THE FANCY FAIR HEIGH ho! It’s a’ bye noo—the Bazaar I mean. Little did I think when I wis slumbering peacefully in my cradle—noo a guid wheen years ago—that sich honours were in store for me. The numbers o’ Duchesses an’ Countesses that shook hauns wi’ me, ye widna believe, an’ every ane wis gledder than anither tae meet me, for as one of them said, “It’s not your fault, Mr Kaye, that you’re only a commoner — you might as well have been born a Duke — indeed you are more benevolent and fatherly looking than many a Duke,” an’ indeed that wis true enough, for as far as I saw the titled folk were jist like any ither body. Betty thocht at first that the leddies wid be a’ hinging roon wi’ diamonds, an’ hae a wee black boy haudin’ up their dresses; an’ that the gentlemen wid hae swords, an’ cockit hats, an’ medals, wi’ a flunkey walkin’ behin’, carryin’ a goldheided cane an’ a bottle o’ lavender water. At the Bazaar a Duke, a Marquis, an Earl an’ me gaed awa’ tae hae a bottle o’ champagne, an’ ye widna ken ony difference in us — indeed the waiter aye ca’d me “My Lord“ — an’ afterwards we had a smoke. They had ceegaurs, an’ I had a wudden pipe, an’ I heard a lady say, “Look at that old Duke how unaffected he is — smoking a common wooden pipe - an’ what a noble profile! It’s so easy to recognise blue blood. How different he looks from our pinchbeck gentry.” I, of course, said naethin’, but it pleased me rale weel tae be a Duke if it wis only for one day. Betty wis ane a’ the ladies at the Saltcoats an’ Stra’bungo stall. She was dressed as a Bavarian peasant, whaurever they come frae — someway aboot Jamaica they tell me — an’ she wis tae see that the young Countesses attended tae their business, an’ made as mony sales as possible. When I arrived tae help them, a’ the ladies—an’ there wis some o’ them gey bonnie – cried oot, “Here’s the dear old man,” an’ then jist as I had been Abra’m, they fell on my neck an kissed me. I wis quite ashamed – afore sae mony folk – but a Duke tell’t me that thae titled folk were feer in their manners than commoners. My duty wis tae sit in below the coonter taking the things oot o’ the boxes, wrapping them up in paper, and handing them to the Countesses tae sell. It wis hard work, but my heart wis in it, an’ I sat in as sma’ a space as ever I sat in in a’ my life before. It wis tryin’ tae my back, an’ sair on my legs, but I sat an’ whustled intae mysel’, an’ as I wrapped up the nichtcaps an’ bottles o’ scent tae be ready for the customers, I chuckled at the thocht o’ hoo we were nailing them. Having been ance young mysel’, I had great feelings for the leddies when a young man stopped tae talk tae them, an’ I never listened, but “cooried” doon weel oot a’ sicht an’ took oot a sandwich, an’ as I took a bite an’ heard some sweet nonsense whispered, I wid sae tae mysel’, “Aha, my man, that’s anither sixpence,” for I noticed it cost them jist aboot sixpence a compliment. I had tae keep seeven ladies gaun, so sometimes, as ye may guess, I made mistakes, whiles haunding up a Noah’s ark instead o’ a pincushion, an’ a bairn’s pinafore for an auld lady that wanted a pair o’ gloves; but man’ it wis winnerfu’ hoo correct I wis, a’ things considered. “Mr Kaye, hand me up a pair o’ slippers, please. Oh, dear, this is a black doll you have given me, and it wants a leg, too.” “That wis jist the way I wis trying tae get it aff my hauns, because it wis damaged,” says I; “tell them jist tae tak’ that or let it alane — when it’s for charity, folk shouldna be owre particular.” “Oh, Mr Kaye, here’s a ‘masher’ coming. What will I offer him?” “Weel,” I says, “we’ve a hale boxfu’ o’ monkeys here — they go up the one side o’ the stick, an’ heid foremost doon the ither — we must try an’ sell them — here’s ane o’ them.” “I say, your majesty, I mean my lord — tut, tut, I mean countess, I’ve tummled a can o’ marmalade in among the fancy slippers. What”- “Is Provost Kaye here?” says a fine cheery voice; an’ wha wis this but the Duke o’- I forget wha’s this he said he wis — there wis that many o’ them—but he wis a Duke onyway — an’ when I crept oot an’ shook the sawdust oot my hair, he put his arm through mine, and he says, “Come away, Provost; Lord Tobermory and Sir Rodenick Macfaurlane are waiting for you to have a gemmn at dominoes.” And so awa’ we gaed, and we took a turn doon the old village street first. Man, BAILIE, if yon wis the way they used tae build the hooses they were queer — such ups an’ doons an’ roonaboots, an’ sich wee peens o’ gless that ye wad wunner hoe they could see oot at a’. And they must have been very bad speller - they could hardly spell the commonest word; they apelt the, ye — but of course we a’ ken eddication has made great strides since the Skule Board began. Hooever, it wis an awfu’ crush, an’ we could see naething, so we gaed awa intae a wee room, where the ither twa wis waiting for us, an the Duke got in ceegaurs, an’ gied orders that we werena tae be disturbed on ony accoont, short o’ the Queen hersel’ ca’ing. So we sat and cracked awa’, an’ played for a penny the gemm. “Colonel,” says one o’ them tae me, “it’s a great pity you are not one of us — a man of your talent would be a decided acquisition to our ranks.” “Ah, your Royal Highness,” says I, “dinna craw sae crouse; thae Socialist chiels are going tar mak’ short work o’ ye - a’ you that toil not, neither do you spin — I’m no sure whether that’s in the Bible or in Shakespeare, but it doesna matter — ye’ll hae tar succumb tae we toilers, wha, as Gladstone says, aye, an’ as Joe Chamberlain says, are the salt o’ the earth. Feel that arm“ — the Duke felt it — “that’s the arm o’ a self-made man, wha has risen frae, I may say naething, to be a Provost, a Colonel o’ the volunteers, an Elder, and I don’t know what a’. But I hope I hiv a heart tae feel for ithers’ misfortunes, and if ever Gladstone does get the better o’ ye, an’ puts ye oot o’ hoose an’ ha’, if ye come any way near my hoose, I’ll aye hae a bed for ye, and a wee bit tobacco, an’ a welcome.” “Come on, Provost, it’s your turn — double nine, can ye follow that?” “I can,” says I; and I did, BAILIE; and we played awa till I won fourpence frae the Duke and tippenee frae each o’ the ither twa, and then the Duke sang a comic song, an’ I gied a recitation, and Sir Roderick played a breakdoon on the tambourine, an’ a’ this put such life into us that Lord Tobermory got up on the table and danced “the Sailor’s Hornpipe,” and a bright thocht struck me, so I gaed to the door an’ stuck up a notice— COMIC SINGING, NEGRO MINSTRELSY, AN’ CLOG-DANCING By the FOUR PEARS OF THE RALM. ADMISSION SIXPENCE. No Waiting. A Constant Succession of Novelties. BAILIE, they crooded intae us at sich a rate that we cleared a guid few pounds for the bazaar. Long may dukes an’ bakers join hand in hand for the relief o’ the puir and afflicted.