Read CHAPTER IX - THE FAT GIRL of Wee Macgreegor Enlists, free online book, by J. J. Bell, on

Never a day passed without its camp rumour. If Macgregor was disposed to be over-credulous, his friend Willie was sceptical enough for two.

‘I hear we’re for the Dardanelles next week,’ the former observed one afternoon.

Willie snorted. ’What the wud they send us yins to the Dardanelles afore we ken hoo to fire a rifle?’

‘I heard it for a fac’,’ Macgregor returned imperturbably. ’They want us yins for begnet wark, no for snipin’.’

’Begnet wark! I’ll bet ye fifty fags I get a dizzen Turks on ma begnet afore ye get twa on yours!’

Macgregor let the boastful irrelevance pass. ‘I wonder,’ he said, thoughtfully, ‘if we’ll get extra leave afore we gang.’

‘Plenty o’ leave! Keep yer mind easy, Macgreegor. It’s a million in gold to a rotten banana we never get a bash at onybody. It’s fair putrid to think o’ a’ the terrible hard wark we’re daein’ here to nae purpose. I wisht I was deid! Can ye len’ ‘us a bob?’

‘I ha’ena got it, Wullie; honest.’ Willie sadly shook his head. ‘That moll o’ yours,’ said he, ‘is awfu’ expensive. Ye’ve nae notion o’ managin’ weemen. Listen, an’ I’ll tell ye something. Ye mind last Monday? Weel, I had a late pass that nicht, an’ I thocht I wud miss seein’ ma aunt’s ugly for wance though it meant missin’ a guid meal forbye. So when I got to Glesca I picked up thon fat girl we used to fling rubbish at when we was young. An’, by Jings, she was pleased an’ prood! She stood me ma tea, includin’ twa hot pies, an’ she gi’ed me a packet o’ fags guid quality, mind ye! an’ she peyed for first-class sates in a pictur’ hoose! That’s hoo to dae it, ma lad!’ he concluded complacently.

‘An’ what did you gi’e her?’ Macgregor inquired, after a pause.

’Ma comp’ny, likewise some nice fresh air fried in naething, for I took her for a short walk. I could manage wi’ ninepence.’

Ach, I didna think ye was as mean as that, Wullie! Was was she guid-lookin’?’

’I didna notice her face a great deal; but she’s a beezer for stootness. I’m gaun to meet her again on ma next leave. If I tell her we’ve orders for the Dardanelles, there’s nae guessin’ what she’ll dae for me.’

‘She maun be unco saft,’ Macgregor commented pityingly.

‘Maybe the kilt had something to dae wi’ it,’ Willie modestly allowed. ‘They a’ adore the kilt. Can ye no spare saxpence . . . weel, thruppence?’

’I could spare ye a bat on the ear, but I’ll tell ye what I’ll dae. I’ve got some money comin’ the morn, an’ I’ll present ye wi’ twa bob, if ye’ll tak’ yer oath to spend them baith on gi’ein’ the fat yin a treat.’

Willie gasped. ‘D’ye think I’m completely mad?’

There’s something wrang wi’ ye when ye can sponge aft a girl, even supposin’ she’s fat. So ye can tak’ ma offer or a dashed guid hammerin’ when the first chance comes.’

‘Dinna be sae free wi’ yer hammerin’s, ma lord! Remember, it was a draw the last time.’

‘I wasna angry, an’ I had gloves on.’ Willie considered for a moment and decided to compromise.

‘I’ll burst a bob on her to please ye.’

‘Twa or a hammerin’.’

’But what guid is the siller gaun to dae me, if I squander it a’ on her? Ye micht as weel fling it in the Clyde. She’s no wantin’ that sort o’ kindness frae me. She prefers a bit cuddle.’

‘Did ye cuddle her?’ Macgregor asked with an interest indifferently concealed.

‘Some o’ her. But she’s earnin’ guid money at the ’

‘I dinna suppose she wud ha’e treated ye excep’ she had mair money nor brains.’

‘She wud pairt wi’ her last farden for ma sake!’

Ach, awa’ an’ eat grass! It’s weel seen that men are scarce the noo.’

‘Mind wha ye’re insultin’!’

‘I’m gaun up to the billet.’ Macgregor said, shortly, and walked off.

Presently, Willie, a new idea in his busy brain, overtook him.

‘Macgreegor, if ye len’ me thruppence the noo, I’ll ca’ it a bargain aboot the twa bob.’

He got the pennies then, and on the following day a florin, upon which he took a solemn oath. But as he fingered the silver later he smiled secretly and almost serenely. If the fat girl had stood him a substantial meal, cigarettes and a picture entertainment for nothing, what might not he expect as a return for the squandering of two shillings?

As for Macgregor, his motives were probably not unmixed: the pleasure which he foresaw for the poor, fat girl was contingent on the agony of Willie while spending good money on a person other than himself.

However, Willie was not long in securing a late pass, and went upon his jaunt in an apparently chastened state of mind, though in the best possible humour.

He returned in the worst possible.

‘Twa bob clean wasted,’ he grunted, squatting down by Macgregor’s bed. ’I wish to I had flung it in the Clyde when we was crossin’ the brig.’

‘What gaed wrang?’ inquired Macgregor, rubbing his eyes. ’Did she no like yer treat?’

‘I’ll warrant she did!’

‘What did ye buy her wi’ the twa bob?’

Willie sniffed at his recollections. ‘Like a goat,’ said he, ‘I askit her what she wud like best for twa bob, me thinkin’ naterally she wud say a feed to stairt wi’. I was ready for a feed masel’. But she squeezed ma airm an’ shoved her big face intil mines, an’ said she wud like a sooveneer best. To blazes wi’ sooveneers! An’ she dragged me awa’ to a shop, an’ I had to buy her a silly-like wee tie that cost me eichteen-pence-ha’penny; an’ then she wanted a lang ride on the caur, an’ that burst fivepence; an’ she nabbed the remainin’ bawbee for a keepsake.’ The reciter paused as if from exhaustion.

‘Hurry up!’ said Macgregor encouragingly. ‘What did she gi’e you?’

‘A kiss up a close! To pot wi’ kissin’! An’ then she said she was afraid her mither wud be waitin’ the ham an’ egg supper for her, so she wud need to run, an’ she was vexed she couldna meet me again because she had been hearin’ I was a terrible bad character. An’ then, takin’ advantage o’ ma surprise, she done a bunk. . . . An’ if ever I ha’e ony mair truck wi’ weemen, may I be ’

‘She wasna as saft as I fancied she was,’ remarked Macgregor in an uncertain voice. ’So ye wud jist gang to yer aunt’s for yer supper, efter a’?’

‘Ay! An’ the auld cat was oot at a prayer-meetin’. I ha’ena had a bite in ma mooth since denner-time. Ha’e ye onything o’ yer uncle’s handy?’

‘I can gi’e ye a wee tin o’ corned beef, Wullie. Ye ken whaur to find it.’

‘Least ye can dae,’ Willie growled. ‘Thenk Goad it was your money!’

‘I’m thinkin’ I’ve got guid value.’


‘Guid nicht!’ And stuffing some blanket into his mouth, Macgregor rolled over and quaked with imprisoned mirth.