Uncle Tom


"I canna help lookin' at yer fine picturs, Mistress Goudie. Whit's that yin wi' the wee lassie sayin' her lesson tae her auld grannie that's haudin' the book wi' her specs on? An' whit a braw frame, a rale gold frame that's roond it. That wid coast a nice penny I'm thinkin'," says Mrs Beekie.

"Oh, that's wan o' Tom McEwan's internals. Tom McEwan wis a great artist, so they say. And noo everybody's rinnin' efter his internals. They're greatly thocht o'," says Mistress Goudie, "but I wis lucky to get mine for a shillin' ticket at a draw. Me and John's verra fond o' picturs. Ye see, auld Uncle Sandy that left us the legacy wis an auld bachelor that took tae pentin' tae keep hissel' oot o' mischief. It's maybe through him that pent kinna rins in the bluid, as they say. My! but he wis maist awfu' parteekler aboot pentin' jist true tae natur'. That's wan o' his best on the faur side frae the Tom McEwan."

"Bit whit's thae wee spoats in the sky?" says Mistress Smeddum. "Is that a crood o' sparras that's been frichtet awa by some tawtie-bogle?"

"Oh, no," says Mistress Goudie. "They's the midges that Uncle Sandy pentit jist true tae life, as he saw them on a simmer's efternin' in a glen doon at the Lairgs. He wis a winderfu' man an' never pentit withoot listenin' tae advice frae the weemen-folk. He was rale sensible for a man. So, wan fine bricht moonlicht nicht, he says to his hoosekeeper: 'Whit size, Betty, dae ye think the moon should be in a pictur?' 'The size o' the moon,' says Betty Smirkie, his auld hoosekeeper, 'should jist be the size o' a big dennerplate.' 'Fegs! but I think ye're richt,' says Uncle Sandy. 'An' it's queer that I never thocht o' that.' So there's his feenished pictur wi' the moon, an' the auld brig an' the watter rinnin' below quite naetral; only Uncle Sandy had tae cut doon the moon tae get in the brig an' the watter an' the trees, jist as ye see it noo. It's a verra fine pictur, an' they say that there's naething like it in ony o' the big exiebeeshuns. But I've been speakin' ower muckle, an' no' mindin' the freens roon' the table."