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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 99, November 15, 1890   By:

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NOVEMBER 15, 1890.



( By J. MUIR KIRRIE, Author of "A Door on Thumbs," "Eight Bald Fiddlers" "When a Man Sees Double," "My Gentleman Meerschaum," &c.

[With this story came a glossary of Scotch expressions. We have referred to it as we went along, and found everything quite intelligible. As, however, we have no room to publish the glossary, we can only appeal to the indulgence of our readers. The story itself was written in a very clear, legible hand, and was enclosed in a wrapper labelled, "Arcadia Mixture. Strength and Aroma combined. Sold in Six shilling cases. Special terms for Southrons. Liberal allowance for returned empties."]


We were all sitting on the pig sty at T'NOWHEAD'S Farm. A pig sty is not, perhaps, a strictly eligible seat, but there were special reasons, of which you shall hear something later, for sitting on this particular pig sty.

The old sow was within, extended at full length. Occasionally she grunted approval of what was said, but, beyond that, she seemed to show but a faint interest in the proceedings. She had been a witness of similar gatherings for some years, and, to tell the truth, they had begun to bore her, but, on the whole, I am not prepared to deny that her appreciation was an intelligent one. Behind us was the brae. Ah, that brae! Do you remember how the child you once were sat in the brae, spinning the peerie, and hunkering at I dree I dree I droppit it? Do you remember that? Do you even know what I mean? Life is like that. When we are children the bread is thick, and the butter is thin; as we grow to be lads and lassies, the bread dwindles, and the butter increases; but the old men and women who totter about the commonty, how shall they munch when their teeth are gone? That's the question. I'm a Dominie. What! no answer? Go to the bottom of the class, all of you.



As I said, we were all on the pig sty. Of the habitués I scarcely need to speak to you, since you must know their names, even if you fail to pronounce them. But there was a stranger amongst us, a stranger who, it was said, had come from London. Yesterday when I went ben the house I found him sitting with JESS; to day, he too, was sitting with us on the pig sty. There were tales told about him, that he wrote for papers in London, and stuffed his vases and his pillows with money, but TAMMAS HAGGART only shook his head at what he called "such auld fowks' yeppins," and evidently didn't believe a single word. Now TAMMAS, you must know, was our humorist. It was not without difficulty that TAMMAS had attained to this position, and he was resolved to keep it. Possibly he scented in the stranger a rival humorist whom he would have to crush. At any rate, his greeting was not marked with the usual genial cordiality characteristic of Scotch weavers, and many were the anxious looks exchanged amongst us, as we watched the preparations for the impending conflict.


After TAMMAS had finished boring half a dozen holes in the old sow with his sarcastic eye, he looked up, and addressed HENDRY MCQUMPHA.

"HENDRY," he said, "ye ken I'm a humorist, div ye no?"

HENDRY scratched the old sow meditatively, before he answered.

"Ou ay," he said, at length. "I'm no saying 'at ye're no a humorist. I ken fine ye're a sarcesticist, but there's other humorists in the world, am thinkin."

This was scarcely what TAMMAS had expected. HENDRY was usually one of his most devoted admirers. There was an awkward silence which made me feel uncomfortable. I am only a poor Dominie, but some of my happiest hours had been passed on the pig sty. Were these merry meetings to come to an end? PETE took up the talking.

"HENDRY, my man," he observed, as he helped himself out of TAMMAS'S snuff mull, "ye're ower kyow owy. Ye ken humour's a thing 'at spouts out o' its ain accord, an' there's no nae spouter in Thrums 'at can match wi' TAMMAS... Continue reading book >>

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