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Hearthrug

"In 1846 Edward Lear was asked to give Queen Victoria a course of drawing lessons. These progressed very well and Lear soon felt quite at ease in the royal apartments. He liked to stand in front of the fire, warming his coat tails, but every time he took up his position on the hearthrug, facing the queen, one of the lords-in-waiting would invite him to look at something on the far side of the room, thus obliging him to move. No one explained, and the episode was repeated several times before it dawned upon Lear that etiquette forbade a subject to adopt such a relaxed and comfortable posture in his sovereign's presence."

[Following one lesson, Victoria, having taken a liking to Lear, showed him several miniatures and other treasures elegantly displayed in the royal apartments. "Oh," Lear exclaimed, "where did you get all these beautiful things?" Replied the queen: "I inherited them, Mr. Lear."]

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