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tical,” not actual enough. It was thus that Sir Stafford commended a kind of learning which, if not practical, is disinterested, and if not actual, forces us to say, “So much the worse for minds to which it seems lacking in actuality":
“It might be said of the best period of Athenian history, that it was a democracy tempered by comedies; and what comedies they are! It is not easy to convey to you young men any adequate idea of the delight with which, when one is wearied with long sittings in the House of Commons, one takes up the Knights' or the Clouds'; and then there is the more serious tragic poetry, which, while it tells the tale of Grecian thought and breathes the spirit of the Grecian muse, opens to us from time to time the depths of the universal poetry of mankind, and startles us at moments with its religious, its almost Christian sentiments. When we listen to the noble pleading of Antigone, her piety towards her brother, her resolution to obey the higher law of God rather than the law which condemns her to die for the discharge of a sister's duty, and her somewhat haughty refusal to allow her younger sister to involve herself in her fate, we feel as if we had before us one who might fitly take rank with Shakespeare's Isabella, nay, whom I would not hesitate to place above her for dignity and greatness of character, even though there are wanting in the older play those more distinctly Christian touches like the celebrated passage that all the souls that are, were forfeit once,' which gives to 'Measure for Measure' its chief flavour of superiority.”
LETTER TO LADY NORTHCOTE.
The Rectorial address was very much liked, but the Lord Rector's hardest holiday work had to come. On April 16 he was again in Edinburgh, at the assembly which gathered to celebrate the Three Hundred Years' life of “The Town's College,” for Edinburgh University is civic, and owes nothing to popes and saints.
Sir Stafford briefly described the scene to Lady Northcote: “Just a line to say it is hopeless to think of writing. Yesterday was a very striking though tiring day. I wish you could have seen the congregation of all manner of gowns and hoods which assembled in the old Parliament House and formed the procession to the old Cathedral of St Giles, which has now been very well restored. I have ordered a Scotsman' for each day, so you will get the account. I struck work after the evening reception, and declined to go to the ball. The M—'s are most kind and considerate—and don't ignore the cravings of youth.' But it is an advantage to be with people who can sympathise with the infirmities of age. “Si jeunesse savait,' they wouldn't overwork me, and ‘si vieillesse pouvait,' they could not; for I am very anxious to do all they ask. I hope to be of some use in the matter of their meeting the foreign delegates on Friday, which they could not well have managed without me. I went to their dramatic performance for part of the time. They had taken too heavy a piece in the version of ‘Nigel' but had got it up well, and the man who acted Trapbois was really clever."
Though he talked lightly of la vieillesse, he really was beginning to feel hard work of this kind as a strain. He had almost given up shooting, for which, perhaps, he never greatly cared; and his Irish tour, though it did not actually harm his health, had warned him that he might be overwearied. This is recognised in the following letter of April 18, describing a beautiful and interesting ceremony. When collegiate people do dress in their academic best, and when the variegated hoods of a hundred colleges are displayed, the scene proves that men of peace can be almost as gorgeous, and“ in their attire do show their wit” as magnificently, as men of the sword. This was the most magnificent academic festival which has been held for very many years; and with the old grey Grassmarket and St Giles' for a background to the reds and blues and greens of the robes, Edinburgh needed not to fear rivalry with Bologna
“The best thing is that I hope to be with you on the same day with this letter. Look out for me (or my exhausted carcass) by the train reaching King's Cross at
“Yesterday was a very remarkable day. I wish you could have seen the sight in the great hall where the degrees were conferred. The masses of colour were quite like a flower-bed, and the ladies in the gallery must have been much exercised between admiration and jealousy. Some of the French robes were the most striking. The banquet was less gay, as gowns were not worn; but it was a most striking sight. To-day is my day. I am just going to hold an assembly of the students, to give them
their turn of the great gathering. They are very much pleased, and I hope will forgive my not going to the ball on Wednesday. There is their symposium in the evening. Altogether it will be as hard as any day we have had.
"Now I must go. The M—'s are very kind, though the N-'s think they keep me away from the festivities too much. I should die under the energetic system; as it is, I can only just get along."
In his speech at the Tercentenary he made one of the classical allusions in which he excelled: “I feel assured that this University is destined to exhibit in its future career the same high qualities which it has exhibited hitherto. I was staying a very short time ago in an old house in the country that belonged to the family of the Mores. There were badges upon the walls, and the badge was the mulberry-tree-the morus; and this was the inscription : Morus tarde moriens, morum cito moritur'The mulberry-tree is slow in death, the mulberry fruits die quickly; and so it may be with us and all of this University. The individuals may pass away, but the stock will remain. It is a consolation which all who are connected with such a body as this may take to themselves, that though the work they do in this life may be short, and the art may seem to be long in comparison, though their life is short, the life of the body to which they belong is not short; and we may fully trust and believe that the future of this University will be connected, and will be proudly connected, with the history of our country and the prosperity of the English nation.”
Edinburgh never in the illustrious roll of her Lord Rectors had one more popular, one who better graced a graceful office, than Sir Stafford. He visited Scotland again in the autumn of 1884. He voyaged along the beautiful west coast in Mr Smith's yacht, the Pandora, which had frequently, and with great benefit to his health, been placed at his service. His best holidays were due to the kindness of Mr Smith. At Glasgow he had rather . more publicity than he liked. He writes from Oban : “One enthusiastic gentleman came and talked to me at the station, expressing his great disappointment that there were not more people there to see me off.
I had a newspaper correspondent who came and seated himself by my side at breakfast, and interviewed me so energetically that I cut short
meal.” Such are the holidays of the conspicuous : and even at a Scotch breakfast the interviewer comes with the porridge and stays till the marmalade. They saw Iona in the wet (there are English people who complain that the west coast is wet; it is not nearly wet enough for salmon and sea-trout), and they beguiled time at Tobermory with readings from “The Lord of the Isles,” and, less appropriately, from Mr Mallock. In Glencoe, too, it rained; but the glories of the Sunbeam, Lord Brassey's gorgeous yacht, were viewed and admired at Oban. On beholding this portent the muse awoke—as well she might; for, since the Sicilian tyrant's days, or the seafaring of Cleopatra, never was there a barque like the Sunbeamand Sir Stafford's hand touched the lyre of Ingoldsby,