"[F.J.W.] Roughton [a Fellow of Trinity] has a similar story from his schooldays. His father had been a G.P. in the Kettering area and had gone around his practice in a pony and trap, sometimes taking the young Roughton with him.
On one such occasion (about 1906) they visited an old unmarried brother and sister. While Roughton senior was attending to the brother, the sister took young Roughton on one side and said she would tell him a story which he should try to remember.
|Charles Eisen, Dance in a Ballroom. 1740s, pen and ink, brown wash and watercolors on paper. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England.|
When she was young, she was taken to a dance and was asked to dance by an old man who told her that he used to be in the army and had served in France in his youth. Whilst in Paris he attended a grand ball at which he danced with Marie Antoinette.
Roughton’s visit must have been around 1906 and if the officer and the old lady had each reached 85 years of age, the dance could have taken place 130 years before i.e. around 1776. …two long lives take us back many years."
Paley Johnson celebrated his ninetieth birthday. Speech delivered on 15 July
2007, Trinity College Cambridge