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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
John Douglas, Esq., The Witty Laird of Barloch


IT would be an unpardonable neglect, in a volume issued in Glasgow, to overlook the shining abilities of the ingenious and witty John Douglas, Esq. of Barloch, whose convivial powers and readiness in repartee were highly appreciated by his contemporaries. A few brief examples are here strung together.

Mathematical Quesiton.—When Mr. Robert Wallace, teacher of mathematics, had his establishment in George Square, he was met by Mr. Douglas, as he was passing along at some distance from home, in such a calculating mood, that he passed the wit without observing him, when Mr. Douglas roused him from his abstraction by jocosely asking him whether he was calculating the distance of the square or the square of the distance.

Matter of Form.— Mr. Douglas was one day seen emerging from a crowd, where a quarrel had arisen among some potters respecting a form on which they were accustomed to sit while waiting for employment. On being asked by a gentleman what was the matter, he replied:

"Oh, only a mere matter of form!"

Chemical Joke—Chemists, natural philosophers, and mathematicians are all of the genus irritable; the first class especially are remarkable for their acrimonious disputes. When Dr. Thomson’s famous work on chemistry was published, a very severe review of it appeared in a London magazine: Dr. Thomson, in as severe a reply, ascribed the authorship to Dr. Ure. In allusion to which Mr. Douglas said:

"If this were the case, it was merely a very fine specimen of Uric acid."


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