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stayed, long, and wary, and impregnable, not hitting much, but gradually creeping up to the score of the day; seeing wicket after wicket fall, but still, long, steady, scarlet as to his flannel shirt, killing the bowling, and knocking off the bowlers: carrying his bat out, at last, in a perfect ovation of his amazed allies. Another brother had done well: and one more had fallen into that steady style which he has since never quitted. First ball, four; second ball, six; third ball, out! A short life and a merry


Oh, those old cricketing days! I was always a keenly-interested spectator, and even now, on those rare occasions,-once, perhaps, in two years, -on which I see a good match, feel that I can hardly have a greater treat. How pleasant the sunny summer afternoon, at dear old Oxford, when, over-persuaded by the merry and genial band, I should one day mount the drag that rattled along over Magdalene bridge, and towards Cowley meadows. The exhilaration of the day, of the scene, of the company: what company, for the old true gay heartedness, is ever like that now grave-grown Oxford band; the chosen few, the friendly many? And the schools were left behind; what matter now if there still lurked a passage or two in Homer or Eschylus in which a subtle examiner could stump us? We find it easy at such a time to think the best even of examiners, and to hope that they will rather exercise their pains in ascertaining what we know, than, with misdirected ingenuity and indecent curiosity, labouring to discover what we don't.

Give them the benefit of the doubt at least; and take in the gladness of an idle day when we are young. 'Tis then, and then only, that we really enjoy them. We get out of the way of merely enjoying life when we age or begin to age. How we revel in our holidays, in boyhood, in youth! Retired from business: that, perhaps we think, must be the intensity of delight; life's drudgery all over, a time of all holidays. So the schoolboy dreams: so even the University man, expect

ing a time when examinations shall be over, and examiners sink into the rank of mere ordinary fellow mortals, instead of sitting, as we deem of them:

On the hills like gods together, careless of mankind,

For they lie beside their nectar, and their bolts are hurled

Far below them in the valleys, and the clouds are lightly curled

Round their golden houses, girdled with the gleaming world:

Where they smile in secret, looking over wasted lands.'


So even children (I mused in my nursery to-day), so even children would waive the solid portion of the dinner and have it all pudding. And like them we want the pudding first, in youth; at least it seems as though to have it would be delightful; all holidays; no meat: satis to the jams.' But when we are grown old, and may now at our will have all pudding,-lo, often, our taste for pastry has gone! And sometimes the patient plodding horses, out of harmony with the sunny meadows about which they used to race as colts, have petitioned even to be taken back to the mill again, and to surrender that perplexing wealth of time upon their hands. How well and charmingly Charles Lamb paints the picture which I have etched, in his' Superannuated Man.' Too busy through life to have holidays, and out of gear for them when they come,' not single spies but in battalions:' this seems strange and sad.

'Our hearts are dough, our heels are lead,
Our topmost joys full dull and dead,
Like balls with no rebound!
And often with a faded eye
We look behind, and send a sigh

Towards that merry ground!"

But just now we are, in my pleasant reminiscent thought, rattling down the High, it is a lovely day; the yellow-gray of St. Mary's spire, the dark mass of University, the full elms of Magdalene College, and the tall pensive tower that sometimes thinks aloud in the most mellifluous of bell-language: these are left behind, and soon the white tents appear on the field, and the spots of white and of colour that are cricketing there already. And our hearts are gay

and blythe, and we are in tune for the day and the game.

• Meanwhile the bees are chanting a low hymn; And lost to sight th' exstatic lark above Sings, like a soul beatified, of love.'

A sweet joyous summer day; a day to be enjoyed heartily while it is present, and to be pleasantly remembered when it is of the past. And behold! for once I have quitted my seat on the benches, and am found clad in harness and somewhat flurried, as I find myself traversing the sunny green sward that lies between the tent and the wicket, bat in hand, leg encased in whalebone and padding, india-rubber centipedes making my fingers grotesque. I hope I shall save my duck's egg, at any rate, for I have a strong aversion to looking a fool; but they would have me join in this day's game, or college match. Guard is given, the field grows attentive, the bowler retires, poises, and advancing delivers the swift-flying ball, unscathed it passes me; but no crack of stumps is heard. A reprieve. Again, and here cautious treatment of the ball lays the patient dead at my feet. Another reprieve. Perhaps I may survive until I get my eye in. But again: and seeing this ball well to the off, and in his hurry, quite forgetting to think about my bails, I became courageous, and succeed actually in persuading him to post off and fetch me three runs from a far corner of the field. Over! I am then to face the other bowler. This is hard, he may have his own special tiresome peculiarities; and I was getting, I fancied, a little more at home with the first. The sort of quadrille that the changing over appears to the ignorant had ended: again the field was rigid. What a pace! Well, happily he wasn't straight. Nor the next, and here now comes the third right at my leg. Courtesy dictates the quick step aside, and a sanguine temperament suggests the wild sweep of the bat which follows or accompanies the movement. Hurrah! that caught him, and just threw him out of the line of the expectant long stop, and with just that slight pat of encouragement he ran so far that my score was increased to seven. A

comfortable little sum to retire upon, at least insuring competency and respectability; still, I should keenly enjoy a double number. Yes, and here comes, surely, a half volley; I step forward, flushed with success. Yea, let me make my dream All that I would!


let out' at the missile; I catch it well in full career: I already see the seven a ten, when oh!-but let me draw a veil over the painful end. Was it of malice prepense that the bowler gave me that ball? Did he foreknow that I should so smite it? a cold-hearted monster! I could have wished it red hot, as it sweetly sailed into the welcoming hands of long field off, who, of course, had neither the delicacy nor the courtesy to miss it. So I retired upon my small income, not disgraced, if not glorious. Happily, I instinctively felt, for my respectability, we had not time for another innings.

Well, I enjoyed the day, and I have enlarged upon my experience because it is indeed a contrast to that which would most commonly be set before the public, and there are many, like myself, fond of cricket, but no cricketers, who will hail a brother in me, and half pensively, half smilingly, recognize upon this page their own experiences, anxieties, sweet moments, and despairs. I rather pride myself on the word with which I label the feeling of the much-doubting batsman as he finds himself still in possession after the passing of each ball. It is to him a series of reprieves now an unlooked-for gleam of success: a dawn of hope and confidence: a moment's pang: and then he is sitting in front of the tent in a tender glow or gloom. The class of unsuccessful aspirants is, in all departments of merit, a large class, and, I think, a class deserving perhaps more sympathy and kindly consideration than it gets. The baffled lover; the wouldbe author; the muff at cricket:

There have been vast displays of critic wit
O'er those who vainly flutter feeble wings,
Nor rise an inch 'bove ground.'

Yet truly there is real pain in the mortification and defeat which fol

low upon unsuccessful effort that was real and conscientious and sincere, in any race of which fame was the crown-a leafy crown, a crown that fadeth away, but a passionately sought prize to the young heart, that knows that success is noble, but has yet to learn that greatness may be wrought out of well-employed failure. Hear one of the young fellows

O Fame! Fame! Fame! next grandest word to God!

I seek the look of Fame! Poor fool!-so tries

Some lonely wanderer 'mong the desert sands By shouts to gain the notice of the Sphinx, Staring right on with calm eternal eyes.'

That may be a little ranting; but don't oppose to it, you elder men with practical heads, a coarse, shoppy vulgarity. Don't you know that God has so ordered His world that the blossom comes before the fruit?

But all this may sound too serious treatment for mere cricket failure. Well, I don't know: there is a certain fame and glory in cricket; and he wins for the time a place in the Pantheon who has, off his own bat, pulled the match out of the fire, and finds himself carried round the ground by a crowd of frantic devotees. I knew, at any rate, a man at Oxford who certainly gave up his first class in moderations, and fell into the second rank, from being unable to withstand the lure of being possibly made bowler of the University Eleven. Just the few important finishing days of reading had to be surrendered to the preliminary matches and trials: and the hero at Lord's, before whose cunning balls fell many a Cambridge wicket, found, when the class-list appeared, that he had indeed paid for one distinction by loss in another. I wonder whether he regrets his choice. So much, however, for the love of honours in the cricketfield.

Well, but I promised to walk with you to Lord's ground, to see the great Oxford and Cambridge match there. I cannot describe this year's; while I write I am, as I said, a month or two from that, so I shall turn back the leaves of the

past until I come to one specially marked page in my cricketing experience.

I happened to be staying, together with my wife, near London, just at the time of the match, and I determined that we would make two days' holiday of it, and that she should go with me to see the contest and all its gay surroundings. For a country parson and his wife these little affairs, which to you Londoners are such matter-of

course things-these little treats which break the usual routine of the quiet life, are important epochs. We have this advantage, among others, over you, however, that we enjoy small things as though they were large, and large things twice as much as you can do. And this expedition was, of course, one of the great treats. How delightful in the first place, of itself almost worth the journey, the travelling, and going through London with your wife without luggage! What country parson will not enter into this felicitation? for seldom do we go for light excursions; generally it is a heavy concern, a 'move' in miniature; children and nurse, and trunks and bags, and hampers and portmanteaus-a chapter of anxieties and of petty warfare with cabmen and railway porters, who won't attend to you when you want them, and when there is just, and only just time to catch the other train, and so avoid a two hours' waiting at the dull station.

Besides this enjoyment we had that of a fine day, which, again, is of itself almost enough to make an outing successful. And I am fond of being in London, or passing through it, outside an omnibus or in a Hansom cab, on a fine day. The country, of course, for a permanency; but yet undoubtedly the town has its colour, its lights and shadows, its composition, its nameless unticketed charms, when the sun is shining on a June day, and Londoners are sighing for the country. But, having the country always, we denizens of it think such a day not wasted in town, and glean many beauties from the streets and squares. Nor only

on such days: nor only in day itself. Here is a bit that I saved, and thought worth saving, out of a country newspaper, which gives the beauty of the city at night:

I love to see the quiet dignity

With which, when work is done and night draws on,

And all the din of footsteps dies away,

It shakes from off its flanks the ebbing tide
Of busy life, slips off the glare of day,
Wraps round its walls the mantle of the Past,
And settles back to its historic calm,
As if no break divided its long rest.'

In short, we enjoyed the very journey, which, however, ended duly, and we soon found ourselves denizens of the only two seats (as it would almost appear) that were unoccupied. A new, scene to my wife! The immense hoop, 'like a (double) rainbow fallen,' the colour, and the movement, and the numbers that every moment swelled. But soon after we arrived the men began to prepare for commencing the game; and we eagerly scanned the lithe, often stalwart and graceful forms that wore the dark or light blue cap. Cambridge was, I believe, expected to win; and we looked askance at the ranks of the foe; of course we had bought a card with the names, and my wife intended to score, but we knew not the men by sight, hardly by reputation, so out of the cricketing world were we. Soon, however, I gathered, piecemeal and here and there, intelligence concerning the prowess of this or that champion, and of one or two I knew the fame. The captain of the Oxford Eleven, for instance, had but lately signalized himself by a score, I think, of 100, in some great match. And now it was pleasant, while the men sauntered about, or leant against the posts of the pavilion, to survey the many faces that passed and repassed about and behind us, and now and again to recognize some familiar Oxford face, often appearing from the strange clerical garb yet that seemed natural somehow, I suppose from one's own familiarity with one's self in it -although it made a change in the look of the men that used to swing with easy stride down towards the boats, or to mount the drag to

Cowley, in all coats, and hats with every coloured ribbon.

But the preliminaries were settled: the toss won: and the first men (Oxford) in. Alas! my wife has vainly sought for the carefully, too carefully, kept card; else might I have borrowed the Homeric strain; have given a list of the chiefs, who first who last went to the battle, and how this and that triumphed or fell, not from crashing spears, but from crafty shooters: not from rending crags, but from ripping balls. It may not be: but few of their names even can I remember. Let me give a general idea of the progress of the fight.

The men were placed: guard given: several thousands expecting the first ball. Let me hasten to relieve excitement by stating that, to the best of my recollection, it was a maiden over, and that about the beginning of the match a certain flatness prevailed. It was really quite long, I fancy, before the telegraph marked ten; and I employed the opportunity in careful explanations, not then first begun, to my wife.

In vain, perhaps you say: for how can a woman possibly understand cricket? I reply that if she does not, the fault is in her teacher. To begin, you have to clear her mind of a hopeless muddle concerning the whole intents and purposes of every man in the field. This is begun, and half ended, by simply impressing and emphasizing this broad fact: that the two batsmen are, throughout the innings, the sole representatives of the one side, and that every other player on the field is occupied in the endeavour to get them out. This understood, the nature and reason of the 'over,' another great puzzle, may be well instilled; and the quadrille to which this episode gives rise among the men reduced to simplicity, by just explaining how the altered direction of the ball must necessarily alter the places of those who are waiting to stop or catch it, and how those posted at the long distances change posts as well as places to save time and peregrination. This much premised, the ground will be cleared of

wilderness, and you may then answer questions, which will soon become intelligent enough, and you can put in your drills of regular information. It is your own fault if there be not soon full enough idea of the great game to permit an intelligent appreciation of it, and close interest in it. Quickness of understanding is the last thing in which women are deficient: the power of weighing opposite considerations judicially and impartially; the power of reasoning logically; the power of following out a thing to its consequence or to its source, with the close patience of a sleuth-houndthese are her deficiencies, and for these her education-or want of it -rather than the character of her mind is accountable. This by the way. My pupil, at any rate, was apt; and soon she could, and did, enter most heartily and thoroughly into the meaning and spirit of the game. This was well, for it would have been a huge disaster, if no interest in the play had been aroused, to have taken her for a whole day's dose of watching it.

By this time two wickets were down, and the score sluggish in the extreme. I longed for a little warmer work; but the bowling was evidently not to be trifled with, and the batsmen played a careful game. Behold, however, another vacancy: and now a lithe, middle-sized man, with the dark-blue cap pressed down above his (it seemed so far as we could see) dark, good-looking face, stepped, bat in hand, from the pavilion. I asked his name. 'Maitland.' Full of excitement, I announced to my wife the presence at the wickets of the Captain; and hurriedly again declare his exploits of late, and promised that at last the spell should be broken, and the fours and fives fly about the field. Eagerly and intently we watched, as the swift ball left the bowler's hand: would it go for six? or would he be content with just a two or three to begin? How utterly blank we looked, as-yes, it was a reality: the stumps behind that redoubtable bat were scattered hither and thither. Ile could afford it, however, but Oxford hardly could, and we felt

sorely dashed. The chief sustained his reverse with the same quiet dignity with which he would have carried success. I always admire the bearing of these chieftains as they calmly seek the pavilion under hail-storm of clapping, or a sympathetic silence that would be applause if it could. Well did the Captain, let me remark here, retrieve this fall, next day, in the second innings : and much did we exult in his success. Things, however, at present looked ill for the dark-blue colours; and although a stand was made at the end by the less powerful batsmen, yet I think the Oxford score did not exceed some eighty or ninety. It was evidently all over with them, for there were some tremendous batsmen on the Cambridge side. We mournfully discussed some sandwiches and bitter ale between the rival innings.

'Twere long and tedious to dwell in detail upon every phase of the match; even could memory produce sufficient photographs for the purpose. Enough to tell how our languid interest revived, as the experience of Oxford was repeated in the Cambridge innings. Runs most gradually got: and wicket after wicket crashing down. The interest was fully aroused, quickened into excitement; the match seemed recovering its even balance: and though a stand here was made, and the fatal ball arrested, yet I think Cambridge did but head Oxford by some twenty runs; and as many as this were obtained by Oxford in her second innings, without the loss of a wicket, before the day's play closed. Thus the two were once more even for the entire eleven of Oxford had yet to go in: to begin, as it were, all fresh next day, with twenty runs for a start.

I like to see the fielding in a match like this. It is nearly the prettiest part of cricket. The ball so cleanly taken, and instantly and unerringly sent in; the cautious and instinctive backing up; the coolness and self-possession; the neatness, precision, absence of flurry or hurry all these things are to me a study. Indeed I remember learning a useful lesson upon which I

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