Page:Studies of a Biographer 1.djvu/47

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33
NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY

Caunt, to illustrate the halo which lingered round the last days of prize-fighting. I venture to contribute a fresh anecdote to his life. I once made a pilgrimage to the place where Milton wrote the Allegro and Penseroso. The name of the poet seemed to have vanished, but a bust of the great Ben Caunt showed that the spirit of hero-worship was not extinct. Its possessor told us the story with legitimate pride. A son of the hero had brought it in a cart to an admirer after the original's death. He stopped at an inn to refresh himself 'with a bottle of soda-water,' with the result that he upset the cart at the next turning, and the bust fell upon him and killed him on the spot. The bust happily survived, and remains to kindle the enthusiasm of the villagers. Should not a Caunt be remembered as well as a Milton? He represents a type which had been characteristic, at least, of the days of the men of Trafalgar and Waterloo. A more respectable memorial of that time was the sturdy Carew (Hallowell was his name at the time) who gave to Nelson a coffin made from the mainmast of the Orient, to remind the great man (it was suggested) that he was still mortal. The reminder was hardly needful, one would think, just after the battle of the Nile.

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