Page images

to their Fellowships and Colleges just as the books were chained up in the libraries of old, when they were more valuable than they are now. We do not suppose that they cared half so much about their being celibatesthey must have been ill-natured churls if they did-as they did about having a class of students perpetually resident in the University engaged in the pursuit of learning. Under the old system, none of the Fellows might marry. Now they all may marry, but they lose their Fellowships, and in most cases their connection with the University, by doing so. Nearly all of them hope to marry at some time or other, and this hope includes a prospect of the severance of their connection with the University. By the present state of things, the intentions of the founders are in every point of view defeated. If their object was to glorify their religion by the exhibition of a number of cases of persons devoted to that single life which was thought in old time so holy, that object is contemptuously ignored by those who merely make the breach of the monastic rule an affair of having sufficient means to be able to effect it with impunity. If their object was to continue valuable and efficient men in the service of the University, this object is defeated by the immediate flight from the University of most of those who find the condition of single life incompatible with their happiness or their efficiency. And as it is the fact that strong affections and mental vigour are generally combined, we find here a reason why the cream of learning, as soon as it has had just time to form and settle, is so regularly and periodically skimmed from the surface of University society.

It is in vain to urge that society at large is benefited here in proportion to the loss of the University. The very qualities which fit men to be leaders of thought, often impair their usefulness in the rougher spheres of country parishes, schools, and lawcourts. Besides, by filling situations which may be better filled by another stamp of men having special aptitudes for the work, a kind of injustice is done to the latter class, the


accidents of overcrowded competition often excluding them from situations to which they are peculiarly fitted, and for which the man of most literary mark has generally the best testimonials. The Germans would not have made a schoolmaster of Niebuhr, as we did of our Historian of Rome; and although there is no question that he was on the whole admirably qualified for his position, yet, from the specimens of his historical genius which Arnold has left us, we know not what immortal works may have been lost to the world by the application of his time and talents to the only calling by which he could secure an adequate income.

We read in his life with what joy this eminent man hails his election to the Modern History Professorship at Oxford, as at last offering a sphere where he could truly and fully develop himself; and we read also its melancholy commentary in his untimely death, not improbably brought on by the secret exhaustion of his physical energies in the less congenial occupation.

But whatever may be the effect on society at large, it cannot be for the good of the University herself that men should only look upon her as a place to pass through and have done with, merely to be walked, as it were, as a medical student walks the hos

pitals. If we must preserve the timehonoured institutions of the University, and keep her splendid revenues from plunder and dilapidation by some inroad of parliamentary barbarians from without, we must create or render permanent a class of men who have a life-interest in her, and whom an injury done to her constitution would touch more closely home than the mere shock to early association or affectionate recollection. Amongst all the arguments that have been brought forward on the other side, which are, indeed, most of them arguments from expediency, none, perhaps, is deserving of so much respect as the consideration put forward in the evidence of the present Master of Baliol College, that allowing Fellows to marry would clog the succession, and prevent the good done by foundations to young men at

3 A

the outset of their career. He goes, indeed, so far as to say that it would be dishonest to expectants. But many expectants would prefer waiting a little longer for an advantage shackled with no conditions, to gaining it a little earlier subject to a condition which modifies its value. And the same may be said of every change in a similarly constituted order of things. It would doubtless be an advantage for junior officers if wars were kept up in order that their seniors might be killed off and give them more speedy promotion; yet in cases where the seniors are not actually superannuated, but have merely acquired by time a better knowledge of their profession, such an advantage to the juniors would hardly be one to the service at large. If Fellows are worth having at all they are worth keeping; and the argument from damming the succession falls to the ground, unless it is assumed that it is desirable for the University that all the Foundation members, bad and good, should be hurried off the stage almost as soon as they have appeared on it and played their part, that part being to fill certain temporary offices, and consume certain temporary emoluments. The academical Koh-i-noor is to be looked upon once, and then the gazer is to "move on," and the rest of the "queue" without reference to merits are each to have their one look, and their one look only, in their turns. But even the evil of clogging, if it be an evil, may be mitigated, if not done away with, by certain restrictive conditions. Every Fellow who married on his Fellowship, might be taught to look upon it as the only preferment he could expect from his College, or its tenure might be made incompatible with the possession of independent income above a certain amount; and we cannot conceive in the class of men to whom this would apply, that dishonesty, such as the income-tax returns display and produce, would to any great degree, if at all, impair the efficiency of such a rule, especially if it were considered a point of honour to make a true return. As it is, England makes scarcely any other provision for the class of men who would thus be benefited; and the misfortunes and perplexities into which those are

liable to fall who set fate at defiance, by going from a Fellowship into matrimony, without securing any equivalent for the former, furnish a warning, which is an inducement for those who still wear the chain, to make the best of it, and congratulate themselves that, although great happiness is denied them, yet, from the simplicity of their self-bounded establishments, they are exempted from all great anxieties and great misfortunes. We will quote a few cases which have occurred, or may occur any day, as bearing on this point.

A has been engaged to be married for sixteen years; he is a member of a college possessing many rich livings, of which several incumbents are very aged; he expects every day that his turn will come. It does not. He marries in desperation on a curacy of £100 a year, and two pupils, who may both leave him in a year's time; and no sooner has the cake and cards been sent round than one of the rich livings drops, but, as he has just disqualified himself, passes on to the next man in the succession.

B succeeds to the living and the wife he has waited for for seventeen years; but he marries a constitution wrecked by anxiety, and his bride leaves him a widower just after the completion of the honey-moon tour. He is left to his solitary grief among farmers and farm-labourers, and cannot return to the consolation of the cheerful society of his college friends, for his place is taken.

C succeeds to the living, having outlived his engagement or engagements; he finds it lonely, “swept and garnished." He flies out into the wilderness, to escape the seven evil spirits engendered by ennui, and the parish runs to seed in drunkenness, debauchery, and dissent.

D marries on the Head-Mastership of a school, after some years of bachelor residence in College. He is eminently fitted for success; but long lonely study, and its product peculiar religious views, have given his mind a bias which it never would have taken if, like other Christians, he had been allowed to marry according to his discretion in due time. He has no previous knowledge from experience of the illiberality of the provincial town. He is

stamped as Jesuit or free-thinker as the case may be, and at last his pupils all leave him, and leave him in debt. He cannot maintain a household, and his wife goes back to her friends, till such time as some other situation shall have been obtained, which shall give him a right to plant a genealogical tree with the sweat of his brow and the agony of his nervous system.

E takes an Assistant-Mastership in a school under an autocratic headmaster. All goes smoothly for a time, and gives him confidence in his "primâ facie" precarious situation. He marries. Then begin a series of annoyances, founded on the headmaster having chosen to consider him inefficient as a disciplinarian, withholding perhaps at the same time, from want of moral courage, that support which alone made his efficiency possible. He fights a desperate fight against his own shortcomings, against his insurgent pupils, against the uncharitable vein of his official superior. He seems to hold success in his hand, when the power which is without appeal, even to public opinion-for public opinion, it is well known, in nine cases out of ten sides with the winner-the judge and jury, as well as plaintiff in his own suit, declares him beaten in the battle of life. The penalty is resignation of his livelihood. The superior who commands the situation commands reputation also. He would convict his unfavourable verdict of injustice, if he attempted to recommend his subordinate elsewhere. Thus E has the privilege of going at large into the world, as Hagar did into the wilderness, though in the prime of life, yet metaphorically "sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything;' minus mastership, minus fellowship, minus the preferment its retention would have led to, minus professional prestige, and plus a rising family.

[ocr errors]

F saves a thousand pounds, marries on or rather off his Fellowship, shoulders his axe, and is off to the backwoods of Canada, turning his back on civilisation, London, Paris, Rome, Athens, the National Debt,

the Times newspaper, and the nine-
teenth century; but F is, for all that,
perhaps the wisest of the quorum.


Such are a very few cases, not exaggerated, which show the workings of the present system. We cannot see that any of the arguments from expediency which have been brought against a change, have any counterbalancing weight. Supposing the restriction removed, we think that the succession would be seriously affected, especially if the possession of a certain amount of property were a disqualification for holding a Fellowship. The celibate life would still present the same advantages that it does to the habitué of the London clubs, who is able from their combinational economy to live in much greater style, in proportion to his means, than the man who marries on the same income. The change would probably have been made at the Reformation, but for the dog-in-the-manger policy of Queen Elizabeth, with her arbitrary dictum of "socios collegiorum maritos non volo." She would not have a husband, and therefore she would not let college-fellows have wives. Thus Protestant foundations were saddled at the fiat of a queen, who though great as a monarch, was frivolous and heartless as a woman, with one of the most pernicious absurdities of Romanism, to be enforced no longer by a sense of duty and doing God service, but merely by considerations of private interest. The consequence has been the comparative paralysis of the energy of the University being a proximate cause of that outcry for reforms, which are likely, if carried too far, to destroy her entire character. Give but once her attached sons a permanent status within her walls, supply them with their work and their work's wages, and they will form a Conservative body in her bosom, strong in attachment to her past, and hopeful for her future, active in mind and body, and imposing in character; borne up by whose dutiful arms, she may well afford to overlook her weaker, and bid a proud defiance to her stronger enemies.

NOTE. Our correspondent Tlepolemus, in his paper of February last, "Touching Oxford," was misinformed as to the enclosure of Bagley Wood for the object of preserving its game. It was enclosed chiefly in consequence of petty depredations, which had grown to such a head as to threaten to demoralise the neighbourhood.




CITIZEN CHAPOT was landlord of the Cheval Blanc, a large and not clean inn, conspicuous in the village of Mairan, on the coast of Brittany, about five miles from St Malo. He was also a civic functionary-a Municipal-which in those days (the days of The Terror) was not without its importance. The Cheval Blanc was a square dirty-yellow building, variegated with broad black stripes at unequal distances, and bearing this inscription running along the whole extent of the brickwork ::


No other sign invited weary travellers. There was no work of art, such as delights the English eye from every wayside inn; no White Horse was symbolically represented standing in a wide and intensely green field, with horizontal tail and mane wildly floating, with nostrils dilated, and eyes fixed upon the universe in extreme astonishment. But if the Cheval Blanc wanted this allurement, it wanted not the character of good drink, and a cuisine which, citizen Chapot averred, could not easily be matched in Paris; as indeed Paris would somewhat ironically have admitted.

One afternoon in the June of 1794, a young man was dining at a little round table placed in the gallery which ran round the exterior of the Cheval Blanc, at the first storey. He was dressed à la Robespierre; that is to say, he wore a round hat, ornamented with tricolor ribbons, a blue coat with broad facings, white waistcoat, yellow leather breeches, and topboots. He ate his solitary dinner with perfect quietness, and seemed to pay no attention to what was going on below. On each side of the inn door were tables and benches, at which some peasants and fishermen sat drinking and smoking. Citizen Chapot, who was a short but

fleshy personage, occasionally appeared at the door, and exchanged a few words with his guests, or took their orders.

"Citizen, another pot of cider," said a peasant.

"Certainly," replied the bland host, who then called, "Nicotte! Nicotte!" and relapsed into dignity. But as no Nicotte appeared, he called again, and somewhat angrily.

"You called?" inquired Nicotte, making her appearance, and revealing the saucy little face of the Nicotte whom we saw, years past, in the park of Chateauneuf, plaguing and being plagued by her lover Goulard. "You called?" she repeated.

"You heard me, I suppose," said her master.

"I'm not deaf. I heard. What do you want?"

"A pot of cider."

"Well, I don't hinder you from getting it."

"That girl will drive me mad," exclaimed Chapot, turning to the guests, who were laughing heartily at Nicotte's naïveté. "There never was any one so stupid!" Then turning to her, "What are you a servant here for?"

"For very small wages," said Nicotte gravely; and off the guests went again into shouts of laughter.

"Oh, you confess the wages, do you?" he said.

"Why, you never supposed I stopped here for love of you, citizen? You never supposed I left my cows-my lovely cows!-to come all this way, and be your drudge, out of love for your fat face? To think of my blessed cows!"

"I wish you had never left them," replied Chapot.

"I didn't: they left me! They were torn from me, as everything is torn from every one in these horrid times. My poor good Seigneur had to fly; his chateau was taken from him, and sold to the nation, without


Metamorphoses: A Tale.-Part II.

as much as saying 'By your leave.' And I, of course, a poor milkmaid, couldn't keep my place when even his Majesty



"Then you don't know it?"
"Am I not the Municipal, and
paid to know everything? What is

it ?"

"This morning, as I was going

[ocr errors]

"Nicotte," said Chapot, red with over to St Malo"what word is that you uttered The -and in my presence, too! allusion to citizen Capet, whom you call Majesty, is offensive to me as a republican and a municipal.” "I don't care," replied Nicotte, "I will call flashing out at him. him his Majesty; and if the Republic doesn't like it, why the Republic may cut out my tongue"-here she stuck her arms akimbo, and, walking up to him, added, "if it dares !"

"Saint Malo, citizen?" asked Chapot, severely, bending his municipal brows.

Chapot had the courage of a hare, and was particularly subdued by the audacity of Nicotte, who always spoke out recklessly all she thought a very rare thing in those days.


"Don't! don't," he said soothingly, and with terror. As long as you are here, pray keep your aristocratic sentiments mum; you may comproWe all mise me and ruin yourself. know you are a first-rate girl, but do talk so wildly. There, you go and get the cider; there's a good girl.'

"I ain't a good girl. They have I shall taken me from my cows! never see them again-all so fond of me, so obedient to my voice! Never shall I take them out in the cool mornings, and bring them home in the quiet evenings-and it's all the fault of the Republic. I hate the very name of the Republic!" and with this energetic expression of her sentiments, she went to fetch the cider. The guests were all silent. There was something in her boldness which made them feel at once uncomShe alone fortable and ashamed. seemed to have the privilege of speaking her mind without molesta


Presently another old acquaintance made his appearance-citizen Goulard. He had followed Nicotte to St Malo; and when she entered the service of the Cheval Blanc, he opened his shop in Mairan-the shop of a barber and dentist.

[ocr errors]

Citizen Chapot," he exclaimed
do know what
with eagerness,
has happened?"
"Of course, I do. What is it?"

"Psha! that was a slip of the
tongue," said Goulard, drawing him-
self up, and preparing to spit elabo-
rately, as was his wont. "There are
no saints now-the Republic has
Here he spat
abolished all Saints."
with emphasis, and added, " Vive la

Nicotte, who had returned with
the cider in time to overhear her
lover, now said-

[ocr errors]

Goulard, you are never very wise
at the best of times, but when your
tongue wags about patriotism, and
such rubbish, it sounds in my ears
just for all the world like hi-haw, hi-
haw, hi-haw!" With this popular
imitation of the voice of an estimable
but not highly-esteemed beast, she
returned once more to the kitchen.
Every one laughed, except Goulard,
who, instead of looking annoyed,
seemed lost in admiration.

"She's a splendid woman," he
"What wit she has !-Well,
citizen, to Malo I went, to draw the
teeth of patriots; for you must know
you attend to this, it
and all of

concerns you.'

The drinking was suspended.
Every eye was fixed on the little
barber, who threw out his chest, and
prepared himself for an effect.

"Ours is a glorious Age, citizens—
an Age of Progress. I have ad-
vanced with the Age! I have long
felt that reforms were urgent in the
department of teeth-drawing. Don't
laugh, you will see I am serious. If
I am serious, that is a guarantee
that my project is not to be slighted.
Hitherto the drawing of teeth has
been an aristocratic luxury. It is of
no use for you to grin; when I say
luxury, I mean luxury. Not because
tooth-drawing has been in itself a
pleasing operation, at least to the
jaw whence the tooth was extracted,
but a luxury because of the expense !
I not like to have my leg cut
off, but if the operation is necessary,


« PreviousContinue »