Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/538
account of the meadows of Christchurch almost made me so far forget myself as to cry out, 'I am resolved forthwith to set out for Oxford'; but, alas! to begin one's journey without money would be rather worse than ending it so."
Mr. Cookesley's active benevolence was cut short by his untimely death. He did not live long enough to do more than start his young friend on the road to fame and affluence. This event took place on 15 January, 1781. He died suddenly, and with a letter of Gifford's unopened in his hands. He left his family but scantily provided for, but a man's good works follow him, and the harvest comes sometime, if late, as we shall see in the sequel.
In his Autobiography, written twenty years later, Gifford says: "It afflicted me beyond measure, and in the interval I have wept a thousand times at the recollection of his goodness; I yet cherish his memory with filial respect; and at this distant period my heart sinks within me at every repetition of his name."
Gifford was, however, encouraged by the unexpected friendship of the Rev. Servington Savery. He had, moreover, gained other friends, not more kindly, but better able to serve him with their purses. His acquaintance with his greatest patron, Earl Grosvenor, was made through an accident. He had formed a college acquaintance with a young man who kept up a correspondence with him, and to whom, when this latter left college, he addressed his letters under cover to Lord Grosvenor. But on one occasion he forgot to put his friend's name to the letter, and it was opened by the Earl, who read it, and was surprised at the wit and brilliance of scholarship it evinced, and he begged for an introduction. This led to his being sent as tutor to travel abroad with Lord Belgrave, Earl Gros-