Rough Scan
 

 

 

 



 
        
       
        AT THE COAST
         
         
        IT‘S an awfu’ 
          business this gaun “doon the watter.” 
        I often wonder wha began’t.  
          In my young days my respectit faither an’ mither, aifter an unco 
          shaking o’ heids an’ looking at the bank-book, managed tae get a fortnicht 
          in a but-an’-ben at Goorock, where they drank unlimited quantites o’ 
          saut water, an wore oot a’ their auld claes.  
          Noo its different.  Every
        weel-regulated family must hae at least a month, an’ a hale cottage 
          tae themsel’s; wi’ special suits, an’ bonnets, an’ cloaks for the occasion.  
          Tae me that likes my ain fireside it’s trying.  As I read the paragraphs aboot the boats bein’ overhauled, an’
        pented, 
          an’ papered, an’ them trying the engines, an’ pittin’ in new
        bilers, 
          I get uneasy, an’ foresee a sad time comin’.  
          Then there appears in the papers, “Sandbank, tae let, a room 
          an’ kitchen, wi’ 5 beds, for June,” or “Family residence on shore at
        Skelmorlie, two apartments, an’ use o’ kitchen,” an’ next I heer Betty 
          and the bairns arge-barglin’ aboot what’s the best place, some thinkin’
        Garelochhead, an’ ithers advocatin’ the Lergs.  
          I read awa’ at the papers an’ never let on I hear them, although 
          my mind’s gey an’ troubled a’ the time, an’ I hardly ken what I’m readin’.
        Hooever,
        BAILIE, 
          I’ve been lang enough married noo tae ken I’m aye oot-voted on a question 
          like this-I stan’ alane—one vote—Betty an’ the bairns faur oot-number 
          me, so I jist gie in at once an’ be done wi’t.  
          Indeed, it’s like takin’ physic, the less ye palaver the better.
        Man, at first 
          it’s no sae bad doon the water either.  
          Efter ye arrive, ye lee Betty an’ the aulder anes in the
        hoose, 
          coontin’ the packages tae see if they’re a’ there, ane rinnin’
        oot, 
          tae get a quarter a pun’ o’ smoked ham an’ a cutting loaf, while you 
          an’ twa-three o’ the wee-est anes gang doon tae the shore, an’ pouter 
          aboot amang the chuckies lookin’ for partans.  
          A’ the time there’s a taste o’ the saut water floating aboot, 
          that mak’s you, like the wild asses ye read o’ in the Auld Testament, 
          “snuff up the win’ afar.”  D’ye ken, BAILIE, it’s a vera natural expression that, ye’ll notice 
          the mules in the tramway caurs daein’t every noo an’ then.
        Whin nicht comes 
          on, hooever, it’s no sae nice.  There’s 
          aye a terrible wark ower the beds.  Ane o’ the maist tryin’ an’ difficult jobs that fa’ tae my lot is 
          tae get three weans tae lie on two chairs an’ a sofa, wi’ a short supply 
          o’ blankets, an’ them fechtin’ for wha’s tae get at the back!  But at lang an’ last they’re stowed awa’ someway, 
          and then ye licht yer pipe and compose yersel’ for a read.  Unfortunately, the lodgin’ hoose libraries 
          are aye sma’.  Ye kin generally 
          reckon on “Boston’s Fourfold State,” “Wanderings among the Tombs,” an’ 
          auld coont book, or maybe a moth-eaten “Juvenile Reader,” an’ this is 
          no the thing tae recommend itsel’ tae yer min’ when ye’re oot for pleasure.
        But, BAILIE, 
          the next mornin’ dings a’.  Ye’re 
          no hauf sleepit, whin up ye jump in despair for fear ye should be late, 
          an’ rin tae the steamer, gettin’ ahint the funnel for a smoke, an’ pittin’ 
          on the boldest face ye can sp that ye may look as if ye were enjoyin’ 
          yersel’.
        I pass ower,
        BAILIE, the rush up the pier, an’ the hurl tae the city in a railway 
          compartment, wi’ six on baith sides an the twa windows closed.  This inspirin’ mornin’ performance,
        hooever, 
          goes on, day by day, every day, for four weeks.