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-for the benefit of our lady readers we translate the Latin formula. Mrs. Jones looks on approvingly. Jones walks up to her where she is seated on the spectator's bench, takes her out, and as he makes his exit is met by his old college scout, who has furnished himself with a master's gown for his former part proprietor. The process known as tipping is gone through, and the Rev. Mr. Jones leaves ConVocation House, having enjoyed thoroughly being up for his master's -not, be it known, so much for the sake of the additional dignity with which it has endowed him, as for the opportunity he has had of meeting old college friends, scattered, in their different occupations, to the four winds of heaven, who once in a way have again met together, bent on one and the same mission. These are the times at which A. comes across B. after having lost sight of him for four or five or any number of years. All this time A. has been working away in his country parish, and B. has perhaps been grinding at law in the vain expectation of briefs, or has possibly been losing his health and his liver under Indian suns. As the friends greet each other outside Convocation House, many are the hurried notes compared as to how the intervening time since they last met as undergraduates struggling to get through the schools has been spent. What has become of Smith? what of Leserton? and has any one heard anything of Gibbs-you remember Gibbs? and where are you living now, Thistleton? and do you know anything of Manning, who used to live in the rooms opposite you? It is wonderful how speedily old associations are revived under the shadow of these familiar towers.
But let us linger behind for a moment and glance at those who are at this present instant in statu pupillari, but who before many minutes are over will have thrown aside the bib-like undergraduate's gown for the long flowing sleeves of the costume worn by the B.A. That gentleman rather older in appearance than most of his compeers, who is being conducted in front of the Vice-Chancellor by the Dean of his
College, is none other than Mr. Messiter. To-day is really the proudest of his life; for he has at last safely established himself beyond the reach of all examiners and examinations. Nearly seven years ago he matriculated at Oriel, but if you look for his name in the University Calendar you will find that it no longer figures among the list of members of Bishop Whateley's old College, but that he has retired to St. Alban's Hall. The meaning of the change? Well, our friend Messiter has been unfortunate in his schools-in plain English he has failed on various occasions quite to satisfy the examinatorial standard. He has been plucked at least three times for everything for which he has gone in; and so the fellows and tutors of Oriel recommended him to retire into the private life of a hall. But at last he is through; and when, a week since, Messiter gained his testamur for his final schools, the news went like wildfire throughout the circle of his rather numerous academical friends. Even when the long-wished-for little piece of oblong paper which certified the joyful fact was brought to Messiter by a trusty friend, who had frequently been on the same errand, but with very different results before, he could scarcely believe his eyes. If you scrutinize him closely at this present moment it is possible to see that he is not completely at his easenot indeed that he has not by this time realized the blissful truth of his having done for ever with 'those wretched schools,' but because there are certain other circumstances connected with his University career which make him feel anxious to have fairly clutched the B.A. within his grasp. For Messiter, like a good many other of his friends who have protracted their stay at the pleasant University of Oxford, and who have spared nothing to make their time as pleasant as is reasonably possible, has managed to contract a considerable crop of bills. And at the last several of his tradesmen turned, as he expressed it, rusty' and demurred to his proceeding to his degree: a step, by-the-by, which the representatives of Oxford commerce have it quite in their power to adopt
with respect to undergraduates pecuniarily embarrassed. The process is very simple. The creditor, whosoever he may be, has but to pluck the gown of the Proctor who walks once up and once down the floor of Convocation House, as the names of the different incipient B.A.s are read aloud. The banns are forbidden, and the ceremony is stopped. Hence, too, by the way the real etymology of that mysterious word plucking.' But Messiter has managed matters with the skill of a financier and a diplomatist; he has made arrangements with his tradesmen, and he believes that all is right. And so, in spite of his previous misgivings, at the last moment, turns out to be the case. Messiter's name is called out aloud: no one interposes, and in the twinkling of an eye the object of his ambition is reached, and the B.A. robe assumed.
We will turn for one moment more to another gentleman who is on the point of grasping the same dignity as that which Messiter has just achieved, and whose personal appearance is very different from that of any of those around him. An undergraduate he is, certainly: we know as much from his gown and the company amongst which he is; but in other respects his semblance is emphatically clerical. What is he? who is he? why is he there? Now the real fact is this: our friend yonder is a clergyman, it is trueis, in fact, none other than the curate of Mudbury-cum-Littleton, the Rev. Barney Bloker. But he was ordained under exceptional circumstances. Industrious when at college to a proverb, he fared considerably worse than the idlest of his fellow-students with the examiners. Not all his suits of rusty black, nor his spectacles, nor his thin lank hair, nor his general ungainliness of aspect, managed to procure for him a testamur in the degree schools. Meanwhile term after term flew by, and Bloker, senior, after having long and patiently cherished the dream that his immaculate son was possessed of genuine talent, began, when the plucks' followed fast upon each other, to entertain not wholly unreasonable suspicions as
to his powers, and to suggest, that as education was such long and such expensive work, he should give it up, and in reality take up his place at the tail of the paternal ploughshare, whose honours he had vindicated so well at the University. But at this communication the heart of Bloker, junior, began to faint within him: he had only 'greats' to pass, and why should he not stay on till the last terrible obstacle was surmounted? His ambition was for the church, and into the church he was determined, if possible, he would go. Meanwhile, on a sudden, a most felicitous opportunity of effecting a compromise presented itself. By a piece of marvellous good luck, Bloker met with a country rector who wanted a curate: would Bloker come? How could he,' helplessly he replied, ' without having taken his degree?' 'Oh!' responded the genial ecclesiastic, that we can easily manage. If you will but promise the bishop and myself that, after being ordained, you will pass your schools, I have no doubt that I can use my influence with his lordship to ordain you.' Bloker, overjoyed, leapt at the proposal. The Bishop of B was not as strict as others of his order, and the consequence was that in three months' time after the colloquy ensued, Bloker was able to prefix the title of Reverend' to his name. Still there were those dreadful schools which must be gone through. Bloker went up once from his curacy and failed: a second time, and with the same result. But when 'greats' next came round, Bloker began to wax desperate, and after evening service one Sunday night he informed his rector
'I am going up to Oxford tomorrow, and I have made up my mind not to return till I have passed my examination.'
Then,' was the immediate response of this facetious ecclesiastic, as, with an air of affectionate regret, he seized hold of Bloker's hand and shook it heartily-' then, my dear fellow, good-bye for ever: for I shall never see you again.'
But the rector's prophecy is falsified, for Bloker has managed to
satisfy the examiner this morning; and while we have been indulging in these reminiscences, has actually put on his gown. If he walks out with an air of visible pride, and if, as he ascends the pulpit in the parish church of Mudbury-cumLittleton, on Sunday morning next, he feels that he has added at least six inches to his stature, will it be wonderful?
But we were very nearly forgetting an invitation which stands on our engagement-list for two o'clock to-day-an invitation of no ordinary character, to lunch with Amberville, of St. John's, who has this morning put on his gown, and who is known as having perhaps the most beautiful rooms in a college, which, taken as a whole, is certainly one of the prettiest in Oxford. Amberville happens, also, to be one of the richest young men in the University, and possessed of an artistic taste which does not fall short of his income. His rooms are a study: and I promise you that the déjeuner which is to be served up in them presently will be equally perfect in its way, for Mr. Amberville, of St. John's, is not in the habit of doing things by halves. Imagine to yourself a long, lofty, oak-panelled apartment, furnished with a variety of tables of every conceivable shape and every conceivable material, from gold-threaded marble down to maple; there are two large bowwindows which gaze out on the surpassingly beautiful gardens of St. John's, and which are fitted up outside with a hanging garden of flowers, that even Babylon, under Semiramis, could not surpass; ottomans, and temptingly-luxurious arm-chairs of every description that an original genius for comfort could devise, are strewed about over the sumptuously rich carpet, all covered with the softest of silk damask; the dark-oak panelling of the walls is varied here and there by rare proofs before letters, or with exquisitelycool water-colours. As we enter, we can hear the rustle of the trees outside, and as we look across the room, we see an open door communicating with a smaller apartment, in which there plays a miniature
fountain of scent. Meanwhile, from some unseen quarter, we catch the sound of subtle melodies played by a most delicately-attuned musicalbox. Such is a rough sketch of Amberville's rooms something unique in Oxford: for undergraduates are not able, as a rule, to keep their chambers in such faultless trim; but then Amberville does everything in a manner peculiar to himself.
In due time lunch is served by Amberville's scout, assisted by his own private servant. It is more than a lunch: it is a perfect banquet. The iced cups which go their round are simply delicious, and as we take a leisurely survey of matters, it occurs to us that even as the soul of Pythagoras is said to have passed into a peacock, so the spirit of Apicius or Lucullus must, at this present moment, be animating the languid form of the young academical epicure who is our host. One thing only, reader: don't imagine that the style of feast, or the style of apartment is common to the Oxford undergraduate; for Amberville, as we have hinted, is one of those brilliantly meteoric exceptions who occasionally flash across the academical sky.
We will wander out into those tempting gardens upon which Amberville's rooms look down. They are full of surprises: just as one fancies one has hopelessly lost oneself in a labyrinth of shrubbery one comes upon a beautiful lawn, with grass recently mown and smooth as velvet. Here, in some cool nook, reposes an undergraduate of the college, who, though an edition of Plato's Republic' lies by his side, is really amusing himself from the novel or the magazine which is in his hands. Another turn, and we come across a recumbent group of two or three, who, with their faces half-covered with their straw hats, are stretched upon the emerald turf, beneath the shade of those immemorial elms.' We can discern a silver tankard amongst them, but nicotine is entirely unrepresented, for the laws against smoking in the St. John's College gardens are very stringent indeed. But this gentle
man who comes towards us, tall, black whiskers, grave, and clerically dressed, who is he? and is that his sister, or
-? Ah! that is a young
don, who has acted upon the advice which, in the course of this paper, we have more than once given-to the effect that the most favourable time at which to ask friends to visit Oxford is not in the busy hum of Commemoration, when the St. John's gardens are nothing but a noisy arena for flower shows and fancy fairs, but rather when June is in its infancy, and there are still, quiet nooks in those delightful groves, where Strephon can woo Chloe unmolested and solitary; and the dignity of a fellowship does not render its possessor any more proof against such temptations than the most impetuous of undergraduates. But let us leave the Rev. Anthony Morells to wander on at his own sweet will with his cousin and make our way yonder till we are in the centre of the large lawn of the gardens.
undergraduates, another of fellows
for, frivolous as the pastime may seem, Apollo does not always keep the bow strung, and the college don has acquired a passion for toying with the croquet balls. Let him play on in peace. As for our undergraduate friends, they have introduced into their set a few of those fair young friends whom their relatives have brought up with them on a few days' trip to Oxford. They are all merry enough: they don't seem particularly intent upon the game: but they are enjoying themselves, and that is enough.
There are other places whither we would fain take our readers. We should like to show them the glorious lime walk of Trinity and the exquisite garden of the college. We should be glad for them to hear, in imagination though it was, the pealing symphonies of the Magdalen Chapel choir, and the gay melodies of the Queen's College Glee Club. But we are not long enough in Oxford to do and to see everything. We have given glimpses
Ubiquitous as the passion for croquet is known to be, there is some--and that is enough. There are thing which surprises us in seeing no less than two games going on in front of us. One set is made up of
certain pleasures which commendat rarior usus, and to our view that of lionizing Oxford is among them. 1th of the
THE LADY WITH THE LITTLE FEET.
WAS always fond of feet, you remember,' said Ranger.
But before I tell you what Ranger said next, I may as well mention who Ranger was, and the occasion of the communication in reference to his partiality for the useful extremities in question.
I can scarcely describe him, however, in the Who's Who' sense of the matter. I knew nothing of his family, and had not made his acquaintance through the medium of any common friends. But I had met him from time to time in the course of my travels in most parts of the world, and had found him a well-bred, well-educated gentleman,
full of what is called accomplishments, and talents that tell in society-as active as a queen's messenger, and as watchful as a 'special correspondent.'
I met Ranger in different places while I was moving about; but had I stayed in any one place I should have been equally certain to see him; for he was always on the move, and you could no more avoid meeting Ranger than you could avoid meeting the sun. I first came across him travelling in Germany, when he helped me out of a difficulty in which some frontier officials were concerned. His happy English face and pleasant savoir faire went a
long way, I thought on that occasion, in persuading the hitherto imperturbable Prussians that I was neither a smuggler nor a spythough by the way he had no reason, beyond my representations, to believe that I was not both. I next met him ascending the great Pyramid in Egypt. We were both being bullied by our guides, and were enabled, by joining our forces, to escape with the payment of no more backsheesh than we had bargained for. Another encounter was at the Crown and Sceptre, Greenwich, where we were both discussing whitebait; and after this we met again on Mont Blanc, during a senseless excursion of mine as far as the Grand Mulets. Among other places where he subsequently turned up was on board a steamer on the Mississippi; and after that I saw no more of him till we met in the Himalaya mountains, one morning when we had both gone out to see the snowy range in the sunrise, mounted upon hill ponies. That was the last I had seen of him until I met him in Paris, where he gave me the reminder recorded above.
You will suppose, perhaps, that I was as great a wanderer as he. Nothing of the kind. I had done a little travelling in my time, but he was always doing it. Wherever he was, he was sure to be going somewhere else, and regarded localities principally from a Bradshaw' point of view, as made for arrival and departure; though he certainly managed to make the most of them during his stay.
Nothing could be more natural, therefore, than my meeting him in Paris one day when I went to dine solus at the Moulin Rouge, and found him preparing to dine solus also at the same place. We had a common taste-in summer at any rate-for taking the meal of the day in the open air, and a common taste, too, for not taking it alone if we could avoid it. So we joined our forces, as we had done on the Pyramid, and made as pleasant a party as I dare say could be made by any two men who are likely to meet under such conditions.
It was when dinner was well-nigh
disposed of, and we were discussing some Burgundy we both particularly liked-with British reticence in getting to our coffee-that Ranger began to be confidential, and seemed to think that I was bound to know the state of his affections at the period. It was then that he said
'I was always fond of feet, you remember. Not for vulgar purposes of progression, though I ought to be obliged to them in that particular, for people call me the Wandering Jew. But I need not tell you what I mean. I think a woman without a foot-that is to say a good foot, and of course a little foot-is not worth looking at. I like a face as well as most men. A woman can't have too pretty a face for me' -this was a liberal concession at any rate- but I insist that she must have a foot. And here, in Paris, at my hotel, I have found some feet that have, so to speak, carried me away with them. I have fallen in love with them, in fact.'
'What a charming chance!' I said, with the sympathy deserved by such a confidence. I trust that the face is worthy of the feet, and the lady worthy of both.'
'Well,' he answered, with rather a fall in his enthusiasm, 'that is just what I am unable to tell you. The fact is I have not seen the lady as yet.'
Then how the deuce have you seen her feet?' I asked, with brutal practicality. Then I added, 'Oh, I see-mysterious muffled lady, all veil-chance glimpse getting into a carriage, and so forth. Well, that is romantic at any rate, and rather creditable to your susceptibilities, considering that you have seen so much of the world.'
'No, not even that,' rejoined Ranger, who was a very goodnatured fellow, and did not mind a little jesting at his expense; 'not even that: I have no idea whether the lady is tall or short, stout or thin, young or old. I have not even seen her shadow, and of course have not seen even the feet that have fixed my affections.'
'What have you seen then?' I asked, rather puzzled by this time. 'Well, I have only seen her boots,'