The following anecdote, told by Stocqueler, is well authenticated, and illustrates at once the Duke's great love of children, and his thoughtfulness for their welfare. The son of Kendall, the Duke's valet, was at school near Strathfieldsaye, and was spending a day with his father at Apsley House. The Duke's bell rang; Kendall, answering it, was followed by the lad into the study.
"Whose boy is that?" asked the Duke quickly.
"Mine, your Grace," replied Kendall, "and I humbly ask your Grace's pardon for his coming into the room, not knowing your Grace was here."
"Oh! that is nothing," quoth the Duke; "but I didn't know you had a son, Kendall. Send him in and leave him with me."
So the boy—greatly trembling—was sent in to the Duke, who asked him if he knew to whom he was speaking. "Yes, sir—your Grace, I mean."
"Oh, my little fellow," answered the Duke, "it will be easier for you to call me 'sir.' You call your schoolmaster 'sir,' don't ye? Call me 'sir' too, if you choose. Now I wonder if you can play draughts."
"Come on then; we'll have a game, and I'll give you two men."
Down they sat; the boy said afterwards that he really thought he was going to win the second game, but his doughty antagonist laid a trap for him, and chuckled mightily when he fell into it.
The games over, the Duke asked the boy a lot of questions in geography, and then said—
"Well, you shall dine with me to-day; but I shall not dine yet: would you like to see my pictures?" and he trotted him round the great gallery. Then the Duke took him among the statues—" important fellows " he said they were—but the boy said he preferred the pictures.
"I thought so," observed the Duke; "but tell me—which of these is most like your schoolmaster?"
Young Kendall picked out a bust without moustaches, which happened to be a likeness of the Duke himself.
"Oh! well," laughed the Duke, "that is a very good man of his sort. Come now, we'll go to dinner. I have ordered it early, as I suppose you dine early at school."
"At one o'clock, sir," said the lad.
"A very good hour," said the Duke. "I used to dine at one when I was at school."
They sat down tete-a-tete, the anxious father being told that the bell would ring when he was required. Having said grace, the Duke told the boy that he would give him a little of every dish, as he knew boys liked to taste all they saw. Dinner over, the lad was dismissed with the injunction—
"Be a good boy; do your duty; now you may go to your father."
About four years later the Duke was detained on the South Eastern railway for two hours, when travelling to attend a meeting of the Privy Council. He was exceedingly indignant, and communicated his complaint to Mr. Macgregor, chairman of the company. Nothing more is known of the incident, except this, that immediately afterwards young Kendall was appointed to a clerkship in Mr. Macgregor's bank at Liverpool, after which he was transferred to the Ordnance Department in Ireland. The presumption is fair that the Duke supplemented his income during the early years of his clerkship, which is always insisted upon in a bank, and which must have been far beyond the means of his father to do.