[Fae some lowse sheets fund blawin aboot the East Sands, St Andraes, Scotland,
isna ane o the raisidents: fae Hamilton Haa wis burnt ther’s been mair a mixtur
o gender in the tradítional haas wi the lassies wis displaced bi the fire,
sae the vísitâtion rules isna as sair lippent til as thay wis in my brither’s
“My name’s Ísabel,” she steppit intae the chaumer, her lang black heid an lowse,
draiglety silks blawin oot ahint her wi the sheer eidency o her gait.
Her skin wis white, white an translucent: blue veins coud be seen in her
breest, an a reid flush in her cheeks. She wis weerin a basque in black lace
ower a white chemise, an a white cotton petticoat abuin a black skirt. She’d
a reid shawl or pico tied lowse aboot her middle, the pynt o’d hingin doun
on her carrie side. Black fingerless lang-sleeved gloves, a black choker an
a wee white reddicle wi a reid fleur-de-lys pattern hingin fae her airm pat
a auld-warld, nichts o wine, dine an dance ablo caunlelit chandeliers leuk
tae her, an yit the pico gart her leuk gey paisant-like. I did think she made
a fair job o the petticoat punk, like thay’v been caain this kin o thing lately,
apairt fae her shuin, that wis juist cork-soled sandals laced up the Roman
wey. The only question wis what she wis vísitin on me for?
“My aicademic dochter wis wantin me tae spier gin ye’d be her faither,”
she made her excuise the time she sat on the bed an set her skirts in order.
“Ay, what’s her name?”
She keekit at me wi her muckle blank een, like the question haed her ficklt.
“Suphy,” qo she at last, “Suphy, I dout. She daes biochemistry.”
“What wey can a bejantine dae biochemistry?” I wisna shuir, but I didna
think the biochemistry wad been for daein as a first-year subjeck, ye’d first
hae tae dae the chemistry an biology, an syne biochemistry in later years,
an bi tradítion it’s juist first year students gaes seekin aicademic pârents.
But this wis aa deduction for its ain sake: Raisin Sunday wis lang by, it wis
faur ower late tae adopt aicademic bairns. I teuk it this lassie wis nae guid
at tellin lees.
“Oh, a sceptic,” the colour intae her cheeks skailled bonny ower her white
face whan she leuch, syne it drained awa.