Five Wee Wimmen
ANOTHER DONALD MACKELLEN STORY
In which a now-famous Scot has a birthday—and learns aboot the lassies
MARGARET looked away from the glowing fire that made the cool evening comfortable. Her husband, catching her glance, asked, “Bothered about anything, Margaret?”
She answered indirectly, “I’ve been thinking, George, I'd like Donald to have a party."
“A party?” George quite evidently found the proposition somewhat surprising.
"Yes,” Margaret wrinkled her brows. “I want him to grow more childlike.” she explained. “More childlike and less obstinate.” She went on: "Coming from that lonely, outlandish place in Scotland, losing his mother and father before he was out of the cradle, having no one to turn to but that dreadful—that old grandfather. Naturally he's not quite like a normally brought up English hoy of six years old. But he can be improved—I’m sure of that—and I owe it to Mary to do my best.”
George said reminiscently. “I shall remember as long as 1 live that day we found him waiting on the platform; his funny little legs sticking out of his funny little kilt; his solemn disapproving little mug. Of all the queer self-contained little cusses !” I le chuckled.
Margaret refused to smile. “1 lis mother was so different,” she said. “I should never have adopted Donald without seeing him first, if I hadn't been sure, having known Mary for so long, that he would be”—she was going to say, “satisfactory,” but changed her mind, added instead, "sweet and lovable.”
“One couldn’t call Donald that.” George admitted, "livable, perhaps; sweet, no, thank heaven!” he finished, tapping his pipe. “Personally, I've no use for your angelfaced children, Meg. I like ’em with a bit of pep.” Margaret, poking the fire viciously, advised him, "There’s reason in everything.” She continued, after an appreciable pause. “If that old housekeeper hadn’t written in such a hurry after the grandfather died, saying Mary’s baby was destitute, I might have arranged to see Donald before we settled things—we took an awful risk.” George asked, “You are sorry—we took the risk?” Margaret answered slowly, almost with surprise, “No, however little Donald is like the baby I wanted. I wouldn’t lose him now. All the same, he’s a trial, and you know it, George. Look how he talks down to me! just because that old Grandfather Mackellen hated women, Donald treats me, and cook, and every female thing he meets— well, you know how he treats us!” She paused, finishing resentfully. “All the children I’ve known—cling.”
GEORGE, suppressing another gurgle, told his wife: “His upbringing’s bin agin anything of the kind.” He went on after he had lit his pipe, “You're in too much of a hurry. He’s only been here a few months. All his life till he came to us has been spent in the company, the sole company as far as I can gather, of an old man and an old woman. Naturally the little chap’s a bit old for his years.” “A bit!” Margaret raised her brows.
George puffed placidly at his briar. “I le’s loyal to the old chap.” he said. “Faithful to his teaching. You ought to admire him for it. Margaret.”
“Ought I?” Margaret pronounced after a short silence.
“Well, I don't. I’m as fond of Donald as you are, GeorgeBut if I could smack his ‘gran’faither’ out of him I wouldThe trouble is, I can’t.”
George, not too impressed by his wife’s declaration, agreed, “No, you can’t. Time will wear some of the Mackellen out of him,” he said. “But neither whackings nor scolding nor—”
Margaret interrupted. “I’ve only smacked him once. And then, as you very well know, George, I was driven to it. I want him to have a happy childhood—also”—she finished a little inconsequently—“I don’t want to lose cook.” She reached for her darning bag as a sign that the discussion was ended.
George taking up his paper, announced, “Cook’s big enough to take care of herself.”
“Size isn’t everything, George. A mosquito can sting a giant.” Margaret dug her darning needle into the heel of a sock. She had mended a large hole very beautifully when she spoke again.
“He does try to please me,” she admitted. “He knows I don’t like him to keep quoting that old man. But it’s become a habit—a dreadful habit. And if he tells me what his gran’faither wad hae said once in a day, he tells me fifty times.” “He’ll get over it,” George said as he turned over the leaves of his paper. “Maybe your idea’s not a bad one. A party might help,” he concluded as Margaret rose, “always supposing the other small guests survive.” Margaret mentioned the matter of the party the next
Margaret mentioned the matter of the party the next day after George had departed for business. The pleased smile that she had hoped would light up Donald’s small face was only noticeable by its absence. “You've never had a party, perhaps. Donald?” she wanted to know.
“Na.” He shook his head emphatically. “It’s no a pairty I'm wanting, Marg’ret,” he said. “It’s a dug.”
“Ay, a dug.”
“And what, pray, is a dug?”
“A dug, wuman? A dug’s a dug o’ course.” Donald’s brown eyes rested on Margaret with something very like compassion. “Dinna tell me ye canna mind whut a dug is," lie said.
Margaret told him sharply, “You are not to call me ‘woman,’ Donald. I’ve told you that before.”
“A’weel—my gran’faither wad always ca’ a wuman, a wuman—whut else?” Donald seated himself on the low stool that was his own particular property. “Whut else?” he repeated.
“It’s not polite,” Margaret said. “And I won’t have it.” “It’s true, Marg’ret. Ye are a wuman. I’m nut saying it’s no a peety. But it’s the truth—an’ the Guid Book says—”
Donald, moving his stool unobtrusively, mentioned: “Ma gran’faither wad quote fra the Guid Book morning, noon an’ nicht—an’ he wis a Mackellen—”
“Oh, heavens!” Margaret clasped nervous hands. “Listen !” she ordered.
“I am listening, Marg’ret—wi’ baith lugs.”
“Don’t use that horrible word, Donald. I’ve told you before I don’t like it.”
“But they are lugs.” Donald gazed at her innocently. “Ma gran’faither wad always say. ‘A wuman that canna mind tae wesh herr lugs wánna mind tae mend herr claes.’ ” “So you have told me.”
Donald under Margaret’s stern gaze became very still. “A’weel,” he said.
“Now, listen, Donald,” Margaret, slightly mollified by his meekness, went on in a softer voice, “It will be your sixth birthday very scon, and I thought it would be nice to ask all the little girls and boys in the neighborhood to come to tea.”
Donald shook his head. “If ye mak’ me hae a pairty,” he said, “I’ll put up wi’ it. But I'll no hae wimmen to’t.” “Little girls, Donald. Nice little girls.” Margaret spoke in a more persuasive tone than she was aware.
“Na.” Donald’s tone became firmer.
“You see. Donald”—Margaret took a deep breath— “some of the little boys who will be coming to your party have sisters. You can’t invite one and not the other.” “Can I no?”
“No.” Margaret, feeling her point was gained, smiled down at him.
“Then we winna hae a pairty. I’d mich raither hae a dug, Margret.“
“Perhaps you’ll tell me what a dug is?” Margaret’s smile had faded.
“A dug’s a dug. Dinna tell me, Marg’ret—” An explosive series of sharp barks interrupted Donald’s explanation. “There’s yin, ootside this verra meenit.”
“A dog!” Comprehension and distaste struggled for mastery in Margaret’s voice.
“I said a dug.” Donald’s patience was inclined to be tried.
“I don’t like dogs, Donald,” Margaret's tone was final. Donald’s small brown hands clasped scratched knees. He explained patiently, “It wad be ma birrthday present, Marg’ret. If ye like ye can hae a pairty when y’er oon birrthday cam’s roond. Ye can ask a’ the wimmen aboot tae cam’ tae tea. George an’ me can gae oot whiles ye clack. But for ma birrthday I wad like a dug.”
Margaret rose and without another word left the room. Donald, watching her depart, added a rider to his speech. “A bluidhoond,” he mentioned.
/^EORGE, coming in that evening, found his wife lying on the couch, a cold compress on her head. Donald, armed with pencil and exercise book, was engaged in drawing a frightful-looking animal—a cross between a dragon and a pig. He opened his mouth as George entered, only to be ordered by the invalid on the couch to shut it again.
George, slightly perturbed by the atmosphere, asked, “Not feeling too fit, Margaret?”
The wife of his bosom told him in sepulchral tones, “My head aches fit to split.”
“What about a cup of tea and an aspirin?” George laid a gentle hand on a head that was certainly very hot. “I’m afraid you are running a temperature,” he said with real concern.
“Yes, and you’d be running a temperature—” Margaret stopped short.
Donald, gazing at George, explained, “Ye ken it’s ma pairty.”
Margaret rose. Her hair was dishevelled. One end of the wet handkerchief flopped over her right eye. She said: “You mention party or dog again today—”
Donald was very quiet till bedtime. At Margaret’s request George escorted him upstairs at the usual hour. He said when the bedroom door had dosed on them both : “Wimmen are awfu’ fulish. Ma gran’faither wad always say, ‘Ye can nae mair drive sense intae a wuman than ye can drive a nail intae water.”
George answered severely, “I’m afraid you’ve been making a nuisance of yourself today upsetting Margaret.” “Ye’r wrang.” Donald removed his kilt. “Ye'r wrang, mon,” he informed George. “We’ve had a bit arg’munt noo an’ then, that’s a’. Marg’ret’s upset herrsel’. I’ve nut upset herr—ye ken she’s awfu’ obs’nate, is the wuman ” George said, as Donald kicked off his shoes, “It’s very good of Margaret to allow you to have a party, and very ungrateful of you to behave like this.”
“Ye see, George—” Donald, not nearly so impressed as his elder hoped he would be by the small lecture, seated himself on the bed. “Ye see, it’s ma birrthday.”
“So you have been telling Margaret, I understand, all day—ad nauseam.”
“Weel, it is ma birrthday.”
“Even if it is your birthday, it doesn’t follow you can have all your own way.” George also seated himself on the bed.
Donald, ignoring the reproof, advised George, “I tauld Marg’ret I’ve chosen my gift. Yon’s it.”
He smoothed out a sheet of crumpled paper. “Ye’d fine weel like a bluidhoond y’ersel’, wad ye no?” he asked. “Look at the beastie.”
George looked, said when he had a little recovered from the awesome spectacle, “Look here, old chap, a bloodhound’s out of the .question—any dog in fact just now. Later on, perhaps.”
It was the disappointment in the brown eyes made him add, “Later, if Margaret’s willing, we’ll maybe get a pup of sorts.”
I^pnald prepared to make his evening petition. His voice rose when he had droned out the short prayer. He said in tones that carried to Margaret, waiting at the foot of the stairs, “Saften the hearrt o’ this wuman an’ let herr gie me a dug.”
Margaret had returned to the couch when George at last went downstairs. He said, “You shouldn’t take the little chap so seriously, Margaret.”
Margaret sat up, a hectic spot on either cheek. “You’ve not been with him all day,” she announced. “I’ve never in all my life been so sick of two words as I am of birthday and dug—all the same,” she finished, “he’s going to have that party.”
She did not, however, mention the matter to Donald for some days after, not, indeed, until she could once more survey that small boy without a rising feeling of exasperation. Donald, having given his word to George, accepted
her dictum, that she would write out invitation cards, with becoming meekness. She showed him the pretty green things that pictured a small girl bowing to a small boy. hopefully. “I’m just going to write an informal little note on each,” she said.
Donald didn’t ask her what she meant. He merely answered in funeral tones. “A’richt.”
Margaret asked, “Do you like the invitation card, Donald?”
“Yon laddie in the corner, he’s no got a kilt on.”
It was an opening. Margaret explained very sweetly. “I’m going to buy you a nice white silk blouse and flannel knickers for the party, Donald. Both your kilts are very shabby. It wall be a nice change.”
She stopped short, genuinely afraid that her adopted son was going to have a fit.
“Ye dinna ken whut ye are saying, wuman.” Donald spoke in short gasps.
Margaret answered, “I know what I am saying, Donald. And I know' what I shall be doing if you speak to me again like that.”
Donald told her in a slightly more reasonable tone, “Ma gran’faither wad always say, ‘A Mackellen wi’oot his kilt is as sair a sicht as a fowl wi’oot ony feathers.’ That’s whut ma gran’faither wad say.”
Donald continued, his voice cracking with indignation, “Hoo are they tae ken I'm a Mackellen o’ the Mackellens if I dinna wear ma colors?”
Ten minutes later, Margaret compromised. He should wear a kilt, but it must be a new kilt.
“Ye’ll mind an’ get the richt tartan, Marg’ret?” the small boy mentioned the next day.
Margaret, who had set her heart on something she termed a little less loud. w:as conveniently deaf. She said very brightly, “Good-by, Donald. Be good now.”
His voice, rising as it did in moments of excitement, followed her outside the door. “Ye’ll mind an’ get the richt tartan.”
She was crossing the road when a car drew up with a
grinding of brakes. Donald, emerging from somewhere underneath, ignored the angry and blasphemous driver. "Ye’ll mind an’ get the richt tartan,” he ordered.
The color rushed back into Margaret’s face in an angry flood. She seized her adopted son and removed him bodily to the pavement. He said when she had released him with a violent shake: “I only wanted tae mind ye—”
TT WAS late when Margaret, in company with George, returned to Willow-Dene that night. Annie, laying the supper, sniffed at intervals. Margaret asked at last, when the signs of hurt feelings could no longer be ignored, “I hope Donald has behaved himself, Annie.”
That good woman answered in a little rush. “I saw him to bed, ma’am, as you told me. But would he let me do a tiling? No! ‘Dinna fash yersel’, wuman.’ That’s all I got. And then, when he’d said some doggerel about Matthew, Mark—he gets up into the pulpit—and insults me!”
“Gets up into the pulpit?” Margaret stared.
“Ilis voice, ma’am. ‘Tak’ peety on this poor critter,” he moans in his outlandish tongue, ‘an’ mind herr tae saut herr parritch. Guid Lard.’ ” Annie, stressing each word, finished with a final sniff.
The door opened before Margaret could reply. Donald, blinking sleepily, announced: “I hearrd ye cam’ in,
Marg’ret. I hope ye minded tae get the richt tartan?” George answered quickly, “She did, Donald. I’ve seen it.”
“Ye micht let me peek?" Donald placed a pleading hand on Margaret’s knee. “By, it’s grrand!” He laid his cheek against the vivid plaid. “It’s grrand! Ye ken it’s fine?” He turned from Margaret to George.
“Pretty gaudy,” George admitted.
“Ma gran’faither went tae a pairty wance.” Donald, not waiting for permission, drew up his stool to the fire. “He wad tell me aboot it winter nichts when the wind wad gae roaring up the chimney way. An’ the snaw wad be fa’ing. It wis a grrand feicht.”
“A what?” Margaret gazed down at him.
“A feicht, wuman—I mean, Marg’ret.”
“I thought you said it was a party, old chap?” George broke in.
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Five Wee Wimmen
— Continued from page 15—Starts on page 14 —
“It starrted wi’ a pairty—but it ended in a feicht. There wis ma gran’faither, a Mackellen o’ the Mackellens. An’ a Macullon o’ the Maculions.”
Margaret murmured, “It’s worse than a nightmare.”
Donald, his eyes very bright in the firelight, continued his recital, “Ma gran’faither he wis a’ o’ ten, he tauld Macullon —‘y’er neb is ower lang’—They’d had their tae, mind.firrst—a grrand tae it wis an’ a’. That’s hoo it starrted. There wis five at the pairty. Three Mackellens an’ twa Maculions. The wuman cam’ in an’ pitched them a’ oot in the snaw—ma gran’faither wad tell it wis a’ bluided as if there’d been a killin.’ ”
“That will do. I’m surprised at your grandfather telling you such a tale.” "Ma gran’faither wis—” Donald stopped short. He spoke next from the open doorway: "Guid nicht, Marg’ret.
Guid nicht, George.” He paused. “Yon mannie doon the road, the yin that ca’ed out when I went by, is he invited tae ma pairty?” he wanted to know.
“Yes, and I hope you’ll be good friends,” Margaret told him. “Roger’s quite a nice little boy really.”
“Is he noo?” A look of dawning satisfaction had come into Donald’s face. He departed without further speech.
George said as the door closed, “I’m afraid he’s thinking of another fight.” “Not really, George?” Margaret’s tone was nearly imploring.
Her husband reassured her with a smile. “I expect he’ll have forgotten all about it by tomorrow,” he said.
But therein, not for the first time, George misjudged his host. Donald’s face when he took his place at the breakfast table simply oozed satisfaction. He
gobbled his porridge in a fashion that both alarmed and annoyed Margaret. She
said sharply, as with a flourish and a bang he replaced his spoon in the dish, “You are never again to throw down your food in that fashion.”
Donald apparently didn’t hear her. He had turned to George. His beaming smile somewhat mystified that good man. He began in a little rush. “Ye ken, George, I never thoct o’ that feicht o’ ma gran’faither’s when Marg’ret wis on aboot a pairty. It wad o’ made a’ the deeference if I had, noo. A’ the deeference in the warld. Dinna ye ken whut a deeference it wad hae made?”
George, choking over a spoonful of egg, answered between one fit of coughing and another, “lam afraid I do not.”
“But mon,” Donald half rose in his agitation. “Ye must see. Yon laddie doon the road—Marg’ret’s invited him tae ma pairty—he’s ahint the hedge ivery time I gae by—an’ laughing—noo can ye ken?”
George kenned only too well. But the clock, striking nine at that moment, saved him from what he felt must, in the nature of things, be a prolonged and trying discussion. He spoke to Margaret over Donald’s head. “I’ll have to be going,” he pointed out. “I’ve got an interview at ten.”
Donald’s voice followed him to the door. “I mind noo,” he said, “ma gran’faither
telling wan New Year’s Eve hoo there wis that mich bluid on the snaw it looked like a pig-sticking.”
“Donald!” Margaret towered above him.
“You are never to mention that fight again.”
“A’weel.” He slipped from his chair.
Half an hour later, strange and unfamiliar sounds took Margaret to the hall. The floor was strewn with broken crockery. Annie, speechless with wrath, still clung to a slanting tray.
Donald began to explain in a little rush. “I wis no tae ken the wuman wad be roon the corrner, Marg’ret. I wis haeing a bit scuffle wi’ yon laddie, Roger—puirly eemag-in-ary, Marg’ret. Puirly ee-maginary—ma gran’faither wad always say, ‘A mon wi’oot eemagination wis like a burrd wi’oot weengs.’ That’s whut ma gran’faither wad say. Ma fistises wis touching yon tray. That’s a’. The wuman has na sense, Marg’ret, na sense at a’.”
Annie, breathing heavily, told her mistress in stentorian tones, “You are nourishing a viper in your bosom, Mrs. Bannock.”
“Och!” Donald found Annie for the first time worth serious consideration. “Och !” he repeated. “If she wis a mon an’ herr lugs wis as sharrp as herr tongue, the wuman wad gae far.”
Margaret informed her husband some days later, “I wish I’d never thought of a party. I’m positively getting panicstricken, George. It’s ridiculous, but I am.”
George said, “I thought he’d stopped talking about the fight?”
“He’s stopped talking." Margaret’s voice was portentous. “He’s stopped talking,” she said, “but his expression, George! And his air—I don’t know whether that new kilt and those buckled shoes I was foolish enough to buy him have turned his brain—but yesterday when we walked dowm the road—it’s absurd, but I really felt as if I w'as out with a whole Scottish regiment. The swing of his kilt! And the angle of his cap ! Really, George !”
George admitted, not without pride, “He’s a cocky little devil.”
“You mustn’t get a dowm on the little chap, Margaret.” George began to unlace a shoe. “He’s a Mackellen o’ the Mackellens.”
“If you start that!” Margaret threatened.
“All right.” George regarded the slipper he had picked up with a reminiscent smile. He mentioned some time after, when he was comfortably settled in an easy chair, “I’ll lay down the law about the party,
Continued on page 37
Continued from page 32
Margaret. There’ll be no fight. I’ll promise you that.” He laid down the law in due course. Donald heard him out. an expression of deep gloom succeeding his former brightness. George concluded, “I shall expect you to behave like a gentleman.”
Donald, having digested this, advised his lecturer, “Ma gran’faither wad always say, ‘When Adam deelved an’ Eve span, who wis then the gentlemon?’ ”
“That has nothing to do with it.” George, already tired of his new role, rose. “I want you to promise me,” he said, “that you’ll behave yourself.”
Donald promised in due course. And with the air of a long-suffering martyr.
TWO DAYS later, as had been arranged between Margaret and various mothers in the neighborhood, five small girls and four small boys were deposited inside the wicket gate leading to Willow-Dene. “They’ll make friends more quickly if they are quite alone,” Margaret had decided.
Donald, very resplendent in his regalia, waited in the sunlit doorway, an erect and grim little figure.
“You go firth, Woger,” a small girl in pink lisped. Roger, grasping a cardboard box, began to advance. He had got within a few yards of his host when he came to a stop. For seconds Donald’s brown eyes held his in a menacing stare. Then the enemy began to back. He turned tail properly at Donald’s triumphant whoop.
Safe at the bottom of the path, four small boys and five small girls discussed the situation. The argument ended abruptly, the four small boys departing for a muddy and forbidden pond in the neighborhood. The five small girls, led by the one with a lisp, once more advanced up the path.
“Five wimmen!” Donald told them as they shyly lined up. “Ma gran’faither wad hae turrned in his grave !”
He remembered his manners then, the manners so carefully implanted by his elders a short while before. “Guid day, Fm glad tae see ye.” he snapped, then added, remembering his grandfather’s. dictum about the truth, “mair or less.”
The little girls giggled in an awe-struck but pleased fashion.
“Ye’ve a paired or twa, I ken.” Donald, coming off his high horse with a bump, gazed inquisitively at the aforesaid gifts. They handed their presents over, each little girl saying dutifully, “A happy birthday, Donald.”
“Thank ye.” He allowed them a patronizing little nod, finished, “Ye can cam’ in.” They followed him down the hall.
“Tak’ y’er bit theengs aff.” He opened a door. They removed their surplus clothing obediently and returned to the hall, fluffy, airy mites in white and pink and yellow. Donald, his kilt swinging in a fashion that would have scandalized Margaret, led the way then to the room prepared for play.
“Sit yerselves doon,” he ordered, and when they had obeyed, proceeded methodically to examine the contents of each parcel, asking when he had finished that pleasing task, “Yon loons that rin awa’, whut did they dae wi’ their paireéis?”
The little girl with the lisp told him: “We bwought them all except Woger’s.” “He’s never ta’en his paired back wi’ him?” Donald placed another mark to that boy’s account.
“Yeth, an’ it wath choc’lates!”
“Hae ye ony notion where the laddie’s gane?” They shook their heads.
Donald, recovering a little, eyed his audience.
“Ye’d mebbe like me tae dance ye the Hie’lan’ fling?” he asked. And, not waiting for a reply, took up his position in the centre of the stage. They joined him presently at his patronizing request.
Margaret, coming into the hall, found a convulsed George peeping through the half-open door. “He’s teaching them to do
the Highland fling.” he told her. “You never saw anything so funny in your life. They're shooting up their legs and yelling lit to kill.”
Margaret, removing her face from close proximity to the aperture, asked, “But where are the boys?”
“Never thought of them.” George wiped streaming eyes. “Don’t go in, Margaret,” he begged, “you’ll spoil everything.” But Margaret wasn’t listening. Donald, emitting a final yelp, brought his leg down to a more respectable level as she began to speak. The five little girls, beaming and dishevelled, explained in concert: “They’ve run away, Mrs. Bannock. They’re frightened of Donald.” The baby with the lisp finished. “We’re not. Welikthhim.”
But Margaret, her face regaining the harassed look it had worn ever since she had proposed a party to her adopted son, had vanished. George said casually, “They'll be all right.” And half closed the door again.
Donald liad already forgotten his elders. “Sit yerrselves doon noo,” he told his exhausted company. “An’ Fll sing tae ye.” He began then to chant the favorite ditty of the old man who hated women. “ ‘Drrrink tae me awnly wi’eeee y’errr e-een, an’ I—ei wull drrrink wi’ mine.’ ” He took a deep breath and carried on several notes lower in the scale: “ ‘Orrr leave a kiss but i-in the cup an’ I wull no ask forrr wine.’ That's a’.”
The small girl in pink wanted to know, “Wath doth ith mean, Donald?”
“I dinna ken, wuman—it’s a grrand song thae. Ma gran’faither wad sing it. Fll dae it forr ye agen. I’ll get ma notes a wee bit heigher this time.”
Annie, acting on her mistress’s order, passed a helpless and exhausted George as she opened the sitting-room door.
“Your tea’s ready,” she announced.
“A’richt, wuman. Cam’on.” Donald led his flock. “Tak’ y’er seats.” he ordered. He lifted his glass when they had obeyed, said in exact imitation of his grandfather, “May - the -auld -year - gang - oo tmoaningtae-see-the-new-cam’-laden-groanin’ — lift y’er glasses noo, lift y’er glasses,” he commanded. “I’ll say it agen and when I finish—Clink!”
They stared at him, their mouths open, their eyes expressive of admiration. 'Hie little girl in pink, finding her voice, asked, “Howth do you clinth, Donald?”
“Clink! Wuman, clink! Like yon.” Donald, anxious to begin on the good things with which the table was indeed groaning, hit his glass violently against that of his neighbor. “Noo!” he ordered.
One broken glass and a considerable mess resulted from the final combined clink. But the small, hilarious party was as oblivious of the damage they had wrought as of the stout, disapproving figure of Annie in the background. George had advised her in a stage whisper only seconds before, “You are not to interfere now. Let the little chap throw his own party.”
They had finished their tea and begun on the Highland fling again when Margaret returned. She said when she had obtained silence, “You ought to have told me, Donald, the other children had gone away again.”
“It wis nae matter,” Donald assured her. Margaret, who had seen four exceedingly muddy and wet boys removed some seconds before from their decidedly unsafe refuge, didn’t agree with him.
Donald, undeterred by the severity of her gaze, asked,“Did ye get the choc’lats?” Margaret told him shortly, “No.”
She added, thinking he’d deserved the punishment, “They’ve eaten them.” “A’weel,” Donald cut his loss.
HTHE party broke up soon after. The T little girl in pink, turning to wave a last adieu, was moved to sudden affection.
“She kist me, Margret!” Donald looked up at his elder. “The wee wuman kist me,” he repeated, added, puffing out his chest, “I must look awfu’ fine.”