“What do you say to having some toasted cheese to our supper?”
“I hear the whaups on windy days
Cry up among the peat
Whaur, on the road that spiels the braes,
I’ve heard ma ain sheep’s feet.
An’ the bonnie lambs wi’ their canny ways
And the silly yowes that bleat.”
Songs of Angus.
Mhor, having but lately acquired the art of writing, was fond of exercising his still very shaky pen where and when he could.
One morning, by reason of neglecting his teeth, and a few other toilet details, he was able to be downstairs ten minutes before breakfast, and spent the time in the kitchen, plaguing Mrs. M’Cosh to let him write an inscription in her Bible.
“What wud ye write?” she asked suspiciously.
“I would write,” said Mhor—“I would write, ’From Gervase Taunton to Mrs. M’Cosh.’”
“That wud be a lee,” said Mrs. M’Cosh, “for I got it frae ma sister Annie, her that’s in Australia. Here see, there’s a post-caird for ye. It’s a rale nice yin.—Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. There’s Annackers’ shope as plain’s plain.”
Mhor looked discontentedly at the offering. “I wish,” he said slowly—“I wish I had a post-card of a hippopotamus being sick.”
“Ugh, you want unnaitural post-cairds. Think on something wise-like, like a guid laddie.”
Mhor considered. “If you give me a sheet of paper and an envelope I might write to the Lion at the Zoo.”
For the sake of peace Mrs. M’Cosh produced the materials, and Mhor sat down at the table, his elbows spread out, his tongue protruding. He had only managed “Dear Lion,” when Jean called him to go upstairs and wash his teeth and get a clean handkerchief.
The sun was shining into the dining-room, lighting up the blue china on the dresser, and catching the yellow lights in Jean’s hair.
“What a silly morning for November,” growled Jock. “What’s the sun going on shining like that for? You’d think it thought it was summer.”
“In winter,” said Mhor, “the sky should always be grey. It’s more suitable.”
“What a couple of ungrateful creatures you are,” Jean said; “I’m ashamed of you. And as it happens you are going to have a great treat because of the good day. I didn’t tell you because I thought it would very likely pour. Cousin Lewis said if it was a good day he would send the car to take us to Laverlaw to luncheon. It’s really because of Pamela; she has never been there. So you must ask to get away at twelve, Jock, and I’ll go up with Pamela and collect Mhor.”
Mhor at once left the table and, without making any remark, stood on his head on the hearthrug. Thus did his joy find vent. Jock, on the other hand, seemed more solemnised than gleeful.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever had a prayer answered,” he announced. “I couldn’t do my Greek last night, and I prayed that I wouldn’t be at the class—and I won’t be. Gosh, Maggie!”