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A Timely Answer

Anecdotes Home




When Admiral Cornwallis commanded the _Canada_, a mutiny
broke out in the ship, on account of some unavoidable delay in the clerks
paying some of the crew, in consequence of which they signed what is termed
a round robin, in which they declared, to a man, that they would not fire a
gun till they were paid. Cornwallis, on receiving this declaration, caused
all hands to be called on deck, and thus addressed them: "My lads, the
money cannot be paid till we return to port, and as to your not fighting,
that is mere nonsense:--I'll clap you alongside the first large ship of the
enemy I see, and I know that the devil himself will not be able to keep you
from it." The tars were so pleased with this compliment that they all
returned to their duty, better satisfied than if they had been paid the
money ten times over.







Dr. Sheridan had a custom of ringing his scholars to prayers, in the
school-room, at a certain hour every day. The boys were one day very
attentively at prayers, except one, who was stifling a laugh as well as he
could, which arose from seeing a rat descending from the bell-rope into the
room. The poor boy could hold out no longer, but burst into an immoderate
fit of laughter, which set the others off as soon as he pointed out to them
the cause. Sheridan was so provoked that he declared he would whip them all
if the principal culprit was not pointed out to him, which was immediately
done. When this poor boy was hoisted up, and made ready for flogging, the
witty school-master told him that if he said any thing tolerable on the
occasion, as he looked on him as the greatest dunce in his school, he would
forgive him. The trembling culprit, immediately addressed his master in the
following lines.

There was a rat, for want of stairs,
Came down a rope--to go to prayers.

Sheridan instantly dropped the rod, and, instead of a good whipping, gave
him half-a-crown.





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