Rough Scan
 

 

 

 



 
        
       
        JEEMS AT CAIRO
         
         
        BAILIE, this 
          last week has been fu’ o’ events—events o’ sich a stirring character 
          that I, a humble man, never expectit tae see while on earth.
        First, I wis 
          introduced to Arabi, and found him a decent-looking black-adviced man, 
          wi’ a red nicht-cap and a black tassel.  
          My interview wi’ him wis short.  
          He couldna speak Scotch, and I couldna speak Italian or Greek, 
          or whatever it wis, so we jist sat an’ looked at one anither.  Then tae break the silence I handed him my snuff-box, but he shook 
          his heid and said something I didna ken.  
          Says I, “D’ye no snuff, Arabi?” but he aye jist said “Nong!
        nong!” 
          or something like that, so I put my box back in my pocket, and says 
          tae mysel’, “We’ll no come much speed at this rate,” and then I says 
          oot lood, “Weel, guid day tae ye, Arabi, better luck tae ye next time.”  And I cam’ oot.
        Then I went 
          tae see the entry o’ the Kidevee intae Cairo.  
          It wis a gran’ procession—elephants, camels, an’ dromedaries 
          wi’ black men riding on them.  Man,
        BAILIE, the procession at the unveiling o’ Burns’s statue wis naething 
          tae’t.  At nicht there wis a gran’ banquet.  I wis there, of course, and after they had 
          a’ made speeches, every one praising up his neebor, I wis asked tae 
          propose the Kidevee, and mak’ any miscellaneous remarks I thocht proper; 
          so I says— “Gentlemen, as I rise tae my feet and survey this brilliant 
          assemblage wi’ uniforms o’ red, white, and blue, and a’ colours o’ the 
          rainbow, and as I cast my eye roon and see a’ the cockit hats and swords 
          hinging up, the thocht naturally rises tae my lips, ‘What are we a’ 
          here for?’ and following back the train o’ ideas my next natural thocht 
          is, ‘What were we a’ fechting far?’ and thirdly, ‘Noo that it’s a’ ower, 
          what are we tae dae next?’  Hooever, we’ll let thae fleas stick tae the wa’.  As I’m on ma feet I may say that although it’s 
          as warm and genial here as they say, still I widna gie auld Scotland 
          wi’ a’ its frost an’ snow an’ its caul’ win — which mak’s us hardy — 
          for it a’.  Some go intae great 
          rhapsodies aboot the Nile and its crocodiles!  
          I say, gie me the Clyde wi’ its partans!  
          Some talk o’ the mosques and the palaces wi’ the domes on the 
          tap.  They may be a’ very gran’, but for me the Municipal 
          Buildings or the Fine Art Buildings are as gran’ buildings as I have 
          any wish tae see.  Some talk 
          o’ the dhows they hae here, but they hae never seen the ‘Columba’ or 
          the ’Lord o’ the Isles,’ and tae a’ you English and Irish I wid say, 
          ‘Come doon tae the Clyde, and ye’ll see scenery that canna be matched 
          for beauty or variety in the hale world.’ 
        But I’m wandering, an’ therefore tae return.  
          Gentlemen, it’s a source o’ great thankfulness that everything 
          at the Review passed aff weel, an’ that our freen’ the Kidevee an’ a’ 
          his wives were pleased; an’ that reminds me that frae what I hear the 
          Kidevee is aboot as bad as Brigham Young.  I had nae idea thae black folk were allooed 
          tae hae mair than one wife, but I hear oor freen’ has mair than a
        hunner.  It must be on awfu’ hoosefu’ tae gang hame 
          tae at night, especially if he has tae sit doon an’ read the papers 
          tae them a’ — but maybe thae hae nae papers oot here, the black folk 
          ‘ll no can print, I suppose.  But 
          tak’ it as ye like, Kidevee, it must be an awfu’ haunfu’ for ye.  
          Whiles when there’s a rippet in oor hoose I think one wife is 
          ower mony, but wi’ mair than a hunner I pity ye.  
          Ye maun be thankfu’ tae rin intae the coal bunker, or ony place, 
          tae hide oot o’ the road.  Tae 
          resume, hooever.  Some say the 
          medical department broke doon.  But 
          then something must break doon.  There’s 
          so much red tape at big salaries in London that they must bungle something 
          jist tae let us see their power, and why no’ the medical department?  But after a’ I expected it wid be worse than 
          it wis, for I thocht they micht dae as they did at the Crimean War, 
          send the men and horses tae one place and the food and fodder tae
        anither.  And noo, gentlemen, I’m aff the morn and I 
          hope ye’ll get things sorted up, and come back as quick as ye can, an’ 
          be welcomed wi’ open airms by the hale country, and I hope every ane 
          o’ ye, frae the drummers tae the drill sergeants, ‘ll get a step up 
          the ladder o’ promotion.  Gentlemen, 
          the toast is, ‘Egypt, the Kidevee, and a’ the Mistress Kidevees.’”
        There wis great 
          cheering when I finished, and then a wheen mair spoke, but I had tae 
          come awa’ tae pack my carpet bag.
        As I write this 
          the Clyde-built clipper ship “Duchess a’ Camlachie,” 150 A1 at Lloyd’s, 
          is getting on board her provisions, and the sailor bodies are hauling 
          up the anchor and singing “Ye ho! my lads! ye ho!” which, I suppose, 
          is some Egyptian sang they hae learned.  
          Then the bosun’s mate is standing at my cabin door trying tae 
          thread a needle tae sew a button on for me, and I’m writing this tae 
          get it posted tae ye at once.
        My mission here 
          is ended, and although I havena got the acknowledgments I deserve frae
        heidquarters, still I’m conscious o’ haein’ dune some little for my 
          country.  It was as your special 
          correspondent, BAILIE, I cam’ here, and if you and your freens are satisfied 
          I’ll be delighted.
        Haein’ a few 
          minutes tae spare, as it seems the anchor is fankled some way, I gie 
          ye an extract or twa frae a letter I got frae Betty yesterday; it will 
          show you hoo I was cheered when in a foreign land: -
        “My dear
        Jeems,—It’s 
          wi’ a heavy heart I lay doon my stocking, and tak’ up my pen tae write 
          ye a few lines.  Ye maun never 
          go awa’ again—at least so faur—I widna care aboot ye going tae Millport 
          or the like o’ that, but Egypt! it seems as if ye micht as weel be at 
          the north pole, and the win’ howling roon the hoose at nichts and no 
          a mon in’t.
        “Business is 
          improving.  I suppose it’s because 
          the winter is coming on, an’ the laddie made twa bad debts last week.  An‘ then the carter has tumml’t a cart o’ coals 
          on the tap o’ the new wheelbarrow and smash’t the leg aff. . . .
        “When I was 
          ripeing Dauvat’s pockets the ither nicht after he went tae bed, I got 
          a new fardin pipe and a box a’ matches.  
          Ye’ll hae tae speak tae him aboot this when ye come back.
        “The minister 
          wis up the ither day, and he was awfu’ angry at you for telling the 
          BAILIE aboot the toddy; hooever, I said that when ye cam’ back ye wid 
          propose raising his salary ten pounds, and that pleased him. . . .
        “Mrs M’Farlane 
          next door has got a new bonnet wi’ gerianiums a’ hinging roon aboot 
          it.  I must get one the same 
          whenever ye’re hame, for I think it wid become me.”
        Ye see what 
          it is, BAILIE, to hae a loving wife at hame.