184 A FEW MEMORIES
During the arduous seasons we spent our Sundays and Mondays in the country. It was a boon, mentally and physically, to get out of town, which to me meant the theatre.
At Brighton, where we visited our friends the William Blacks, the long walks over the downs filled me with strength enough to face another week; and the evenings in that merry home gave me no time to think of work or worry.
At Stoke Poges the inn at which we stopped was so small that it might have been spelled " in,"
as Tennyson told me the only one at---------was
described on the sign when he first went there. It was not far from the Burnham Beeches, and the country surrounding it, aside from its beauty, was full of memories of Gray. Unlike the laughing brilliancy of the French and Italian landscape, there seemed a veil of that " white melancholy" over it that Gray described as hanging over himself, "which, though it never laughs nor even amounts to joy or pleasure, is a good, easy sort of state.'' And so that wras a good, easy sort of country, with a tender, sad atmosphere about it that suggested the character of the poet.
It is strange that the generality of people know Gray principally by his " Elegy." His " Ode on the