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My Man Sandy
Chapter VI. Sandy's second lesson in geometry


Wi' a' his foiterin' weys, there's a winderfu' speerit o' independence aboot Sandy, d'ye ken? He disna care aboot being dawtit by onybody, especially by folk he disna like. Juist the ither day, for instance, Sandy was jumpin' doon aff the fore-end o' his cairt. His fit had tickled in aboot the britchin somewey, an' he cam' lick doon on the braid o' his back i' the gutter. The bobby was stanin' juist ower the road at the time, an' cam' rinnin' across wi' his moo wide open.

"Keep me, Sandy, cratur," he says, "what's happen'd? Did you fa' aff the cairt?"

"G'wa an' mind your ain bizness," says Sandy, jumpin' up, an' gien himsel' a shak. "The cairt's my nain; I can come doon afen't ony wey I like."

The bobby gaed awa' rubbin' his chin. "Dod," he saya to Stumpie Mertin at the corner o' the street "that man Bowden's the queerest jeeger ever I cam across. He cam' thrash doon on the kribstane there i' the noo, an' when I ran anower to see if he was ony waur, he juist gae me impidence, an' said he cud come doon aff his cairt ony wey he liket. Did you ever hear the like?"

"He's a queer chield, Sandy," said Stumpie. "There's some folk thinks he wants tippence i' the shillin', but it's my opinion there's aboot fourteenpence i' the shillin' o' him. He's auld wecht; mind I tell you."

That's exactly my ain opinion, d'ye ken; an' it akinda astonished me to hear Stumpie speakin' sense for ance in's life. He's uswally juist a haverin' doit.

But that's no' what I was genna tell you aboot. Sandy and Bandy Wobster have had a terriple fortnicht's colligin' thegither. Every ither nicht they've been ether i' the washin'-hoose or i' the garret; an' Sandy's been gaen aboot scorin' a' the doors wi' kauk, an' makin' rings an' lines like railroads an' so on a' ower them.

"What's this you an' Bandy's up till noo?" I says to Sandy the ither mornin', juist when we were sittin' at oor brakfast. "I howp noo, Sandy," I says, says I, "that you'll keep clear o' the eediotikal pliskies you played lest winter."

"You can wadger your henmist bodle on that," says Sandy, as he took a rive ooten a penny lafe. "There's to be ither kind o' wark on this winter. Bandy an' me's been busy at the gomitry. Man, Bawbie, it's raley very interestin'. You mind I spak to you aboot some o' the triangles an' things that it tells you aboot afore?"

"Weel, look here, Sandy," I says, "I notice you've been scorin' every door aboot the place wi' your triangles, an' they're juist the very shape o' the ane Ekky Hebbirn played in the flute band; an', as I tolled you afore, I'm no' to hae ane o' them aboot the hoose. Preserve me, man, you'll get as muckle music oot o' the taings, an' mair."

"Keep on your dicky, 'oman," says Sandy. "You're clean aff the scent a'thegither. There's nae music aboot gomitry triangles ava. They've naething to do wi' music. They're for measurin' an' argeyin' oot things till a conclusion. Flute bands! Sic a blether o' nonsense. I maun lat you see the triangle book. We was haen a bit rin ower the exyems again lest nicht juist. Noo, juist to gie you an idea, Bawbie! You mind I tell'd you the exyem aboot things bein' equal to ane anither when they're equal to some ither thing that's equal to the things that are equal to ane anither?"

"I mind aboot you haiverin' awa' some nonsense o' that kind," says I; an', as fac's ocht, I cud hardly haud frae lauchin' at the droll look on Sandy's face.

"Weel," he gaed on, "that was the first exyem; the henmist is that the whole is greater than its pairt. That means, d'ye see, for instance, that my cairt's bigger gin the trams."

"Hoo d'ye mak' that oot?" says I. "Michty me, man, if the trams were nae bigger gin the cairt, hoo wud Donal' get in atween them? The thing's ridic'lous."

"You're no' seein't," says Sandy. "Tak' the back door o' the cairt, for instance. The back door's only a bit o' the cairt, isn't? Weel, than, shurely the cairt's bigger than the back door."

"You're haiverin' perfeck buff," says I. "The back door's juist exakly the same size as the cairt, or you wud never get it fessend on. Ony bairn kens that, gomitry or no gomitry."

"Bliss my hert, Bawbie," says Sandy, gettin' akinda peppery, "shurely to peace a scone's bigger than a bit o' a scone."

"There's nae doot aboot that," says I, "if the scone that you have a bit o' is nae bigger gin the scone that's bigger gin the bit o' the ither ane."

"That's teen for grantit, of coorse," says Sandy.

"But I dinna see hoo that mak's ony difference to the back door o' the cairt," says I, I says.

Sandy took a gey wild-like bite at his row, an gae twa-three o' his chuck-chucks, an' then he says, "Man, Bawbie, you weemin fowk have nae rizzenin' faculty. Naebody wi' ony logic wud need twa looks to see brawly that onything's bigger than a bit o't, or, as the book says, that the whole's greater than its pairt. That's self-evident. Tak' the Toon Cooncil, say. It's shurely bigger than ony ane o' the Cooncillers."

"Is't na?" I brook in gey quick. "Juist you speer at Bailie Thingymabob, an' you'll shune find oot whuther he thinks the Toon Cooncil or him the biggest o' the twa."

"Auch, Bawbie; you're no wirth argeyin' wi'," says Sandy. "You've aye sic a desjeskit wey o' lookin' at things. What's the sense o' bletherin' aboot Bailie Thingymabob? Preserve me! if he's only an echteent pairt o' the Toon Cooncil, shurely common sense 'ill lat you see that the Toon Cooncil's bigger than he is. Ony bit loonie in the tower-penny cud see that in a blink."

"Very weel," says I; "juist speer at Bailie Thingymabob himsel'. I'll swag, if you tell him he's only an echteent pairt o' the Toon Cooncil, he'll be dealin' wi' anither tattie man gin neist mornin'. Sandy, loonikie, your exyems may do amon' your triangles an' sic like fyke-facks an' kyowows, but they're a' blethers you see brawly ony ither wey."

What a raise Sandy got intil! He was that kankered that he took twa or three ill-natured rives o' a shreed o' breed, an' a gullar o' tea, an' fair stankit himsel'. It gaed doon the wrang road, an' Sandy was nearhand chokit.

"Sairs me richt for argey-bargeyin' wi' a doited cratur that canna see a thing that's as plen's a pikestaff," he says, efter he had gotten his nose blawn. Syne he cowshined doon a bittie, an' says, wi' a bit snicker o' a lauch, "I maun hae you tried wi' the pond's ass anowerim."

"An wha micht he be?" says I.

"That's the fift proposition, Bawbie," says Sandy. "It's ca'ed the pond's ass anowerim. That's Latin for the cuddy's brig. If you canna get ower't, you're set down for an ass."

"Have you been ower't, Sandy?" I says, says I.

"No' yet," he says, never lattin' wink that he noticed the dab I had at him; "but I'm beginnin' to see throo't, I think. Gin I had anither glisk or twa at her I'll be on the richt side o' her, I'se wadger."

Fient a glint o' sense cud I see in Sandy's palaver; so I says, says I--"What is this fift proposition you're haiverin' aboot?"

"Weel, it's juist this," says Sandy; an' he began to mak' a lot o' fairlies wi' his finger amon' the floor aff the rows on the table. "Look sae, there's what ye ca' a soshilist triangle. Weel, you see the twa corners at the doon end o' her hare? They're juist the very marrows o' ane anither; an' if you cairry the lines at the side o' them here a bit farrer doon, an' get in ablo the boddam o' the triangle, ye'll find that the corners aneth the boddam are juist the very marrows o' ane anither too. D'ye see?"

"Ay, Sandy," I says, says I, "you'll better awa' an get Donal' yokit. I dinna ken what use thae soshilist triangles an' ither feelimageeries like hen's taes are genna be to you, but I howp they'll no' be learnin' ye to gie fowk jimp wecht, or it'll juist be the ruin o' your trade. I've nae objections to you haein' a hobby; but shurely you cud get a better ane gin a lot o' thae blethers o' Bandy Wobster's. Get ane o' thae snap-traps, or whativer ye ca' them, for takin' photographs; get on for the fire brigade or the lifeboat, join the Rifles or something. There wud be some sense in the like o' that. But fykin' an' scutterin' awa' amon' exyems, as you ca' them, an' triangles, an' a puckle things like laddies' girds and draigons, that nae livin' sowl cud mak' ether eechie or ochie o'----Feech! I wudna be dodled wi' them; juist a lot
o' laddie-paddie buff."

Sandy jamp aff his seat an', rammin' on his hat, gaed bang throo the shop, yatterin', "Auch, haud your gab; that claikin' tongue o' yours mak's me fair mauchtless. I micht as weel argey wi' the brute beast i' the swine-crue till I was black i' the face." An' oot at the door he gaed, halin't to ahent him wi' a bang that garred the very sweetie bottles rattle.


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