Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 2/Ana (March 3, 1860)


Macaulayana.—Notwithstanding Macaulay’s reputation for conversational power, he appears to have uttered few bon mots, to have made few conversational points which are repeated and remembered. One of the very few good stories current of him is the following. It is said that he met Mrs. Beecher Stowe at Sir Charles Trevelyan’s, and rallied her on her admiration of Shakspeare. “Which of his characters do you like best?” said he.—“Desdemona,” said the lady.—“Ah, of course,” was the reply, “for she was the only one who ran after a black man.”

Lord Macaulay’s Memory.—The late Lord Macaulay’s memory was perfectly astounding. At a friend’s house, not very many months ago, he was quoting in rapid succession long passages from the ballads of the northern counties of England. On being asked by one of the party where he had obtained such stores of poetic lore, he replied that he had spent a great part of one of his long vacations whilst at Cambridge in the North of England, and had taken that opportunity of traversing Cumberland and Northumberland on foot, entering the cottages of the poor people, and sitting down in their chimney-corners to chat; and that he made it a point not to leave a cottage without extracting from each good woman some story or legend, in prose or in poetry, which he carefully recorded day by day. He added, that he did not know where this store of folk-lore now was, but added that it would probably turn up amongst his papers some day or other. We trust that his executors will now remember the hint, and do their best to exhume the buried treasure.