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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Rev. Mr Dickson and the orgies of Rutherglan Kirk

LIKE the famous Alloway Kirk, the sacred pile of Rutherglen seems occasionally to have been the scene of diabolical orgies. At least, we have the authority of a decent elderly woman for asserting that such was the case. According to her, when Mr. Dickson, who suffered sair during the persecution, was in the ministry in Ruglen, the reverend gentleman was riding up the main street of the burgh one night at the witching hour. While passing along the kirkyard wall he fancied, to his surprise, that he heard sounds of merriment issuing from his own church. Being a man of some courage, he at once dismounted from his steed, wade his way into the graveyard, which was then, as now, elevated, with its time-honoured elms, a few feet above the level of the street., and looking into the sacred edifice, which was lighted up as if for a festival, beheld, to his horror and amazement, several of his own congregation, male and female, engaged in some mysterious ceremony, in company with a gentleman in black, whom he at once knew, from a well-known peculiarity of foot, as the enemy of mankind. Provoked beyond forbearance at the desecration of his church, and the evident backsliding of a portion of his flock, he roared out with the voice of a Stentor:

"Ye’ll no deny this the morn, ye limmers!" and, turning on his heel, remounted his horse, and commenced making the best of his way home. Not having the benefit of a running stream, however, as the gudeman o’ Shanter had, the worthy minister was soon overtaken and although the powers of darkness thirst not injure a hair of his head, yet, by their cantrips, they contrived to render both horse and rider as rigid as a couple of petrefactions.

Stock-still they were compelled to stand, unable to move hand or foot. nor would the band of warlocks and witches release them from their statuesque state but on condition that his reverence would give his solemn pledge never to divulge the names of those whom he had discovered in such questionable company. This, although with reluctance, he was ultimately fain to do; and so well did he keep his promise, that who the members of the diabolical orgie really were, has never yet been certainly discovered. The old lady added, however, that— There could be nae doot anent the truth o’ the circumstance, for it wasna very likely that Mr. Dickson, honest man, was gaun tae mak’ up a leein’ story, even against siccan deil’s buckies."

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