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.
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
"Oh, only a mere matter of form!"
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
"If this were the case, it
was merely a very
fine specimen of Uric acid."