Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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144               Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
the next time she wanted a dress, went for her silks or satins to Mills's or Hannington's! He was very absent, too—had fits of abstraction, in which he did strange things and became the butt of practical jokers, so that it was not to be wondered at that the business left him which he was so desirous to get rid of. He did not, indeed, get into his right place until comparatively late in life, when Dr. Mantell opened his Geological Museum at Brighton; and then there was no man so fit to explain and preside over its treasures as George Richardson, the ex-draper, the linguist, the lecturer, the writer of verse and prose—of touching lines and witty jeux d' esprit —the reporter and journalist, the amateur actor and laborious student of music and dancing! Yes, this self-educated man, having carried his powers into all these and other lines— amongst them, conversation and mimicry—found himself at last a worshipper in the Temple of Science—and a more devoted one never entered it. For the first time his powers were concentrated—he had a fixed and sole aim and object, and his wonderful memory and organ of acquisitiveness came into full play. In a short time he had so mastered the facts and theories of geology and the kindred science of crystal­lography that he was able not only to edit—in point of fact, to write—the latest work of Dr. Mantell, founded on the Lectures which that talented man delivered in Brighton, and which, being delivered extempore, were reported by Richardson, but to write a work on the subject which has since become a text-book of geology. So thoroughly, too, did he master the contents of the Mantellian Museum that, when it was bought by the State and transferred to the British Museum, it was necessary to take its Curator with it, and he became a Sub-Curator of the national institution. There he was in his element, and was appreciated at his value by the savans, native and foreign, who resorted to the geological department of the Museum, and with the latter of whom, whether French, German, Italian, or Spanish, he was able to hold converse in their own tongues. He was on the way to higher things when his career was suddenly brought to a calamitous close. I have
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