The Domestic Troubles of a “Poet”

In the Dundee Police Court yesterday– before Bailie Perrie– Mary McGonagall, millworker, Paton’s Lane, was charged with committing breach of the peace in a house in Paton’s Lane, swearing at and using violent language to Mrs Macgregor, wife of a ship steward, on Saturday night. She pleaded guilty. Her father, “Poet McGonagall,” appeared on her behalf. The Bailie inquired if Mary had anything to say. Mary made no reply. Mr Dewar– Perhaps her father has something to say. The Bailie– Is this a daughter of the poet? “Yes, sir,” promptly returned the poet, assuming one of his most imposing attitudes. The Bench– Have you anything you would like say, then? The poet, in lofty measured tones, thus delivered himself– I have nothing further to say than that she is a well disposed daughter: only her mother gives her drink at times. That’s the cause of the breach of the peace. In my opinion there will never be peace in society until strong drink is abolished from the land. Bailie Perrie– Oh, that will do. (Laughter.) Five shillings or five days in prison. The poet bowed and retired, and his daughter was shown downstairs to the cells.

Dundee Courier, 25th May 1886

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