McGonagall in the Circus Again

The “Poet” Victorious at Last

Undaunted by the combined opposition of “publicans and sinners” to “shut him up,” McGonagall again appeared in Transfield’s Circus last night, and on this occasion he scored a grand success. All the week the walls were placarded with posters, announcing, in large letters that the “poet” would make his debut in the circus arena in the character of a clown. The bare idea of seeing a “poet” transformed into a circus clown was sufficient to draw a house. The usual performances came off well, but the impatient calls from the gods to “bring oot McGonagall” indicated plainly that he was the star of attraction. The scene in which the ” poet ” figured was a clowns’ feast, and the arrangements were so well conducted that the hero of Bannockburn was brought on in quite a business-like style. A table was set in the ring, with the materials for a carouse. A grotesque merry-andrew took his seat, and in due course he was joined by four or five fools, all well met. They amused the audience with their antics for several minutes, which diverted the audience from the real object of the meeting. At last the bell rung, the band struck up “See the Conquering Hero Comes,” and the great McGonagall, in full Highland costume, marched on, and was hailed with cheers, yells, and cat calls from all parts of the house. The leading “fool” shook him by the hand, but the other members of the fraternity, dreading a storm, sheltered themselves under umbrellas, and cowered under the lee of the ring. The storm burst. Bags of flour and eggs rained around, but McGonagall, with the strategic foresight of a military hero, took up a position almost out of range, drew his broadsword and dashed at once into the thick of the battle of Tel-el-Kebir, or some similar heroic piece. On he went, shouting at the pitch of his voice, and gesticulating in true ‘”Irvinitic” style, amidst roars of laughter, cries of “Hear, hear,” “Shut up,” and similar interruptions, enough to distract any one but the great McGonagall. As he warmed with the fight he cut and slashed the air with his gleaming sword, reckless of the pancake materials that rained around him. One egg of a very ancient date hit him on the chest, while a few splashed about the skirts of his kilt, but with dauntless courage he fought the fight, and finished the piece, and walked off with a dramatic stride that Macready never could have matched. Thunders of applause roared all round, and, in duty bound, the triumphant “poet” returned, bowed his thanks, and waved his sword in graceful acknowledgment, and retired unscathed. The yelling, whistling, and stamping was renewed again, and continued for nearly five minutes, but McGonagall would not draw a second time. Shouts of “Encore”‘ were of no avail. The poet was too old a chicken to be caught with chaff. He had given his recitation, and triumphed over the “West End pubs.” and all their vile plots to put him down.

Dundee Courier, 29th December 1888

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