Life is no happy in Raissa. Fowk wring their hauns as they trail aroond the streets, wish wae upon the greetin bairns, hing ower the river’s ravels wi their brous upon their nieves. In the wee oors ye wauk fae yin ill dwaum an anither begins. At benches whaur, ilka meenit, ye’re sneeshin yer fingirs wi a haimer or jaggin yersel wi a needle, or ower columns o figurs that rin agley doon the beuks o merchands an bankers, or ahint the tuim glesses on the zinc coonter o the howff, ye thank heiven for the boued heids that hide fae ye their dour coupons. Inby the hooses it is waur, an ye dinnae hiv tae gang in tae ken it: in the simmer windaes dingle wi the bickers an brueken dishes.
Aye an on, ilka meenit in Raissa there is a bairn that lauchs fae a windae at a dug that’s lowped ontae a shed tae hanch a daud o polenta drapped bi a mason wha’s yollert fae the tap o the scaffoldin, “Hen, gie’s a wee douk!” tae a maiden that heezes up a ragout dish aneath the pergola, happy tae bring it tae the umberellae-salesman wha celebrates a cantie wee deal, a white lace parasol bocht bi a great lady tae shaw at the races whaur she is in luve wi an officer wha smiled at her in jumpin the last hedge, happy he but happier still his horse, fleein ower obstacles, seein a francolin flichterin in the sky, happy bird freed fae the cage bi the penter happy tae hae pented it feather for feather reid an yellae in the illustration on that page o the beuk whaur the philosopher says: “Forby in Raissa, yon dulesome city, rins an invisible thread linkin yin livin bein tae anither for a maument afore it unraivels an is streetched again, shiftin atween muivin pynts in its breelin new paiterns, sae that at every seicont the unhappy city conteens a happy city that kensna its ain existence.”