Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/385

This page needs to be proofread.

i2S.x.APBn,22,i922.] NOTES AND QUERIES. 315 after a painting by J. S. Copley, depicting the scene, published May 1, 1779. It shows " a boat with eight men rescuing a young man, bathing, from a shark on the right, which is just about to turn in the water " {' British Mezzotint Portraits,' J. Chaloner Smith, p. 596). Chaloner Smith says that Brook Watson was sixteen years old at the time and that it occurred in 1749, but, according to the ' D.N.B.,' whose arithmetic seems to be more precise, he was fourteen. He died at East Sheen on Oct. 2, 1807, and was buried at Mortlake. There is a long obituary notice in The Gentleman's Magazine <1807), pp. 987-8. He appears in the ' Histories of the Tete-a-tete,' in The Town and Country Magazine, in February, 1787 (vol. xix., p. 51), as "The Pensioned Magis- trate," and his vis-a-vis is a lady, called " The Subtle Prude." The accompanying portrait .shows him an old man in an alderman's gown. HORACE BLEACKLEY. Brook Watson, who was Lord Mayor of London in 1796, was born in 1735, and, when a, lad of fourteen, whilst bathing at Havana, was attacked by a shark and lost his foot and part of his leg. His life was saved by boat- men beating the shark off with a boat-hook. A print of this incident appears in ' Wonders of the Universe' (1824), p. 468. In 1759, Brook Watson settled in London as a mer- chant, having served as a commissary abroad. He was appointed Commissary General to the Army in North America in 1782, and upon his return in 1784 he was elected a member of Parliament for the City of London, and, after becoming Alderman and serving as Sheriff in 1785, was chosen Lord Mayor in 1796. In 1798 he. received a commission as Commissary-General of England, and was created a baronet in December, 1803. He lived for some years at The Cedars, East Sheen, where he died in 1807, his nephew, Sir William Kay, succeeding to the baronetcy. In the possession of the Barnes District Council is a print of the worthy baronet with a wooden leg and a pigtail. ALFRED J. WOOLMER. A book published in 1880 and entitled

  • The Squire's Daughter and Other Tales '

(reprinted from Chambers' 's Journal) contains the story of this Lord Mayor. The tale called * The Lost Leg ' is briefly this : Brook Watson was born about 1735 in Maine, U.S. A. He became, when twenty, the second mate of the schooner Royal Consort. This vessel sailed fromnHavana, and on July 14, 1755, lay in the Tropics ; here the intense heat one day led Watson to bathe. A shark sighted him and an exciting chase began. Luckily he was saved, but not, however, before his leg had provided the monster with a meal. In later life he became Lord Mayor of London, and was also made a baronet. Two inventors from America, while being entertained by Sir Brook Watson, overwhelmed him with questions on many matters ; finally they tried to find out how he lost his leg, a subject on which he was ever sensitive. Weary of their curiosity, he determined to get a joke out of it, so a bond was drawn up by which the Americans were to forfeit 1,000 if, on hearing his answer about his lost leg, they asked him any further questions. When this bond was duly signed and witnessed, he said to them, " It was bitten off ! " No more did he add, and his curious visitors departed " rather embarrassed and highly dissatisfied," and were heard questioning each other, '* Who do you s'pose bit off his leg ? " WINIFRED D. BEAL. The Old Farm, Poole, Dorset. " TOUR D'IVOIRE " (12 S. x. 251). On col. 545, vol. Ixix. (Jan. -June, 1914), of Ulnter- mediaire, a correspondent asked, under the above heading, whether this expression had been used with reference to any poets and thinkers earlier than Alfred de Vigny. He ended his letter with the question, " En tout cas, quel est 1'auteur de cette belle locu- tion ? " A reply appeared on col. 779, beginning " Cette image devenue en quelque sorte pro- verbiale, semble bien etre de la creation de Sainte-Beuve," and seven lines of his ' Pensees d'aout ' were given. Another answer was acknowledged to the same effect, and one followed in which I suggested that the source of the " belle locution " was to be found in ' The Song of Songs,' vii. 4, " Collum tuum sicut turris eburnea," and compared the ' Litany of Loretto,' Rosa mystica, Turris Davidica, Turris eburnea, Domus aurea, which Swinburne had in mind when, in the third stanza of ' Dolores,' he wrote O tower not of ivory, but builded By hands that reach heaven from hell ; O mystical rose of the mire, O house not of gold but of gain. EDWARD BENSLY.