A STORY OF AN AUTOGRAPH HUNTER 201
Before the night ended she was continually cheered with a warmth of enthusiasm unusual in this country."
An amusing coincidence occurred at Leeds, where we proceeded after leaving Stratford. A few weeks before, at the house of Mr. William Black, the autograph hunter was being discussed and roundly abused, for all present were public persons. The best story on the subject was told by Mr. Black of a certain friend of his who, as a youth, made a practice of seeking the signatures of distinguished persons. Again and again he requested Carlyle, Beaconsfield, and other eminent men for their autographs, but in vain. Finally he hit upon a stratagem worthy of Machiavelli. He wrote to each of the most obdurate of the great ones that he had a fine yacht which he wished to name after him. By return post he had affirmative autographic answers from them all, the Chelsea sage going so far as to wish " that the Thomas Carlyle might sail ever under blue skies and on smooth waters." While in Leeds we were driving one day with Sir W. R. Again the subject of autographs came up. I related the story, and was surprised that Sir W. did not seem amused. When I had finished he