THE LAMPLIGHTER WE are a quiet, law-abiding people doon here in Saltcoats, BAILIE. Indeed, I hivna seen a polisman for six weeks, an’ trooly when I think o’ hoo happy we a’ are I’m aye reminded o’ the hundred an’ thirty-third Saum. Bein’ orderly folk, an’ in oor beds at a proper ‘oor, the street lamps are a’ screwed oot every nicht after the last train comes in. Whenever the train is heard snorting awa’ at eleeven o’clock tae Ardrossan, the lamplichter shoothers his lether an’ walks behin’ a’ the folk, screwing oot as he goes alang. So ye see we don’t encourage late ‘oors. Oor gas, I may remark, is cheaper and better than the Glasgow thing, altho’ we don’t mak’ a great wark aboot it bein’ equal tae sae mony “caunle po’er,” an’ ither nonsense o’ that kin’. Bein’ savin’ folk, moreover, on nichts when the mune’s up the lamps are no lichtit at a’. It wid be o’ nae use, you see, an’ a perfect throwin’ awa’ o’ gas. But that brings me to what I was going to say. The ither nicht, though it wis vera dark, no’ a lamp was lichtit; a matter that rather bothered the inhabitants. By an’ by a few o’ the principal folk cam’ doon tae my place jist as I wis shuttin’ up, an’ after a bit crack we made up oor mind tae gie a ca’ on the lamplichter. Weel, we daunnert up tae his hoose, bit he wis in bed, an’ a’ oor chappin’ at the door couldna rouse him. Seein’ this, we borrow’t a lether frae a slater that steys next door, an’, twa o’ the ithers steadyin’ it, I crept up the rungs an’ twirlt at the window wi’ my fingers, singin’ a’ the time— Oh are ye sleeping, Samie! Oh are ye sleeping, Samie! Oh are ye — “Whit are ye ‘oh-ing’ at,” cries Samie, comin’ tae the window, “a body wid think it wis some lass ye were serenadin’.” “Sam,” says I, solemnly, “what’s this ye hae been daein’ at a’ at a’?” “I’ve been daein’ naething but sleepin’; it’s you that’s kicking up the row.” “But ye hivna lichtit the lamps the nicht.” “This is no’ my nicht, it’s the mune the nicht.” “Surely ye’ve made a mistake, Sam, there’s nae mune that I see.” “I’ve made nae mistake, for I lookit the Almanac.” “But will ye no’ listen tae reason? Put yer heid oot an’ see for yersel’.” Sam put his heid oot. “Weel,” he says, “there’s nae mune, certainly, but ye surely widna hae me responsible for that. I go by the Almanac, an’ if it says there’s to be a mune, it’s a’ one tae me whether there’s nae mune or a million a’ munes, not a lamp will I licht.” “That’s quite richt, Sam; nae doot ye mann hae some rule to go by. Gentlemen,” I cries doon, “he has the best o’ the argument; what am I tae dae noo?” “Haul him oot the window,” they cried up. “Oh, if ye’re goin’ tae begin fechtin’ I’ll come doon,” I replies, “an’ let some o’ the rest o’ ye up.” But they cried that I’d better jist settle it when I wis there, so I says— “Sam, whit Almanac d’ye go by? Is’t Orr’s or the Belfast?” “Here it’s up on the mantelpiece; ye can see it for yersel’,” and he took it doon an’ held it oot tae me, giein’ me a caunle tae read it by. One look, hooever, explained the hale affair. “Guid gracious, Sam,” I cries, “this is last year’s!” “Eh! what! last year’s?” “It is that,” says I. “Mr Kaye,” says Sam, “don’t say another word — wait a minute an’ I’ll put on my troosers, an’ in hauf an ‘oor every lamp’ll be shinin’ sae that ye wid think it wis a general illumination.” He wis as guid as his word, an’ we a’ accompanied him on his rounds, an’ the cheers the laddies gied as each lamp wis lichtit wid ‘a dune yer hert guid. We had a meetin’ in the coal ree afterwards, an’ I proposed that Sam, for his strict attention tae duty — it wis only an error o’ judgment he had made, very different frae carelessness — should get a “rise,” an’ the motion wis carried, an’ Sam an’ us a’ went hame happy.