‘The Rival Tailors’ by Strathmore was the first short story to be published in the ‘Dundee, Perth, Forfar, and Fife People’s Journal’. The story was a response to a competition asking for the best “Tale of Scottish Life.” Strathmore’s effort was a joint winner alongside Clutha’s ‘The Triple Doom’, which both won a copy of ‘Shakespeare’s Works’.
‘The Rival Tailors’ ended up being a controversial prize winner, as correspondence to the papers shows that it evoked the wroth of Tayside’s tailors. (see below).
“The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.”—Shakspeare [sic].
“It’s a very provokin’ business, guidman,” said Mrs Wilkie one morning at breakfast to her spouse, the farmer of Birrelton, “that we canna get that tailor body to come and mak’ your coat. The claith’s been lyin’ ready for him this sax months ; but I’ll no wait anither day for the leein’ sorrow if I can get another tailor in the country to mak’ it.”
“Indeed, Janet,” said Mr Wilkie, “it is certainly very provokin’, for the buyin’ o’ the claith gies less thocht and trounble than the makin’ o’t. however, I think ye may gie ‘im ae chance mair, and if he disappoint us again, ye may try Davie Cruikshanks o’ the Muir, and see whether he’ll be mair punctual.”
To this the guidwife agreed, tho’ with some reluctance ; and the recusant tailor, Stitchem o’ Balskeerie, was forthwith given to understand that, if he did not appear at Birrelton “by Friday first, somebody else would be got, wha would be mair thankfu’ for her cheenge.” Continue reading “‘The Rival Tailors’ by Strathmore (6 March, 1858)”