Days Like These

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The Independent Culture
7 November 1739

THOMAS GRAY,

poet, describes an incident while crossing the Alps

"Mr [Horace] Walpole had a little fat black spaniel, that he was very fond of, which he used to let run. We were in a rough road, not two yards broad at most; on one side was a great wood of pines, and on the other a vast precipice; it was noon-day, when all of a sudden, from the wood-side out rushed a great wolf, came close to the head of the horses, seized the dog by the throat, and rushed up the hill again with him in his mouth. This was done in less than a quarter of a minute; we all saw it, and yet the servants had not the time to draw their pistols, or do anything to save the dog."

10 November 1871

HENRY STANLEY,

journalist, `finds' David Livingstone

"I pushed back the crowds and, passing from the rear, walked down a living avenue of people, until I came to the semi-circle of Arabs, in front of which stood the white man. As I advanced slowly towards him I noticed he was pale, looked wearied, had a grey beard, wore a bluish cap with a faded gold band round it, had on a red-sleeved waistcoat and a pair of grey tweed trousers. I did not know how he would receive me; so I did what cowardice and false pride suggested was the best thing - walked deliberately to him, took off my hat, and said: `Dr Livingstone, I presume?' `Yes,' said he, with a kind of smile, lifting his cap slightly. I replace my hat on my head, and he puts on his cap, and we both grasp hands, and say: `I thank God, Doctor, I have been permitted to see you.' He answered, `I feel thankful that I am here to welcome you.'"

11 November 1828

FRANZ SCHUBERT

(pictured) writes to his friend Franz von Schober

"Dear Schober, I am ill. I have eaten and drunk nothing for 11 days, and am so tired and shaky that I can only get from the bed to the chair and back. Rinna is attending me. If I taste anything, I bring it up again directly. In this distressing condition, be so kind as to help me to some reading. Of [James Fenimore] Cooper's I have read The Last of the Mohicans, The Spy, The Pilot and The Pioneers. If you have anything else of his, I entreat you to leave it with Frau von Bogner... My brother will bring it to me in the most conscientious way, or anything else. Your friend, Schubert."

[He died eight days later.]

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