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I saw this very clever, and most in tell gent man carried to Lis grave. I was extremely \ oung al the time, hut some particular circumstances attending his funeral were strongly impressed on my mind; owing to a difficulty of some kind which was experienced in taking his corpse out of the house, a window-frame was removed and the coffin conveyed through an aperture in the wall. About this time, too, I remember an old gentleman, one Doctor Collier, who showed me some large folio volumes of the works of Homer and Virgil: the plates of the heathen Gods and Goddesses awakened my attention and made me anxious to be better acquainted with them. A few years afterwards the opportunity offered itself, for I saw these very books when they became the property of a relation of the Doctor's at Normanton.
Books having thus- fallen in my way, and being previously somewhat acquainted with almanacks, £ began to scribble enigmas, &c. Some of them were shown to a friend who sent them to "The Ladies and Gentlemen's Diaries," &c. Many of the trifles thus sent were inserted, and I often received complimentary notices from the Editors and their various contributors.
At that time the chief management of " The Gentleman's Diary" was intrusted to the Rev. Charles Wildbore, whose talents as a mathematician were universally acknowledged, for, as such, few, if any, ever excelled him. I once saw him returning homeward from Nottingham and I felt a degree of respect for him that I cannot well describe. He had recently preached a sermon at this Town when almost all the charity children were collected. His discourse was most effective! By way of encouraging the boys to persevere in their duties at school, he told them that he was once situated exactly as they were. The learning he first obtained 'was bestowed upon him in the same gratuitous manner. That he received the first rudiments of grammar at a free school in that Town; and, for all besides, he was indebted to the kindness of his friends and the persevering efforts of his own industry! He endeavoured to impress on their youthful minds that, without industry, nothing good or useful could be attained and so permanently established in the memory as to prove practicably valuable in life.
A story is related of this gentleman'that maybe worth repeating: it proceeds from so respectable a quarter that there is no doubt of its truth. In the early part of his life, before any idea was entertained of his becoming a clergyman, Mr. Wildbore had been noticed for his expertness at figures, and a certain readiness in calculations of all kinds, that was very extraordinary. He had made such rapid advances in this art that he surprised his instructors. Having hear I of his singular abilities, a kind hearted old gentleman took him into his house, and indulged him in his love of books, and more especially in all his figurative propensities. This benevolent gentleman took a great fancy to his young protege, Master Charles Wildbore. He was frequently employed on little missions where the servants were not thought sufficiently trustworthy, but Master Charles possessed the full confidence of his benefactor on all occasions. Persons acquainted 'with Nottingham must be aware that it has long been celebrated for its good cellars and excellent ale. There is a famous old song on the subject, the burden of which is, "No liquor on earth is like Nottingham ale!" Now the good old man just alluded to had made himself conspicuous for his generous disposition and the general excellence of his tap. One day a few of his friends were assembled to taste it, Charles 'was instantly called to fill a pitcher of the best ale. The young arithmetician did not at first hear him; he was up to his middle in mathematics. On being called a second time, Charles came. The old gentleman bade him take particular care not to spoil the fineness of his ale by shaking the barrel, or any other carelessness, such as taking out the air-peg or loosening the spigot and faucet; but desired him to pay the utmost attention to what he was doing. Charles replied "Yes, Sir;" and immediately ran down into the cellar with the jug. Rather unfortunately for Charles, he had in his pocket the small piece of slate on which he had before been calculating and discussing a very knotty question in algebra, having just made out a regular and clear statement of its mathematical results. After Charles had been in the cellar a few minutes, the old gentleman rather impatiently called to him to make haste. This disturbed Charles in his favorite study; so, snatching up the jug, to his master he ran and placed it before the thirsty gentlemen. Judge their surprise when they saw the 'spigot sticking between Charles's teeth. He had placed it
.there while figuring on his piece of slale in the rellar, but, in his haste, had brought it away with him and of course left the liquor running to waste on the cellar floor. Luckily, however, not many gallons were lost, for the old gentleman himself ran down to remedy the evil as far as it lay in his power. He readily forgave the blunder, but was cautious afterwards how he trusted Charles to draw his most excellent ale.
There was another person at Nottingham well known to me when I first began scribbling for the almanacks! This was a fine grey-headed old gentleman of the name of Pearson. His every look, every feature, bore the marks of intelligence, good-humour and good sense. He was well known and most highly respected; his private character was estimable and his'public conduct rendered him 'popular. His literary qualifications were of the first order, in the line he aimed at!—His wit was sparkling, his humour excellent! There was always something to admire, even in the' most playful productions of his pen.
Mr. Pearson, at this time, was the editor of Season's Almanack, as well as that of the wonderful Physician and Astrologer Francis Moore, then, and perhaps still, most singularly celebrated for "Nativity calculations," [ /'Horoscopes" and " Astrological Hieroglyphics " and, above all, for his prognostics of the weather! Not one of these wonders did Mr. Pearson himself believe. Nay, he was once candid enough to say so to his employers, the Stationers' Company. He proposed omitting many of the conjuring and weather-wise observations, and to substitute matter of a more useful kind. -But the
worshipful Company, having the good of their country at heart, declined the proposed alteration; wisely alledging that the utility of almanacks was not to depend on their opinion, but on the opinion of their customers. That utility was a matter of taste. But it was certain that whatsoever most increased their profits was to them the most useful: therefore they very much feared that the improvement of the work might injure the sale of it; and of course it would be very unwise to omit the weather-wise remarks.
Now these arguments were enough to puzzle any conjuror; and Mr. Pearson, though he had been conjuring for ye:irs, had not one word to say for himself! He was what is often called dumbfoundered. He was obliged to jump again into the moon and employ his time in his old trade of star-gazing!
Here let us hazard a few observations on the trade of almanack making, or rather of almanack selling. May not the very great sale of Moore's Almanack be considered as a barometrical index or graduated scale by which the intellect of the country may be guessed at, if not accurately measured? As far as relates to England and its different counties, perhaps, no better means of forming a judgment can be imagined, than the extensive sale of this, compared with that of the other almanacks. Some years of inquiry have induced me to believe, that this work circulates far and wide. However this worthy company has of late condescended to study the improved condition of the people by publishing several improved almanacks. A laudable undertaking, and calculated, in time, to effect much god, by the