Rough Scan
 

 

 

 



 
        
       
        AT THE PHRENOLOGIST’S
         
         
        DEAR BAILIE,— 
          I had often heard folk talking aboot getting their heids read by phrenologists.  
          I canna say I understood much aboot it; but it was curious; an’ 
          as Betty an' me wis in Kilmarnock the ither day, an’ saw a phrenologist’s 
          sign, we thocht we would go up tae him an’ see the system for oorsel’s.
        So up we gaed, 
          an were shown intae a gran’ room fu’ o’ picters an’ stuccy figures, 
          wi’ their heids a’ marked oot intae wee squares wi' numbers on them 
          — makin’ their heids like a dambrod.  
          Efter we had looked roon a wee the phrenologist cam’ in an’ shook 
          hauns wi’ me, an’ said he wis gled tae see us, an’ he wid jist begin, 
          so as no tae keep us waiting.  So Betty says—
        “Jeems, ye had 
          better get yours read first, as yours is the biggest.”  I therefore sat doon in the chair, an’ the 
          phrenologist began tae feel a’ ower my heid, wi’ his hauns creeping 
          like a partan, an’ his clerk drew in a chair tae a wee table tae mark 
          doon the report.
        "First,” 
          says the phrenologist, “we have philo-progenitiveness strong.  George, mark down nineteen.”
        “An’ what’s 
          the meaning o’ that lang word?” says I.
        “Love of children,” 
          says the phrenologist.
        “But he hisna 
          nineteen weans,” says Betty.
        “An’ hope I 
          never will,” says I, devoutly.
        “Pray be quiet,” 
          says the phrenologist.
        “Certainly,” 
          says I; “Betty, wheesht, for this is a solemn undertaking.  Noo, gang on.“
        "Next we 
          have combativeness middling.  Mark 
          down fourteen, George.”
        "Fourteen 
          what?” says Betty.
        “Fourteen pints," 
          says I.
        “But what dis 
          it mean?” says Betty.
        “It means that 
          the organ of combativeness is developed “-
        “What organ 
          are ye speaking aboot noo?” says I, for I thocht he wis makin’ a fule 
          o’ me aboot the organ I men­tioned tae ye a while syne, “jist tak’ care, 
          my man; ye’ll maybe gang ower faur.  
          Never you mind the organ — it wis nae business o’ yours; an’ 
          as for it being developed “—
        “What’s developed,
        Jeems?” says Betty.
        “Tut, tut! will 
          you hold your peace and let me go on?” says the phrenologist.
        “Weel, go on,” 
          says I, “it’s yersel’ that’s haivering awa’ aboot things that dinna 
          concern ye at a’.  I’m share 
          ye had naething tae dae with the organ.  
          You don’t sit in oor kirk.”
        “Good gracious,” 
          cries the phrenologist, “will you be quiet?”
        “Oh, Jeems, 
          never heed ‘um — it wis jist a wee bit joke o’ his.  Ye ken thae folk maun be ceevil tae their customers.  Jist sit still, Jeems, an’ pit on a pleasant 
          smile—it’ll mak it turn oot better.  
          Noo, you gang on; feel if he has a guid heid for coontin’, sir.”
        “Tut, awa’ wi’ 
          yer nonsense,” says I, “I can coont a’ I need tae coont; it’s no ill 
          tae coont twa hunnerwecht at ninepence: it’s no like the drapers, wi’ 
          six-an’-three-quarter yards at wan an’ elevenpence three-fardins, or 
          “-
        “Well, next 
          we have acquisitiveness large.  George, 
          mark down “—
        “Noo, ye see,
        Jeems, I aye said ye were inquisitive, an’ ye widna believe me.”
        “It’s not inquisitiveness, 
          madam, but acquisitiveness.  Ack! ack! ack!”
        “An’ what’s
        ack! ack! ack! if it’s a fair question?”
        “Oh, gracious, 
          will you be quiet?  You’ll drive 
          me mad.”
        “Oh! I widna 
          like tae dae that; but it’s extr’ornar’ the lot he’s got in his heid 
          after a’—hale three ‘acks‘ — see that, noo!  
          Man, I wid hardly hae believed it.  
          D’ye ken, it’s rale nice tae hear he’s sae wise!  Jist rin your haun roon again, and feel if 
          there’s no anither bump or twa on the tap.  
          Could ye no’ get a haud o’ yin that wid mak’ him no’ sae
        crabbit, 
          for he’s whiles gey an’ nippie when he gets a bad sixpence, or the like 
          o’ that?”
        “Now, really, 
          I must get on.  Here we have 
          secretiveness small.  He is frank 
          and candid; he communicates freely what he knows.”
        “Deed ye may 
          weel say that, for I canna darn a stocking but he maun write tae his 
          freen the BAILIE about it.”
        “Perceptive 
          faculties, strongly developed; veneration, very great; caution, most 
          exceptionally large; and — great thunder; what’s this—what—what—”
        “Oh, what is’t,” 
          says Betty; “naething wrang, I hope his heids no fractured or
        onything.”
        “Well, I declare-bless 
          my stars, this is awful — I’m surely mistaken — no, I—”
        “Oh! Jeems, 
          what’s going tae come ower ye moo; there’s something wrang, whatever 
          it is.”
        “Oh!“ says I, 
          “jist let him work awa’ awee.”
        “Madam, may 
          I ask if you are aware that you have the most benevolent husband in 
          all Scotland; he must give away largely”
        “Oh! he does 
          weel enough, sir, for his station.  
          He puts a penny in the plate every Sunday, hail, rain, or snaw; 
          never misses a day except when it’s a collection for the Jews, an’ he 
          gies the penny tae the first puir wean he meets; an’ I’ve seen him often 
          bringing hame a pennyworth o’ black tae the weans, for he aye likes 
          tae see us happy.”
        “Tut! tut! he 
          must give away hundreds weekly.”
        “Hunners!
        hunners! 
          whaur wid he get hunners?”
        “Well, the organ 
          of benevolence is larger in him than I saw it in any human being; it’s 
          astonishing; it’s as large as an egg.  
          Feel it!”
        “Gae awa’ wi’ 
          ye,” says I, rising up, “that’s a lump that raised on my heid yesterday 
          by a hammer fa’ing aff the shelf on’t.  
          Hooever, there’s been better men than you mista‘en before this.  The best o’ folk will mak’ mistakes, even I 
          mysel’ hae sometimes been wrang, a’tho’ it’s no often.  But I doot your system’s no perfect.  Hooever, maybe that’s no faut, so I’ll jist 
          pay ye your sixpence an’ we’ll go.”
        “My fee is two-and-six.”
        “Twa an’ six! 
          a hale hauf croon!  Od, you’re 
          joking noo, sir.”
        “No I am not, 
          I assure you.”
        “Hauf a croon 
          for rinning your haun ower my heid an’ telling me a lot o’ haivers that 
          didna dae me ony guid.  My
        certy, 
          but there’s mony a way tae wile awa’ the money noo-a-days.  
          I’m thankfn’ I didna get yours read, Betty.  Ah, weel, hauf a croon is no a great deal, after a’, tae spend in 
          a lifetime on a scientific subject.  
          There’s your siller.  Ye 
          should tak’ a sixpence aff for that mistake ye made aboot the bump o’ 
          benevolence.  No!  Weel, then, I must jist say guid day tae ye.  
          Come awa’, Betty.  Solomon says ‘a fool an’ his money is sune
        pairted.’  It’s been that wi’ 
          me, but I’ve learned one thing — that is, that a coal hammer can be 
          the unconscious instrument o’ making a man appear benevolent in the 
          eyes o’ his fellow-men.”