ON THE UNDERGROUND RAILWAY DEAR BAILIE,—Ye’ll be wondering why I haena had a trip before this on the new Underground Railway, but the truth is that Betty wis frichtit tae go, as she had heard they had nae lichts. Last week, hooever, I said tae her that I had heard they had noo great raws o’ lichts, an’ that the hale place wis like an illumination, so the next day we gaed up tae Queen Street wi’ fear an’ trembling, for it was a queer sensation for auld folk like us tae be hurlin’ doon ablow the hooses an’ streets. Getting oor tickets, awa’ we gaed the the heid o’ the stair, where we saw a sign up, “Shew your tickets.” Thinks I, the North British Railway Company are coming oot in a new way noo—as reformers o’ oor spelling. I used tae aye spell it ”show,” but maybe I wis wrang. Betty cries, “Oh, Jeems, I doot it’s no safe yet, for ye see we've tae shew oor tickets for fear o’ us lossing them in a collision. I wish I had brocht my needle an’ thread; I could hae stitched them on tae your coat sleeve.” But I explained tae her it wis j ist an improved way o’ spelling. Awa’ we gaed doon a wheen stairs intae a dark place that put me in min’ o’ yon caverns o’ pandemonium ye see in the pantomimes, an’ in a wee up comes oor train, an’ in we bundled, an’ wi’ a shriek we plunged intae darkness. Oor carriage wis gey crooded. On one side next the window wis a young lad, an’ I wis next him; opposite him, at the ither window, wis a young lass, an’ Betty sat next her, an’ next tae Betty wis an auld fat wife wi’ a big basket, an’ then twa laddies an’ a wheen ither folk. The lad an’ lass were evidently coortin’, but the lass looked as if she had been in the huff wi’ him aboot something, for she held her heid awa’ frae him, an’ flattened her nose against the gless. Maybe he had been poppin’ the question afore we got in. “Hooever, it’s nane o’ my business,” says I to mysel’, “we’ve a’ tae dae that once in oor lives.” As there wis nae appearance o’ ony lichts, I wis a wee nervous, but I held in my breath an' sat still till I hears a voice saying in a whisper, “Oh, Leezabuth, will ye no turn roon?” Then in a wee, “Leezabuth! I say Leezabuth, will ye no look at me?” As Leezabuth is my wife’s name, I thocht it wis somebody speaking tae her, so I put oot my haun in the darkness tae try tae guard her face frae whaever wis speaking tae her, an’ I hears in a hoarse woman’s voice that wis nut Betty’s “Auld man, jist keep yer hauns tae yersel’, or I’ll gi’e ye in chairge tae the polis.” So I drew in my hauns an’ sat as far back as I could, an’ jist as I did that, a female face fell on my neck an’ kissed me, an' said in aboot the sweetest tones I hae heard for mony years, “An’ it wis angry wi’ its Leezie, was it? Oh, ye’re my ain wee doo after a’.” “Am I,” says I, “ye’ll excuse me, mem, but this is hardly the proper place for coortin’, especially a man that micht be your gran’faither,” an’ whaever it wis gaed a lood squeal, an’ my ain Betty cried out, “What’s wrang, Jeems? Are ye feelin’ faint?” when the fat woman exclaims, “It’s that auld hoary-heided ruffian trying tae kiss me.” Then the twa laddies that were in the ither corner cries :— “This is better fun than the caur,” an they began tae whustle wi’ their fingers, an’ one o’ them reached ower a walking-stick on chance, an’ knocked my hat doon ower my ‘heid. “Michty me,” says I, “this bates a’. Wha did that? Wis that you, mem, you wi’ the basket sittin’ forenent me? If it wis—“ "No, it wisna me, but that wis me, ye dooble-dyed auld reprobate that ye are,” an’ she cam’ doon ower my knees wi’ the basket. “Oh, Jeems,” cried oot Betty, “I wish I had gaen in ane o' thae penny boats; they’re no verra clean, but it’s aye daylicht wi’ them.” Jist then the train arrived at one o’ the lanterns. BAILIE, the science an’ skill o’ the age is extr’ornar, and the North British Railway evidently spare nae expense in takin’ advantage o’ it. Being new tae underground railways at first, they couldn’t be expeckit tae ken that lichts were needit, but after a lot o’ indignant letters tae the papers, an’ a collision, they put their best foot foremost, an’ then triumphantly exclaimed. "Noo we hae the tunnel lichtit up. Noo the nervous needna be feared. Noo come wi’ your pennies, an’ see what we’ve dune for ye.” So this wis one o’ the lichts! It wis for a’ the worl' like a spunk struck suddenly, an’ then blawn oot in the middle o’ a big kirk on a dark nicht. Past the licht we flash before we could, even see the darkness we were in, an’ then—suppose it wis ane o’ the laddies-something grippit me by the ankles, an' "gurred” like a dog, an’ when I made a dive sideways oot o its road I cam’ against a decent, quiet man that wis takin’ a smoke, an’ no’ speakin’ tae onybody, an' he leant ower tae me an’ whispers, “Leezabuth’s ower at the ither corner-ye’ve turned the wrang way." At this the hard-voiced woman wi’ the basket says, “Is he at you noo? he’s perfectly ootrageous”; an’ I cried in my vexation, “For gnidness sake, Betty, whaur are ye?” “I’m here,” says the young woman. “Hut, tut! it’s no’ you,” I cried, “it’s-” “Keep a grip o’ your purse, mem,” I heard the hard-voiced woman saying, “he’s no’ canny that man. I wish we wid come tae anither licht. Oh, there’s anither ane—huch, it’s awa’ already. Has naebody a match?” Evidently naebody had a match, so we sat still an’ listened tae the beatin’ o’ oor herts. “Wid ye like tae come ower beside me?” I whispers across tae Betty. “No, I widna,” cried oot the fat woman—dod, BAILIE, that woman seemed tae be a’ ower the carriage-”but if there’s law an’ justice in the land, my man, ye’ll get it when we come tae Finnieston.” "Will ye wheesht, woman,” says I; “I’m no’ speakin’ tae you at a’.” “Bow, wow, wow," cam' frae the faur-awa’ corner, an' somebody cried, “Rats, Towser,” an’ then there wis a great scuffling an’ worrying like, an’ Betty cried oot, “Oh, Jeems, this is awfu'. I’m fenting. Oh, for a drink o’ water.” "Here, mem,” I heard the fat woman saying, “tak’ a sup o’ this. Wait till I see if it’s no the bottle wi’ the cough mixture. No; here it is.” Noo, it seems that the mention o’ a bottle livened up the quiet man, an’ he put oot his haun an’ grippit the bottle, an after refreshing himsel’ he handed it back tae the owner, wha asked, “D'ye feel better noo, mem?” “I canna say I do,” says Betty. I thocht it wis time I should help my wife, so I reached ower, but I happened tae touch the bottle, when the owner screamed oot, “He’s after the bottle noo,” an’ there wis likely tae be anither row, only we arrived at Charing Cross Station. I thocht I wid get out afore we cam’ tae the polis office at Finnieston. When we stepped on tae the platform, I says tae Betty, “Sit doon here a wee an’ get your breath, an’ I’ll tak’ a smoke tae settle my nerves.” So we sat doon on a sate, an’ I had a crack wi’ ane o’ the porters. “Man,” says he, wiping his broo wi’ his nepkin, “this is awfu’ wark. We’re doon here a’ day, for a’ the worl’ like yon bears doon the pit in the Zoological Gardens. We can see naethin’ either tae the richt or the left—naethin’ but the sky abin, an’ oor lives are terrified oot o’ us. The trains go scooting oot an’ scooting in like rats rinning intae a hole. In fac’, sir, if I don’t get a chinge I’m going tae ask for a ‘rise,’ for this’ll tak a guid few years aff my life. But yon lichts is a great institution, sir, they quite enliven ye. I’m sure ye felt quite prood when ye cam’ tae one?” “I did that,” says I; “I thocht so much o’ them I wis wishing a’ the time there had been hunners o’ them instead o’ dizzens.” “That’s what a’ the passengers say, but we hivna ony lichts past this—frae this tae Finnieston there’s nane.” “D’ye tell me that?” “Aye, it’s a fac’.” “An’ hoo’s that?” “Weel, ye see, a’ the folk that writes tae the papers come oot here, so there’s nae need’s giein’ lichts tae the Finnieston folk; it wid jist be throwing awa’ money giein’ them lichts.” Betty an’ me cam’ oot, BAILIE, an’ putting her intae a caur, I went up ootside, and, lichtin’ my pipe, I thocht tae mysel’, “Happy Finnieston folk tae hae a philosophical spirit under trying circumstances, wha widna imitate you?” but I’ll hae nae mair o’ the Underground Railway till they treat us decently and gie us lichts.