Our eponymous heroes returned to Blighty after a short sojourn on the continent, during which time Keats had become rather enamoured with practising his high-school German. Unsure what to do with themselves after such an extended period away, they took it upon themselves to visit an old friend of theirs, who had reputedly retreated himself from high society, to take up the role of school headmaster in a quaint village on the south-west coast of Scotland.
On their arrival there, they discovered that his institution at the school had provoked a little wave of anti-English sentiment in the village, with his demands that the pupils talk ‘proper’ English, none of this uneducated Scots drivel. Partly as a result of his estrangement by the village community, their friend had rather taken somewhat to the produce of the local distillery.
One morning during their stay, hoping to catch a glimpse of their pal in his element at the school, Keats and Chapman set off down the road from the inn. On their journey they began to meet an increasingly dense trickle of schoolchildren which, it not even being noon and in the middle of the school day, they found rather odd. The trickle of pupils turned gradually into a stream as they neared the school, and they arrived to find their friend locking up the school door.
“What the devil does he think he’s doing at this time?” exported Chapman.
“It seems pretty obvious to me,” retorted Keats with a slight wave of his hand, “er macht die Schotten dicht.”