JEEMS AND THE MAJOR BETTY an’ me, BAILIE, gaed through last week to the International Exhibition in Edinburgh. Man, it wis a gran’ sicht yon, sae mony things o’ ae kin’ an’ anither I never saw, nor, what’s mair, it never entered into my heart to conceive. But’s it no aboot the International that I’m writin’ tae ye the day. Ye maun ken that efter we had gaen ower a’ the Exhibition, I thocht I wid gi’e Betty anither treat, so I hires an open machine, a phaeton, I think they ca’t — there wis quite a raw o’ them stannin’ in Princes Street — an’ I drives her up tae the Castle. We lichtit doom at the tap o’ the Esplanade, an’ I paid the driver, an’ gied him tippence tae himsel’ as he seemed a decent lad. I then turned tae look for Betty, when ower she comes tae me wi’ a face fu’ o’ importance, an’ cries: — “Jeems, d’ye min’ o’ Wullie Jamieson, that ran awa’ an’ listed awhile syne? Weel, I saw him walking back an’ forrit up there wi’ his kilts on, an’ a gun, an’ he tell’t me he wis there for a century.” “Great sticks! for a century,” says I; “we maun go up an’ see him;” so up we goes, an’ there wis Wullie wi’ a big gun, an’ a feather bonnet, an’ kilts, an’ a’ thegither. “Wullie! Wullie, is this you? an’ are ye really here for a century? what ha’e ye been daein’ at a’?” “Naething.” “Naething, an’ they expect ye tae be here for a century! It bates a’ !” “It’s the custom, Mr Kaye.” “Oh, Wullie, Wullie! for a hale century, summer an’ winter, an’ nae troosers on! Ye astonish me, but a’ that I can say is, if ye’re here for a century, ye’d better come awa’ an’ get some refreshment tae help ye tae survive.” Wullie wis vera sweered tae come, but I said, “Here’s a wee laddie, I’ll gi’e him tippence, an’ he’ll hand yer gun till ye come back.” So puir Wullie, no kenning when he micht get the chance again, handed the laddie his gun, an’ awa we walked doon the Lawnmarket, an’ in tae a decent public-hoose tae ha’e a refreshment. “An’,” says I, as we sat doon, an’ got oor glesses filled, “are ye really there for a century, Wullie?” “Aye,” says he, “it’s my turn.” “An’ whase turn will’t be efter yours, Wullie?” “Oh, some o’ the ither sodgers.” “Michty me, I never heard the like o’ that: I maun tell oor minister aboot it! He’s aye preaching awa’ aboot life being uncertain, an’ telling us that we’re here the day an’ awa’ the morn. Weel, Wullie, your guid health, if it’s the rules o’ the army I suppose I needna offer ony opinion. Aye! aye! Wullie, an’ ye’re noo ane o’ oor noble defenders at a shilling a-day.” Just then a corporal keekit in, an’ said he had been sent by the sergeant tae look for Wullie, wha had gane awa’ an’ left his post. “Och,” says I, “sit doon, my man, and mak’ yersel’ at hame. As the poet says, ‘When shall we three meet again?’” The corporal sat doon, an’ we cracked awa’, an’ in a wee a sergeant cam’ in, an’ asked Wullie if he wis aware he had gaen awa an’ left Edinburgh Castle in charge o’ a wee laddie. “Tuts,” says I, “I’m sure Edinburgh Castle’s no gaun to rin awa’; sit doon, sergeant, an’ we’ll ca’ in the landlord again;“ an’ the sergeant sat doon, an’ we a’ got quite great, an’ in a wee the door opens, an’ in comes a colour-sergeant. “Wullie,” says I, “hoo mony corporals an’ sergeants hae ye in your regiment?” “Why dae ye ask that?” says he. “Because I wis wondering if this room wid haud them a’. Wid ye jist ring that bell again.” Weel, BAILIE, we sat still, an’ sang turn aboot, an’ I gied a recitation, an’ in a wee five mair cam’ in wi’ their guns, an’ looked at us, and I says, “Heck, I’ll stop staunin’ ony mair rounds noo. This is goin’ ower the score.” Them the sergeant cries cot, “This is the picket.” “What ticket?” says I. “The picket,” says he. “Weel, an’ wha invited them here?” But, BAILIE, the question wis soon answered, we fun’t oot for oorsels as we were marched up tae the Castle, and intae a room where the major wis sittin’ strokin’ his moustache, an’ lookin’ vera fierce indeed. As we entered, he says in a sharp, crabbit voice, “I’ll speak to the soldiers by an’ by; but, first, who is this stout old civilian?” At this I stepped up tae him, an’ handed him my card, and he read— AS WE BUY ONLY FOR CASH DIRECT FROM THE BEST MAKERS, WE SUPPLY COALS AT WHOLESALE PRICES. NO OTHER FIRM CAN DO THIS. BEWARE OF SPURIOUS IMITATIONS. ONE TRIAL SOLICITED. “What’s this?” thundered the major. “Oh,” says I, “ye’ve looked at the wrang side; turn it roon.” So he did, and read— LIEUT.-COLONEL KAYE, 1st ROYAL STRA’BUNGO FUSILIERS. Motto— “Aye put your richt fit foremost.” “Colonel Kaye, and is it really you?” “It is,” says I, “attended by my bodyguard.” “I know the Queen took notice of you at the Review.” “If she saw me noo,” says I. “But she won’t, Colonel. As your inferior officer, I tender you my humble apologies, an’ if you’ll promise to say nothing more about this unfortunate affair I’ll make your friend Wullie a lance-corporal on the spot, and advance all the others one step upwards.” “Major, I’m no’ a man tae harbour illwill; there’s my haun. It’s a wee rough, for I’m only one o’ the horny-handed sons o’ toil, altho’ in a manner I’m your superior officer.” So he took my haun, BAILIE, an’ him an’ me lichtit a ceegaur each, an’ walked arm in arm roon the ramparts, an’ I pointed oot tae him various little improvements that could be made. As we partit I had tae promise tae send him my portrait in full regimentals. You may believe, BAILIE, when Betty an’ me gaed intae the train at the Lothian Road Station on our homeward journey, that I was as prood as a monkey wi’ twa tails.