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whereupon Gray exclaimed, "Look at Brown, he is going to strike!" Dr. Thomas Wharton (who must never be confounded with Thomas Warton, the poet-laureate) continued to live at his house at Old Park, Durham, where Gray had so often spent delightful weeks. He died in 1794 at a great age, and left his ample correspondence with Gray to his second son, a man of some literary pretensions, of whom Sir Egerton Brydges has given an interesting account. Mason and Walpole, whose careers are too well known to be dwelt upon here, survived their celebrated friend by more than a quarter of a century. Horace Walpole died on March 2, and Mason on April 4, 1797.
At the close of the century several of Gray's early friends still survived. The Rev. William Robinson, having reached the age of seventy-six, died in December 1803. On his tomb in the church of Monk's Horton, in Kent, it was stated that he was "especially intimate with the poet Gray," with whom he probably became acquainted through the accident that his mother, after his father's death, made Dr. Conyers Middleton her second husband. His sister was the Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu who wrote the Essay on Shakespeare and who patronized Dr. Johnson. The kind and faithful Stonehewer died at a very advanced age in 1809, bequeathing to Pembroke Hall those commonplace-books of Gray's from which Mathias reaped his bulky volumes, and yet left much for me to glean. Norton Nicholls died rector of Lound and Bradwell in Suffolk, on the 22nd of November, in the same year, 1809, having fortunately placed on paper, four years before, his exquisite reminiscences of Gray. He also bears on his memorial tablet, in Richmond Church, his claim to the regard of posterity: "He was the friend of the illustrious Gray."
The most remarkable, certainly the most original,
of Gray's friends, was also the most long-lived. Charles Victor de Bonstetten had but just begun his busy and eccentric career when he crossed the orbit of Gray. He lived not merely to converse with Byron but to survive him, and to see a new age of literature inaugurated. He was a copious writer, and his works enjoyed a certain vogue. His well-known description of Gray occurs in a book of studies published in 1831, the year before he died, Les Souvenirs du Chevalier de Bonstetten. In the most chatty of his books, L'Homme du Midi et l'homme du Nord, he says that he found in England that friendship of the most intimate kind could subsist between persons who were satisfied to remain absolutely silent in one another's presence; there may be a touch of the reserve of Gray in this vague allusion.
In Bonstetten the romantic seed which Gray may be supposed to have sown, burst into extravagant blossom. His conduct in private life seems, from what can be gathered, to have been founded on a perusal of La Nouvelle Heloise, and though he was a pleasant little fat man, with rosy cheeks, his conduct was hardly up to the standard which Gray would have approved of. Bonstetten may perhaps be described as a smaller Benjamin Constant; like him, he was Swiss by birth, first roused to intellectual interest in England, and finally sentimentalized in Germany; but he was not quite capable of writing Adolphe. Bonstetten followed Gray in studying the Scandinavian tongues; he acquainted himself with Icelandic, and wrote copiously, though not very wisely, on the Eddas. He brought out a German edition of his works at Copenhagen, where he spent some time, and whither he pursued his eccentric friend Matthison. Bonstetten died at Genoa in February, 1832, at the age of eighty-seven. The last survivor among people whom
Gray knew was probably the Earl of Burlington, "little brother George," who died in 1834. Perhaps the last person who was certainly in Gray's presence was Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges, who was present, at the age of three, at a wedding at which Gray assisted, and who died in 1837. Gray was rather short in stature, of graceful build in early life, but too plump in later years. He walked in a wavering and gingerly manner, the result probably of weakness. Besides the portraits already described in the body of this memoir, there is a painting at Pembroke Hall by Benjamin Wilson, F.R.S., a versatile artist whose work was at one time considered equal to that of Hogarth. This portrait is in profile; it was evidently painted towards the close of the poet's life; the cheeks are puffed, and the lips have fallen inwards through lack of teeth. Gray is also stated to have sat to one of the Vanderguchts, but this portrait seems to have disappeared. In 1778 Mason commissioned the famous sculptor John Bacon, who was just then executing various works in Westminster Abbey, to carve the medallion now existing in Poet's Corner; as Bacon had never seen Gray, Mason lent him a profile drawing by himself, the original of which, a hideous little work, is now preserved at Pembroke. A bust of Gray, by Behnes, founded on the full-face portrait by Eckhardt, stands with those of other famous scholars, in Upper School at Eton.
In 1776, according to a College Order which Mr. J. W. Clark has kindly copied for me, "James Brown, Master, and William Mason, Fellow, each gave fifty pounds to establish a building fund in memory of Thomas Gray the Poet, who had long resided in the College." The fund so started gradually accumulated until it amounted to a very large sum. Certain alterations were made, but nothing serious was attempted until, about
thirty years ago, Mr. Cory, a fellow of Emmanuel College, took down the Christopher Wren doorway to the hall, and attempted to harmonise the whole structure to Gothic. Still the Gray Building Fund was accumulating, and the college was becoming less and less able to accommodate its inmates. It was determined at last to carry out the scheme proposed nearly a century before by Brown and Mason. In March 1870, the work was put into the hands of Mr. Alfred Waterhouse. He was at work on the college until 1879, and in his hands if it is no longer picturesque it is thoroughly comfortable and habitable.
In all this vast expenditure of money, not one penny was spent, until quite lately, in commemoration of the man in whose name it was collected. At Peterhouse, when the College Hall was restored in 1870, a stained glass window, drawn by Mr. F. Madox Brown and executed by Mr. William Morris, was presented by Mr. A. H. Hunt. At Pembroke a still more fitting memorial was erected on the 26th of May 1885, when a marble bust by Mr. Hamo Thornycroft, A.R.A., was unveiled by Lord Houghton in the College Hall in the presence of a very distinguished audience. Mr. Lowell and Sir Frederick Leighton, among others, gave eloquent testimony on that occasion to the lasting esteem in which the memory of Gray is held on both sides of the Atlantic.
It was not known until the Dillon MSS. passed through my hands in 1884 that in August 1764, about a month after the surgical operation which is described on p. 165, Gray went to Netherby, on the Scotch border, to visit the Rev. Mr. Graham, the horticulturist, and from his house set out on a tour through Scotland. His route took him by Annan and Dumfries to the Falls of the Clyde and Lanark. At Glasgow he visited Foulis, the publisher, from whom he afterwards received many courtesies. He admired Foulis' academy of painting and sculpture, and lamented that the Cathedral of Glasgow had fallen so much out of repair. He passed on to Loch Lomond, sailed on the loch, and returned to Glasgow by Dumbarton. At Stirling he enjoyed the view from the Castle, and went on by Falkirk and the coast to Edinburgh. He took excursions to Hawthornden and Roslin, and thence to Melrose. He was next at Kelso, Tweedmouth, and Norham Castle. He made an excursion at low tide to Holy Island, and the journal closes at Bamborough Castle, from which place he went, no doubt, to his customary haunt, Dr. Wharton's house at Old Park, in the county of Durham. This was Gray's first visit to Scotland.