Read CHAPTER XIII - MISS TOD RETURNS of Wee Macgreegor Enlists, free online book, by J. J. Bell, on

‘It was awfu’ dacent o’ Wullie to clear oot,’ Macgregor remarked happily, as he moved his chair close to the one on which Christina had just seated herself.

Christina’s chin went up. ‘It wud ha’e been dacenter o’ him to ha’e waited till the time he was invited to wait.’

’But he meant weel. I’m sure he didna want to gang, but he fancied it wud be nice to let you an’ me ha’e a a . . .’

‘I beg yer pardon?’

Ach, ye ken what I mean. He fancied we wud enjoy a wee whiley jist by oorsel’s.’

‘Speak for yersel’! I’m thinkin’ it was exceedingly rude o’ him to slope wi’oot tellin’ me he had enjoyed his tea.’

‘He asked me to tell ye that he hadna enjoyed hissel’ sae weel since his uncle’s funeral, ten year back.’

Christina gave a little sniff. ‘That’s a nice sort o’ compliment. Funeral, indeed!’

‘Christina! what’s vexin’ ye?’

‘Wha said I was vexed?’

‘I’ve seen ye lookin’ happier.’

‘Are ye a judge o’ happiness?’

‘I ken when I’m no happy an’ that’s the noo. But I warn ye, I’m no gaun to stick it!’

‘What’s made ye unhappy?’ she coldly inquired.

‘You !’

’Dear me!’ ironically.

‘Ay, jist dear you!’ And with these words he caught her round the shoulders and kissed her.

Breathless and rather ruffled she exclaimed, ’If ye dae that again,
I’ll ’

He did it again.

‘Ye’re gettin’ terrible forward,’ she said, half angry, half amused.

‘High time!’

She regarded him with amazement.

Suddenly he said: ’Ye’re as much mines as I’m yours. Deny it, if ye can.’

For perhaps the first time in her life Christina temporized. ’Can ye sweer ye didna arrange wi’ Wullie to leave early?’


The note of innocence satisfied her. ‘Weel,’ she said graciously, ‘I forgive ye.’

‘What for?’

‘Takin’ liberties.’

Her lips wavered to a smile and he could not refrain from kissing them once more.

‘Here, hauf time!’ she cried, and burst out laughing.

‘This is the best yet,’ he said jubilantly. ’Three goals in twa meenutes! In future I’ll kiss ye as often as I like.’

‘We’ll see aboot that. . . . The sojerin’ has changed ye a lot,’ she added thoughtfully.

‘D’ye no like the improvement?’

‘I’ll tell ye when I observe it. Noo sit still an’ behave yersel’, an’ tell me the latest camp rumours.’

Just then the bell over the door in the shop went off.

‘Oh, dash yer customers!’ said Macgregor.

Christina was moving from the room when

‘Are ye there, dearie?’ called a familiar female voice.

‘Holy Moses!’ she whispered. ’It’s Miss Tod, hame three days afore her time.’

‘Oh, criffens!’ gasped Macgregor. ‘What’ll I dae?’

’Ye can either hide in the coal bunker, or bide whaur ye are like a sojer. She’ll no devour ye.’

Christina then ran out to receive her employer, which she did without embarrassment.

‘What a peety ye’re ower late for ma wee tea-pairty. An’ hoo are ye?’ Macgregor heard her saying.

‘Aw, I was sweirt to disturb ye wi’ yer’ frien’s, lassie,’ replied Miss Tod, who had been advised by postcard of Christina’s doings, ‘but I couldna bide in thon place anither nicht.’

‘Dear, dear!’ the girl said sympathizingly. ‘Did ye no get on wi’ yer auld frien’, or did the poultry attack ye? Come ben, come ben. There’s jist Macgreegor left, an’ he hasna consumed absolutely everything. I’ll get ye a cup o’ fresh tea in a jiffy.’

Smiling faintly but kindly, Miss Tod greeted Macgregor, apologized for disturbing him, and subsided into her old chair.

‘Oh, I’m thenkfu’ to be hame,’ she sighed, while Christina flew to her hospitable duties. ‘Ye’ve got the room awfu’ nice, dearie.’

‘Does the smell o’ the ceegarettes annoy ye?’ inquired Macgregor, now more at ease, though still ashamed of his recent panic.

Na, na; it’s jist deleecious,’ she protested, ‘efter the smell o’ the country.’

‘Did ye no like the country, Miss Tod?’

’Maybe I could ha’e endured it till the week was up, if it hadna been for ma auld frien’. Ye see, the puir body couldna speak or think o’ onything excep’ airyplanes fleein’ through the air an’ drappin’ bombs on her dwellin’ hoose an’ her hen-hoose, no forgettin’ her pig-hoose. Mornin’, noon an’ nicht, she kep’ speirin’ at me if I was prepared to meet ma Maker, maybe wantin’ a leg. Oh, I was rale vexed for her, I tell ye, but when she took the mattress aff ma bed to protect her sewin’ machine frae bombs, I says to masel’: ’If I’ve got to dee, I wud like to dae it as comfortable as I can, an’ I’m sure ma Maker’ll no objec’ to that . . . an’ so, at last, I jist tied up ma things in the broon paper, an’ said I had enjoyed masel’ fine, but was anxious aboot the shop a terrible falsehood, dearie! an’ gaed to catch the sax o’clock train, an’ catched the yin afore it. . . . An’ here I am. I wud ha’e let ye enjoy yer pairty in peace, but what wi’ the forebodin’s o’ ma auld frien’ an’ the scent o’ the hens an’ pigs, I could thole nae longer.’

‘In short,’ Christina brightly remarked, ’ye was completely fed up. Weel, weel, ye’ll sune forget aboot yer troubles in the joys o’ pursuin’ pastries. We’ll fetch the table close to ye so as ye can fall to wi’oot unduly streetchin’ yer neck. Mac, get busy! Toast this cookie.’

‘She’s a great manager,’ Miss Tod said, smiling to Macgregor. ’But she’ll mak’ ye a rael guid wife when ye come back frae the wars ’

‘Oh, whisht, Miss Tod!’ cried Christina. ’Ye’ll cause him to blush.’ Which was rather a mean way of diverting attention from her own complexion.

However, at that moment the bell rang, and exclaiming, ’Anither boom in trade!’ she darted into the shop.

The customer seemed to be in a great hurry, for almost immediately she reappeared in the sitting-room. She was smiling and carried a small package in her hand.

‘Guess wha it was,’ said she.

‘The meenister,’ replied Miss Tod, who for some mysterious reason always guessed the reverend gentleman, who happened to be a customer.

‘On the contrary,’ said Christina.

‘Wullie Thomson,’ said Macgregor, suddenly remembering the borrowed threepence.

‘Up dux! Ye deserve a sweetie.’ She presented the bag, open. ‘What sort are they?’

He laughed and answered ’War Loan Lozengers.’