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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Lord Provost Mills and the Highland policeman


ON one of the Saturdays in May, 1835, Lord Provost William Mills of Glasgow was seen near the Royal Exchange talking to a man, who, from his outward appearance, seemed to be a chimney-sweeper. The provost and the sweep appeared to be deeply engaged on some interesting subject, and were seen describing with the point of an old nail the inclinations and curvatures of certain vents or flues which might be swept by means of the newly in-vented machine which was to supersede the climbing boys, as the unlucky urchins who had to ascend the chimneys were called.

A crowd very soon collected round the provost and the sweep, wondering, no doubt, what the ill-matched pair had to do with one another. But so intent was his lordship on the subject under discussion, that he seemed to be quite unconscious of any person being present save the man with whom he was talking, until a policeman came forward, and in the true Celtic twang rudely ordered his lordship to

"Dismiss !"

"What !" said the provost, surprised, "do you know to whom you speak ?"

"No, she’ll did not," answered Donald, "neither did she’ll care. Her orders was not to let peoples stand upon the plainstane causey, causing a crowd, and if she wadna gang awa’, she wad put ta offish upon her—shust in a minute."

It is needless to say that the provost, good-naturedly yielding to a law of his own sanctioning, walked of, glad, no doubt, to find that the police establishment was filled with such uncompromising and faithful servants.


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