City Gossip

Poet McGonagall was justly indignant when he read the attack made upon him in last week’s City Gossip by a rival bard. Particularly did he resent the allusion to his personal appearance, though he consoled himself with the reflection that everybody would see how utterly ridiculous was the description of his “shauchlin’ form.” “Why,” continued the Poet, “I am noted for my majestic gait,” and he attributed this to his military training. It will be news to most of my readers that McGonagall once wore the Queen’s uniform, but it is a fact, and he was a full private in the Royal Perthshire Militia, and he tells me that he was the pet of the regiment.

McGonagall was at first inclined to be content with the scarifying to which I had subjected his antagonist, but here again his old soldiering instincts asserted themselves, and he thought it would appear like cowardice if he made no reply. “When he thinks I am not good-looking,” explained the Poet with withering sarcasm, as he alluded to his reviler, “he must consider himself a beauty. You see? You understand what I mean?” Then he handed me the following :-

Lines in reply to the Beautiful poet, Dundee.
Composed January, eighteen ninety-three,
By Wm. McGonagall, Poet, 48 Step Row, Dundee.

Dear Johnny, I return my thanks to you;
But more than thanks is your due
For publishing the scurrilous poetry about me
Leaving the Ancient City of Dundee.

The rhymster says, we’ll weary for your schauchlin’ form;
But if I’m not mistaken I’ve seen bonnier than his in a field of corn;
And, as I venture to say and really suppose,
His form seen in a cornfield would frighten the crows.

But, dear Johnny, as you said, he’s just a lampoon,
And as ugly and as ignorant as a wild baboon;
And, as far as I can judge or think,
He is a vendor of strong drink.

He says my nose would make a peasemeal warrior weep;
But I’ve seen a much bonnier sweep,
And a more manly and wiser man
Than he is by far, deny it who can!

And, in conclusion, I’d have him to beware,
And never again to interfere with a poet’s hair,
Because Christ the Saviour wore long hair,
And many more good men, I do declare.

Therefore I laugh at such bosh that appears in print.
So I hope from me you will take the hint,
And never publish such bosh of poetry again,
Or else you’ll get the famous Weekly News a bad name.

You have not seen McGonagall’s new suit? No, it has not come to hand up to the time of writing. Its arrival is awaited by the Poet with no little anxiety, but the responsibility for the delay he is inclined, I understand, to throw upon the shoulders of a frivolously-minded tailor’s cutter. This individual put McGonagall down for “a polka vest,” and my friend thinks he has been hoaxed. To everyone he has addressed the query, “Did you over hear tell of a polka vest?” but they all give it up. Besides feeling aggrieved at this cutter McGonagall has complained to me of being insulted in the streets by the employes of one of our Magistrates, said affront being conveyed in a hint to the effect that he should visit a barber.

Weekly News, 28th January 1893

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