prehensible circumstances of our poet's strange life. For on being asked how he had come by his MSS. he refused at first to give any answer. Then he said he was employed to transcribe some old writings by 'a gentleman whom he had supplied with poetry to send to a lady the gentleman was in love with'--the excuse being suggested no doubt by the case of Miss Hoyland and his friend Baker. Finally when, as we can only conclude, this explanation was disproved or disbelieved, he announced that the account was copied from a manuscript his father had taken from Rowley's chest. And this explanation was considered perfectly satisfactory.
Yet it seemed obvious that the antiquaries would demand to see the manuscript, and Chatterton, contrary to his usual practice of secrecy, called upon his friend Rudhall and, having made him promise to tell nothing of what he should show him, took a piece of parchment 'about the size of a half sheet of foolscap paper,' wrote on it in a character which the other did not understand, f