Eh, sirce me, what a nicht we
had on Setarday mornin'! O, haud your tongue! Though I should live lang
eneuch to bury Sandy Bowden, an' hae a golden weddin' wi' my second man,
I'll never forget it. It mak's me shaky-trimilly yet to think aboot it.
Sandy's gaen aboot wi' a' the hair cut aff the back o' his heid, an' fower
or five strips o' stickin' plester battered across his scawp. He got an awfu'
mishap, puir man. I thocht his heid was a' to smash, but, fortunately, it
turned oot fully harder than the biscuit tin it cam' into contact wi'.
It would be aboot ane o'clock or thereaboot when Sandy gae me a daud wi' his
elba that garred me a' jump. I had an awfu' busy day on Friday; an' I was
sleepin' as soond's a tap.
"'Oman," says he, "there's something fearfu' gaen on doon the yaird somewey.
Wud that be the Dyed Wallop an' her man fechtin', or what i' the world's
earth can it be? Harken, Bawbie! Did you ever hear sic yawlin'?"
"Bliss me, Sandy man," says I, "that's the wind soochin' throo the trees in
the banker's gairden, an' fizzin' in amon' the pipes o' the water barrels.
It's shurely an awfu' nicht o' wind."
Juist at this meenit you wudda thocht the very deevil himsel' had gotten
grips o' the frame o' oor winda. He garred it rattle like the thunder at
Hewy White's theatre; then he yawled, an' hooed, an' growled like five
hunder cats an' as mony dogs wirryin' them, an' a' the fowk 'at echt them
fechtin' at the same time. This feenisht up wi' a terrific yawl; an' Sandy
dived doon in ablo the claes.
"Ye fear'd nowt," says I, "what are ye fleein' awa' doon there for? Ye'll
hae my feet sterved to death wi' cauld. Lie up on your pillow an' lat the
claes doon to the fit o' the bed."
For a hale strucken 'oor this gaed on, an' sometimes I akwilly thocht I fand
the bed shakin'. Oor birdie (he hings at the winda) began to wheek-wheek wi'
fear, an I wanted Sandy to rise an' tak' the puir cratur doon.
"The feint a-fear o' me," says he, the hertless skemp 'at he is. "If you
want the canary i' the bed aside you, you can rise an' tak' him doon yersel'."
I raise an' took the puir craturie doon, an' hang him up on the ither side
o' the room; an,' mind ye, ye wud raley thocht the bit beastie kent, for it
gae a coodie bit cheep or twa, an juist cooered doon to sleep again. Juist
as I was gaen awa' to screw doon the gas, it gae twa or three lowps, an' oot
it gaed; an' afore I kent whaur I was, there was a reeshilin' an' rummelin'
on the ruif that wudda nearhand fleggit the very fowk i' the kirkyaird. I
floo to my bed, an' in aneth the claes, an' lay for a meenit or so expectin'
the cuples wud be doon on the tap o's, an' bruze baith o's to pooder. Efter
the rummelin' haltit, I fand aboot wi' my fit for Sandy; but he wasna there.
"Preserve's a'," says I, heich oot, "whaur are ye, Sandy? Are ye there?
What's come ower ye? Are ye deid?"
"I'm here, Bawbie," says a shiverin' voice in aneth the bed. "I'm here,
Bawbie. Ye'll hear Gabriel's tuter juist i' the noo. O, Bawbie, I've been a
nesty footer o' a man, an' ill-gettit scoot a' my days. I wiss I cud juist
get hauds o' the Bible on the drawers-heid, Bawbie. Did ye hear the mountins
an' the rocks beginnin' to fa'?"
"Come awa' 'oot ablo there, Sandy," I says, says I, "an' no' get your death
o' cauld, an' be gaen aboot deavin fowk wi' you an' your reums. The mountins
an' rocks is the brick an' lum-cans aff Mistress Mollison's hoose, I'm
thinkin'." An' I cudna help addin'--"It's ower late to be thinkin' aboot
startin' to the Bible efter Gabriel's begun to blaw his tuter, Sandy. Come
awa' to your bed!"
Sandy got himsel' squeezed up atween the bed an' the wa'; an' at ilky hooch
an whirr 'at the wind gae he wheenged an' groaned like's he was terriple ill
wi' his inside; an' aye he was sayin', "I've been a lazy gaen-aboot vegabon',
an' ill-hertit vague. O dear, Bawbie, what'll we do?"
I cam' to mysel' efter a whilie, an' raise an' tried the gas, an' it lichtit
a' richt. The wind was tearin' an' rivin' at the ruif at this time something
terriple. "We'll go doon the stair, Sandy," says I; an' I made for the door.
"For ony sake, Bawbie," roared Sandy oot o' the bed, "wait till I get on my
breeks. If ye lave me, I'll g'wa' in a fit--as shore's ocht."
We got doon the stair an' I lichtit the fire an' got the kettle to the boil,
an' we sat an' harkined to the wind skreechin' doon the lum, an' groanin'
an' wailin' amon' the trees ower the road, an' soochin' roond aboot the
washin'-hoose. I raley never heard the marrow o't. The nicht o' the fa'a'in'
o' the Tay Brig was but the blawin' oot o' a can'le aside it. I' the middle
o' an awfu' sooch there was a fearfu' reeshil at oor door, an' Sandy fair
jamp aff his chair wi' the start.
"A'ye in, Sandy?" cried Dauvid Kenawee, in a nervish kind o' a voice.
I awa' an' opened the door, an' here was Dauvid an' Mistress Kenawee--Dauvid
wi' his pints wallopin' amon' his feet, an' his weyscot lowse, an' Mistress
Kenawee juist wi' her short-goon an' a shallie on.
"This is shurely the end o' the world comin'," said Mistress Kenawee, near
greetin'. "O dear me, I think something's genna come ower me."
"Tuts 'oman, sit doon," says Dauvid, altho' he was in a fell state aboot
her. I cud see that brawly.
The sicht o' the puir wafilly budy akinda drave the fear awa frae me; an' I
maskit a cup o' tea, an' crackit awa till her till we got her cowshined doon.
Their back winda had been blawn in, and Dauvid had tried to keep oot the
wind wi' a mattress; but the wind had tummeled baith Dauvid an' the mattress
heels ower gowrie, an' the wife got intil a terriple state. They cudna bide
i' the hoose ony langer, an' i' the warst o't a', they cam' awa through a
shoer o' sklates, an' bricks, an' lum-cans, an' gless, to see if we wud lat
I garred Sandy pet on a bit ham, and drew anower the table, and tried to
keep them frae thinkin' aboot it; but at ilka whizz an' growl the wind gae,
baith Sandy an' Mistress Kenawee startit an' took a lang breath.
I'm shure we hadna abune a moofu' o' tea drucken, an' Sandy was juist awa'
to tak' aff' the ham, when the fryin' pan was knockit ooten his hand, an'
doon the lum cam' a pozel o' bricks an' shute that wudda filled a cairt.
Sandy fell back ower an' knockit Mistress Kenawee richt i' the flure. The
ham dip gaed up the lum in a gloze, an' here was Sandy an' Dauvid's wife
lyin' i' the middle o' a' the mairter o' rubbitch. Mistress Kenawee's face,
puir thing, was as white as a cloot; but Sandy's was as black as the man
More o' Vennis, the bleckie that smored his wife i' the theatre for carryin'
on wi' a sodger.
What a job Dauvid an' me had gettin' them roond. We poored a drappie brandie
doon baith their throats; an' Sandy opened his een an' says, "Ay; I've been
an awfu' blackgaird; I have that!" He had come doon wi' the back o' his heid
on a biscuit tin fu' o' peyse meal, an' had smashed the tin an' sent the
meal fleein' a' ower the hoose. But the cratur had gotten an awfu' tnap on
the back o' the heid, an' he was bluidin' gey sair. Gin daylicht brook,
Dauvid an' me had gotten the twa o' them akinda into order, and Sandy was
able to open the shop. He had an awfu' ruggin' an' tuggin' afore he cud get
the door to open; an' he cam' into me an' says, "Dod, Bawbie, I think the
hoose has gotten a terriple thraw. The shop door 'ill nether go back nor
I gaed oot to see what was ado. Eh, sirce, if you had only seen oor street!
The beach ootby at the Saut Pan, whaur there's a free coup for rubbitch, was
naething till't! It juist mindit me o' the picture, in oor big Bible, o'
Jerusalem when the fowk cam' back frae Babylon till't--it was juist a' lyin'
a cairn o' lowse steens an' half bricks.
There's neen o's 'ill forget Friday nicht in a hurry, or I'm muckle misteen.