ROBERT, or Robin Carrick, who went
as a boy to, and rose to be manager and cashier of the Ship Bank of
Glasgow, (afterwards merged into the Union Bank of Scotland), had the
reputation of being a close-fisted old screw.
A good story is told of how he was
sweated on one occasion for the benefit of the Royal Infirmary.
Two or three respectable citizens
collecting subscriptions for that benevolent institution, knowing Mr.
Carrick’s great wealth, honoured him with their first call, expecting
their list to be headed with a good round sum, which would have a good
effect on those who were called on afterwards. To their surprise and
mortification, Robin simply put down his name for two guineas. There next
call was on old Mr. John M’Illquham, manufacturer, who on seeing the list
so headed, exclaimed:
"Bless me! has Mr. Carrick only
given you twa guineas for such a benevolent purpose?"
"No more," was the reply, "he said
he could not afford to give any more."
"What’s that you say?" said the
manufacturer; "bide a wee," and so saying, he rose from his stool and bade
his faithful cash-keeper and confidant, Mr. Davidson, afterwards of
Ruchill, to go with a cheque for £10,000 or more, the amount at his credit
in the Ship Bank. When the cheque was presented for payment, Robin the
banker stared and looked quite dumfoundered
"Go back," said he, "young man, to
Mr. M’Illquham with my compliments, and tell him he has surely committed
some mistake." Mr. Davidson returned with the message, but was sent back
to demand payment in the most peremptory manner. The niggardly banker on
this became rather shaky, and thought it best to go and have a
personal interview with the manufacturer. Upon entering he said to his
"What’s wrong wi’ ye the day, Mr.
M’Illquham?" to which the instant reply was:
"Nothing in the least wrong wi’ me,
praise be blessed! but I fear there’s something very far wrong wi’ you and
your bank, for my friends here have just assured me that you could only
afford twa guines in aid of the worthy charity they represent, and
so I thought it high time to shift my money to some safer quarter."
This led to the desired result, as
Robin, although with great reluctance, put down his name for fifty
guineas; whereon Mr. M’Illquham cancelled his cheque, and the
deputation from the Royal Infirmary went off perfectly delighted.