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98 A CENTURY OF BALLADS
" Before we left Albion Street my mother took me to say farewell to Sir Henry Bishop, who lived in the same street. We found him writing at a small piano in his drawing-room. He showed me, although a mere child, the desk he had had made to fit the pianoforte. It covered the keys, and enabled him to compose, and write what he composed, without moving from the instrument.
"Sir Henry was a courtly gentleman, in figure and appearance not unlike the great Duke of Wellington. We had not seen him for some time, and my mother asked him why he had absented himself from our house. 'Neighbours,' he replied, ' resemble the notes of music ; those in the closest proximity to each other should meet but seldom, in order to prevent their harmony being destroyed by discord.' "
A remark which, though it sounds more metaphorical than gallant, was evidently intended to be complimentary.