Document 1531

From the school magazine (Merchant Maiden)

Author(s): Prof Christian Kay

Copyright holder(s): Prof Christian Kay


Clocks 1948

Grandfather clock stands in the hall,
Very stately, very tall,
With polished red wood,
He looks very good,
But the truth is,
He won’t go at all.

The Wag-at-the-wall,
Hangs high in the hall,
It’s never been known,
To go at all,
The only one that keeps good time,
Is a plain oak clock with a Westminster chime.


It was four o’clock on a cold, November morning, and a dark, shadowy figure clutching a bulky bundle was moving stealthily along the pavement. P.C. Macnamara rubbed his eyes sleepily and stared, open-mouthed; then, recollecting his position as guardian of the peace and apprehender of suspicious personages, he began to follow the figure along the gloomy pavements.

Suddenly, he halted and watched excitedly as a voluminous figure emerged from a nearby opening and, tip-toeing heavily, joined suspicious character number one. Saying nothing, the two ambled along, avoiding the feeble gleam of the street lamps and staying in the protecting shadows of the looming buildings. P.C. Macnamara followed hot-foot, using all his skill and remaining quite unnoticed.

He was a trifle disconcerted, however, when two further figures, one cone shaped and the other little more than a straight line, and both carrying the inevitable bulging parcel, slid down the next opening and attached themselves to the original two. Was this some rebellion mustering? Or was it merely the star-gazing branch of the local women’s guild? Footsore, yet undaunted, P.C. Macnamara plodded on.

Fortunately for the welfare of P.C. Macnamara’s pedal extremities, the cone-shaped apparition was unable to proceed in silence and its voice carried in the still night air:

“We’re fine and early, onywey, Jeannie, and share to get a guid place at the heid o’ the queue.”

“Aye, Nellie,” replied her friend, “and like as no we’ll get some guid bargains at the sale. Ah oafun say it’s an ill wind that blows nobody ony guid.”

Muttering wrathfully at the odd ways of females who went “gadding about at all hours,” P.C. Macnamara crept off into the night, as silently and sleuthfully as he had hitherto followed.


Jennie went traipsin’ up tae toon,
A’ spruced up in a braw new goon,
But Nellie stayed tae milk the kine,
Tae grind the oats and feed the swine
And in a while the Laird himsel’
Came hirplin’ doon the bauk, and fell,
His haund was streamin’ red wi’ blood
His face was clairted ower wi’ mud.
And Nellie bandaged up the place,
And dichted mud frae aff his face.
Noo Jennie, birlin’ hame frae toon,
Tripped ower a stane and rent her goon.
So Nellie, who had nae faus pride,
Is noo a gratefu’ maister’s bride
And Jenn maun bide and milk the kine
And redd the hoose and feed the swine.


This term has been remarkable for the ravages of the dread influenza germ. We had watched our companions succumbing on all sides and were beginning to dread being left alone in the class when we ourselves were afflicted with the familiar symptoms.

We noticed with interest that the germ attacked the younger classes first and, as its taste developed, moved upwards. This was most considerate, and, as there was always some age group without any casualties, work was able to continue on a principle of rotation.

We are not sure whether this detestable germ was foreign or native. We rather suspect that undue attention was paid to the matter by the Press and that dramatic reports of armies of germs marching resolutely northwards gave a somewhat exaggerated importance to the situation. On the other hand, “Asian ’Flu” is a much more interesting disease than influenza. To pander to the needs of this age of psychology, we shall probably suffer in the future from such exotic diseases as Arabian pimples and Mexican scurvy.

The only other event of medical importance has been the vaccination of another batch of pupils by the kindly Welfare State. The various gruesome stages of the vaccination from the initial white swelling to the series of repulsive, volcanic heads which form, will be familiar to all. We can only humbly thank our benefactors for safe-guarding our health and providing us with an interesting subject for conversation and speculation. We believe that the favourite opening gambit on social occasions, “Do you come here often?” has been replaced by “Has the head come off your -B.C.G.?” Medicine is indeed revolutionising our life.

It seems appropriate to add to our former greetings and wish our readers a healthy Christmas!

This work is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

The SCOTS Project and the University of Glasgow do not necessarily endorse, support or recommend the views expressed in this document.


Cite this Document

APA Style:

From the school magazine (Merchant Maiden). 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 16 April 2024, from

MLA Style:

"From the school magazine (Merchant Maiden)." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 16 April 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "From the school magazine (Merchant Maiden)," accessed 16 April 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 1531

From the school magazine (Merchant Maiden)


Text audience

Teenagers (13-17)
Informed lay people
Audience size 1000+
Writer knew intended audience

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1957
Word count 783

Text medium

Magazine (e-zine)
Other school magazine

Text publication details

Part of larger text
Contained in Merchant Maiden - school magazine 1948-1957

Text setting


Text type

Prose: fiction
Prose: nonfiction


Author details

Author id 606
Title Prof
Forenames Christian
Surname Kay
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Academic
Place of birth Edinburgh
Region of birth Midlothian
Birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's place of birth Leith
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's place of birth Edinburgh
Mother's region of birth Midlothian
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All
Scots No Yes No Yes Work