HERBERT SPENCER AND HIS DISCIPLE
HERBERT SPENCER, with his friend Mr. Lott and myself, were fellow travelers on the Servia from Liverpool to New York in 1882. I bore a note of introduction to him from Mr. Morley, but I had met the philosopher in London before that. I was one of his disciples. As an older traveler, I took Mr. Lott and him in charge. We sat at the same table during the voyage.
One day the conversation fell upon the impression made upon us by great men at first meeting. Did they, or did they not, prove to be as we had imagined them? Each gave his experience. Mine was that nothing could be more different than the being imagined and that being beheld in the flesh.
"Oh!" said Mr. Spencer, "in my case, for instance, was this so?"
"Yes," I replied, "you more than any. I had imagined my teacher, the great calm philosopher brooding, Buddha-like, over all things, unmoved; never did I dream of seeing him excited over the question of Cheshire or Cheddar cheese." The day before he had peevishly pushed away the former when presented by the steward, exclaiming "Cheddar, Cheddar, not Cheshire; I said Cheddar." There was a roar in which none joined more heartily than the sage himself. He refers to this incident of the voyage in his Autobiography.1
Spencer liked stories and was a good laugher. American stories seemed to please him more than others, and____________________