Cud Ye Dae Hit, Jeannie?

Author: Lee Reynolds

Date: 1998

Source: Ullans: The Magazine for Ulster-Scots, Nummer 6 Simmer 1998

Crying child

Lee Reynolds

Jeannie lay baak on tha hospittle trolley tryin haird no tae keek at tha spae on tha dure fornest tha fuit o tha bed. Scho haed onie saen hit tha yince bot scho cud a toul ye ilka ward an ilka wee detail.

Fur mair nor echt sennichts Jeannie haed toul naeboadie ava o tha leiventht nicht. Horr bess billie, Esther, wuz guid leevin. Gif Jeannie haed toul horr hauf tha thochts that kepp horr waked at nicht Esther wid hae condemnit horr tae tha diel hissel. Haed ocht changit in tha twa monds o thenkin it aa thoo? Noo, in a wheen o mannits, Jeannie wid hae tae maak up horr mynn yin wye or th’ither.

Thir cud be tha repone til horr prayers, bot in horr ain hairt Jeannie kent hit wuznae richt. Can Ah dae hit? Can Ah dae hit? Scho thocht. Dae whit bot? Let on. Gan aheid. Lettin on tae tha nurse wuz yin thang, tellin iverboadie else, thon wuz scaurie. Wid the aa trow horr or wid the gae efther Sandy?

Scho wuz fuftaen, saxtaen neist mond. Scho cud gan aheid an say scho daednae ken ocht aboot hit. Da widnae ken quhit tha dominies taich iz sae he widnae. Bot wid the trow horr or wid the gae efther Sandy? In horr panic scho lut on naethin wuz wrang. Scho haed cut horr fing’r an no flushit hit doon tha toilet. Tha dirtie luik an “Thon’s mair nor Ah lake tae ken” frae horr faither schawit hit haed daen tha wark.

Horr thochts thrawit fur tha hunnertht time bak til tha leiventht nicht. Jeannie haed bin alloo’d oot late on tha leiventht. Horr faither an brither aye went tae bed airlie fur the haed a loc o darg tae dae afore the cud gae tae tha haw. Jeannie haednae went tae tha Twaltht fur twa yeirs noo. Ye see yin Orange mairch ye hae saen thaim aa wuz tha raison gien. Scho wuz aul eneuch tae be left on horr ain an scho cud keep horr ee on tha hoose.

Sandy haed bin interestit in his sax peck o beer an his billies mair nor Jeannie thon nicht. Scho sut alane starin intil tha fire. Scho owreheerd Sandy moothin. “Share, Jeannie’s a hauf daicent luikin quine an tha wecht aboot horr gies ye mair tae haul on til.” Jeannie wuz gaun tae rise an cam aff Sandy wi a guid clash roon his lugs. Afore scho gawt up ae billie o Sandy’s addit “Ye main slap tha fat an ride tha waves”. The aa laucht. Thon hurt. Naeboadie saen Jeannie stairtin tae greet or saen horr slip awa.

Hame wuz a mile’s waak. Scho suin stapt greetin bot scho deedled hameward. Quhaur he cam oot o scho daednae ken. Scho haednae heerd onie fuitsteps ahinn horr sae he haednae follae’d horr frae tha bonfire. He maun hae bin ahinn a stane wa. Quhaur he hid daednae matther hit wuz quhit he haed. His wye o taalkin wuz local. He wuz strang. Tha dairk o tha nicht meant scho daednae see his fizog. Scho haed felt an heerd him. Feelin an heerin him haed bin eneuch tae pit up wi, no seein him wuz a blessin.

Tha dominie tapt horr shoodher. “I have contacted your father. He should be here within fifteen minutes. Would you like another magazine?” spierit Miss Maguire. “Na thanks Miss Maguire.” “What about the pain, has it subsided?” “Hit’s no sae sair noo.” “‘It is not so sore now.’ I am going outside to wait for your father.” Miss Maguire waakt doon tha pass heidin fur tha dure, sayin fair fa ye tae an aul mon sut in a hurlie-chyre on horr wye.

Stuck up aul nyaff. Correctin ma gremmir in hospittle. Hit’s horr fault A’m here fur Gude’s sake. Scho kens richtlie Ah dinnae lake heichs. Tellin me tae speel thaim thaur bluidie bairs. Ah maun hae fell ten fuit, richt on ma airse forbye. Quhaniver ma faither heers aboot hit he’ll soart horr oot. Thon thocht brocht horr baak til realitie. Ma faither wull be worryin aboot mair nor Miss Maguire.

Jeannie luikt at tha dure. Nae unauthorisit boadies. Danger. Heid yin: wi nae nemm in tha space. Safetie heid yin: nae nemm thaur aither. Scho glowerit at tha wee yella box “Gif ye ir wi bairn ye maun tell tha nurse”.

Tha dure apenit. A wee nurse wi skin as whit as horr uniform stuid in tha durewye. “Jean Campbell” scho speirit smilin. “Aye. A’m Jeannie”. “I have to take three X-Rays of your pelvis just to make sure there is no serious damage. OK?” Jeannie noddit. Wid thie be eneuch tae dae tha job? Shud scho spake noo? Tha nurse heftit that trolley intil tha X-Ray ruim up agin tha machine. Anither yin cam in tha ruim an helpt shift Jeannie on til tha X-Ray bed. Tha nurse centerit tha square licht o tha graith on Jeannie’s hurdies. “I have to get your father to sign a form first. I will be back in a moment.” Jeannie lay luikin at tha ceilin. Can Ah dae hit? Scho thocht. Can Ah dae hit?

Ulster-Scots Pub Names

A few yillshaps (as “alehouses” were known in Moneyreagh in the last century) have recently been given Ulster-Scots names: “The Whiskey Haw” in Newtownards, “The Auld House” in Moneyreagh and the “Lug o’ the Tub” in Clough, County Antrim.



The Ulster-Scots Academy has been an integral part of the Ulster-Scots Language Society since 1993. The name "Ulster-Scots Academy" is registered to the USLS with the Intellectual Property Office.

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