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The Right Stuff Some Episodes in the Career of a North Briton   By: (1876-1952)

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First Page:

"The Right Stuff"

Some Episodes in the Career of a North Briton

BY

IAN HAY

DR JOHNSON. Oatmeal, sir? The food of horses in England and of men in Scotland!

BOSWELL ( roused at last ). And where, sir, will you find such horses or such men?

SHILLING EDITION

William Blackwood & Sons Edinburgh and London 1912

TO

AN INDULGENT CRITIC

CONTENTS.

BOOK ONE.

RAW MATERIAL.

CHAP.

I. "OATMEAL AND THE SHORTER CATECHISM" II. INTRODUCES A PILLAR OF STATE AND THE APPURTENANCES THEREOF III. "ANENT" IV. A TRIAL TRIP V. ROBIN ON DUTY VI. ROBIN OFF DUTY VII. A DISSOLUTION OF PARTNERSHIP VIII. OF A PIT THAT WAS DIGGED, AND WHO FELL INTO IT IX. THE POLICY OF THE CLOSED DOOR X. ROBIN'S WAY OF DOING IT

BOOK TWO.

THE FINISHED ARTICLE.

XI. A MISFIRE XII. THE COMPLEAT ANGLER XIII. A HOSTAGE TO FORTUNE XIV. "TO DIE WILL BE AN AWFULLY BIG ADVENTURE" XV. TWO BATTLES XVI. " QUI PERD, GAGNE " XVII. IN WHICH ALL'S RIGHT WITH THE WORLD XVIII. A PROPHET IN HIS OWN COUNTRY

BOOK ONE.

RAW MATERIAL.

CHAPTER ONE.

OATMEAL AND THE SHORTER CATECHISM.

The first and most serious but one ordeal in the life of Robert Chalmers Fordyce so Robert Chalmers himself informed me years afterwards was the examination for the Bursary which he gained at Edinburgh University. A bursary is what an English undergraduate would call a "Schol." (Imagine a Scottish student talking about a "Burse"!)

Robert Chalmers Fordyce arrived in Edinburgh pretty evenly divided between helpless stupefaction at the sight of a great city and stern determination not to be imposed upon by the inhabitants thereof. His fears were not as deep seated as those of Tom Pinch on a similar occasion, he, it will be remembered, suffered severe qualms from his familiarity with certain rural traditions concerning the composition of London pies, but he was far from happy. He had never slept away from his native hillside before; he had never seen a town possessing more than three thousand inhabitants; and he had only once travelled in a train.

Moreover, he was proceeding to an inquisition which would decide once and for all whether he was to go forth and conquer the world with a university education behind him, or go back to the plough and sup porridge for the rest of his life. To morrow he was to have his opportunity, and the consideration of how that opportunity could best be gripped and brought to the ground blinded Robin even to the wonders of the Forth Bridge.

He sat in the corner of the railway carriage, passing in review the means of conquest at his disposal. His actual stock of scholarship, he knew, was well up to the required standard: he was as letter perfect in Latin, Greek, Mathematics, and Literature as hard study and remorseless coaching could make him. Everything needful was in his head but could he get it out again? That was the question. The roaring world in which he would find himself, the strange examination room, the quizzing professors would these combine with his native shyness to seal the lips and cramp the pen of Robert Chalmers Fordyce? No a thousand times no! He would win through! Robert set his teeth, braced himself, and kicked the man opposite.

He apologised, attributing the discourtesy to the length of his legs he stood about six feet three and smiled so largely and benignantly, that the Man Opposite, who had intended to be thoroughly disagreeable, melted at once, and said it was the fault of the Company for providing such restricted accommodation, and gave Robert The Scotsman to read.

Robert thanked him, and, effacing himself behind The Scotsman , though, for all the instruction or edification that his present frame of mind permitted him to extract from that coping stone of Scottish journalism, he might as well have been reading the Koran, returned to his thoughts. He collated in his mind the pieces of advice which had been bestowed upon him by his elders and betters before his departure... Continue reading book >>




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