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"I give and bequeath unto the person for the time being Emperor of China the sum of nineteen pounds nineteen shillings as a mark of my gratitude for the uniform attention with which I was treated by the officials of that empire during my visit there in the year one thousand eight hundred and fiftyfive."
Another unexpected development in the East is the rejuvenation of Turkey, which is now in a far more stable condition than for the last two hundred years, during which it has constantly been expected to break up.
Lord Palmerston, M. Thiers, and Lord Stratford de Redcliffe meeting once in Paris, the conversation turned on the state of Turkey; and M. Thiers asked Lord Palmerston if he thought the "sick man was about to die. The English statesman, in his usual genial manner, jokingly replied: "I was one day walking in the streets of London, when a passerby told me that my pocket-handkerchief was hanging out of my pocket, and that I should lose it. 'Thank you, sir,' I answered; 'but I believe that unless someone pulls it out it will not fall! Turkey is in the same position-if she be not thrown down, she will maintain herself perfectly."
This forecast has been completely verified.
I remember Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, who used to send me some of the poetry which he wrote after he had retired. The strong, vigorous, and independent school of ambassadors to which he belonged seems
SIR ROBERT MORIER
now to be extinct. About the last was the late Sir Robert Morier, a great friend of mine, who was quite determined not to be dominated by anybody, and was always prepared to resent the slightest attempt to make him play second fiddle.
This was once very forcibly impressed upon me when I met him at Hatfield during the visit of the old Shah of Persia to the fine old ancestral home of the Cecils.
Sir Robert was taking me to have some tea, and there being a great crowd we could not find our way to where refreshments were being dispensed, with the result that he eventually inquired the way from one of the attendants who, perfectly recognizing the famous Ambassador said, "Your place, Sir Robert, is in the Lower Room."'"
This reply made Sir Robert highly indignant and considerably ruffled. He proceeded on his way with me on his arm indignantly murmuring, "The Lower Room, the Lower Room," once or twice stopping to pointedly inquire of people he passed, "Can you direct me to my place in the 'Lower Room'?" and when we got there his indignation had by no means subsided. Under these circumstances I was considerably relieved, when we finally reached our destination, to catch sight of the Shah himself there. Turning to Sir Robert I said, "Well, after all, you were wrong to think you had been slighted, for there," and I pointed to the impassive figure of the old Eastern Monarch, "is the king of kings himself, and
surely you can't want to be in more exalted company than that?
Sir Robert realized that he had been mistaken, and for the rest of the afternoon was in the best of humours.
Sir Robert's bluff, generous, outspoken methods were, perhaps, never better illustrated than by his behaviour towards a friend of mine, the late Sir Edward Fitzgerald Law.
In the late Eighties of the last century, Major Law, as the latter then was, after having for some time been connected with certain mercantile enterprises in Russia, the language of which country he knew well, was appointed to the new post of Financial and Commercial Attaché, with headquarters at St. Petersburg.
When Sir Robert heard of the appointment he was very much annoyed, not unnaturally, perhaps, disliking the idea of a man who had spent many years in a country as merchant returning in an official capacity. His first greeting to Major Law was, consequently, anything but cordial, in fact he made no bones about telling him that he did not know why he had ever been appointed at all.
Nevertheless, before the interview was ended, the greatest cordiality prevailed between the Ambassador and his new Attaché, whose forcible personality and enthusiasm appealed so quickly to Sir Robert that from that day forward he was ever his warm friend and supporter.
TRAVELLERS AND THEIR TALES
Sir Robert Morier, I believe, was a difficult man to work with, which explains many seemingly incomprehensible things which are to be found in the very able biography of him written by his daughter. A man of indomitable strength and character, his habit of pontificating naturally aroused a good deal of covert opposition amongst weaker characters, to whom his dominating methods did not appeal.
On one occasion when he, Mr. Chamberlain, the late Sir Charles Dilke, and the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the day happened to meet together at tea in the House of Commons, the conversation chanced to turn upon some subject about which Sir Robert felt very strongly, with the result that he pontificated for nearly an hour.
As the party broke up, Mr. Chamberlain, turning to the Under Secretary of State, said, "Do what I was thinking all that time?"
you know No," was the
reply. "I was thinking," then said he, "that I might thank my stars that I was not Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs."
In these days it is curious to recall how, not so very long ago, anyone who ventured outside Europe was considered to have done something quite remarkable. Now that nearly the whole of the world has been explored, the "lionizing" of people who have journeyed to out-of-the-way places is a thing of the past.
Most travellers have little new to tell, whilst every day we are becoming more and more cosmopolitan.
Forty or fifty years ago all sorts of wonderful stories used to be told by returned wanderers when they underwent the lionizing process. Some of these men had a considerable sense of humour.
"And you had no other European with you?” asked a gushing lady of a bronzed individual just returned from the South Seas.
"Oh yes, I had one that lived in another island not far from me."
"I suppose, like yourself," she continued," he was British bred? Had he the same taste as yourself?" 'No, madam," was the reply, "he wasn't bread, he was meat-leastwise the natives ate him; and as for his taste, the chief, I was told, said he tasted terribly of tobacco!"
As a rule, travellers who had been to out-of-theway parts of the world returned laden with a number of strange costumes. In connexion with this an amusing story used to be told of the Prince de Joinville, whose sister, Princess Clementine, manifested great interest in the costume of the females of the South Sea Islands which her brother had visited.
"I should have liked," she said, "to have tried on one."
Nothing can be easier, my dear sister," replied the Prince. "I assure you "I assure you that your reproaches are unjust, for I have brought you the complete costume of a savage queen, who was about your height." "Do let me see it."
"I will have it brought to you to-morrow."