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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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livin' or deid, to the 'Whale' at the Cuitle, shall be handsomely rewarded. '" Away went Geordie, ringing and shouting betimes. On approaching the wynd, the sound of the bell had partially aroused Davie Storie, and when he heard the "chimneysweeper" mentioned, up he started and stood before the bell ringer. " Hi, Geordie, " he exclaimed, " that's me. " " Yes, " quoth Geordie. " Your quite sure it's me? " inquired Davie. " Quite sure. " " Well, that's you, and the bell's mine. " He knocked Geordie down, taking the bell out of his hands, and rushed back through the village shouting " Lost, stolen, or strayed, the scavenger of Prestonpans, " etc. Just as he arrived at the merchant's door Geordie overtook his opponent, when a regular melee was about to ensue, but the merchant stepped in, gave both a good dram, and sent them home by different routes. And thus the quarrel ended.
Robbie Smith was born a good many years before the last century came in. He dwelt with a sister named Bell in that house opposite the church now known as " Morrison's Buildings. " He had a drum of his own, but he could scarcely be called a "town drummer, " as he only used it for the amusement of the villagers. He was a "wheelman" in Gordon's Pottery; but often in the summer evenings, when free from his work, he would parade the village beating his drum, accompanied by hundreds of noisy children; or if there was to be a meeting of " potters, " he was not slow to call them to the assembly. But the potters' annual procession was his head field day. To every door he went, beating them up in the morning long before time for rising, and he never forgot to accompany the procession with his drum slung over his shoulder.
When at work, his sister always carried his dinner to the pottery to save him going home for it. One day she had " tattie soop " for him, and brought it in a pitcher. He had not long begun to delve in with the spoon, when something else than " tatties" began to turn up, and, glancing into the dish, " Bags the day, Bell, " he whispered, " bags, bags, " and he nichered and laughed loudly in anticipation of a big feed of tripe. "Eh, Robbie, " she exclaimed, and prepared to fly, " it's the dishclout; I forgot to take it oot when washin' the pitcher"; and she fled. But Rob got up, pursued, and lashed her haffits well with the dishclout, crying out the while,
" That'll help to keep 'e in mind, Bell, that Robbie Smith may
eat bags ony day, but he'll no try to eat dishclouts. "
Robbie made up his mind to get married. The cries were put in, the night arranged; the guests came, the bride came, and the minister came. The ceremony began and had proceeded thus far, "Will you have this woman to wife?" " Na, man, na I" he cried, withdrawing his hand from her sharply; and turning to the audience, " Ay, chaps, " he whispered, " I was very near nicket the noo, " and bolted out at the door. But he was pursued, caught, and the ceremony proceeded without any further hitch.
Robbie had a fellow " wheelman" in the same pottery every whit as silly as himself, named
Sandy's pay when working full time was 4s. 6d. per week, and if he had a deal of overtime he got 6d. extra. He was very particular in the cash offered him at the pay table. If he got two half-crowns he went forth rejoicing, but if five single shillings were laid down to him he went out with a scowl on his countenance, and would not lift them. When he had no overtime he had to get a half-crown, a shilling, and two sixpenny pieces; otherwise it had also to be sent alter him. One day the pay clerk inquired at Sandy whether he would prefer one guinea or sixteen shillings. " Lord, man, " was the reply, "d'ye think I'm daft? Ony bodie wi' half his senses aboot 'im kens that sixteen 's mair than yin ! Jist try it wi' nips o" whisky, for instance ! "
The workmen as a rule took pleasure almost daily in getting up a row between the pair of wheelmen. It seldom went further than a flyte, but one day it ended in a battle. Robbie Smith went home to dinner that day, but Sandy remained at the pottery. Before Robbie's return one of the men, in order to continue the strife, went out and brought in the stock of a gun, with the lock, but no barrel on it. As soon as Robbie appeared at the gate, the old gun was put into Sandy's hands, with instructions to fire and have his revenge. It had been a flint gun; there was still a flint in the dog-head. He drew the trigger, the flint flashed, and Robbie turned and fled, howling " Murder! " They told Sandy that he had slain his late
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