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Until one night, as with palsied hand
And drummed in an aimless way, she came
The moon's bright rays touched the silvered hair
And then in tones that he strained to hear,
Reprinted by permission of Life Publishing Company.
THE FOXES' TAILS
Minister-Weel, Sandy, man; and how did ye like the sermon
Precentor-All I was gaun to say was jeest this, that every noo and then in your discoorse the day—I dinna say oftener than noo and then-jeest occasionally-it struck me that there was maybe-frae time to time-jeest a wee bit o' exaggeration,
Precentor-Weel, maybe that's ower strong a word, I dinna want to offend ye. I mean jeest-amplification, like.
Minister Exaggeration! amplification! What the deil mischief d'ye mean, Sir?
Precentor—There, there, there! I'll no say anither word. I dinna mean to rouse ye like that. All I meant to say was that you jeest streetched the pint a wee bit.
Minister-Streetched the pint! D’ye mean to say, Sir, that I tell lees?
Precentor-Oh! no, no, no—but I didna gang sae far as a' that.
Minister_Ye went quite far enough, Sir. Sandy, I call upon you, if ever ye should hear me say another word out o' joint, to pull me up there and then.
Precentor_Losh! Sir; but how could I pull ye up i' the kirk?
Minister-Ay. Ye're sittin' just down aneath me, ye ken; so ye might just put up your heid, and give a bit whustle (whistles), like that.
Minister-Hoots, man; doesna the wind whustle on the Sawbbath?
Precentor-Ay; I never thought o' that afore. Yes, the wind whustles.
Minister-Well, just a wee bit soughing whustle like the wind (whistles softly).
Precentor-Well, if there's nae harm in 't, I'll do my best.
So, ultimately, it was agreed between the minister and precentor, that the first word of exaggeration from the pulpit was to elicit the signal from the desk below.
Next Sunday came. Had the minister only stuck to his sermon that day, he would have done very well. But it was his habit, before the sermon, to read a chapter from the Bible, adding such remarks and explanations of his own as he thought necessary. On the present occasion he had chosen one that bristled with difficulties. It was that chapter which describes Samson as catch
ing three hundred foxes, tying them tail to tail, setting firebrands in their midst, starting them among the standing corn of the Philistines, and burning it down. As he closed the description, he shut the book, and commenced the eloocidation as follows:
“My dear freends, I daresay you have been wondering in your minds how it was possible that Samson could catch three hundred foxes.
“Well, then, we are told in the Scriptures that Samson was the strongest man that ever lived. But, we are not told that he was a great runner. But if he catched these three hundred foxes he must have been a great runner, and therefore I contend that we have a perfect right to assume, by all the laws of Logic and Scientific History, that he was the fastest runner that ever was born; and that was how he catched his three hundred foxes !
“But after we get rid of this difficulty, my freends, another crops up-after he has catched his three hundred foxes, how does he manage to keep them all together?
"Now you will please bear in mind, in the first place, that it was foxes that Samson catched. Now we don't catch foxes, as a general rule, in the streets of a toon; therefore it is more than probable that Samson catched them in the country, and if he catched them in the country it is natural to suppose that he 'bided in the country; and if he 'bided in the country it is not unlikely that he lived at a farm-house. Now at farm-houses we have stables and barns, and therefore we may now consider it a settled pint, that as he catched his foxes, one by one, he stapped them into a good-sized barn, and steeked the door and locked it,here we overcome the second stumbling-block. But no sooner have we done this, than a third rock of offense loups up to fickle
After he has catched his foxes; after he has got them all snug in the barn under lock and key-how in the world did he tie their tails together! There is a fickler. But it is a great thing for poor, ignorant folk like you, that there has been great and learned men who have been to colleges, and universities, and seats o' learning—the same as mysel', ye ken-and instead o' going into the kirk, like me, they have gone traveling into foreign parts; and they have written books o' their travels; and we can read their books. Now, among other places, some of these learned men have traveled into Canaan, and some into Palestine, and some few into the Holy Land; and these last mentioned travelers tell us, that in these Eastern or Oriental climes, the foxes there are a total different breed o cattle a'thegither frae our fores; that they are great, big beasts-and, what's the most astonishing thing about them, and what helps to explain this wonderful feat of Samson's, is, that they've all got most extraordinary long tails; in fact, these Eastern travelers tell us that these foxes' tails are actually forty feet long.
Minister (somewhat disturbed)—“Oh! I ought to say that there are other travelers, and later travelers than the travelers I've been talking to you about, and they say this statement is rather an exaggeration on the whole, and that these foxes' tails are never more than twenty feet long.
Minister (disturbed and confused)—"Be-be-before I leave this subject a'thegither, my freends, I may just add that there has been a considerable diversity o' opinion about the length o' these animals' tails. Ye see one man says one thing, and anither, anither; and I've spent a good lot o' learned research in the matter mysel'; and after examining one authority, and anither authority, and putting one authority again the ither, I've come to the conclusion that these foxes' tails, on an average, are seldom more than fifteen and a half feet long.
Minister (angrily)—“Sandy McDonald, I'll no tak anither inch off o' the beasts' tails, even gin ye should whustle every tooth oot o' your head. Do ye think the foxes o' the Scriptures had na tails at a'q"
THE DEAD KITTEN
You's as stiff an' cold as a stone, little cat;
But you don't never purr,
Little cat, why is dat?
An' why is you's little foot tied, little cat ?
Or wif big nasty sticks
Little cat, tell me dat.
Did it hurt werry bad when you died, little cat?
'Cause I most always cries
Little cat, tink of dat,
Des lay still, down in de sof' groun', little cat,
Wen you's tired and so sore;
Little cat, wif a pat,