“Guid God! That’ll be oor Mag,” cried Sanny, starting up and out at the door, running in the direction of the pit and stumbling every few yards in his excitement.
When Sanny had left the house that morning to go and interview Mr. Rundell, Mag, with the insane decision she had made overnight still holding her mind, dressed herself in her best clothes, and without hesitation set off to the pit.
On her way down the row she stepped into Leebie Granger’s house very excited though she had been fairly quiet all morning; so quiet in fact that Phemie Grey and Annie Watson could not help remarking upon it.
“She’s been awfu’ quate a’ mornin’, Phemie,” said Annie, going into her neighbor’s house. “She has worked away there as if she was gaun to clean the hale place, scrubbing oot the floor, although she washed yesterday; an’ noo, she has on her Sunday best, wi’ her new hat on too, an’ she’s awa’ into Leebie Granger’s. I wonner what’ll hae ta’en her noo.”
“Guid kens,” replied Phemie, “but she’s fair off her heid. Dae ye ken she’s just like a daft body. Did you see the look in her e’en?” and so they discussed poor Mag, who had drawn their attention by the strangeness of her behavior.
“Oh, dinna be feart, Leebie,” began Mag as she saw Leebie’s apprehensive look. “I’m no’ gaun to meddle wi’ you, although I swore yesterday that I would. You’ve only done what I did before you. You are young, an’ mair pleasin’ than I am noo, an’, as he said, I hae had a good innins. But, Leebie, you’ll hae to look for another fancy man. He’ll no’ be lang yours. I’ll see to that. Him an’ me will gang oot thegither, if I can manage it. We’ve baith been rotten, an’ it’s richt that we should gang baith at once, an’ rid the place o’ a dam’d bad sore. Guid day, Leebie. It’s a dam’d puir life to leave, an’ while it maybe is a woman’s lot in life to sell hersel’ for ease and comfort, it’s a’ bad for her when she does it in a way that the world says is a wrang way; for she soon finds that her life isna worth a tinker’s curse. She sells hersel’ an’ it’s no worth while complainin’ if the bargain turns oot a rotten yin.
“If every woman had plenty of honest work, there wad be nae fancy women, for they wadna ned do it. Guid day, Leebie. Maybe you’ll think I’m strange a wee an’ maybe so I am. You micht think I’m daft; an’ maybe so I am. But after a while when you get time to think, you’ll maybe feel that you hae heard mair soond sense oot o’ Mag Robertson when she was mad than ever she spoke when she was supposed to be wise. Guid day, Leebie. Think ower a’ I have said. I’m no gaun to hurt you; but I’m gaun to tak’ Black Jock oot o’ your clutches as shair as daith. You’ve had your innins too; but it has been a dam’d short yin. I’ve had mine, an’ the game is feenished noo. It’s time the hale thing was totaled up so that we can see wha is the winner. I’ve been maybe playin’ a losin’ game, Leebie, but noo we’ll ken afore lang. Guid day, Leebie. I’m off,” and she was out of the door leaving Leebie speechless with fear and amazement.