I was tellin' ye aboot
Sandy's caper oot the Sands, when Bandy an' Pottie Lawson made sic a fule o'
him. We'd never seen hint nor hair o' them here sin' syne; an' I'm shure
they're a gude reddance. But wha shud turn up i' the washin'-hoose the ither
nicht but Pottie! He'd gotten Dauvid Kenawee to speak to Sandy, an' gotten
the thing sowdered up some wey or ither, an' there he was again, as brisk as
a bee. But Sandy wasna that easy pacifeed. He didna say muckle, but I'll
swag he gey Pottie a neg on Teysday nicht that he'll no forget in a
hurry--nether will Mistress Mollison.
Mind ye, I didna think Sandy was so deep. It was a gey trick. Sandy was
determined to pey aff Pottie in his ain coin, an' he had gotten Bandy
Wobster to kollig wi' him to gie Lawson a richt fleg.
There was a big meetin' i' the washin'-hoose nae farrer gane than lest nicht;
an' efter a fell while's crackin', Bandy startit to speak aboot mismirizin'
an' phrenology, an' that kind o' thing. Bandy tell'd aboot some o' his
exploits mismirizin' sailors, an' took on to show aff his po'ers on Sandy.
Sandy was quite open to lat him try his hand; so Bandy says, "Has ony o' you
lads a twa-shilliny bit?"
There was a gude deal o' hostin' an' heid-clawin' at this question, ilka lad
lookin' at his neeper as muckle as to say, "I've naething but half-soverins
i' the noo."
"I can gi'e ye fowerpence o' coppers, if that's ony use to ye," said Stumpie
Mertin, shuvin' his airm up to the elba in his breeks pooch.
There was a burst o' lauchin' at this, an' Sandy says, pointin' wi' his
thoom ower his shuder, "Less noise, you lads, for fear her nabs hears us."
He little thocht that her nabs--that was me, of coorse--was at the winda
hearin' every wird. Thinks I, my carlie, her nabs 'ill lat you hear
something the nicht that'll garr the lugs o' ye dirl.
There wasna a twa-shilliny bit to be gotten, so Bandy had to tak' the lid o'
a sweetie-bottle an' mak' the best o't.
"Noo, Sandy," says he, "juist grip that gey firm atween your finger an' your
thoom, an' stare at it as hard's ye can. Nae winkin' or lookin' aboot; an',
you lads, be quiet. Noo, lat's see ye!"
Sandy took the bottle lid, an' sat doon wi't in's hand, an' stared at it
like's he was lookin' doon intil a draw-wall. A' the billies sat roond
starin' at Sandy, an' Bandy maleengered aboot, playin' capers wi' his airms,
an' dancin' like some daft man. Ye cudda tied the lot o' them wi' a string,
they were that taen up wi' Bandy's capers. He gaed forrit efter a while an'
pettin' his thooms on Sandy's heid, he says, in a coalman's kind o' a voice,
"He's awa' wi't," says Bandy, turnin' roond to the rest o' them. They were
sittin' wi' their moos wide open, an' a great deal mair mismirized than
Sandy, I thocht.
Bandy grippit Sandy by the shuders an' heized him up on his feet; an' there
he stuid, wi' his een shut' an' his airms an' legs hingin' like's he was
dreepin' o' water. Bandy shot up his heid an opened his een wi' his fingers,
an' there was Sandy juist like Dominy Sampson i' the museum.
"Noo," says Bandy, "we'll touch his lauchin' bump"; an' he gae Sandy a stob
aboot the heid wi' his finger, an' Sandy set to the lauchin', ye never heard
"Stop him, Bandy," says Stumpie Mertin, gey excited, "or he'll lauch his
"Peece, vile slave, or I'll dekappytate ye wi' my skittimir," says Sandy,
glowerin' at Stumpie.
"He thinks he's the Shaw o' Persha," says Bandy, fingerin' awa' amon'
Here Sandy took to the greetin', an' grat something fearfu'.
"Bliss me," says Dauvid Kenawee, "I never saw the like o' that. Is he
"As soond's a tap," says Bandy, an' he touched Sandy again an' stoppit the
greetin'. "Noo, we'll see what like a job he wud mak' o' a speech at a ward
meetin'," continued Bandy; an' he gae Sandy a slap on the shuder an' says, "Noo,
Mester Bowden, we're at a ward meetin', an' you're stanin' for the Cooncil.
There's Pottie Lawson in the chair, an' it's your turn to speak noo. Lat's
hear ye gie them a gude screed on the topiks of the day."
Sandy gae a bit hauch, an' swallowed a spittal, an' stappin' forrit a bittie,
began--"Mester Chairman----" He gae Pottie a glower that nearhand knokit him
aff the box he was sittin' on. "Mester Chairman," says he, "we are gaithered
thegither to meet wan anither as fella ratepayers. If you want a tip-top
cooncillor, I'm your man. Regairdin' this noo kirkyaird bisness, I think
it's ridic'lous to spend the toon's bawbees buyin' buryin' grund for fowk
that's no' deid. Time eneuch to look oot for buryin' grund when fowk's deid.
An' lat fowk bury themsel's, juist as they like. Lat them look oot for their
ain grund, an' no' bather the ratepeyers lookin' oot grund for them. We'll
hae to get oor brakfast frae the Toon Cooncil by an' by, an' it'll a' go on
the rates, that's juist as fac's ocht. A' thing's on' the rates nooadays,
frae births to burals. But I hear wan of my audience cry, 'What aboot the
Auld Kirk?' Weel, that's anither question. I think that the shuner the Auld
Kirk's aff the pairis the better. We've plenty paupirs withoot it. If it
canna do withoot parokial relief, lat it into the puirhoose. That's what
they wud do wi' you an' me if we was needin' on the pairis. What d'ye think
o' that? Then there's the toon's wall an' the herbir. Weel, there's no
muckle in ony o' them. There's hardly ony watter i' the teen, an' there's
naething but watter i' the tither. But mibby if there was a noo licence or
twa doon aboot the shore, there micht be mair traffik i' the herbir. The
trustees wud mibby need to chairge shore dues on lads 'at was landit on the
kee noo-an'-than. They cud be shedild as live stock, altho' they were half-deid
wi' drink an' droonin' thegither. An' noo a wird or twa aboot----"
Bandy touched Sandy here, an' he stoppit, an' a' the lads clappit their
Then Bandy gae Sandy a touch here an' there, an' ye never saw the like. He
ate a penny can'le, an' drank half a bottle o' ink, an' I cudna tell ye a'
what. The billies lookit as gin they were gettin' terrifeed at Sandy, when I
noticed him gie Bandy a bit wink on the sly; an' I saw syne that Sandy was
nae mair mismirized than I was.
"There's neen o' ye here 'at Sandy has ony ill-will at," says Bandy; "we'll
see what like his fechtin' bump wirks." Wi' that he gae him a touch ahent
the lug, an' Sandy was layin' aboot him in a wink. "Dinna touch him, or
he'll mittal some o' ye," says Bandy; an' the billies a' cleared awa' to the
ither end o' the washin'-hoose.
A' o' a sudden Sandy grippit an' auld roosty hewk that was lyin' on the
boiler, an' roarin', "Whaur's Pottie Lawson, an' I'll cut his wizand till
him," he made a flee at the door. You never saw sic a scramblin' an' fleein'.
Stumpie Merlin dived in ablo the sofa, an' Dauvid Kenawee jumpit up on the
boiler, an' aff wi' the lid for a shield. Pottie was gaen bang oot at the
door when Sandy grippit him by the cuff o' the neck. But Pottie sprang oot
o' the coat--it wasna ill to get ooten, puir chield--an' doon the yaird a'
he cud flee, wi' Sandy at his tail, whirlin' the hewk roond his heid, an'
skreechin' like the very mischief. Bandy an' a' the rest cam' fleein' efter
Sandy. Pottie took the yaird dyke at ae loup, an' landit richt on Mistress
Mollison's back, an' sent her bung into the middle o' a lot o' Jacob's
ledder 'at she has growin' in her yaird. She gaed clean oot o' sicht, an'
juist lay an' roared till her man cam' oot an' helpit her into the hoose.
"O, it's the deevil fleein' efter somebody," she said. "An' he has an auld
hewk in his hand, an' I saw the sparks o' feyre fleein' frae his tail. An'
there's aboot sixteen hunder ither deevils at his heels."
On floo Pottie yalpin' "Pileece," "Murder," "Help," wi' Sandy at his tails,
an' the ither half-dizzen followin' up, pechin' like cadgers' pownies.
Pottie gaed clash into Stumpie Mertin's coal cellar, an' lockit the door i'
the inside. Sandy kickit at the door, an' Pottie yalled like a wild cat.
Sandy cam' awa' an' met the ither billies, an', stoppin' them, tell'd them
he was nae mare mismirized than they were. "I wantit to gie Pottie a fleg,
an' I think he's gotten't," says he. "Him an' me's square noo."
They gaed back to Stumpie's cellar, an' gin this time there were twenty
laddies an' twa pileece roond the door.
"It's Pottie Lawson gane daft," said the laddies to the pileece. "He's
foamin' at the moo."
Efter an awfu' wey o' doin' they got Pottie haled oot o' the cellar an' hame;
an' it's my opinion he'll never be seen in oor washin'-hoose again; an' I'm
shure I'll no' brak' my heart.
But aboot the can'le an' the ink--you mibby winder hoo Sandy manished to
stamack them. I gaed in an' smelt the ink. It was sugarelly watter, an' the
can'le had been cut oot o' a neep an' laid juist whaur it was handy.
Ye never heard sic lauchin' as there's been sin' the story eekit oot.
Sandy's heid pillydakus amon' them a' noo, an' they think he's peyed aff
Pottie wi' compound interest. It's made Pottie fearder than ever; they tell
me he's been looking efter a job at the Freek bleechin,', so as to get awa'
oot o' the toon for a while.