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Odd Bits of History by Henry W. Wolff

ODD BITS OF HISTORY.

ODD BITS OF HISTORY BEING _SHORT CHAPTERS INTENDED TO FILL SOME BLANKS_

BY HENRY W. WOLFF

LONDON LONGMANS, GREEN & Co. AND NEW-YORK: 15 EAST 16th STREET 1894.

_(All rights reserved.)_

PREFACE.

The chapters composing this book appeared originally in the shape of review articles. I owe acknowledgments to the Editors of _Blackwood's Magazine_, the _National Review_ and the _Gentleman's Magazine_ for the permission kindly accorded me to republish them.

To my regret I find, on receiving the clean sheets, that pressure of time and a rather troublesome nervous affection of one eye have led me to overlook a few printer's errors, such as: p. 70, _occassion_ for _occasion_; p. 137, _Fuensaldana_ for _Fuensaldana_; p. 253, _Nicephoras Phorcas_ for _Nicephorus Phocas_; p. 267, _Polydore Virgil_ for _Polydore Vergil_. The misprints will in every instance, I believe, explain themselves.

H. W. W.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE PRETENDER AT BAR-LE-DUC 1

II. RICHARD DE LA POLE, "WHITE ROSE" 58

III. THE EARLY ANCESTORS OF OUR QUEEN 91

IV. ABOUT A PORTRAIT AT WINDSOR 120

V. THE REMNANT OF A GREAT RACE 145

VI. VOLTAIRE AND KING STANISLAS 181

VII. THE PRINCE CONSORT'S UNIVERSITY DAYS 219

VIII. SOMETHING ABOUT BEER 248

I.--THE PRETENDER AT BAR-LE-DUC.[1]

"The Pretender Charles Edward resided here three years in a house which is still pointed out." So you may read in "Murray," under the head of "Bar-le-Duc." The information, which is apt to suggest inquiry to those who, like myself, are fond of picking up a little bit of neglected history on their travels, is, as it happens, not altogether accurate. For, in the first place, the "Pretender" who "resided" at Bar was not "Charles Edward" at all--_could_ not have been "Charles Edward," who was not born till five years after the Pretender who _did_ reside there had left. In the second, so little is "the house still pointed out" that, on my first visit to Bar, in August, 1890, I could actually not find a soul to give me even the vaguest information as to its whereabouts. Even mine hostess of the "Cygne," in whose stables, I afterwards discovered, some of the Pretender's horses had been put up, had never heard of our political exile. "_Cela doit etre dans la Haute Ville_"--"_Cela doit etre dans la Basse Ville_"--"_Eh bien, moi je n'en sais rien_." Why should they know about the Pretender? There were no thanks, surely, due to him. While in the town, he had given himself intolerable airs, had put the town to no end of expense and all manner of trouble, and in the end had slunk away without so much as a word of thanks or farewell, leaving a heavy score of debts to be paid--and, up in a cottage perched on the very brow of the picturesque hill--for which some one else had to pay the rent--one pretty little Barisienne disconsolate, betrayed, disgraced. There was, in fact, but one man belonging to the town who had taken the trouble to trace the house from the description given in the local archives--a description, indeed, exact enough--M. Vladimir Konarski, and he was away on his holiday. There was nothing, then, for me to do, but to go home with an empty note-book, _quoad_ Bar, and return in 1891 to resume my inquiry.


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