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Anecdotes Home




"What has become of your famous General _Eel?_" said the Count
d'Erleon to Mr. Campbell. "Eel," said a bystander, "that is a military fish
I never heard of;" but another at once enlightened his mind by saying to
the count, "General Lord _Hill_ is now Commander-in-Chief of the British
forces!"


Cowper's "John Gilpin."--It happened one afternoon, in those years when
Cowper's accomplished friend, Lady Austen, made a part of his little
evening circle, that she observed him sinking into increased dejection. It
was her custom, on these occasions, to try all the resources of her
sprightly powers for his immediate relief, and at this time it occurred to
her to tell him the story of John Gilpin, (which had been treasured in her
memory from her childhood), in order to dissipate the gloom of the passing
hour. Its effects on the fancy of Cowper had the air of enchantment. He
informed her the next morning that convulsions of laughter, brought on by
his recollection of her story, had kept him waking during the greatest part
of the night! and that he had turned it into a ballad. So arose the
pleasant poem of "John Gilpin."





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