In his person Gascoigne showed a curious amalgam of classes, high and low. He had cultivated his mind with the same grave discipline with which he now maintained his toilette—which is to say, according to a method that was sophisticated, but somewhat out of date. He held the kind of passion for books and learning that only comes when one has pursued an education on one’s very own—but it was a passion that, because its origins were both private and virtuous, tended towards piety and scorn. His temperament was deeply nostalgic, not for his own past, but for past ages; he was cynical of the present, fearful of the future, and profoundly regretful of the world’s decay. As a whole, he put one in mind of a well-preserved old gentleman (in fact he was only thirty-four) in a period of comfortable, but perceptible, decline—a decline of which he was well aware, and which either amused him or turned him melancholy, depending on his moods.