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London fog-that seat of learning, which boasts of King Alfred as its founder, is about the most uninviting place conceivable. Its graceful spires and beautifully-proportioned towers are almost lost to view amid the general opaqueness of the air. Classical piles of antique building, which under happier aspects are rightly called majestic, seem heavy and sombre, while the graceful curve of the High Streetwhich, by-the-by, Mr. G. A. Sala certainly ought to celebrate in his 'Streets of the World'-simply appears an interminable vista of drizzle, vapour, and mist. We might perhaps supplement these brief hints as to when Oxford is not to be visited, by mentioning the circumstance that certain other conditions than those of time and weather must be fulfilled if it is wished for an excursion to that university to leave a pleasurable, rather than a painful effect upon the memory. For instance, old Brown, the banker, who paid a visit to Oxford some two years ago, and the three Miss Robinsons, who were there chaperoned by a judicious aunt, just a year ago, would give you very different accounts indeed of the city, the university, and their inhabitants. If Mr. Brown's opinion were asked, he would not hesitate to record a verdict of an extremely unfavourable nature. The place may be pretty enough, only he could see precious little in it. As for the undergraduates, he thought them the most objectionable set of young coxcombs and spendthrifts with whom he had ever been brought into contact. The tradesmen were all swindlers, and the college tutors not much better. But then it must be remembered that this asperity of judgment is, in a certain degree, to be possibly accounted for by the fact that the sole purpose of Mr. Brown's visit was to look into the affairs of his somewhat extravagant son-a process which involved the liquidation of sundry not wholly insignificant liabilities, for Brown junior had managed, as in undergraduate parlance it is termed, 'to run a pretty considerable mucker.'

On the other hand, the Miss

Robinsons thought everything was perfectly charming. The undergraduates were delightful; the balls were perfection; and the picnics under the shadow of the Nuneham woods were divine; for the time chosen by the young ladies for their visit was about the middle-June, when the Oxford Commemoration gaieties were in full swing, and their host was none other than a very favourite cousin, the son of that same discreet relative under whose espionage their academical pilgrimage was performed.

Not that from the diversity of these experiences we would lead our readers to infer that we recommend them to choose the celebration of the Enconia, or, as it is more commonly known, Commemoration, for the occasion of their visit. On the other hand, we most distinctly would not. Any person who would take our advice would indeed manage to make himself acquainted with Oxford when clad in its summer dress, but would also so time his visit that he escapes the consummate boredom of the great annual academical carnival. Let it be assumed, in the first place, that the intelligent stranger wishes to make himself acquainted with the ordinary every-day life of Oxford at this agreeable period of the year; let it be further laid down that he is disposed to take his pleasure leisurely, and that he is systematically opposed to indecent haste when the object is enjoyment. Judged by these canons-and we take it they are the true ones-Commemoration is a gigantic imposition-a traditional delusion. In the first place, Oxford under her customary garb is not seen at all, and persons who trust to their Commemoration experience for true and accurate ideas of academical life are miserably deceived. In the second place, the relentless manner in which the stranger is hurried through all kinds of ordeals, miscalled those of pleasure, precludes the idea of genuine enjoyment. He is made to dance all night; he is roused up at unseasonable hours for a heavy and indigestible breakfast; he is dragged about and ruthlessly lionized during

the whole of the morning, suffering, not improbably, from the combined pangs of ennui and dyspepsia. At one he is made to sit down to lunch; then comes a flower-show; then, at half-past five, dinner; then private theatricals, and, to wind up all, perhaps another ball, while the next morning is the signal for the recommencement of the performance da capo. If this account appears to have the demerit of cynicism, it certainly has the merit of truth.


But Oxford preparing for Commemoration is a very different thing indeed from Oxford in the midst of Commemoration. If the latter is only spurious delectation, the former is certainly genuine. Three days of summer weather, then to stay more than three days in Oxford at a time is a great mistake, for in taking one's pleasure, as in eating one's dinner, one ought to leave off with an appetite- are a really thorough treat. As a rule the time to be chosen is very early in June, when the sun seems brighter, while the air withal is fresher when the foliage on the trees is greener,. and the birds sing more merrily than at any other period of the year. Whether as regards inanimate nature or animate, that is the season when the life-blood of Oxford seems the fullest in the veins, and when the pulses beat the quickest and the strongest. Then is the time when her sons are busiest on the river, on the Cowley Cricket Ground, ay, and even in that dismal haunt of examiner and examinees, the schools-the time, in fact, when the academical year is just culminating, and when, as a consequence, the scene is the most interesting and active. If in October Oxford is visited by some beautiful days of sunshine-if the walls of some of the colleges are lovely to look upon, clad in a dress of red autumnal creepers, which the sun seems to light up with gold-if even then the river swarms with boats, and the captains of crews are keeping a sharp look-out for promising recruits-its attractions cannot compare with those of the early June, simply because one does not then

find every side of university life so fully represented.

The obliging reader will perhaps kindly imagine that we have arrived in Oxford about that time which we have indicated. The sky is divinely clear, and the sun scorchingly hot; the hour is four P.M. We have taken up our quarters at the Mitre, the only genuine Oxford hotel now remaining, for the Star has given place to the Clarendon, and the old Angel is being pulled down to make way for the Examination Schools. A novel edifice of imposing dimensions, the Randolph, has been constructed; but as we object on principle to these somewhat pretentious and usually inhospitable hostelries, of which the proprietors are companies, we stick firmly to the Mitre. You may live there like a prince, and if you pay for it in proportion, you are only doing what you would do elsewhere, and the game has certainly been worth the candle. Moreover the waiters are civil, do their best to make you comfortable, and succeed; while the air, if sometimes redolent of cigar-smoke, is also redolent of classical tradition. We glance idly up and down the High-Oxford etymology drops by ellipse the 'street'-and it occurs to us that a stroll might be advisable. 'Lodgings for Commemoration' is the superscription borne on the placard which is hung up in almost every window. We pass on, and leave the lodging proprietors to make their harvest-a very golden onewhile the sun shines. A fortnight has to elapse before Commemoration is due; but, notwithstanding this, we notice that there are several who have already learned the lesson of wisdom which we have tried to teach -that it is better to visit Oxford before than during Commemoration -for we meet with more than one group composed obviously of visitors piloted by academical friends. If we look up, on our right hand or on our left, we shall see Young Oxford taking his ease in the approved summer fashion of the place. Just outside the windows yonder you may see a delicately-constructed iron frame. A red damask cushion constitutes a species of lining; and

with arms recumbent upon this, dog-like as the watchman in the Agamemnon, the undergraduate of the period takes, from his lofty post, his survey of the situation. He is not alone, for a friend shares with him the comfortable appendage mentioned above. A silver-we will call it silver for the poetry of the thing-tankard lies between them, containing claret-cup; a pipe -young Oxford affects pipes in preference to cigars, when within the precincts of his university-hangs languidly from the mouth of each, and the pair are indulging in their comments and criticisms upon those who pass below. These two young gentlemen are rather by way of being exquisites; and if they find a pleasure in looking at the scene around them, it is a reasonable supposition that they also find a pleasure in glancing down at their own fautless clothes; for in this fashion does Young Oxford delight to take his ease.

Oxford has been called the City of Spires; with as much propriety might it be called the City of Bells. From noon to night, from morn to to dewy eve, the air is seldom without a suspicion of tintinabulation. When we awake from our comfortable slumbers to-morrow morning, it will be at the summonses, needed or not, of those chapel bells;' and now, as we stroll in the beautiful summer afternoon, gazing the while upon every conceivable development of academical life, young and old, grave and gay-clear as the sound of silver, from many a tower, borne over the stately elms of many a college garden, we hear the musical message which tells us that the hour of evening chapel is near at hand. Not by any means a popular institution are these vespers during summer time, for Young Oxford enjoys having its afternoons uninterrupted by any such roll-call. Still, college ordinances, with their inexorable routine, require, as a rule, one attendance daily at the chapel; and if that attendance has not been given before the day has begun, it must be volunteered as it is drawing to its close. Here as we stand in our station in the High, we have a

capital opportunity of witnessing the undergraduate, with a sprinkling of the graduate world, returning en route to those organ - pealing, dimly-lighted shrines. From the river, from the cricket-ground, from basking like water-lilies in pleasant punts on the Cherwell, and from serenely defending their wickets on the Bullingdon Ground,

While the Buttress of the period Bowled them his peculiar twisters;' from constitutionals, from crosscountry larks, on some of Charley Symonds' nags, from quiet drives through Nuneham Park, the undergraduate world streams in to chapel-some slowly and reluctantly, others as taking a pride in being present at the coming ceremony. For in the undergraduate community the ritualistic element is more or less represented; and it is one of the articles in the creed of undergraduate ritualism never to miss an evening service. We cannot pretend to have much sympathy with this phase of university life. Your youthful ritualist is very likely only passing through a short-lived stage; but while it lasts it is an unpleasant one-unpleasant to the verge of absurdity. Those two young gentlemen who walk up on the other side of the street, are two specimens of this type, Messrs. Reredos and Mullion, of St. Ambrose. Their dress is sombre, but they each of them wear rather massive watchchains, bedecked with crosses and sundry apostolical devices. Having spent their twelve terms within the walls of their college, they are now in lodgings, and strange stories are told of the mock priestly scenes enacted by this enthusiastic pair, for they have taken up their habitation together. It is believed, and believed on good authority, that if you got the chance of examining the contents of their wardrobe, you would come across stoles and vestments of marvellous cut, and multitudinous hues. It is also reported that if you could gain an entrée to their apartments at certain hours, you might see strange scenes of devotion celebrated-wonderful obeisances performed. Each of them

also happens to be great in the way of vocal music; and if they accelerate their steps now, it is that they may not fail to take their places among the chapel choir. When there, they will make themselves conspicuous by the complexity of the religious evolutions and manœuvres through which they will go, by the somewhat obtrusive audibility of tone with which they will repeat the responses, and the unflagging energy which they will display when the anthem is sung. The chapel bell has only four minutes more to ring, when a light dog-cart drives up to the college-gates: a neatly got-up groom is in waiting, and two young gentlemen get down. These are Messrs. Dashville and Fenton, two college intimates, of a very different stamp from our ritualistic young friends. They are in a great hurry: the reins are thrown to the Automedon who stands close by, and the pair hurry off to put on their gowns. Only a minute more. They

celebrity who is both an examiner and a don, it may be worth while to say a few words towards correcting a mistake, deplorably prevalent, touching this bifold character. During the last twenty years-especially during the last ten-a very marked change has come over the composition of the genus 'Don.' It has ceased to be at all wholly made of those crusty, cross-grained specimens of humanity, living in a world of their own, with no sympathies and no experiences beyond such as are shadowed forth to us in all the regulation stories of college life. Instead, we shall now find, as a rule, the tenants of an Oxford common room not differing very materially in kind from highly-educated gentlemen elsewhere; while the examiner of the period has emphatically ceased to be that natural foe to the whole kind of undergraduates which the uninitiated love to fancy that he constitutes. He plucks, and must pluck occasionally

are seen rushing down their respec-plough' they call it now, but the

tive staircases: now they are at the chapel door, and have saved their distance by a second or two-a fact upon which, as they walk up the aisle to take their seats, they congratulate themselves not a little : for our two friends-of a very different turn from Reredos and Mullion-have been told by the Dean of the college, that unless they manage to keep one chapel per diem during the remainder of the term, they will assuredly, out of regard to one or two little irregularities, be sent down at once. The warning has had the desired effect; and though, as Mr. Dashville says, after the ceremony is over, to Mr. Fenton, they have only done it by a shave, it has been done after all.

The last of the chapel bells are hushed, and we stroll back to the Mitre to dress for dinner, for tonight we dine, by appointment, with the Rev. Percy Bulteel, fellow and senior tutor of St. Ambrose. As we reach our friend the Rev. Percy's rooms, we find him deep in examination papers: for, as he tells us, Moderations are on,' and he is unfortunate enough to have been appointed a moderator. Apropos of a

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difference in nomenclature does not change the disagreeableness of the proceeding-but he does so reluctantly, and with more pity than anger at undergraduate ignorance. An admirable type of the_new Oxford fellow is the Rev. Percy Bulteel young : he is scarcely more than five-and-thirty, an accomplished scholar, an admirable oar, and a thorough-going gentleman. The story runs that, not very long ago, a staid and somewhat stern Paterfamilias brought up his eldest son to matriculate at St. Ambrose. He arrived at a singularly untoward time, 230 in the afternoon, when full swing is being given to the physical as distinguished from the intellectual energies of Oxford.

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