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Hearne's Love Of Ale

Thomas Warton, in his Account of Oxford, relates that at the sign of

Whittington and his Cat, the laborious antiquary, Thomas Hearne, "one

evening suffered himself to be overtaken in liquor. But, it should be

remembered, that this accident was more owing to his love of antiquity

than of ale. It happened that the kitchen where he and his companion

were sitting was neatly paved with sheep's trotters disposed in various

mpartments. After one pipe, Mr. Hearne, consistently with his usual

gravity and sobriety, rose to depart; but his friend, who was inclined

to enjoy more of his company, artfully observed, that the floor on which

they were then sitting was no less than an original tesselated Roman

pavement. Out of respect to classic ground, and on recollection that

the Stunsfield Roman pavement, on which he had just published a

dissertation, was dedicated to Bacchus, our antiquary cheerfully

complied; an enthusiastic transport seized his imagination; he fell on

his knees and kissed the sacred earth, on which, in a few hours, and

after a few tankards, by a sort of sympathetic attraction, he was

obliged to repose for some part of the evening. His friend was,

probably, in the same condition; but two printers accidentally coming

in, conducted Mr. Hearne, between them, to Edmund's Hall, with much

state and solemnity."

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