‘Ay, but I’m a strong teetotaller,’ he said pugnaciously. #39Steps

by Jim Morgan

As we moved away from that station my companion woke up. He fixed me with a wandering glance, kicked his dog viciously, and inquired where he was. Clearly he was very drunk.

‘That’s what comes o’ bein’ a teetotaller,’ he observed in bitter regret.

I expressed my surprise that in him I should have met a blue-ribbon stalwart.

‘Ay, but I’m a strong teetotaller,’ he said pugnaciously. ‘I took the pledge last Martinmas, and I havena touched a drop o’ whisky sinsyne. Not even at Hogmanay, though I was sair temptit.’

He swung his heels up on the seat, and burrowed a frowsy head into the cushions.

‘And that’s a’ I get,’ he moaned. ‘A heid better than hell fire, and twae een lookin’ different ways for the Sabbath.’

‘What did it?’ I asked.

‘A drink they ca’ brandy. Bein’ a teetotaller I keepit off the whisky, but I was nip-nippin’ a’ day at this brandy, and I doubt I’ll no be weel for a fortnicht.’ His voice died away into a splutter, and sleep once more laid its heavy hand on him.

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