure, an’ the doctor said I micht try this." "An’ why did ye no tell me what ye were about?" "Ah, ye see, you’re Provost, an’ an elder forbye, so I thocht it best no tae compromise ye." "Dis the minister ken?" "The minister! I hope no." "Weel, weel, this is extror’nar! What d’ye say ye ca' that fellow—him wi’ the nose?" "That’s the Gallowgate Slasher." "Aye, but what’s his richt name?" "I don’t think he has ony ither name—at least I never heard o’ ony ither. Wid ye like tae try a go wi’ him?’ "Oh, I don’t think I wid be soople enough. But I micht try’t tae," an’ I jumpt doon, put on the gloves, an’ buttoned my coat—for it widna dae for a Provost tae be withoot a coat amang strangers. Then I says tae the Slasher, "Come on, my hearty," an’ I made a rin at him, he wis a guid bit bigger nor me, but I wis quite as determined as him. He had the science, but I had the wecht. What he excelled in wis sparring; what I excelled in wis strength. Man, BAILIE, him an’ me had a tine set tae. He sparred an’ I guarded, an’ then I sparred an’ he guarded; an’, altho’ I say’t that shouldna, I wis a guid match for him. I wid mak’ a rin at him an’ let on I wis going tae hit him on the nose, an’ when he put up his nieves tae guard himsel’ I wid gie him a blow on the chest that wid nearly fell him. Then I wid rin backwards on my tip-taes, then wriggle about like an eel, an’ next mak’ anither run at him, an' then jump backwards again, till I had him, professional an' a’ as he wis, that he hardly kent whether he wis staunin’ on his heid or his feet. When he did bit me, I wis that fat I hardly felt it. Then I began tae spar roon him jist like a cooper going roon a barrel, till at last I got oot o’ breath, an’ I thocht I wid gie him a knock-doon blow for the last, so I put doon my heid an’ ran at him like a batterin’ ram, an’ wi’ a well-directed blow I sent him spinnin’, jist as the dour opened, an’ in walked the minister, wha got his hat knocked off as the Slasher disappeared past him in amang a lot o’ American cheeses. Tae say that the worthy minister was dumbfoondered is tae say only the truth. I didna notice him at first, so I danced roon aboot sparrin’ awa’ an’ hitting blows at imaginary enemies, till he said in his deepest, base-est voice- "Mr Kaye." "Eh! what?" says I, looking roon. "Is this how you are behaving at this festive season?" "Only boxin’, sir—boxin’ for my stootness. It’s different frae fechtin’, ye ken. In fac’, it’s the same as fencin’ is different frae duellin’. Then it’s gran’ exercise. The doctor recommended Mr M’Cunn tae try’t. Besides, it’s getting a’ the fashion noo. Jist try a roun’ wi’ me, minister. There’s no a bit o’ harm in it." "Mr Kaye," says the minister, "I’m astonished at your levity. However, being the New-Year time, I can excuse it. But I’m ashamed to see Mr Pinkerton allowing his store to be used for such purposes. The prize ring may well be said to be coming into favour again when in the quiet village of Stra’bungo three of the quietest inhabitants are taking it up." BAILIE, I canna tell ye hauf o’ what he said, but the upshot wis that the "Slasher" got his week’s fee an wis' discharged, and Mr M’Cunn, Mr Pinkerton, the minister, an’ mysel’ adjourned tar my paurlour. where we had a smoke an’ a crack, an’ as the minister advised, we’re thinking o’ getting dumb-bells tar reduce oor stootness. They’re quite a respectable thing. Naebody can say a word against them.