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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Glasgow medical geggers: Story of the rope-maker


A FEW medical gentlemen, some or all of whom seem to have been graduates of Gegg College, met one evening in a hotel in Glasgow. As they had known each other in their youth, and the majority had been abroad, each entertained the others by telling some wonderful cure, bordering on the miraculous, that he had performed. The incredulous laugh and jest of the party followed each narrator. There was, however, one of the company who seemed to believe each, and ended the doubts of the rest by saying:

"Well, and it might be true."

Each was individually pleased with him for believing his story, although all thought him exceedingly simple for believing the stories of the others. When it came to this individual’s turn to tell his own story, he began:

"When I was on board the Invincible, lying off Kinburn, we cast anchor before the Russian fort, and set to action. After the action was finished, as I was going my round, attending to the wounded, I came to a man shot through the middle by a chain bullet. My attendant said to me:

"What shall I do with this man?’

"'Put him into a sack,’ said I, intending to have the burial service read over him, and to have him lowered into the deep by and by. I forgot the matter till going my rounds next day, when I came to the sack.

"What have you got there?’ I said to my attendant.

"The man,’ he said, ‘that you told me to put into the sack.’

"He opened the sack, and judge my surprise—the man was actually alive. Well, I administered to him the best and most nutritious aliment that the ship could afford. He seemed delicate; I therefore thought it safest not to take him out of the sack. About three months afterwards, when the ship arrived in England, I was ordered by the Board of Admiralty to show my wounded, that they might decide on the pensions to be given. Among the rest was placed this man before the Board. He was ordered to walk. What was our surprise,—he walked backwards. The stupid fellow of an attendant had not taken sufficient care, but put the under half of his body to look one way, and the upper half to look another.

"The Board was a little puzzled at first what to do with the man. He was no longer of use as a sailor. After some deliberation it was agreed to make him a ropemaker, and now he is the best ropemaker in all England, for he walks forward all the time that he looks to the rope."

"Where is that man to be seen?" was asked. The reply was:

"He is at present employed in the Government rope-works at Portsmouth, where he has nine shillings a week more than any other man, besides his pension."


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