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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Matthew Gilmour, writer, Glasgow, and his practical jokes

ABOUT the end of last and beginning of the present century there was one, Matthew Gilmour, a writer, in Glasgow, who was very much addicted to practical joking. One day observing a pretty conspicuous sign in front of a house at the Bell o the Brae, on which was painted:


Mr. Gilmour had it removed during the night and placed on the Ship Bank, and in the morning the people were not a little surprised to find that Robert Carrick, the manager, had added to his many other occupations the business of a cobbler.

On another occasion (on his way, one morning early, to the Morning and Evening Club), Mr. Gilmour discovered a ladder on the street, and by means of it ascended the statue of King William at the Cross, where he seated himself on the horse immediately behind the hero of the Boyne. There were very few people on the streets at that early hour, but presently a passenger came along who cried:

"What are you doing up there?"

"Oh!" replied Mr. Gilmour, I am looking at a most wonderful sight, such as I never saw in all my life before, and if you will only come up you will see it too."

The stranger, without thought, took advantage of the ladder, and mounted to the top of the pedestal.

"Stop there till I get down and you will get up," said Gilmour, and so he slipped down and the stranger ascended to the vacant seat. Mr. Gilmour then counselled him to look steadfastly down the Gallowgate, and while he was thus employed, the ladder was removed and Mr. Gilmour with it, leaving the poor man elevated to a position from which he could not very well get down without assistance from some other early straggler. Many were the rough, practical jokes of this description that were played about the time referred to.

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