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But nought of human sounds is here:
TO INTELLECTUAL LIBERTY.
FRIEND of the human soul! not thee I call,
grace and grandeur; but an effluence Direct from the prime Spirit of Good, in whom All beauty and all potency do dwell.
A. L. B.
LETTERS FROM OXFORD.
TO PEREGRINE COURTENAY, ESQ.
M — College, Monday Evening.
CONGRATULATE me, my dear Courtenay, I am now an Oxonian de facto. I made my appearance here on Saturday afternoon, and immediately proceeded to take possession of my apartments. These had been prepared for my reception by the removal of every thing, which the scout and bedmaker had chosen to consider the private property of my predecessor, and I found little else than broken arm-chairs and an old-fashioned stained mahogany table awaiting my arrival. It may afford you some amusement, and will certainly throw considerable light on my future correspondence, if I attempt to give you some idea of the local peculiarities of my abode. In the first place, then, it is what Homer would call the rò Tepov, and the Vulgate garrets; but you know, my good Editor, that proximity to the earth is the characteristic of common mortals. Of the two flights of stairs, by which you are conducted to my eyrie, the lowest is wide and deep; wide enough for a coal-waggon to make its way up, and as deep, in each particular step, as the famous external ascent of the Pyramids the other tapers upwards, in a winding direction, till you have mounted upon a railway landingplace, and you then find yourself in front of an old sturdy oak door, which, dinted and battered, as it evidently appears to be, from the effects of many a brave resistance to the fury of besiegers, still lours defiance against all the efforts of the coal-hammer. Once admitted within its threshold, you are introduced to an
ante-room, or vestibule, which serves the purpose of a scout's pantry, and contains the crockery-cupboard, and wine-bin. On the left is the sleeping apartment, and directly facing you is the entrance of the sittingroom. You cannot fail to notice that this door is perforated at all quarters; and, had you accompanied me on my first taking possession, you would have found the same unaccountable signs of violence over the mantelpiece. I have since discovered that one of my predecessors had a particular ambition to excel in the art of pistoling, and was in the habit of practising this, his favourite pursuit, for a few hours every morning. His mark was either a picture of Lord Nelson, which frowned above the fire-place, or a card on the door; and thus all mystery is satisfactorily removed. I had previously heard that such perforations as these had been in use under the name of dun-holes, for the purpose of notifying the approach of any such disagreeable visitants, and thus affording time for the tenant of the room to make himself "Not at home." The chief chamber, which you have now entered, the very penetrale of the Muses, is square, small, and low, about six yards by five and a half, with a college-grate rather returning into the wall, so that the recess admits of two loop-holes on each side above the mantel-piece, which were intended, I suppose, by the architect, to afford light, but, as far as my limited experience goes, only serve to give entrance to all the smoke and smut of the College chimneys, when prevented from rising by a heavy atmosphere.
Here now, I declare you have almost as good a topographical sketch as Belzoni himself could have given you. I had a mind to subjoin a diagram, but I was afraid of offering an insult, and must therefore lay an equal tax upon your ingenuity and good-humour, for the right understanding of my description.
I was happy to find Sterling at Hall-dinner; I need
not say that he received me with cordiality, and, by the unwearied kindness of his small-talk, did away with many of those awkward feelings which a Freshman cannot but be awake to, amid the novelties of his situa tion. Our friend had been hard all at Eschylus and Divinity during the Easter vacation, for he had taken advantage of the permission of his College to remain up within walls; and his sallow cheeks were an earnest that he had called old Father Time to a sharp reckoning during the interval. You know that I used to do justice to our Club-dinners, and the good things which Clayton (rest his soul, poor fellow!) dished us up. There was no deficiency in the dinner before me, but somehow I had strangely lost my appetite. When I attempted to carve the fish, my hand trembled so violently that I thought I should drop the choice bit which I was conveying to my plate, and this merely because I fancied I heard one of my messmates inquire of his neighbour "Who that Freshman was ?" And when requested for the salt-cellar, I handed it with as much trepidation as a præpostor gives the Doctor a list, when he is conscious of a mistake in the excuses. Happy was I when the Hall broke up, and Sterling bustled up to me ;---“ Old fellow," says he, "I want you to come to my rooms this evening. We will crack the best bottle of old Port I have in my cellar, and we can talk over your new prospects." The offer was readily accepted, and I joined him within the half hour. He was seated in his arm-chair before a blazing fire, which the chillness of the season rendered most acceptable ;--decanters and dessert. before him;-the sofa wheeled round for my accommodation; and the Scapula and Maltby shuffled into a corner. His sitting-room is as large as all my suite put together; but, although both spacious and lofty, there is an appearance of comfort in it when his heavy scarlet stuff curtains are let down. I could not help smiling at the first object which presented itself;-the
miniature plaster bust of my late revered Instructor, which had taken his station over the fire-place, and was depictured with all that awful gravity of countenance which inspires terror into the stoutest heart of the Upper Division. I said that I smiled on meeting with an old friend in a strange land; but my muscles were still more disordered on hearing an anecdote which Sterling related when he observed my attention turned towards the bust. "That," says he, "was presented to me by Carmarthen; who thought I should be interested by any reminiscence of Eton. He had been purchasing some casts of the Italian chef d'œuvres, when the shopman begged him to notice the little bust in the window; 'Dat is de reverend schoolmaster at Eton; many of de gentlemen do purchase him out of spite, and break de head.' Shame! thinks Mr. C. to himself; are there then boys in the University? I will save at least one image of the Doctor from outrage; and, if I mistake not, there is a certain individual I know, who can appreciate the learning and abilities of his quondam Orbilius. Thus the bust was bought, and you see it is now one of my Penates. You are wondering at the strange choice of the other two." "Homer and Eloisa," replied I, examining the figures upon the handscreens, why they?" They were pencilled, he told me, by a lady, from whom they were a present; and, although he had been dull enough not to understand the import of the characters at the time he received the gift, a sly friend had since cleared up the mystery by asking him whether he kept those figures on his screens as emblems of his pursuits,--Love and the Classics. "But come, set you down, and fill me a bumper to The Etonian.” ” I obeyed. "Between you and me," continued Mr. S., "No. VII. was but mediocre. The run of the compositions were ordinary, and there was not a standard article in the bill of fare. I cannot help thinking but that Golightly was rather too free with