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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 437



XVII.] JOHN RICHARD GREEN. 431 and pompous professor and a bright ascetic young divine, met in a railway carriage ; how the burly professor aired his erudition by a little history lecture (an anticipation of the informal instruction of the Commissioners) on every object of interest that was passed on the road, and how each of his assumptions and assertions was capped by an answer from the ascetic divine which showed that he knew it all and knew it better. The professor at last, exasperated by the rejoinders, broke into a parody of the famous address of Erasmus, 'aut Morus aut diabolus,' substituting for Moras ' Johnny Green.' Could this be true? It was in 1863 that we met ; I was not yet a professor, he had not begun to wear the air of an ascetic. We were invited to Wells, to a meeting of the Somerset Archaeological Society, to stay with a common friend whom you will have-no difficulty in identifying. I was told, 'if you leave the station at two you will meet Green, and possibly Dimock,' the biographer of S. Hugh whom I knew already. I knew by description the sort of man I was to meet ; I recognised him as he got into the Wells carriage, holding in his hand a volume of Renan. I said to myself, ' if I can hinder, he shall not read that book.' We sat opposite and fell immediately into conversation. I dare say that I aired my erudition so far as to tell him that I was going to the Archaeological meeting and to stay at Somerleaze. ' Oh then,' he said, ' you must be either Stubbs or Dimock.' I replied, ' I am not Dimock.' He came to me at Navestock afterwards, and that volume of Renan found its way uncut into my wa"ste-paper basket. That is all ; a matter of confusion and inversion ; and so, they say, history is written. Well, perhaps a friendship between two historical workers may be called a historic friendship and, to be historical, should gather some of the mist of fable about its beginning : anyhow it was a friendship that lasted for his life, and the loss of which I shall never cease regretting.


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