The Nicht That The Bairnie Cam' Hame.

A poem by David Rorie

I was gaun to my supper richt hungert an' tired,
A' day I'd been hard at the pleugh;
The snaw wi' the dark'nin' was fast dingin' on,
An' the win' had a coorse kin' o' sough.
'Twas a cheery like sicht as the bonny fire-licht
Gar't the winnock play flicker wi' flame;
But my supper was "Aff for the doctor at aince!"
That nicht that the bairnie cam' hame.

Noo, I kent there was somethin' o' that sort to be,
An' I'd had my ain thochts, tae, aboot it;
Sae when my gude-mither had tel't me to flee,
Fegs, it wisna my pairt for to doot it.
Wi' a new pair o' buits that was pinchin' like sin,
In a mile I was hirplin' deid lame;
'Twas the warst nicht o' a' that I ever pit in,
That nicht that the bairnie cam' hame.

I'd a gude seeven mile o' a fecht wi' the snaw,
An the road was near smoort oot wi' drift;
While the maister at market had got on the ba',
Sae I'd tint my ae chance o' a lift.
When I passed the auld inn as I cam' owre the hill,
Although I was mebbe to blame,
I bude to gang in-bye an' swallow a gill,
That nicht that the bairnie cam' hame.

"Gude be thankit!" says I, at the doctor's front door,
As I pu'd like mischeef at the bell;
But my he'rt gae a dunt at the story that runt
O' a hoose-keeper body'd to tell.
The man wasna in? He was at the big hoose?
A sick dwam cam' richt owre my wame.
Hoo the deevil was I to get haud o' him noo,
That nicht that the bairnie cam' hame?

The doctor was spendin' the nicht at the laird's,
For the leddy, ye see, was expeckin';
A feckless bit cratur, weel-meanin' an' a',
Though she ne'er got ayont the doo's cleckin'.
It's them that should hae them that hinna eneugh,
Fegs, lads, it's a damnable shame!
Here's me wi' a dizzen, and aye at the pleugh
Sin' that nicht that the bairnie cam' hame!

What was I to dae? I was at my wits' en',
For Tibbie the howdie was fou,
An' e'en had I got her to traivel the road
What use was she mair than the soo?
I was switin' wi' fear though my fingers was cauld,
An' my taes they were muckle the same;
Man, my feet was that sair I was creepin' twa-fauld
That nicht that the bairnie cam' hame.

Three hoors an' a hauf sin' I startit awa',
An Deil faurer forrit was I!
Govy-ding! It's nae mows for the heid o' the hoose
When the mistress has yokit to cry!
A set o' mis-chanters like what I'd come through
The strongest o' spirits would tame,
I was ettlin' to greet as I stude in the street
That nicht that the bairnie cam' hame!

But a voice that I kent soondit richt in my lug,
Frae my he'rt it fair lifted a load
As I tells him my story, for wha should he be
But the factor's son hame frae abroad.
"It's a brute of a night, but to doctor's my trade,
If ye'll have me, my laddie, I'm game!"
An' he druve his ain trap seeven mile through the snaw
That nicht that the bairnie cam' hame.

Ay! an' cracked like a pen-gun the hail o' the road
An' though I was prooder than ask,
When he fand I was grewsin' awa' at his side
He filled me near fou frae his flask.
Syne when a' thing was owre an' I gruppit his han'
Says the wife, "We maun gie him the name!"
An' there's aye been a gude word for him i' the hoose
Sin' the nicht that the bairnie cam' hame.

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