Local Jottings

A correspondent thinks “Courir le Pays” must have been much troubled by buzzing in his ears these two past days, and very likely doesn’t know the reason why. “Happily,” says my correspondent, “I can set his ears all right again, for the explanation is:—’William McGonagall, Poet,’ has been going about as wild any lion, and the swallowing of ‘Courir le Pays’ would be an easy matter — not to mention the delight — for the highly-offended word-stringer. This, need I say, is owing to your criticism of his poetry(?), and your reference to his threat to betake himself to a home and fame and, course, fortune across the seas. The perplexing thing to the ‘Poet’ is, How could his letter of appeal Mr James Scrymgeour have reached the hands of ‘Courir le Pays?’ for he cannot believe that Scrymgeour, to whom he had done immortal honour by penning a pile of what seems to him as poetry, had passed his appeal for relief into the hands of ‘Courir.’ ‘How could he dare such a thing after what I have done for him?’ are his eloquent words, the recital of which, in a busy thoroughfare, brought not a few to standstill, and sent the writer to his heels!— but not until he had made a sale of a copy of that most choice effusion.

“‘A prophet hath no honour his own town,’ so saith this Poet, ‘and they’ll not realise it until I have crossed the Atlantic. Why’ — rising to the height of his calling — ‘Mr McFarland offers Irving £1000 for coming to Dundee; will he not give me £500? I can fill his house; what more does he want? If doesn’t make me that offer’ — his face towards the sea — ‘I’ll take myself out of the country?’ Will ‘Courir le Pays’ not publish the fact — that in our midst there is one who, in his own esteem, at least, is no less than the successor of Shakespeare! Were this fact — according to the Poet himself — generally known it might be the means of lifting him out of his present abject poverty — which expression, by the way, must also be poetic, for I can testify he becomes his ‘poverty’ well, if fattened looks mean anything.”

Dundee Courier, 11th February 1887

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