Rough Scan
 

 

 

 



 
        
       
        A SAIR PREDICAMENT
         
         
        IT’S allooed,
        BAILIE, that in the hale toon o’ Saltcoats there’s no a minister like 
          oors for naturalness and vivid description.  
          He’s jist perfec’ly gran’.  Ye 
          wid think everything wis happening that he’s speaking aboot.  When he waxes eloquent, an’ thumps the desk, an’ throws his arms 
          aboot, an’ jumps frae ae side o’ the pulpit tae the ither, there’s no’ 
          an auld wife in the hale kirk but is in raptures.  
          The very precentor, instead o’ sleepin’, as maist o’ them dae, 
          turns roon and looks up entranced wi’ the imagery, while the boys stop 
          cutting their names oot on the bookboards, put their knives back in 
          their pouches, an’ sit the vera picture o devout attention.
        Oor minister,
        hooever, is allooed tae be at his best when he appeals tae the feelin’s.  I’ve seen when he tell’t us aboot hoo gratefu’ 
          the puir heathen were tae us for sending oot missionaries, an’ hoo much 
          they enjoyed cold missionary wi’ tomato sauce when they had a
        pic-nic, 
          he drew tears tae every eye, and made us a’ dooble oor collection and 
          put in tippence.
        He is bound 
          tae dae a power o’ guid tae his hearers, is oor minister.  Speaking for mysel’, I maistly aye fa’ asleep, 
          for I ken he’s perfectly orthodox, an’ there’s nae need for me tae be 
          watching him the way I dae when we hae a young ane preaching.  In fac’, I jist hear the text an’ see him started 
          — see him gie his goon a pu’ thegither an’ draw doon his cuffs — an’ 
          then I fold my arms and fa’ ower.
        Last Sawbath 
          he preached aboot the Flood, starting wi’ the building o’ the ark.  When I heard this I let him an’ the rest coont 
          up amang them hoo many cubics the ark wis lang, an’ hoo mony broad, 
          an’ aboot hoo mony in circumference, an’ a’ things.  Ye see, even though he had been wrang twa-three feet, it widna be 
          worth contradicting him, an’ I lay back an’ fell ower as peacefully 
          as a wee babbie.
        Weel, it seems 
          that efter he got the ark built tae his satisfaction he began tae tell 
          them aboot the rain, an’ he wis sae natural, an’ imitated the doonfa’ 
          o’ the rain sae weel, that Betty, wha’s getting a wee absent-minded 
          at times, forgot a’ aboot where she wis an’ put up her umbrella, an’ 
          she sat ablow it, smiling awa’ quite content that no’ a drap wis fa’ing 
          on
        her.  The looder he rained the closer she held doon 
          the umbrella, while I slumbered peacefully, little thinking that my 
          wife wis making a spectacle o’ hersel’ in this way.
        Burns says, 
          “Where ignorance is bliss ‘tis folly to be wise," so I slept an’ 
          dreamed.
        Noo, oor sate 
          is, as I tell’t ye before, in the front o’ the laft, an’ as we had a 
          full muster o’ the bairns that day, it wis gey crooded, an’ I had put 
          my hat up on the front, an’ Betty turning roon tae rebuke some o’ the 
          weans, ane o’ the spikes o’ her umbrella grippit up my hat an’ sent 
          it fleein’ awa’ doon on the tap o’ Mr Carmichael’s roon, bald
        heid, 
          wi’ a great crack.
        Noo, ye’ll no’ 
          hinder Mr Carmichael tae hae been asleep tae, bit he waukened up in 
          a great fricht an’ rubbit his heid, an‘ looked a’ roon tae learn whaur 
          he wis, till he saw the hat lying on his knees.  
          Then he picked it up an’ looked at it a wee till he noticed my 
          name stamped on the inside o’t.  Weel, 
          ye see, him an’ me are at daggers drawn, for he keeps the opposition 
          coal ree, an’ tries tae undersell me; so when he saw whase hat it wis 
          his face got quite red, an’ he cried oot—
        “Oh! ho! it 
          wis you wis’t that wis trying tae disgrace me,” for he thocht that I 
          had seen him asleep, an’ had flung my hat doon at him tae draw attention 
          to his condition.  So he rises 
          up, an’ taking a guid aim at me, he flings the hat back, an’ jist as 
          I wis waukenin’ up, an’ asking ane o’ the weans what saum it wis, I 
          got it fair on my face.
        On the spur 
          o’ the moment, an’ without thinking onything aboot it, or whase hat 
          it wis, I grippit ‘it an’ threw it doon at I him again, an’ cried oot— 
          “Ye sacreligious aul’ scoonrel, what d’ye mean by flinging yer hat at 
          me?"
        By this time 
          the kirk wis in a commotion, an’ a’ the bairns were quite in a state 
          o’ delight, for it wisna often they got sich an entertainment.  The minister wiped his broo, the precentor 
          let on he wis looking up a new tune, an’ I don’t know hoo it wid hae 
          a’ ended, if it hadna been that Betty fented, so I had tae turn my attention 
          frae hat throwing an’ oxter her oot intae the session-house.  Then the beadle cam’ in an’ explained it wis ma hat that we had 
          been throwing aboot a’ the time.
        I wis quite
        dumbfoonered, BAILIE, I can tell ye, an’ indeed it wis an awfu’ humiliating 
          position for an elder tae be in.  It’s 
          best, hooever, to put a stoot hert tae a stey brey; so tae smooth matters 
          a bit I invited the minister tae a tea-party on Tuesday, an’ I got him 
          to say nae mair aboot the maitter, particularly as it wisna me that 
          began’t.