Page images



WHILE I find it easy to remember many particulars of the very endeared friendship which I enjoyed with C. Neale for seven years, it is not equally easy to bear the reflection, that I was almost entirely out of the way of seeing him during the three last years of his life; when that great change had taken place in his heart and life, which made his intimacy a real blessing to those who possessed it. My undertaking will be to supply a few notices of his pursuits and character during his residence at College, and for about three years after. In attempting this, it is inevitable my blending in some degree my own circumstances and feelings with the narrative of his; for we were in fact very much together, and spoke and acted towards each other with all the freedom and affection of youthful friendship.

It was in October 1808 that I became acquainted him, through the introduction of his tutor, who brought him up to College. His tutor, dining at that time with my uncle, the

The materials of this chapter were drawn up, as my contribution to the memoir of my friend, in the autumn of 1832.

Rev. Dr. Jowett, at Trinity Hall, and understanding that I was of St. John's College, begged to take me to his pupil's rooms, and introduce me to a young scholar, upon whom he pronounced so high a eulogium as rather to disconcert even one who was a senior by two years. On our being brought together that evening, he poured forth a second panegyric on his pupil-a deserved one, truly-but so well-drawn, and in his own presence, that we both of us felt, as we often pleasantly acknowledged afterwards, a great doubt, whether we should be inclined or able to prosecute a friendship so much overdone at its commencement. Another circumstance occurred, which seemed still more likely to bring our acquaintance to a speedy close. He being exceedingly short-sighted, which I was not aware of, and having moreover a remarkably strong and fixed expression of the eye, after I had moved to him several times, as intending to accost him, I was received with a steadfast, uncommunicative look of the countenance, which I supposed to indicate that he wished to repel my approach, and coldly decline any farther acquaintance: which from a junior to a senior, and after so special an introduction, seemed to me very strange. In a few days, however, this was most happily removed by his coming to call and make an apology to me for what, possibly, some one had pointed out to him; and this he did with such ingenuous plainness, and marks of desire to have my continued friendship, as completely to do away all coldness at once. He spent the evening with me; we

took soundings of each other's minds, pursuits, and family connexions, and soon discovered in each other that congeniality, upon which our subsequent intimacy was founded.

[ocr errors]

From this time, as we were of the same College, our intercourse became frequent; and as we were both of us what is called reading men, we had generally a sufficient fund of classical and other knowledge to make our conversations very enlivening to each other. Being his senior by two years, I helped him a little at first in his mathematical studies, and remember well the zest with which he took in knowledge of that kind. But in our walks, poetry and general literature were our chief amusement; nor were we ever long together silent for lack of argument in a two hours' ramble; supplying very often, by extempore versification, the deficiency of other matter. It was for some time (speaking now of a period of three years and a half that I remained his companion at College) our custom at certain intervals, generally of about twenty days, to devote the chief part of a day, beginning even at an earlier hour than commonly befits reading men, to an extensive desultory excursion on foot into the country, not choosing beforehand any direction, but going nearly straight on, over the fields wherever it might happen. When we came to a pleasant retired spot, we used to recite pieces of poetry with a loud voice, and sometimes compose upon any subject that occurred, verses or speeches extempore, both for mirth and exercise. I remember these excursions with much delight, and,

generally speaking, with approbation: for they were almost never taken from the mere love of pleasure, but purely for the purpose of total mental relaxation; and great was the elasticity of spirits, with which we rebounded then from our graver studies. These outs were in fact, commonly preceded by seasons of close-not severe-application. On this point we were both jealous, he especially so; and in allusion to this, I find an expression of his quoted in a letter of mine of some years' later date, in which, referring to a short tour then projecting in Derbyshire, he asks me, "Are you earning your excursion?"

Besides our college studies, we had together, (as also with other friends, already named in Mr. Grinfield's sketch)-discussions such as young men will have upon all persons and facts that come before their notice. It is in this way that many of the views and opinions which characterize our conduct through life are formed. The stamp remains, but the particular times and occasions when that stamp was first impressed are forgotten. I have been endeavouring to recal these, but cannot; so many concerns, far more weighty, have, since that period, loaded the memory. Thus, however, by a constant exercise, we continued to animate our reasoning powers and feelings of taste. I must confess that I learned much from him; and in regard to self-knowledge, I owe to him, and to his brother, then at Queen's College, two of the most useful remarks, that were ever made to me upon myself.

The parentage and bringing-up of us both

having been strictly religious, we had still further, from this circumstance, a source of much conversation and discussion. But our discussions in this department were far more frequently such as indicate head-work, than such as flow less critically, but more feelingly, from a heart exercised unto godliness. We had many religious friends in common, both in the University and in London, as also in other parts. We attended Mr. Simeon's church together; we sometimes read or conversed together upon the Scriptures. This was much our custom, at one time, on the Sunday evenings; after which I remember how much I was struck to see the gravity and settled purpose, with which he used to lay his Bible upon the very desk where his classical and mathematical books and papers were to be seen on the other days of the week. This was often at a rather late hour on Sunday evenings; when, from a habit which seemed natural to him, and which most probably was instilled into his mind by his venerable mother, he seemed to take a delight in sitting down to his Bible. As far as I knew him, he never employed the hours of the Lord's day upon his college studies; but I left twenty months before he took his degree, and therefore cannot speak to the whole of his time; but I believe he would not have dared to do so. At a later period we read together some of Jeremy Taylor's sermons. We often stopped, in a kind of enchantment, at the inimitable poetry of his prose; but desisted from reading them, as feeling that there was less of substantial nutriment to mind and

« PreviousContinue »