Uncle Tom


"NOO that the New Year's comin' on, and whan everybody begins to think in a kindly wey aboot his auld freens, what wid ye think if we had a pairty?" said Mrs Goudie to her gudeman, as he settled down, in his easy-chair, to his pipe and his evening paper.

"No' a had idea, Janet-in fac' it's a gude idea, an' we micht as weel spend some o' the extra siller that's come to us frae Uncle Sandy's legacy. It taks a wheen o' pairties to eat up seeven pounds an' nine shillins o' hard cash. And wha wid ye like tae ask?"

"Aweel," said Mrs Goudie, "noo that we're agreed aboot things-and that disnae happen sae often as, to ma mind, it should dae-there's the Beekies, and we've been noo an then at their hoose, and we're kinna obleeged to them in a mainner. Then there's the Smeddums, and although they're gettin' up in the worl' it seems to me that ye can get warm herts in three-room-an'-kitchen hooses jist as weel's in single kitchens wi' twa built-in beds. An' there's the Blanes, and very ceevil folk they are although they've got a guid-gaun bit business in their shope. But folk that's hard workin' and thrifty should be encouraged although they may have a pickle hauf-croons in a stockin'-fit. And we neednae forget Mister an' Mistress Tawpie; they're maybe kinna nerra and contractit aboot things, and whiles a bit pernickety. Some folk says they're prood, but they're no' dooble; and everybody's prood if it comes tae that, and if a man's no' broad he cannae weel help bein' nerra. And everybody roon aboot kens," continued Mrs Goudie, "that the Tawpies is very genteel and has jist flittet into a bigger hoose-a hoose wi' an oarlie winda. The Tawpies has a heap o' relations that has a gude richt to think themselves nae sma' drink. They say that Mrs Tawpie is a great-gran-dochter, on the mother's side, o' the captain o' one o' the ships that used to sail on the Port Dundas Canawl. But the Tawpies is no purse-prood, an' we'll ask them tae the pairty for their pleesant compny an' no' for whit they micht hiv in their poakets.

"There's twa-three mair we micht hae askit, but the table's no' very big and they can lie ower, and it's aye cautiouser to creep afore ye gang, aye keepin' in mind that legacies gang dune jist like ither folk. Besides, it'S better to hae things kinna genteel rayther than crood oot the hoose wi' a wheen o' the riff-raff."

"And hoo dae ye propose to entertain them," queried Goudie, "whan Natur, an' every ither body, micht hae intendit that they should keep sinry?"

"The main thing," explained Mrs Goudie, "is to be the tea. I was jist readin' in a newspaper that the richt way-in fac' the only way, so the paper said-tae reach a man's hert, or a wuman's ayther for that maitter, is through a guid bite o' meat, weeshin' doon wi' twa-three cups o' tea. And if a man's weel-fed he's maistly weel pleased wi' himself an' everybody else, and that's whit's wantit at a pairty."

"Ye're a wice wuman, Janet; it wis shairly a lucky day for me whan me and you got to be acquant. Maybe you could ask Jamie Lang, that stays roon in the Back Causey. They say that he can play on baith the fiddle and the concerteena although he maks nae great shape wi' the bagpipes, and we a' ken that next tae a touzie tea there's naething like maesic tae soothe a savage beast or brek the ice at a pairty."

"You're no' jist to mak fun o' folk," retorted Mrs Goudie. "I wisna thinkin' o' askin' ony savage beast to the pairty, and besides, it's no' a wheen o' havers I'm gaun to listen tae, so I'm no, so I'm no, and if ye canna talk sense whiles, it's a peety o' ye. Bit whit I was gaun to say wis that the tea's to be the main thing, and efter the tea we can ask Mrs Tawpie to sing-whit's this it is she maistly sings?-oh aye, The Sang that reached ma Hert."

"Through the teapot-stroop nae doot," interrupted Goudie.

Taking no notice of her gudeman's frivolity Mrs Goudie proceeded: "And Jamie Lang wid maybe play the companyment."

"That wid be the verra thing, especially efter a touzie-tea, for whan folk's hauf stipit wi' too much ablow their waistcoats they can listen wi' a fu' hert tae onything."