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