Document 779

Hale Ir Sindries - Buik Twa

Author(s): Iain W D Forde

Copyright holder(s): Iain W D Forde



The Sauchtrie Burn


The’r a lang tradeitioun o aventur yairns bi Scottish owthars. Whan bot a laddie, the buiks o R.M.Ballantyne cullourit the inner pictur o the warl at wes bein furmed i ma ying mynd. “Ungava”, “The Gorilla Hunters”, an “Coral Island” fairdit ma imaiginins. Certies thai war gey auld farrant an mebbies ein bene ma auldfaither’s, fur Ballantyne wes a nevoy o Wattie Scott’s prenters at war dyvourt alang o Scott an the publishar, Constable. Bot the liks o J.M.Barrie kent an loued the buiks, furby masell an monie ithers.

Stevenson tho endytit “Treasure Island” as a conter ti the unco guid inhabitants o the peges o Ballantyne. R.L.S. inventit caracts lik “Long John Silver” at wes baith meschant an a traditor, whyles bein the maist clivversum cheil i the novelle.

Eftir thon, cam John Buchan. He retoured ti mair sempil, kibbil fowk lik umquhyle sojers an reteired grossars. He hed a guid Scotch tung in hiz heid, bot lik Ballantyne, sein the warl throu Inglish glessis.

Oniegates, juist fur the jeist o’t, A’m gaun ti hae a shottie at follaein thaim. Heir ma taill o aunter an jeopartie.

(The Assays foir an eft is pairt o ma ain weird buik at wauffit out inti the wrang pairt o the vollum. Dinna pey thaim onie hede.)


The Brounie

Ma Grannie convoyed me ti skuil on ma first day. We stuid in a lyne wi aw the proud mithers, ilkane wi thair sweirt laddies asyde thaim. The menfowk wes aw awaw at the weir. Grannie fashed hirsell about the egs in a poke ben hir schoppin-bag. Thai mebbies bene brak on the buss, shae jaloused. As A awreddies telt ye, ma ain mither wes in ospital bringin hame ma sister. A veisitit hir the day afoir ti schaw hir ma nyow uinifurm.

Oniegates, A wesna sae crouse whan A gaed ti skuil fur ma rolment, an wes suin greittin. The teichar pit me i the bak raw, ti mak me haud ma coy. The war twa ither laddies set by me. Ane wes Rab Broun at wes ti moyen ma kevil monie yeir eftirins. The ither wes cryed Parker. A dinna ken whit cam o him. Bot A’m shair at we wes juidged ti be thrie byordinar dunssis.

The domsie maun persavit belyve bi hir expairience o visnomie A suppone, at we wesna the richt kinna bairns ti benefit frae the skuil, an, o veritie naither masell or Rab duin weill. Tho we baith med our ain wey in our deifferand profeshiouns eftirwarts, whanivver we cam thegither as growne men, the ban pronunced bi the teichar aye hanted’z an aw our jynt skames wes cummersum an deiffekwalt. Aiblins we wes sekein ti mak compensautioun fur wir academik failyie, or mebbies shae sein a lak o soshwal skeill at wuid let uz frae makkin guid uiss o the structurs o soshietie ti wun our juist rewaird frae our warsillins. A’l gie ye a cuttance o the faks, an ye maun furm yeir ain opeinioun, bot a think it wes kiz he wes a brounie.

Rab Broun bad neirby me whan we wes bairns. Wi gaun ti the samen skuil an bein neipours, we becam freins. Bot Rab wes aye maister. Whan A wes gied a twa-wheled byke, he leirit ti gang on’t lang afoir me, fur, tho he wes a wie lad an growed inti a smaw man, he wes aye strang an bauld. Hiz faimlie hed an auld estaiblisht beisnes, John Broun an Son, Biggars, foundit 1850. Whan he skailed frae skuil, Rab wes prentised as a sklater, an tho A sein’m sklimmin about on gabbards, reparein ruifs on the heich tenements o the ceitie, A tint tich wi’m.

A wes a skinniemalink an feirdie. A ettilt ti dae as ma mither an skuil telt me, bot it wes anerlie eftir A laed skuil ahent me, at A fand ma gate inti airchietectur, tho ma rale ambeitioun wes ti be a limnar. Roun about ten yeir eftir, A trystit bi a kyle wi Rab in a chantie wrassler’s schop. He wes manishin hiz faimlie feirm an we gried ti complouther ower onie bits o beisines ilk wi the tither, gin the circumstances alloued.

Syne he gied uz a guid pryss fur alterin a chermin auld stane byre intil a houss outby Howgate. Rab Broun wes a plat an plain cheil an kent weill the mainner ti wirk stane an sklate. Als the drauchts wes siccar an clair, duin bi a cannie auld drauchtisman, sae the yokin gaed forrit bonilie. Eftir collogues at the stance, the surveyar wuid tak me ti the Howgate Inn fur a brace o whuskies an we wuid waarm wir dowps afoir a rairin fyre o clogs, whyles admeirin the hyne, snaw happit Pentlands. Whan we war feinist tho, the commisar cuidna finnd the siller ti pey’z, sae wir twa cumpanies tuik him ti court. This wes a foir-test o the ill-luk we hed wi projeks, bot A didna raicognosce it, fur the soshwal airmour o wir feirms an thair lawers hained uz.

The yeirs wun by an we baith fand wirsells seperat frae thon twa feirms. The deifferand mainners o our demissioun tels ye mich about Rab Broun an masell. He wissed ti hae a hantil mair skairs i the beisines sae he cuid mak hiz wey forrit i poust an profit. Whan hiz onkils wuidna grie, he upset hiz ain feirm an suin the auld ane wede awaw. Als he founnit a cumpanie ti mak oncums an nyow commeisiouns, finndin tuim stances or auld biggins at requeired ti be refraishit, an thusgates ti gie wirk til hiz tredsmen.

Abiz Rab Broun, A didna seke ti byde wi ma feirm, tho it wes a guid ane. Ower erch an blate ti pouss forrit, A cuidna thole the stres an streinyie o’t, yeir eftir yeir. Bot A suin fand at A hed ti darg fur masell, insteid, ti pey the lawins, an Rab Broun hed the commeisiouns.

He bocht ane auld maner houss ower-luikin huls an muirs, at a fermer bene uisin as a poutrie-rie. The aik pannelled dennerin ruin bene a hame fur bubblie-joks. The sairvice-hyste chaft wes pang-fu o chukken manere. It wes a guid, solit, Scotch Baronial houss an weill wuid med fine flets, wi a vyow o a wie loch aw set about wi rosidandrums.

The Local Autoritie wes wullin t’allou uz ti modreneize the exeistin atterie seistem bot heir wir luk tirned. The fermer wes agin the proponed uiss o the biggin, an up-plewit the cundies an midden howes at liggit unner ane o hiz meidies. Bi the tyme we duin the drauchtins, the gouvernament birled roun aw the Local Autorities an the nyow bodie wuidna accep the deceisioun o the auld. Thai sayed the drain seistem suid be rebiggit ti the day’s stannerts an furby hae a owerflowe intil a wattir course. Bot whan the vissiers cam ti meisur the flowe o wattir, at wes mair nor yibbil ti cairrie the waash awaw, the fermer hed apent the clouse frae the lochan sae the burn wes nerr dray. We cuidna pruive it an nae amount o nyow technologie wuid wun the vissiers roun an allou the Counsail to autoreise the skame. Sae the biggin wes selt, an a tid tint. Eftirlins, the fermer biggit ane horrid wie houss richt afoir the maner, lik a skabbie wie cok, crawin crouse on its midden.

A wes seik o’t, sae A retoured ti wirkin in ane offish an didna hae mair nor a curn contraks wi Rab Broun. Bot A wes med redoundand. Suin A acceppit a commeisioun frae ma auld marra. He hed coft an auld warks i Leith an A set about meisurin it fur flets. At thon tim, A als manisht ti pit ma oreiginal feirm’s nem forrit ti cairrie out the restaurautioun o tenements i Portie, fur the Embro Counsail. Whyles, A bocht the dunnie o a fushmongers frae Rab ti alter ti a wie offish mebbies.

Than wanluk strak. The warks wes brunt doun an the Ceitie o Embro concluded ti dimoleish the tenement at Portie. Wi the regrate o’t aw, A hed a shok, an tint ma hailth aw-the-gither. Ower tim, A manished ti refete a bittie bot nou A hed ti dale wi aw the stramash at aw the reimishis hed laed ahent. Rab Broun was as fu o virr an wul as ivver, bot mynes wes aw strowed an tint. Sae A maun entertene ye wi ma mishanters an a laist ye’l aiblins hae a lauch, tho A didna !

Syne, the tenenent at Portiebellae wesna ti be cawed ower eftir aw, bot ti be gied nyow founds, sen it wes slawlie sinkin inti the yird. It bene beilt on saft grun. We yokit ti the wirk wi a biggar frae Fyfe daein the main contrak.

Howsomdevir, smaw biggars wes neded ti impruive the diveidwal flets an Broun wun thrie o’m. Whan the job wes aw duin, a plaister ruif cam doun in ane o the flets. Frae the neipours claiverin about it, A leired at it wes caused bi an ower-flowe pype at terminat wi’in the flair abuin, insteid o gangin throu the out-waw.

The fowk hedna jaloused whaur the faut liggit, an the coist wes cairried bi thair ensoverance. A did tho. A telt Broun ti gang bak an alter the tel-tail pype ti strintil out throu the waw, as it suid hae duin. Whan A gaed ti chak the wirk wes feinist, A fand a squar stane wi a nate roun holl intilt, liggin on the paument. The wirricow hed strak. The tredsman maun hae lowsent the stane whyles dreillin it, an, whan he ettilt ti powk the pype throu, the stane wes poussed out. A tirned a blinnd ei. Ti dae itherwyss wes ayont ma poust, fur ye maun mynd at A juist warit twa yeir reparein the biggin in ivverie ither particule.

At the fushmonger’s dunnie, the fluirs wes aw rotten, sae A howkit thaim out, bot fand at the stane founds let me frae in-pittin a nyow jeists at a laicher lavell. The stanes war the waw-steid fur sax fluirs abuin, sae A thocht A cuid anerlie chap a wie cunyie aff o’m ti wun twa-thrie inchis. It wes gey sair ti chap thaim aff, sae A speired at Broun ti dae’t. Thai cam an clourt aff the hale neb o the stane an laed the waw wi skarcelins onie support. A wes sae feirt at the biggin wuid cum doun roun ma lugs, at whan it didna, A inpit the nyow widd fluir ti dern the awfu trewth, insteid o demandin at the biggar mak it sauf. Bot ither contrakkars cam the refraish the lave o the tenement an thai pyntit out at the wes wattir cummin up frae ablo the cairpet. The dunnie hed fluidit frae a pype outby i the causie. A cuidna lat bug about the damish ti the founds, sae A hed ti howk up aw the fluir, the jeists, the pressis, jawbox, the hale clamjamfrie an tuim out the wattir wi a pail. Than a speirt at a freinlie ingine e whitlik A suid dae. He leuched at me fur bein sae cude an telt me ti inpit a mukkil concrete lek. Sae Broun hed ti bak-cum at ma coist an carrie out the wark. A veisitit the flet eftir ane ouk. A perfit smuith skreid liggit throu aw the ruims. Weill, duin Broun, A thocht; bot it wesna concrete, it wes feichtie wattir. The dunnie wes fluidit agane.

Whan aw wes redd up, A selt it. The hale exerceise hed taen mair siller out ma pouch nor it hed pit intilt, tho A selt it fur amaist sax tymes the sum A peyed furd.


The Border

Weill skonsed in hiz favourit bink bi the chimla lug he didna wiss ti here the voss cawin’m. He hed a caller pynt o yill afoir’m, an a guid bleize bene set i the ingil neuk, crekillin lyfie-lik an out-spittin flaesoks ontil the hairth. The barr wes aye tuim afoir lunch-tim durand the wintir an he hed the plece ti hissel. Abuin aw els, Tammas Grunstane socht ti be confortabil. He tuik a souk at the reimin tap o’z pynt. It wes rare guid. The voss wes aye cawin but the howff.

“The’r a veisitor fur ye, Maister Grunstane.”

Tammas tuik anither swallie at the yill, an tirned a deif lug.

The howff wesna mair nor twa ruims. The publict-barr luikit out-ower a timmer briggie at spanged a burn. The main gate throu the clachan o Gaitsgill run alang by the burn, cheke fur chowl. Ower the rodd wes Tammas’s houss, than ahent it hiz gairden, than apen feilds decored wi blak an whyt kye. At ane en o the gairden wes an auld staibil at Tammas cryed hiz muise. Braw dray-stane dykes connekkit it aw thegither in a maist pleisand mainner an als furmed a wie fank at wes knawn as the “Guiss Fauld”. Lang syne, whan fermers drave thair geise ti merkat, thai herdit thaim inti the rie ti rist fur the nicht. Fowk telt at the burds hed taur pentit ontil the howes o thair feit ti hain thaim frae the roch glidders o the kintra loans.

Bot thon voss wes nou ringin richt in hiz lug.

“A veisitour fur ye, Maister Grunstane. Shae says at shae is yeir sister.” The messenger wes a ferm loun at shawed frae the pawkie luik on hiz phizz at the veisitor wes mair lyker ti be hiz ain grannie no Tammas’s sister. Thrie, fower ither louns croudit intil the wie howff. This wes a gryte tirrivie i the loun warl o Gaitsgill o a Seturday. Tammas sinkit hiz pynt wi ill-wul, an keikit out hiz herbrie.

“Ay, it is ma sister,” he awned. He hed thocht his sib sauf in Canadae. Bot he cuid sei bedene whitwey the loun fand it strynge at sicna brosie-heidit bumbard as hissell cuid hae a sister wi a gryte pavelyeon o rid hair, cairred wi a crouse mene on a sklenner feigur busked i the maist braw avyse. Waatchit bi ivverie ei, Tammas corssed the brig.

“Cum on, ma wie man,” says the peronall “Lat’z ben.”

Wiouten wirds, Tammas onlukkit the duir an thai gaed ower the threshart. Gin he hed onie foirsicht he wuid a cowpit hiz sister inti the burn an cappit awaw ti Timbuktu. Bot he didna. He bot bekked hir intil the cosie ruim at wes hiz fend agin the disconveniences o the hask warl outby.

“Ye hae a sufficiand plece o haud heir,” sayed hiz sister an aff-tuik hir caumel-hair bavarie. Ye’l hae a chaumer fur me, A hae nae dout, fur A hae a mynd ti stap fur a nicht or mair.”

Tammas wes awaur o the gantin faces outower i the taivern, bot nane o’m kent at thai wes weitnessin the stert o a gryte aventur fur sakles Maister Grunstane an hiz rid-heidit sister i a ramstougerous laun lang kent fur its histore o strouth. Tammas kent tho. Hiz sister aye brocht effray an desolautioun ti’m, tho shae didna mene onie hairm. Sae he didna shiffil.

“Whitlik’s stroublin ye, Mirren ?” he speired, douce-lik.

“It’s ma dochter, Ruth. A wiss ye ti seke hir out.”

“Whaurabouts is the lass ?”

“Whan ma husband an masell socht divortioun, shae laed Canadae, sayin shae wes gaun ti finnd frieryke i the laun o wir antecestors, Scotland. Shae wrate me a hantil o pistils an the lest twa telt at shae wes ti be mairriet on a chiel shae cryed “The Blak K’nicht.” A’m no happie about it an A wiss ye ti rescours hir.”

Tammas kent at he neded ti ful hiz buffs wi air.

Shae waggit hir finger in hiz face.

“A suppone ye’r about ti gie me sum fushionles excaise. Weill, dinna fash yeirsell, ye mukkil sumph, ye; ar; gaun; whidder; ye; lyk; it; or; no !” Wi ilk nitherin soun shae stauppit forrit an Tammas ratrettit, wi hiz kist bein dumpit ti the stot o the wirds bi hir neive, thus gates ti mak the message siccar. The waatchers i the howff, owerby, nou twintie strang, stuid lik stuikies. This wes het stuff !

Tammas begoud ti out-fuff hiz breith.

“A kent it,” says hiz accusatour, “Ye ar lik aw men buddies, dwaiblie, donnert an -

“Domineired ?” proponed Tammas.

Hiz sister grippit hir clutchie frae a cheir.

“Superannuat ceiphers, parriemauks o habbil joks, hen-hertit couarts wi the harrigals o grypes.” Agane, wi ilkane wird, shae swang at Tam’s wi hir poke bot he manished ti kepe frae hairm bi jinkin an joukin. The threttiesum o waatchers nou congregatit i the houff gried it wes as guid’s a saip operae, an mich bettir nor the fitbaw match in Carlyle.

Mirren gied ower. Shae gratna nor apologeised.

“Tel me whitwey ye canna halp ?”

“Wuid ye hae a drink ?”

“Na ! Juist tel me !”

Tammas gied a depe secht an telt the puir wumman.

“Ye ken at Ingland an Scotland ar saiprit kintraes nou. Afoir thai cam ti be sindert, our faither wes the prencipil commisar o a projek at wesna weill thocht o bi the fowk at cam ti pouer i the nyow, frie Scotland. Its aw telt about in a buikie cryed ‘The Paix Machine’.”

“A dinna ken it.”

“We’r mentiounat i the aire pairt o the buik as twa wie puds, bot nae nems wes gied out. Ein sae, wir faither thocht it wyce ti tak ye ti Canadae an masell he sendit ti college at Durham. Eftirlins, ti mak siccar, he arreinged fur me ti be an Inglish ceitezan, an A sattilt heir i Gaitsgill, i bonie Cumbria, ti follae ma professioun o dentistrie.

Thusgates, A hae an Inglish pasport an A’m no gaun ti Scotland wi sicna docquet unner the nem o Grunstane at isna weill regairdit i thon airts. Furby, the kintra’s aw upbrak inti wie provinces unner deifferand regimens, sae A wuidna hae onie warrandice o sauf passage atwein thaim.

Owerby at the howff, the menyie sattilt doun ti thaur maut, fur the wes nae mair “drama” an the Inglish loue sicna dyvert abuin aw ithers.

“Ma pasport is in ma gudeman’s nem. A’m gaun ti gang ti the border the morn an seke entrie.”

“A warnish ye at is a laun o sturt an stryfe !”

“Thon’s as mibbies. A maun ti Embro, whaur we micht aye hae kin. Ye’l gie me a hurl ti the rodd en. Bot A dinna beleve it’s as ill as ye deskreive.”

The morn’s morn, Mirren fand out fur hirsell at hir brither’s wirds wes trewth an at Scotland hed bak-spangit fyve hunnert yeir. The Inglish hed meithit the mairch wi a gryte fens o razzor-weire, an a buith at the yett. The sojers on gaird hed the swype o naips an luikit at the pasport gin it wes countrafait. Than the custumer out-cam ti fork throu hir kaces. Contergates, he wes maist halplie, bein a pacient o Tammas’s.

“Dinna tak aw thon stuffrie, Maistres, “ wes hiz aveisement. “The’r nae menes o transport ower the border, bar cuddies, sae lae it ahent wi Maister Grunstane, gin ye canna humph it yeirsell. Sae Mirren hirpilt, hingin-luggit ower the Scotch Border on hir lei-lane, wi anerlie twa wie pokes. The wie howff on the nor syde o the mairch wes bot a rikkil o stanes wi ane enorm saltyre hingin frae a powlie. A shilpit wie elphe cam but. He wes strypin a mukkil durk on a whittil, bot semed glaid ti sei Mirren.

“Walcum ti bonie Scotland,” he crauchilt. Mirren wes a bit crabbit bi nou, an cuidna beleve it wesna a kinna fuppertie-jig.

“Fess me a kerr,” shae demandit. “A’m gaun til Embro.” The mannie gied a loud heffer, shawin a mou devoid o teith.

“The’r nane o thon ferlies in aw the braid launs o the Borders” he awnsert. “Lik the lave o’m ye maun gang on shank’s naig. Bot gin ye’l can wauchil up ti thon fermtoun on the brae an speir fur Lukkie Nisbet, ye’l mibbies get a horss, or mibbies shae’l set the tarrier-dugs on ye.” He leuchit agane, ti shaw the’r wesna onie ill-wull.

He wes a rale dentie wie limmer.

Lukkie Nisbet hed deil belikkit stang, tho. Shae wes a kyndlie wumman, wi ower mukkil ti dae an ower monie bairns ti nourice, furby bein a browster wyfe an in-keper. It wes clair at shae wuid inlow oniething ti oniebuddie, gin thai peyed in uncos an wittins. Mirren wareit twa days tellin Lukkie Nisbet ivverie parteiklaritie o hir skuil days i Canadae, hir mairriage an the strynge pistils frae Ruth. Bot shae wes gied ludgin an set aff on hir gate wi rydein geir, mountit on a strong garron, wi a mukkil bare-fuit laddie hingin frae ilk strip strop, ti gy hir throu the mossis an myres o the mairch an furth ti Embro at shae wes telt wes gubernt bi the Unyt Naitiouns.

Thon journay wes the neist pairt o Mirren’s eddicautioun. Thai traivelt frae Eskdail ti Teviotdail wi nae hinnerance, tho the aurs o tulyie wes aw about. Houss bene brunt an feilds war thikfauld wi thrissels an doks. Whan thai cam by a toun or pele, men raid out ti speir thair beisnes, bot the nem o Lukkie Nisbet wes aye a siccar soverance. Aye thai wes offert ludgins an broth, fur lik Maistres Nisbet, the Border fowk hed a grenein fur wittins o the outby warl, an wuidna tak onie siller fur thair mense.

Durand the lang, slaw tronies roun the ingil neuk, Mirren leirit o Scotland’s dounfaw intil potterneishin an the mainner at the reivers hauddit the debaitabil launs wi thair auld leil saul. Bot thai hed peyed the pryss. Aw the douce border touns an burghs wes circulat wi weirwaws an stakkets. Monie ferm houss bene mowenced intil bastils. Ti construct aw thon warks, monie a myle o guid dray-stane dyke bene spulyiet fur stane sae the launskip hed a kinna hudderie-dudderie affere, lik a tousie tyke at’s tint its maister. The rodds an causies war alluterlie ryved an rent, the brigs dimoleished, an the war nae lectra pouer or fonns. Bot thon wes the borderers best fend. The mair deiffekwalt it wes fur modren fowk ti pas ower the territour, the mair eith it wes fur the lede ti link about an thair pownies or the fermers ti platch throu the dubs wi thair Clydesdails an cairties. Thon wes a curn o the sairie faks at Mirren leirit as shae corssed the sair waurrit suddron uplauns o Scotland. Suin thai wun ower the Lammermuirs ti Fala. The twa laddies at bene sic eydent gydes begoud ti be gey skeich whan thai sein the Lowdens syde an wyde ablo thaim. Thai pyntit out the Unyt Naitiouns bit forthie bot mintna ti gang neirby.

Mirren socht ti asseir thaim thai wuid be sauf wi hir.

“Nae Maistres,” thai reponed, “thai’r Inglish truips an thai shuit at uz gin ye gie thaim a chance.”

“Ye maun traist me. The Unyt Naitiouns is heir ti haud the pece, whitivver etioun the sojers ar !”

Bot whan the thriesum cam til the yett, thai gat a maist onfreinlie receptautioun. The gairds snekkit thair gunes an ordourt thaim aw ti ligg doun on the grun, thai gruppit the puir laddies an flang thaim baith agrouf, bot Mirren birled the horss roun sae thai cuidna pit hauns ti’r.

“A’m a Canadiane ceitezan. Fess yeir offisher therekklie.” The gairds grutchin-lik obayit.

Whan the offisher cam forrit, it wes ten waurs. He floried out, a wie, steich cheil wi nae mense. He tuik a glisk at hir pasport an than haunnit hir doun frae the cuddie wi a fauss smirk an a foutie mainner. He lat Mirren tak hir baggies aff the horss hirsell than he out-drauchtit hiz pistoll. Ein bauld Mirren gied a grue, fur shae thocht he wes gaun ti kele the laddies i cauld bluid, bot he shot twa rouns intil the lift, ti fleg the puir garron, at walloped awaw ower the bents. Than he telt the men ti lowse the lads an fess Mirren ben the waird at wes bot a corss-gaird an a ludge. Shae cuidna ein thank hir gydes afoir bein mairched awaw, bot sein thaim skelpin awaw eftir thair beiss. Thai wes richt about the sojers, shae thocht, an A’m geyan sairie A didna hede thair warnishins.

“Whit can A dae fur ye?” the offisher nou requeishtit, sleikit-lik. Mirren pit doun hir bags.

“A wiss sumwhaur ti shift ma claes an than a hurl ti Embro, or at laist ti a toun whaur A’l can arreinge fur transport.”

“It wul be a pleisur ti gie ye a hurl ti the ceitie, bot ye canna chynge ower yeir claes i the men’s ludge fur the nicht waatch ar aye sleipin. Ye’l can anerlie prink yeirsell ahent ma kerr.”

Nou Mirren wesna strange about hir claes or hir bodie, bot wes pit out whan the offisher didna gang awaw, bot ranced hissell agin the kerr an waatchit hir. Oniegates shae poued aff hir buits. Than shae sein at ilkane o the sojers wes staunnin gantin at hir. Ein the nicht waatch cam out-by, poussin forrit fur a guid vyow. Housomdevir, shae als sein at the wes twa brace freindlie ein luikin doun on hir. The reiver laddies wes keikin ower the rigg o the beig shede at wes the sojer’s ludge. Mirren jaloused at thai wes ettlin ti hae revengance on the sop o rochians fur thai wes sklimmin alang towart the ern lum at stak out throu the ruif. Guid fur ye, shae thocht, an tuik aff hir bunnet slaw-lik, rinnin hir fingirs throu hir hair. The sojers wes chermed.

A haun raxed ower ti the lum an cowpit an objek intilt. Mirren aff-tuik hir jaiket. The sojers as ae man sechtit wi pleisur. Anither haun kythit an pit a gryte divot ower the chimla. Mirren poued doun the raploch breiks at hained hir shanks frae jaks an pirks as shae rade throu buss an heges. Nane o the suddartrie thocht ti luik ahent thaim. Thai wes aw browdent on hir lillie whyt thies. The lads waffed ower the rigg as shae pued on hir coits. Aince shae sein the garron, wi the twasum, lik twenes ticht set on its bak, gaun its dinger ower the muir, shae kent shae cuid feinis. Bot fur airtistrie, shae tuik out a pukkil flindrikins, waled a curch an ledder girkin an haein redd up hir pokes, pit thaim intil the kerr an lowpit dentie-lik inti the passenger sate. The offisher wi a smyle at wes a mixter-maxter o succudrie an luxure, clam in an pit the kie i the lok o’z Reinge Reiver.

A maist malagrugrous, laich, dunner rang out frae the ludge, an aw the winnok gless cam fliein out o’d. The divot on the lum shuitit up lik a rakket an a funtain o flam cam springin out eftir it.

The sojers breinged roun, bot whan thai apent the duir a smouchterin clud o smeik an coum rouved out, smourin an blakkenin thaim, dravin thaim bakwarts. The offisher, lowpin out o the kerr wi onbelefe, begoud ti yowt at the men, rid wudd.

“Puir bruits” thocht Mirren, as shae birled doun the hul, at the whele o the offisher’s braw kerr. “Bot sicna rangil wuidna a gied me a hurl eftir thon wringe, I’se wauger.”



As the rodd devauls doun frae the skarcement o the Lammermuirs, ye hae a clair prospect o the Lowdens spreidit out afoir ye. It heizes the hert o naiterel cheils. Ein puir Mirren, wechtit doun wi wirrie ower hir dochter an feir o aw at lay afoir hir, cuid fele it. This wes a deifferand kintra frae the launs ahent hir, aye weill hained, the fuirs nate an raiglar i the plewed feilds, the fermtouns trig an prosper, the causies cuivert wi smuith tarmacadam. Sae the journay Embrowan wes eith as the vaige ower the uplauns bene deiffekwalt.

The maun bene indwallers i the trak, bot Mirren didna sei thaim. The rodds wes tuim o traffek an nane socht ti let hir passin. Suin shae cam til the brae heid ower-abuin Dalkeith whaur ye cuid vissie the eisin o Auld Reikie liggin atwein the Pentland Huls an the Frith o Forth. Aw wes as it bene durand hir bairnheid. It wes a fey expairience, ti weitnes hyne pace an sanctuar whan ye wes, lik Mirren, a huntit fugiear.

Fur Mirren nou hed anither fasherie. Shae maun wun ti herbrie afoir the Unyt Naitiouns clauchit hir ! Hir ain neir kin wes aw furth o Embro ir deid, bot shae kent at John and Frizzel Grunstane, at wes hir kizzens aince bad thare. John wes a blak man an hed twene bairns furby. Shae rakkont at he wuid be a kenspekkil feigur i the burgh. Sae Mirren flied as the corbie flies richt intil the Nyow Town o Embro, whaur shae thocht thai micht aye hae thair wone. Hir midmest howp wes shae cuid finnd thaim ir hir eildit onkil, Grant Brecham, bot kentna gin he wes yit quik.

The parkes thocht it a baur ti nerr gie Mirren a haun i desydin the lang hinner-en o hir onkil, belyve. Shae wes that beisie luikin about hir, at shae sein-na ane auld wicht, at wes staunnin on the causie croun waffin t’hir. Shae cowpit the puir sowel ower afoir shae cuid stap the kerr. The skreich o the tyres instantlie attrakkit a thrang o by-passers. The U.N. didna luik ti hae ane infit wi thon fowk, an afoir Mirren cuid beild the auld man, thai raised on hir, dumpin on the ruif an winnoks o the kerr wi thair neives. Mirren wes feirt fur hir lyfe. Than ane auncient wie wyfie poussed ti the foir, an it wes eith sein at shae hed the moyen ti maun the sitivautioun. Aw the fowk kent hir an obayed hir ivverie wird. Twa callants up-heized the awald victim, maist gentil-lik, an halped him up the staups intil a houss. Anither twasum ruggit apen the duir o the kerr an the wrunkilt face o the auld cairling cam up ti Mirren, at wes nerr in a dwam. A haun outstreikit wi fingirs lik cleuks an tuik the gowd pendice at hingit roun Mirrens thrappil an bene hir Minnie’s, an tirned it roun an about.

“Ay, its Mirren Grunstane, as A thocht. A ken hir Mither’s skyrie test i jowellerie. Tak hir ben the houss an dinna forleit hir wallets.” Mirren fentit clene awaw !

Whan shae waukent, shae hered a crunklin soun by hir lug an tirned hir heid i fricht. A cheirisum coll fyre wes the cause o’d. Hertie flams wes springin up the lum. A marmor brace invirouned the bleizin ingil, wi ane auld decored nok abuin, knikkin awaw the saiconts solempniouslie. The duir apent, an twa younkers cam ben, wi a dug.

“Maistres Stein, Mirren’s awauk nou !” cryed out the lad ower hiz shouder ti an onknawn auditour but the ruim. The lass cam ower an sayed.

“Yeir sauf nou, Auntie Mirren !” Shae gied hir a kis.

Than Maistres Stein, the auld carling, cam ti greitt hir, tae

“Walcum ti Embro, lass !” The dug waffit its tail, joco-lik. Mirren cuidna finnd wirds bot Maistres Stein didna hae sicna lak.

“Ye dinna nede ti wirrie about cowpin the Maister fur he hes a heid as haurd as a cokernit an lims lik stainchers. He hesna cum ti onie hairm.” The mukkil bouk o Grant Brecham, hirplin a wie, cam ben ti shak hir haun.

“Ye hae meit wi Maistres Stein, ma housskeiper, an the twenes, Junipere an Inglis, an ma collie’s cryed ‘Staun’ kiz he winna sit.

“Ay,” toved Maistres Stein, “The twenes hae the saicont sicht. The wes a rid gast flaitin atap o ma tay yestrein an we kent ye wuid cum-by the day fur we fushed it out an clapped it atwein wir hauns an it stak the saicont tyme. Than we redit the caups, an the wes a maipil blad, kythin clair as ye lyk. Sae we telt the maister ti luik out fur ye bot ye run him ower.” Than thai aw leuchit lik tinks.

This wes ower mich fur Mirren. Shae nivver grat sin bairnheid, bot nou wes sae forwandert at shae begoud ti pewl maist peitie-fu. Thai wes aw sairie at aince an shae wes gied a het douk, haillsum mate an pit ti bed fur the nicht. This wes juist as weill fur fortig an reisk wes ti be hir clos compaingens ower the lave o hir stroubilt days i thon laun o tribulance, Scotland.

The morn shae wes waukent bi the whinkin o the dug. Nixt, Maistres Stein incam wi tay, an telt hir no ti fash hirsell, bot Staun didna lyk sojers an a whein o’m wes forkin about the kerr, at wes aye staunnin outby on the causie. Mirren wes sair fleggit.

“Thai’l finnd me heir ! A maun rin out the bak duir,” shae skirled in ane awfu swither. “The sojers maunna arreist me afoir A can rescours ma puir tint dochter.”

Maistres Stein hauddit a caum souch.

“Naebuddie’l tel the sojers ye’r heir, an whan thai stert ti serss, A hae a cosie hidie-holl fur ye. Sae sup yeir tay an whan ye cum doun fur brakwast i the keichen, fess yeir pokes wi ye.”

Eftir disjune Mirren wes gien an innins ti Maistres Stein’s saicret ruim at bene conceled ahent an aumrie lang syne. Whan Mirren kent shae hed a sauf havin, shae sattilt doun an telt Grant o hir sairie anterkest. Thai desydit ti caw a counsail o weir, an gied an inveit ti John, Frizell an the twenes ti dyne that nicht, sae Mirren cuid leir o the naitur o the deiffekwalties at shae wes lik ti tryst wi, huntin about the kintra fur hir dochter.

Eftir the male, Grant begoud ti gie the fankilt an drumlie cuttance o the ills o Scotland. Maistres Stein k’nittit moggans fur the collman’s loun an bete the fyre frae the bress bunker at the chimla lug. Whyles John an Grant skaired a cutter o whuskie. The twenes kent aw the store bot lyked ti here it ower agane an Frizzel wes aiger ti len hir shairp intellek ti halp cutt kinches. The auld nok k’nikket ower the brace.

“Aince the Scotch naitioun tuik it intil its heid ti be frie, this wes accomplist wiout onie litigious conduk bi onie o the interessit pairties. Fur the first fyow yeir aw gaed weill fur the kintra, aince o gryte ranown an nou a replenishit pouer i the warl.

Bot whan it wes sein at the Scot’s fisk wes a dreippin rost, inimities wes engenderit.

The quastioun o Ulster nivver bene awnsert an cam agane ti the foir. Fur monie yeirs it pushiont the effairs o Bretane an belyve cam ti smit Scotland. The Protestants at aince gaed ti the Emerant Eyl frae Scotland wes slawlie bein knidged out bi the hailthie stait o Eire, an the Inglish, at sein ane eith gate out the myre, eigged up the Ulster fowk ti seke relocautioun i Scotland, tho the Suddron war as responsal fur the sitivautioun as onie. A propone frae Wastmeinster wes med at Scotland wuid bigg a nyow ceitie i Gallowa bi wey o requit ti houss the fugiears. This wes a sair baur, bot gryte nummers o fowk cam ower i howp. The eftirins wes argil-bargillin ower hames, ferms an laun. It tirned frae a mellay ti ane emergant whan releigious stryfe wes eikit. Than berganin ower drougs an ither criminabil maitters spreid ruther an the tynin o legal richts.

Thon wes the wark o ‘Perfidious Albion’.

“Whitlik is thon?” speired Junipere at hir faither.

“Its a nem fur the Sassenach. Napolean uised it,” John explened.

“A dinna unnerstaun yit. Wul ye mele me ane exempil o’d.”

“The Inglish ar aye chyngin the ruills o the gemm o histore. A jalouse at its best kythit bi wey thai hae fremmit keings ti ruill ower thaim. Frae the Frainche Normans, the Welch Plantagenets, the Scotch Stewarts ti the German Hanoveirianes, thai bou the craig til onie keing thai think wul halp thaim ti owergang ither naitiouns. Thai wul mak allays o ither kintraes, bot thai arna feil ti thaim fur lang. Thusgates thai wes aye giein the puir oneste Scots a lewderin fur the Scots wes fay ti thair keings, releigiouns an freins, an kentna whitwey ti flit thair leilties ower nicht. The’r a guid whein ither swatchis A cuid gie ye”.

“Thai uised sic cantrips agin Scotland ower this Ulster effair,”, incam Grant, “tho A maun awn at thai wesna alane i the spulyie, as ye’l here in a meinit. Tho thai pit forrit the Ulster idaia, whan it stertit ti gang agley, thai becam ‘Perfidious Albion’. Bi the tyme the tulyie raxed Glesca, the Scotch Perlament hed ti sen in truips ti haud the pace. The Wastmeinster Governament than pit about a fauss narrautioun at Scotland wes gaun ti tusk out the Ulster fowk intil Cumbria, at mebbies bene pairt o Scotland lang syne. Thair popular wes whuppit intil a feirich o engaigne bi the nyowspeypers. Larrie dryvers, fermers an the lik socht ti clem up the rodds agin Scotch transport fur revengeance. Than a brute wes pit about at mos truipers wes smugglin drougs inti Ingland an the Suddron raised a het-trod ti herrie thaim inti Scotland. Inglish sojers wes mudgit in aw alang the Border. Bot the borderers cuid beir the brount o weir an gainstuid agin the inbrak an awmaist cairried out a refutautioun o the Inglish. Thisgied Scotland tyme ti mak representautiouns ti the Europaen Courts. Tho Ingland wes telt ti stap the onfaw shae perswaddit the Gryte Pouers, at didna lyk wie naitiouns at’s crouse on thair ain middens, ti inact ane U.N. mandat ower Scotland, an ti lat Lunnon hae the moyen unner the mandat ti gubern the kintra. Sae the bew bunnets an saltyre war dang doun an the bew hewmets o the U.N. atap o Sassenach pows, cam in by the Lowdens whaur thai justified thair presence bi the nedecessitie ti hain the lairge Inglish pluralitie. Bot, lik A warnished ye, ilk pouer jyned in the spulyie, outten onie guid excaise. Europ clamed the fushin richts furby the uill an gauss ablo the Nor Sie, bot no afoir Norroway gruppit Orkney an Shetland, an Eire Rokkal, wi the tyde rounabout. Thon wes anerlie the stert o’d.”

The gruip roun the bricht lowe bene sae entent on the leitanie o malverse daeins at thai hedna tuik tent at the nok hed devauled. O a suddentie Maistres Stein flang by hir k’nittin.

“The cuiverfeu!” shae skreiched. Bot it wes ower ahin haun. The war a chappin at the storm duir an a peremptor ringin o the bell. John telt the twenes ti steik the shutts, Maistres Stein grippit Mirren an wheiched hir doun the sterr ben the seicrie ruim, an snekkit the duir ahent hir. The entrie wes throu the bak o a bruim press, sae nane cuid eith jalouse the presence o’d. Grant gaed ti the foirduir ti explene ti the waatchie at aw wes weill, bot it wesna thon wirdie avaw. It wes twa polismen an a brace o sojers.

“We hae a warrand ti serrs this houss, fur we hae a suspecioun at ye ar gien herbrie ti a terroriss suspek.” Grant pleyed the daft laddie, wi nae success.

“Ar ye no heir anent the cuiverfeu, than?”

“We arna. Nou staun asyde.” The dug Staun wes leised on the polisman fur giein him ane inveit ti halp an waggit hiz tail wi glie.

Than the fowersum forkit throu the houss frae crap ti ruit an fand nocht. Whan thai failyiet ti extrak onie infurmautioun, ein frae the twenes or Maistres Stein, thai skailed, bot no afoir Staun wirriet baith the sojers, nippin thaim i the brawns fell sair.

“Is thon dug leishenced?” speired the polisman, aince sauf ower the threshart.

“Ay he’s aw legal,” Maistres Stein telt him, “at’s mair nor youse hempies,” an shae steikit the duir tae.

“We maun liss puir Mirren, shae’l be frichtent!”sayed Frizzel an thai aw brattled doun the stane sterr, the twenes ilk wytin the tither fur no foirsein the raid bi the sojers. Thai gried at Mirren suid byde i dern, sae a bed wes brocht ben the hydie-holl wi mich pechin an harlin. Thai set thairsells doun on it , maist cosie an cosh, fur the’r naething lik a guid fleg fur makkin ye joco at ye yit enjose yeir leibertie.

“We foryet the cuiverfeu,” apologeised Grant. “Maist nichts we ar awaw ti wir beds lang afoir it cums inti forss. Bot it wes juist as weill, sen thai micht a hed mair success gin we bene asleip.”

Ti haud thair thochts awaw frae siclik doulie possibeilities, Mirren axed the first quastioun at cam ben hir harns.

“Whitwey is thare a cuiverfeu?” Grant wes nou a bittie fornyawed an hairse, sae John telt hir.

“Whan Scotland wes aye pairt o Bretane, aw the publict sairvices wes prevateised; the lectra, gauss, wattir an the lik. Whan Scotland vottit ti be separat,the hie heid yins o the cumpanies arreinged ti souk out aw the infeftments frae thair Scotch brainchis, an flittit aw the stok an brok ti the lik o the Eyl o Man at wes a taxt herbrie. Whan Scotland wun hir frieryke, the nyow gouvernament hed ti naitiounaleise the cumpanies agane ti haud thaim siccar i the productioun o pouer an licht. Bot whan the kintra an perlament tint thair poust, the beisnessis wes suin dyvourt waantin the support o publict siller. Anerlie the kirnel staitiouns cuid supplie lectra pouer, an thai sel it at sic hie pryssis at naebuddie bot the liks o the U.N. can affuird it an in tirn mak uz hain fuaill bi menes o a cuiverfeu. Its a kinna blakmail at’s sae wikkit at thai cry the heid pilliedacusis o the staitiouns, ‘K’nichts’ .”

“The Orenge K’nicht at Hunterston, the Whyt K’nicht at Dounreay, the Blak K’nicht at Torness,” cantit the twenes thegither.

Mirren wes stamagasted.

“Thon’s the nem ma dochter uised, ‘The Blak Knicht’,” sayed Mirren

“We maun be oneste wi ye, Mirren,” sayed Frizzel, “the suiner shae waashes hir hauns o thon kinna fowk, the bettir. Thai ar the kell-heid o aw the droug-treffekin an ill-daein i Scotland. Thai haud the popular unner thair thoum bi threitnin ti lowss raidio acteive houstrie onti thaim.” Frizzel sein Mirren’s ein clud ower wi wirrie.

“Shae mey weill no be thair, tho.”

“A pray ti Heiven at shae isna,” sechtit Mirren.

“Dinna fash! We’l aw be heir the morn, sen we canna gang hame eftir cuiverfeu, an wul hae a ploy ti finnd Ruth bi than A’se warrand, gin A dinna sleip a blenk aw nicht.”


Ower the Brig ti Aiberdour

Naither John na Frizzel wun mukkil rist thon nicht. Thai wirked ti finnd ane awnser ti Mirren’s dirdum, traivellin ower the kintra i thair thochts. Thai reinged frae the hyne norat launs whaur the Norse ruilled Sutherland an the Out Eyls, ti the launs frae Kintyre ti Ross at wes jyned ti a Gaelic Uinioun wi Eire.Thai wuidna be yibbil ti assist, fur thai wes tae ferr awaw. Thai pit by Gallowa, aye thrang wi sturt an stryfe. Thai als pit asyde Strathclyde, ane enorm soshaliss byke, whaur hauf the fowk wes wirkers waantin wark, an the ither hauf addiks sekein drougs.

The Mearns an Buchan wes unner the tirrantie o the Europaen Uill Cairtel. Thon hempies wuid be oleit ti gie ye a heize gin ye hed ane uilliewall, bot no itherwyss. The U.N. wuidna dae Mirren onie favours eftir hir first tissil wi thaim. Thon laed the “Keingryke o Fyfe” at, alang wi Pairth, wes knawn as “Frie Scotland”. Thai concludit at thare liggit thair anerlie howp. Thai dovered ower juist as the mulk-caddie deleivert ful budgells an tuik awaw the tuim anes in hiz shelt an cairt. I the drames o the forfochelt twasum, it wes a carrant outsettin ti fremmit launs, wi the tingil o horssbressis an the clomph o horss’ huifs.

Thai wes geyan vincust at disjune whan thai raportit thair conlusioun til a thankryfe Mirren. Bot Maistres Stein wes fur cawin cannie.

“Whitwey can ye wun ower ti Fyfe? Whitlik wul ye finnd thare at ye canna finnd heir?”

Bot Grant an the twenes wes cairried forrit wi the fyre aidge.

“We ken whitwey ti gang ower the brig ti Aiberdour,” sayed the twenes.

“Dinna haiver,” admoneist thair mither, “This is a verra sairious maitter.”

“Here thaim out,” advysed Grant.

“Mynd aw thae brammils an rasps we fessed hame at the bak-en. We pued thaim amang the thikfauld ryss alang the banks o the vacand railwey at uised ti rin frae Embro ti the Forth Brig. Whan we raxed Dalmenie, the wes a gryte ern yett acorss the trak, bot we cuid sei the brig wes yit hale an the lings ledeit ower ti Fyfe, bricht an onroustit.”

“Thon wes a bit wanchancie,” wirried thair mither.

“We nivver sein a leivin sowel onie o the tymes we med the ventur.”

Frizzel shawed a mither’s anxeitie about sic aunters bi stertin ti redd up the cheinie-metall. Mirren wes bot pawled bi the clishmaclaverin. John kent at shae maun be gied a mair substantious expositioun.

“A dinna wiss ti birn ye wi yit mair infurmautioun, bot ye winna knaw whit we’r simmer an wintirin on about, ens.

Fyfe wes nemmit lang syne eftir the sin o a Pecht keing at hed fyve laddies an ayered ilkane pairt o hiz ryaltie. The yingess sin at wes gied the laun atwein Forth an Tay wes cryed Fyth an ti this day the kintra is aye kent as the Keingdome o Fyfe. Scotch keings bad thare fur monie generautiouns an hed a fawmous pailace at Fawkland. Tho it is a cantie bit, it bene sair tashed bi coll mynin an i mair raicent tymes, alkemical warks. Oniegates, whan the Fyfers hard at the Unyt Naitiouns truips wes enterin Lowden, an mudges cam ti thair lugs at the sojers wes ettlin ti wun ower the Forth an mak the Keingdome subdit ti thair ruill, thai sneggit the stele raips at up-hauddit the rodd brig ower the wattir, an whummilt it doun. Than thai brak the briggies ower the Tay an wes aw reddies ti ding doun the mid-spang o the Forth rail brig an mak amaist ane eyland fortrace o thair hame, whan the truips wes ordourt bak frae thair forrit poseitiouns ti cairrie out the rypin o Embro.

Aw the fawmous limnins, skulptrie an a hudge o treisur o ilk kinkeind wes stawn an taen awaw ti Lononburgh. Thai ein chored the Stane o Skoun an the Scotch Croun Jowells.Whyle thon stouth wes ongaein durand the day, the Fyfers cam i the nicht an rescoursed, wi the halp o monie ceitezans o Embro, aw the ither geir at the Inglish sein as haein smaw vaill. Thai tuimit out the muisaeums o ingines, pumps, plews an models o kills, fornaces an luims an siclik, pit thaim abuird treynes, an speiritit thaim awaw ower the brig. Furby thai tuik aw the technical buiks frae the librars an bew-prents o inginerein drauchtins frae warks an offishis.Than thai fessed hame the gunes frae the Embro Castel an the cartowes frae Calton Hul. Lest, the Fyfers liftit the rails ower the brig, sauled aff wi ivverie boit atwein Grangemouth an Tantallon, tied twa howes o kirnel pouered unner-sie boits at bene laed ti roust awaw at Rosyth ti Inchgarvie an pit about the threit at the wraks wuid be kest lowss gin the Inglish socht ti raid acoss the brig. The naitiouns roun the Nor Sie wesna verra joco at the thocht o sic boits flaitin ontil thair strauns, sae thai telt the Inglish it wuid be wyce ti lae Fyfe alane. Nou the lest pynt, at awnsers Maistres Stein’s saicont quastioun isna gaun ti be telt bi masell, sen Junipere an Inglis ar fair brustin ti tel ye thairsells.

“The Fyfers tuik Napier frae the muisaem. He wes our frein. He wes the gryte main-heck ordinateir at aince gyed the gouvernament o Scotland. He’s mebbies aye yibbil ti tap inti the compuiters o the U.N. or ein the K’nichts. We’l speir at’m ti finnd gin Ruth is ben the waws o Tornes.”

“Haud yeir horssis,” inbrak thair mither. “Whae sayed ye wuid be gaun ti Fyfe?” The inkir hue o the younkers wes smored bi thon cowshus wirds.

“Ye cuid en up bein incarcerat,” shae wairned.

“Wuid ye haud me bak gin Junipere wes i jeopartie?” axed Inglis. Hiz mither didna repone, fur shae recognosced the mense o the lad at wuid suin be a growen man. Maistres Stein hed a propone at wuid pit saw inti Frizzel’s kauch, tho.

“A mynd at Andra Szkocja at mairriet on Jeannie Stothart, is a hie-heid yin i Fyfe. The twenes wul be sauf wi thaim. Thai’r kin, an’l sure thaim soverance. Dinna vex yeirsell, Frizzel, gin yeir guidman gangs, furby Mirren, A wauger thai’l be weill hained. Or dae ye wiss me ti gang, tae?” Frizzel hed ti lauch. An sae the wes griement.

Thai set out on thair bykes aire on a Seturday, whan aw wes quate. The millans wesna weill shod wi dunlops, bot hed auld bits o towe fur tyres. The cheins an geirs wes gey roustie, tae. Mauger thon, thai med guid progress. Mirren wes fur breingin straucht up ti the staitioun at Dalmenie at the en o the brig. John hed hecht hiz guidwyfe ti caw cannie tho. Thai veisitit the kirkyaird at Aibercorn firstlins, ti estaiblish ane hallabie an ti spy out the lay o the laun. Onie sojers at hed quastiouned thair presence wes ti be telt at thai wes luikin fur the lairs o antecestors. Eftir aittin thair peces sittin on the auld stane style foiranent the Aibercorn graifyaird, thai birled roun ti Dalmenie Kirk ti vissie the kervins thare-about. The wesna a sojer ti be sein sae thai approched the staitioun tentie-lik. Bot the twenes wes uggit wi Anglo-Saxon airchis. Ower-maistert wi reiho an doun-hauddit virr, thai stoured forrit ti vainish up the sterrs at ledeit ti the pletfurm. Whan John an Mirren pechit up ti the staition, thai fand ane empie warl bot fur the sie-mews flaitin abuin the wytin-ruim ruif. It wes nou the gloamin an the burds wes reddies ti gang hame ti thair reists. Than John hered the snitterin o hiz mischeivious gytes. Thai wes courried doun ablo the en o the pletfurm, at wes layed wi apenwark timmer bauks an wes bos aneith. The twenes thocht it a rare baur. Thai kent at thair faither wes feirt at thai wuid cum upo a punzie o enairmit suddarts an wes gaun ti be maist sair surpreised whan hiz bairns hed sauntit insteid. Bot John wes angirt. Ti caum hiz souch, he tirned ti luik at the gryte ern brig at hed sic pissant owerance o the braid wattirs o the Frith. Hiz hert lowpit intil hiz mou! The yetts acorss the railwey lings at the brig-en wes cawin ajie an a sop o men wes ishin. John grippit Mirren an in a saicont jyned hiz faimlie ablo the timmers. Thai kent at this wes nae langir a mows.

Frae thair hiddil, thai herkit ti the risp o buits on the clinker an the rakkil o metall. Suin the fuit stramps wun by, bot a dug wes follaein alang ahent, an gat ane awfu fleg whan it glimped aw the ein glowerin out frae the mirk. It begoud ti bowf an wowf wi fricht, an dauncit bak an forrit, priggin its maister ti cum hae a luik. This wes bot ane o aw nummer o surpreises ti be hed thon nicht. The lad at bak-cam ti caw aff hiz dug wesna a sojer avaw. He wes a wie loun wi ane enorm pinch barr ower hiz shouther an uill-tashit dungaries. He sayed nivver a wird as a mukkil blak man, twa younkers at baith hed the exak-sam swype an a rid-heiddit leddie wi marone sports breiks crowled out frae unner the pletfurm. I fak, thai didna ken whitlik ti say aither.

The lave o the sop retoured ti weitnes the ferlie. Nane o thaim kent whitlik wes the “mot juste” in sicna soshwal sitivautioun, sae thai aw stuid roun, tung takkit an pleyed wi thair shuils. Junipere kent tho.

“Whit’s the nem o yeir tyke?” shae axed the loun, maist freinlie-lik.

The loun gat a riddie. He tirned ti the ither wichts. Thai didna offer ti halp. He stak hiz pinch barr inti the stanes, twycet, an a bit sham-faced, whuspert,

“Szkozja, wi twa izzats.”

“Did ye nem him eftir Andra Szkozja?” speired Junipere


“Thon’s luk. He’s the verra man we hae cum ti veisit. We ar kin frae Embro, ken.” Junipere wes shair at aw wuid be cantie nou, fur shae hed richtlie jaloused at thai hed fawn inti the hauns o the seillie Fyfers, the kemps o Frie Scotland. The men nou gied addisence ti thair foirsman. He tuik aff hiz bunnet an skartit hiz pow ti eise the process o thocht.

“Mey A hae yeir nems an beisines? Andra’s gey thrang an disna lik ti be interuppit wiout guid raison,” he speired at lest. Mirren’s speirits raise whan shae hard this pronuncement, fur shae wesna uised ti auld Scotch weys, an kentna at slaw o tung wesna slaw o wut. Thai nou interrogat hir thorow-lik, giein hir ful skowth ti tel hir thrain, ontil thai wes weill setified at shae wesna a truphane. Than the hale clamjamfrey tirned about an convoyed the fowersum baklins thro the yetts wi its etin paddok-loks an ern bowts thik as a man’s airm. Thai wes ben Frie Scotland.

The foirsman apent the duir o a wie howff bi the trak-syde. Apairt frae a rid-het stoiff, an ane-twa cheirs, it wes maistlie ful o a strynge machine wi twae pendils hingin frae a hek. The foirsman wes semein ti sen a message bi haun o wryte. John wes verra kwerious.

“Whit’s thon crankum?” he inquered.

“Its a bain. We bigg thaim wirsells. It sens a copie o ma nott alang weires an prents it out at the ither en.

“Lik a fax,” says John.

“We cry it a bain eftir its fyndar.”

“Whaur dae ye get the lectra pouer furd?”

The foirsman amaist smyllit, fur John hedna sein the loun ben the howff, cawin awaw at a haunnil till he swattit lik ane auld cheis. Praisentlie a pistil ischewed frae the machine. The foirsman dichtit hiz spentakils, an red it ti hissell,

“Andra bids ye walcum an wul sen a tryne ti fess ye.”

“D’ye mene a rale stame ingine?” sayed Inglis.

“Whit d’ye expek,” says the loun, hiz tung lowsent bi the exercitioun,

“We dinna hae onie peter-uill i Fyfe, anerlie coll an oneste lawbour.

The foirsman an hiz men nou gaed about thair beisnes, bot telt the lad ti byde ontil the transport cam ower the brig, than ti bete the stoiff an steik the duir siccar-lik.

Inglis wes maist interessit in aw about’m an socht ti wun wittins frae the ying Fyfer.

“Whitwey wes ye ower i Lowden?” he speired

“Thae sojers dinna fash thaimsells about gairdin the railwey, sae we corss ower durand the nicht an scodge about mantenein the permanent wey, an whyles we pent the brig.

“A thocht it aw luikit i guid tift,” obsairved John. “Tak tent o yeir geir or ye’l suin regrait the tinsellin o’d,” the lad misquotted ane auld say wi a solempt avyse.

He gaed but the howff an liggit hiz lug on the rail. Inglis an Junipere jyned him.

“Ye’l can here the rummil o the bogies,” he explened.

“A can here it !” gollached Junipere, an lap bak intil the howff.

“Dinna vex yeirsell, lass, its ower twa myll aff.”

Suin thai wes skonced in ane auld warl cairrage, wi pentins o Rothesay an Nairn on the hallans. Thai birled ower the brig wi a brattil an a dirl, the ingine sechtin an pechin, than belyve intil tonnels an alang hie bankins luikin outower the dirkenin sie.

Ein Mirren wes fou wi sakles pleisur an foryet hir anxeitie fur a mament.

“Whitwey dae fowk say ‘Its ower the brig ti Aiberdour’?” Shae spak inti hirsell, in a dwam.

“Its ane auld ferss at wes telt lang syne,” sayed John. “A’l sei gin A can mynd it. Aince in a day, whan trynes ran reglar ower the Forth Rail Brig, the wes a fawmous auld staitioun-maister at Dalmenie at aye intimeitit the neist stap o the train in a fell loud voss.

“Its ower the brig ti Aiberdour,” he yowtit out . Ane Sassenach cheil at wissed ti hae a caddie cairrie hiz graith pit hiz heid out the winnok o the cairrage an cawed,

“Porter, I’ve got a tin chest!”

“A cairna gif ye hae a widden laig, its ower the brig ti Aiberdour.”

The twenes aince bene fain o sic auld-farrant rymes an taills, bot wes nou ower mature ti finnd thaim lauchabil. Housomdevir, sic wes the glamourie o the tryne journay at thai eiggilt up thair faither ti tel anither.

“Anither tyme at Dalmenie, ane auld carl at wes deif cuidna here the annuncement richt, sae he stak hiz lug trump out the windae ti halp mak out the wirds.

The staitioun- maister cam towart him. Pyntin ower hiz shouther wi hiz thoum he says, ‘Mynd ye weill, auld birkie, yin tout an ye’r out.’”

Mirren, at hed nou mynded hir wirries, wes maist releifit whan the tryne stellit wi mich shouglin an aff-blawin o stame. Shae thocht the daft-lik ferssis wes stappit tae. Bot warse wes ti befaw.


The Thesaurar

Andra Sczkozja clam abuird. He wes freinlie, bot aye bene a bittie tharf. He shak thaim aw bi the haun, an set hissell doun whyle the tryne stertit doun the ling, ti Burntisland, he telt thaim. Ti pit him mair at eise, Junipere telt him at hir faither bene myndin auld railwey ferssis ti pas the tyme. Ti Mirren’s despare, he begoud ti narrete hiz ain vairsiouns.

“Did he tel ye thon anent the passenger at bad the gaird ti aff-pit’m at Aviemore, an gin he wes sleipin he maun be waukent an tuimed out, whitivver sweirin an bannin he med. Richt eneuch the mannie dovert ower bot waukent ti finnd he wes in Inverness. He rowstit an raired at the gaird fur no daein hiz dewtie. Eftir, tho, he wes sairie an socht ti apologeise.

‘Nivver ye mynd, Stir,’ sayed the gaird. ‘It wesna hauf o the ill things at wes sayed bi the ither gentilman at A did pit aff at Aviemore.’

Heir anither yin.

A herd tuik the tryne fur the first tyme ti gang ti a fermtoun whaur he wes ti wirk. The ingine draver med ane errour an dangit inti the buffers at the en o the ling. The duirs wes cawed ajie wi the dunt, an the puir herd an hiz dug wes flang out ontil the grun. Whan he wun ti the ferm, the guidwyfe axed gif he wes awricht, sen he wes a whein tashit an bluidie. The herd replyed at he wes weill, bot he hed cum on the nyow railwey, an thai wes gey roch wi the tuimin out!”

Agane Mirren wes saufed bi the ingine cummin ti rist at its destinautioun. Andra raise ti hiz feit an wi a pawkie smirk on hiz phizz, paittered out:-

“As the gaird at bene glossin in hiz vann an didna ken whaur he wes aince sayed,’ Heir ye ar fur whaur ye’r gaun, aw ye in thare fur heir, get out!’”

Bot Andra did ken whaur he wes fur thai wes in Burntislan, whaur he wes the heid pilliedacus.

Sklimmin doun, thai fand thairsells in ane enorm corrugat ern shede. Afoir thaim wes a wie stane bothie at stuid in the mids o the gryte, mirk biggin.

“The wes ane alumeinium warks heir an we raxit out the structur ti mak mair space. This wie houss wes stade i the wey, bot we didna wiss ti caw it doun, sae we biggit ower the tap o’d. We med it inti ma offish. Whan fowk leived in it, it wes cryed ‘Peirie Neuk’.”

He gied thaim breid an kebbok wi mulk ti drink, fur thai wes hungirt wi thair traivellin. Suin the quastiouns begoud, tho.

“Whit kinna manufactour is this?” frained John, at feinist hiz snap first.

“It isna a warks, it’s a thesaur houss,” wes the awnser.

“Fur goud, siller, diamonts an emerants!” lauched Junipere. Andra disted the nirls aff hiz k’nie.

“Ye’l be waantin ti sei ma treisur. Bot ye maunna be kest doun, lass, fur thai ar aw obrans at ither fowk dinna vaillie.” He hed thon pawkie glent in hiz ei agane, tho.

The fower gasts follaed him but ‘Peirie Neuk’ , an nou sein thro the mirk at, unner the gryte ower-airchin ruif, wes a maist byordinar omnigadderum. N’anerlie wes the’r thair ain ingine, bot raws o the fuffin onbeiss. Furby, the wes crans, pumps, generatours, milns, plews, stame rodd-rowers, bylers, luims, lays, fornaces, stame shuils, lamps frae licht-houssis, ein hale scheps: ivverie teip o mechanical devyse an tirlie-wirlie at ye cuid imaigin.

“Michtie me!” says John, astonist, “thon’s a fair ingaitherin.”

“Maist fowk nou wun roun ti axin me, whit’s the vaill o’m? A’l gie ye ma explene in a bit buikie. A canna pit wirds ti wir pheilosophie bettir nor this wie blad.

The Polatie o a Naitioun.

The histore o a naitioun hes a nummer o clair staups. Lik the bairn’s gemm o ‘Snakes an Ledders’ ye’l can gang up or doun. At the fit is savagerie, wi ilk clan gainstaunnin ivverie ither. Abuin is naitiounheid, maistlie wun bi conflik . The neist staup is frieryke frae intertrykin bi ithers but the kintra, follaed bi democratie ben it.

Thon suid be supportit bi sel-sustentautioun an fair tred. Thon is as ferr up the ledder as is wyce ti gang, tho bi no menes the tap o’d.

The rungs ayont fess ye ti the warl o impyres, the doun-hauddin o the puir an waik, the criein o constant chynge sae at fauss appiteits ar ingenerit i the ryke. Haterent an feir o the wanfortunat than cause thrawart releigiouns an poluteiks ti pushioun the lede. Thon is the stang o the sairpent, at belyve swallaes the naitioun an convoys it doun ti the fit o the buird agane. Scotland hes thuswyss bene brocht ti rewyne.

Ti sklim up the ledder, the popular maun leir ti leive frae thair ain poke. Scotland is a puir laun wi hask wather. It isna gracious an growthie. Monie pairts ar heich an winryfe. Ithers ar saxeane an weit. Bot we leirit bi the uiss o technologie ti tryve. Housomdevir, we tint wir gate an socht ti aip kintraes wi deifferand pheilosophies. We hae stane an widd, ern an coll, caller air an clane wattir.The sies wes aince hotchin wi fush, the huls wi sheip an deir, the feilds wi corne an tatties an the gairdens wi rasps an grossets. Wir scheps aince set saul frae ilka firth an loch ti tred wi the warl. Trynes aince birled ower michtie brigs, ti jyne aw the ceities o the keingryke thegither in uth. Skuils an uiniversities troked leir wi aw the airts. Oneste ceitezans red buiks an peypers, ti halp thaim furm a solit opeinioun on the effairs o the warl.

Bot we gaed hurin eftir eidols wi feit o cley. The flumgummerie o lectronic communicautioun, the fantise o kirnel pouer, the wastrie o kerrs an airieplanes fullin the air wi thair uillie reik, the fauss hecht o wirk wiout maucht, soshietie wiout obleigement, pace wiout justis, the drame o hames wiout hairths unner a sunn at beiks doun aw the lang day. Than bairns foryet whitwey ti pley, the auld ti tel the tales an sing the sangs o langsyne, an fowk ti blether wi thair neibours i the causie. Biggins wes beildit o frem materials, langages wes tint, mate cam frae a cairrie-out kistie an wyne frae a buist.

The wes a guid whein mair. On the lest pege wes prentit in mukkil, blak teip:


“A aye pit it the ither wey masell,” sayed Andra whan thai wes feinist, “Nae wastrie, nae tulyie an nae fulyie.” Mirren didna ken whit ti say fur shae cam frae a kintra at aye enjosed the benefits o the modren warl. John cuidna jalouse whitlik wes the mensefu commend ti mak aither. Inglis hauddit hiz coy. Hiz ain pictur o the fuither didna grie wi thon deskreived i the buik.

“Did ye endyte it aw yeirsell?” speired Junipere. Andra leuchit.

“It wes the prelatioun o a computeir, wuid ye beleve. He is nerr as wyce as ten fowk pit thegither an hes gied uz a gryte heize wi wir warsillin, bein a treisur houss o lair an mense in hiz ain richt. We rescoursed him frae the muisaeum.”

Thus gates the twenes wes unyt wi thair auld frein, Napier.

It wes a said trystin, tho. The gryte main-hek ordinateir didna wirk onie mair, explened Andra, sae he bene pit in a neuk wi a happ ower him, ontil a wey cuid be fand ti stert him up agane. The cannas wes thikfauld wi stour o ane orenge cullour, at wes bauxyte dist, the ure at bene laed ahent frae the umquhyle alumeinium wirks. Thai harled it aff an dichtit the cace o the machine wi brats. It didna luik onie deifferand frae onie ither. Ti let the twenes sayin ill wirds ti Andra anent the puir stait o thair lectronic frein, John speired whitwey the Fyfers hed fessit bak sicna beig, auld computeir, whan the’r nae dout bene monie ither mair modren teips.

Andra wes leised on John chyngin the subjek awaw frae stew an the neglek o the twene’s billie at bene sicna kemp o Scotland, sae he wes happie ti gie a cuttance.

“The men at wes reddin out the muisaeum wes maist surpreised whan this machine stertit ti gie thaim advyse anent whit objeks wes lik ti be o maist wirth i the fuither an he aye pit hissell inti the leit. The men felt sairie fur the compuiteir. an tho he wes ane awfu wecht, brocht him hame wi the lest fraucht, sen nane o’m hed sicna cauld hert at thai cuid lae him aw on hiz leilane i the tuim muisaeum. Napier peyed uz bak monie tymes ower fur wir pains, “ Andra feinist.

“This wes aye the wey wi Napier.”

“The kace at in-hauddit Napier wesna tabulet i thon mainner afoir,” obsairved Inglis. “ A hae ane idaia ti cantil up Napier an bring him the poust he is waantin. D’ye hae onie strang lichts ti haun?”

“We hae Drummond lichts frae ane auld fair-grun.” wes the awnser. The geir wes suin muntit on a braw rid stame tractour wi a generatour ti pouer thaim. Mirren an Junipere polist the lectronic etin wi saft clouts. Suin the bricht lemes wes pourin onti the machine. Bot naething happent! Andra an John tint interess an sloped aff ti hae a blether. Mirren didna hae mukkil feth aither, bot didna wiss ti schaw dout afoir the twenes. At lest shae speired, “Ar ye no gaun ti kie inti the ordinateir?”

Inglis explened at Napier didna wirk wi kies, an wes monie tymes mair clivversum nor thon. Hiz idaia wes at the gless squars on the kace wes solar pannells at Napier hed arreinged ti hae connekit ti fend hissell wi pouer frae licht. Thai didna wirk unner a happ, Inglis whuspert fur feir o offendin thair landlord, an wes ane exempil o a guid, modren inventioun, he mummilt ti Mirren, thrawn-lik.

“Suin he’l be yibbil ti traffek wi’z.”

Than, juist as Mirren hed gied up howp, frae the howe o the transeistert onbeiss cam a crauchillin an a hostin.

“Deirie me,” sayed Napier,”thon’s horrid kittlie dist.”

“Nou leisten, Inglis. Pit me in the sunshein the morns morn an we’l hae a guid crak.” Than he snekkit hissel aff.

Gin Mirren hedna asseirt thaim o the trewth o’t, John an Andra wuidna beleved the store. Bot shae did, an Napier’s mandement wes obayed.

The morn he wes liftit ontil a wain an out-harled inti the yaird, whaur the sunn bekeit doun leibral-lik an a saft gray wheichit awaw the lave o the stour. As he hed hechtit, the ordinateir wes i guid fettil afoir nuin. Mirren wes on nettils bi this tyme, sae Inglis an Junipere fleitchit wi Napier ti finnd hir dochter, Ruth, at wes tint i the ruther o Caledonia. The computeir wes a bittie disjasket, kiz he wissed ti hae happie wittins o the daeins o hiz auld, deir freins an ti ingaither aw the clash o the kintra. Bot he wes aye a leil an trew servan, sae he sneddit schort hiz ain enjosin o hiz nyow lyfienes an yokit ti hiz darg. Inglis wirriet about the lak o fonn conneks an ither eirieorams, bot Napier telt him ti haud a caum souch, sen he hed aw the lumes at ryndit ti hiz wark biggit inti hiz riggin. Inglis didna foirsei the fuither o the computeir, tho, at wes nou eildit an suidna bene expekkit ti ontak sicna sair haundlin. This wes a blissin, fur wi this knawlege, the twenes wuid bene in a fell swither whither ti halp Mirren or protek Napier. Bi pittin by hiz ain pleisur, the ordinateir wes sacrifeisin hiz lest chance o the sempil pleisur o freinskip. Napier wes nerr duin.

The saidnes o the auld sowel whan he leirit thro the internett o the dounfaw o Scotland, the kintra he aince duin sae mukkil ti heize up, didna halp. This med him aw the mair contermit at Ruth be fand an brocht hame ti savitie an at hiz freins be hained frae sorra an duill. Thusgates he heistent hiz ain lang hinner-en.

Gin ye bene outby i the yaird whan he wes daein hiz beisenes, tho, ye wuidna kent it wesna the Napier o lang syne, fur he wes bannin an sweirin lik a drukken tink, an giein dug’s abuise ti onie at frustert him in hiz deleirit serrs fur infurmautioun. Twa hale days on en, the sunn shane wi bricht eydentrie, whyle the cluds hingit staitiouneir ower the hyne Nor Sie. Than the derf renn ondang an Napier hed ti be hurled bak inti the shede, an the lichts onpit. The parkes bene kyndlie tho. Napier telt hiz freins at aw hiz concludins wes reddies. Gin the lichts wes laed on aw nicht, he wuid gie hiz cuttance the morn.

Wi anerlie the wake pouer frae the lyme-lichts, Napier’s voss wes reduced ti a whusper, sae the fowersum set roun lik it wes a seik bed.

“Mirren, yeir dochter is weill,” begoud Napier. “Shae is at Tornes, lik ye jaloused, an, tho shae hesna bene hairmed, shae isna frie ti cum an gae. Shae is a gast o the Blak K’nicht, at shae met at Embro Castel, durand a swarrie. The pairtie wes ti walcum a nyow impriour o the U.N. forss at is bi guid fortun a Canadiane crowner at cums frae the lik airt as yeirsell, the toun o Gledsburgh. Hiz nem is Daniel Crannachan. Ye maun gang ti collogue wi’m.”

“A mynd a faimlie bi thon nem, frae bairnheid!”

“Ye maun caw cannie, tho. He mey ken the mainner at Ruth traivelled ti Tornes, sen the’r a whein droug traffek atwein the K’nicht an Lowden. The crowner cuid be insnorled i thon an tharefur ye suid be cowshus. Mich o’z racord isna kent ti me, tho A knaw at he hed a histore o inanimitie wi’z faither whan a lad. It aye halps ti list fowk’s inner inlaiks, whan ye wiss ti gain thair kest.

Wi ivverie syllab the volum o’z voss devauled. Eftir a lang still, Napier sechtit,

“ Thon’s aw A ken,” an wes seilent. Mauger aw at cuid be duin, he hed cawed ower ti the laun o the leil. The twenes bein yit ying, fand it sair ti recognosce at thair auld billie wes deid, an thai grat. Mirren confortit the twasum, skairin thair greve. Belyve, Andra tirned aff the lichts an whan the ruff o the stame generatour als died doun ti seilence, it semed the verra machine rued the stang o daith, an murnit its brither.

Nane cuid byde, tho. The happs wes warpit ower the lyke o Napier, the aventurers retoured ti Embro, laein Andra wi thair gratiteid an guid pukkil ferssis he hedna kent afoir. I the circumstaunces, A winna birn ye wi thur the nou.


Twa Castels

Nae skouriss clam the brae ti Embro Castel. The esplanad wes tuim o moniments. The saltyre bene strak, the croun jowells wes gane ti the Tour o Lunnon, alang wi the Stane o Skoun. The ane o the nok gune nae langir frichtit the dous in Prences Strete Gairdens fur the Fyfers hed tuik it awaw ti savetie, an Mons Meg furby. Ein the lyknessis o Bruce an Wallace wes absent frae thair skonces. Mirren an John cam ower the draw-brig an telt the gairds at the yett ti wairn Crowner Cranachan at Maistres Grunstane frae Gledsburgh ettilt ti hae a collogue wi’m, as suin as possibil. It bene gried wi Frizzel at John suid convoy Mirren, sae gif shae wes arreistit the wuid bene a memmer o the publict ti wutnes it, tho thon gied bot smaw soverance..

The sojers i the gaird whaur thai wyted wes pang-fu o insolence, an whuspert an snichert amang thairsells. Eftir a wie, a gumptious offisher cam doun an telt thaim ti follae him. Up throu the auncient yetts an barnekins thai trauchilt, ontil the ful vyow o the ceitie onfauldit ablo thaim. John hovered on the threshart o the heid-quairters ti admeir the outling o the chymmnis an the bonie launskip ayont. He hedna sein sicna fine prospect syne youthheid, whan Embro Castel wes yit apen ti the popular. The ying locumtenand hed ti stap, tae, an chunnert ablow hiz souch at he wesna commeissiouned ti chum derkies about on a condukkit skour. Mirren cuidna
haud hir tung.

“A suppone he’s seik o the sicht o the lirk o yeir erss waggin in hiz face aw the wey up the brae, an sekes lissens frae’d afoir he brusts out lauchin.”

The hensour wes tint fur wirds, bot ti bid thaim staun whaur thai war. He chappit on the heid pilliedacus’s duir an gaed ben ti raport. Thon mannie cam lowpin out, deleiverlie, ti ken whit kinkeind o wumman med hiz offisher laddie mairch intil hiz presence lik a rale sojer, an no lik a weitie spounge. The Crowner wes a mukkil boukit man, at gied hir a gentie salus an wes in ilk wey freinlie. Housomdevir, Mirren mynded the wairnishin at shae wes enterin a warl o deceivenie an jiggerie-poukerie, an it wesna wyce ti traist a man juist kiz he kent hiz mainners. Bot the Crowner herkent ti hir cuttance eydentlie, tho wiout onie meith o’z thochts kythin on hiz face. At the en, he telt hir at he hed a dewtie ti redd out the trewth afoir he gaed onie furder. Cuid he ax a whein quastiouns o’r. Mirren gried, tho shae kentna whitten airt the win wes blawin frae.

“Ye say ye ar frae Gledsburgh. It wuidna be deiffekwalt ti leir the nems o a whein teichars or skuil bairns. Can ye tel me oniething o a byordinar naitur at wuidna be kent ti the publict?”

Mirren thocht fur a wie, than shae telt him the taill o the bluid in the eiss.

Whan shae wes wie the wes twa brithers at hed a doctour fur a faither. He wes a stere man. I the wintir the lads aw pleyed eiss-shintie, an monie o the faithers jyned in the gemms. The doctour wes maistlie ower thrang. Aince tho he cam ontil the rink an no bein weill acquant wi the ert o skeitchin, coupit hiz creils immedantlie, gie’in hiz heid a sair dunt. He wuidna pley onie mair, fur hiz harn-pan wes fair ringin. He hirplit aff the rink. The laddies aw lichtlied him, an ane o hiz sins cryed him ‘Chukken’. The doctour wes fell angirt.

Ye maun mynd at Canadae expairiences verra laich tempers, an ern growes that cauld at gin ye tich it wi yeir bare skin ye ar frosin tilt belyve. Mauger this, the lads likkit the eiss-shokkils at furmed on the hail-hek, fur thai gat weill waarmed wi the exerceise, an wes drouthie. Oniegates, the nixt day, ane o the doctour’s sins ettilt ti cuil hissell in sicna mischancie mainner, an in a gliff, hiz tung stak ti the ern. Maistlie whan this happent, the doctour hed ti be soumand. Sae whan the lad’s faither cam by, aither kiz he wissed ti puneish hiz sin fur the mokryfe wirds o the day afoir, or he wes pit out at he hed bene sae stupit as ti likk the metall, he bot ruggit him aff, tirrin the skin frae’z tung. The puir lad cuidna eith stainch the bluid, sae it dreipit ontil the eiss whaur it steyed, infrosin, till wair.

The wes a seilence whan shae feinist. John an Mirren wes baith maist astonist ti sei at the Crowner wes dichtin hiz ei. He cuidna fand the store as sair as aw that, shairlie! Bot the dischort wes ben hiz wame.

“Thon laddie wes masell,” awned the sojer. “ Ma faither wes a courss auld tirrand.” He dichtit hiz ither ei. Mirren mynded Napier’s aveisement regairdin the hask naitur o the faither, an o a suddentie recognosced the vail o’d.

“Ye’l ken, tharefur, the hort at brods a mither’s hert whan hir anerlie dochter is in gryte daunger.” Mirren socht ti souther hir tinsell ti hiz greve, bot cuidna jalouse frae hiz neist ak whedder the connectioun bene med.

“Wul ye excaise me fur a mament,” sayed the interrogatar, an gaed but. The twasum hauddit thair coy fur a fyow meinits, i thochtish bon. Than Mirren obsairved at gin he wes gaun ti arreist thaim he wesna in a mukkil heist ti dae it. John gaed ower ti the winnok an keikit out. Afoir the biggin wes a yaird cled wi whun causie setts. A convoy o airmie kerrs an larries bene up-dreuch i rangs. Thai wes bein tuimed out an relaided wi kists. John cuid sei the Crowner rakkonin the eitems. Than, wiouten onie wairnin a weill polist sairgint breinged inti the offish.

“Wul ye cum out ti the kerr.” It wesna a quastioun, it wes ane ordour. The Crowner wes set in hiz motir, whaur thai jyned him. The locumtenand drave, whyle the larries grouzilt alang ahent. Mirren hed tint hir wuts, bot John speired wi a caum souch whedder thair destinautioun wes a stait privitate. The Crowner leuchit, lik a wie laddie wi a saicret poke o sweities.

“A’l be leised on giein ye ma explene, fur A’m geyan proud o’d. It onraivels ivverie fankil wi ae rug. The schep at sauls up frae Tornes ti uplift the siller at we pey fur Lowden’s lectra pouer is in Leith Docks at this verra meinit an we’r cairriein the kists o Bank o Ingland notts doun thare ti mak quittance o wir lawin. A hae seicrie knawlege at the preses o Tornes, at is cryed Ebenezer Ross, is in Ingland at this tyme. Nou, Maister Grene is the leivin eimage o’m. Dinna be provoked. A ken it is a sair thing ti say, at ye hae the swype o a wikkit criminall. A’m shair at ye arna sicna ill-farrand buddie. Bot it gies ye the friedome o Tornes. A rek at the taurrie breiks dinna ken Ebenezer weill eneuch ti ken the deiffer, an wul liver ye ti Tornes wiout let. It is maist onlykelie at the fowk thare wul suspek ye, gin ye sklim aff hiz prevat yatt. Nou, the maist clivversum pairt o ma plat is, at ye, Maistres, luik the marra o yeir dochter an the marinells wul conlude at ye hae baith veisitit Embro an ar retourin hame thegither.

Gif ye ak bauld-lik, thai winna ken ye’r a truphane, ontil eftir ye hae fugiet wi Ruth. A’l hae sojers outby the pouer-staitioun ti protek ye frae persuit. Thusgates ye’l can rademe baith yeir dochter an yeirsells, an ye’l aw be hame the morn’s morn.”

“Bot John hes bairns an a guidwyfe.”

“Weill,” says the Crowner, “he is yeir kie ti Tornes.”

“We maun strik whyle the ern’s het,” gried John.

He wes kittilt up wi the sklent o mair aunterin an, tho a dewtie-fu faither, fand a bit waith gied keichen betymes. Sae the Crowner gied Mirren a kis, at semed a whein forritsum, an ti John a perr o dirk glessis an a gowden pendice ti hing roun hiz craig. Than the offisher stendit out the kerr. The sojers stuid in a rang an salusit, a pypar pleyed “The Barren Roks o Aden” an John an Mirren wes walcummed up the brig ontil the glissin, blak buccar. It wes a twene howed boit o the maist modren mak. The stewart condukkit thaim inti a fantoush cahute wi ivverie kinkeind o falderal, sae thai enterit inti the spreit o the ploy an alloued the mannie ti serr thaim wi caviaar an schampangyie frae the flaik-staun. Puir sowels, the cuidna yit compreise whedder thai wuid manish ti betrump the Blak K’nicht, or wes ti be bot dams ti be shiffelt about in a gemm mair depe-drauchtit nor thai cuid ges at.

Bi the tyme the Bass Rok wes be-eft o’m thai wes sternit bi thair wie splore, fur the cheirie-pykes hed tirned ti leidd i thair wames. Suin the waws o Tornes Kirnel Pouer Staitioun loured ower thaim. The craift gaed unner a gryte pend atwein skawtie concrete waws intil a dok, lik a Saicont Warl Weir crue fur unner-sie boits. The curmur o enorm machines an fanners smuired the clap o the swaw. Bot thai cuidna luik roun, sen the stewart wes eydentlie bekkin thaim aff the schep an ontil the kie, whaur a beddal wyted. John pit hiz airm roun Mirren, fur thai wes nou humfished wi blak, onfreinlie faces, bot shae wes onabasit. Heid-heich shae mairched inti the hyste at the beddal schawed thaim. This upraise straucht inti the verra heivens, it semed. The automatik duirs sklid apairt at the tap flair, an thai gaed ben the Blak K’nicht’s airie, heich abuin the sie, an vissiein ferr ower the Lammermuirs. The ruims wes apperandlie tuim, sae aw pairties wes fell astonist whan Ruth’s heid kythed abuin the bak o a coutch, whaur shae bene liggin.


The beddal waatchit as Mirren smouriched hir dochter, whyle whusperin in hir lug ti get rid o the retenar. John’s blate mainner mey hae sawn a seid o suspetioun in hiz mynd, bot he didna schaw it an gaed but whan telt.

Swith Mirren gied hir lass a cuttance. Bot Ruth’s vyow o’t wesna the sam as hir mither’s, an shae juist as swippert pit hir unnerstaunnin o the sitivautioun.

“Thon crowner is uisin ye as a gait-lam ti attrak the teiger. He howps at Ebenezer wul follae me inti Lowden, than hiz men can pit hauns ti’m. The U.N. wul uise onie prettikin ti grup Tornes, fur it hauds the Gryte Nor Rodd frae Ingland. Ebenezer maun prevene agin daunger aw the tyme. I fak he mey bene pit i the jyle at Carlyle bi hiz faes at Sellafield this verra mament. He traists me, an tels me o aw the daungers at he rins ilk tyme he laes hiz fortrace. A ken fowk wyte him wi treddin in drougs an blakmailin the kintra ti coff kirnel genert lectra pouer, bot he is a saikles buddie in monie weys an disna sei the hairm o’d. The puir craitur beleves at he is lik a k’nicht frae the mirk aiges, sauf in hiz castel wi massell as hiz damishell. He sekes aye ti be bauld an mensefu, schawin curtassie ti weimenfowk bot hiz swuird ti inimies. This is aw fantise, A ken, bot A’m sauf heir, an mey be yibbil ti gy him awaw frae ill. Als, A hae hecht ti byde heir fur hiz retour, an A winna brak ma wird. Bot Onkil John is in gryte jeopartie, Mither, an ye maun wun awaw immedantlie.”

“A dinna think yeir onduchtie k’nicht mair wirdie nor Crowner Crannachan. Thon’s ma onaffectiounat opeinioun,” sayed Mirren, snell-lik.

John feillit a cauld win blawin, a faimlie jirr wes threitenin. Thon frichtent him mair nor at he bene stade in onchance. Ti haud the pace, he speired.

“Whitlik suid we dae? Gin we byde A wul be incarcerat: gin we fugie Mirren mey be arreistit.”

“Ye maun ti Ingland. Heir a rale gowd pendil at Ebenezer gied me. Its the kie ti aw hiz graith. Gang doun the hyste ti lael fyve. The’r a gairage wi a mechanik aye on dewtie, an a panser reddies ti caw ye awaw ti savitie.”

“A canna drave a machine lik thon,” sayed John.

“Dinna fash, thai’r gyed bi robotars. Ye dinna nede onie skeill, juist the kie. Ebenezer is awaw in the ither ane an he is a technologicall hauflin.” Ruth ushed thaim intil the hyste kerr an poussed the necessar button juist as the beddal an twa gairds mintit ti upcum an grup thaim. Bot thai cuidna wun up, fur Ruth stak the button doun wi chowin-goum an suin hir mither an hir onkil wes birlin doun the A.1.

The panser wes a meirakil o inginerin. It rowed smuithlik alang the rodd, bot cuid vinkish onie mar. It swoummit throu wattirs an plewed throu widds. Whan thai cam ti the michtie weire fens at the Inglish mairch, it cam out wi enorm snips at cutt it lik a het k’nyf throu buttir. Aw nicht it rummilt an bummilt alang bi the Rouman Waw, at thai kent wuid airt thaim wastlins towart Carlyle an Gaitsgill, whaur thai ettilt ti seke sanctuar wi Tammas Grunstane, an consither whitlik ti dae nixt.

As thai rade, thai tirned maitters ower in thair mynds. John wes vexed wi hissel. He reflekkit at he’d bene mair liker a haillierakkit laddie, nor a growen man.

He suidna swallaed the Crowner’s propones wiout tellin hiz guidwyfe an Grant Brecham. He suid a kent at kittil cattil lik Crowner Crannachan an Ebenezer Ross is sair ti faddom. Nor did he ken the best mainner ti dale wi rammish lassies lik Ruth. Nou he wes on the wrang syde o the Mairch wi nae pasport, dravin a vehikil wi nae leishence or documents, an waantin ein siller ti coff fuid.This wes hiz maist fashious kauch sen he wes nou fell bos i the caig. Eimages frae hiz bairnheid flaitit afoir hiz ein, mince an tatties, taid i the holl, links an champit tatties wi a mukkil daud o tomatae sals. He focht ti fleg thaim awaw. Than the smell o the het ingine uill mynded him o fush an chipps. Whit John didna ken wes at the kists round the caibin o the panser wes stappit fu o ivverie kinna veivers, a meillioun pun strivelin an eneuch cocainynie ti rander the Brigad o Gairds whorne daft. It wes a blissin at John’s oneste naitur let him frae howkin about in anither man’s guids an geir fur it wes ti sauf Tammas Grunstane’s lyfe, bedein.

It winna dae ti dwall on Mirren’s thochts, at thon mament.

The panser trinnilt alang cantie-lik tho an thai cam ti Gaitsgill i the wie smaw ours. Tammas Grunstane wesna leised on hiz sister giein him a rair i the howe o the nicht. Bot nae hubbilshue cuid haud Tammas frae’z skratcher fur lang. He telt John ti pit the panser in the guise fank fur the nicht, an strow strae ower it lik it wes a ferm machine. Than wiout herein a singil wird o thair sorraes, he retoured ti bed.

Sae aye stervin wi hungir John an Mirren reteired, tae.


Carlyle Jyle

The fowk o Gaitsgill wes uised ti Tammas’s eisie-osie weys. Whan the hingers wesna drawn the morn, thai tuik nae tent o’d. John raise firstlins, than Tammas, bot Mirren wes that pouskered at shae sleipit lik a bairn, an cuidna be shiftit. Sae the men buddies skyved aff ti the publict houss fur a meridian. This wes a maist malagrugous mistak. On tuim stamaks the yill suin pit thair wuts in a steir. John’s tung begoud ti wag.

“The’r nae brousters at hame, oniemair. Aw the kimmins an worttrochs wes stawn or distroyed an nou naebuddie hes the skeills. Ying fowk pap peills, sneish awaw at cocainyie or fuff hempt. Ye dinna ken the vaill o drink ontil ye’r deprivat. Aye, A’l hae anither. Naething gied me mair pleisur, lang syne, nor a drap o yill on a Seturday an gaun ti vissie a gemm eftir. The’r nae gemms i Scotland onie mair, fur aw the ospitals is closed doun. Ye arna alloued ti tak the mischance o brakkin a bane fur naebuddie wul can set it an pit a stoukie ontilt. A wuid gie an aissil-tuith ti waatch a match the day.”

Bi wanfortun, the barr wes nou pang-fo o cheils at wes ettlin ti follae juist sicna ploy. Suin thai skailed ti kep thair omnies at wes wytin ti gie thaim a hurl inti Carlyle. John an Tammas wes laed ahent. John wes haein a sair struissil.

“Gin A caw the panser, wul ye direk me ti the ruggerbaw match,” he appellit.

Tammas kent it wes the yill taukin, sae he bocht anither roun ti cuil hiz kin’s souch. Bot the littil devillok o alkoholl onsnekkit ein Tammas’s weill shakkilt ud, an wi the panser sauf derned in a widd, the twasum eiged up the pleyers o a verra arrige gemm, wi naethin bot pleisur. Tammas ein drave the panser, fur John wes ower drukken ti manish an hed ti gie Tammas the pendil at wes the kie.

Bot whan Tammas wun hame, he wes on hiz lei lane. The sairie taill outcam i jirbils, fur he wes aye reizie.

“We gaed ti a ruggerbaw match. We wes fliein. The poliss hard John’s tuin an arreistit him fur ane alienar. He’s in the jyle. Whitlik suid A dae ti mak mends?” Tammas rent hiz hair an rowed hiz ein ti heiven in dispare.

Mirren socht ti caum hiz souch. Shae gied him mait an pit him ti bed. Thai bene a perr o byordinar ram-stam rattil skulls, an waur wuid enschew gin shae didna gy effairs ti a mense-fu conclusioun. Daunnerin up an doun the gairden, pittin hir harns ti wirk, shae stappit ti cognosce the panser, at set ower the dyke i the guise fank, an gat a sair gunk. It wesna the samen machine at brocht thaim frae Tornes. Tammas maun taen the rang hurl hame! Oniegates, it wuidna be explened ontil the morn’s morn, sae Mirren pit anither nicht’s drames atwein hirsell an the antrin aventurs at shae feired wesna yit feinist.

At skreich o day, thai pit thair pows thegither. John hed ti be set frie, than sint hame aw at fu pin. Tammas kent at courts o lawch ar aye gey latchie, bot gaed ti speir about the seistem fur peyin a warrand. The clark o the court wes o the opeinioun at sicna hempie as John Grene wesna lik ti sei the licht o day as a frie man fur a guid lang whyllie.

“He stauns accaised o raisistin arreist, damish ti publict guid an geir, viz sax lamp stannarts, suspeitioun o trokin i drougs, dravin wi nae rodd taxt or leishence, an bein ane alienar, viz a Scotsman. The poliss als wiss ti eik a chairge o colloguein wi accessors ti the felnie, onkent , in takkin awaw a vehikil at bene poinded as avedents i the delict , viz a panser.” Tammas wes that fraised at he didna attemp ti unnerstaun. Mibbies John wuid ken. He priggit at the clark ti lat’m sei the preisoner, bot wes telt at, onles he wes hiz lawer, he wuidna be yibbils ti sei’m ontil the nixt veisitin day, ane ouk frae nou.

“Whit-lik buddie desydes the amount o warrand i sicna kess?” axed Tammas.

“It maun be cawed afoir a juidge i court, bot thai’r verra thrang an A feir it’l be a guid whyllie.” Tammas gaed hame ti Gaitsgill fair kest doun an dowie.

“We canna wyte fur the lent proces o the court,” says Mirren, no ti be that eisie coungert. Shae shiftit inti hir braws, an tuik ti hantin ilk cokapentie aiterie an the lik i Carlyle. Eftir collie-foxin wi twa reteired almerals, a turr accountant an ane on-froggit sacerdott, shae fand whitlik shae wes sekin at the swith-horss racin. Tynin clink at ivverie wauger wes ane auld veillane, at hed the luik o a man at cuid weill bene guiltie o malversautioun or obreptioun an furby wes a juidge. Suin Mirren hed hiz traist. He gried ti halp, bot neded a fouth o dray siller ti creish luifs. The wes hissell, the gubernar o the jyle, the poliss, the clark o the court an whussil ower the lave o’d. Naither Tammas nor Mirren cuid lay hauns on sicna soum.

“Ye maun borrae frae yeir baunk,” instrukkit Mirren, sae puir Tammas hed ti hypothecat hiz belouvit wone ti wun eneuch monet. The auld veillane hauddit ti hiz wird an hecht at the preisonar wuid be set doun at the mairch yett, twa days syne at nuin, wi a docquet ti say he wes bein flemit out the ryaltie o Ingland, sae the border gairds wuid gie him withgate.

Than the brither an sister, sair aflikkit wi cark an kauch, fawed intil a fell cattiewurrie. Mirren tirned hir wutt ti the maitter o the panser. Tammas cuidna mynd the mak o the machine at tuik thaim ti Carlyle, an cuidna explene whitwey thon i the guise fank wesna the oreiginal. Nor cuid he finnd the kie, at he maun hed ti drave the beistie hame. Mirren wes maist frustert, fur shae thocht at it wuid be wyce ti pit the panser ower the border an dern it awaw, ti gie John a shair an swippert jurnay hamewith. Shae wes dauncin mad wi Tammas whan he diskivvert at he hed tyned the kie. He gat hiz kail het throu the reik. Than he tuik a tirrivie.

“Nane o this wuid cum about gin yeir dochter wesna sicna braisent, hiltie-skiltie yip,” he jaloused.

The bauld twasum wes neir ti a boxin match i the gairden, whan thai baith sein at the samen saicont, the kie, hingin on the bouchtie o a buss whaur it maun wingilt sen Tammas stoitert up the peth on hiz gate hamewart frae the ruggirbaw gemm. This proggit the byle. Wi thair harns clair o the mirk cluds o grame, thai gaed ower agane the gray gate at Tammas an John tuik whan thai med thair raid inti Carlyle. Tammas nou myndit at he hed deiffekwaltie finndin the panser eftir the match. It hedna bene whaur he thocht he derned it. Mirren interrogat him anent the hiddil he hed uised.

“It wes in a thikfauld plauntin o lariks,” he nou mynded. Thegither thai cawed out in Tammas’s motir ti hae a vissie. Richt eneuch, the panser wes sauf toukit awaw whaur hi hed laed it. Bot this wes certies the first machine. Whaur i the nem o the wie man hed ane ither robotik panser kythit frae? Guid kens! Oniegates, as hiz sister wissed, the puir mannie wared the nixt twa nichts, dravin the first machine inti Scotland an howdin it neir the border, than pittin the tither ben the guise fank. Eftir, whan Mirren wes setified at aw wes reddies fur the skailin o John frae the jyle, shae forgied Tammas fur criticeizin hir dochter. He didna gie a dokken, he wes that ower jaffilt.

At nuin on the day appunct, a preison vann birled up ti the Border Yett. It wes stellit an the gaird lowsed a beig blak man, at stuid, blenkin i the bricht sunlicht. Bot it wesna John! Tammas an Mirren wytit fur anither feigur ti kythe, bot the vann drave aff an vainisht doun the rodd. Thai bene begunkit. As thai stuid, bumbazed, the man begoud ti wauk by thaim ti the Inglish border custumars. He didna schaw at he recognosced thaim in onie wey, an whan sein, clos up, tho the eimage o John, serten wesna thair kinsman. The jakman tuik a quik keik at hiz peypers, an lat him throu. The brither an sister follaed, in a dwam, haunnin ower thair ain pasports wiout kennin whitlik thai duin.

At the Scotch yett, tho the gaird stappit the progres o the umquhyle preisonar. Tammas hard him say at he didna hae onie withgate fur Ebenezer Ross o Tornes. In a blinndin insicht, Tammas unnerstuid. This wes the Blak K’nicht at bene liftit bi the poliss afoir thai arreistit John Grene, an thai bene confaised bi thaim baith haein the lik swype. Mebbies it happenit mair nor aince ben the jyle. Oniegates it explened whitwey John’s indytements bene sae sair, an the gryte coist o the buds necessar ti uill the wheils o barratrie. Furby the jiggeriepoukerie wi the twa pansers begoud ti mak sinse.

Bot Tammas sein ae pictur abuin aw ithers. Hiz houss, hiz waarm, cosie, bein houss at bene hypothecated ti pey fur John’s frieryke wes , i the furm o E. Ross Esq, ettlin ti saunt awaw inti the wull an lowss kintra o Scotland an the wie bauchil o a gaird micht let Tammas frae follaein. It’s no possibil aye ti plum the mynd o man whan sair deceisiouns maun be med in a glisk. Mirren explened whitlik happenit neist as the mament at Tammas tint hiz rizzon. Tammas hissell clamed at it wes the aucient bluid o the Grunstanes bylin up in hiz vanes ti fend hiz richts. Oniegates, he breinged forrit, gied the puir, hairmles jakman ane awfu clammiehewit on the haffit at laed’m liggin hiz lenth, gruppit the Blak K’nicht bi the oxter an harled him awaw up the brae ti the widds whaur the panser wes hiddilt. Wi the idaia in hiz ramfeizilt mynd at he maun seke sum kinkeind o acceptilautioun frae hiz captioun, he set the machines seistems ti tak thaim baith bak ti Tornes. Puir Tammas didna knaw at he hed g’nappit aff mair nor he cuid chowe, an, i fak he wes nou skin an birn i the hauns o a rank lurdan.

At first the K’nicht set quate eneuch, bot eftir a whylie begoud to skouk about the panser, apenin aw the bunkers roun the waws o the caibin, keikin ben, an steikin thaim agane. Than he set hissell doun asyde Tammas an says,

“Richt, ma wie mannie, whitlik dae ye cry yeirsell, an whae pit ye in chairge o ma panser?”

The K’nicht wes a maist threitenin praisence, an Tammas’s saul nou syped awaw, lik cruds throu a riddil. Sae he stuttit out the trewth. The auditour didna schaw onie inklin o hiz thochts as the store stertit ti onfauld, bot eftir a wie, Tammas notished at he gantit whan he wes interessit. Fur exempil, whan the laberleithen raxed the pynt whaur Ruth wuidna brak hir hecht ti byde ben Tornes, he gantit sae mukkil at hiz jaw-bane schorit ti wun frie o its houzils. He semed ti nede oxiegene sair agane whan the middil o the twa pansers wes onfankelt, bot the vexin quastioun o Tammas’s houss didna gar’m muive a mussil o hiz fece.

“Gin yeir houss is tint, ye’se can cum byde wi me.” Ebenezer’s wirds pued Tammas’s hert doun intil hiz buits, fur he wesna in a poseitioun ti refaise sicna inveit an kent nou at he wes the preisoner.

“Ye ar a lukkie man,” contined the Blak K’nicht, “fur ye duin me a mukkil obleigement bi lowsin me frae jyle whaur A bene incarcerat bi ma inimie’s wumpils. Furby thon, the’r eneuch siller an ither objeks o gryte vailyie ben this machine ti pey a keing’s ransome. Ye didna pochil onie o’d. Fur thon, A’m gaun ti traist ye, an prigg yeir halp ti perswad yeir nece, Ruth, ti wad me o hir ain frie wull. Whae kens, gin ye tyse hir mither ti gie hir blissin, ye micht get ti gang hamewith, eftir?”

The panser rummilt alang an wi iverrie myle Tammas’s sirkent spreits growed mair dowie an dowf. Thon wes the warst tyme, afoir the Blak K’nicht schawed hiz waiknes. He brizzed the pap on a kistie machine an the caibin wes fulled wi maisik. It wes Myles Davis wi “The Bussard Sang” . Tammas kent it weill, bot gied-na onie inklin at he wes fameiliar wi’d. Ebenezer, wi a snell tuin, snashit at ‘m,

“A suppone ye winna knaw onie o ma neiger maisik?”

Nou Tammas Grunstane boued hiz nek ti nae man whan it cam the subjek o jauss. He hed leistent tilt an loued it sin youthheid. Bot he hauddit hiz coy. Whedder he douchtna skair hiz secrie birr wi hiz ibone wardar, or he sein a tid ti nither’m, Tammas wes yit onawaurs. Sae whan the K’nicht snekkit ower ti Chairlie Mingus an enjosed the wunners o thon kenspekkil racord, “Mingus Ah-um”, Tammas aye didna lat bug. Naither did he ruff hiz feit ti the bate nor whussil ti the melodie, fur slawlik it dawed on him at mauger vaigin about happit in airmour, an bydin ben a concreit fortrace, the Blak K’nicht hed ane onexpekkit slap in hiz fends.

Suin thai nichit Tornes. Alset the laird o thon castel hed a jink in hiz airmour, he hedna laichit hiz gaird. Whan the panser pued up ben its gairage, he pit hiz haun forrit ti lat Tammas grippin the kie. Than wi the smyll o ane legaiter, he says,”Ye winna be nedin thon,” an pit the gowd pendil sauf roun hiz craig. Ruth didna ken whitlik ti say whan the twasum kythit out the hyste. Shae wes leised on sein Ebenezer, fur hiz retour lowsed hir frae hir vou ti’m, an wuid protek thaim frae the K’nicht’s follaers, at wes nou ti be consithert faes. Bot the praisence o Tammas, at wesna frie ti tel hiz store wes a rale tikkler. Eftir ane ouk, nane the wycer, Ruth gat anither sair gunk. Hir mither cam trauchlin alang an socht herbrie. Ebenezer didna ken it, bot the Greiks wes nou aw ben hiz weir waws.


The Rid Douglas

Lukkie Nisbet’s howff wes laich an reikie. The pett brunt slawlie i the herth, wie pirls o smeik gaein litherlie up the lum. Hie bakkit binks wes stellit on ilk cheke o the brace. A mukkil buird wes set i the mids o the ruim an skelfs decored wi pletts an ashets kivvert ivverie waw. Shilpit tykes an tousie-heidit bairns wes aye unnerfuit, warsillin in the saw-dist. Auld leipit carles hurkilt roun the ingil crakkin awaw an tostin thair skrankie shanks.

Whan Mirren an the gaird cam ben, the wes als a seilent wicht wi rid hair at the buird suppin brose wi a cuttie spuin frae a bowlie an myndin hiz ain beisenes. Lukkie kent the gaird weill, an gie’d him a weit flannen fur hiz thrabbin heid wi a tankart o yill ti mend hiz hort feillins. Shae didna speir the ruit o hiz ill. Dunts an swaps frae onsetters wes a constant pliskie fur the puir customar.

Mirren tho, shae walcummed wi apen airms. Caller uncos o onie kinkeind wes the mail at Maistres Nisbet socht frae hir gests, afoir siller or ein gowd an diamonts. The disjasket mene o this antrin veisitar hechtit taills o tryall an tribulance, an thon wes whit Lukkie grened fur, the reddin out o caus an effek, the ballance o fak an fantise, the hert-rugs sautit wi uimour, at bene the kell-heids o Border ballatrie lang syne. Sae Mirren wes gien a cushin an het broth furby tay ti weit hir thrappil an aw sattilt doun ti gie hir audiscense. Ein the dugs cokkit thair lugs.

Ye ken the taill, sae A winna plew throu it agane. Bi the feinis o’t, Mirren wes fandin it verra deiffekwalt no ti greit, an Lukkie kenned at shae wes nerr the en o hir tedder. Shae telt Mirren at shae maun rist awie. Ti gie hir a prevat chaumer, twa o hir laddies wes tuimed out o thair ruim an hed ti mak strae palliasses ti thairsells i the staibil. Lukkie gyed hir gest up the neukit sterr an happit hir in a blanket. The oneste browster-wyfe wes about ti gang but, whan the rid-haired wicht kythit at the duir cheke willyart-lik. Mirren wes doverin ower, an hard, lik in a drame, hiz wirds.

“Tel hir at The Rid Douglas wul pit aw ti richts the morn’s morn.”

Whan shae waukent, shae thocht shae wes a bairn agane. The chukkens wes clokkin outby. On the theik ower-heid, sparras wes chirmin an flochterin doun ti the yaird fur seids. Thair shaddaes wes kest ontil the steikit winnok hingers bi the bricht sunlicht. The stramp o horss’s huifs on the causies an the clink o pats an pans med up the lave o the symphioun. The strynge wirds flaitit intil hir memore, than wi a cauld grue shae mynded o aw hir sorraes. In ane instant shae wes doun-whummilt agane. The sunn aye schane, bot Mirren’s thochts wes cluddit an lourd.

Bot nou shae wes in a nyow warl o fowk wi stout herts an strang baks at cuid cairrie onie laid. Lukkie Nisbet wesna the wumman ti hae douts or swithers ben hir howff. Shae swoupit Mirren doun ti brakwast than inti the closs whaur the Rid Douglas wes bydin, tholemuidie-lik, hauddin twa braw steids, ane a gryte sorrit spanker at wes hiz ain horss an the tither a gray meir. A pairt o Mirren’s facultie sen bairnheid nou cam til the foir. As a lass, shae aye kempit wi the laddies whan onie daungerous ploy up-spangit. A suppone ye wuid cry the gemm, “Whitten wul be maister?” Oniegates, shae ettilt ti pley it wi The Rid Douglas, at, ye maun mynd, hedna yit uttered a wird. Sae, out o mischeive, shae pit hir fuit inti the strip o the sorrit an lowpit inti the saidil. The nixt mament shae wes on hir dowp i the sharn, an the cannie beiss wes keikin roun at hir lik it wes chakkin shae wesna hairmed. The Rid Douglas didna lauch. He muntit hiz horss an sayed,

“Ar ye cummin or no?”

O a suddentie, the hale steidin wes ryved wi a mukkil gell o lauchter. The eildit carles at wes set in a raw on a stane bink beikin i the sunn, grat wi pleisur. The bairns duin henners ti afftak Mirren’s dounfaw. Lukkie Nisbet stelled hirsell agin the jamstane o the duir ti let hirsell frae fawin doun wi the kinks. The dirdum fleggit awaw the speugs, an the hens flochtit inti the midden in a panshit. Mirren bene chasteised. Shae mountit the meir wi a sair erss bot a licht hert. The Rid Douglas wes o certies a man o weir!

He wesna verra glib-gabbit, tho. Eftir twa-thrie myle, Mirren inquered o the ying reiver, whitwey thai wes traivellin wast.

“Ti veisit the spae-wyfe,” he reponed an pyntit ti a smad o smeik ishin frae ahent ane hirst. “Ye maun haud yeir wheisht gin shae gaes intil a dwam, mynd, or ye cuid dae mukkil hairm.” Mirren hecht ti haud hir coy, tho shae kentna the uise o gaun ti a saga, onles ti pit a winze on the Blak K’nicht.

Nivver-the-les shae fand the auld leddie maist kyndlie an wes walcummed ben hir bothie. Mirren wes kwerious ti sei whedder the cailleach hed a blak baudrons, an richt eneuch the wes a wapper. Shae luiked fur a caudron, bot the wesna sicna plenishin. Naither wes the’r a besom. The houff wes gey stourie, aw mouss wabs. Sae a swoup about wi a besom wuid duin bot guid.

“Ye ar sair pingilt, lass,” sayed Grannie Roddenberrie. “Ye wiss ti sen a sair message ti the twenes.” Mirren wes mair nor a whein astonist, no kennin at the weird-wyfe wes skeilled i the erts o spreit schawin, saicont sicht an thocht redein. Shae luikit ti The Rid Douglas fur halp, bot he anerlie sayed,

“Gie’r the nem o the twenes.”

In Embro the puir twenes at wes i the mids o a skuil lesson on “Frederik the Gryte” gat a clair dinnil at unco pouers wes sekin ti fess thaim wittins. The warl o Proushian prothogalls an pheilosophical doctrenes moutent awaw, ti be fulled wi eimages o thair faither on a belaiggert garron, wallopin up ti thair houss, sauf an weill. The twenes kenned thai hed the saicont sicht, sae thai wesna fashed, an tuik the chance ti eik thaimsells ti the pictur, ilkane on a pownie, convoyin thair faither. Than, bein eydent pupils, thai retoured ti the histore o Europ. Bi the fure o the day, Frizzel wes asseired at John wuid be hame belyve an wes thankryfe. Bot shae didna beleve the bittie anent the pownies.

Baith the traivellers thankit Grannie Roddenberrie, tho Mirren’s feth i the carline wesna as strang as it wes ti be at the en o the aunter. Than the twasum tuik the gate ti Tornes wi hie herts. At nicht, thai stappit at the hame o kin o the Douglas.

The guid-wyfe wes maist hende an set out a lairge sipper o rost bubbliejok. Eftir, whan the men-fowk skailed ti wattir the horss an bed doun the bestial fur the nicht, Mirren tuik the tid ti fork out mair faks anent hir gyde, The Rid Douglas. The maistres o the houss wesna blate.

“Durand aw the tulyie wi the Inglish ower the Ulster Quastioun, the Suddron truips ower-run the mairchis. Thai pit it about at thai wes serrsin fur drougs. Uisin thon excaise, thai herried aw the ferms an burghs, settin fyre ti monie a steidin an dingin doun ithers. Fowk at stuid up ti’m wes aften demained or ein keilled, tho the Inglish press raportit nane o’d. Baith the mither an faither o Douglas wes pit doun i sicna raid, sae the lad hes a naitral ill-wull ti the Sassenach. The sojers nivver fand onie narcotiks i the Borders, bot thon at wes cummin frae Tornes, on its wey ti be selt ti the Inglish. The Wastmeinster gubernment an the U. N. kent the trewth o’d. Thai tirned a blinnd ei tilt. Thusgates Douglas als wytes Ebenezer Ross fur the daith o hiz pawrents.” The guidman cam ben an jyned i the cuttance.

“Ti mak it warse, its a sair injure ti the faimlie nem. The Douglas fortrace at Tantallon wes hauddit bi leil weirriours at fendit its waws agin the faes o the Scotch croun fur monie generautiouns. Nou we hae a fauss k’nicht at Tornes, pretendin ti be a lamp o chevalrie an mensk. He is as ill a brigganeir as the k’nichts o the mid aiges at uised the technologie o the tyme ti owergang the richts o the commoun pepil. Castels, airmour, mukkil horss, swuirds an bukklers, aw wes the privileges o the fyow imployed ti maun the monie. Feudal pouer wes nivver as strang i Scotland, sae ti hae thon skybal skechin about on the bartisans o Tornes lik ane auncient Norman barron fair maks the bluid byle.” Than thai hard a strynge skartin soun cummin frae ablo. The guidman sein at Mirren wes kwerious anent the caus o’d.

“Its bot the lad cuttlin hiz bittok on the auld grunstane,” he explened.

“A didna wiss at onie bluid be skailed,” sayed Mirren.

“Dinna fash, Douglas hes a skame ti redd up aw yeir fankils wiout onie bangstrie. He wul tel ye belyve.” The fuit stramp o Mirren’s kemp cuid nou be hard as he sklimmit the tirnpek sterr.

Whan he cam ben tho, it wes clair at the lad expekkit hiz onkil ti speik fur him sen he bot thankit the guid-wyfe fur hir mense an bad guid nicht ti thaim, afoir sauntin aff til hiz bed.

“Atweill,” says the husban,”A maun tel ye masell. The morn’s morn ye wul gang on ti Tornes wi ma herd ti chum ye. Jyne yeir dochter an brither bot, as suin as ye can, fugie but the waws. It disna maitter whitlik tim o day or nicht. Juist mak shair at The Blak K’nicht is yibbils ti follae ye an the mair he het-trods ahent the bettir. Than Douglas can sess him an troke him fur John Grene at is aye in Carlyle jyle.”

Mirren hed a fouth o quastiouns, bot the guid-wyfe keppit hir ei an shak hir heid ti warnish hir ti haud hir wheisht.

“Tel the Blak K’nicht naethin o this,” wes the lest mandement.

The nixt day Mirren kythit at the yetts o Tornes ti seke sauf havin an ti be unyt wi hir kin.

Ebenezer pit his best fuit forrit ti be herbourous. Bi culyiein the mither, Mirren, he thocht ti wun the haun o the dochter, Ruth. It wes a strynge courtin, sen the K’nicht didna traist onie buddie an he herdit the gests aroun lik a hirsel, aither ti haud ane ei on’m ir ti hain thaim frae hiz atterie compaingens. Thai sauled in hiz yatt roun the Bass ti vissie the solans, an doun ti Heymouthe ti coff labster fur denner. Thai hed a skour til the Eildons i the panser an sein the graif o Bruce’s hert at Melrois Abbay. Thai ein hed lunch on the sauns o Cantie Bey, tho wi weill-airmit gairds aw about.

The denners at nicht ilk ower-whummilt the tither in its magneificence. The wes gryte ashets o rostit gryss, feisant, jynts o Aiberdein Angus beif, wull saumon, labster caller frae the tyde an siclik bellie-ryvers. Gryte bings o fruict wes stade amang the siller caunnil staunners an the clairet wes aye bein refraisched i the kirstal glessis.

O a suddentie aw gaed wrang. Ebenezer wes telt at he cuidna mairrie on Ruth. It wesna hir deceisioun. The Blak K’nicht hed rabels i the rangs o hiz men. Thai cam til’m wi ane ultimatum. Aither the incummers wes aw pit out or he wuid be keilled alang o’m. The bangsters at wirked at Tornes wes weill yibbil ti cairrie out sicna threit sae Ebenezer telt thaim at thai maun skail the verra nicht, sen he cuidna hain thaim oniemair. This wes the howe o despare fur the aventurers. As thai stuid i the gryte haw, i the tapmaist hicht o the mukkil fortrace, ilkane wes murnin the los o thair deiriss ettil.

Tammas wuid tyne hiz houss gin he cuidna wun mail frae the K’nicht, at wes hissell tynin the chance ti mairrie on a lillie rid-heiddit damishell at cam straucht frae a limnin bi a pre-raphaelyte pentar. Mirren kent, gin Ebenezer hed ti lowse thaim, at thai cuidna swik the hempie ti ish but hiz castel an inti the hauns o The Rid Douglas. Whitwey than cuid thai manish the restaurautioun o John til hiz faimlie? Hir lass wuid be tint tae, fur shae wuid tak the gilt on hirsell fur the hale maitter an it wuid aye ligg atwein mither an dochter. Mirren didna mynd in hir distres at shae als hed lost a nyow jo, the crowner at Embro Castel.

Bot the bluid o the Grunstanes wes up. Tammas didna flench. He gaed but the haw an cam bak in a meinit wi mair sairrie wittins fur Ebenezer.

“Ye ken ye pit mukkil vailyie on yeir ingaitherin o jauss racords. Weill a juist tuimed thaim aw ower the bartesin inti the fowsie!” Ebenezer lapt outby ti estaiblish the trewth o the wirds, than wi a rair lik a jagwar an hiz ein bumflin out hiz heid he breinged ben the haw agane, gruppit Tammas an whyle devellin him sair poussed him inti the hyste.

“Ye’l pey fur this,” wes the lest wirds hard as the duirs pleyed pluff ahent thaim. The souns o dads an yellochs lowdent as the kerr med its decense ti the grun lael. Mirren an Ruth run outby ti the allourin an keikit ower the waw-heid throu the crennels. Ferr ablo a wie seicret postrum apenit an Ebenezer an Tammas cam out, the ane yit lattin doush at the tither’s heid an sweirin lik a tink. Tammas boued doun ti gaither up the disks an wi ilka kyle Ebenezer kikkit hiz dowp an cursit him. The langage wes fair awfu, bot o a suddentie wes sneddit schort.

A bourach o wull men on rammish steids umberauch the twasum i the fowsie. The huifs skailed the racords aw about, spleitin the bonnie cuirs an grunnin the saft plasteik agin the roch glidders. The Blak K’nicht didna hae tyme ti caw fur halp. The Rid Douglas bene reddies an hed strak, an nou Ebenezer wes tied ower a horss lik a grumphie gaun ti merkat. Bot the raid hedna yit escheved aw its ems. Tha twa weimen aye wes ben the fortrace.

The cumpanie o reivers birled roun thair ledar, at wes luikin baklins i dout. Tammas wes tellin’m at Ruth an Mirren hedna manish ti ischew an wes in gryte jeopardie.

The K’nicht jyned in. “Ye maun lowse me, ye custrin , els ma men wul ravis an murther thame baith.” Aw semed tint!

Bot it fortunat at anither wicht hed hiz ei on the ploy. Frae the sie cam a hyne bummin lik ane angirt fozie-bie. The bizzin incressit ontil, wi a roush an a blatter, ane enorm bew rotour-craift wi the ensignie o the U.N. cam swoupin ower the tours o Tornes. But its wame the Crowner wes lat doun on a towe an the windass suin wheiched him an the twa weimen-fowk up ti savetie. It tuik as monie saiconts ti dae as it tuik ti tel. The reivers gied a cheir an waffed thair bunnets as the first billets stertit ti fung about. The rotourcraift, mair lyker a deil’s daurnin neidil, flisked awaw skaithles, as the horssis, skeich wi the bruiliement, skelpit awaw acorss the bents.

Ebenezer, bein wallopit up an doun wi the garron, wes aye sweirin an rispin hiz teith, fur thon linkie, Tammas Grunstane, hed nou stawn hiz gowd pendil, the kie til hiz panzer.


The Sauchtrie Burn

Suin the blak weit ondang an a cauld win begoud ti skirl. Men an horss boued thair heids ti scug frae’d. The Rid Douglas wuidna stent the raid, tho, fur the K’nicht’s follaein wes lik ti be het-troddin eftir thaim. Tammas wes beswakkit an stertit ti chitter, sen he wes bot a purfled junt, an no brither wi sair wedder an haurd saidils. Wi ivverie staup forrit he gat mair shitherie.

Bi the onfaw o the gloamin thai wes weill awaw an ristit the beiss bi Saunt Mairie’s Loch. Thai biggit a lunkart an cuikit twa mappies at the dugs hed taen. Tammas wes nou wi a fivver, an the mait bot graniched him the mair. Ebenezer wes warse, bot it wes hiz ain faut. He wes a junkie, lang addikkit ti drougs an cuidna thole thair lak. He graizled hiz teith, girned an grat, rowed an thrawed, bot the Douglas anerlie med shair at the raips wesna ower-ticht wi the weit an pit a blanket ower’m, whaur, bi the licht o the fyre he liggit an thratched lik a wirm on a heuk.

Tammas wes the cause o mair fittininment. He wes roupin sair an the temper o’z bodie wes awfu laich doun, tho he swattit atwein onfaws o pyauvie. He whuspert ti The Rid Douglas at he maun lae’m at the neist toun. The reiver sein the mense o the idaia, bot hed hiz ain thochts. Whan Tammas wesna haein a fit o the grues he explened thaim ti’m, bot as uiswal throu the mediat tung o’z onkil, at wes ane o the baun.

“Ye maun be laed ahent, richt eneuch, bot wi fowk at’l nourice ye an haud ye in hiddlins, furby. The’r sic clans heir-awaw, gin ma nevoy can finnd thaim. Whan the border laun wes herried bi the Sassenach, ye sei, the wes monie fowk at didna hae a bauld an weirlik souch, an cuidna gainstaun the sojers. Thai joukit awaw an med habitautioun amang the tries. Thai’r cryed the Fowk o the Widds, an nou hae a fouth o clachans ben the forrest. A clan o’m leive in a bit abuin this loch an thai’l gie ye herbrie. Douglas canna cum wi ye fur he maun gaird the K’nicht eftir the lave o’z gang awaw ti wir ain hames. He knaws at a seicret peth wynds up a burn-syde ti thair wones, an he’l pit ye on hiz ain guid horss, at is a maist cannie beiss weill kent ti the fowk, ti tak ye ti herbourie. Bot he canna mynd whitten burn is the richt ane, sae he maun prie thaim ti mak siccar. The Fowk o the Widds aye hain thair hames bi plauntin a thikfauld ryss o sauchs aw roun an about, at gies the burn a wersh flaur. Whan ye drink ye can be shair its a sauchtrie burn an rins doun by the clachan.” The lagamachie stappit kiz Tammas luiked ti hae fentit. Bot whan he hard at the onkil hed let hiz tung he fleggit hiz dwam an whuspert ti the Rid Douglas,

“A feill lik A’m gaun ti die. Heir the kie ti ma houss i Gaitsgill an the K’nicht’s gowd pendil. Gie thaim ti ma sister whan A’m gane. The pendil is ti apen the panser i the gairden. The’r mair nor eneuch siller ben its bunkers ti rademe the wadset on ma houss, tho a mey nivver sei thon deir bit agane.” The Douglas pit the treisurs intil hiz pouch, than gaed ti finnd the sauchtrie burn.

The skeillie reiver crap alang the schoir i the mirk, testin ilk wattir ontil he wes shair at he hed fund the strang saur o willies at telt him the whaurabouts o the Fowk o the Widds. He fulled a cann an fessed it bak ti Tammas as a pheisik, fur the salutiffere pouers o the sauch rin wes weill kent. Wi a mouthfu or twa Tammas fand the poust ti be hysted ontil the sorrit horss, an it stertit up the stey brae bi the burn-syde. Lik in a drame he hard the soun o the linn gradwal-lik dwyne awaw as thai sklimmed heich up the hulsyde abune it. It wes pitt-mirk. Tammas nou thocht at daith wes lik ti cum suiner nor he hed imaigined. Hiz harns wes bangin, he wes fell hiddie-giddie an the strenth hed laed hiz lims. He kent he cuidna byde on the horss onie langer an tummilt, as halples as a babbie, doun the cleuch in a fent.

Bot the eydent wark o the Fowk o the Widds saufed him. The waws o the cleuch wes cled wi ying willies at brak hiz faw an let him frae rowin doun ti the fuit.He hangit thare i the brainchis, onabil ti muive. He hard the horss tirnin, an skytin baklins doun the brae.Than the wes seilence bot fur the burn gurlin hyne ablo.

“Nou whitlik suid A dae?” he axed hissell.

“Juist lay verra still,” sayed a voss in hiz lug, “whyle we howk ye out.”

Than onsein hauns grippit hiz claes an he feillit the sherp pain o the widdies skelpin hiz fece. He wes pulled bak onti the peth. Tammas Grunstane kent naethin fur thrie nichts an days eftir thon mament.

Doun at the loch the Rid Douglas didna hae a pacefu nicht aither. He leistent ti the granein an grouzlin o hiz wardour, an thocht lang on whitna gate he cuid escheve the lowsin o hiz doubler, John Grene, frae Carlyle jyle. Than at the skreich o day he dovert ower ti be waukent wi a gliff whan hiz dugs gied warnishin at ane onkent veisitor wes ettlin ti gie’m a rair. The rauchil buddie sayed nocht, bot haunnit’m a bonnie wie corss, wyvit frae gerss an widdies gaun in an out lik a Pecht kervin. Douglas kent at this dink wie objek wes a pistil frae the Fowk o theWidds ti tel’m at Tammas wes sauf i thair hauns. He iftit the man the mappie at hedna bene etten the nicht afoir as thanks, bot thai trokit-na a leivin wird. The cheil sein Ebenezer aye fykin, an gied him a draucht o pheisik frae a whorne, at cuiled doun hiz fashous fidgin sae Douglas ontied the raips an ganged forrit on hiz neist yokin.

In a whyllie thai cam ti the rewynes o the Kittilskart Kirk. Douglas lowpit aff hiz horss an pued a sweir Ebenezer frae hiz munt an inti the kirkyaird. He stuid him afoir a heid-stane.

“Thon’s ma mither an faither, cuttit schort i thair poetaster bi the Suddron. Ye wes the instrument o the Deil at alloued the sojers leishence ti herrie sic oneste fowk. Behaud the ill wark ye hae duin wi yeir misgydit lyfe.” Ebenezer soumed at he wes ti be sacrifeised ower the graif an tirned a verra nestie mustart yella cullour. The Rid Douglas luikit at’m wi skorne.

“Awaw wi ye up the brae an pyke a spang neive-fu o flouers ti pit on the graif. A’m no gaun ti be the dempster at tels yeir weird tho A wiss ye feint a bit luk wi’d. Wha kens, the’r mibbies a fyow rissoms o guid i yeir sowel ti mak ye sairrie fur the ill ye hae wrocht.”

Than thai rade on ti Grannie Roddenberrie’s howff ti cairrie on wi the eddicautioun o the Blak K’nicht. Ebenezer didna hae onie feth i spae-wyfes or wutch-doctours. Bot Grannie Roddenberrie sein straucht inti the herts o baith men, an the trublance at bad thare-in, an the umquhyle k’nicht laed ahent the wie, mirk bothie wi sairious douts anent hiz sair lak o knawlege an unnerstaunnin. Fur Grannie telt’m o certaint maitters frae hiz bairnheid whaur he gaed wrang, an explened whitten ill-faculties cam frae hiz pawrents, an whitten frae hiz hyne-awaw antecestors. Shae als telt him o hiz ain fauts. He wes gey hingin luggit whan shae wes feinist dimoleishin him.

“Whitwey can A deleiver him bak ti Carlyle Jyle at is whaur he belangs?” speired the Douglas at the en o the cessioun.

“Dinna fash yeirsell, laddie, he wul deleiver hissell. Tak him ti Gaitsgill. Thon’s whaur hiz weird liggs.” Shae gied Ebenezer a draucht at wes sae sharrow at it hauddit hiz intimmers thegither aw the rodd ti Gaitsgill at thai wun til i the howe o the nicht.

The Rid Douglas onlokkit the duir o Tammas’s houss an thai gaed ben. Afoir thai cuid finnd the snek fur the licht tho, it wes tirned on fur’m bi anither haun. John Grene wes staunnun at the sterr fit. The Douglas dichtit hiz ein wi’z sleive. The bricht licht schawed at the twa blak men wes the verra eimage ilk o the tither. The puir reiver nivver sein John afoir an wes that stamagastit bi the meirrour effek at he wes strak dum. Fur a mament thai aw stuid lik stuikies, mesmereised bi the ferlie. Than the Blak K’nicht, aye gleg frae Grannie Roddenberrie’s draucht, spak first. He hed sein the panser i the guise fank whan thai pit the horss i the gairden, an wes kittilt up bi the idaia at he cuid grup the pendil an wun til hiz drougs at hiz bodie aye grened fur. Aw he hed ti dae wes distrak the ithers fur a meinit, sen Douglas, onuised ti loks, hed laed the kie wi the pendil hingin frae’t i the sheil. In hiz maist sleikit mainner Ebenezer gied hissell ane innins ti John.

“A’m Ross o Tornes, an A’m geyan sairie ye bene incarcerat on ma behauf. Did ye brak out?.”

“Na!” sayed John. “A cam afoir a juidge, ane ill auld stok, at semed surpreised ti sei me. He speired ma nem, than telt the poliss ti chak ma fingir prents. Whan he wes shair at A wes John Grene he sayed at the actioun agin me wes wrangous. The clarks aw shiffelt thair peypers, an cuidna tel him ay or nae. The juidge axed me whitlik ill-daein A bene arreistit fur, an A telt him at A bene drukken at a ruggerbaw match. He says,

“Wes it a guid gemm?” an A telt it wesna, bot A hedna sein a match fur twintie yeir an hed enjosed ivverie meinit o’d. Than he speired gin A bene i jyle fur aw thon tyme, an A telt him at A bene at hame i Scotland whaur the wesna onie rugger an skarcelins onie yill, bot juggs.

“A cuidna thole thon aither,” he says.”The Croun deserts the kess.” Thai maun a forleit A wes ane alienar sae A sloped aff afoir thai mynded, an cam ti Gaitsgill an brak in fur the nicht.’’

“A’ m verra leised on herein at ye’r lowsed,” Ebenezer telt him wi a bland smirk. The Rid Douglas cuidna thole sic a foutie plaister. He mumpit ti hissell,

“A maun ti the beiss,” an gaed but. The kie wes aye i the duir. Auld Cluitie temptised Ebenezer. Wiout a blenk o’z ei, he sayed ti John,

“A’l gie a heize wi the hernishis.” He stauppit ower the threshart an steikit the duir ahent him. Wi the pendil in hiz haun he gaed widdershins roun the houss ti the guise fank an sauntit inti the panser.

Whan he stertit the ingine, the wes naethin John an the Douglas cuid dae. Thai waatchit the gastrous sicht o the panser dingin doun the dyke roun the fank, plewin throu the gairden, an ettilin ti pouss throu the closs at the ferr en o the houss. Bot the entrie wes ower narra an the vehikil grun inti the gavel ontil it brocht doun the hale waw, at lay intak on the grun, aye wi the chimla-stauk i plece. The panser stoured aff doun the rodd, whyle the frichtent horssis walloped up the ither wey, an the twa chimla-pats rowed slawlik ower the causie inti the burn.

Airlie the morn’s morn John, wi The Rid Douglas ti gy’m, set aff Embrowan, laein Tammas’s houss a rewyne. Thai pit aw the eitems o vailyie inti the stuidio, bot cuidna dae mair, fur thai wesna yit sauf thairsells. Eftir a haurd day’s jurnay thai wes cummin ower Stob Law whan thai sein fower hyne ryders skelpin towart thaim.

“Its juist bairns,” thocht Douglas bot John kent hiz ain kin an gaed forrit ti tryst wi’m. It wes the twenes wi Mirren an Ruth.

The Rid Douglas wes neir smoured wi gratiteid an hed mair nor byordinar rancie chafts, at he socht ti dern bi warin hiz tyme tichtenin an lowsin hiz cursour’s girths, whyles keikin ower its leisk at Ruth. Suin John wes wanrestfu an wissed ti be on the gate ti Embro. He gied Douglas ane inveit ti cum ti veisit them bot the lad refaised. He explened at he hed ti gang an finnd Tammas, an he telt thaim aw about the puir sowel’s ail an o the Fowk o the Widds. He didna seme ti hae onie deiffekwaltie wi hiz tung whan he wes luikin at Ruth at wes haein a guid vissie at the ying man in hir tirn. Nou at John wes frie a mukkil birn bene liftit frae Ruth’s shouders, an the idaia o stravaigin ower the muirs an huls wi a temerat Border Reiver gruppit hir imaiginautioun. Shae wuidna tak hir mither’s na-say. This wes the verra triakil at hir hert grened fur eftir the langsum wairdin at Tornes. Thusgates, thai pairtit: Mirren, John an the twenes hamewith ti Auld Reikie, an the ying twasum awaw ti reinge the Borders. The reiver whussilt lik a lintie, fur he kent he fund hiz jo bot, as uiswal, he sayed nocht.

Than he stappit wheiberin an stelled hiz horss. A pictur o Tammas’s houss cam ti mynd, aw tummilt doun, lik the fermtoun at hiz pawrents died fur lang syne. The Douglas loued the empie hul wi the win souchin ower the hedder, bot he kent nou at Gaitsgill wes ti Tammas as thair hame bene ti hiz mither an faither. Thon bene thair gyrthol. Frie on the tuim muirlaun, wi a lassikie bi hiz syde The Rid Douglas sein thair trigidie in a nyow licht an hiz hie spreits sabbit. Ruth didna ken the raison fur the hert-skaud at he wes tholin, bot shae pit hir haun onti hiz neive ti slake him o hiz sorra. Grefe nou ower-whummilt him an hiz tung wes lowsed. Whan thai wun ti the houff o Grannie Roddenberrie thai wes baith set up on the mukkil sorrit horss, sae thai cuid hause an whyles smourich. The wie meir wes ower laich-doun ti allou sic prettikins.

Grannie Roddenberrie’s blinkers skinkilt whan shae sein thaim. Shae tuik Ruth’s hauns in hir ain an blissit hir.

“Yestrein A sein seiven hale wattir-gaws ower-airchin the kirk at Kittilskart an A kent at seiven bairns wes ti be brocht hame an than kirsent at its auld stane fount at hauds wattir yit.” Grannie Roddenberrie kekkilt wi joy, bot tirned ti sairious beisines in a glisk.

“Ye’l be eftir wittins o thon haithen gentilman?” Shae clappit the katt an cryed it hir dawtie. Gruppin its heid shae glowered intil its ein, at wes lik bedes o lammer.

“The Blak K’nicht spendit awaw frae’z captours, busked an bouned hissell in hiz airmour an rade ti seke sanctuar i the fortrace o the K’nichts o Saunt George at Cawdour Haw. Bot the k’nichts tharein mislippent him, an reived hiz habulliments, als rypin hiz treisur kists. Than thai dauntoned him, an kest him inti festinence i the massiemore o Carlyle.”

The Rid Douglas clawed hiz pow. He thocht the store bot a wumpil. Ruth cuid unnerstaun it tho, sen shae kent the mainner at Ebenezer Ross sein the warl.

“He is ben the kittie agane,” shae expoundit. Grannie Roddenberrie gied thaim ait broth an het tatties keichened wi buttir. The lad guddled a dizzen trout frae the burn an suin cuikit thaim. Aw wes than devored wi a shairp cut. The baudrons hed ane fush fur hiz guid wark, tho hiz wesna speldert an he ett the heid an aw.

Ruth an the Douglas wared the nicht unner the sterns.

“Hech, Sirs!” thocht Grannie Roddenberrie, “A ken whitlik cums neist.”


The Waddin

Tammas kent naethin fur thrie days an nichts. Whan he waukent he wes in the ill-plece an the Deil wes sittin bi hiz bed-syde. Sawtan wes cled i the blak claes o a meinister complete wi whyt nek.

“Sae ye ar awauk nou, ar ye?” sayed the Deil. “Mibbies ye’l can tel me than whitwey we suidna a juist kest ye doun the craig inti the Sauchtrie Burn. Bot we didna, an tuik peitie on ye an the lads brocht ye ben ma houss. Than, fu o deceivenie, ye liggit wi ma dochter at is ma anerlie stell an prap nou at A’m up in yeirs.

Awnser me, ye reibald!”

Tammas wes aye verra seik, fur he wes in the thraws o pneumonie, tho he kent-it-na.

He raised hiz heid an sein at he wes in a strynge timmer structur wi a theikit ruif an wyvit willie flakes fur waws. A roch brat ower-hingit the slap at serred fur a duir, an, ti hiz terrificautioun, a gait keikit in, the exak doubler o a blak bogil, wi ill gowd ein, an a berde. Tammas swiddered. Tho he wesna aye swattin an trimmlin wi fivver, he wes fell seik-ryfe, an didna ken whitwey ti fleg awaw hiz interrogatour.

“Whit’s yeir nem?” he whuspert.

“The Reverant Sawnie Bie, aince meinister o Kittilskart Kirk, at maun ken whitwey ye’l can affuird ti wad on hiz dochter an uphaud uz baith i the dane mainner at is a faither’s richt.”

The gait reponit wi a bae! It bene assautit frae ahent the brat , an it wheiched awaw its heid ti eveit farder onfaws. The onsein haun at conrayed the beiss, nou swoupit bak the hinger an kythit at it belangit a mawsie, kyndlie-luikin wumman.

“Out wi ye!” shae skauldit.Tammas thocht shae wes menin the gait, bot the meinister kenned at itwes hissell an skailed wi a lest glour an shak o’z neive.

“Ye bene verra seik, ma mannie. D’ye wiss onie parritch?” Tammas thanked hir, bot wes awaw afoir he cuid say mair. It bene a sair stert ti hiz convalesin. The neist tyme he sein hiz nouriss hiz heid wes clair an anither day hed dawit.

“The’r twa freins cum ti veisit ye,” shae telt him. He cuidna think o onie freins at wuid seke eftir him, bot gried ti sei thaim eftir he hed etten a coddilt eg. The veisitors wes the Rid Douglas an Ruth. The wes mukkil ti tel, bot Tammas wes ower waik sae it tuik a hale ouk afoir aw wes cunned, an aw quastiouns awnsert, an afoir the fell nyows anent Gaitsgill wes brak.

The twasum stapped wi the Fowk o the Widds whyle Tammas wes sturkenin. Ti thaim at wes i luve, aw wes glaid an cosh. Atweill, the clachan wes in a verra bonie bit. Twal laich dwallins wi wikker waws an rash theikit ruifs wes envirounit wi tries. The trig kailyairds hed flakes aw roun ti haud out the hens, gaits an gryss. Wie narra peths wumpilt throu the thikfauld growthe o willies at wuid suin maze ye, gin ye didna ken the wey. This wes the Fowk’s fend agin onie inimie at wissed thaim ti kep skaith. The littil toun wes a havin o pace.

The’r aye a sairpent i the gairden, tho, an this wes the Reverent Sawnie Bie. Hiz guidwyfe brocht him ti the plece whan the herriein o the Borders wes at its warst, ti haud thair dochter Rosidandrum frae hairm. Bot the puir wumman died o the sair darg at is necessar ti bigg a nyow lyfe, an the man cam ti be a cairtoun o hiz umquhyle sell. Hiz dochter nou duin aw the wark aince cairriet out bi hir mither, tendin ti the nedes o hir faither, the beiss an the kailyaird. Shae wes a sklave o dewtie, bot the mair shae duin, the mair the auld meinister expekkit o’r.

This explened the sair onding whan Tammas wes yit verra seik.

Rosie telt Ruth about it whan thai wes set on the en o Tammas’s bed, confabblin.

“Whan yeir onkil wes brocht in, he wes as cauld as a lyke, an aw the fyres bene smoured fur the nicht. Sae A hed ti lay asyde him, unner the blankets, ti waarm him. Eftir a whyle, recognoscein at he wes aye sair fundiet, an lik ti die, A thocht i wyce ti stey wi’m aw nicht. Bot A dovert ower an ma faither cam by i the morn whan A wes aye asleip an, in hiz daft-lik wey, jaloused at we wes mair nor pacient an nouriss. Whan Tammas schawed onie seignie o wunnin ower hiz ail he snouved in til’m an begoud ti wirrie him wi’z fantise. A dinna ken aw he sayed ti ye, Tammas, bot pey-it-na onie hede.”

Ruth, at wes in a hichtent stait o fushioun, keppit Rosie’s ei an wes shair at hir wirds didna match hir thochts bot pit the idaia by, whyle hir onkil, at hed no memore o the tyme at he wes founnert, ruised Rosie fur hir gryte kyndnes.

As Tammas gradwal-lik cantilt up he cam but the houss ti beik i the sunn.

Thochts o hiz ain cosie houss at Gaitsgill cam ti mynd an he stertit ti tauk o hiz hame-gaein. The Rid Douglas, at wes nou ettlin ti gang furth, kent at he hed ti gie Tammas the ill wittins o the damish ti hiz houss. Eftir the dowie nyows bene huilie brak, Tammas akkit lik he bene strak wi a foirhaimmer. He stoitert about fur a whyle, than he graned sair, whyle puin hiz hair an rowein hiz ein. Than he crap bak ti hiz bed. Rosie telt Douglas no ti wirrie, an at thai suid busk an boun fur thair jurnay. Rosie wes richt. Whan the twasum wes makkin thair adews ti the ither Fowk o the Widds, Tammas cam but, ti sei thaim sauf on thair rodd.

“Ye mynd thon kirk whaur yeir fowk ar beiriet? A’m gaun ti ruif it fur ye, sae at the auld meinister wul can mairrie ye ben the kirk o yeir foirfaithers.”

The Fowk o the Widds kent at Tammas gaen gyte wi grefe. Ilkane o’m hed tyned a hame i a saelik mainner, an hed knawlege o sic tribulence, an its effek on the mynd. Bot thai wes suin ti think itherwyss. A nyow, siccar Tammas Grunstane stuid afoir thaim, steive an onbousum, the trew sin o the Grunstane etioun; aye hask, saxeane an sture. Whan he wes strang eneuch, Tammas serssit out the peth doun the Sauchtrie Burn an gaed ti Kittilskart ti meisur up hiz ventur. The puir sowel tint hiz wut, thocht pepil at sein him. Than he gaed inti the forrest merkin lang straucht tries. Nou a trie isna bot ane objek o vaill ti the Fowk, bot als a releigious taiken. Thair biggins wes med o widd, furby thair plenishins, bowies, lumes an ein thair noks. Thair pheisik cam frae thair plauntins, asweill. Sae nou thai thocht ti pit mars i Tammas’s gate.

Than Tammas fand a nyow allye. The Reverent Sawnie Bie hard o the ploy ti taigil the wark. He telt the Fowk at, i the nem o’z deid wyfe at duin sae mukkil ti bigg thair clachan an plaunt thair schaws, thai aucht a skair o the tries ti hissell, an, kiz the Douglas faimlie focht the Suddron on hiz behufe whan he, as a man o God cuidna, he thocht i bot jonik ti pas the timmer on ti Tammas, sae he cuid wad the Rid Douglas an Ruth in hiz ain auld kirk at Kittilskart ti pey bak the det.

Grannie Roddenberrie hard the clash o the kintra an als gied ’m a heize, nae dout ti mak hir foirtellins the mair siccar. Shae pit about a sair warnishin at a bogil mannie bene hantin hir howff, speirin gin onie fowk o the pairish wesna beisie brunnin lyme or howkin stane fur the wark. The bogil jaloused at thaim at wesna comploutherin wi Tammas wuid be twyned frae the Guid Lord’s sainin an micht eith be ruggit doun inti the Ill Plece. The carline hed hecht the bogil at the wesna onie sic slouch dirt at shae kent o i the distrik, bot at shae wuid gie hir pleven ti clype thair nems ti him gin shae hard tel o’m.

Housomdever the poust an virr cam frae Tammas, at wes mair lik a divvil nor a man. He wes gied a mukkil din Clydesdale bi the Rid Douglas at sayed it bene a weir-horss an hed aye the mettil fur bataillyie. It wes as weill, fur nou it gat a sair yokin.

It rugged an ryved aw the timmers out the forrest an cowpit thaim i the Sauchtrie Burn.The Fowk skartit thair pows ower this. Bot a gryte onding o renn cam frae the heivens an the spate waashed aw the timmers doun ti the loch, whaur Tammas med raifts o’m, sae thai flaited douce-lik til the loch-en, whaur thai cuid be sawed inti the richt lenths, fur furein ontil teugs.

Aince the stane an rauchters wes sauf on the stance, Tammas biggit a wie sheil bi the waws o the kirk. It wes suin mudged at he wes gangin abraid at nicht, tho nane kent the rizzon. Than thai wes astonist ti sei nate staks o bonie Westmorlan sklates kythin i the kirk-yaird. Whaur thai cam frae naebuddie kent. Bot whan the baunk i Carlyle sint a vissier ti vyow the houss at Gaitsgill, at thai nou awned sen T. Grunstane hed reneged on hiz wadset quittances, thai fand it hed naither a waw-en nor tildin on the ruif o’d.

The riggin o Kittilskart nou gaed bak on ding-dang. Than anither smaw meirakil cam about. Tammas hed a seicret skeill. In hiz stuidio at Gaitsgill he med pentit wark windaes. Nou he fessed aw the gless an leid ti Kittilskart an pit winnoks in aw the slaps. Thai wes med frae aw the bits at he duin lang syne, sae thai wesna autentyfe or ein approprit, bot naebuddiie wes fashed fur thai wes bricht an cheirie furby hauddin out the win an renn. Thusgates, tho the fluir wes yit the trodden yird, an the wes naither binks nor poupit, the kirk wes reddies fur the waddin.

Ruth hed gaed ti Embro ti collogue wi hir mither. Shae telt hir aw about The Douglas, Tammas an Rosie, an the Reverant Sawnie Bie. Than thai sent out inveits ti the waddin, deleivert bi the twenes, at bene alloued ti kepe thair pownies an reinged abraid wi the caw-throu o youth-heid. The wes anerlie ae flie in the eyntment. Tammas, at hed gaed pik an mell at the refraischin o the kirk didna wiss ti be praisent at the kipplin. Mirren sweirit at he wes a skunnersum auld bacheleir an nedeit a waddin o’z ain. Sae Ruth telt hir mither o hir thochts anent Rosie. Mirren luikit agley at Ruth, tho shae kent at hir dochter wuidna aggrege.

Whan the happie day dawit the hale clachan o the Fowk o the Widds wes tuim bot fur the blate, dour Tammas an guid, fethfu Rosie at steyed ahent ti luik eftir the puir lammie. At nuin he wes chowin awaw at hiz gairleke an ingans wi ait kake at Rosie gied him sen shae kent it wes fu o zink at fendit the bodie frae smitts whan thai hard a drone, lik a mukkil ingine. Feirt at it wes mebbies the Tornes brigganers, cum ti tak revengeance, thai run outby, reddies ti spend inti the sauchs. Bot the soun wes frae the sam kenspekkil rotour-craift at rescoursed Mirren an Ruth, an wes nou ettlin ti laun i the mids o the clachan.

The hens wes blawn intil the ryss lik confettae, the gryss run squilein doun the peths. Anerlie the gaits hauddit a caum souch an whan the duirs o the houss swang ajie gaed ben an ett the paliassis.

Tammas wes blinndit wi stour an sids. Whan he hed dichtit hiz ein Mirren wes afoir’m. Shae gruppit hiz lug an pued him ben the rotour-craift. Inby wes Grant Brecham, Maistres Stein, John an Frizzel Grene wi the twenes, Inglis an Junipere. Crowner Crannachan wes the pylot wi the locumtenand fur navigatour. Aw wes in joco bon.

“A’m no gaun ti onie waddins at isna ma ain,” wes Tammas’s loud plaint.

“This is yeir ain waddin,” reponed hiz sister, malagrugous-lik.

“Havers, wumman!” protestit Tammas.

Hiz sister bot raxed outby the duir o the machine ti gie Rosidandrum Bie a haun inti the caibin.

“Heir yeir bryde,” shae annuncit,” bot caw cannie wi’r, fur shae is cairriein yeir bairn.” The craift birled up inti the lift, tho Tammas wesna awaur o’d. The mirk cluds at hed smoured hiz mynd whan he bene seik wes rent apairt, an hiz memore o Rosie fessin him bak frae Daith’s cauld cleuks wi the wairmth o hir ain bodie retoured. He didna here hiz sisters ither wittins at als shae wes ti mairrie on the Crowner, fur he wes beirit i the airms o hiz jo.

Seiven moneth eftir Rosie hed twenes, than Mirren hed the lik. Whan Ruth’s spell cam shae pit a tapsiltourie on’t, fur shae brocht hame triplar bairns. Aw seiven wes krissent at Kittilskart Kirk, tho the Reverant Sawnie Bie wesna tae shair gin he appreived o the schort whyllie at modren bairns tuik ti clek an thocht ti hissel at it maun bene Grannie Roddenberrie’s cantrips at duin it.

A yeir syne Ebenezer Ross hed a veisitar at Carlyle jyle. It wes Tammas wi twa mukkil buists.

“Heir ma hale gaitherin o racords fur ye. Aw guid maisik, frae Keppard ti Marsalis. The’r nae lectra pouer whaur A byde.”


Beig JimYoung

A powlar urss is aw ae ou. Ilk pairt o it is furmed ti complouther in wi its surrounnins; its thik furr, its braid, cleukit feit, its whyt cullour. Itherwyss it cuidna thole the cauld an waantryfe o leivin on the eiss. Aw thae smaw mowences hes cum about swippertlie, an no by the uiswal slaw, langsum process o naitral kestin. The beiss chynged frae a broun beir in a verra fyow generautiouns, gey fest i byological tairms.

The fowk at byde in a kintra ar seimilar i thon wey. Thai et the mait at’s naitral ti the laun, ar wat bi the sam renn cluds, an hae i commoun the profit o the yird an sie. Verra suin thai growe inti the mainners an habits o thair neipours, thon at is best shuitit ti thair inverounins. Thusgates a naitioun lik Scotland is sowthert thegither.

Bot the’r ane ill syde ti’d. Ilkane o’z hes ane sell-eimage at is i pairt dictat bi circumstance. Gin ye byde ben a laun whaur the fowk hae cum ti be dour an dowie it is mair deiffekwalt ti think o yeirsell as bein frie an eisie. Gif yeir marras ar iggerant an eb o intellek it is sair ti be gleg an soupil. Pit anither wey, the schort-cums o yeir fellae ceitezans cum ti be yeir ain. Ti gie ye a fresch pictur it is aye necessar ti ken o the weys o ither kintraes, aither bi traivel or bi vissiein thair prattiks. The’r a guid whein fowk at tak sic friedomes ower ferr. Thai cry thaimsells “Internaitiounaliss”. The’r a mouthfu.

Thai tak thair maisik frae Wien, thair mait frae Pareis, thair houss is in Lunnonburgh an thai hae thair holiedays i the Grew eyls. Thair warl is perfit. Thai chuise thair neipours ti reflek thair celsitud. Bot thai hae the erss o a grumphie, the shanks o a puddok, an the heid o a cuddie. Thai arna aw ae ou. Thair naitiounal souch bene tint. Gin haurdskip dings thaim doun the auld skeills leirit bi thair antecestors hae gaen. Bot the’r a mid gate. Pit the auld weys o lyfe ben yeir ain laun mixter-maxter in wi nyow idaias adoppit frae ither polaties. Than ye wun a ryke an unco hairvest. A’m gaun ti skreid aff ti ye sicna strynge trystin o twa fremmit ploys.

It is anent the link atwein the ceities o Nyow Orleans an Auld Reikie, atwein the mairchin bauns o the cauf-grun o jauss an the auncient Scotch gilravagin at Hogmanay. It wes Jim Young at connekit the twa o’m.

Beig Jim Young is the keing o the tinklarians. Ye ken at tinklers aince traivelt about the kintra, sowtherin brunt cuikin pats, fettlin laikie rousin canns an pittin haunnils on bukkets. Jim wes a kinna modren tink, fur he vaiged about coftin, mendin an sellin keichen plenishins, oens, bain maries an het pressis. It wes hiz beisnes an he duin it naitlie. He hed a routh o ither interess, tae. He wes kene on saulin boits, awned a nummer o houss an hauddins, restorin auld kerrs furby. A mynd aince he socht ti rescours ane auld deisil rodd-rowler, forleit at the fuit o Roslin Glen. Its ingine hed bot ane gryte ceilinder, an the mainner o stertin it wes byordinar. Bot A’m waunnerin frae ma subjek.

A kent Jim kiz he wes a jauss man. He pleyed the bul fiddil an the sousafonn. Aw hiz geir wes fettilt i the sam tink wey tho. Hiz bace hed nae pirliecue atap o’t an the bodie wes hauddit thegither wi strang batter. The bell o’z sousafon wes aw runkilt an maist o the tuibs wes ranforced wi sowther. The Ryal Airforss aince sayed o’m, “Aircraiftsman Young hez ane inklin ti mak temporarie repares permanent”. A wissna ti criticeise the man, bot ti mak clair the kenspekkil naitur o’m. The wes nae en t’d. He kepit bies in binks at hiz warks, browstit hiz ain yill, entertened hiz freins at Burn’s Sippers ilk yeir an wes aye arreingin Jauss Baun Balls. It wes this lest interess at brocht about the mairraige o Nyow Orleans an Embro.

Whan A wes a lad the wes skarcelins onie fowk at the Tron Kirk ti sei in the N’eir. On the Hogmanay o 1966, Jim pit thegither a baun fur a Hogmanay Jauss Baun Ball ben a kirk haw doun the Heich Strete o Embro. Whan the dauncin wes duin thai furmed thairsells inti a Nyow Orleans styall mairchin baun an set aff up the brae ti the Tron, giein it laldie. A polisman stappit out inti the tuim causie afoir thaim. The stok-whorne pleyar, Jake Macmahon, telt me at he stertit ti onfeize hiz instrument the bettir ti be yibbils ti rin, sen he thocht thai wes about ti be arreistit. Bot the bogie pit up hiz haun anerlie ti stell the treffik an bekkit thaim ower the Nor Brig ti the Tron. Eftir the bells thai mairched doun Prences Strete.

Nixt yeir A toukit the mukkil drum. Apairt frae wir freins an a hantil neipours out the tenements, the causies wes tuim. The follaein Hogmanay we duin the sam. Than the pistils ti the peypers stertit, complenein anent the lak o a proper Scotch Hogmanay, wi pypes an drums an lichchtliein jauss bauns. Thai sayed the Ceitie Counsail suid tak a haun. As ane upcum the wes mair fowk about the yeir eftir an it wesna the licht-hertit ploy it aince bene. The lest yeir A ettilt ti pley at the Tron we cuidna wun neir it fur the currieboram, an A hed ti doush a curn o pows wi ma felt baters fur drukken cheils wes aye sekein ti pit thair neives throu ma drum skin. A nivver gaed ti the Tron agane, an nou monie thousants o fowk frae ivverie airt traivel ti Embro ti walcum the bells.

Bot it wes Jim Young at rescoursed thon prisk prattik, an gied it fresch virr.

Ye’l be queisitive, nae dout, ti here ma concludins frae aw the foirgaun.

The maisik o the mairchin bauns o Nyow Orleans wes, an is yit, byordinar. Whan A wes a ying man it gied me a test o friedome, o democratie an the pouer o puir fowk ti crie airt o birr an mense. Thon qualities wes sair ti cum by i the Scotland o the tim. Wir elders cryed it “neiger maisik”, an didna appreive o’d. Ma o’es mey hae nae lykin fur it , aither, as the warl hes muived on sinsyne. Bot it is aye enjosed i the Cressent Ceitie an ben ma wame.

The Efricans at wes cawed ower as sklaves ti Americae wes ilkane twyned frae aw thair kith an kin, sae thai hedna onie commoun langage. Whan thai wes med frie feint a hait o thair auld cants an sangs bad wi’m. Thai chuisit maisik as ane wey o out-pittin thair feillins. Thai hed gryte habeilitie at it. Wi modren instruments an, belyve, soun racordins, thai cried caller wark wi no furin frae the paust. Thair ert wes pure an fu o patients. The mairchin baun wes ane aire furm o’d. The styall wes lowse an frie, tho fu o discipleine. Dirges an speiritwals wes pleyed on the wey ti the cimiterie fur beirials, mirrie mairches on the wey hame. Aw the fowk cuid jyne the saicont lyne an daunce ti rags an bougies i the democratie o the rews. Sicna maisik wes mait an drink ti me, leivin i the dreich westerne at wes ma cauf kintra. The fak at ae peidie drap o’t on the stanie grun o Scotland cuid hae sic a strang eftir-cum pruives the vaill o outlaun moyens an the pouer o oneste maisik.

Jim Young nivver gat onie thanks fur hiz sowther wark.

The en o “The Sauchtrie Burn” bein the saicont buik o “Hale ir Sindries.”

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:

Hale Ir Sindries - Buik Twa. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 22 February 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Hale Ir Sindries - Buik Twa." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 22 February 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Hale Ir Sindries - Buik Twa," accessed 22 February 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 779

Hale Ir Sindries - Buik Twa


Text audience

Adults (18+)
Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 2000
Word count 27001

Text medium


Text publication details

Publisher Self-published
Publication year 2001
Place of publication Edinburgh
Edition 1st
Part of larger text
Contained in Hale Ir Sindries (Buik Twa)
Editor Author - Iain W D Forde
Page numbers 115-190
Part of a longer series of texts
Name of series Trilogy - "Paix Machine" (1996), "Hale ir Sindries" (2001), "The Kirk, the Skuil, the Buik" (2007)

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 624
Forenames Iain
Initials W D
Surname Forde
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment College
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Retired Architect
Place of birth Edinburgh
Region of birth Midlothian
Birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Edinburgh
Residence CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Publisher
Father's place of birth Edinburgh
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Teacher
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 Everywhere
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Where appropriate