"I'll tell ye what," said old Lauder, "let us get a few weemin' and weans thegither, an' we'll gang doon to the pit an' wait on them comin' up frae their shift. The bairns can get tin cans an' a stane for a drumstick, an' we'll ha'e a loonie band. We can sing twa or three o' thae blackleg sangs o' Tam Donaldson's, an' play them hame."
To think o' Ma'colm MacPhail turnin' his back upo' them 'at's been freens wi' 'im sin ever he was a wee loonie, rinnin' aboot in coaties!" "Hoot, man! what's gotten intill yer heid?" returned his wife. "It's no Ma'colm; it's the illwully factor. Bide ye till he comes till 's ain, an' Maister Crathie 'll hae to lauch o' the wrang side o' 's mou'."
"There's wid," said the ither empire; "but it's no' a wicket for a' that." Sandy was springin' aboot wi' his heid in his oxter, an' a' the laddies roarin' and lauchin' like to kill themsel's. I was ance genna gae doon an' tak' him awa' hame; but I thocht it micht look raither queer, so I lut him aleen for a little. The captain loonie began to ball, an' a gey wild-lookin' bailer he was.
Sandy keepit his temper something winderfu', an' he juist quietly set doon Nickerbucker Tammie on the seat an' says, "Ay, loonie; juist you sit still there till your mither gie's your nose a dicht, an' ties your gartins; an' you'll get a piece an' jeely on't when the trainie stops."
Ye tuk it frae the ither loonie gien he made ye some guid music; an' a ha' fetched ye mair here." And he tapped his head to signify that it was not written down. "Is the song ready, now?" Sandy nodded. "Then turn about and sing it loud enough for all to hear; they must be the judges if the song is worth the price of a hump." And the queen smiled very tenderly.
"When a'ither bairnies are hushed to their hame By aunty, or cousin, or frecky grand-dame, Wha stands last and lanely, an' naebody carin'? 'Tis the puir doited loonie, the mitherless bairn!" Suddenly I was awakened by a subdued and apologetic cough.
Ye micht get Mistress Kenawee to look efter the shop for an 'oor or twa, an' come ootbye, Bawbie." Ay, weel, to mak' a lang story short, Sandy an' me got ootbye to the Wast Common on Setarday efternune; an' awa we gaed up to a corner o' the Common whaur there was aboot a hunder loons gaithered. The loonie that they ca'd the captain cam' forrit.
An' hoo's yersel' to win in, sir for ye maun be some auld yersel' by this time, thof I min' weel yer father a bit loonie in a tartan kilt." "What wad ye say to be made yoong again, auld frien'?" suggested the laird, with a smile of wonderful sweetness. "Eh, sir! there's naething to that effec' i' the word."
Gien a hustled a wud be a dee'd loonie afore a had 'em spilled." "Aw, go on!" chorused the watchers. "Thry, just," urged Bridget, "an' we'll sing 'Onward, Christian Soldier' to hearten ye up." Eight shrill voices piped out the tune; and Sandy, caught by its martial spirit, before he knew it was limping a circle about the beds, marking his trail with golden blossoms.
Preserve me! if he's only an echteent pairt o' the Toon Cooncil, shurely common sense 'ill lat you see that the Toon Cooncil's bigger than he is. Ony bit loonie in the tower-penny cud see that in a blink."