Poet McGonagall at Crieff

Tremendous Ovation

On Tuesday night Poet McGonagall was the guest of the members of the Morrisonian F.C. at a smoking concert in the Crieff Hall. McGonagall, who arrived by the afternoon train from Edinburgh, was met at the station by a large crowd and his chairman. Professor Kaye (Professor of what no one knows). On the arrival of the train McGonagall was escorted by the Professor to a cab, followed by the crowd, who loudly cheered the “People’s Poet.” At the smoking concert in the evening there was a crowded audience, and on Professor Kaye making his appearance on the platform there was a general uproar, which continued for some time amid cries of “A speech,” but this the chairman stoutly refused to comply with.

A little later Mr McGonagall appeared on the platform dressed in his indispensible Highland costume, and after having received an enthusiastic reception began to recite his latest great and poetical production, entitled “Beautiful Crieff,” which was received with great applause, lt is needless to mention that this poem is in praise of the beauties and scenery around Crieff, the description of which no guide book hereafter will be able to compete with for minuteness of detail and description of scenery. It was remarked by one of the minor poets present that it would have been worthy of Sir Walter Scott. Then followed the poem “Bannockburn,” which is well known to all the admirers of the poet of the “Silvery Tay.” It is needless to add that it was given in McGonagall’s best histrionic style. The sword thrusts were very vigorous and numerous, calling forth from some of the audience “don’t kill them all. Sir William.”

Then followed “Tel-el-Kebir,” “Macbeth,” “Lord Ullan’s Daughter,” and “Rorke’s Drift,” the last of which, the McGonagall remarked, had not been dealt with by any poet except himself. The event of the evening, however, was the presentation of a diploma, nicely lettered and surrounded by a gilt frame, from his friends and admirers in Crieff as the people’s poet. At this stage the uproar in the hall was so great that the poet, stamping his foot on the platform, exclaimed — “I stand on my dignity, like the poet Burns.” The Chairman then proceeded to make the presentation, but the noise was so loud that not a word could be heard of what he said, while the same may be said of McGonagall’s reply.

At intervals during the evening the Chairman was hailed for a speech, a song, a recitation, the latter two of which he attempted, but never got past the first few sentences. McGonagall, upon the whole, received a fair hearing, but at times was assailed with such remarks— “Be seated, Sir William.” “Slacken your sporran,” “There is a feather fallen out of your bonnet,” and many like observations. At the close of the entertainment the Professor and the Poet were escorted out of the hall by two policemen. McGonagall is stated to be highly pleased with his visit, and the terms of his engagement were £2 and police protection, while the chairman, it is said, received as recompense for his services 5s as a “rigout.”

Dundee Courier, 18th May 1899

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