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Black Spider

The Journey Hame

The hameward journey alang the coast was charmin', an' the motty car, ye wad hae thocht (like a horse), kent it was gaun hame. The horn was the only thing aboot it I didna like; whether it had got the cauld or what was wrang wi't I dinna ken, but it was like twae disagreeable sounds tied thegether an' fechtin' for which was tae be loodest when the chefoneer let them go. That's a thing they micht shairly improve. If I could afford a motty car I wad like yin wi' a wee organ insteed o' a horn that wad play a wheen tunes when fleein' alang the country roads, an' I'm share folk wadna be sae mad at the motty cars if they were playin' some nice music. It's the frichtsome blast o' the tuneless horn as muckle as onything that pits folk's back up an' makes them jump frae one side o' the road tae the ither like scared rabbits. Supposin' a car was passin' thro' a village playin' a nice waltz or a polka the folk wad be waltzin; or hoppin' oot o' the road feelin' as happy an' at hame as if they were in the ballroom; an' horses, I'm share, wadna be half sae fear'd if they heard the music. Several times we were stoppit on the road hame tae let unruly horses past, but whether they were frichtened or jist pretendin' I couldna say, but some o' them made a fine caperin', an' ithers passed as if they never saw us.

We landed hame a' safe an' soond onywey, efter a rale enjoyable day, an' the holiday did John a' the guid in the world; he was up an' away tae his wark next mornin' as bricht as a bee.

Everything comes tae an end, hooever; even a maist enjoyable holiday. I wasna thinkin' aboot gaun hame, but a letter frae ma auld man tellin' me he had had a dust wi' the lassie that was keepin' hoose for him in ma absence left me nae choice but tae pack ma portmanty an' catch the efternoon train. John was rale vexed when I said guid-bye tae him at denner time, at least he said he was, but when I come tae think o't maybe he wasna sae vexed, seein' he wad get mair o' Leezie's company, an' they're rale fond o' yin anither, as they should be. My veesit bein' sae suddenly brocht tae an end I wasna able tae complete the programme I had mapped oot, an' maybe it was as weel, for yin never kens what's tae happen in a day's march. I wad hae liked tae seen the foreign polisman again, he wad hae been nane the waur o' the advice I was gaun tae gie him. The Penny Laddie will get his sermon if the weddin' comes off wi' Jeannie. I'll invite them oot tae spend a week at oor place. The wee nipper on the Calton Hill I can safely leave tae take care o' himsel'; there's a future in front o' him, or I'm cheated. Leezie saw me off at the station. I had jist opened the door o' a through carriage when she says, "Don't go in there, that's a smokin' compairtment, but if she had said a spittin' compairtment she wad hae been nearer the mark. The flair was jist soomin'. It's a wonder tae me that railway companies dinna introduce a spit-box flush in the flair frae wan side o' the compairtment tae the ither; they could pit some sand intae the box an' cover it ower wi' a nice gratin' an' make yin o' the ends o' the box tae open so that they could soop it oot, an' smokers could spit an' sit in comfort. An' anither thing I often hear John sayin', there's no half enough smokin' compairtments. When he traivels by train the smokin' compairtments are aye that fu' he can hardly ever get a sait, an' ony amount o' ither compairtments rinnin' empty, an' when there's eight or ten folk packed in like sardines in a box an' a' smokin' it wad pushin a rat. Sometimes in a cauld day, when the windows canna be left doon, they can hardly see yin anither for reek.

I had nae bather wi' ma ticket in the hame-gaun. Leezie tel't the ticket examiner where I was gaun, an' he jist touched his cap wi' his nippers an' passed on, an' I never was asked for ma ticket till I was gaun oot at the gate efter I landed. John met me at the station an' was rale gled tae see me, an' I was jist as gled tae see him, an' unless I change ma mind I'll no' leave him again. Efter a', there's nae place like hame.

The very next day oor meenister ca'd tae speer hoo I had enjoyed ma trip tae what he ca'd "Modern Athens." They aye hae sic a lot o' furniture polish on their language it's no' easy tellin' sometimes what they're drivin' at, but no' tae show ma ignorance I jist said, "Rale weel, thenk ye, meenister, rale weel," an', bein' uppermost in ma mind, I was as near's a toucher tellin' him aboot the pantomime, but luckily I checkit masel' in time, an' fairly wandered him wi' ma recollections o' ither things mair in line wi' his tastes. Catch me tellin' him ower muckle. A' the same he's a rale canny, dacent, weel meanin' man, wi' a deep-rooted conviction that his prescription's the only safe medicine for oor speeritual weelfare. So what he disna ken regairdin' ma veesit tae Edinbury 'll dae him nae harm. An' I wadna for the world dae or say onything tae make him ashamed o' the high opeenion he has o' John an' yer humble servant, Betty.