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able to find any word in the writings of the younger poet to show his consciousness of the fact that Gray's eye was attracted to the situation of Rydal Mount exactly six months before he himself saw the light at Cockermouth. At Ambleside, then quite unprepared for the accommodation of strangers, Gray could find no decent bed, and so went on to Kendal, for the first few miles skirting the broad waters of Windermere, magnificent in the soft light of afternoon. He spent two nights at Kendal, drove round Morecambe Bay and slept at Lancaster on the 10th ; reached Settle, under the “ long black cloud of Ingleborough,” on the 12th ; and we find him still wandering among the wild western moors of Yorkshire when the journal abruptly closes on the 15th of October. On the 18th he was once more at Aston with Mason, and he returned to Cambridge on the 22nd, after a holiday of rather more than three months.

CHAPTER IX.

BONSTETTEN-DEATH.

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GRAY became, in the last years of his life, an object of some curiosity at Cambridge. He was difficult of access, except to his personal friends. It was the general habit to dine in college at noon, so that the students might flock, without danger of indigestion, to the philosophical disputations at two o'clock. The fellows dined together in the Parlour, or the “Combination as the commonroom came to be called ; and even when they dined in hall, they were accustomed to meet, in the course of the morning, over a seed-cake and a bottle of sherry-sack. But Gray kept aloof from these convivialities, at which indeed, as not being a fellow, he was not obliged to be present; and his dinner was served to him, by his man, in his own rooms. In the same way, when he was in town, at his lodgings in Jermyn Street, his meals were brought in to him from an eating-house round the corner. Almost the only time at which strangers could be sure of seeing him was when he went to the Rainbow coffeehouse, at Cambridge, to order his books from the circulating library. The registers were kept by the woman at the bar, and no book was bought unless the requisition for it was signed by four subscribers. Towards the end of Gray's life, literary tuft-hunters used to contend for the

honour of supporting Gray's requests for books. There was in particular a Mr. Pigott who desired to be thought the friend of the poet, and who went so far as to erase the next subscriber's name, and place his own underneath the neat "T. Gray." It happened that Gray objected very much to this particular gentleman, and he remarked one day to his friend Mr. Sparrow, "That man's name wherever I go, piget, he Pigott's me!" It is said that when Gray emerged from his chambers, graduates would hastily leave their dinners to look at him, but we may doubt, with Mr. Leslie Stephen, whether this is within the bounds of probability; Mathias, however, who would certainly have left his dinner, was a whole year at Cambridge without being able to set eyes on Gray once. Lord St. Helen's told Rogers that when he was at St. John's in 1770, he called on Gray with a letter of introduction, and that Gray returned the call, which was thought so extraordinary, that a considerable number of college men assembled in the quadrangle to see him pass, and all removed their caps when he went by. He brought three young dons with him, and the procession walked in Indian file; his companions seem to have attended in silence, and to have expressed dismay on their countenances when Lord St. Helen's frankly asked the poet what he thought of Garrick's Jubilee Ode,-which was just published. Gray replied that he was easily pleased.

Unaffected to the extreme with his particular friends, Gray seems to have adopted with strangers whom he did not like, a supercilious air, and a tone of great languor and hauteur. Cole, who did not appreciate him, speaks, in an unpublished note, of his "disgusting effeminacy," by which he means what we call affectation. Mason says that he used this manner as a

manner.

means of offence and defence towards persons whom he disliked. Here is a picture of him the year before he died : “Mr. Gray's singular niceness in the choice of his acquaintance makes him appear fastidious in a great degree to all who are not acquainted with his

He is of a fastidious and recluse distance of carriage, rather averse to all sociability, but of the graver turn, nice and elegant in his person, dress, and behaviour, even to a degree of finicality and effeminacy." This conception of him as an affected and effeminate little personage was widely current during his own lifetime. Mr. Penneck, the Superintendent of the Museum Reading. Room, had a friend who travelled one day in the Windsor stage with a small gentleman to whom, on passing Kensington Churchyard, he began to quote with great fervour some stanzas of the Elegy; adding how extraordinary it was that a poet of such genius and manly vigour of mind, should be a delicate, timid, effeminate character, " in fact, sir,” he continued, “that Mr. Gray, who wrote those noble verses, should be a puny insect shivering at a breeze.” The other gentleman assented, and they passed to general topics, on which he proved himself to be so well-informed, entertaining, and vivacious, that Penneck's friend was enchanted. On leaving the coach, he fell into an enthusiastic description of his fellow-traveller to the friend who met him, and wound up by saying, “Ah ! here he is, returning to the coach! Who can he be ?” “Oh! that is Mr. Gray, the poet !"

Gray could be talkative enough in general society, if he found the company sympathetic. Walpole says that he resembled Hume as a talker, but was much better company. On one of his visits to Norton Nicholls at Blundeston, he found two old relatives of his host, people of the

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most commonplace type, already installed, and at first he seemed to consider it impossible to reconcile himself to

But noticing that Nicholls was grieved at this, he immediately changed his manner, and made himself so agreeable to them both that the old people talked of him with pleasure as long as they lived. He would always interest himself in any reference to farming, or to the condition of the crops, which bore upon his botanical pursuits; one of his daily occupations, in his healthier years, being the construction of a botanical calendar. One of his finest sayings was :-"To be employed is to be happy;" and his great personal aim in life seems to have been to be constantly employed, without fatigue, so as to be able to stem the tide of constitutional low spirits. The presence of his most intimate friends, such as Wharton and Nicholls, had so magnetic an influence upon him, that their memory of him was almost uniformly bright and vivid. Those whom he loved less, knew how dejected and silent he could be for hours and hours. Gibbon regretted the pertinacity with which Gray plunged into merely acquisitive and scholastic study; the truth probably is, that he had not the courage to indulge in reverie, nor the physical health to be at rest.

The person, however, who has preserved the most exact account of Gray's manner of life during the last months of his career, is Bonstetten. In November 1769 Norton Nicholls, being at Bath, met in the Pump-Room there, among the mob of fashionable people, a handsome young Swiss gentleman of four-and-twenty, named Charles Victor de Bonstetten. He was the only son of the treasurer of Berne, and belonged to one of the six leading families of the country. He lived at Nyon, had been educated at Lausanne, and was now in England, desiring to study our

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