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tempt to get into medical practice—this time at Bath-having ended as before, he took a house at Chelsea, and became an author by profession. If he could have flung away the hedgehog prickles of his temper along with his rusty lancet, he might have gathered round him a circle of loving and admiring friends. But the soured surgeon grew sourer still. His pen worked busily on. Ferdinand Count Fathom, the career of a sharper, and a translation of Don Quixote, occupied some four years, which bring us to one of the few sunny spots we meet in this gloomy, battling life. He visited Scotland; felt the arms of his old mother again round his neck; saw the crystal Leven and the oak-woods of Cameron once more; talked of auld lang syne with former school-fellows and boyish playmates; and then hurried back to his alter ego, sitting with knitted brow and bitter pen at a desk in southern England.

Smollett's sixteen remaining years were years of incessant literary occupation. He undertook to edit the Critical Review; an office for which he was ill qualified, since of all men, an editar ought not to be quarrelsome. Endless were the scrapes into which the abuse of his editorial functions brought him. Admiral Knowles had him fined £100, and imprisoned for three months, as the author of a scurrilous libel. While he was in jail he wrote a tiresome English imitation of Don Quixote's adventures, entitled Sir Launcelot Greares. Turning kis pen from fiction to history, he produced, in the brief period of fourteen months, a Complete History of England, from the landing of Cæsar to the treaty of Aixla-Chapelle; to which he afterwards added chapters carrying the work down to 1765. The latter part of this flowing History was taken to supplement the greater work of the historian Hume. In a few old-fashioned libraries Hume and Smollett even still stand shoulder to shoulder as the great twin authorities on English history, although the light of modern research has detected errors and flaws by the hundred in their finely-written story.

Wilkes and Smollett had a tilt about Lord Bute's ministry, in which the latter, defending the quondam tutor of royalty, suffered severely. The last years of the novelist, imbittered by the death

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of his only child, a girl of fifteen, were chiefly spent in restless travel. Visiting France and Italy, he vented his increasing spleen upon even the crumbling ruins of old Rome, and the exquisite statue of the Venus de Medici. The poor peevish author was hastening to his end; but before he sank beneath this life's horizon, his genius shot forth its brightest beam. Disappointed in his last earthly hope—that of obtaining a consulship on somo shore of the Mediterranean, where his last hours might be prolonged in a milder air-he travelled to the neighbourhood of Leghorn, and, settling in a cottage there, finished Humphrey Clinker, which is undoubtedly his finest work. Lismahago is the best character in this picture of English life; Bath is the principal scene, upon which the actors play their various parts. Scarcely was this brilliant work completed, when Smollett 1771 died, an invalided exile, worn out long before the allotted seventy years.

His pictures of the navy-men who trod English decks a century ago, are unsurpassed and imperishable. Trunnion, the one

, eyed commodore; Hatchway and Bowling, the lieutenants; ApMorgan, the kind but fiery Welsh surgeon; Tom Pipes, the silent boatswain, remain as types of a race of men long extinct, who manned our ships when they were, in literal earnest, wooden walls, and when the language and the discipline, to which officers of the royal navy were accustomed, were somewhat of the roughest and the hardest.

Smollett wrote poetry also, but it hardly rises above mediocrity. His Ode to Independence, his Lines to Leven Water, and his Tears of Scotland, present the most favourable specimens of his poetic powers.



As we stood at the window of an inn that fronted the public prison, a person arrived on horseback, genteelly though plainly dressed in a blue frock, with his own hair cut short, and a gold-laced hat upon his head. Alighting, and giving his horse to the landlord, he advanced to an old man who was at work in paring the street, and accosted him in these words: “This is hard work for such an old nian as you." So saying, he took the instrument out of his hand, and began to




thump the pavement. After a few strokes, "Have you never a son," said le, to ease you of this labour ?" "Yes, an please your honour," replied the senior, “I have three hopeful lads, but at present they are out of the way. “Honour not me," cried the stranger; “it more becomes me to honour your grey hairs. Where are those sons you talk of?” The ancient pavier said, his eldest son was a captain in the East Indies, and the youngest had lately enlisted as a soldier, in hopes of prospering like his brother. The gentleman desiring to know what was become of the second, he wiped his eyes, and owned he had taken upon him his old father's debts, for which he was now in the prison hard by.

The traveller made three quick steps towards tko jail; then turning short, “Tell me," said he, "has that annatural captain sent you nothing to relieve your distresses?" “ Call him not unnatural," replied the other; " God's blessing be upon him I he sent me a great deal of money, but I made a bad use of it; I lost it by being security for a gentleman that was my landlord, and was stripped of all I had in the world besides." At that instant a young man, thrusting out his head and neck between two iron bars in the prison window, exclaimed: " Father ! father! if my brother William is in life, that's he.” “I am ! I am!" cried the stranger, clasping the old man in his arms, and shedding a flood of tears—"I am your son Willy, sure enough!" Before the father, who was quite confounded, could make any return to this.tenderness, a decent old woman, bolting out from the door of a poor babitation, cried : “Where is my bairn? where is my dear Willy ?" The captain no sooner Scheld her than he quitted his Cauber, and run into her embrace.

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The poet Gray was born in noisy Cornhill on a December day in 1716. His father, a money-scrivener, was a bad man, so violent in temper that Mrs. Gray, separating from him, joined her sister in opening a shop in Cornhill for the sale of Indian goods. To the love of this good mother Thomas Gray owed his superior education. Her brother being a master at Eton, the lad went there to school, and found among his class-fellows young Horace Walpole, with whom he soon struck up a close friendship. Many a time, no doubt, Walpole, Gray, and West, another chum of the scrivener's son, did their Latin verses together, and many a golden summer evening they passed merrily with bat and ball in the meadows by the smoothly flowing Thames.

In 1735 he entered as a pensioner at Peter-house, Cambridge, his uncle's college. And for three years he lingered out his life there, chained to a place whose laws and lectures he felt to be most irksome. Mathematics were his especial disgust; but the classics he loved with no common love, and studied with no common zeal. His school-fellow Walpole was at Cambridge too; and when in 1738 Gray left without a degree, the two friends agreed to set out on a Continental tour. Together they saw France and Italy; the poet wandering with delight amid the ruins of the great past; the connoisseur ransacking the old curiosity shops of Rome and Florence in search of rare pictures and choice medallions, such as in later days he piled up in dainty confusion under the roof of Strawberry (15)





Hill. Their tastes being thus dissimilar, it is no wonder that Walpole and Gray quarrelled and separated after some time.

Gray returned to England, and, upon his father's death, he settled down at Cambridge, where most of his after life was spent. It has been already said that he hated the ways of the place, which, in his opinion, never looked so well as when it was empty ; but there were books in abundance on the shelves of its noble libraries, and their silent yet speaking charms—he knew no other lovebound the poet for life to the banks of the Cam. Here, like a monk in his cell, he read and wrote untiringly. A glance round his study would, no doubt, have shown his tastes. Between the leaves of a well-used Plato or Aristophanes there might often have been found, drying for his hortus · siccus, some rare wild flowers, which he had gathered in the meadows by the Cam. Books on heraldry and architecture shouldered the trim classics on his loaded book-shelves, while such things as sketches of ivied ruins, a lumbering suit of rusty armour, or a collection of curious daggers and pistols hanging on the crowded walls, most probably displayed the antiquarian tastes of the inmate.

A quiet life, like that the poet led, has almost no history. Besides such salient points as the appearance of his various works, there are only three events worthy of notice in his later years. These events were—his removal in 1756 to Pembroke Hall from Peter-house, caused by the annoyance of some madcap students; his refusal in 1757 of the laurel, vacant by Cibber's death; and his appointment in 1768 to the professorship of Modern History at Cambridge. His chief trips were to London, where he lodged near the British Museum, and explored its literary treasures with a student's patient love; to Scotland, where he met the poet Beattie; to the English lakes in 1769; and to Wales in the autumn before his death. This sad event took place in 1771. He had been breaking up for many months, when gout, settling in his stomach, cut him off with a sudden attack.

Gray is best known by his famous Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard, whose solemn stanzas roll out their mufiled music, like the subduel tolling of a great minster bell. Corrected and re


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