Doubtless we have much
earlier remembrances, though we must reckon these by days, or
by months at the outside. The relativity of the reckoning
would seem to make Time indeed a 'Form of Thought.'
Two or three reminiscences of my childhood have stuck to me;
some of them on account of their comicality. I was taken to
a children's ball at St. James's Palace. In my mind's eye I
have but one distinct vision of it. I cannot see the crowd -
there was nothing to distinguish that from what I have so
often seen since; nor the court dresses, nor the soldiers
even, who always attract a child's attention in the streets;
but I see a raised dais on which were two thrones. William
IV. sat on one, Queen Adelaide on the other. I cannot say
whether we were marched past in turn, or how I came there.
But I remember the look of the king in his naval uniform. I
remember his white kerseymere breeches, and pink silk
stockings, and buckled shoes. He took me between his knees,
and asked, 'Well, what are you going to be, my little man?'
'A sailor,' said I, with brazen simplicity.
'Going to avenge the death of Nelson - eh? Fond o' sugar-
'Ye-es,' said I, taking a mental inventory of stars and