McGonagall’s New Tweed Suit

Grand Presentation To The Poet

All the world has heard of McGonagall’s new suit of clothes, which a worthy manufacturer of Scotch tweed in the Border town of Hawick has generously presented him. Regarding these said clothes a good deal of scepticism has been entertained in the mind of the general community, and the “poet” himself, even after he had registered his faith in the Hawick man in that famous poem, began to feel a little shaky on the business, and had in some degree believed the “togs” were a “sell.” All doubts, however, were set at rest last night, when the “grand new suit” was formally presented to the poet in presence of a large gathering of special friends and admirers. The ceremony took place in one of the rooms of the Gilfillan Memorial. Tbe “poet” was driven from his private residence in Step Row in a cab to the place of meeting. A considerable number of friends had early aasembled in the room, and when tbe “poet” made his appearance he was greeted with loud and enthasiastic cheering. The room rapidly filled, the audience including members of Parochial and School Boards. Two representatives from the Hawick firm were also present, Mr J. Graham Henderson, the generous donor, being unavoidably absent. The chair was ably filled by a well-known literary gentleman, and a staunch friend of tha worthy “Poet.” A brief resume of the history of the suit was given by the Chairman, after which Mr McGonagall favoured the company with a recitation of “Bannockburn,” one of his masterpieces. Poising his walking-stick, the poet struck an attitude and dashed off into the well-known piece with his old fire and spirit. The first lines took the house by storm:—

King Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn
Defeated the English at every wheel and turn.

As line after line of this grand descriptive “dramatic poem” was rolled forth in the sonorous tones of the Poet, the enthusiasm of the audience rose to such a pitch that they made the roof and rafters ring with true Scottish cheers. But in tbe battle scene the poet and tragedian far excelled himself, and as he cut and slashed right and left those of the audience who chanced to be sitting in too close proximity to the sweep of the sword were fain to shield themselves with chairs, sticks, and umbrellas. One of the representatives of the firm then made a few remarks, and a letter from Mr Henderson himself was also read. The suit which had all this while been hanging over the back of a chair in a corner was then brought to the front, and, amidst loud and prolonged cheering, the chair and clothes thereon were set on the top of the table and exposed to the whole audience. In a neat and graceful speech, the Chairman formally presented the “togs.” McGonagall once more got on his legs to make a speech. He said he had to “thank his friend in Hawick for this splendid suit of tweed, which had come to him in a time of need.” (Great applause and cries of “Inspiration.”) He wrote a poem in praise of these clothes, which he had never seen till that night. The poem was then recited in full. A gentleman at the back of the room suggested that the Poet should array himself in the clothes, so that all might see how they fitted. McGonagall replied that he thought that was too good a joke for him to submit to. Cries of “Put them on” resounded from other parts of the room, to which the Poet gave answer that, in his modesty, he objected to do such a thing. They would have the same opportunity as the rest of the citizens of Dundee in seeing him wearing them on the street. The matter then dropped. McGonagall, mollified a little, kindly favoured the company by reciting “ Tel-el-Kebir.” On the suggestion of the Chairman, the clothes were carried round the room, and the pockets were handselled by a very generous collection. The clothes were then parcelled up, and the Poet, with his bundle under his arm, was escorted to the cab and driven home ia triumph.

Dundee Courier, 1st March 1893

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