‘Bodkin and Mrs Bodkin’ (27 April, 1861)

It was unco dark an’ mochy, an’ scarce a body could be seen on the streets except the policeman on his beat, wi’ his bit cruizie sticin’ on his wame. ‘Od, sair distressed in mind though I was I couldna help moraleezin’ on the ingenuity o’ the chield wha first suggestit the idea o’ stickin’ lamps on policemen’s bellies, for gin a’ tales be true, they’ve far mair enlichtment aboot their stammacks than aboot onything else.

The following epistle is an early appearance in ‘The People’s Journal’ of Tammas Bodkin, the character used by editor William D. Latto to speak frankly (and amusingly) on current affairs. Latto became editor of the people’s journal in December 1860 and used the platform to launch Tammas, bringing himself a fair amount of fame in Victorian Scotland.

Maister Editor,—I’ve been in twa minds aboot that ootrageous epistle o’ Kirsty Monnypenny’s—whether I sid sit doon an’ confute the leein’ cutty word for word, or treat her slanders wi’ silent contempt. I’m ower weel kent in Dundee noo for her havers doin’ me ony ill—either morally or in the way o’ business—an’ I’m content to let the verses o’ that Lunnon chield stand as an answer to the ill-scrapit tongue o’ Kirsty Monnypenny. That folk’s ain kith an’ kin sid think less o’ them than the fremyit is naething to mak’ a sang aboot, for that’s been seen ever sin’ the warld began. A man that can haud up his head wi’ Burns, Gilfillan, an’ M’Cheyne, an’ that has been ca’d “the Shakespeare o’ Dundee,” can weel affoord to snap his fingers at Kirsty Monnypenny, an’ sae that’s for her the poukit-like, lingel-tailed hizzie that she is!

But that’s no exackly what I was gaen to say. Ye maun ken, or, if ye dinna ken, I’ll be oonder the necessity o’ tellin’ ye, that Tibbie has a sister marrit to a petawtie merchant in Perth—a place famed ower a’ the ceevileesed warld for its murphy merchants; an’ sae early on Thursday mornin’ last week—bein’ the Fast Day—Tibbie flang on her bonnet an’ a shawl, an’, quoth she, “Tammas, I’m awa’ to Perth to see Eppy’s folk, an’ ye’ll hae the kettle boilin gin nine o’clock the nicht, for I think we’ll be hame aboot that time gin a’ gang fair wi’ us.” “Weel, weel, Tibbie,” quoth I, “them that will to Cupar maun juist gang to Cupar, but I think ye micht hae gane a better gate as this day fa’s than awa’ stravaigin’ to Perth amang a wheen thochtless lads an’ lassies; an’ it wadna be a maitter o’ meikle astonishment to me though something sid come ower ye afore a’s dune. But dinna say that I hindered ye.” “Deed, Tammas, there’s no ane ‘ill hae that to say,” quoth she, “for I sanna be hindered by ony man o’ woman born.” sheave o’ chese, into a radicle basket, slippet auchteen pence into her huggar, an’ tane the road wi’ a curn folk as licht-witted as hersel’, no to mention the profanity o’ the thing. I saw nae mair o’ Tibbie for ae aucht an’ twenty oors at ony rate, but ye’ll hear.

I gaed to the kirk, heard twa gude Gospel sermons, an’ I maun say was nae little edified therewith, an’ sae the day passed ower. I was unco lanely i’ the hoose by mysel’, for I had naebody to crack wi’, an’ I thocht aftener than ance that after a’ its a silly bodie that’s no missed. Hoosomdever, I beguiled the time wi’ readin’ the “Crook in the Lot” by the author o’ the “Four-coorse o’ natur’ nine o’clock comes roond. At the chap o’ nine exactly—for I’m as punctual as clock-wark—I had the tea kettle stovin’ awa like a steam engine, but beginnin’ to grow coneasy, an’ sae was the kettle, ye may be sure, for I had a guid beengie o’ fire on, thinkin’ that Tibbie micht be cauld comin’ aff the water. Hoosomdever, I cured the kettle by ekin’ it up wi’ cauld water noo an’ then, but as for mysel’, I was on the pynebauks o’ perplexity, an’ naethin’ could minister serenity to my soul. Eleven o’clock warniced on the gowkoo-knock, wi’ a soond like the commotion in a pepper mill, that garred me a’ start, but still nae Tibbie! Twa o’clock past ower, an’ nae Tibbie! I could thole nae longer. “O Tibbie,” quoth I to mysel’, “the way o’ transgressors is hard! If ye had tane my advice! But it’s ower late noo; I maun gang doon to the shore an’ see the end o’t;” and sae I flang on my dirt flee coloured coat, tane my siller-headed cane in my hand, put a piece in my pooch, an’ set oot as hard as I could bicker, scare kennin’ whether I went, like the patrick of old. It was unco dark an’ mochy, an’ scarce a body could be seen on the streets except the policeman on his beat, wi’ his bit cruizie sticin’ on his wame. ‘Od, sair distressed in mind though I was I couldna help moraleezin’ on the ingenuity o’ the chield wha first suggestit the idea o’ stickin’ lamps on policemen’s bellies, for gin a’ tales be true, they’ve far mair enlichtment aboot their stammacks than aboot onything else. When I got doon to the harbour a great concoorse o’ folk were there assembled, maist feck o’ them lookin’ for their Tibbies, as I was lookin’ for mine. Clearin’ the way wi’ my stick, I got into the midst o’ the crood, an’, quoth I, “Has ony o’ ye heard ocht o’ my Tibbie?” “Whatna’ Tibbie?” quoth a great muckle beardy chield, wha was sookin’ awa’ at a thing intendit to personify a cigar. “Man,” quoth I, “yer edication maun hae been sadly negleckit gin ye dinna ken Tibbie Bodkin, amang a’ the Tibbie’s o’ Dundee.” The very mention o’ Bodkin brocht a host o’ sympatheezers arrond me, an’ I sune cam’ to oonderstand that it was only a half dizzen o’ the exquisite fraternity wha hae nae time to read the papers for blawin’ awa’ at cabbage blades, an’ kaimin’ their mootaches, that had never heard o’ my name an’ fame. Wi’ thae insignificant exceptions, every body in the crood kent Tammas Bodkin an’ Tibbie his wife, an’ they wad hae dune onything to minister to my comfort and consolation. “Where is Mrs Bodkin, Tammas,” inquired a lang black a-viced man, in a Heelan’ clock. “That’s what I want to ken, freend,” quoth I; “she gaed awa’ to Perth this mornin’ wi’ the Lass o’ Gowrie, but where she is noo the Lord only kens, whether she is in the land o’ the livin’ or the leal is beyond my comprehension.” “O, is that all?” quoth the black-a-viced gentleman, “in that case there can be do [sic] doubt she is food for fishes by this time, so you may console yourself with that, my good fellow.” “Ou aye, Tammas,” cried a half-dizzen o’ voices, “ye’ll be yer ain maister noo; for Tibbie’ll never wear the breeks mair; sae ye may mak a bargain wi’ Kirsty Monnypenny, or wi’ the sweet lookin’ quean at Corncrake Terrace whenever ye like.” Sae that was a’ the consolation I got, but, quoth I, “Lads, this is nae jokin’ matter, is there nae word o’ the steamer?” “No ae cheep, an’ never will be,” quoth my miserable comforters. “Then my grey hairs will gang doon in sorrow to the grave!” quoth I. “O Tibbie, Tibbie, woman, gin ye had only stayed at hame, what a difference it wad hae been this nicht baith to you an’ me, but the wilfu’ maun aye hae their way, an’ ye see what it’s come to! Left ye puir husband windowed an’ heartbroken, wi’ naebody i’ th’ wide warld to heat my guse an’ mask my drappie o’ tea, an’ keep a’thing cosh an’ clean aboot the hoose!” I slippit awa ootower frae the crowd, sat doon on a coil o’ ropes, an’ grat mysel’ blind. My memory wandered back thirty years, to the time when Tibbie was in service oot at Lasswade, a canty weelfaured quean, an’ when I was a’prentice wi’ Maister Waugh at Dalkeith, an’ hoo I was wont to trauchle a’ the way ateen the twa places ilka Friday nicht to see her, an’ hoo Rover, her maister’s muckle dog grew sae weel acquent iw’ the soond o’ my fit comin’ in the loan that he ever thocht o’ barkin’ at me, an’ hoo I wad carry a dead mouse i’ my pouch a’ the way frae Dalkeith to gie to the sagawcious brute, an’ hoo Tibbie kenned my dirl on the window, and raise and let me in, and laid on the fire, an’ had aye something gude to taste my gab, an’ a’ hoo we lingered in thehallan at partin’, juist as if we couldna get oor sairin’ o’ kissin’, an’ a’ hoo we kleekit thiegither arm in arm when we wad hae tane a quiet walk on the Sabbath nichts,—a’ thae things and coontless ither pleasant recollections o’ oor courtship an’ married life cam’ croodin’ back on my memory, mingled strangely wi’ the sad thochts o’ Tibbie’s oontimeous end, an’ my ain sorrowfu’ bereavement. Continue reading “‘Bodkin and Mrs Bodkin’ (27 April, 1861)”

‘Serious Charges Against Tammas Bodkin’ (20 April, 1861)

“A Burns thou art, in everthing but youth,

A Scarron, minus the envenomed tooth,

The Shakspeare of Dundee.”

The following epistle is an early appearance in ‘The People’s Journal’ of Tammas Bodkin, the character used by editor William D. Latto to speak frankly (and amusingly) on current affairs. Latto became editor of the people’s journal in December 1860 and used the platform to launch Tammas, bringing himself a fair amount of fame in Victorian Scotland. In this letter Tammas receives a stern response to his accusations in the ‘People’s Journal’ of 13 April 1861. This edition of the paper also saw one of the first tributes of a reader to Tammas in verse (see below).

Master Editor,—I cudna think enuch on Saterday nicht last fin your paper was handed in to me, an’ fin I read yon awfu’ like stuff aboot me, wrote by that nesty, ill-luken like footer, Tam Bodkin. Losh, I thocht my een wisna marrows, especially fin I think on the way he treated me fin I was ower at Dindee; but it was aye my thocht that he was a twa-faced sort o’ buddie; an’ I’ll tell you fat it is, I see it noo. But I think it ‘ill be after this an’ nearer Yule ere I veesit Tam Bodkin agen. Sic a nasty leein’ buddie to say that I cam ower frae Edinbroch no to lat Jamie ken my age. Jamie kens my age better nor Tam Bodkin at ony rate. But I dinna think Jamie ‘ill commit sic a great mistak’ as Tam did ony way, to rin awa’ wi’ Tib Thrampints, an’ her forty-twa, an’ him only twenty-twa, because she had about thirty-sax nots. He shun made a spooley o’ hit after he got it at ony rate, atween a suit o’ new claes an’ ae thing or anither. An’ I assure you, Master Editer, he had muckle need o’ them, for you widna sen a tinkler lookener chield in a’ the Cooget o’ Edinbroch, frae tap to bottom o’t; for there was him an’ anither twa or three chields that taillored awa’ in a garret in the Cooget, and they were a crack to the whole neeberhood, atween their drinkin’ an ae thing or anither. An’ they had only ae coat amon’ them, an’ fin they gid oot they had to do sae ane by ane. But this only happened fin they were sober, for, fin they got on the spree, as they ca’ it, they gid oot withoot their coats a’ thegither, for a’ sort o’ shame left them gin that time. I can tell you, Master Editor, ye maunna believe a’ that Tam Bodkin says aboot me, for he is as leein’ a man as you can get atween this an’ him. An’ anither thing he is real twa-faced. Just to gie ye an idea o’ his twa-facedness, I will begin at the beginnin’ o’ the story. Ye ken, Master Editor, Jamie an’ me was thinkin’ on getting marrit in a week or twa, an’ I didna see my way very clear, fu’ I was to get blankets and other bits o’ odds an’ ends, for I didna like to be tellin’ Jamie an’ a’ buddie I was sae hard up for siller, so fin my puir mother deid she left me some things o’ that kind, and so, you see, I keepit them in my kist a lang time, an’ they were nane the better o’ that. And there was an’ auld acquantance o’ mine they ca’d Mary Cruickshanks, that lived in Edinbroch, that was gaen to be marrit wi’ some chield aboot Dindee, I forget his name just noo, but it disna matter; so Mary was geyan hard up for siller like mysel’, and a great lot mair, so she speired if I wid gi’ her a len’ o’ my things till she wid get them o’ her ain; and so, you see, I gied them to her, an’ her comin’ ower to Dindee I lost sicht o’ her for a while. But i’ th’ noo, fin I was thinkin’ on bein’ marrit, I speired aboot her, an’ I got notice that she lived aboot a place they ca’d the Bucklemaker Wynd, aboot Dindee. So, you see, I thocht I might tak’ a stap ower an’ see if I could fa’ in wi’ her and get my things. So Tibbie an’ me bein’ a kind o’ faraff freends, I thocht I micht get a nicht or twa’s lodgings frae her; so that was the way I ca’d on Tammas Bodkin. Tammas was very anxious to lat you ken a’ fu’ I got on fin I was there, but he didna tell you fu’ he did. I think it micht be nane oot o’ place to tell ye a little aboot him. So, you see, fin I cam’ up the stair and got mysel’ seated on a chair, Tammas seemed to be in an awfu’ hurry aboot some pair o’ breeks he was makin’ to some mason chield, in case he widna get them in time, for he said it was pay nicht, an’ if he didna get them ready, an’ the siller for them, he mightna get it for a lang time, so we got very little cracks oot o’ Tammas for an ‘oor or twa, until he got the breeks doon, an’ that was aboot nine o’clock. So, after we had some chatterin’ aboot this an’ that, and just fin we were haverin’ awa’, there comes a rummel at the door. This was the mason chield for his breeks. So after he had crakit a while aboot the fashions an’ so on, he speered the price o’ them. “Aucht an’ saxpence,” quoth Tammas. “Hae ye ony cheenge?” quoth the mason. “Feint a bawbee,” quoth Tammas. “Then, will ye gang doon the street wi’ me a bittie, an’ we’ll get this note cheenged?” quoth the mason. “No ae fit are ye gaen across this door the nicht?” quoth Tibbie. “The woman’s no in her senses,” quoth Tammas, “will I no daur gang oot to get my siller” “Weel, weel then, dinna bide lang,” quoth Tibbie, “an’ be sure ye dinna gang to the public-hoose.” So Tammas an’ the mason set aff, and staid twa oors or sae, an’ aboot eleven o’clock there comes a reeshel to the door, an’ a laddie hands in a skate that Tammas had bocht. “The deil’s i’ that man wi’ his skate,” quoth Tibbie, “for there’s nae sairin’ o’m wi’ skate.” In half an oor or sae, Tammas comes hame himsel’ wi’ a crinoline for Tibbie as big as a parrot’s cage, an’ he was sae meikle the waur o’ drink that he could scarcely stand his lane. Tibbie gae him a bonny dressin’, as she had a perfect richt to do, an’ sae he slippit awa to his bed, where he lay vomitin’ the hail nicht through. An’ ower an’ aboon a that, he had a whisky bottle in his pouch, whilk he had broken comin’ up the stair, an’ I’m sure the smell o’ the drink was like to turn my stammack a’ nicht. Feint a wink o’ sleep I got, an’ that’s hoo the scoondrel treatit me. I’m thinkin’ it’ll be some time afore Tam Bodkin meddle wi’ me or my age again. Yours truly,

Kirsty Monnypenny. Continue reading “‘Serious Charges Against Tammas Bodkin’ (20 April, 1861)”

‘Bodkin Fills up his Census Paper’ (13 April, 1861)

The following epistle is an early appearance in ‘The People’s Journal’ of Tammas Bodkin, the character used by editor William D. Latto to speak frankly (and amusingly) on current affairs. Latto became editor of the people’s journal in December 1860 and used the platform to launch Tammas, bringing himself a fair amount of fame in Victorian Scotland. In this letter Tammas fills out the 1861 census.

Maister Editor,—I was sairly puzzled on Monday mornin’, as I daursay the maist o’ folk were, wi’ the fillin’ up o’ that census paperie, an’ I’ve sitten doon enoo, as lang’s Tibbie’s oot at the fish market buyin’ a skate, to tell ye a’ the doolfu’ grievances an’ sair afflictions that befel me in the performance o’ my censorial duties, as the head o’ the family. But, to put ye up to the hail story, frae the Genesis to the Revelation o’t, I maun gang back to the previous Saturday afternoon. Weel, just a wee thocht afore four oors time, I was sittin’ garrin’ the needle go the lichtenin’, an’ whistlin, as usual—for I had got up my pluck after the Gowk’s day ploy—when in staps a muckle tearin fellow o’ a porter, carryin’ a great big travellin’ basket on his shouther an’ a dropsical-lookin’ pockmanky in the hand o’m. “What, what in a’ the warld’s this ye’ve got, freend?” quoth I. “Oh,” quoth he, “them things, sir, belongs to a lady, sir, as has come with the train from the South, sir, and please, sir, she says, sir, as how she is to put up here, sir; and here’s her at the foot of the stair, sir,” quoth he, usin’ the best Englified words in his vocabulary. Weel, weel, thinks I to mysel’, it’s geyan’ strange that ony lady sid thrust hersel’ on my hospitality in that way withoot ance inquirin’ into my sentiments on the maitter. Hoosomdever, I dinna like to be ill-curponed wi’ ony body, an’ sae, partly oot o’ curiosity to see wha the lady could be, an’ pairtly for politeness’ sake, I lap aff the boord an’ tane three staps to the stair-head. There I got a visie o’ the lady comin’ todlin’ up the stair wi’ a’ band-box wainglin’ in her hand; an’ wha was she, d’ye think, but Kirsty Monypenny, a cousin o’ Tibbie’s, a’ the way frae Edinbruch? I scarcely kenned her, for I hadna seen her atween the een for twenty years afore; an’ I couldna wonder eneuch what wind could hae blawn her the airth o’ Dundee at this particular period o’ the century—but ye’ll hear. I made her welcome eneuch, an’ telled her sae, an’ Tibbie, ye ken, she was like to worry her wi’ doonricht kindness; an’ the four oors was got ready, an’ Tibbie had a thoosan’ questions to pit aboot this body she kenned afore she was marrit, an’ that body she was at the schule wi’, an’ hoo was Robbie Robertson at the Girdlefeet, an’ if Tammy Tamson was aye ca’in’ the cuddie yet, an’ what was the price o’ the aitmeal in the Sooth Kintra, an’ if Madge Mucklewraith was aye fechtin’ wi’ her gudeman, an’ aye able to claw his haffets till him—an’ whether Andrew Anderson’s parrot was aye to the fore—an’ a’ aboot her uncle’s folk oot bye at Dalkieth, no forgettin’ her auld mistress an’ her family at Lasswade—an’ so on Tibbie’s tongue gaed, like the clapper o’ a mill, a’ the time she was maskin’ the tea, a’ the time we were drinkin’t, an’ a’ the evenin’ afore bedtime. Losh, I was nearly deaved wi’ her palaver. I need scarcely add, that Kirsty’s visit was a perfect God send to Tibbie, for she got her budget stuffed wi’ news in grand style, an’ I dinna think she’ll want for ought to dream aboot an’ crack aboot for the next sax months at ony rate. Weel, ye see, that was on the Saturday nicht, an’ sae, in the coorse o’ natur, Sabbath nicht comes roond. Readin’ bein’ ower, the thocht strikes me, thinks I the man will be here for that census paperie the morn’s mornin’, maybe afore we’re a’ weel oot o’ oor beds, an’ it wad be as prudent to hae a’ made cut an’ dry for him there an’ then; so I brings inbye the ink-bottle an’ pen, an’ raxes doon the paperie frae the chimla-piece, “An’ noo,” quoth I, “for a stroke o’ business afore we gang to oor beds.” Tibbie she got up in an unco pavee, an’ quoth she, “Tammas! Tammas! for shame on ye, min,” quoth she; “d’ye no ken this is the Sabbath-day? This is no the season for warldly business an’ you newly closed the Beuk, too,” quoth she. “No ae fit will ye gang, Tammas, to do onything o’ the kind; sae ye ken my will on the subject.” Of coorse, as Tibbie’s will maun be mine in maist things, I juist set bye the writin’ gear again, an’ said nae mair aboot it. I had interrupit Tibbie’s discoorse wi’ Kirsty aboot some new method o’ makin’ a dish, ca’d “Bubble an’ Squeak,” that was greatly in vogue amang the fashionable classes in Edinbruch, an’ sae they fell to wark again, and finished their culinary crack by tearin’ to collops the characters o’ the Misses Williamson, that live up aboon Kirsty in some close that opens aff frae the Lawnmarket. I had my ain thochts as to the consistency o’ the conversation wi’ the sacredness o’ the Lord’s Day evenin’, an’ I was sinfu’ enough to think that there wad hae been less ill in fillin’ up the census paperie than in takin’ lessons on the airt o’ makin’ Bubble an’ Squeak an’ in rivin’ holes in folk’s characters. But, as Tibbie’s will maun be mine, I keepit my tongue within my teeth, an’ said neither gruff nor stye, for fear o’ raisin’ a scrimmage in the hoose in presence o’ the stranger. Afore we gaed to bed, Kirsty grew unco confidential, an’ tell’t Tibbie in a whisper whilk she meant to be lood eneuch for me to hear notwithstandin’, that she had a sweetheart, a real fine sort o’ a man, an’ in a fine way o’ doin’, an’ that she thocht it would happen aboot Witsunday. James, for that was the sweetheart’s Christian name, was helpin’ to tak’ up the census in Edinbruch. “In fact,” quoth Kirsty, “he is the enumerator in oor districk, an’ he was in wi’ the census paper just on Saturday mornin’ afore I cam’ awa’; an’ sae I juist thocht I wad mak’ a rin’ ower to Dindee an’ see ye a’ afore the marriage, for ye see I’ll maybe sune hae my hands fu’ afterwards.” That was very considerate o’ you, Kirsty, thinks I—for I didna say onything, though Tibbie had plenty to say aboot it—but I think I can see anither reason for your veesit. Ye’re gettin’ geyan auld lookin’ noo, Kirsty lass—thretty-sax, Ise warrant, gin’ ye be a single day—an’ your face is beginnin’ to assume the hue o’ shammy leather, in spite o’ a’ yer ‘fumery an’ depilatory drogs, an’ my notion is that ye’re here for the purpose o’ keepin’ James in the dark as to yer real age, an’ no oot o’ ony great love that ye hae for Tibbie an’ me. Od, ye are a cute damsel, Kirsty, an’ a clever wie ye’ll mak’ to James, honest man, even though ye sid be deceivin’ him into the belief that ye are no aboon sax-and-twenty when, as I said before, ye maun be at least ten years aulder than that. This was a’ said in to mysel’, an’ a gude deal mair, if it were a’ written that I thocht, an’ sae we slippit awa’ to our roosts. Continue reading “‘Bodkin Fills up his Census Paper’ (13 April, 1861)”

‘Bodkin in Great Tribulation—Fearful Catastrophe’ (6 April, 1861)

The following epistle is an early appearance in ‘The People’s Journal’ of Tammas Bodkin, the character used by editor William D. Latto to speak frankly (and amusingly) on current affairs. Latto became editor of the people’s journal in December 1860 and used the platform to launch Tammas, bringing himself a fair amount of fame in Victorian Scotland.

Maister Editor,—I got sic an awfu’ blowin’ up frae Tibbie for tellin’ ye a’ aboot her breakin’ the trenchers an’ me makin’ up the sang thereanent, that I was feared to wreat to ye last week lest I micht hae “spoken unadvisedly wi’ my lips,” as saith the Psalmist, but I’m determined to mak’ a toom stamack o’t this week, an’ let Tibbie whistle on her thoom.

Weel, ye see, it was joost on Monday nicht i’ th’ gloamin’ that I was sittin’ pickin’ my teeth wi’ my bodkin an’ crackin’ to Tibbie aboot the leeshins that’s been laid on the sellin’ o’ treacle-swipes, when there comes a knock to the door. Tibbie she gaed to answer the summons, an’ cam’ back wi’ a letter addressed to

“Thomas Bodkin, Esq., Clothier Dundee.”

I tane care to read the direction wi’ due emphasis, especially the Esquire pairt o’t so that Tibbie micht ken that her husband was na’ considered sma’ drink oot o’ the hoose whatever micht be thocht o’m inside thereof. “Gude have a care o’s a’, Tammas,” quoth she, “ye’re up i’ th’ buckle the nicht, lad—Esqueer nae less!” “An’ what for no?” quoth I, “Does it set me ony waur to be ca’d Esquire, think ye, than hunders wha hae raised themsel’s by their talents frae the dunghill, as it were, to stan’ amang princes? Esquire! my certie, there’s plenty o’ knights that hae far less havins i’ their heads than I hae.” Tib winna stand to be contradickit, an’ sae she glowered into my face wi’ a scowl that wad hae struck terror into the Evil One himsel’, and quoth she, “Gin a head fu’ o’ havers be a qualification for knichthood, nae doot ye sid be Sir Tammas Bodkin; but it cheats me, Tammas, gin ye ever be ocht else but a knicht o’ the thimble.” Anither word on my pairt wad hae raised an unco discoorse intil anither channel by reading the contents o’ the letter in the followin’ terms:—

“Thomas Bodkin, Esq., would confer a very great favour on Mr John Peppercorn by calling immediately at his residence, No. 1 Corncrake Terrace, for the purpose of taking his measure for five suits of superfine black clothing. T. B., Esq., is requested to furnish himself with specimens of his best cloth, as J. P. is desirous of making a selection for himself, he being very particular as to shade and quality,

“1 Corncrake Terrace,

“Monday Evening.”

“Od, Tib,” quoth I, “that’s something like an order. Mr Peppercorn maun be a real gentleman though he’s oonbekent to me, an’ I’m sure there’s few in Dundee, gentle or semple, that I dinna ken either by name or by sicht. But, hoosomdever, his siller will be as gude as ither folk’s. “An unco queer name that,” quoth Tibbie. “He maun be an Englishman surely. Peppercorn! Od, wadna a pepper an’ saut colour suit him better than a black,” quoth Tibbie, laughin’ at her ain divershun like mony ither fules, if I daur say sae. “Spoken like a wise woman as ye are, Tibbie,” quoth I, “but his will be dune, no mine, nor even yours, Tibbie. Rax me doon my dirt-flee-coloured coat, an’ my second best hat, an’ I’ll sune see wha Mr Peppercorn is.” “But whare’s Corncrake Terrace, Tammas?” quoth Tibbie, “I never heard o’ that place afore,” “Let me alane for that, gudewife, gin it be in a’ Dundee I’ll scent it oot; dinna ye fear that,” quoth I. Continue reading “‘Bodkin in Great Tribulation—Fearful Catastrophe’ (6 April, 1861)”