Dr. Joseph Black (1728-1799)
From 18th Century Literary Anecdotes

DR. JOSEPH BLACK was a striking and beautiful person; tall, very thin, and cadaverously pale; his hair carefully powdered, though there was little of it except what was collected into a long thin queue; his eyes dark, clear, and large, like deep pools of pure water. He wore black speckless clothes, silk stockings, silver buckles, and either a slim green silk umbrella, or a genteel brown cane. The general frame and air were feeble and slender. The wildest boy respected Black. No lad could be irreverent towards a man so pale, so gentle, so elegant, and so illustrious. So he glided, like a spirit, through our rather mischievous sportiveness, unharmed. He died, seated, with a bowl of milk on his knee, of which his ceasing to live did not spill a drop; a departure which it seemed, after the event happened, might have been foretold of this attenuated philosophical gentleman.

From Henry, Lord Cockbum, Memorials of his Time (1856), pp. 50-1.

« NEXT » « 18th Century Anecdotes » « All Anecdotes » « Humour » « Library »