Page:Williamherschel00simegoog.djvu/117

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105
PRICES OF TELESCOPES

was a common price. To be an instrument-maker, and to sell telescopes, was allowed him by the King; but his sister's judgment on these conditions of the appointment is marked by her usual outspoken candour. Unfortunately, she presented the business in the least favourable light for the King, and her sentiments have been unfairly echoed to his discredit.[1]

Time so valuable as Herschel's was often absorbed by idle visitors, who understood little of his work, and made him no intellectual return. Sometimes a visit was paid to Slough that came to be remembered from its surroundings, but from nothing else. Of these none was more tragic than that of "the Princesse Lamballe, who came with a numerous attendance to see the moon, etc. About a fortnight after, her head was off." [2]

  1. another (Life of Newton, i. 67). In Lalande's Astronomy, vol. i. xlix-lii, is a price-catalogue of astronomical instruments. Short's prices were—

    12-inch reflector, 14 guineas.
    18 " 20 "
    24 " 35 "
    36 " 75 "
    48 " 100 "
    72 " 300 "
    144 " 800 "

    Only one telescope of 12 feet was made by Short. In presenting a 10-feet reflector to the Society at Göttingen, George {{sc|iii}. was following the example of his grandfather, the founder of the University, who presented it in 1756 with a mural quadrant of 6-feet radius, made by Bird (£175), and other instruments.

  2. Sir David Brewster goes too far on the other side when he says, "None of the sovereigns who either preceded or followed him have an equal claim on the homage of astronomers" (Life of Newton, i. 60). This could not be said of the King at first.
  3. Memoirs p. 332. This is assigned to 1787, when she was certainly in England; but the Princess perished in 1792.