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My Man Sandy
Chapter IX. The great storm of November 1893

Eh, sirce me, what a nicht we had on Setarday mornin'! O, haud your tongue! Though I should live lang eneuch to bury Sandy Bowden, an' hae a golden weddin' wi' my second man, I'll never forget it. It mak's me shaky-trimilly yet to think aboot it. Sandy's gaen aboot wi' a' the hair cut aff the back o' his heid, an' fower or five strips o' stickin' plester battered across his scawp. He got an awfu' mishap, puir man. I thocht his heid was a' to smash, but, fortunately, it turned oot fully harder than the biscuit tin it cam' into contact wi'.

It would be aboot ane o'clock or thereaboot when Sandy gae me a daud wi' his elba that garred me a' jump. I had an awfu' busy day on Friday; an' I was sleepin' as soond's a tap.

"'Oman," says he, "there's something fearfu' gaen on doon the yaird somewey. Wud that be the Dyed Wallop an' her man fechtin', or what i' the world's earth can it be? Harken, Bawbie! Did you ever hear sic yawlin'?"

"Bliss me, Sandy man," says I, "that's the wind soochin' throo the trees in the banker's gairden, an' fizzin' in amon' the pipes o' the water barrels. It's shurely an awfu' nicht o' wind."

Juist at this meenit you wudda thocht the very deevil himsel' had gotten grips o' the frame o' oor winda. He garred it rattle like the thunder at Hewy White's theatre; then he yawled, an' hooed, an' growled like five hunder cats an' as mony dogs wirryin' them, an' a' the fowk 'at echt them fechtin' at the same time. This feenisht up wi' a terrific yawl; an' Sandy dived doon in ablo the claes.

"Ye fear'd nowt," says I, "what are ye fleein' awa' doon there for? Ye'll hae my feet sterved to death wi' cauld. Lie up on your pillow an' lat the claes doon to the fit o' the bed."

For a hale strucken 'oor this gaed on, an' sometimes I akwilly thocht I fand the bed shakin'. Oor birdie (he hings at the winda) began to wheek-wheek wi' fear, an I wanted Sandy to rise an' tak' the puir cratur doon.

"The feint a-fear o' me," says he, the hertless skemp 'at he is. "If you want the canary i' the bed aside you, you can rise an' tak' him doon yersel'."

I raise an' took the puir craturie doon, an' hang him up on the ither side o' the room; an,' mind ye, ye wud raley thocht the bit beastie kent, for it gae a coodie bit cheep or twa, an juist cooered doon to sleep again. Juist as I was gaen awa' to screw doon the gas, it gae twa or three lowps, an' oot it gaed; an' afore I kent whaur I was, there was a reeshilin' an' rummelin' on the ruif that wudda nearhand fleggit the very fowk i' the kirkyaird. I floo to my bed, an' in aneth the claes, an' lay for a meenit or so expectin' the cuples wud be doon on the tap o's, an' bruze baith o's to pooder. Efter the rummelin' haltit, I fand aboot wi' my fit for Sandy; but he wasna there.

"Preserve's a'," says I, heich oot, "whaur are ye, Sandy? Are ye there? What's come ower ye? Are ye deid?"

"I'm here, Bawbie," says a shiverin' voice in aneth the bed. "I'm here, Bawbie. Ye'll hear Gabriel's tuter juist i' the noo. O, Bawbie, I've been a nesty footer o' a man, an' ill-gettit scoot a' my days. I wiss I cud juist get hauds o' the Bible on the drawers-heid, Bawbie. Did ye hear the mountins an' the rocks beginnin' to fa'?"

"Come awa' 'oot ablo there, Sandy," I says, says I, "an' no' get your death o' cauld, an' be gaen aboot deavin fowk wi' you an' your reums. The mountins an' rocks is the brick an' lum-cans aff Mistress Mollison's hoose, I'm thinkin'." An' I cudna help addin'--"It's ower late to be thinkin' aboot startin' to the Bible efter Gabriel's begun to blaw his tuter, Sandy. Come awa' to your bed!"

Sandy got himsel' squeezed up atween the bed an' the wa'; an' at ilky hooch an whirr 'at the wind gae he wheenged an' groaned like's he was terriple ill wi' his inside; an' aye he was sayin', "I've been a lazy gaen-aboot vegabon', an' ill-hertit vague. O dear, Bawbie, what'll we do?"

I cam' to mysel' efter a whilie, an' raise an' tried the gas, an' it lichtit a' richt. The wind was tearin' an' rivin' at the ruif at this time something terriple. "We'll go doon the stair, Sandy," says I; an' I made for the door.

"For ony sake, Bawbie," roared Sandy oot o' the bed, "wait till I get on my breeks. If ye lave me, I'll g'wa' in a fit--as shore's ocht."

We got doon the stair an' I lichtit the fire an' got the kettle to the boil, an' we sat an' harkined to the wind skreechin' doon the lum, an' groanin' an' wailin' amon' the trees ower the road, an' soochin' roond aboot the washin'-hoose. I raley never heard the marrow o't. The nicht o' the fa'a'in' o' the Tay Brig was but the blawin' oot o' a can'le aside it. I' the middle o' an awfu' sooch there was a fearfu' reeshil at oor door, an' Sandy fair jamp aff his chair wi' the start.

"A'ye in, Sandy?" cried Dauvid Kenawee, in a nervish kind o' a voice.

I awa' an' opened the door, an' here was Dauvid an' Mistress Kenawee--Dauvid wi' his pints wallopin' amon' his feet, an' his weyscot lowse, an' Mistress Kenawee juist wi' her short-goon an' a shallie on.

"This is shurely the end o' the world comin'," said Mistress Kenawee, near greetin'. "O dear me, I think something's genna come ower me."

"Tuts 'oman, sit doon," says Dauvid, altho' he was in a fell state aboot her. I cud see that brawly.

The sicht o' the puir wafilly budy akinda drave the fear awa frae me; an' I maskit a cup o' tea, an' crackit awa till her till we got her cowshined doon. Their back winda had been blawn in, and Dauvid had tried to keep oot the wind wi' a mattress; but the wind had tummeled baith Dauvid an' the mattress heels ower gowrie, an' the wife got intil a terriple state. They cudna bide i' the hoose ony langer, an' i' the warst o't a', they cam' awa through a shoer o' sklates, an' bricks, an' lum-cans, an' gless, to see if we wud lat them in.

I garred Sandy pet on a bit ham, and drew anower the table, and tried to keep them frae thinkin' aboot it; but at ilka whizz an' growl the wind gae, baith Sandy an' Mistress Kenawee startit an' took a lang breath.

I'm shure we hadna abune a moofu' o' tea drucken, an' Sandy was juist awa' to tak' aff' the ham, when the fryin' pan was knockit ooten his hand, an' doon the lum cam' a pozel o' bricks an' shute that wudda filled a cairt. Sandy fell back ower an' knockit Mistress Kenawee richt i' the flure. The ham dip gaed up the lum in a gloze, an' here was Sandy an' Dauvid's wife lyin' i' the middle o' a' the mairter o' rubbitch. Mistress Kenawee's face, puir thing, was as white as a cloot; but Sandy's was as black as the man More o' Vennis, the bleckie that smored his wife i' the theatre for carryin' on wi' a sodger.

What a job Dauvid an' me had gettin' them roond. We poored a drappie brandie doon baith their throats; an' Sandy opened his een an' says, "Ay; I've been an awfu' blackgaird; I have that!" He had come doon wi' the back o' his heid on a biscuit tin fu' o' peyse meal, an' had smashed the tin an' sent the meal fleein' a' ower the hoose. But the cratur had gotten an awfu' tnap on the back o' the heid, an' he was bluidin' gey sair. Gin daylicht brook, Dauvid an' me had gotten the twa o' them akinda into order, and Sandy was able to open the shop. He had an awfu' ruggin' an' tuggin' afore he cud get the door to open; an' he cam' into me an' says, "Dod, Bawbie, I think the hoose has gotten a terriple thraw. The shop door 'ill nether go back nor forrit!"

I gaed oot to see what was ado. Eh, sirce, if you had only seen oor street! The beach ootby at the Saut Pan, whaur there's a free coup for rubbitch, was naething till't! It juist mindit me o' the picture, in oor big Bible, o' Jerusalem when the fowk cam' back frae Babylon till't--it was juist a' lyin' a cairn o' lowse steens an' half bricks.

There's neen o's 'ill forget Friday nicht in a hurry, or I'm muckle misteen.

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