On the occasion of Lord Melville's trial before the house of lords Hook had a seat among the spectators. He could not resist the opportunity of mystifying his neighbors, a lady and her daughter from Sussex. When the bishops appeared in their state attire, wearing scarlet and lawn sleeves over their doctor's robes, he confidentially observed to the lady:
"Those are not gentlemen. They are ladies, elderly ladies — the dowager peeresses in their own right."
When the speaker of the house of commons appeared and attracted attention by the rich embroidery of his robes, the lady inquired:
"Pray, sir, who is that fine looking person opposite?"
"That, madam," said Hook, "is Cardinal Wolsey!"
"No, sir," cried the lady, with a look of angry disdain; "we knows a little better than that. Cardinal Wolsey has been dead many a good year!"
"No such thing, madam, I assure you," replied Hook, with imperturbable gravity. "It has been, I know, so reported in the country, but without the least foundation. In fact, those rascally newspapers will say anything." — Temple Bar.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008