JEEMS ON A VOYAGE DON’T be alarmed, BAILIE, it wisna tae America, nor yet tae the Mediterranean, nor even by the “one hundred and forty-ninth popular Saturday afternoon excursion tae Lochgoilhead and back for ninepence.” No, BAILIE, it wis in the canawl – noo, dinna jump at conclusions, it wisna in the Suez canawl, nor yet the Caledonian, nor even the Crinan, but on the Forth and Clyde Canawel, frae Port-Dundas tae Kirkintilloch, that lovely village nestling amang the Campsie hills – at least, no far frae them. Last Saturday, BAILIE, Betty an’ me got intae the Rockvilla omnibus at St. Enoch Square, an’ for tippence got hurled up tae Port-Dundas; an’ here, lying at Spiers’ Wharf, we beheld for the first time the “Rockvilla Castle,” a fine wee boat, wi’ a funnel pented the same as the “Iona’s,” red below and black abin, a saloon in the neb o’ her, and anither in the hin’ en’ an’ twa raw o’ sates abin the saloon, wi’ a ticket up, “Top, cabin fare.” When Betty an’ I gang frae hame, we aye like dae the thing decently – we believe in the maxim o’ leeve an’ let leeve – so we stepped on to the tap o’ the saloon an’ sat doon, and surveyed the surroundin’ scenery till the boat wid start. Bein’ frae the country, we were lost in admiration at the great stores, the weather-beaton sailors, an’ the magnificent vessels – I heard a man on the next sate ca’in’ them “scows”: it struck me as a new name, but I didna pretend to ken much aboot vessels, sae I sat still an’ serenly looked roon. I then read the bill o’ the sailin’s :- “The fine, safe seagoing steamer ‘Rockvilla Castle’ sails daily, Sundays excepted, with or without pilots, and with liberty to tow or assist vessels in distress, from Spiers’ Wharf, Port-Dundas, at 20 minutes to 4, for Lambhill, Kirkintilloch, and Kilsyth. Fares, Kirkintilloch, 6d; Kilsyth, 8d. Passengers are requested to look after their own luggage. Servants in cabin pay full fare.” Time being up, oor gallant captain scanned the horizon wi’ his eagle eye, an’ seein’ nae mair passengers comin’ up Port-Dundas, he pulled his sou’-wester doon ower his ears, an’ sung oot, “Throw off that bow line—three turns ahead—half a turn astern—ease her—full speed”; an’ aff we went tae plough the deep, giein’ a last fond look at oor native laud, amid the wavin’ o’ pocket-napkins. On we went smoothly withoot adventure, till the man on the look-oot cried, “A light on the port bow.” But it only turned oot tae be a man lichtin’ his pipe on Ruchill Wharf; so we sailed on. Then the mate called oot, “A suspicious-looking craft without sails bearing up the channel.” Every e’e was strained for the suspicious vessel, an’ as it cam’ nearer we made oot it wis an immense armour-clad drawn by twa horses, a white ane an’ a broon ane. We hailed the stranger: “What vessel is that?“ — “The ‘Kate Dalrymple’ o’ Tillietudlem.” — ”Where from and to?” — “Frae Bowling tae Coatbrig, wi’ a cargo o’ pig iron.” Reported stormy weather at Wynford Locks, an’ a heavy sea runnin’. Civilities being exchanged, the driver crackit his whup, oor engineer dived doon below, an’ the twa vessels parted, oor captain bein’ asked tae report havin’ spoken the ither tae the Kilsyth Advertiser. After a wee a cry was raised, “Breakers ahead!” The captain cried oot, “Man the lifeboats, an’ every man for himsell’.” Hooever, it turned oot tae be the waves dashin’ ower a hunnerwecht o’ coals that had fa’en overboard frae a lichter. On we went, an’ when the “Rockvilla Castle” was opposite the new Barracks on the Maryhill road, a terrific storm arose, little by little, till the wind howled an’ the waves dashed against us. The very seagulls tum’led heids ower heels in their fricht, while oor vessd shivered an’ strained, an’ her timbers creaked, an’ the carpenter reported three feet o’ water in the hold. The women begau tae pray while we men cried “All hands tae the pumps,” an’ at it we went with a will. When the storm was at its warst the boatswain shouts oot, “A strange fish three points on the starboard beam!” We stoppit pumping, an a crooded tae see this new sicht. “The sea-serpent for a sixpence!” cried oor second mate. “Unfurl the top-gallant foresail, an’ splice the main brace!” shouted the captain. “Man the jolly-boat!“ “Aye! aye! Sir!“ “Get yon auld harpoon oot o’ the main hatch an’ after him! A thoosand pounds to the man wha catches him! he has often been seen, but it remains wi’ us tae catch him! Drive the harpoon in at the third bend o’ his tail an’ he’ll whummle ower as deed’s a herring.” An’ amid the fury o’ the gale the sea-serpent was seen sailing up frae Bowling tae us, wi’ his tail rearing in the air, while ten gallant British sailors jumped into the jolly-boat tae get a haud o’ him. I being auld and aye cautious, thocht I wid stop on board, as things were gettiug serious, I determined to keep an e’e the lifeboat, an’ wis making my way ower tae it when Betty grips me by the arm an’ says, “Bless me, Jeems, tak care or ye’ll fa’ in,” an’ BAILIE, I awoke. It was a dream. I had eaten a heavy dinner, an’ the speel the brae had wearied me, an’ so I had fa’en asleep afore we started frae Port-Dundas, jist as I wis admiring the scenery. It’s maybe hardly worth while me telling ye o’ my dream, but it’ll account for me no describing the places we passed atween Port-Dundas and Lambhill. Weel, here we were sailing along the canawl, thro’ a fine country, wi’ raws o’ wee hooses here and there, an’ corn fields, an’ the shearers hard at work, and every noo an’ again passing inward bound vessel fu’ o’ coal. We stoppit noo an’ again tae put oot folk wi’ their week’s provisions frae Glasgow. We gaed by Cadder — a bonny wee place, wi’ an auld kirkyard an’ kirk — then passed the residence o’ a wheen tinklers in the wood, wi’ an awfu’ swarm o’ wee sun-burnt bairns. At last, withoot further mishap, we arrived at Kirkintilloch at twenty minutes to six, moet extraordinarily weel pleased wi’ oor sail. It was cheap, it was smooth, it was droll; oor boat wis nate an’ clean, an’ oor worthy captain civil, careful, an’ attentive. For ither tippence we could have got to Kilsyth, an’ I wanted tae go, an’ got the length o’ saying tae Betty, “Never min’ expenses, ma woman, when we’re oot for a holiday; come awa’ tae Kilsyth.” But we thocht we wid leave that for anither day.