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George III. on Punctuality

Anecdotes Home




The celebrated mathematical instrument maker,
Mr. Ramsden, was frequently deficient in punctuality, and would delay for
months, nay, for years, the delivery of instruments bespoken from him. His
majesty, who had more than once experienced this dilatory disposition, once
ordered an instrument, which he made Ramsden positively promise to deliver
on a certain day. The day, however, came, but not the instrument. At length
Ramsden sent word to the king that it was finished; on which a message was
sent him, desiring that he would bring it himself to the palace. He,
however, answered, that he would not come, unless his majesty would promise
not to be angry with him. "Well, well," said the king, "let him come: as he
confesses his fault, it would be hard to punish him for it." On this
assurance he went to the palace, where he was graciously received; the
king, after expressing his entire satisfaction with the instrument, only
adding, with a good-natured smile, "You have been uncommonly punctual this
time, Mr. Ramsden, having brought the instrument on the very day of the
month you promised it; you have only made a small mistake in the date of
the year." It was, in fact, exactly a year after the stipulated time.





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