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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Patrick Falconer, Esq., and the Marshal


MR. FALCONER, partner of the firm of Monteith & Falconer, and afterwards of the distinguished firm of Dalglish, Falconer, & Co., was asked by his enterprising senior partner, Mr. Monteith, during the French Revolutionary War, about 1805, to go over to Germany, in order to extend the connections of the firm in that country.

Mr. Falconer, who had a knowledge of the French language, and a smattering of the German, accordingly proceeded to Holland, with the intention of getting into Germany by the most favourable route he could find. But when he arrived in Holland, he found it under the control of France, and that for entire safety he would require to take a northern course, or risk a shorter route by the banks of the Rhine. Mr. Falconer courageously chose the latter course; but he had not gone far on his way when he was arrested by a French patrol under the suspicion of being an English spy.

Mr. Falconer was at once taken to the headquarters of the French General commanding in that part of the country, to be interrogated as to who and what he was, and also as to his object in travelling through the district in question during a time of war?

The General cross-questioned Mr. Falconer with reference to his business, local places and persons, and in reply, Mr. Falconer named Mr. David Dale and other well-known Glasgow notables.

The General, interrupting him in his course of enumeration, exclaimed:

"He’ bien! he’ bien!" And then with a smile upon his countenance, and to the no small astonishment of Mr. Falconer, said, in good broad Scotch:

"But, my fren’, do you ken auld James Monteith o’ Anderston?"

Mr. Falconer, though thus taken by surprise, answered the General in his own sprightly style, by saying:

"Ou ay, General, I ken him brawly, for he’s my am pairtner’s faither."

The General, after a hearty laugh, then spoke to Mr. Falconer in fluent English, and informed him that he had spent three years of his life in Glasgow as a student at the University, and was well acquainted with Mr. James Monteith, from whom he had received much kindness and hospitality.

After making kindly inquiries regarding Mr. Monteith, his family, and other old Glasgow friends, Marshal Mortier, with a hearty shake of the hand, permitted Mr. Falconer to pass on his way without further trouble.


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