Rough Scan
 

 

 

 



 
        
       
        AT A SCHOOL TRIP
         
         
        As long as I 
          hae a breath in my body, BAILIE, I’ll never let oor guid auld Scotch 
          customs die oot.  They may talk 
          their Christmasses and their Good Fridays, their Shrove Tuesdays and 
          their Pancake Wen’sdays, but it ‘ill no be Jeems Kaye that ‘ill conform 
          tae ony o’ them.
        Last Saturday 
          I got oor Sunday skule tae go for kruds-an’-cream.  Some o’ the ither elders said it wisna genteel noo-a-days tae tak’
        kruds-an’-cream.  Hooever, I 
          replies— ”Efter I'm awa’ ye can dae as ye like, but as lang as I’m here 
          I’ll be a thorn in yer flesh wi’ yer spurious gentility.”
        Weel, at 3 o’clock 
          we assembled in front o’ the coal ree.  
          We had got the len’ o’ hauf-a-dizzen carts frae different folk, 
          the bairns were a’ packed in them.  
          The minister and me, and the rest o’ the elders, were in the 
          first cart, sitting in the strae wi’ oor backs up against the side, 
          and oor heids looking ower jist like a lot o’ turtle doves in a nest.  
          We vera comfortable, the only thing that bothered us being Mr 
          Pinkerton’s wudden leg.  As it 
          couldna bend to suit altered circumstances, it wis aye scroogin’ awa’ 
          at the sma’ o’ oor backs, till we made him unscrew it a’thegither and 
          haund it up tae the carter, wha, efter examining the virl for a while, 
          began tae thrash the horse wi’t, till I interposed and took it frae 
          him.  In the cart behin’ us wis 
          a banner inscribed
         
        “Lemonade, 
          man’s greatest friend.”
         
        When the minister 
          looked at this he winked ower tae me, and I winked in return and pointed 
          tae my inside coat pocket; an’ if ye had jist seen the smile o’ contentment 
          that cam ower the faces as the ithens saw that I had had the foresicht 
          tae come provided.  “Aye, gentlemen,” 
          says I, "there’s an awfu’ lot o’ dooble-dealing noo-a-days; everybody, 
          frae the magistrate doon tae the street orator, wants tae mak’ everybody 
          teetotal but themsel’s.  After 
          they mix their stiff gless o’ toddy at the fireside they tak’ a sup 
          o’t, and as it warms their hert they turn up their eyes an’ murmur, 
          'We must shut the public-hooses; the puir working folk hae nae business 
          tae indulge in luxuries like this; this is only for the like o’ us comfortable 
          gentry.’”
        The rest o’ 
          the carts had banners sich as—
         
        “Divided 
          we stand, united we fall,”
        “A 
          fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage,'
         
        and sae on.  
          We tell’t stories, gied guesses, and played at “nievie,
        nievie-nick-nack,” 
          and the time passed won’erfully.  But the longest lane has a turning, and at 
          last we turned doon the road leading tae the farm, and as we got oot 
          and shook the strae aff oorsels I says— ”Noo, gentlemen, if it’s a’ 
          the same tae you, we’ll hae nae lang speeches aboot oxygen, or hydrogen, 
          or electricity, but jist let the weans awa’ tae play themselves at ‘kee
        hoy,’ or ‘spy,’ or the ‘peever,’ or whatever they like, and we’ll walk 
          roon wi’ the farmer and study natural history, and examine the champion
        mangoldwurzel, and a’ the new patent fanners, and sich like.”
        Efter a while 
          we got the weans intae the stackyaird tae hae their kruds, and they 
          a’ sat roon, and every ane got a bowl, and servant lassies wi’ short 
          goons and smiling faces helped them, and a’ wis festivity.
        The minister, 
          and me, and Mr Pinkerton got up on chairs on the tap o’ a hen hoose 
          tae keep order, and the weans sent up a deputation tae us tee say “they 
          wanted Mr Kaye tae mak’ a speech, as it wisna often he spoke”; so as 
          I had finished my kruds, I got up, and, steadying mysel’ in amang the 
          branches o’ a peer tree, I began—
        “Noo, bairns, 
          my address‘ll be brief but tae the point.  
          Tae be able tae say ye’re a Scotchman is the happiest thing on 
          earth.  Of course we’ve tae pay 
          for oor advantages; we’ve tae learn the Shorter Catechism and the Paraphrases,
        etcetra.  Some folk no-a-days 
          try tae throw discredit on the Scotch; they say that nearly a’ the sodgers 
          in the 42nd are Irishmen — aye, nae wunner ye laugh — but that’s jist 
          jealousy.  If we werena sich a great nation they widna 
          try tae rin us doon sae much.  Thae 
          English are vera ignorant, particularly on Bible subjects.  I’m sure there’s no a wean here but can repeat 
          the 23rd Psalm, metre version — I never kent a Scotch bairn yet that 
          couldna say’t aff by heart, and hope I never will.  Noo, oor minister wis telling me that he wis examining a skule up 
          in England, and he asked a laddie tae tell the parable o’ the good Samaritan, 
          and so up the bairn gets and says ‘A certain man was going down from 
          Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among thorns, and thorns sprang up 
          and choked him, and he said to the host, here’s tuppence, put him on 
          his own ass, and he passed by on the ither side.’ 
        Anither was asked tae tell the story o’ Abraham, and he said, 
          ‘Abraham had two wives, Hager and Ishmael — he kept one at home, and 
          he sent the other into the wilderness, where she became a pillar of 
          salt by day, and a pillar of fire by night.’  Noo wisna that awfu’ ignorance?”
        Bit jist at 
          this Mr Pinkerton grippit me by the arm, and says, wi’ a groan, “Oh, 
          Mr Kaye, my leg’s through the jeists."
        "Michty 
          me,” says I, “is that leg o’ yours kicking up a rumpus again?  It’s nae suner oot o’ wan habble then it’s 
          intae anither.  When folk invite 
          ye oot here can ye no hae mair respect for their property than begin 
          end destroy’t?  That's the way 
          ye spile folk for asking us back again.  
          Here, some o’ you bigger anes, come ower and shove up.  
          So I held on tae the peer tree wi’ one haun and pulled him wi’ 
          the ither, an’ the minister, grippin’ a rhone, drew awa’ by his ither 
          haun.  Bit this wis only the beginnin’ o’ the
        habble.  
          Some o’ the boys, gettin’ intae the hen hoose tae help, frichtit 
          the life oot o’ a wheen auld hens and chickens and ganders, and when 
          they ran cackling thro’ the crood the weans began tae throw their bonnets 
          at them.  Then the collies thocht 
          they were tae keep the hens oot the corn, and they set tae chasing them; 
          and the farmer’s wife cam’ oot wi’ the spurtle, and she efter the dogs.  By-an’-by twa-three young calves joined in, 
          wi’ their tails in the air, and tummled ower some o' the younger weans, 
          wha began tae greet; and then they upset some bee skeps, and that didna 
          improve matters; and sich an uproar, if ye had jist seen it, BAILIE!  Weans, dogs, calves, hens, and chickens, a’ 
          fleeing roon the stackyard, oot at one gate and in at the ither, while 
          the bees were tickling them a’ up indiscriminately.  
          My word, but the bees had the best o’t.
        “Gentlemen,” 
          at last I cries, “put on your hats!  
          This is the coup detat, 
          as the Frenchmen say.  Ostler, 
          yoke the horses; the harmony is over; the suner we’re hame the better.  I ken’t something wid happen.”
        We saw the farmer’s 
          wife hirpling awa’ intae the hoose between twa teachers, and the farmer 
          cam’ ower tae us wi’ his face like a nor’west mune; and, says he, shaking 
          his nieve in oor faces, “If ever you or your blamed Sunday skule come 
          oot here again, I’ll let louse the bull on ye.”
        As nane o’ the 
          rest could speak, I lays my han’ on my hert and says, “Apologies are 
          superfluous.  I’ll say
        naething, 
          but the first time your cart’s passing my door, I’ll be vera glad to 
          put in twa hunnerwecht o’ the vera best, as my contribution tae the 
          damage dune; and I think Mr Pinkerton couldna offer ye less than a hale 
          smoked ham or a Dunlop cheese, for it wis him that began the hale affair.”
        Mr Pinkerton,
        hooever, didna hear me; so we a’ got into the carts again, and wended 
          oor way hame in the dank.  Some 
          o’ the weans had sprained thooms, and some had lost their bonnets; twa 
          or three had their noses bled; and as the minister said, “Great wis 
          the lamentation.”
        In our cart 
          we somehoo were mair crooded than we were going out, and every noo and 
          again in the dark ye wid hear, “Wha’s aught that knee?” 
        “Keep that elbow oot o’ my ribs”;  
        “Sit ower a wee, man”; but we got hame at last.
        BAILIE, I’ve 
          hardly had time tae gather mysel’ thegither yet, so I must say “adieu.”