James Bruce (1730-1794)
From 18th Century Literary Anecdotes

Bruce's book is both dull and dear. We join in clubs of five, each pays a guinea, draw lots who shall have it first, and the last to keep it for his patience.

Bruce's overbearing manner has raised enmity and prejudices; and he did wrong in retailing the most wonderful parts of his book in companies. A story may be credible when attended with circumstances, which seems false if detached.

I was present in a large company at dinner, when Bruce was talking away. Someone asked him what musical instruments were used in Abyssinia. Bruce hesitated, not being prepared for the question; and at last said,

`I think I saw one lyre there.'

George Selwyn whispered his next man,

`Yes; and there is one less since he left the country.'

From John Pinkerton, Walpoliana (2nd., n.d.), ii. 2-3.

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