A Quarter of an Hour.—When Lord Nelson was leaving London, on his last, but glorious, expedition against the enemy, a quantity of cabin furniture was ordered to be sent on board his ship. He had a farewell dinner party at his house; and the upholsterer having waited upon his lordship, with an account of the completion of the goods, was brought into the dining-room, in a corner of which his lordship spoke with him. The upholsterer stated to his employer, that everything was finished, and packed, and would go in the wagon, from a certain inn, at six o'clock. "And you go to the inn, Mr. A., and see them off?" "I shall, my lord; I shall be there punctually at six." "A quarter before six, Mr. A.," returned Lord Nelson, "be there a quarter before six. To that quarter of an hour I owe everything in life."
Mr. Scott, of Exeter, travelled on business till about eighty years of age. He was one of the most celebrated characters in the kingdom for punctuality, and by his methodical conduct, joined to uniform diligence, he gradually amassed a fortune. For a long series of years, the proprietor of every inn he frequented in Devon and Cornwall knew the day, and the very hour, he would arrive. A short time before he died, a gentleman on a journey in Cornwall stopped at a small inn at Port Isaac to dine. The waiter presented him with a bill of fare, which he did not approve of; but observing a fine duck roasting, "I'll have that," said the traveller. "You cannot, sir," said the landlord; "it is for Mr. Scott of Exeter." "I know Mr. Scott very well," rejoined the gentlemen; "he is not in your house." "True, sir," said the landlord, "but six months ago, when he was here last, he ordered a duck to be ready for him this day, precisely at two o'clock;" and, to the astonishment of the traveller, he saw the old gentleman, on his Rosinante, jogging into the inn-yard about five minutes before the appointed time.
A gentleman who, in the year 1826, travelled with Sir Walter Scott in the coach from Edinburgh to Jedburgh, relates the following anecdote illustrative of his regard for punctuality, and his willingness to serve all who placed confidence in him, particularly those engaged in literary pursuits.—"We had performed half the journey," writes our informant, "when Sir Walter started as from a dream, exclaiming: 'Oh, my friend G——, I have forgotten you till this moment!' A short mile brought us to a small town, where Sir Walter ordered a post-chaise, in which he deposited his luggage, consisting of a well-worn short hazel stick, and a paper parcel containing a few books; then, much to my regret, he changed his route, and returned to the Scottish capital. The following month I was again in Edinburgh, and curiosity induced me to wait on the friend G—— apostrophised by Sir Walter, and whose friendship I had the honour to possess. The cause of Sir Walter's return, I was informed, was this:—He had engaged to furnish an article for a periodical conducted by my friend, but the promise had slipped from his memory—a most uncommon occurrence, for Sir Walter was gifted with the best of memories—until the moment of his exclamation. His instant return was the only means of retrieving the error. Retrieved, however, it was; and the following morning Mr. G—— received several sheets of closely-written manuscript, the transcribing of which alone must have occupied half the night."