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presence. For my part I was as yet a stranger to the King's person. I had, indeed, seen most or all the princesses in the way I have mentioned above; and on several occasions, in the streets of Windsor, the sudden disappearance of all hats from the heads of the passengers, had admonished me that some royal personage or other was then traversing or crossing the street; but either his Majesty had never been of the party, or I had failed to distinguish him. Now, for the first time, I was meeting him nearly face to face; for, though the walk we occupied was not that in which the royal party were moving, it ran so near it, and was connected by so many cross-walks at short intervals, that it was a matter of necessity for us, as we were now observed, to go and present ourselves. What passed was naturally very unimportant; and I know not that it would have been worth reporting at all, but for one reflection which, in after years, it forcibly suggested to me. The King, having first spoken with great kindness to my companion, inquiring circumstantially about his mother
'Dark faces with white silken turbans wreathed!'
As it is, we have noticed hardly any places but such as lie absolutely within our jurisdiction. And yet, even under that limitation, how vastly more comprehensive is the chart of British dominion than of the Roman! To this gorgeous empire, some corresponding style and title should have been adapted at the revision of the old title, and should yet be adapted; for of this empire only it can be said, amongst all which have existed, not only that the sun never sets upon its territory, but almost, perhaps, that the sun is always rising and always setting, to some one in that endless succession of stations upon which the British flag is flying.
Apropos of the proposed change in the King's title: Mr. Coleridge, on being assured that the new title of the King was to be Emperor of the British Islands and their dependencies, and on the coin Imperator Britanniarum, remarked, that, in this remanufactured form, the title might be said to be japanned; alluding to this fact, that amongst insular sovereigns, the only one known in Europe by the title of Emperor is the Sovereign of Japan.
and grandmother as persons particularly well known to himself, then turned his eye upon me. What passed was pretty nearly as follows: My name, it seems, from what followed, had been communicated to him as we were advancing; he did not, therefore, inquire about that. Was I of Eton? was his first question. I replied that I was not, but hoped I should be. Had I a father living? I had not my father had been dead about eight years. 'But you have a mother?' I had. 'And she thinks of sending you to Eton?' I answered that she had expressed such an intention in my hearing; but I was not sure whether that might not be in order to waive an argument with the person to whom she spoke, who happened to have been an Etonian. Oh, but all people think highly of Eton; everybody praises Eton; your mother does right to inquire; there can be no harm in that; but the more she inquires, the more she will be satisfied; that I can answer for.'
Next came a question which had been suggested by my name. Had my family come into England with the Huguenots at the revocation of the Edict of Nantz? This was a tender point with me: of all things I could not endure to be supposed of French descent; yet it was a vexation I had constantly to face, as most people supposed that my name argued a French origin. I replied with some haste, 'Please your Majesty, the family has been in England since the Conquest.' It is probable that I colored, or showed some mark of discomposure, with which, however, the King was not displeased, for he smiled, and said, How do you know that?' Here I was at a loss for a moment how to answer: for I was sensible that it did not become me to occupy the King's attention with any long stories or traditions about a subject so unimportant as my own family; and yet it was necessary that I should say
something, unless I would be thought to have denied my Huguenot descent upon no reason or authority. After a moment's hesitation I said in effect that a family of my name had certainly been a great and leading one at the era of the Barons' Wars; and that I had myself seen many notices of this family, not only in books of heraldry, &c., but in the very earliest of all English books. And what book was that? "Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle
in Verse," which I understood, from internal evidence, to have been written about 1280.' The King smiled again, and said, ‘I know, I know.' But what it was that he knew, long afterwards puzzled me to conjecture. I now imagine, however, that he meant to say, that he knew the book I referred to a thing which at that time I thought improbable, supposing the King's acquaintance with literature was not very extensive, nor likely to have comprehended any knowledge at all of the black-letter period. But in this belief I was greatly mistaken, as I was afterwards fully convinced by the best evidence from various quarters. That library of 120,000 volumes, which George IV. presented to the nation, and which has since gone to swell the collection at the British Museum, was formed, (as I have been assured by several persons to whom the whole history of the library, and its growth from small rudiments, was familiarly known,) under the direct personal superintendence of George III. It was a favorite and pet creation; and his care extended even to the dressing of the books in appropriate bindings, and (as one man told me) to their health; explaining himself to mean, that in any case where a book was worm-eaten, or touched however slightly with the worm, the King was anxious to prevent the injury from increasing, and still more to keep it from infecting others by close neighborhood; for it is supposed by many that such injuries spread rapidly in favorable situations.
One of my informants was a German bookbinder of great respectability, settled in London, and for many years employed by the Admiralty as a confidential binder of records or journals containing secrets of office, &c. Through this connection he had been recommended to the service of his Majesty, whom he used to see continually in the course of his attendance at Buckingham House, where the books were deposited. This bookbinder had, originally, in the way of his trade, become well acquainted with the money value of English books; and that knowledge cannot be acquired without some concurrent knowledge of their subject and their kind of merit. Accordingly he was tolerably well qualified to estimate any man's attainments as a reading man; and from him I received such circumstantial accounts of many conversations he had held with the King, evidently reported with entire good faith and simplicity, that I cannot doubt the fact of his Majesty's very general acquaintance with English literature. Not a day passed, whenever the King happened to be at Buckingham House, without his coming into the binding-room and minutely inspecting the progress of the binder and his allies the gilders, toolers, &c. From the outside of the book the transition was natural and pretty constant to its value in the scale of bibliography; and in that way my informant had ascertained that the King was well acquainted, not only with Robert of Gloucester, but with all the other early chronicles, &c., published by Hearne, and in fact possessed that entire series which rose at one period to so enormous a price. From this person I learnt afterwards that the King prided himself especially upon his early folios of Shakspeare; that is to say, not merely upon the excellence of the individual copies in a bibliographical sense, as tall copies' and having large margins, &c., but chiefly from their value in relation to
the most authentic basis for the text of the poet. And thus it appears, that at least two of our Kings, Charles I. and George III., have made it their pride to profess a reverential esteem for Shakspeare. This bookbinder added his attestation to the truth (or to the generally reputed truth) of a story which I had heard from higher authority — viz. that the librarian, or, if not officially the librarian, at least the chief director in everything relating to the books, was an illegitimate son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, (son to George II.,) and therefore half-brother of the King. His own taste and inclinations, it seemed, concurred with his brother's wishes in keeping him in a subordinate rank and an obscure station; in which, however, he enjoyed affluence without anxiety, or trouble, or courtly envy — and the luxury, which he most valued, of a superb library. He lived and died, I have heard, as plain Mr. Barnard. At one time I disbelieved this story, (which possibly may have been long known to the public,) on the ground that even George III. would not have differed so widely from princes in general as to leave a brother of his own, however unaspiring, wholly undistinguished by public honors. But having since ascertained that a naval officer, wellknown to my own family, and to a naval brother of my own in particular, by assistance rendered to him repeatedly when a midshipman in changing his ship, was undoubtedly an illegitimate son of George Ill., and yet that he never rose higher than the rank of Post Captain, though privately acknowledged by his father and other members of the Royal Family, I found the insufficiency of that objection. The fact is, and it does honor to the King's memory - he reverenced the moral feelings of his country, which are, in this and in all points of domestic morals, severe and high-toned, [I say it in deĥance of writers, such as Lord Byron, Mr. Hazlitt, &c., who hated alike the just and the