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216   MEMORIES OF MY LIFE

prevail. So the duty of a General Secretary in those days was to consult a few of the more eminent persons at first, and again at the close, with the almost complete assurance that whatever names were suggested with their approval, whether as President, Presidents of Sections, or Lecturers, would be accepted by the Council. 'These consultations with many able men were very instructive. They showed the striking differences between the points of view from which original minds may regard the same topic. Unconventionality seems to be a marked characteristic of such minds ; I have noticed it elsewhere and very often.

Among the features of the Association meetings was the " Red Lion " Club, in which clever buffoonery was freely indulged. It was instituted by Edward Forbes (who was rather before my time, and whom I never had the pleasure of knowing). The governing idea was that its members were really lions, acquainted with one another, who had met by chance, during their prowls, in a town where strange proceedings were in progress. The speakers described what they had witnessed, speaking as it were from a superior and leonine pedestal.

I have only attended two of these meetings ; in one the buffoonery of Monckton Milnes (afterwards Lord Houghton) was of a first-class order. So also was the humorous sarcasm of Professor W. K. Clifford (1845-1879), the mathematician, also the mimicry of Mr., afterwards Sir, W. Chandler Roberts Austen, an accomplishment that it amazed me to find he possessed. Subsequently, on talking about it, he made the shrewd remark that a useful way of under-