Rough Scan




        “BETTY, they 
          want me tae be ane o’ the Skule Brod.”
        “O’ the what?”
        “The Skule
          Them that hae the elections, and look after the skules!”
        “An’ what dae 
          ye dae?”
        “Oh, we a’ sit 
          roon a table, an’ crack awa’ aboot the topics o’ the day — an’ maybe 
          one gies a bit sang.  Then ance 
          a month we coont a’ the lead pencils an’ the pens, an’ maybe tell the 
          maister tae order a gallon or twa mair o’ ink, an’ get in some o’ the 
          bairns tae recite—
          wearer tae the ‘Shaws was bound,
          cried, “Coachman, do not tarry,
          I’ll gie ye a threepenny bit
          on the road tae carry.
        An’ sich like.  But 
          the best o’t, Mr Pinkerton tells me, is when you get in the skule-maister 
          an’ try him wi’ coonts, tae see if he’s keeping up tae the mark.  Being a new member, I’ll be vera vigilant, 
          an’ I’ve twa or three kittle questions tae ask him.  There a wheen o’ thae skule-maisters vera big men noo-a-days because 
          they get sich fine pay, but I’ll tak’ the conceit oot o’ them!  I’ll work them up!  I’ll no be an ornamental member, I can tell ye!”
        “But will ye 
          get ony pay, Jeems?” says Betty.
        “Weel, no directly; 
          but indirectly a heep can be done.  
          For instance, I’ll keep my e’e on the coals, and some day I’ll 
          pick up a bit an’ cry oot, ‘Guid save us, what’s this? what d’ye pay 
          for the waggon o’ this?’  An’ 
          then the books ‘ll be turned up.  ‘Nine 
          an’ ninepence, Mr Kaye, taking a truck at a time.’ 
        ‘Nine an’ ninepence!  Jist 
          gie me the next order, an’ I’ll gie ye better at nine an’
          Certainly I’ll no’ hae much profit, gentlemen, but it’s a public 
          institution it’s for, an’ it’s aye turning the penny.’  So in that way a little can be done, ye see, 
          Betty.  Some say that nae director 
          o’ a public institution. should be allowed to supply them wi’
        onything.  Sich nonsense!  If there’s ony sma’ profit gaun, wha has sich a guid richt tae it 
          as the directors, wha work hard withoot pay; an’ if the public hae tae 
          pay a wee mair for it, weel, they’re quite able, an’, as they’re gey 
          an’ often ungrateful, they deserve tae loss a little.  
          But think o’ the honour, Betty!  
          A’ the rest is as dross compared wi’ the honour.  I’ll hae a gold medal hinging on a big chain 
          roon my neck when I gang tae the kirk on Sawbath, an’ my portrait selling 
          in a’ the shop windows at a penny plain, tuppence coloured.”
        “An’ are ye 
          sure ye’ll win in?”
        “Oh, there’s 
          nae fear o’ that, I think.  Ye 
          see, being an elder, I’ll rin wi’ the minister, an’ he’ll aye refer 
          tae me as his worthy freen an’ ruling elder, Mr Kaye, wha will see that 
          the bairns are weel grounded in the Shorter Catechism, as their faithers 
          were before them, an’ no’ hae their precious time trifled awa’ wi’ stories 
          aboot fairies an’ trash.  I’ll hae tae issue an address in which I’ll 
          gie my views, which will be decidedly economical — that’s the only way 
          tae get votes noo-a-days, aye be for economy — not cheeseparing, ye 
          ken, but economy, retrenchment, an’ reform.  
          Of course, after ye win in, ye never fash yer thoom aboot hoo 
          much is spent till it’s getting near anither election time, an’ then 
          ye maun suddenly fin’ oot that there’s been ower mony ink bottles smashed, 
          an’ that the rulers micht be made o’ common wudd instead o’ that black
        lignumvitee, or whatever it is, an’ tell them that nicht after nicht, 
          when ye ocht tae hae been in bed, ye were sitting poring ower the accounts 
          tae see where onything could be saved, an’ ye looked sae much tae the 
          ratepayers’ interests that even in your sleep ye wid be adding raws 
          o’ figures up, comparing one skule wi’ anither.  I’ll mak’ an unco adae an’ issue bills wi’ the lion an’ the unicorn 
          on the tap, an’ a V.R. in the middle, ca’ing on a’ the voters tae plump 
          for Jeems Kaye, the independent ratepayers’ candidate, if they value 
          the proper upbringing o’ their bairns, in the highest possible efficiency 
          combined wi’ the maist economical rates.
        “It’s coonted 
          vera honorable tae be a member o’ the Skule Brod, I can tell ye, Betty, 
          an’ when I get in ye’ll be a prood woman, an’ it’ll be a great day for 
          Stra’bungo when ane o’ her ain sons is elected tae sit wi’ the best 
          in the land.  But I see the kettle’s biling, Betty, so ye 
          had better get oot the sugar an’ the laidles, an’ Skule Brod or no Skule 
          Brod we’ll mak’ oorsels comfortable.”