Pat Shingleton: Gossip, Ps and Qs
In the "early" days, taverns and public houses or pubs provided lodging from inclement weather along with food and drink. As noted in a previous column, libations were also a convenient means of combating the chill and a "wee nip" could break the bone-chilling cold. For politicians, a journey was tedious as they would order their assistants to gauge constituent's opinions. They were instructed to "quaff ale" and catalog the people's concerns. When they would "go sip here" and "go sip there" the two words were combined, forming the term "gossip." Ale would be served in pints and quarts. A bar maid needed to be diligent as to which patrons were drinking a pint or a quart. This duty resulted in the phrase, "minding your ‘P's' and ‘Q's."