Rough Scan








 
      THE COMET
      I MIND o’ a curious thing,
      BAILIE, 
        that happened tae us twa-three years ago. They were a’ talkin’ o’ a comet 
        that wis tae appear on a certain nicht, so I invited a wheen o’ the neebours 
        up tae oor hoose, an’ we were tae hae a kin' o’ tea party first, an’ see 
        the comet afterwards. The laddies had got bits a’ smokit gless for us 
        tae keek through, an’ I had an almanack, an’ after tea we a’ sat crackin’ 
        awa’, an’ studyin’ the almanack, an’ lookin’ up at the gas through the 
        bits o’ gless tae get intae practice.
      "Mr Kaye," says Mr M’Cunn, "we 
        never read aboot comets in the Auld Testament."
      "No that I mind o’," says I, 
        "but"—
      "Oh, faither, faither, here’s the 
        comet," cries oor auldest lassie, at this moment, doon the garrit 
        stairs.
      "Michty me, is’t there already," 
        says I, "we maun rin."
      So we a’ pickit up a bit o’ the smokit 
        gless an’ awa’ tae the fit o’ the stairs, an’ I cries as I ran, "Is’t 
        aye there yet, Leezabuth?’
      "It ‘is, an’ it’s quite green," 
        cries back my dochter.
      "Green!" says Mr M’Cunn, stoppin’ 
        short, horror-struck, "wha ever heard o’ a green comet? There must 
        be something wrang, Mr Kaye."
      "Ach, never heed what colour it is, 
        as lang’s it’s there," I says, as on we ran.
      At this one a’ my laddies comes tearin’ 
        up the ootside stair, an’ breengin’ intae the lobby, cries oot. "Oh
      faither, the comet’s oot there, an it’s burnin’ red."
      "Red," says I, "Leezabuth 
        said it wis green."
      "No, no, it’s red, for I saw’t."
      Here Leezabuth cries doon the stair, "Haste 
        ye, faither—it’s changin’ colour—it’s white noo."
      "White," says I; "Rubbert, 
        what dy’e mean by tellin’ lees? Are ye no’ afraid, sir, that ye micht 
        be turned intae a pillar a’ saut whaur ye staun’? Come in tae me afore 
        ye go tae your bed the nicht."
      Here Betty, wha had been keekin’ oot at 
        the wee window o’ the pantry, cam’ rinnin’ oot an’ cries, "Oh,
      Jeems, 
        there s twa comets—a white ane an’ a red ane—an’ they’re like playin’ 
        at ‘tig’; first ye see the ane, an’ then the ither."
      "Mr M’Cunn," says I, "ye 
        never heard o’ the like o’ this in the Auld Testament, onyway; it’s extr’ornar’."
      "It’s mair than extr’ornar’, sir, 
        it’s awfu’—perfectly awfu’; I hope it’s no’ a judgment on us. Twa comets 
        playin’ at ‘tig’!"
      "Come awa’ up onyway, an’ we’ll see’t," 
        says I.
      Up we went, an’ made oor way intae the 
        room. Jist then, hooever, Leezabuth cries oot, "It’s awa' noo."
      This wis a disappointment. No able tae 
        dae ony better, we sat doon in the dark room, tae wait till it cam’ roon 
        again, an’ in a wee we hears Rubbert at the front door cryin’ oot, "Here 
        it’s again at the close mooth, faither, shinin’ awa’, an’ it is 
        red!"
      At this we made a rush doon the stair, 
        an’ jist as we were hauf road doon, Leezabuth cries after us, "Here 
        it’s again, faither, as green’s a cabbage."
      The one hauf o’ us then turned an’ ran 
        up again, but when we got up it wis awa’ once more, an’ we could see
      naething, 
        so I said we wid jist hae a smoke. So we opened the window an’ sat at 
        it, lookin’ oot an’ watchin’ the skies intently.
      Mr M’Faurlan, next door, was also at his 
        window wi’ Mrs M’Faurlan, an’ cries across the slates, "Did ye see’t, 
        Mr Kaye?"
      "I canna say I did," says I, 
        "did you?"
      "I did, an’ it seems it’s a new kin’ 
        o’ comet, for it wis quite green."
      "Never heed him, Mr Kaye," says 
        Mrs M’Faurlan; "I saw’t before him, an’ it wis yellow."
      "Weel," I says, "this bates 
        me a’thegither. Oor Leezabuth says it wis first green an’ then white, 
        an’ Rubbert he says it wis red, an’ noo Mrs M’Faurlan says it wis yellow. 
        I don’ know if a’ comets is like this, but if they are they’re worth the 
        watchin’ for."
      Mr M’Cunn here gi’ed me a nudge tin’ whispered, 
        "I’m going hame tae my bed, Mr Kaye, for its a fair temptin' o’ Providence 
        tae be here. So I said I wid go ower the road wi’ him, an’, if possible, 
        try tae fin’ oot aboot the comet for mysel’, an’ see what wis actually 
        its richt colour. At this twa-three o’ us put on oor huts an’ awa’ we 
        gaed oot, but naebody that we met seemed tae hae seen the phenomenon but 
        oorsel’s, an’ great wis the amazement when we tell’t them that it was 
        a comet that changed colours, an’ they were a' as anxious as us tae see 
        it, so we took positions at different corners tae watch for’t.
      In a wee Mr Pinkerton cries oot, "Here 
        it is." So we ran tae his corner, an’ there it wis shinin’ awa’, 
        an’ as green as a cauliflooer. While we stood spellbound it suddenly changed 
        tae red, an' Mr Pettigrew cries oot, "It’s a revolving comet," 
        but jist as he said that oor station-master cam’ up an’ asked what we 
        were a’ lookin’ at.
      "The comet," says I.
      "The comet," says he, "the 
        comet! Man, thae’s oor new signal lamps on the railway. We jist put them 
        up yesterday."
      Oh, hoo humiliated we were, BAILIE. I 
        didna ken where tae look, but I gi’ed Rubbert a guid dressin’ that
      nicht; 
        an’ comets are never mentioned in oor hoose noo.