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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

244               Written Sketches

At Doctors' Commons

A woman once stopped me at the entrance to Doctors'
Commons and said:

" If you please, sir, can you tell me—is this the place that
I came to before ? "

Not knowing where she had been before I could not tell her.

The Sack of Khartoum

As I was getting out of a 'bus the conductor said to me in a
confidential tone:

111 say, what does that mean ? ' Sack of Khartoum ' ?
What does ' Sack of Khartoum ' mean ? "

" It means/' said I, " that they've taken Khartoum and
played hell with it all round/'

He understood that and thanked me, whereon we parted.

Missolonghi

Ballard [a fellow art-student with Butler at Heatherley's]
told me that an old governess, some twenty years since, was
teaching some girls modern geography. One of them did
not know the name Missolonghi. The old lady wrung her
hands:

" Why, me dear," she exclaimed, " when I was your age I
could never hear the name mentioned without bursting into
tears/'

I should perhaps add that Byron died there.

Memnon

I saw the driver of the Hampstead 'bus once, near St.
Giles's Church—an old, fat, red-faced man sitting bolt up-
right on the top of his 'bus in a driving storm of snow, fast
asleep with a huge waterproof over his great-coat which
descended with sweeping lines on to a tarpaulin. All this rose
out of a cloud of steam from the horses. He had a short clay
pipe in his mouth but, for the moment, he looked just like
Memnon.