Document 987

A Picturesque Character

Author(s): Prof Christian Kay

Copyright holder(s): Prof Christian Kay


Christian Kay, IIa
A Picturesque Character

Miss Gracie Paterson may be described as a 'lady help.' She resides in a tiny house above the Fish Inn in Trawler Square, Newhaven. A dusty, brass-potted aspidistra, partially shrouded by lace curtains of intricate design, graces her front window. I have never actually been inside her house, but from the many voluble descriptions it seems to be a palace of many curiosities and much furniture.

She herself is small and wiry with iron-grey hair scraped back into a knot, a prominent nose and sharp grey eyes which absorb every detail. Miss Pat as she was nicknamed many years ago has numerous relatives, indeed, everybody in Newhaven seems to be related to everybody else for in every tram she sees somebody that she knows and one has just to mention an aquaintance to be drenched with their exact position as regards Miss Paterson and with all their vices, and virtues - if any.

Miss Paterson is interested in singing and is an eminent member of the Fisher-Lassies choir. Attired in her voluminous striped petticoats, her vocal ability enables her to visit many parts of the country and she always returns knowing much about the inhabitants and the social life but little about the scenery. Miss Pat's voice is her fortune for she is rarely silent, but perhaps this is due to living alone. An ardent admirer of Jimmy Logan whom she considers 'comical' Gracie herself appears to be the local comedienne.

She has a great aversion to hurrying and does her work in a leisurely fashion. Although employed for a morning she arrives for coffee at ten-thirty, lunches at three and departs after a 'fly cup' at five thirty. Her real passion is brass and she would polish industriously anything from a guide badge to a brass fender. She is also passionately interested in humanity. Her standards of judging people are very high for if one does not possess a fur coat one is not held very high in her estimation. A certain species of pan drop appeals strongly to her and these she procures from a friend who is proprietor of a fish-restaurant.

Miss Pat, with her endearing peculiarities is a lovable character though at times a trifle too interested in one's affairs. She is intimately aquainted with the families for whom she works and is treated by them as a respected friend.

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

A Picturesque Character. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 21 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"A Picturesque Character." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 21 July 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "A Picturesque Character," accessed 21 July 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 987

A Picturesque Character


Text audience

Adults (18+)
Audience size 1
Writer knew intended audience

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1953
Word count 409
General description Secondary school English essay

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 606
Title Prof
Forenames Christian
Surname Kay
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Academic
Place of birth Edinburgh
Region of birth Midlothian
Birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's place of birth Leith
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's place of birth Edinburgh
Mother's region of birth Midlothian
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All
Scots No Yes No Yes Work