Rough Scan








 
      A NEW-YEAR 
        PARTY
      MY DEAR BAILIE,—We 
        had anither party this year, and, as usual, it had an unfortunate finish, 
        and I really must say I think I’ll hae tae gie them up for a bad job.
      Last Thursday a few freens met in oor
      paurlour, and we sat doon tae tea. We had finnan haddies, cookies, and 
        shortbreid—everything o’ the best. Tea being done, I, as previously instructed, 
        got up and says, "Excuse me, leddies and gentlemen, leeing ye for 
        a meenent while I gi’e Betty a haun tae remove the tea things. Sit still, 
        Mrs Pinkerton, ye’re no in my road the least. Thankye, mem. Tak’ a wee 
        it mair o’ the shortbreid, Mr M’Cunn, afore I tak’ it awa’." And 
        I got up wi’ the tray o’ empty dishes and set aff tae the kitchen alter 
        Betty, wha had the teapot in the tae haun’ and the jug o’ biling .water 
        in the ither. In goin’ oot I felt a wee pit aboot, it wis sae undignified 
        for an elder tae be carrying awa’ a tray fu’ o’ dishes like a bit servant 
        lassie, and it must hae been this feeling that made me rin the edge o’ 
        the tray against the door and knock it doon aboot Betty’s feet.
      As she encoontered the mishap she turned 
        acid cried, "Bless me, Jeems, what are ye shoving at?" As she 
        did sae her foot trippit in the sheepskin door mat and doon she went, 
        and I being close ahint, fell richt ower the tap o’ her!
      The crash o’ broken cheenie was like an 
        earthquake, and the biling water made baith Betty and me roar oot. Ye 
        may weel believe that the catastrophe made everybody jump. Ben they a’ 
        cam’ rinnin’, and up we were lifted wi’ carefu’ hauns. It was a mercy 
        tho’ that it wis nae waur. We were a wee scalded, tae be sure, but, by 
        guid chance, the water wisna vera hot. Betty’s thoom wis cut wi’ the stroop 
        o’ the teapot, and she got her mutch torn, but naething mair happened 
        tae me than the drenching o’ my shirt front wi’ tea.
      Risin’ tae my feet, I surveyed the scene. 
        Mr Pettigrew w~s gathering up the fragments and putting them in his hat, 
        while Mrs M‘Gregor oxtered Betty oot. As a man I wid hae liked tae hae 
        said a few words, but as an elder I forbore, particularly as it was but 
        the beginning o’ the party, so I merely remarked as calmly as I could, 
        "I’m afraid some o’ that fine add cheenie’s gone, particularly that 
        sugar bowl that’s been sae lang in oor family," and then I retired 
        tae wash my face and put on a clean shirt, leaving the visitors tae dear 
        awa’ the damage. In a wee Betty and me had recovered oor usual serenity, 
        and I says—
      "Sit in tae the fire, freens, and 
        hae a bit curran’ bun, and mak’ oorsels happy. Tak’ anither apple, Mr 
        Pinkerton. Did ye ever remark, Mr M’Gregor, what great strides we’re making 
        in advertising? It’s extror’nar. In. my opinion we’re gae’in’ ower the 
        score. The folk in the Trongate are a’ takin’ tae hanging oot a lot o’ 
        dirty auld flags frae the tap windows, and really as ye look alang ye 
        wid think that the street wis ta’en up for the time being wi’ a lot o’ 
        penny shows. My certie, if ye’re rinning tae catch a train it’s no possible 
        tae see a clock for them; it’s hardly decent like, I say. Then there’s 
        a’ sorts o’ machines noo, going up one street and doon anither, covered 
        a’ ower wi’ bills, some drawn by a cuddie and some by horses, while a 
        regiment o’ sort o’ militiamen walk on the pavement haunin’ oot bills. 
        Then there’s yon man on the horse wi’ the coat o’ mail and it polished 
        up by somebody’s blacknin’, and a’ the rest behin’ wi’ the helmets shining. 
        And I saw a new dodge the ither day; nae less than six elephants paraudin’ 
        thro’ the street, ane extror’nar big yin. It was the day o’ the awfu’ 
        sleet, and I pitied the puir things; natives o’ a warm country are they
      na, Mr Pinkerton? The West Indies or Jamaica, or someway there awa’, and 
        them waudin’ thro’ the sleet and rain o’ Glesca. But I jalouse, frae what 
        I saw, that their skin’s gey-an-thick. Hooever, it wis a sma’ grain o’ 
        satisfaction tae think that I had seen the elephants without paying my 
        sixpence tae get intae the circus. There’s aye something tae be thankfu’ 
        for, ye see. Tak’ a bit curran’ bun, Mr Lamout. Ye’re unco dull the
      nicht; 
        time haena’ ‘boycotted’ ye, hiv thae?"
      Puir Mr La,mont wis sitting back frae 
        the fire, looking unco glum, and he says, "No, but I hae the toothache, 
        and ye maun excuse me if I don’t tak’ ony interest in elephants at this
      meenent."
      "Deed, aye," says Mrs Lamont, 
        "puir John has been unco ill wi’t this while back. I’m sure he hisna 
        booed an e’e for maist a week."
      "Man," says I, "that’s 
        bad. Ye maunna tak’ ony curran’ bun, or shortbreid, or sweeties, or onything 
        like that; but I’m thinking a gless or twa o’ strong toddy’ll dae ye guid; 
        I’ll mak ye up a double strong yin. But ye hae some skill o’ teeth, Mr 
        M‘Cunn?"
      "A little, vera little," says 
        Mr M’Cunn.
      "Ye micht manage tae gie Mr Lament 
        advice gratis, or pu’t’ oot maybe! Come ower here and tak’ a look, for 
        it’s an awfu’ thing that the harmony o’ the evening—and it’s jist beginning—should 
        be spoiled by yin o’ the guests haeing the toothache."
      We a’ stood up, and Mr M’Cunn made an 
        examination, and then he says, "It’s gey-an’-bad—faur decayed—and 
        it wid be better cot—and bein’ a wee shoogly I think I micht manage’t 
        if I had a pair o’ pliers."
      "Pliers," says I; "I hae 
        twa-three pair, and ye’ll get the len’ of the best pair I hae for Mr Lamont’s 
        sake. Mr Lamont, I ask ye, in presence o’ a’ thae witnesses, will ye alloo 
        Mr M’Cunn tae act tae the best o’ his judgment in the matter?"
      Mr Lamont, wi’ a tear in his e’e, said 
        he wid, and I got the pliers, and Mr M’Cunn put him doon on the floor, 
        and made him open his mouth, and afore ye cood say "Jeck Robinson," 
        the tooth wis oot. "Man," I says, "that wis gran’; ye baith 
        need a gless tae steady yer nerves; " and while I wis getting it 
        Mrs Lamont says tae Mr M’Cunn—
      "Jist feel if there’s no anither 
        ane. Sit still, John, it’s a’ the one job."
      Mr M’Cunn declared he thocht there wis
      anither, and he set tae. But this wis mair difficult. It wisna shoogly, 
        Mr M’Cunn said; and he had tae get Mr Lamont’s heid between his legs and 
        draw like onything. He drew him three times aff the floor, and Mr Pinkerton 
        and me had tae hand him back.
      "Michty me," Mr Lamont says, 
        "ye’ll hae my jaw broken; this is awfu’." But we held him, and 
        Mr M’Cunn, wha’s a determined, crabbit auld body, drew awa’, and wi’ ane 
        or twa guid shakes, first tae the tae side, and then tae the tither, and 
        a screw roon, he drew it oot.
      Mr Lament, puir man, wis for risin’, thinking 
        he had got enough o’t; but his wife says—
      "Man, Mr M’Cunn, yen haun’s getting 
        in fine! I’m sure there’s anither,yet—he’s suffered sae much—jist tak’ 
        anither look and see!"
      I says, "Mr Lamont, if there’s
      anither, 
        oot wi’t, and begin the New Year afresh—better an empty hoose than an 
        ill tenant—thole awee—it’s for yer ain guid—it goes tae my heart tae see 
        ye sufferin’, but we’ve a’ oor trials; open yer mouth!"
      Mr Lamont, being a peaceable body, opened 
        his mouth, and Mr M’Cunn got a haud o’ anither tooth and drew awa’ at 
        it, while Mr Lamont roared oot. On thinking ower’t noo, I believe Mr M’Cunn 
        had got nervous a wee, or had ta’en ower muckle toddy. He tried first 
        ae tooth, and then anither, gieing each a draw turn aboot, and pulling 
        awa’ like a sailor at a rope, and consoling Mr Lamont wi’ "Bear a 
        wee, Mr Lamont—noo I hae’t—anither pull and it’s awa’ for certain; "an’ 
        a’ the time we held on by Mr Lament. It wis kittle work yon, but at last 
        it got bye tholing. Mr Lamont’s quiet spirit wis roused, and he made a 
        determined jump up, caa’in’ Mr Pinkerton and me ower a chair, an’ strikin’ 
        at Mr M’Cunn, who clammered on tae the dresser. Mr Lamont next grippit 
        him by the legs and drew him doon, bit the ither yin gied him a rap ower 
        the pow wi’ the teeth o’ the pliers. Dod, I thocht his heid was split; 
        and so the twa at it. They flew intae grips. Mr M’Cunn hisna much hair 
        on his heid, but what he had Mr Lamont got a haud o’ and held on, and 
        the two rocked back and forrit, dinging ower the table, and upsetting 
        the whusky bottle and the jeelie ower Mrs Pettigrew’s best goon; till 
        at last they landed in the coal bakie, where they continued tae batter 
        awa’ at ane anither, and a’ this time the ladies were squealing like mad.
      Mr M’Faurlan, being vera bald, wears a 
        wig, and it had got drawn aff in the fecht and wia kicking aboot the floor, 
        whaur Mr Pettigrew, searching for something tae wipe the jeelie aff his 
        wife’s goon, gat a haud o’t, and withoot tbinkin’ began wi’ it. Mrs M’Faurlan, 
        seeing this, cam’ ower him wi the spurtle which she had lifted tee defend 
        hersel’, and for a wee the fecht was really like tae become serious.
      Hooever, Mr Pinkerton and me got a haud 
        o’ the principals and separated them ane by ane, and while he conveyed 
        Mr Lamont ben tae the paurlour, I took Mr M’Cunn ower tae the jawbox, 
        and put the key o’ the ootside door doon his back tae stop the bleeding 
        at his nose. But, a’ the same, oor pairty was finished.
      Of course there could be nae harmony after 
        that stramash. The one haulf o’ us sat in the kitchen, whaur Mr M’Cunn, 
        wi’ the pliers in his haun, wis the centre o’ a group; the ither haulf 
        sat in the paurlour roon Mr Lamont, wha had a stocking rowed aboot his
      heid. It was, as the Scripture says, "a hoose divided," and 
        the natural result wis a breaking up.
      Gi’eing each o’ the kitchen folk a gless 
        o’ toddy and a bit curran’ bun, big or sma’, jist as it could be gaithered 
        up after the fecht, we got them awa’; and then we gied the paurlour folk 
        a gless o’ toddy and a bit o’ shortbreid, and got them oot, and then wi’ 
        a sair heart Betty and me gaithered up the fragments, and, putting them 
        carefully intae the bakie, we screwed oot the gas and went tae bed.