‘Oh, whisht!’ said Christina smiling.
‘Ye should get a girl, Wullie,’ Macgregor remarked with the air of an old married man.
‘I ha’ena your luck, ma lad. If I was trustin’ a girl, I’ll bet ye a bob she wud turn oot to be yin o’ the sort that pinches a chap’s wages afore they’re warmed in his pooch, an’ objec’s to him smokin’ a fag, an’ tak’s the huff if he calls her fig-face.’
‘I’m afraid ye’re a pessimist,’ Christina said. ’I used to dae a bit in that line masel’. Ma favourite motto was: “Cheer up—ye’ll soon be deid!” But I got past that, an’ so will you.’
With a sardonic smile Willie shook his head and took another cigarette; and just then Christina had to go to attend to a customer.
Willie turned to his friend. ’Thon was a dirty trick aboot the cookies. I’ve a guid mind to bide here as lang as you.’
’I didna think ye wud hae been feart for a cookie, Wullie. Of course, I’ll never tell her.’
‘Weel, I accep’ yer apology. Can ye len’ us thruppence? I want to purchase some War Loan. . . . By Jings, ye’re no a bad sort, Macgreegor. . . . Hoo dae ye think I behaved masel’?’
‘No that bad.’
‘Weel, I want ye to tell her I ha’end enjoyed masel’ sae much since ma Uncle Peter’s funeral, ten year back.’
‘Tell her yersel’.’
Willie pocketed a few of the superior cigarettes, and rose. ’It’s sax-thirty,’ he said. ‘Her an’ you’ll be nane the waur o’ hauf an’ ‘oor in private. See? So long! She’s a clinker!’
And before Macgregor realized it, Willie had bolted through the shop and into the street.
Christina returned, her eyes wide. ‘What gaed wrang wi’ him, Mac?’
‘Come here an’ I’ll tell ye.’
MISS TOD RETURNS
‘It was awfu’ dacent o’ Wullie to clear oot,’ Macgregor remarked happily, as he moved his chair close to the one on which Christina had just seated herself.
Christina’s chin went up. ‘It wud ha’e been dacenter o’ him to ha’e waited till the time he was invited to wait.’
’But he meant weel. I’m sure he didna want to gang, but he fancied it wud be nice to let you an’ me ha’e a—a . . .’
‘I beg yer pardon?’
’Ach, ye ken what I mean. He fancied we wud enjoy a wee whiley jist by oorsel’s.’
‘Speak for yersel’! I’m thinkin’ it was exceedingly rude o’ him to slope wi’oot tellin’ me he had enjoyed his tea.’
‘He asked me to tell ye that he hadna enjoyed hissel’ sae weel since his uncle’s funeral, ten year back.’
Christina gave a little sniff. ‘That’s a nice sort o’ compliment. Funeral, indeed!’
‘Christina! what’s vexin’ ye?’
‘Wha said I was vexed?’
‘I’ve seen ye lookin’ happier.’
‘Are ye a judge o’ happiness?’
‘I ken when I’m no happy—an’ that’s the noo. But I warn ye, I’m no gaun to stick it!’