Halliday Sutherland

"A born writer, especially a born story-teller. Dr. Sutherland, who is distinguished in medicine, is an amateur in the sense that he only writes when he has nothing better to do. But when he does, it could hardly be done better." G.K. Chesterton.

The Perils of Overpunctuality

Those afflicted with the problem of unpunctuality should consider the plight of those who suffer the perils of overpunctuality, as explained by Dr Sutherland in Hebridean Journey:

The man who left the train had a strong Glasgow accent, and although he was not a public benefactor he was certainly an entertainer, for he had told us a story which illustrates the perils of overpunctuality. The story was about three Scotsmen who met at Euston Station at 7 p.m., which was three hours before the Edinburgh night express, stopping only at Carlilse, was due to leave. They dined in the station restaurant and then adjourned to the refreshment-room, where the rest of their time was occupied in drinking double whiskies. About 10 p.m. the barmaid, who had overheard some of their conversation, drew attention to the clock and the trio hurried towards the platform. At first they walked rapidly, then trotted, and finally galloped in single file as the train began to move. An obliging porter opened a carriage door on the last coach, and the two leading runners fell into the train. The third man fell on the platform, from where the porter and a ticket collector assisted him to rise. He was unhurt, for the anaesthetic had been well administered. “A pity you’ve missed the train, sir,” said the collector, a sympathetic man.

“A pity!” exclaimed the Scotsman. “It’s more than a pity; it’s a disaster of the first magnitude.”

“No, no, sir,” said the collector. “There’s another train in the morning.”

“Another train be damned! The two fools who caught the train came here to see me off!”

From “Hebridean Journey” (1939) by Dr. Halliday Sutherland.

Photo of the Flying Scotsman by Richard Horne on Unsplash

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This entry was posted on 1 March 2021 by in Hebridean Journey.

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