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Anecdotes Home

The Duke of Longueville's reply, when it was observed
to him that the gentlemen bordering on his estates were continually hunting
upon them, and that he ought not to suffer it, is worthy of imitation: "I
had much rather," answered the duke, "have friends than hares."

Henri IV. once reproached M. d'Aubigne for continuing his friendship for M.
de la Tremouille, who had recently been banished from court. D'Aubigne
replied--"As M. de la Tremouille is so unfortunate as to have lost the
confidence of his master, he may well be allowed to retain that of his

Curran says, "when a boy, I was one morning playing at marbles in the
village ball alley, with a light heart and lighter pocket. The gibe and
the jest went gaily round, when suddenly there appeared amongst us a
stranger, of a very remarkable and very cheerful aspect; his intrusion was
not the least restraint upon our merry little assemblage, on the contrary,
he seemed pleased, and even delighted; he was a benevolent creature, and
the days of infancy (after all the happiest we shall ever see), perhaps
rose upon his memory. God bless him! I see his fine form, at the distance
of half a century, just as he stood before me in the little ball-alley in
the days of my childhood. His name was Dr. Boyse. He took a particular
fancy to me. I was winning, and was full of waggery, thinking every thing
that was eccentric, and by no means a miser of my eccentricities; every one
was welcome to a share of them, and I had plenty to spare after having
freighted the company. Some sweetmeats easily bribed me home with him. I
learned from poor Boyse my alphabet and my grammar, and the rudiments of
the classics. He taught me all he could, and then sent me to the school at
Middleton. In short, he made a man of me. I recollect it was about five and
thirty years afterwards, when I had risen to some eminence at the bar, and
when I had a seat in parliament, on my return one day from court, I found
an old gentleman seated alone in my drawing-room, his feet familiarly
placed, on each side of the Italian marble chimney-piece, and his whole air
bespeaking the consciousness of one quite at home. He turned round--_it was
my friend of the ball-alley_. I rushed instinctively into his arms, and
burst into tears. Words cannot describe the scene which followed:--"You are
right, sir; you are right. The chimney-piece is your's--the pictures are
your's--the house is your's. You gave me all I have--my friend--my
father--my benefactor!" He dined with me; and in the evening I caught the
tear glistening in his fine blue eye, when he saw poor little Jack, the
creature of his bounty, rising in the House of Commons, to reply to a
_Right_ Honourable. Poor Boyse! he is now gone; and no suitor had a larger
deposit of practical benevolence in the Court above. This is his wine--let
us drink to his memory."

Bishop Fowler, of Gloucester, and Justice Powell, had frequent altercations
on the subject of ghosts. The bishop was a zealous defender of the reality
of them; the justice was somewhat sceptical. The bishop one day met his
friend, and the justice told him that since their last conference on the
subject, he had had ocular demonstration, which had convinced him of the
existence of ghosts. "I rejoice at your conversion," replied the bishop;
"give me the circumstance which produced it, with all the particulars:--
ocular demonstration, you say?"--"Yes, my lord; as I lay last night in my
bed, about the twelfth hour, I was awakened by an extraordinary noise, and
heard something coming up stairs!"--"Go on, sir."--"Fearfully alarmed at
the noise, I drew my curtain--." "Proceed."--"And saw a faint glimmering
light enter my chamber."--"Of a blue colour, was it not?" interrogated the

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