A similar anecdote is related of another monarch, who, passing through a town in Holland, was charged thirty dollars for two eggs. On this, he said, that "Eggs were surely scarce in that town." "No, your majesty," replied the landlord, "but kings are."
The last words of this patriotic monarch are memorable for the noble moral for kings which they contain. "I have aimed at justice," said he to those around him; "but what king can be certain that he has always followed it? Perhaps I have done much evil of which I am ignorant. Frenchmen! who now hear me, I address myself in the presence of the Supreme Being to you. I find that kings are happy but in this—that they have the power of doing good."
The celebrated mathematical instrument maker, Mr. Ramsden, was frequently deficient in punctuality, and would delay for months, nay, for years, the delivery of instruments bespoken from him. His majesty, who had more than once experienced this dilatory disposition, once ordered an instrument, which he made Ramsden positively promise to deliver on a certain day. The day, however, came, but not the instrument. At length Ramsden sent word to the king that it was finished; on which a message was sent him, desiring that he would bring it himself to the palace. He, however, answered, that he would not come, unless his majesty would promise not to be angry with him. "Well, well," said the king, "let him come: as he confesses his fault, it would be hard to punish him for it." On this assurance he went to the palace, where he was graciously received; the king, after expressing his entire satisfaction with the instrument, only adding, with a good-natured smile, "You have been uncommonly punctual this time, Mr. Ramsden, having brought the instrument on the very day of the month you promised it; you have only made a small mistake in the date of the year." It was, in fact, exactly a year after the stipulated time.
Mr. Carbonel, the wine merchant who served George III., was a great favourite with the king, and used to be admitted to the royal hunts. Returning from the chase one day, his majesty entered affably into conversation with him, and rode with him side by side a considerable way. Lord Walsingham was in attendance; and watching an opportunity, took Mr. Carbonel aside, and whispered something to him. "What's that, what's that Walsingham has been saying to you?" inquired the good-humoured monarch. "I find, sire, I have been unintentionally guilty of disrespect; my lord informed me, that, I ought to have taken off my hat whenever I addressed your majesty; but your majesty will please to observe, that whenever I hunt, my hat is fastened to my wig, and my wig is fastened to my head, and I am on the back of a very high-spirited horse; so that if any thing goes off, we all go off together!" The king accepted, and laughed heartily at, the whimsical apology.
The king having purchased a horse, the dealer put into his hands a large sheet of paper, completely written over. "What's this?" said his majesty. "The pedigree of the horse, sire, which you have just bought," was the answer. "Take it back, take it back," said the king, laughing; "it will do very well for the next horse you sell."
The following affords a pleasing trait in the character of George the Third, as well as an instance of that feeling which ought to subsist between masters of all ranks and circumstances and their domestics:—
Inscription in the Cloisters of St. George's Chapel, Windsor.
King George III.
caused to be interred near this place the body of
Servant to the late Princess Amelia; and this tablet to be
erected in testimony of his grateful sense of the faithful
services and attachment of an amiable young woman to
his beloved daughter, whom she survived only three
months. She died the 19th February, 1811, aged 31
A very bold caricature was one day shown to his majesty, in which Warren Hastings was represented wheeling the king and the lord chancellor in a wheelbarrow for sale, and crying, "What a man buys, he may sell." The inference intended was, that his majesty and Lord Thurlow had used improper influence in favour of Hastings. The king smiled at the caricature, and observed, "Well, this is something new; I have been in all sorts of carriages, but was never put into a wheel-barrow before."
Charles II. was reputed a great connoisseur in naval architecture. Being once at Chatham, to view a ship just finished on the stocks, he asked the famous Killigrew, "If he did not think he should make an excellent shipwright?" He replied, "That he always thought his majesty would have done better at any trade than his own." No favourable compliment, but as true a one, perhaps, as ever was paid.