“Man, Sinclair,” said the one who had sat next to Robert in the Conference, when they got out on to the street, “you’ve fairly upset the hale jing bang o’ them the day. Lod! But I was like a balloon in a high wind, fair carried away wi’ you. I never thocht you could have done that. I was in the opinion that Smillie was the only yin that could stand up to that set o’ rogues. It was great. It was that.”
Robert laughed uneasily and bashfully as he answered, “I couldn’t help it, Davie,” then adding as an afterthought, “Maybe I hae put my fit in it. I wonder how Smillie took it a’.”
“Ach, well, it disna matter a damn, onyway. You did fine, an’ I canna see how Smillie has onything ado wi’ it. However, we hae a hale day to oorsel’s now, what dae you say to gaun to the length of Kew Gardens? It’s a gran’ place, an’ I hae a sister oot there in service.”
“Oh, I don’t mind. I don’t know onything aboot London and as you are nae stranger, I might as well gang wi’ you, as bother onybody else to show me roun’.”
“There’s some of thae chaps’ll fairly enjoy this,” said Davie, nodding in the direction of some of the delegates. “That’s the way they agreed to adjourn sae already. They jist leeve for the conferences. It’s the time they like. They booze and get their horns oot for a day or two, an’ I can tell you, Rab, it’s maybe jist as well that they dinna bring their weemin folks wi’ them. However, it tak’s a’ kinds of folk to mak’ a world, I suppose, so let’s off, and see as muckle o’ London as possible,” and they set off and were soon swallowed up in the great Metropolis.
THE MEETING WITH MYSIE
When the London Conference ended, the delegates hurried back to put the terms of the suggested agreement before the men, and as they journeyed the whole topic of conversation was of the Conference, and of the terms which had been suggested as a basis for settlement of the dispute.
“Well, you can a’ say what you like,” put in Davie Donaldson, who had sat beside Robert in the Conference, “but in my opinion we hae been diddled again. The wee showman wi’ the ferret een was too mony for us, an’ he jist twisted us round his wee finger as he liked.”
“Ach, but you are never content,” replied another who was of an opposite opinion. “It doesna matter what kind o’ terms you get, you’re never content.”
“I’m no’ content wi’ thae terms ony way,” persisted Davie stubbornly. “What the hell’s the use o’ makin’ a demand for something, an’ sayin’ afore you gang that you mean to hae it, an’ then to tamely tak’ the hauf o’ it, an’ gang awa’ hame as pleased as a wheen weans wha have been promised a penny to tak’ castor oil? I’d be dam’d afore I’d tak’ that.”
“You’re owre ill to please,” said the other. “You’re never satisfied wi’ a fair thing. Didn’t you hear as weel as me that there was a danger o’ war breakin’ oot at the present time, an’ we couldna possibly hae a strike at a time like this.”