JEEMS’ RETURN IN due time, BAILIE, the “Duchess o’ Camlachie” arrived at Kingston Pock, an’ the Custom Hoose officers having searched a’ oor carpet-bags tae see we had nae tobacco or snuff in them, we got leave to go away, an’ I hired a noddy an’ ordered the man to drive tae Strathbungo. As I wis hurling up the quay I felt mair comfortable than I had done for a guid while back. I hadna as much room as I had in the ship, but it wis a heep smoother; no sich an awfu’ ups an’ doons, altho’ the causeway doon at the quay is nane o’ the best. I arrived at Stra’bungo, an’ gieing the cabnian his fare, wi’ a sixpence tae himsel’ because he hadna thrashed the horse an’ had touched his hat an’ ca’d me “Cornel“ —they’re sensible men the cabmen— I gaed away up the stair an saluted Betty, wha wept tears o’ joy, an’ then I gaed doon tae the coal ree tae see my foreman. Here I wis met by a deputation o’ the inhabitants, wha shook hands wi’ me an congratulated me on getting hame safely, an’ said that I wis tae be entertained tae a banquet, an’ that the hale toon wis tae be illuminated. A’ the shops had shut, they said, except tbe doctor’s — it keepin’ open in case o’ medicine being wanted. Further, they tell’t me that there wis tae be squibs, curly crackers, an’ fuzees, an’ a’ sorts o’ things. Little did I think, BAILIE, when I arrived at Kingston Dock, o’ the honour that wis in store for me. Hooever, I needna tell ye aboot the procession. The hin’ end o’t was at Eglinton Street when the first o’t wis awa’ oot past the bakery at Crossmyloof. The guards o’ the ‘Shaws caurs had clean faces an’ a flooer in their button holes, an’ the drivers had a’ on shirt collars an’ were clean shaved, which made me think the company hadna been sae sair on them wi’ the fines as they used to be. If the Partick Bailie that spoke aboot the guards oot his way only seen oors, he wid hae thocht we were highly favoured indeed. The great event wis the banquet in the evening. The hall wis crooded, an’ hundreds were refused admission, as the theatre folk wid say. Mr Pinkerton wis in the chair, an’ the minister wis there, an’ I sat between them. After a wheen o’ common-place toasts had been duly honoured, such as “The Army and Navy,” “The Clergy o’ a’ Denominations,” “The Neebouring Burghs o’ Crosshill an’ East Pollokshields,” an’ a’ the rest, the Chariman got up tae propose the toast o’ the evening, and ye could hae heard a preen fa’. Gentlemen he said, oor freen Mr Kave has returned frae Egypt safe and soond, after a series o’ hair-breadth escapes that wid hae made ony or’nar man’s hair turn white in a single nicht, an’ if we were prood o’ him before we’ll be twice as prood o’ him noo. While I was walking up Buchanan Street the itlier day, Mr Kave, I saw in Mr Burton’s window at the corner o’ Gordon Street, your vera image as ye appeared oot in Egypt, wi’ a lead pencil in one haun an’ a copy o’ the BAILIE below your oxter. We were talking o’ buying it to pit on the platform the nicht. It’s no often a war correspondent gets sich an honour as that, but then, Mr Kaye, your despatches were sae trustworthy - nae gran’ writing - nae peereorations, nae nonsense – evervthing true, and jist as ye had really seen’t. Hooever, Mr Kaye, we’re glad tae hae ye back again. We’re grateful tae ye for the honour ye hae shed on your native toon, an’ we’re gratified tae think that it was only when one o’ Stra’bungo’s hardy sons arrived in Egypt that matters oot there were brocht tae a heid. But if I wis tae speak frae June tae Janiwarv I couldna express tae ye the feelings o’ this great assemblage; so alloo me noo tae come tae deeds, not words, an’ present you wi’ the freedom o’ this ancient an’ honourable burgh in a sma’ silver box. (Great cheers.) Oor adjacent neebor (Glasgow) has been gieing awa’ a heep o’ freedoms lately, maistly tae strangers, wha laugh in their sleeve at the nice wee present: but we honour ane o’ oorsels. It’s but a sma’ box, Mr Kaye — in fact, it’s no much bigger than my snuff-box if it’s sma’ it’s a’ the easier carried aboot. Yer name’s on the lid, an’ below is the weel-kent arms o’ Stra’bungo, a lion staunin’ on its hin’ legs, an’ playin’ at the ba’, wi’ the motto, “Never a great loss but there’s aye some sma’ profit.“ Inside o’ the box is the freedom written on parchment by the skulemaister. Of coorse ye ken it’s only an empty honour, noo that the feudal system is done away wi’, but it’s a’ we have in oor power tae gie ye. Mr Kaye, here’s your box, an’ lang may ye be spared to carry it aboot wi’ ye. (Great cheers.) Mr M’Faurlan then got up an’ said — Mr Chairman, Mr Kaye, an’ various ither gentlemen too numerous tae mention: I’m nae great dab at speaking, no being brocht up in that way, but as an auld freen’ o’ Mr Kaye’s, I hae much pleesure in seconding the motion. I once heard Mr Kaye gieing an advice tae a nephew o’ his wha wis beginning the world “Wullie,” says he, “if ye want tae be respectit an’ get presented wi’ a gold watch, chain, and appendages, get on tae be a secretary or treasurer tae a kirk or a boolin’ green. Be too noble minded tae tak’ ony pay — it wid only be a pound or twa onyway — an’ in twa-three years ye’ll get a handsome present; an’ then ye can say ye’re in failing health an’ retire.” Gentlemen, I treasured up thae pearls o’ wisdom, intending them for my ain sons; but noo here’s Mr Kaye himsel’ getting a present. Only, hooever, I think my auld freen’ didna expect this, an’ that mak’s a’ the difference. (Cheers.) Then I got up. Gentlemen, I says, as I rise tae my feet, wi’ the snuff-box in my haun’, an’ survey a’ the weel kent faces, frae the minister doon tae the bellman, it mak’s me prood that I am once more in Stra’bungo wi’ a’ its sylvan beauty. When I was hurling hame an’ gazing on Dixon’s bleezes, the brickworks, an’ a’ the fair scene, I wondered that ever I wis tempted tae leave’t for even a day. But Burns or somebody says, “Absence makes the heart grow stronger.” Never were truer words penned. When I was lying in my wee bed in the ship, an’ no vera able tae sleep on account of the way she wid be tumbling up an’ doon, my mind’s eye wid be always at hame, fancying I saw Mr Pettigrew weeing oot that unparalleled tea o’ his at twa shillings, or Mr. Pinkerton rinning after a tramway caur wi’ his wudden leg. An’ when I wis sitting in Sir Archibald Alison’s ain tent smoking thae new-fashioned cigarettes, an’ a black man bringing in coffee tae me in a silver teapot, an’ surroonded wi’ a’ the luxury it was possible tae get in a tent no very waterproof, I sighed for my ain fireside, wi’ Betty beside me, an’ my cutty pipe an’ evening paper. Yes, gentlemen, I’m gled to be hame again. The black folk’s nae better than they’re ca’d. I have heard it said that a’ travellers are apt tae look doon on their acquaintances wha hae never travelled; but altho’ I’ve been as faur awa’ as Egypt I’ll no be the least prood, an’ I’ll be gled to see ony o’ ye drapping in when I’m no thrang, so that I may explain a’ the knotty points tae ye — if ye jist gie me twa-three nichts tae study the map, an’ see exactly whaur Egypt is. For, min’ ye, sailing in a ship’s no like hurling in an omnibus. Ye vera sune lose your reckoning when ye’ve naething tae look at but sea an’ sky, wi’ maybe an odd lichthoose noo an’ again, an’ sae far as I could see the ship micht as weel been sailing roon an’ roon. Hooever, gentlemen, I’ll say nae mair aboot it enoo, for I see by a bill in my haun that during the winter I am tae gie a lecture tae the Crossmyloof Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Society, an’ the subject is to be “Egypt, its Past History an’ Future Prospects, as viewed from a Military Point of View, being the Reminiscences of a War Correspondent attached to the Heelan’ Brigade during the late War! Admission, 3d. and 6d.; a few reserved seats, 1s. Doors open at 7; performance to commence at half-past.” An’ noo, gentlemen, this is a vera handsome box ye hae gien me. If its sma’ it’s genuine, an’ there’s no many things genuine noo-a-days. I’ll preserve it carefully alang wi’ the address, and I hope it’ll be handed doon tae generation after generation, an’ be looked upon as the most precious article in the Kaye family. In conclusion, I wid propose that we a’ go oot an’ see the laddies setting aff the fuzees an’ ither illuminations. An’ we did, BAILIE, an’ altho’ the papers took nae notice o’t, the auldest inhabitant says there never wis a nicht like it in Stra’bungo. At last I’m back at my ain fireside, for which I’m thankfu’; and in this stormy weather I never creep intae my bed at nicht without thanking Providence he didna mak’ me a sailor.