208 MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
scrutinise with a very wary eye all the rest that he said.
I may mention a ludicrous but discreditable incident at a meeting of the Geographical Section of the British Association, which the timely reference of a paper before it was allowed to be read might perhaps have prevented. It was in Cambridge in 1862. Sir Roderick Murchison had been nominated as President of the Section, but fell ill just before the meeting, and I was nominated and elected in his stead. Mr. W., a Fellow of King's College, had been entrusted with the MSS of a recently deceased Oriental Professor, including a memoir on the inscription upon a stone near Aberdeen. It was well known to antiquarians, and had long puzzled them ; the Professor declared it to be Phenician. The title of the Geographical Section then included the already obsolete words "and Philology," so it was technically correct that the paper should be read there. Mr. W. called on me, most desirous, as he said, for the honour of the Association that a paper by so distinguished a University Professor should be read before it. I demurred, saying that it was doubtful whether a single member of the Committee knew a word of Phenician, or were able to discuss its merits. In reply to the, question whether that language was really sufficiently well understood to justify a translation, he assured me it was, and mentioned two great works in German, of which I knew nothing, in proof. I still hesitated, but said that if the Committee should agree to accept the, communication, I would offer no objection, and they did agree, under the spell of Mr. W.'s eIoquenee ; so the paper was accepted.