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she was not greatly taken with Shakespeare, when the recollection of Mr Soutar's outrageous remark stopped her.

Miss Jameson had told no one of that experience of hers at the time of the Election lest it should get round to the ears of her brother. She was ashamed now of having been beguiled into attending a Socialist meeting. She would never have thought of such a thing, had it not been for the tales Lizzie told her in the kitchen about Mr Soutar's eloquence and his daring denunciations.

"Could ye no get hearin' him a wee whilie, when he comes on Friday, juist frae the back where folk wadna see ye?"

Such had been the suggestion that caused Miss Jameson to fall.

It was at the Socialist's meeting, then, when he was urging the need of educating the workers, that he made the remark which had affronted Miss Jameson.

"As for the so-called educated classes," he demanded, and his fierce eye seemed to seek out Miss Jameson, where she sat in the corner by the door, and challenge her, "for what does their boasted culture fit them? For mere moneygrabbing," and here he brought his fist down on the table. "To offer those people the beauties of Shakespeare is to cast your pearls before swine!


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An awful common way of speaking," was Miss Jameson's first thought when she recovered from the violence of

the attack-for she was positive it was directed against her and all her friends. "And fair impudence from a man like him-a plumber to trade."

The insult had lain locked up in the recesses of Miss Jameson's brain for two months, but now the mention of Shakespeare's name brought Mr Soutar's words back in all their offensiveness. Here and now was her opportunity to refute the charge and give the man the lie direct.

"Ay, indeed! A fine change -entertaining, and yet improving-like." Miss Jameson spoke with such fervour that her companion was quite taken aback. She had looked for assent but not enthusiasm. "And you'll be going yourself likely, Janet?"

"Well, I'd hardly got that length.' Mrs Downie felt that she was being unaccountably rushed and she resented this. But an inspiration came to her. "Maybe we should set the example. I doubt Peden Knowe folk'll no turn out for Shakespeare in a hurry. It's just music-hall stuff they're after. I'm not caring about going by myself to the Hall on Saturday, but you take a ticket, Euphemia, and come along with me. The two of us 'll be fine company."

Again, to Mrs Downie's astonishment, the invitation was accepted with alacrity, and it was there and then arranged that Mrs Downie should take the tickets and call for Miss Jameson at seven o'clock on the following Saturday night.


See and not forget now, Euphemia," was Mrs Downie's final word of caution from the Post Office door.

Mrs Downie examined the tickets rather dubiously when she got home. Four shillings for two tickets was a lot of money. It might be very improving, as Euphemia had said, but.. . her thoughts went back to that tense moment in 'Blood will Tell,' when the gambling Marquis stepped on to the terrace at Monte Carlo, in his perfectlyfitting dress clothes, revolver in hand. . . . She put the recollection resolutely from her. Shakespeare was bound to be more of a toss-up, of course, but it ought to be very enjoyable. 'Twelfth Night' That wasn't one that she remembered James mentioning. 'Hamlet' and 'Julius Cæsar' -those names came back to her without difficulty, but 'Twelfth Night'? . . . If only James were at hand to take a run through of the play with her! It would be an affront to his memory if Euphemia found out that she, Janet Downie, married thirty-two years to a man of literary tastes like Mr Downie, had no notion what 'Twelfth Night' was about.

Suddenly an inspiration came to her. Mrs Downie's brain worked normally at a deliberate pace, but with spurts of intuition at times of emergency.

She opened the parlour door, and called across the lobby to her little maid in the kitchen.

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overshoes and take my umbrella with the crook-no the ivory one, and run down to Mistress Anderson's, above the baker, and ask her if she'd kindly give me the loan of the Shakespeare that her Archie got from Mr Downie when he left the school. She'll have likely put it past, but she'll be able to lay hands on it. And see and keep it from the rain, mind."

Ten minutes later Jeanie's rubicund face, with an added polish from wind and rain, inserted itself round the door.

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'Mistress Anderson's real vexed, mem; but twa meenutes afore I got up the stair, Miss Jameson was in askin' for the loan of the Shakespeare ye was aifter, and she's got the loan o't till Sa'urday furst."

This was disturbing news. It showed that Euphemia was taking the prospect of 'Twelfth Night' seriously, and there was every likelihood of Mrs Downie experiencing an affront if she did not take measures to protect herself.

It was too late to do anything more that night, but for fully an hour after Mrs Downie had blown out the light she lay awake, reviewing in turn all her Peden Knowe acquaintances who might possess Shakespeare's works complete.

There was Mrs Moffat, of course, wife of James's successor at the Schoolhouse. She would be sure to have a Shakespeare-with all her talk about Culture, though it was only Art Needlework she taught before she married. But Mrs

Downie had no intention of applying there, to have it all through Peden Knowe next day that "Janet Downie was up at Mrs Moffat's seeking the loan of a Shakespeare to see what it was he had written." No! It was not Mrs Moffat who should have the satisfaction of affronting her, whoever else it might be !

In the early morning, the never-failing jet of inspiration played right on to the solution of the problem.

She was going into Glasgow that day to consult her dentist. She would buy a school edition of 'Twelfth Night,' cloth-covered, inexpensive, with helpful notes at the end, the kind that James always used in class.

The inspiration materialised in a highly satisfactory purchase, and that same evening saw Mrs Downie, still in her black vegetable silk jumper and town skirt but in easy slippers and gold-rimmed glasses, wrestling with Twelfth Night.'

Jeanie, in the kitchen, was quite concerned about her mistress, and confided her anxiety to Miss Jameson's maid, Lizzie, when the latter took a run up to see her after supper.

"I dinna ken what's taen the auld body. She's aye girnin' at me for no bringing her the 'Citizen' that we get wi' Geordie aff the seven train. Gin I tak a wee blink at it mysel', she's cryin' on me to ken what way it's no there. And here, the nicht, she's sittin' haudin' a wee schule-buke in her haund, and when I gang ben wi' the paper―

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Certain it is that when the clock struck ten and Mrs Downie placed a piece of wool at the close of Act I., Scene 5, she was suffering from severe indigestion of a mental order.

Those foreign names were most confusing and upsetting. Orsino, Antonio, Malvolio, Valentine, and Viola - she would never remember which was which. And then, those other people with the daftlike names that she could remember-Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek,—their talk and behaviour were very far from what one would have expected of Knights or Baronets (Shakespeare had not specified their exact rank). The foreword to the book said that this edition of Shakespeare's plays had been most carefully edited for the use of schools. If so, what must the talk of those two shameless men have been like before? She was surprised-she must admit it with all due respect to James's taste that Shakespeare should have allowed himself to write the way he had. And all the people in the book, even the ladies, were one as bad as another with their dressings-up and suchlike carryings - on.

There was little enough sense the doctor's doorstep at seven and still less shame about them all.

As Mrs Downie put the book away in the press, she thought of Euphemia likewise struggling in the morass of Shakespeare's comedy, and wondered what kind of a job she would be making of it.

The following night, just as Jeanie had sat herself down to finish the absorbing breach of promise case that had caught her eye in yesterday's 'Citizen,' a hand suddenly reached past her shoulder from behind and took the paper from her.

"Guid sakes alive, mem! Whit a fricht ye gie'd me! I thocht ye'd be at yir Shakespeare readin' and no wantin' to be disturbed."

"I have finished the book," was the grim reply, "and I'll thank you for the paper." And with that Mrs Downie retired with dignity to the parlour and shut the door.

"I doot the auld ane's beat," was Jeanie's terse comment on the situation, and she was not far wrong.

After half an hour's struggle beyond the wool-mark, Mrs Downie had settled to leave 'Twelfth Night' at the end of Act III., and trust to Euphemia having given in long ago. No doubt when they saw the play acted it would be easier to follow.

Saturday evening came round in a drizzle of rain, but it found the undefeated Mrs Downie, encased in waterproof and overshoes, and holding aloft holding aloft the ivory-handled umbrella, on


Punctual as she was, Lizzie was evidently on the look-out for her, for the door opened before Mrs Downie had touched the bell. The girl was evidently labouring under suppressed excitement, and her face was wreathed in smiles.

"Miss Jameson's expecting ye, mem, and she says will ye step upstairs juist for a meenute?"

Then, as she saw Mrs Downie's gesture of refusal, she added confidentially

"Miss Macnab (yon's her cousin) has brocht her 'fee-onsay' oot frae Glasgie. Ye'll likely have heard" (she was now divesting Mrs Downie's unresisting form of her mackintosh) "that Miss Macnab's to be married on a brither o' Mistress Morrison's at the hotel. M'Kechnie, they ca' him. He's in the motor line, and yon's his caur at the gate, and they're tellin' me he has a hoose wi' braw policies oot Duntocher way."

Mrs Downie's impressions of Miss Macnab's fiancé cannot be given here. Mr M'Kechnie's part in this narrative is merely to provide an explanation for the fact that the two Shakespeare enthusiasts arrived at the door of the Public Hall fully a quarter of an hour after the play had begun.

They were received with frank disapproval by the old doorkeeper.

"Tits! Ladies! What's come ower ye, bidin' at hame till the clavers is near at an


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end? The lichts are oot, sae ye maun juist creep awa to yir seats on the left-haund side, and watch the step noo." The clavers were indeed at their height, and on a very boisterous note. The quips and extravagant jesting on the stage were drowned by the stamping of feet and laughter from the back of the hall. It seemed hopeless to the two breathless and bewildered latecomers to attempt to get an inkling of what was afoot. It was therefore with relief that after ten minutes of uproar the curtain came down and made an end of the rioting. "That was soon past," sighed Miss Jameson when quiet was restored. And I didn't seem to have time to take it in. But we'll likely catch up with the story when it starts again." Mrs Downie was busy taking stock of the audience.


"I knew fine by the row," she said, with a commiserating look over her shoulder, "whatna kind of a crowd we had at our backs. It's what I feared. There's not a dozen two-shilling folk here, Euphemia. Just the Moffats, Mr Anderson, and the teacher from the Rawns. A fair disgrace. The weather'll get the blame, I'm thinking, but it's not the weather that's keeping those back that should know better."

"The back seats are full," suggested Miss Jameson.

"Aye! With the halflin's and girls you'll get at any show in Peden Knowe. They're out to have a laugh, but they'll never catch on to a play of

this kind. this kind. They're not used with Shakespeare."

Miss Jameson here thought it best to plead guilty herself to the latter indictment, and confessed that she had made an effort to remedy her ignorance by borrowing Mrs Anderson's copy of the poet's works.


But I didn't seem to make much of the book some way,” she added humbly.

Mrs Downie met Euphemia's confession with an equally handsome avowal.

"I don't mind letting on to you that I took a run through of the play myself a while back, to put me in mind of it again. I see they're selling programmes at the door, but there's no use in wasting sixpence when the names 'll not help you. You're not needing to heed the crowd we saw at their capers just now-loonies, the lot of them. What you've to watch for is the Countess ; what's this they call her? Well, I can't mind. But it's the Duke she's after-Orsino. And there's a girl dressed up as a page carrying on with the Duke. They're putting out the lights. Watch now, and you'll see the rest for yourself."

As a matter of fact, the raising of the curtain revealed a stage so dimly lit that it was hard to distinguish human figures from tree trunks, of which there seemed to be several near the wings. The darkness, however, seemed to bring Mrs Downie satisfaction.

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"This'll be the way it's called 'Twelfth Night,' "she

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