There's twa things Sandy
Bowden's haen sin' ever I got acquant wi' him--an' that's no' the day nor
yesterday--that's fairntickles an' cheepin' buits. I never kent Sandy bein'
withoot a pair o' 'lastic-sided buits that gaed squakin' to the kirk like
twa croakin' hens. I've seen the fowk sometimes turn roond-aboot in their
seats, when Sandy cam' creakin' up the passage, as gin they thocht it was a
brass-band comin' in. But Sandy appears to think there's something reverint
an' Sabbath-like in cheepin' buits, an' he sticks to them, rissen be't or
neen. I can tell ye, it's a blissin' there's no' mony mair like him, or we'd
hae gey streets on Sabbath. The noise the maitter o' twenty chields like
Sandy cud mak' wi' their buit soles wud fair deave a hale neeperhude.
Hooever, it wasna Sandy's buits I was to tell you aboot; it was my nain. But
afore I say onything aboot them, I maun tell you aboot the fairntickles. As
I was sayin', Sandy's terriple fairntickled aboot the neck an' the sides o'
the nose, an' oor lest holiday made him a hankie waur than uswal. He's a gey
prood mannie too, mind ye, although he winna haud wi't. But I can tell you
it's no a bawbee-wirth o' hair oil that sairs Sandy i' the week. But that's
nether here nor there.
Weel, Sandy had been speakin' aboot his fairntickles to Saunders Robb.
Saunders, in my opinion, is juist a haiverin' auld ass. He's a
hoddel-dochlin', hungert-lookin' wisgan o' a cratur; an', I'm shure, he has
a mind to match his body. There's naethin' he disna ken aboot--an', the fac'
is, he kens naething. He's aye i' the wey o' improvin' ither fowk's wark.
There's naethin' Saunders disna think he could improve, excep' himsel' mibby.
I canna be bathered wi' the chatterin', fykie, kyowowin' little wratch. He's
aye throwin' oot suggestions an' hints aboot this and that. He's naething
but a suggestion himsel', an' I'm shure I cud of'en throw him oot, wi' richt
Weel, he'd gien Sandy some cure for his fairntickles, an' Sandy, unbekent to
me, had gotten something frae the druggie an' mixed it up wi' a guid three-bawbee's-wirth
o' cream that I had in the upstairs press. He had rubbit it on his face an'
neck afore he gaed till his bed; but he wasna an 'oor beddit when he had to
rise. An' sik a sicht as he was! His face an' neck were as yellow's
mairyguilds, an' yallower; an' though I've taen washin' soda, an' pooder,
an' the very scrubbin' brush till't, Sandy's gaen aboot yet juist like's he
was noo oot o' the yallow fivver an' the jaundice thegither.
"Ye'll better speer at Saunders what'll tak' it aff," says I till him the
"If I had a grip o' Saunders, I'll tak' mair than the fairntickles aff him,"
says he; an' faigs, mind you, there's nae sayin' but he may do't; he's a
spunky carlie Sandy, when he's raised.
But, as far as that's concerned, I'm no' sorry at it, for it'll keep the
cratur awa' frae the place. Sin' Sandy put that sofa into the washin'-hoose,
him an' twa-three mair's never lain oot o't. Lyin' smokin' an' spittin' an'
crackin' aboot life bein' a trauchle, an' so on! I tell you, if it had
lested muckle langer, I'd gien them a bucket o' water sweesh aboot their
lugs some day; that's juist as fac's ocht.
But I maun tell you aboot my mischanter wi' my noo buits. I'm sure it has
fair delighted Sandy. He thinks he's gotten a hair i' my neck noo that'll
haud him gaen a while. He was needin't, I can tell you. If ilky mairter he's
made had been a hair in his neck, I'll swag, there wudna been room for mony
Weel, I gaed awa' to the kirk lest Sabbath--Sandy, of coorse, cudna get oot
wi' his yallow face an' neck. He had a bran poultice on't to see if it wud
do ony guid. I canna do wi' noo buits ava, till I've worn them a while. I
pet them on mibby to rin an errand or twa, till they get the set o' my fit,
an' syne I can manish them to the kirk. But I canna sit wi' noo buits;
they're that uneasy. I got a noo pair lest Fursday, an' tried them on on
Sabbath mornin'. But na, na! Altho' my auld anes were gey binkit, an' worn
doon at the heels, I juist put them on gey hurried, an' aff I set to the
kirk, leavin' Sandy to look efter the denner.
I was feelin' akinda queerish when I startit; but I thocht it was juist the
hurry, an' that a breath o' the caller air wud mak' me a' richt. But faigs,
mind ye, instead o' better I grew waur. My legs were like to double up aneth
me, an' my knees knokit up acrain' ane anither like's they'd haen a pley
aboot something. I fand a sweit brakin' oot a' ower me, an' I had to stop on
the brae an' grip the railin's, or, it's juist as fac's ocht, I wudda been
doon i' the road on the braid o' my back. I thocht I was in for a
roraborialis, or some o' thae terriple diseases. Eh, I was feard I wud dee
on the open street; I was that! Mysie Meldrum noticed me, an' she cam'
rinnin' to speer what was ado.
"I've taen an awfu' dwam, Mysie," says I. "I think I'm genna dee. Ye micht
juist sit doon on the railin's aside's till the fowk be by."
"I think we're aboot the henmost, Bawbie," says she. "We're gey late; but
I'll bide aside you, lassie."
We sat for the maitter o' ten meenits, an' I got akinda roond, an' thocht I
wud try an' get hame. Mistress Kenawee had putten on her tatties an' come
oot for a dander a bittie, an' noticed the twa o's; so she cam' up, an' I
got her airm an' Mysie's, an', though it was a gey job, we manished to get
hame. An' gled I was when I saw Sandy's yallow nose again, I can tell ye,
for I was shure syne I wud dee at hame amon' my nain bed-claes.
"The Lord preserve's a'!" says Mysie when she saw Sandy. "What i' the name
o' peace has come ower you? I'll need to go! I've Leeb's bairns at hame, you
see, an' this is the collery or the renderpest or something come ower you
twa, an' I'm feard o' smittin' the bairns, or I wudda bidden. As shure's I
live, I'll need to go!" an' she vanisht oot at the door wi' a face as
"I think I'll rin for the doctor, Bawbie," said Mistress Konawee. She kent
aboot Sandy's fairntickles afore, of coorse, an' Sandy's yallow fizog didna
pet her aboot.
"Juist hover a blink," says I, "till I see if I come to mysel'."
I sat doon in the easy-chair, an' Sandy was in a terriple wey aboot me. He
cudna speak a wird, but juist keepit sayin', "O dinna dee, Bawbie, dinna dee;
your denner's ready!" He lookit me up an' doon, an' then booin' doon till he
was for a' the world juist like a half-steekit knife he roars oot, "What's
ado wi' your feet, Bawbie? Look at them! Your taes are turned oot juist like
the hands o' the tnock, at twenty meenits past echt. You're shurely no genna
tak' a parrylattick stroke."
I lookit doon, an' shure eneuch my taes were turned oot an' curled roond
like's they were gaen awa' back ahent my heels. Mistress Kenawee got doon on
her knees aside me.
"Preserve's a', Bawbie," says she; "you have your buits on the wrang feet!
Nae winder than your knees were knokin' thegither wi' thae auld worn-doon
heels turned inside, an' your taes turned oot."
But I'll better no' say nae mair aboot it. I was that angry; and Mistress
Kenawee, the bissam, was like to tnet hersel' lauchin'; but; I ashure ye, I
never got sik a fleg in my life--an' sik simple dune too, mind ye.