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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Robert Dreghorn of Ruchill as a typical Scot


ONE day Mr. Dreghorn had invited a party of gentlemen to dinner, and on this occasion he was anxious to get a turkey for his head dish—turkeys being rather rare birds in Glasgow in those days. At the time in question, it was usual to serve up a turkey at table with its head (including the feathers thereon) ostentatiously displayed, so that the company might be satisfied that they were really getting a turkey, and not a dunghill cock.

It so happened, however, that the Rev. Robert Lothian, teacher of mathematics, had also, for the same day, invited a dinner party to his house; and he came first to the poultry shops in Gibson’s Wynd, where there was just one turkey for sale, which bird Mr. Lothian forthwith purchased. Mr. Lothian had scarcely taken his departure when Mr. Dreghorn made his appearance among the poultry shops, and was sadly disappointed at learning that the solitary turkey had just been sold to Mr. Lothian, and that he had lost his chance only by a few minutes. Mr. Dreghorn, now finding that there was no other turkey for sale in Glasgow, as a pis-aller, was obliged to buy a goose, which, however, did not please him at all for a substitute.

Mr. Dreghorn, on leaving the poultry shops in Gibson’s Wynd, came into the Trongate by way of King Street; and who did he see standing at the foot of Candleriggs, in conversation with Mr. David Alhson, the grammar school teacher, but Mr. Lothian. himself. Away then, and up to them, instantly went Mr. Dreghorn, and abruptly addressing Mr. Lothian, said:

"Mr. Lothian, you have been buying a turkey?"

"Yes, Mr. Dreghorn’ said Mr. Lothian.

"Well, then," replied Mr. Dregliorn, " I have been buying a goose; will you give me your turkey for my goose?"

"Ah," said Mr. Lothian, "that’s a serious affair, and must be taken to avis-andum" (avis is the Latin for a bird).

No, no, Mr. Lothian," interruptingly exclaimed Mr. Allison, "I think Mr. Dreghorn’s proposal is worthy of a present answer" (anser is the Latin for a goose).

"Be it so," replied Mr. Lothian; "then, Mr. Dreghorn, what will you give me to boot if I make the exchange ?"

Give you to boot!" hastily retorted Mr. Dreghorn, "I wilt give you nothing to boot, for my goose is heavier than your turkey, and you should rather give me something to boot."

"Ah, ah," said Mr. Lothian, "but even supposing that to be the case, Mr. Dreghorn, your answer (anser) is not of sufficient weight to induce me to make the exchange."

Upon which refusal Mr. Dreghorn, with his usual whistle, turned about on his heel and unceremoniously marched of without understanding a word of the scholastic gentlemen’s learned puns. It may be explained that Mr. Dreghorn, when conversing with his acquaintances upon our streets, had a peculiar manner of abruptly leaving them, by giving a droll sort of whistle, turning round upon his heel, and then quickly moving on without bidding them adieu. His departure was generally followed by a hearty laugh among the party so unceremoniously left behind.


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