THE late William Dunn, Esq. of
Duntocher, grew up from a state of poverty in early life to be a man of
vast wealth, as his works testify! Nor was he niggardly with his means. He
lived luxuriously in his handsome mansion in St. Vincent Place, since
demolished to make way for the West of England Insurance and other
offices. He gave the best of dinners with the most delicious wines he
could procure; certainly a great change to one who had been brought up on
porridge and sour milk in a rural district not very far distant. At one of
these grand dinners the late facetious Lord Robertson, one of the Judges
of the Supreme Court - a great wag, and very intimate with Mr. Dunnó acted
as flunkey, and another time as cook, even wiping the kitchen plates with
his apron in this practical exemplification of
High Life Below Stairs.
Mr. Dunn had many good qualities,
and in subscriptions for charitable purposes he was rarely behind any of
his neighbours. If the genial fit was upon him he would give more
liberally perhaps than any other man within call; but if any stubborn or
ill-natured fit was upon him, it was quite needless to say a word to him.
One day he was waited on by a douce deputation, who, after making their
profound bow, handed him the subscription paper. He signed his name for
"Two guineas, Mr. Dunn, only two
guineas for such a noble, philanthropic purpose!" exclaimed a member of
the deputation, in astonishment! Another said:
"Mr. Dunn, you ought to sign
for at least fifty guineas." Others more modestly besought him to treble
or even to double it, but his decided reply was:
"Not another penny, gentlemen, not
another penny." One of them, annoyed, and probably more rude than he
should have been, quoted the text:
"It is easier for a camel to go
through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of
heaven." And he expounded it pretty strongly by telling Mr. Dunn that he
ought to give of his means liberally while he was yet spared upon the
earth, as he could take none of his money with him to the other world.
I know that perfectly well," replied Mr. Dunn; "it
is the only thing I am vexed about."
Saying this, he bowed them out of his apartment.