Royal Tunbridge Wells
knighthood. " Please your Majesty," said the almost penniless Beau, " if you intend to make me a knight, I wish it may be one of your poor knights of Windsor, and then I shall have a fortune at least able to support my title." It is said that Nash, who as an unknown man refused the offer of knighthood from King William, declined at the zenith of his fame a similar honour at the hands of Queen Anne, lest, as the story goes, " Sir William Read, the mountebank, who had just been knighted, should call him brother." But as Sir William Read was knighted in 1705, the year in which Nash first went to Bath, the latter story is almost undoubtedly apocryphal, and is only given here because it is characteristic of the man.
Upon what Nash did in the long tale of years between the Temple pageant and his arrival at Bath, not even his earliest biographer, no less important a contemporary than Oliver Goldsmith, can throw any light. Rumour declares that he had many adventures, and probably rumour in this case did not lie. Currency has been given to one of these adventures. It is related that he was invited to dine on board a man-of-war under sailing 134