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The Gift

‘My brother has taken leave of his senses.’

Betty’s husband, Archibald Peterson, raised his eyes from the letter he was reading aloud. ‘I haven’t finished yet, my dear.’ His wire-rimmed spectacles slipped down over the hook of his nose. ‘There’s more.’

His wife threw down her sewing. ‘I don’t care to hear any more.’ She pulled a lace handkerchief from the neck of her gown and dabbed her forehead. ‘William’s mind has cracked. A black girl, indeed!’

Archibald read the rest of the letter in silence while Betty paced the floor, fanning herself with the little piece of lace.

She paused at the window.

Below a man was whipping his horse, which snickered and stamped on the cobbles. It was a cold, cold day in January but Trongate, the busiest thoroughfare in Glasgow, throbbed with activity. Merchants haggled on the broad pavement, their breath clouding in the freezing air; an incompetent juggler performed with little chance of reward from his jeering audience, and a few ladies of doubtful character shivered on the corner. There was even a recruiting sergeant, lurking against the wall of the church, ready to pounce on any unsuspecting lad who came too close. A couple of dragoons fell out of the inn and staggered towards the women.

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About iScot Magazine

November Edition 2016 issue Number 23 The one with Nicola and Saltire 2020 Vision A bumper 116 pages choc full of the best of Scottish writers today. Robbie Dinwoodie - Ben Thomson - The Legacy Alyn Smith MEP - A conference update - Focused David Bowman Interview - Les Huckfield - ex Labour MP "It's Labour for me... but not in Scotland" David James Hood - A perfect storm Jason Michael Mc Cann - The Alex Salmond Interview Will McLeod - How disasters look good ...on paper Wee Ginger Dug - They're all so pretty vacant Derek Bateman - Doing Middle Class Tom Morton - Sticky Aberdeen - the New Birmingham? Dr Steve McCabe - Fit to Lead? Tom Morton - Scotch and Spirit Jennifer Harper Feature - Simon Community Scotland Mary Edward - Short Story - The Gift Grouse Beater - Investigating Gorbal's boy Alan Pinkerton PI Rachel Gillon - Food for thought Zoe Weir - Glasgow Tobacco Barons Peter A Bell - Forget Darien, this is the bigee - The Madness of Men David McVey - Short Story - A Nation Decides Major Bloodnok - Agony Aunt - He knows, you know