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My Man Sandy
Chapter VII. Sandy's magic lantern exhibition


I was juist gaen oot at the back door on Wednesday nicht last week when I hears some crackin' gaen on i' the washin'-hoose, an' I lookit in to see wha was there.

"Man, that's juist the very dollop," says Sandy, as I lifted the sneck.

Dauvid Kenawee an' Bandy Wobster an' him were stravagin' roond aboot the place wi' a fitrool an' a bawbee can'le, an' I saw immidintly that there was something i' the wind. I was juist clearin' my throat to lat them ken there was to be nae mair o' their conspiracies in my washin'-hoose, when Dauvid slippit in his wird afore me.

"Come awa, Bawbie," he saya, says he, in his uswal quiet wey. "We were juist seein' aboot whuther we micht hae a bit magic lantern exhibition here on Setarday nicht. I have a class at the Mission Sabbath Schule, ye see, an' I was genna hae them at a cup o' tea on Setarday, an' I thocht o' gien them a bit glisk o' the magic lantern. Robbie Boath, the joiner, has a lantern he's genna gie's the len' o', an' Sandy here thinks he can wirk the concern a' richt."

"I've nae objection to onything o' that kind, whaur gude's genna be done," says I. "But it's no' nane o' your electric oxey hydropathic kind o' bisnesses, is't? I winna lippen Sandy wi' onything o' that kind, for I tell ye----"

"Dinna you bather yoursel, Bawbie," brook in Sandy. "This is a parafin lantern; juist as easy wrocht as your washin' machine there."

"Ay weel, Sandy," says I, "gin ye get on wi' your magic lantern as weel's ye generally manish wi' the washin' machine, when I'm needin' a hand o' ye, I'll swag Dauvid's bairns 'ill no' be lang keepit."

"Tach, Bawbie, you're aye takin' fowk aff wi' your impidence," says Sandy, gey ill-natured like.

But Dauvid an' Bandy juist took a bit lauch at him.

Weel, than, to mak' a lang story short, Setarday nicht cam', and the magic lantern wi't. Dod, but Sandy had a gey efternune o't. He was steerin' aboot, carryin' in soap boxes for seats to the bairns, an' learnin' up his leed aboot the pictures, an' orderin' aboot Nathan; ye never heard the like! I heard him yatterin' awa' till himsel' i' the back shop, "The great battle o' Waterloo was fochen in echteen fifteen atween the English an' the French, an' Bloocher landit on the scene juist as Wellinton was gien the order--Tuts, ye stupid blockheid, Nathan, that saft-soap barrel disna gae there--'Up gairds an' at them.'" He gaed on like this for the feck o' the efternune, an' even in the middle o' his tea, when I speered if it was het eneuch, he lookit at me akinda ravelled like, and says, "Although ye was startin' for that star the day you was born, stride-legs on a cannon ball, ye wudna be there till ye was mair than ninety 'ear auld."

"Wha's speakin' aboot stars?" says I; "I'm speerin' if your tea's het eneuch?"

"O, ay, yea, I daursay; it's a' richt," says Sandy. "I was mindin' aboot Sirias, the nearest fixed star, ye ken. I winder what it's fixed wi'?"

Seven o'clock cam' roond, an' Dauvid's bairns gaed throo oor entry like's they'd startit for Sandy's fixed star. They wudda gane through the washin'-hoose door if it hadna happened to be open. I had forgotten aboot them at the time; but, keep me, when they cam' oot o' Dauvid's efter their tea, I floo to the door. I thocht it was somebody run ower.

Sandy had on his sirtoo an' his lum gin this time, an' he was gaen about makin' a terriple noise, blawin' his nose in his Sabbath hankie, an' lookin', haud your tongue, juist as big's bull beef. He gaed into the washin'-hoose to cowshin the laddies, for they were makin' a terriple din.

"Now, boys an' loons--an' lassies, I mean," says Sandy, "there must be total nae noise ava, or the magic lantern 'ill no wirk."

"Hooreh! Time's up!" roared a' the laddies thegither; an' they whistled, an' kickit wi' their feet till you wudda thocht they wud haen my gude soap boxes ca'd a' to crockineeshin.

Dauvid appeared to tak' the whole thing as a maitter o' coorse, an' when I speered if this was juist their uswal, "Tuts ay," says he, "it's juist the loons in the exoobrians o' their speerits, d'ye know, d'ye see."

Thinks I to mysel', thinks I, I wud tak' some o' that exoobrians oot o' them, gin I had a fortnicht o' them. A Sabbath class! It was mair like a half-timers' fitba' club. But, of coorse, it's no' ilka day they see a magic lantern.

Mistress Kenawee, an' Mistress Mollison an' her man, the Gairner, an' the Smith, an' I cudna tell ye hoo mony mair, had gotten wind o't, an' the washin'-hoose was as foo as cud cram. There was a terriple atramush amon' the laddies when the can'le was blawn oot, an' syne Sandy strak a spunk an' lichtit his lantern, an', efter a fell lot o' fykin', he got her into order.

Sandy gae a keckle o' a host, an' syne he says, "Now, boys an' girls an' people, the first picture I'm genna show you is Danyil in the den o' lions. There he is sae!" an' he shot in the picture.

It was an awfu' queer-like picture. I cud nether mak' heid nor tail o't. It was a' juist akinda greenichy-yallichy like, like's somebody had skelt a pottal o' green-kail or something on the sheet whaur the picture was.

"I'm dootin' there's something wrang wi' the fokis," says Bandy Wobster.

"Juist you look efter your ain fokis, Bandy," says Sandy, gey peppery weys, "an' lat ither fowk's fokises aleen."

"Are ye share you're richt wi' the picture?" Dauvid Kenawee speered.

"There's naething wrang wi' the picture," says Sandy. "Ye see that kind o' a broon bit doon at the fit there? That's ane o' Danyil's feet."

"Look the number o' the slide, Sandy," said Bandy, "an' mak' shure you're richt. They're mibby oot o' order."

"You're oot o' order," said Sandy, as angry as a wasp. "Haud that lum hat, Bawbie!" he says; an' he oot wi' the picture, an' roars oot--"Number 2217! Look up 2217, Nathan, i' the book there, an' see what it says."

Efter kirnin' aboot amon' the leaves o' his book for a meenit or twa, Nathan got up his nose to the moo o' the lantern an' read oot--"A slice o' a drunkard's liver."

"What d'ye say?" says Sandy. "Lat's see't."

"A slice o' a drunkard's liver," says Nathan again.

Sandy grippit the book, an' efter a meenit, he says, "Ay, man; so you're richt. There's been some mixin' amon' the pictures. This is a slice or section o' a drunkard's liver," he continued, "showin' the effeks o' alcohol."

The laddies hurraed the drunkard's liver like onything, an' this gae Sandy time to get his breath, an' to dicht the sweit aff his face.

"That's the kind o' a liver ye'll get if you're drunkards," said Sandy. "The action o' the alcohol dejinerates the tishie until the liver becomes akwilly ransed, an' the neebriate becomes a total wreck." At this the laddies an' lassies clappit their hands like a' that.

"See that ye never get a drunkard's liver," said Sandy in a solemn voice; an' ane o' Dauvid's laddies says, "By golly, I wudna like a sowser o' a liver like that, onywey," an' set a' the rest a-lauchin'.

"Attention!" shouted Dauvid till his class; an' Bandy Wobster--wha was busy glowerin' at the drunkard's liver, an' windrin' what like his ain was, nae doot--strak in, without kennin', wi' "Shoulder arms!" an' the laddies roared an' leuch till you wud actually thocht they wudda wranged themsel's. Gin they stoppit, Sandy had fa'in' in wi' Danyil, an' there he was, glowerin' at's a', life-size, an' twenty lions wirrin' a' roond aboot him.

Sandy tell'd the story aboot Danyil, an' hoo he was flung in amon' the lions for no' bein' a vegabon'; an' faigs, mind ye. Sandy got on winderfu'. The laddies paid fine attention, an' ye cudda heard a preen fa'in' when Sandy was speakin'.

"There's no' nae lions' dens nooadays, ye see," say Sandy, to feenish up wi'. "What is't they do wi' creeminals or notorious fowk noo?"

"Pet them on for Toon Cooncillers," said ane o' the biggest o' Dauvid's laddies; an' Bandy Wobster lut oot a great ballach o' a lauch, an' roared at the pitch o' his voice--"Confoond it! Feech! I've swallowed a bit tobacco!"

Then there were pictures o' Joseph an' Moses, an' a great lot mair Bible characters, the loons roarin' oot the names generally afore the pictures were half in sicht. They were roid loons, an' nae mistak', but I can tell ye they had the Bible at their finger nebs. Dauvid was as prood's Loocifer aboot the laddies answerin' so smert; but Sandy hardly liked it.

They had a' the Bible stories as dare's dare cud be, an' whenever ony picture appeared they had a' the story roared to ane anither afore Sandy got his fokis putten into order. Bible knowledge is a grand thing, nae doot; but the laddies fair took Sandy's job ower his heid; an' he hardly liked it, as ye'll readily understan'.

But the local characters gae Sandy a better chance, an', I ashure you, he took full advantage o't. He gae a lang laberlethan aboot some o' the pictures--keep me, if he'd carried on like yon at ilky picture, he wudna been dune when the forenune bells wudda been ringin' for the kirk next day.

"I have noo some kapital pictures o' auld Arbroathians to show you," said Sandy to the bairns "the reg'lar rale Reed Lichties. An' I howp the laddies here 'ill tak' a lesson frae them, an' stick in an' get their pictures in magic lanterns efter they're deid too, an' get great big mossyleeums--that's thae great muckle sowsers o' gravesteens, juist like mill stalks, ye ken--oot in the Warddykes Cemetery, wi' their names chiseled on them in gold letters."

The loons riffed an' clappit their hands at this like's they were a' wishin' they were deid an' buried ablo a big gravesteen.

Efter a lot o' palaver, Sandy shot in his first local picture.

"This is Provost---- What was his name again? Be was wint to be a great lad at---- Man, what's his name again, Bandy?" says he.

"I dinna ken, Sandy," said Bandy; "but it strik's me you have him into the lantern upside doon. He's stanin' on his heid."

"He was a gey upside-doon character, at ony rate," said the Smith. "He was juist aboot as muckle use the tae wey as the tither."

Sandy got his Provost putten richt; but some o' the rest o' his notables were juist as pranky. They cam' in backside-foremost, upside-doon, lying alang the floor--ye never saw the like--until Sandy was near-hand at the swearin'. "Confoond thae Provosts and Bailies," says he, "I never saw sic a set."

"Ow, ow, Sandy," says I, "ye needna get angry at thae bodies; they're a' deid."

"Ay weel, we'll hae a whup at some o' the livin' anes," says Sandy. "Gie me up some o' thae slides in the green box," he cries to Nathan. "Whaur hae ye putten the Provosts an' the Bailies?"

"I have them a' in my breeks' pooch," says Nathan. "They're a' richt."

"An' whaur's the drunkard's liver?"

"O, I laid it on the boiler-heid, alang wi' Danyil an' some mair."

"See an' no' be mixin' them than," said Sandy, shovin' in another slide. "This, as you'll easily recognise, is Bailie Thingymabob."

The laddies gae the Bailie a roond o' applause, an' Bandy Wobster says, "Man, but he's awfu' indistink, Sandy. Ye can hardly mak' him oot."

"That's no' to be windered at," says Sandy. "I never fell in wi' onybody that cud mak' him oot. Ye canna expeck a magic lantern to do what ye canna do yersel'. It'll be a bad job for the Bailie, I can tell you, when fowk begin to mak' him oot. The next picture is Cooncillor Spinaway."

"Ay, I'll go doon the yaird an' hae a reek," says Bandy, gettin up frae his seat, an' settin' a' the loons a-lauchin'.

"Ye needna gae awa' i' the noo," says Dauvid. "Wait till you see the rest o' the pictures."

"Dinna mistak' yersel'," says Bandy in laich, "when that cove's gotten on his feet he'll no' sit doon for half an 'oor. I never saw him get up yet but he gae a'body mair than their sairin' o' sooage, an' main-drains, an' gas-warks, an' so on afore he feenisht. Wait till you see."

"Haud your haiverin' tongue," said Sandy. "Bliss your heart, he's in the magic lantern. He canna speak there."

"I daursay you're richt," says Bandy, clawin' his heid. "Weel, the Provost shud juist keep a magic lantern handy, an' gar him bide in't. That wud keep him quiet at the meetin's."

"We'll lat ye see a picture o' the whole Toon Cooncil, noo," said Sandy; an' in cam' the picture. "There's been some mair mixin' again," said Sandy, gey kankered like. "That's shurely no' the Toon Cooncil. What's number echteen, Nathan?"

"The pleg o' locusts in Egypt," says Nathan.

"Hoo's that gotten in there, ava?" says Sandy.

"O, they'd juist putten't amon' the ither plegs," brook in Bandy Wobster.

"Here's a very interestin' slide," says Sandy, as he put in the next picture. "This is a picture o' the deputation that waited on some o' the members o' the Toon Cooncil at lest election an' priggit wi' them to bide in, altho' they were awfu' anxious to hae dune wi't."

"That's like a picture o' a bunghole withoot a barrel roond it," said ane o' Dauvid's laddies.

"There's naebody there, Sandy," said Bandy Wobster.

"Ay, but that's the deputation tho'," said Sandy. "They're mibby inveesible, but that's them for a' that. The name's on the picture. You can look yersel', if you dinna believe me."

"Ay, Pepper's Ghost!" roars oot the Smith. "He waits on lots o' fowk aboot election times. He's juist a perfeck scunner, nominatin' fowk against their will, an' draggin' them into publicity when they wud far raither be kickin' up some ither kind o' a row."

He's an awfu' haiverin' body the Smith sometimes. When he's sensible, he's juist akinda ridic'lously sensible; an' when he's' no', he's juist as far the ither wey.

"Deputations is aye anonimous," says Sandy. "They aye turn up wi' a nomdy plum. It's juist the men's modesty that keeps them oot o' sicht. They pey a' their veesits throo the nicht, an' fient a cratur kens eechie or ochie aboot them. Man, I like modesty. I've a great respeck for a deputation that keeps oot o' sicht."

"C'wa wi' some mair pictures," roared some o' the laddies, an' Sandy's grand perrygrinashin ended a' o' a sudden.

"The next picture is a very interestin' ane," said Sandy, efter he'd gotten a breath. "This is ane o' the famous meal mobs. You see the crood o' men, sae, they're a' roarin' thegither. There's neen o' you loons 'ill mind o' the meal mobs," said Sandy, "but I mind o' them fine. A gey toon it was i' thae days. You'll notice the auld Toon-Clark i' the middle there, wi' his hands up, threatenin' to send for the pileece, an' a' the crood yalpin' at him like as mony dogs. I can tell you loons, ye may thank your stars that you wasna born when wey-o'-doin's like that was carried on i' the toon. You dinna ken naethin' aboot it. There's been naethin' like it i' the toon o' Arbroath sin'----"

"Hold on, Sandy," roared Nathan; "that's the wrang picture you have in again; here's the meal mob here. Look an' see what's on that ane."

"A Presbitree Meetin'!" read oot Sandy; an' you wudda thocht the Smith an' Bandy Wobster were genna ding doon the hoose wi' their noise an' roarin' an' lauchin'.

"I thocht they were gey black-lookin' gentry for a meal mob," says the Smith; an' Bandy nodded his heid an' leuch, an' says, "Man, Sandy's a perfeck genius as fac's ocht, I hinna heard onything like him."

I hinna time to tell you aboot a' the rest o' the exhibition. It was a treat in mair weys than ane. Sandy lut's see a lot o' notables like Mester Gladstone, an' Blind Hewie, an' Steeple Jeck, an' the Prince o' Wales, an' Burke an' Hair, an' the Jook o' Argile, an' Dykin Elshinder. But the crooner o' them a' cam' when Sandy says--"Noo, here's Snakimupo, the famous king o' the Cannibal Islands, an' his favourite squaw, that eats missionaries, an' Bibles, an' poopits whenever they can get a haud o' them"--an' in he shot--wha d'ye think? Juist Sandy an' me oorsels, life-size--ay, an' bigger!

"O, golly midgins!" says ane o' Dauvid's lassies, wi' her hands up, an' her moo an' her een wide open.

You never heard sic a riffin' as there was, the laddies a' roarin' "The King o' the Cannibal Islands," an' Sandy wirrin' like a perfeck terrier.

"That's some o' Robbie Boath's wark," he says in laich till himsel', wi' an awfu' girn on his face. "He gae me that picture special, an tell'd me the name o't, an' said to feenish wi't. But gin he disna get a stane o' diseased pitatties frae me the morn that'll mak' him onweel for a i'ortnicht, my name's no Si Bowden." Syne he added heich oot, "Noo, loons and lassockies, that's a'. It's aboot time you was toddlin' awa' hame noo; an' I howp you've a' enjoyed it."

Dauvid proposed a vote o' thanks to Sandy; an' you wudda thocht a' the steam-engines atween this an' Glesca had gotten into oor washin'-hoose, wi' their whistles on full-cock. The noise was something terriple. I had to pet my fingers in my lugs, an' rin.


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