ABOUT the end of last and beginning
of the present century there was one, Matthew Gilmour, a writer, in
Glasgow, who was very much addicted to practical joking. One day observing
a pretty conspicuous sign in front of a house at the Bell o’ the Brae, on
which was painted:
"R. CARRICK, SHOEMAKER,"
Mr. Gilmour had it removed during
the night and placed on the Ship Bank, and in the morning the people were
not a little surprised to find that Robert Carrick, the manager, had added
to his many other occupations the business of a cobbler.
On another occasion (on his way, one
morning early, to the Morning and Evening Club), Mr. Gilmour discovered a
ladder on the street, and by means of it ascended the statue of King
William at the Cross, where he seated himself on the horse immediately
behind the hero of the Boyne. There were very few people on the streets at
that early hour, but presently a passenger came along who cried:
"What are you doing up there?"
"Oh!" replied Mr. Gilmour, I am
looking at a most wonderful sight, such as I never saw in all my life
before, and if you will only come up you will see it too."
The stranger, without thought, took
advantage of the ladder, and mounted to the top of the pedestal.
"Stop there till I get down and you
will get up," said Gilmour, and so he slipped down and the stranger
ascended to the vacant seat. Mr. Gilmour then counselled him to look
steadfastly down the Gallowgate, and while he was thus employed, the
ladder was removed and Mr. Gilmour with it, leaving the poor man elevated
to a position from which he could not very well get down without
assistance from some other early straggler. Many were the rough, practical
jokes of this description that were played about the time referred to.