Southey, Robert, 1774-1843. / The doctor, &c.
Chapter CXXVI. Mr. Baxter's offices. Miller's character of Mason; with a few remarks in vindication of Gray's friend and the doctor's acquaintance, pp. 313-318
THE DOCTOR. 313 draught of cold small beer, because, as the Poet in his own experience assured them, Destruction lurks within the poisonous dose, A fatal fever, or a pimpled nose.* CHAPTER CXXVI. MR. BAXTER S OFFICES. MILLER'S CHARACTER OF MASON; WITH A FEW REMARKS IN VINDICATION OF GRAY S FRIEND AND THE DOCTOR'S ACQUAINTANCE. _ Te sonare quis mi/si Genique vien dabit tui ? Stylo quis eequor hocce arase charteum, En area per papyrina Sate loquace seminare literas? JANUS DOUSA. THAT dwelling house which the reader May find represented in Miller's History of Don- caster, as it was in his time, and in the Doctor's, and in mine,-that house in which the paper-hangers and painters were em- ployed during the parenthesis, or to use a more historical term, the Interim of this part of our history, -that house which when, after an interval of many years, I saw it last, had the name R. Dennison on the lo)r, is now, the Sheffield Mercury tells me, occupied as Mr. Baxter's Offices. I mean no disrespect to Mr. R. Dennison. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Baxter. I know nothing of these gentlemen, except that in 1830 the one had his dwelling there, and in 1836 the other his offices. But for the house itself, which can now be ascertained only by its site, totally altered as it is in structure and appearance, without and within, -when I think of it I cannot but exclaim, in what Wortlsworth would call "that inward voice" with which we speak to ourselves in solitude, " If thou be'est it," with reference to that alteration, - and with reference to its change of tenants and present appropriation, I cannot but carry on the verse, and say "but oh how fallen, how changed !" In that house Peter Hopkins had enter- tained his old friend Guy; and the elder * SOAME JENYNS. Daniel once, upon an often pressed and special invitation, had taken the longest journey lie ever performed in his life, to pass a week there. For many years Mr. Allison and Mr. Bacon made it their house of call whenever they went to Doncaster. In that house Miller introduced Herschel to Dr. Dove; and Mason, when he was AIr. Copley's guest, never failed to call there, and inquire of the Doctor what books he had added to his stores, -for to have an oppor- tunity of conversing with him was one of the pleasures which Mason looked for in his visits at Netherhall. Miller disliked Mason: described him as sullen, reserved, capricious and unamiable; and this which he declared to be " the real character of this celebrated poet," he inserted, he said, "as a lesson to mankind, to show them what little judgment can be formed of the heart of an author, either by the sub- limity of his conceptions, the beauty of his descriptions, or the purity (of his sentiments." Often as Miller was in company with Mason, there are conclusive proofs that the knowledge which he attained of Mason's character was as superficial as the poet's knowledge of music, for which, as has here- tofore been intimated, the Organist regarded him with some contempt. He says that the reason which Mason as- signed for making an offer to the lady whom he married, was, that he had been a whole evening in her company with others, and oh- served. that during all that time she never spoke a single word. Mason is very likely to have said this; but the person who could suppose that lie said it in strict and serious sincerity, meaning that it should be believed to the letter, must have been quite in- capable of appreciating the character of the speaker. Mason whom Gray described, a little before this offer, as repining at his four-and- twenty weeks' residence at York, and long- ing for the flesh-pots and coffee-houses of Cambridge, was notwithstanding in his friend- and fellow-poet's phrase, a long while marn- turient, " and praying to heaven to give him a good and gentle governess." " No man,"
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