Rough Scan
 

 

 

 



 
 
       
        AT BALMORAL
         
         
        THE Glasgow 
          Magistrates were up at Balmoral, BAILIE, seeing the Queen — we heard 
          plenty aboot that — but it’s no generally kent that the Stra’bungo anes 
          were up as weel.  They were, 
          though, a’ the same — me the Provost, the Senior Bailie Mr Pinkerton, 
          an’ the Toon Clerk — we gaed up tae thank the Queen for gettin’ her 
          youngest dochter marrit, an’ for adding anither German tae oor pension 
          list.  As we had nae court dresses, 
          we put on oor Sunday suits; an’ what better could onybody look for?  
          We were tell’t that in the court dress it wis proper tae hae 
          a sword, so we thocht we micht manage that.  
          I took my volunteer cornel’s sword wi’ me, an’ Mr Pinkerton got 
          the len’ o’ the major’s.  As there were nae mair swords handy, we armed 
          the Toon Clerk wi’ a rifle, an’ really we looked martial like, wi’ oor 
          Sunday hats, oor swallow tails, an’ oor swords an’ guns.  Aff we gaed, BAILIE, frae Buchanan Street Station 
          in a saloon carnage.
        It wis a lang 
          journey, so after we had startit we lichtit oor pipes, an’ the Toon 
          Clerk producin’ a pack o’ cards, we played awa at some kin’ o’ gemm 
          for bawbees.  Mr Pinkerton, hooever, could seldom tell a 
          King frae a Jeck, so we didna come much speed.  
          [There’s one thing I aye dae when I’m playing at cards, an’ I 
          wid advise ye tae dae the same, BAILIE—aye be reachin’ oot yer haun 
          tae pick up the tricks; it’s astonishing hoo mony ye are allooed tine 
          pick up withoot a word.]
        What wi’ eatin’ 
          an’ sleepin’ an’ playin’ at the cards, we passed the time
        wonnerfully.  
          And then the Toon Clerk opened a parcel an’ took oot a concertina, 
          an’ played “We’re a’ noddin’” on’t, tae see if the keys were working 
          properly.
        We arrived at 
          last, three or fower bare-leggit Heelanmen usherin’ us up tae Balmoral 
          Castle, an’ ane o’ them playin’ on the bagpipes.  
          We were shown intae a room till the Queen wid get Prince Henry 
          dressed in his kilts, tae be introduced tae us.  
          Sir Somebody—I don’ know wha he was—instructed us as to oor
        behaviour.  
          Whenever we heard the door opening we were tae fa’ doon on oor 
          knees, grasp oor swords in oor richt haun, an’ place oor left on oor
        herts, thus indicatin’ a’ at once oor devotion, oor loyalty, an’ oor 
          love.  So we prepared tae meet 
          oor Queen.
        “Attention,” 
          says I, “pu’ doon yer waistcoat, Mr Pinkerton, an’ toozle yer hair a 
          wee, it looks learned like; an’ for ony sake put doon that leg o’ yours 
          canny, an’ no’ hae it stumping awa’ ower the Brussels carpet as if ye 
          were hammering in tacks.  Wheesht
        noo; be as quiet as if ye were sitting for your photographs.”
        “I don’t see 
          the throne, Provost,” says the Toon Clerk.
        “Oh, it’ll maybe 
          be up the stairs in the drawing-room,” I replied.  “I hope we’ll see it—we’ll likely be ta’en 
          up there afterwards tae get some music.  
          Mind, if the Queen offers tae play on the piano, ask for some 
          classical music; don’t be crying for ‘The wind that shakes the barley,’ 
          or 'The deil among the tailors,’ or onything like that, mind—"
        Here the door 
          opened, and in walked the Queen—jist an or’nar-looking body, wi’ nae 
          croon on her heid, or sceptre in her haun.  
          Doon we a' fell on oor knees—a’ except Mr Pinkerton; as his wudden 
          leg wadna bend, he leant on a sofa, an’, spreading oot his leg behin’ 
          him, he bent the ither ane an’ held on by the back o’ a chair.  
          Indeed, he had as much difficulty in getting intae position as 
          one o’ yon circus horses when it’s kneeling doon tae fire aff a cannon.
        “Rheumatism?” 
          says the Queen.
        “Wudden leg,
        mem,” says I, “run ower by a tramway caur; but he got big damages, so 
          he’s naething tae compleen about.  Alloo 
          me tae introduce you — Mr Pinkerton — oor Senior Bailie;  Queen Victoria, Defender of the Faith, Dei Gratis, &c., &c., 
          as it says on the back o’ the hauf-croons.”
        “And is it really 
          you, Mr Kaye?” says the Queen; “you remember me speaking to you at the 
          Review?  And how’s trade with 
          you?”
        “Middling,
        mem, 
          jist middling!  Prices are cut 
          vera low; there’s an awfu’ opposition.  
          Ye’re weel aff that has nae opposition.  
          If I wis that way, widna I rise the price o’ the hunnerwechts!  I believe I wid get them up tae a shillin.’ 
        The crops are looking weel up this way.”
        “They are, Mr 
          Kaye, we’ve had plenty of heat.”
        “Ah, mem, that’s 
          the thing.  An’ when d’ye expec’ 
          tae be doon oor way, mem?  We 
          wid a’ be rale gled tae see ye.  We 
          wid get up a procession for ye.  An’ 
          so ye’ve got the Princess married, mem?”
        “Indeed I have, 
          Mr Kaye,” and here Her Majesty smiled.
        “That’s richt,
        mem.  The Scripture says it’s 
          no’ good for man tae be alone.  I 
          can only hope that Henry is grateful for the guid doonsittin’.  An’ hoo is he, mem?  We hae 
          a wee bit surprise in store for him — a German concerteena, subscribed 
          for by the inhabitants o’ Stra’bungo as a sma' mark o’ esteem — a’ classes 
          subscribed — frae the highest tae the lowest, but—”
        “Here he is 
          himself, Mr Kaye“ — an’ in walked Prince Henry wi’ his kilts on, an’ 
          his legs lookin’ as if he had been amang nettles wi’ them.
        “Aye, aye!  
          An’ this is Henry, is’t?  ‘Od it’s extr’ornar — ye wid never think he 
          was a German.  Man! man!  I’m prood tae meet ye, Henry, an’ if ever ye’re 
          roon oor way we’ll be gled tae see you, an’ I’ll tak’ ye a drive oot 
          tae the ‘Shaws on a tramway caur, an’ ye’ll see the mules we ha’e rinnin’ 
          in them, an’ I’ll show you the Crossmyloof Bakery, an’ I don’t know 
          what a’.  Noo, mem, the Toon Clerk‘ll read the address 
          tae ye, written on vellum by his apprentice, for which we had tae gi’e 
          him hauf a sovereign—and I thocht it wis dear enough; hooever, it’s 
          paid noo, so there’s nae use in saying onything mair aboot it.  
          Och, we’ll jist haun it tae ye, an ye’ll can read it at yer leisure,
        mem.  An’ as for you, Henry, 
          here’s the concerteena — German manufacture, brass rims, mahogany boards,
        twenty-fower keys, every ane electroplated, wi’ an inscription on the 
          tap showing the Stra’bungo coat o’ arms.  
          An’, Henry, when ye’re oot in the wudds hereaboot ye can sit 
          doon an’ play ‘Erin on the Rhine’ on’t tae put ye in mind o’
        hame.  
          Believe me, Henry, it’s better tae be born lucky than rich.”  Henry here took the concerteena, made a bow, 
          an’ said, “Ferry goot shentlemana.“ 
        “Ye may weel say that, Henry,” says I, “an’ noo, mem, I don’t 
          think there’s onything else tae say, but we await your commands.”
        “Hand me your 
          sword, Mr Kaye.”
        In great fear 
          I gied it, for I thocht I wis going tae get my heid cut aff, an’ I mentally 
          cast my e’e ower a’ my misdeeds.  Hooever, 
          Her Majesty took the sword, an’ giein’ me a crack on the heil wi’t, 
          she says—
        “I am graciously 
          pleased to command, rise up, Sir James Kaye.”
        I felt my hert 
          stopping an’ I gasped for breath.  Here 
          wis the croonin' monument tae a long life spent on behalf o’ my
        fellow-craturs.  
          I rose up, made a profound bow doon tae the grund, and then says, 
          “Oh, mem, wid ye alloo a hert burstin’ wi’ gratitude tae ask if ye wid 
          mak’ my auld freen Mr pinkerton a ‘Purveyor tae H.R.H. by special appointment‘?"
        “Certainly, 
          Sir James.”
        “An’ the Toon 
          Clerk ‘Hereditary Gran’ Writer tae the Signet for Scotland’?”
        "Assuredly, 
          Sir James.  Anything else?”
        "Naething,
        mem; naething, thank ye, except that ye were aye going tae order a waggon 
          or twa frae me; but efter this I'll sen’ ye up hauf a waggon for naething 
          — ye’ll ha’e naething tae pay but the carriage; an’ I’ll see that we 
          get Henry presented wi’ the freedom o’ Stra’bungo as sune as I get back"
        Then we had 
          refreshments—they were naething extra—an' we were played down the avenue 
          by the bagpipes again, an we cam’ hame.
        Mr Pinkerton’s 
          getting his sign new pented, wi’ a lion at the one end o’t an’ a unicorn 
          at the ither, an' a croon in the middle between “Peter” an’ “Pinkerton,” 
          an’ he says his fortune’s made.  I’m 
          no vera sure if I’ll ca’ mysel “Sir James,” for they say it costs a 
          heep o’ money tae keep it up, but I must sign mysel’ for once,
         
        SIR JEEMS KAYE, 
          BART.