I'm shure I needna trauchle
to haud in aboot the bawbees! That man o' mine wud ramsh an' hamsh an' fling
awa' mair than I cud save although I was a millionaire. Nae farrer gane than
lest nicht I heard some ongaens up the stair. What's he up till noo? thinks
I to mysel'. Ye ken our garret? It's a anod bit roomie, an' we sleep up
there i' the simmer nichts, for the doonstair room gets that het an' seekrif,
I canna fa' ower ava sometimes. So I have the garret made rale snod an'
cosie. There's a fine fixed-in bed, an' I have the room chairs I got when my
Auntie Leeb de'ed, wi' a tidie or twa ower them, an' an auld-fashioned roond
tablie 'at I bocht at a rowp--ane o' thae anes that cowps up an' sets back
to the wa' when you're no' needn't. Auntie Leeb left me her big lookin'
gless too. Ye mind she had a shooster shopie at the fit o' Collie Park, an'
she had a big lookin' gless for her customers seeing hoo their frocks
fitted. Ay weel than, I set the gless juist up again' the wa' at the end o'
the garret, firnent the fireplace an' it made the roomie real cantie an'
When I heard the din Sandy was makin', I goes my wa's up the stair on my
tiptaes. It was juist upo' the stroke o' nine o'clock, an' I was juist noo
dune shuttin' the shop. The door was aff the snib; an', keep me, when I
lookit in, here's Sandy wi' an Oddfella's kilt an' a bushbie on, an' his
ilky-day's claes lyin' in a pozel on the table. I kent the kilt whenever I
saw't; it was the ane Dauvit Kenawee wears in the Oddfellas' processions.
Sandy was berfit, an', I'm shure, if ye'd seen him! Haud your tongue! Ye
never saw sic a picture. I suppose he'd taen aff his buits no' to mak' a
Ay weel, here he was wi' a bawbee can'le stuck up again' the boddom o' the
lookin'-gless, an' him maleengerin' aboot i' the flure afore't, wi' the
shaft o' the heather bissam in his hand, whiskin't roond his lugs, progin'
aboot wi't, an' lowpin' here an' there like a hen on a het girdle. He
croonshed doon, an' jookit frae side to side, an' then jamp straucht up an'
lut flee at something wi' the bissam shaft. Syne he stack the end o' the
stick i' the flure, an' bored an' grunted like's he was rammin't through a
"That's anither settle't," says he, pullin' up his stick; an' gie'n't a
dicht wi' the tails o' his kilt; syne makin' a kick at something wi' his
berfit fit--"Let us do or die," says he; "Scots wha hae; Wallace an' Bruce
for ever; doon wi' every bloomin' Englisher; rip them up; koo-heel!" Then he
whiskit half-roond aboot, an' lut flee at a seckie o' caff I had sittin' in
a corner. "Come on, Mick Duff; every deevil o' ye! Change your slaverie," he
says akinda heich oot, an' then he lut yark at the seek again an' missed,
an' made a muckle hole i' the plester.
He stoppit an' harkin't for fear I'd heard the stishie he was makin'.I never
lut dab, but keepit juist as quiet's pussy.
"Auch, she's i' the shop," he says heich oot; an' then he floo back an'
forrit, fencin' an' jookin', an glowerin' at himsel' i' the lookin'-gless;
an' girnin' his teeth like a whitterit. I raley thocht the man had gane
sketch. He made a sweech wi' the bissam shaft 'at garred the licht o' the
can'le waggle frae side to side. Syne he straughtened himsel' up afore the
gless, an', touchin' the ruif wi the point o' his stick, he says, "Viktory,
viktory! Bannockburn is wun. Hooreh! Hooreh!"
Juist at this meenit there was a rare like's fifty thunderbolts had burst in
Kowper Collie's auld-iron yaird. You never heard sic a soond. It was like
the crack o' a hunder cannon; an' in an instant a' was dark, an' there was a
reeshil o' broken bottles that garred me think there had been an earthquake
i' the back shop. Doon the stair I floo; but, afore I was half-roads doon,
Sandy jamp clean on my back--kilt, bushbie, an' a'thegither. Doon I gaed
like a rickel o' auld beans, an' Sandy ower the tap o' me, heels-ower-gowrie.
When I cam' to mysel', here's Sandy lyin' streekit oot on his face i' the
middle o' a box o' Hielant eggs that I'd juist noo opened. The strap o' the
bushbie was roond his thrapple, an' was juist aboot stranglin' him, when I
cut it wi' the ham knife. Then he akinda half-turned roond, an' says he, "O
Bawbie! I'm deid. There's a bomshall gane throo my backbeen."
"Rise up," says I, "there's mair than you deid. There's twal' or fifteen
dizzen o' gude eggs bruist to bits. Whatever 'ill I do?" He raise up; an' if
ye'd only seen the sicht! It's as fac's ocht, it was eneuch to fleg the
French. Never will I forget it while I draw breath. He lookit like some
berfit tinkler wife that had been too, an' had t'a'in, ower the heid, intil
a barrel o' yellow oker; an' stickin' on his weyst there was ane o' my winda
tickets--"Just in To-Day."
"O, Bawbie!" he wheenged, "gae up the stair an' see if the ruif's aye on. I
think somebody's been hoddin' dianamite in oor garret."
"When I gaed up the stair wi' a licht, what did I see but my Auntie Leeb's
braw lookin'-gless a' to flinders i' the flure? The licht o' the can'le had
burned up against it, an' riven't a' to pieces. When I turned roond, here's
Sandy stappin' ooten his kilt, an' gaen awa' to pet on his troosers.
"Alick Bowden," says I--an' my very hert was greit--"Alick Bowden"--I aye
ca' him Alick when I'm angry--"this maun be the end o't. I canna thole nae
"For ony sake, Bawbie," he brook in, "dinna say naething the nicht, or I'll
pushon or droon mysel'. I wiss I had been smored amo' thae eggs"; an' doon
the stair he gaed, wi' his breeks in his oxter.
I juist had to g'wa' to my bed an' lat a'thing aleen, an' I ac'ually grat
mysel' ower asleep. I didna ken o' Sandy comin' till his bed ava; an' when I
raise i' the mornin' a' thing was cleared awa', an' the garret an' backshop
a' sweepit an' in order, an' Sandy was busy i' the yaird hackin' sticks, an'
whistlin' "Hey, Jockie Mickdonal'," juist's as gin naethin' had happened.
He's been stickin' in like a hatter ever sin' syne, an' has a'thing as
neat's ninepence; so I canna say a single wird. But is't no raley something