FIFTEEN CHAPTERS OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY
* * * * *
UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME.
THE GREAT BOER WAR. Arthur Conan Doyle.
COLLECTIONS AND RECOLLECTIONS. G. W. E. Russell.
FROM THE CAPE TO CAIRO. E. S. Grogan.
SPURGEON'S SERMONS. Sir W. Robertson Nicoll, LL.D.
SIR FRANK LOCKWOOD. Augustine Birrell, K.C., M.P.
THE MAKING OF A FRONTIER. Colonel Durand.
LIFE OF RICHARD COBDEN. Lord Morley.
LIFE OF PARNELL. R. Barry O'Brien.
MEMORIES GRAVE AND GAY. Dr. John Kerr.
A BOOK ABOUT ROSES. S. Reynolds Hole.
RANDOM REMINISCENCES. Charles Brookfield.
AT THE WORKS. Lady Bell.
MEXICO AS I SAW IT. Mrs. Alec Tweedie.
PARIS TO NEW YORK BY LAND. Harry de Windt.
LIFE OF LEWIS CARROLL. Stuart Dodgson Collingwood.
THE MANTLE OF THE EAST. Edmund Candler.
LETTERS OF DR. JOHN BROWN.
JUBILEE BOOK OF CRICKET. Prince Ranjitsinhji.
BY DESERT WAYS TO BAGHDAD. Louisa Jebb.
SOME OLD LOVE STORIES. T. P. O'Connor.
FIELDS, FACTORIES, & WORKSHOPS. Prince Kropotkin.
PROBLEMS OF POVERTY. Dr. Chalmers.
THE BURDEN OF THE BALKANS. M. E. Durham.
LIFE AND LETTERS OF LORD MACAULAY.—I. & II. Sir George O. Trevelyan, Bart.
WHAT I SAW IN RUSSIA. Hon. Maurice Baring.
WILD ENGLAND OF TO-DAY. C. J. Cornish.
THROUGH FINLAND IN CARTS. Mrs. Alec Tweedie.
THE VOYAGE OF THE "DISCOVERY."—I. & II. Captain Scott.
FELICITY IN FRANCE. Constance E. Maud.
MY CLIMBS IN THE ALPS AND CAUCASUS. A. F. Mummery.
JOHN BRIGHT. R. Barry O'Brien.
POVERTY. B. Seebohm Rowntree.
SEA WOLVES OF THE MEDITERRANEAN. Commander E. Hamilton Currey, R.N.
FAMOUS MODERN BATTLES. A. Hilliard Atteridge.
THE CRUISE OF THE "FALCON." E. F. Knight.
A.K.H.B. (A Volume of Selections).
THE PEOPLE OF THE ABYSS. Jack London.
GRAIN OR CHAFF? A. Chichele Plowden.
LIFE AT THE ZOO. C. J. Cornish.
THE FOUR MEN. Hilaire Belloc.
CRUISE OF THE "ALERTE." E. F. Knight.
FOUR FRENCH ADVENTURERS. Stoddard Dewey.
A REAPING. E. F. Benson.
Others to follow.
* * * * *
Fifteen Chapters of Autobiography
BY THE RIGHT HON. GEORGE W. E. RUSSELL
THOMAS NELSON AND SONS LONDON, EDINBURGH, DUBLIN AND NEW YORK
This book was originally published under the title of "One Look Back."
HENRY SCOTT HOLLAND
IN HONOUR OF THE BEST GIFT WHICH OXFORD GAVE ME
I. BEGINNINGS 9
II. HARROW 35
III. HARROVIANA 56
IV. OXFORD 82
V. OXONIANA 102
VI. HOME 125
VII. LONDON 143
VIII. HOSPITALITY 171
IX. ELECTIONEERING 195
X. PARLIAMENT 222
XI. POLITICS 246
XII. ORATORY 283
XIII. LITERATURE 309
XIV. SERVICE 338
XV. ECCLESIASTICA 365
FIFTEEN CHAPTERS OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY.
One look back—as we hurry o'er the plain, Man's years speeding us along— One look back! From the hollow past again, Youth, come flooding into song! Tell how once, in the breath of summer air, Winds blew fresher than they blow; Times long hid, with their triumph and their care, Yesterday—many years ago! E. E. BOWEN.
The wayfarer who crosses Lincoln's Inn Fields perceives in the midst of them a kind of wooden temple, and passes by it unmoved. But, if his curiosity tempts him to enter it, he sees, through an aperture in the boarded floor, a slab of stone bearing this inscription:
"On this spot was beheaded William Lord Russell, A lover of constitutional liberty, 21st July, A.D. 1683."
Of the martyr thus temperately eulogized I am the great-great-great-great-grandson, and I agree with The Antiquary, that "it's a shame to the English language that we have not a less clumsy way of expressing a relationship of which we have occasion to think and speak so frequently."
Before we part company with my ill-fated ancestor, let me tell a story bearing on his historical position. When my father was a cornet in the Blues, he invited a brother-officer to spend some of his leave at Woburn Abbey. One day, when the weather was too bad for any kind of sport, the visitor was induced to have a look at the pictures. The Rembrandts, and Cuyps, and Van Dykes and Sir Joshuas bored him to extremity, but accidentally his eye lit on Hayter's famous picture of Lord Russell's trial, and, with a sudden gleam of intelligence, he exclaimed, "Hullo! What's this? It looks like a trial." My father answered, with modest pride—"It is a trial—the trial of my ancestor, William, Lord Russell." "Good heavens! my dear fellow—an ancestor of yours tried? What a shocking thing! I hope he got off."
So much for our Family Martyr.
In analysing one's nationality, it is natural to regard one's four grand-parents as one's component parts. Tried by this test, I am half an Englishman, one quarter a Highlander, and one quarter a Welshman, for my father's father was wholly English; my father's mother wholly Scotch; my mother's father wholly Welsh; and my mother's mother wholly English. My grandfather, the sixth Duke of Bedford, was born in 1766 and died in 1839. He married, as his second wife, Lady Georgiana Gordon, sister of the last Duke of Gordon, and herself "the last of the Gordons" of the senior line. She died just after I was born, and from her and the "gay Gordons" who preceded her, I derive my name of George. It has always been a comfort to me, when rebuked for ritualistic tendencies, to recall that I am great-great-nephew of that undeniable Protestant, Lord George Gordon, whose icon I daily revere. My grandmother had a numerous family, of whom my father was the third. He was born in Dublin Castle, his father being then Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland in the Ministry of "All the Talents." My grandfather had been a political and personal friend of Charles James Fox, and Fox had promised to be godfather to his next child. But Fox died on the 13th of September, 1806, and my father did not appear till the 10th of February, 1807. Fox's nephew, Henry Lord Holland, took over the sponsorship, and bestowed the names of "Charles James Fox" on the infant Whig, who, as became his father's viceregal state, was christened by the Archbishop of Dublin, with water from a golden bowl.
The life so impressively auspicated lasted till the 29th of June, 1894. So my father, who remembered an old Highlander who had been out with Prince Charlie in '45, lived to see the close of Mr. Gladstone's fourth Premiership. He was educated at Rottingdean, at Westminster, where my family had fagged and fought for many generations, and at the University of Edinburgh, where he boarded with that "paltry Pillans," who, according to Byron, "traduced his friend." From Edinburgh he passed into the Blues, then commanded by Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, and thence into the 52nd Regiment. In 1832 he was returned to the first Reformed Parliament as Whig Member for Bedfordshire. He finally retired in 1847, and from that date till 1875 was Sergeant-at-Arms attending the House of Commons. He married in 1834, and had six children, of whom I was the youngest by eight years, being born on the 3rd of February, 1853.
My birthplace (not yet marked with a blue and white medallion) was 16, Mansfield Street; but very soon afterwards the official residences at the Palace of Westminster were finished, and my father took possession of the excellent but rather gloomy house in the Speaker's Court, now (1913) occupied by Sir David Erskine.
Here my clear memories begin. I have indeed some vague impressions of a visit to the widow of my mother's grandfather—Lady Robert Seymour—who died in her ninety-first year when I was two years old; though, as those impressions are chiefly connected with a jam-cupboard, I fancy that they must pertain less to Lady Robert than to her housekeeper. But two memories of my fourth year are perfectly defined. The first is the fire which destroyed Covent Garden Theatre on the 5th of March, 1856. "During the operatic recess, Mr. Gye, the lessee of the Theatre, had sub-let it to one Anderson, a performer of sleight-of-hand feats, and so-called 'Professor.' He brought his short season to a close by an entertainment described as a 'Grand Carnival Complimentary Benefit and Dramatic Gala, to commence on Monday morning, and terminate with a bal masque on Tuesday night.' At 3 on the Wednesday morning, the Professor thought it time to close the orgies. At this moment the gasfitter discovered the fire issuing from the cracks of the ceiling, and, amid the wildest shrieking and confusion, the drunken, panic-stricken masquers rushed to the street. The flames burst through the roof, sending high up into the air columns of fire, which threw into bright reflection every tower and spire within the circuit of the metropolis, brilliantly illuminating the whole fabric of St. Paul's, and throwing a flood of light across Waterloo Bridge, which set out in bold relief the dark outline of the Surrey hills." That "flood of light" was beheld by me, held up in my nurse's arms at a window under "Big Ben," which looks on Westminster Bridge. When in later years I have occasionally stated in a mixed company that I could remember the burning of Covent Garden Theatre, I have noticed a general expression of surprised interest, and have been told, in a tone meant to be kind and complimentary, that my hearers would hardly have thought that my memory went back so far. The explanation has been that these good people had some vague notions of Rejected Addresses floating through their minds, and confounded the burning of Covent Garden Theatre in 1856 with that of Drury Lane Theatre in 1809. Most people have no chronological sense.
Our home was at Woburn, in a house belonging to the Duke of Bedford, but given by my grandfather to my parents for their joint and several lives. My father's duties at the House of Commons kept him in London during the Parliamentary Session, but my mother, who detested London and worshipped her garden, used to return with her family to Woburn, in time to superintend the "bedding-out." My first memory is connected with my home in London; my second with my home in the country, and the rejoicings for the termination of the Crimean War.
Under the date of May 29, 1856, we read in Annals of Our Time, "Throughout the Kingdom, the day was marked by a cessation from work, and, during the night, illuminations and fireworks were all but universal." The banners and bands of the triumphal procession which paraded the streets of our little town—scarcely more than a village in dimensions—made as strong an impression on my mind as the conflagration which had startled all London in the previous March.
People who have only known me as a double-dyed Londoner always seem to find a difficulty in believing that I once was a countryman; yet, for the first twenty-five years of my life, I lived almost entirely in the country. "We could never have loved the earth so well, if we had had no childhood in it—if it were not the earth where the same flowers come up again every spring, that we used to gather with our tiny fingers as we sat lisping to ourselves on the grass—the same hips and haws on the autumn hedgerows.... One's delight in an elderberry bush overhanging the confused leafage of a hedgerow bank, as a more gladdening sight than the finest cistus or fuchsia spreading itself on the softest undulating turf, is an entirely unjustifiable preference to a Nursery-Gardener. And there is no better reason for preferring this elderberry bush than that it stirs an early memory—that it is no novelty in my life, speaking to me merely through my present sensibilities to form and colour, but the long companion of my existence, that wove itself into my joys when joys were vivid."
I had the unspeakable advantage of being reared in close contact with Nature, in an aspect beautiful and wild. My father's house was remarkable for its pretty garden, laid out with the old-fashioned intricacy of pattern, and blazing, even into autumn, with varied colour. In the midst of it, a large and absolutely symmetrical cedar "spread its dark green layers of shade," and supplied us in summer with a kind of al fresco sitting-room. The background of the garden was formed by the towering trees of Woburn Park; and close by there were great tracts of woodland, which stretch far into Buckinghamshire, and have the character and effect of virgin forest.
Having no boy-companions (for my only brother was ten years older than myself), of course I played no games, except croquet. I was brought up in a sporting home, my father being an enthusiastic fox-hunter and a good all-round sportsman. I abhorred shooting, and was badly bored by coursing and fishing. Indeed, I believe I can say with literal truth that I have never killed anything larger than a wasp, and that only in self-defence. But Woburn is an ideal country for riding, and I spent a good deal of my time on an excellent pony, or more strictly, galloway. An hour or two with the hounds was the reward of virtue in the schoolroom; and cub-hunting in a woodland country at 7 o'clock on a September morning still remains my most cherished memory of physical enjoyment.
"That things are not as ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and now rest in unvisited tombs." Most true: and among that faithful number I must remember our governess,—Catherine Emily Runciman—who devoted forty years of her life, in one capacity or another, to us and to our parents. She was what boys call "jolly out of school," but rather despotic in it; and, after a few trials of strength, I was emancipated from her control when I was eight. When we were in London for the Session of Parliament, I attended a Day School, kept by two sisters of John Leech, in a curious little cottage, since destroyed, at the bottom of Lower Belgrave Street. Just at the age when, in the ordinary course, I should have gone to a boarding-school, it was discovered that I was physically unfit for the experiment; and then I had a series of tutors at home. To one of these tutors my father wrote—"I must warn you of your pupil's powers of conversation, and tact in leading his teachers into it."
But I was to a great extent self-taught. We had an excellent, though old-fashioned, library, and I spent a great deal of my time in miscellaneous reading. The Waverley Novels gave me my first taste of literary enjoyment, and Pickwick (in the original green covers) came soon after. Shakespeare and Don Quixote were imposed by paternal authority. Jeremy Taylor, Fielding, Smollett, Swift, Dryden, Pope, Byron, Moore, Macaulay, Miss Edgeworth, Bulwer-Lytton, were among my earliest friends, and I had an insatiable thirst for dictionaries and encyclopaedias. Tennyson was the first poet whom I really loved, but I also was fond of Scott's poetry, the Lays of Ancient Rome, the Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers, and The Golden Treasury. Milton, Shelley, Wordsworth, and Matthew Arnold came later, but while I was still a boy. George Eliot, Thackeray, Ruskin, and Trollope came when I was at Oxford; and I am not sure that Browning ever came. On the whole, I owe my chief enjoyment to Scott, Dickens, Wordsworth, and Tennyson, and to Pickwick more than to any single book. But I think the keenest thrill of intellectual pleasure which I ever felt passed through me when, as a boy at Harrow, I first read Wordsworth's "Daffodils."
Our home, in its outward aspects, was extremely bright and cheerful. We had, as a family, a keen sense of fun, much contempt for convention, and great fluency of speech; and our material surroundings were such as to make life enjoyable. Even as a child, I used to say to myself, when cantering among Scotch firs and rhododendrons, "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places." A graver element was supplied by a good deal of ill-health, by bereavements, and, in some sense, by our way of religion. My home was intensely Evangelical, and I lived from my earliest days in an atmosphere where the salvation of the individual soul was the supreme and constant concern of life. No form of worldliness entered into it, but it was full of good works, of social service, and of practical labour for the poor. All life was lived, down to its minutest detail, "as ever in the great task-Master's eye." From our very earliest years we were taught the Bible, at first orally; and later on were encouraged to read it, by gifts of handsomely bound copies. I remember that our aids to study were Adam Clarke's Commentary, Nicholl's Help to Reading the Bible, and a book called Light in the Dwelling. Hymns played a great part in our training. As soon as we could speak, we learned "When rising from the bed of death," and "Beautiful Zion, built above." "Rock of Ages" and "Jesu, Lover of my soul" were soon added. The Church Catechism we were never taught. I was confirmed without learning it. It was said to be too difficult; it really was too sacramental. By way of an easier exercise, I was constrained to learn "The Shorter Catechism of the General Assembly of Divines at Westminster." We had Family Prayers twice every day. My father read a chapter, very much as the fancy took him, or where the Bible opened of itself; and he read without note or comment. I recall a very distinct impression on my infant mind that the passages of the Old Testament which were read at prayers had no meaning, and that the public reading of the words, without reference to sense, was an act of piety. After the chapter, my father read one of Henry Thornton's Family Prayers, replaced in later years by those of Ashton Oxenden.
While we were still very young children, we were carefully incited to acts of practical charity. We began by carrying dinners to the sick and aged poor; then we went on to reading hymns and bits of Bible to the blind and unlettered. As soon as we were old enough, we became teachers in Sunday schools, and conducted classes and cottage-meetings. From the very beginning we were taught to save up our money for good causes. Each of us had a "missionary box," and I remember another box, in the counterfeit presentment of a Gothic church, which received contributions for the Church Pastoral Aid Society. When, on an occasion of rare dissipation, I won some shillings at "The Race-Game," they were impounded for the service of the C.M.S., and an aunt of mine, making her sole excursion into melody, wrote for the benefit of her young friends:
"Would you like to be told the best use for a penny? I can tell you a use which is better than any— Not on toys or on fruit or on sweetmeats to spend it, But over the seas to the heathen to send it."
I learned my religion from my mother, the sweetest, brightest, and most persuasive of teachers, and what she taught I received as gospel.
"Oh that those lips had language! Life has past With me but roughly since I heard thee last."
Sit anima mea cum Sanctis. May my lot be with those Evangelical saints from whom I first learned that, in the supreme work of salvation, no human being and no created thing can interpose between the soul and the Creator. Happy is the man whose religious life has been built on the impregnable rock of that belief.
So much for the foundation. The superstructure was rather accidental than designed.
From my very earliest days I had a natural love of pomp and pageantry; and, though I never saw them, I used to read of them with delight in books of continental travel, and try to depict them in my sketch-books, and even enact them with my toys. Then came Sir Walter Scott, who inspired me, as he inspired so many greater men, with the love of ecclesiastical splendour, and so turned my vague love of ceremony into a definite channel. Another contribution to the same end was made, all unwittingly, by my dear and deeply Protestant father. He was an enthusiast for Gothic architecture, and it was natural to enquire the uses of such things as piscinas and sedilia in fabrics which he taught me to admire. And then came the opportune discovery (in an idle moment under a dull sermon) of the Occasional Offices of the Prayer Book. If language meant anything, those Offices meant the sacramental system of the Catholic Church; and the impression derived from the Prayer Book was confirmed by Jeremy Taylor and The Christian Year. I was always impatient of the attempt, even when made by the most respectable people, to pervert plain English, and I felt perfect confidence in building the Catholic superstructure on my Evangelical foundation.
As soon as I had turned fourteen, I was confirmed by the Bishop of Ely (Harold Browne), and made my first Communion in Woburn Church on Easter Day, April 21, 1867.
After the Easter Recess, I went with my parents to London, then seething with excitement over the Tory Reform Bill, which created Household Suffrage in towns. My father, being Sergeant-at-Arms, could give me a seat under the Gallery whenever he chose, and I heard some of the most memorable debates in that great controversy. In the previous year my uncle, Lord Russell, with Mr. Gladstone as Leader of the House of Commons, had been beaten in an attempt to lower the franchise; but the contest had left me cold. The debates of 1867 awoke quite a fresh interest in me. I began to understand the Democratic, as against the Whig, ideal; and I was tremendously impressed by Disraeli, who seemed to tower by a head and shoulders above everyone in the House. Gladstone played a secondary and ambiguous part; and, if I heard him speak, which I doubt, the speech left no dint in my memory.
At this point of the narrative it is necessary to make a passing allusion to Doctors, who, far more than Premiers or Priests or any other class of men, have determined the course and condition of my life. I believe that I know, by personal experience, more about Doctors and Doctoring than any other man of my age in England. I am, in my own person, a monument of medical practice, and have not only seen, but felt, the rise and fall of several systems of physic and surgery. To have experienced the art is also to have known the artist; and the portraits of all the practitioners with whom at one time or another I have been brought into intimate relations would fill the largest album, and go some way towards furnishing a modest Picture-Gallery. Broadly speaking, the Doctors of the 'fifties and 'sixties were as Dickens drew them. The famous consultant, Dr. Parker Peps; the fashionable physician, Sir Tumley Snuffim; the General Practitioner, Mr. Pilkins; and the Medical Officer of the Anglo-Bengalee Disinterested Loan and Life Insurance Company, Dr. Jobling; are in the highest degree representative and typical; but perhaps the Doctor—his name, unfortunately, has perished—who was called to the bedside of little Nell, and came with "a great bunch of seals dangling below a waistcoat of ribbed black satin," is the most carefully finished portrait. Such, exactly, were the Family Physicians of my youth. They always dressed in shiny black,—trousers, neckcloth, and all; they were invariably bald, and had shaved upper lips and chins, and carefully-trimmed whiskers. They said "Hah!" and "Hum!" in tones of omniscience which would have converted a Christian Scientist; and, when feeling one's pulse, they produced the largest and most audibly-ticking gold watches producible by the horologist's art. They had what were called "the courtly manners of the old school"; were diffuse in style, and abounded in periphrasis. Thus they spoke of "the gastric organ" where their successors talk of the stomach, and referred to brandy as "the domestic stimulant." When attending families where religion was held in honour, they were apt to say to the lady of the house, "We are fearfully and wonderfully made"; and, where classical culture prevailed, they not infrequently remarked—
Crescit indulgens sibi dirus hydrops.
By the way, my reference to "the domestic stimulant" reminds me that on stimulants, domestic and other, this school of Physicians relied with an unalterable confidence. For a delicate child, a glass of port wine at 11 was the inevitable prescription, and a tea-spoonful of bark was often added to this generous tonic. In all forms of languor and debility and enfeebled circulation, brandy-and-water was "exhibited," as the phrase went; and, if the dose was not immediately successful, the brandy was increased. I myself, when a sickly boy of twelve, was ordered by a well-known practitioner, called F. C. Skey, to drink mulled claret at bedtime; and my recollection is that, as a nightcap, it beat bromide and sulphonal hollow. In the light of more recent science, I suppose that all this alcoholic treatment was what Milton calls "the sweet poyson of misused wine," and wrought havoc with one's nerves, digestion, and circulation. It certainly had this single advantage, that when one grew to man's estate, and passed from "that poor creature, small beer," to the loaded port and fiery sherry of a "Wine" at the University, it was impossible to make one drunk. And thereby hangs a tale. I was once writing the same sentiment in the same words for a medical journal, and the compositor substituted "disadvantage" for "advantage," apparently thinking that my early regimen had deprived me of a real happiness in after-life.
Such were the Doctors of my youth. By no sudden wrench, no violent transition, but gently, gradually, imperceptibly, the type has transformed itself into that which we behold to-day. No doubt an inward continuity has been maintained, but the visible phenomena are so radically altered as to suggest to the superficial observer the idea of a new creation; and even we, who, as Matthew Arnold said, "stand by the Sea of Time, and listen to the solemn and rhythmical beat of its waves," even we can scarcely point with confidence to the date of each successive change. First, as to personal appearance. When did doctors abandon black cloth, and betake themselves (like Newman, when he seceded to the Church of Rome) to grey trousers? Not, I feel pretty sure, till the 'seventies were well advanced. Quite certainly the first time that I ever fell into the hands of a moustached Doctor was in 1877. Everyone condemned the hirsute appendage as highly unprofessional, and when, soon after, the poor man found his way into a Lunatic Asylum, the neighbouring Doctors of the older school said that they were not surprised; that "there was a bad family history"; and that he himself had shown marked signs of eccentricity. That meant the moustache, and nothing else. Then, again, when was it first recognized as possible to take a pulse without the assistance of a gold chronometer? History is silent; but I am inclined to assign that discovery to the same date as the clinical thermometer, a toy unknown to the Doctors of my youth, who, indeed, were disposed to regard even the stethoscope as new-fangled. Then "the courtly manners of the old school"—when did they go out? I do not mean to cast the slightest aspersion on the manners of my present doctor, who is as polite and gentlemanlike a young fellow as one could wish to meet. But his manners are not "courtly," nor the least "of the old school." He does not bow when he enters my room, but shakes hands and says it's an A1 day and I had better get out in the motor. Whatever the symptoms presented to his observation, he never says "Hah!" or "Hum!" and he has never once quoted the Bible or Horace, though I have reason to believe that he has read both. Then, again, as a mere matter of style, when did Doctors abandon the majestic "We," which formerly they shared with Kings and Editors? "We shall be all the better when we have had our luncheon and a glass of sherry," said Sir Tumley Snuffim. "We will continue the bark and linseed," murmured Dr. Parker Peps, as he bowed himself out. My Doctor says, "Do you feel as if you could manage a chop? It would do you pounds of good"; and "I know the peroxide dressing is rather beastly, but I'd stick it another day or two, if I were you." Medical conversation, too, is an art which has greatly changed. In old days it was thought an excellent method of lubricating the first interview for the Doctor to ask where one's home was, and to state, quite irrespective of the fact, that he was born in the same neighbourhood; having ascertained that one was, say, a Yorkshireman, to remark that he would have known it from one's accent; to enlarge on his own connexions, especially if of the territorial caste; to describe his early travels in the South of Europe or the United States; and to discourse on water-colour drawing or the flute. "We doctors, too, have our hobbies; though, alas! the demands of a profession in which Ne otium quidem otiosum est leave us little time to enjoy them."
Quite different is the conversation of the modern doctor. He does not lubricate the interview, but goes straight to business—enquires, examines, pronounces, prescribes—and then, if any time is left for light discourse, discusses the rival merits of "Rugger" and "Soccer," speculates on the result of the Hospital Cup Tie, or observes that the British Thoroughbred is not deteriorating when he can win with so much on his back; pronounces that the Opera last night was ripping, or that some much-praised play is undiluted rot. Not thus did Dr. Parker Peps regale Mrs. Dombey, or Sir Tumley Snuffim soothe the shattered nerves of Mrs. Wititterly. The reaction against alcoholic treatment can, I believe, be definitely dated from the 10th of January, 1872, when the heads of the medical profession published their opinion that "alcohol, in whatever form, should be prescribed with as much care as any powerful drug, and the directions for its use should be so framed as not to be interpreted as a sanction for excess." This was a heavy blow and deep discouragement to the school of Snuffim and Pilkins, and the system of port at 11, and "the domestic stimulant" between whiles, died hard.
But this is a long digression. I return to the Family Physician who prescribed for my youth. He was Dr. T. Somerset Snuffim, son of the celebrated Sir Tumley, and successor to his lucrative practice. His patients believed in him with an unquestioning and even passionate faith, and his lightest word was law. It was he who in 1862 pronounced me physically unfit for a Private School, but held out hopes that, if I could be kept alive till I was fourteen, I might then be fit for a Public School. Four years passed, and nothing particular happened. Then the time arrived when the decision had to be made between Public School and Private Tutor. After a vast amount of stethoscoping and pulse-feeling, Snuffim decided peremptorily against a Public School. My parents had a strong and just detestation of "private study" and its products, and they revolved a great many schemes for avoiding it. Suddenly my mother, who was not only the kindest but also the wisest of mothers, bethought herself of making me a Home-boarder at Harrow. She was one of those persons who, when once they are persuaded that a certain course is right, do not let the grass grow under their feet, but act at once. We did not desert our old home in Bedfordshire, and my father had still his official residence in Speaker's Court; but my parents took a house at Harrow, at the top of Sudbury Hill, and there we established ourselves in September, 1867.
On the 4th of November in that year, Matthew Arnold, who was contemplating a similar move, wrote to Lady de Rothschild:—"What you tell me is very important and interesting. I think Lady Charles Russell has a boy who, like my eldest boy, is an invalid, and I dare say you will some time or other be kind enough to ascertain from her whether the school life is at all trying for him, or whether she has any difficulty in getting him excused fagging or violent exercises."
 The L.C.C., which placed this slab, made a topographical error. James Wright, in his Compendious View of the late Tumults and Troubles in this Kingdom (1683), says: "The Lord Russel ... was on the day following, viz. Saturday the 21st of July, Beheaded in Lincoln's Inn Fields. For which purpose a Scaffold was erected that Morning on that side of the Fields next to the Arch going into Duke Street, in the middle between the said Arch and the corner turning into Queen Street."
To the Editor of The Times.
SIR—As Links with the Past seem just now to be in fashion, permit me to supply two which concern my near relations.
1. My uncle, Lord Russell (1792-1878) visited Napoleon at Elba in December, 1814, and had a long conversation with him, which is reported in Spencer Walpole's "Life of Lord John Russell." There must be plenty of people now alive who conversed with my uncle, so this Link cannot be a very rare one.
2. My second Link is more remarkable. My father (1807-1894) remembered an old Highlander who had been "out" with Prince Charles Edward in 1745. Of course, this "linking" took place at the extremes of age, my father being a little boy and the Highlander a very old man. My grandfather, the sixth Duke of Bedford, was one of the first Englishmen who took a shooting in the Highlands (on the Spey), and the first time that my father accompanied him to the north, Prince Charlie's follower was still living near the place which my grandfather rented. Your obedient servant, Sept. 6, 1910. GEORGE W. E. RUSSELL.
Not to River nor Royal Keep, Low Meads nor level Close, Up to the sturdy wind-worn steep, Levavi oculos; To four red walls on a skyward climb, Towering over the fields and Time. E. MILNER-WHITE.
When Dr. Vaughan re-created Harrow School, after its long decadence under Longley and Wordsworth, he wished that the number should never exceed five hundred. Of late years the school has been greatly enlarged, but in my time we were always just about the number which, in Vaughan's judgment, was the largest that a Head-master could properly supervise. That number is embalmed in Edward Howson's touching song:—
"Five hundred faces, and all so strange! Life in front of me, Home behind— I felt like a waif before the wind, Tossed on an ocean of shock and change."
Some of those faces I shall presently describe; but, in reviewing my life at Harrow, my first tribute must be paid to my Head-master—for forty-five years the kindest, most generous, and most faithful of friends. Henry Montagu Butler, youngest son of Dr. George Butler, Dean of Peterborough and sometime Head-master of Harrow, was born in 1833, and educated at Harrow. He was Head of the School, made the cock-score in the Eton match at Lords, was Scholar and Fellow of Trinity, and Senior Classic in 1855. He was elected to the Head-mastership of Harrow, in succession to Dr. Vaughan, when he was only a few months over 26, and entered on his reign in January, 1860. It is not easy to describe what a graceful and brilliant creature he seemed to my boyish eyes, when I first saw him in 1867, nor how unlike what one had imagined a Head-master to be. He was then just thirty-four and looked much younger than he was. Gracefulness is the idea which I specially connect with him. He was graceful in shape, gesture, and carriage; graceful in manners and ways, graceful in scholarship, graceful in writing, pre-eminently graceful in speech. It was his custom from time to time, if any peculiar enormity displayed itself in the school, to call us all together in the Speech-Room, and give us what we called a "Pi-jaw." One of these discourses I remember as well as if I had heard it yesterday. It was directed against Lying, as not only un-Christian but ungentlemanlike. As he stood on the dais, one hand grasping his gown behind his back and the other marking his points, I felt that, perhaps for the first time, I was listening to pure and unstudied eloquence, suffused with just as much scorn against base wrongdoing as makes speech pungent without making it abusive. It should be recorded to Butler's credit that he was thoroughly feared. A Head-master who is not feared should be at once dismissed from his post. And, besides being feared, he was profoundly detested by bad boys. The worse the boy's moral character, the more he hated Butler. But boys who were, in any sense or degree, on the right side; who were striving, however imperfectly, after what is pure and lovely and of good report, felt instinctively that Butler was their friend. His preaching in the School Chapel (though perhaps a little impeded by certain mannerisms) was direct, interesting, and uplifting in no common degree. Many of his sermons made a lifelong impression on me. His written English was always beautifully pellucid, and often adorned by some memorable anecdote or quotation, or by some telling phrase. But once, when, owing to a broken arm, he could not write his sermons, but preached to us extempore three Sundays in succession, he fairly fascinated us. As we rose in the School and came into close contact with him, we found ever more and more to admire. It would be impertinent for me to praise the attainments of a Senior Classic, but no one could fail to see that Butler's scholarship was unusually graceful and literary. Indeed, he was literary through and through. All fine literature appealed to him with compelling force, and he was peculiarly fond of English oratory. Chatham, Burke, Canning, Sheil, and Bright are some of the great orators to whom he introduced us, and he was never so happy as when he could quote them to illustrate some fine passage in Cicero or Demosthenes. One other introduction which I owe to him I must by no means forget—Lord Beaconsfield's novels. I had read Lothair when it came out, but I was then too inexperienced to discern the deep truths which underlie its glittering satire. Butler introduced me to Sybil, and thereby opened up to me a new world of interest and amusement. When Butler entertained boys at breakfast or dinner, he was a most delightful host, and threw off all magisterial awfulness as easily as his gown. His conversation was full of fun and sprightliness, and he could talk "Cricket-shop," ancient and modern, like Lillywhite or R. H. Lyttelton. In time of illness or failure or conscience-stricken remorse, he showed an Arthur-like simplicity of religion which no one could ignore or gainsay.
Next to Dr. Butler, in my list of Harrow masters, must be placed Farrar, afterwards Dean of Canterbury, to whom I owed more in the way of intellectual stimulus and encouragement than to any other teacher. I had, I believe, by nature, some sense of beauty; and Farrar stimulated and encouraged this sense to the top of its bent. Himself inspired by Ruskin, he taught us to admire rich colours and graceful forms—illuminated missals, and Fra Angelico's blue angels on gold grounds—and to see the exquisite beauty of common things, such as sunsets, and spring grass, and autumn leaves; the waters of a shoaling sea, and the transparent amber of a mountain stream. In literature his range was extremely wide. Nothing worth reading seemed to have escaped him, and he loved poetry as much as Butler loved oratory. When he preached in Chapel his gorgeous rhetoric, as yet not overwrought or over-coloured, held us spellbound; and though, or perhaps because, he was inclined to spoil the boys who responded to his appeals, and to rate them higher than they deserved, we loved and admired him as, I should think, few schoolmasters have been loved and admired.
When I speak of masters who were also friends, I should be ungrateful indeed if I omitted Arthur George Watson, in whose House I was placed as soon as the doctors were satisfied that the experiment could be tried without undue risks. Mr. Watson was a Fellow of All Souls, and was in all respects what we should have expected a member of that Society (elected the same day as the late Lord Salisbury) to be. It was said of C. P. Golightly at Oxford that, when he was asked his opinion of Dr. Hawkins, Provost of Oriel, he replied: "Well, if I were forced to choose the epithet which should be least descriptive of the dear Provost, I should choose gushing." Exactly the same might be said of Mr. Watson; but he was the most high-minded and conscientious of men, a thorough gentleman, inflexibly just, and a perfect House-Master. The days which I spent under his roof must always be reckoned among the happiest of my life.
Among masters who were also friends I must assign a high place to the Rev. William Done Bushell, who vainly endeavoured to teach me mathematics, but found me more at home in the sphere (which he also loved) of Ecclesiology. And not even the most thoughtless or ill-conditioned boy who was at Harrow between 1854 and 1882 could ever forget the Rev. John Smith, who, through a life-time overshadowed by impending calamity, was an Apostle to boys, if ever there was one, and the Guardian Angel of youthful innocence. Dr. Vaughan, no lover of exaggerated phrases, called him, in a memorial sermon, "the Christ of Harrow;" and there must be many a man now living who, as he looks back, feels that he owed the salvation of his soul to that Christ-like character.
During my first two years at Harrow, Dr. Westcott, afterwards Bishop of Durham, was one of the masters, and it has always been a matter of deep regret to me that I had no opportunity of getting to know him. He was hardly visible in the common life of the School. He lived remote, aloof, apart, alone. It must be presumed that the boys who boarded in his House knew something of him, but with the School in general he never came in contact. His special work was to supervise the composition, English and classical, of the Sixth Form, and on this task he lavished all his minute and scrupulous scholarship, all his genuine enthusiasm for literary beauty. But, until we were in the Sixth, we saw Westcott only on public occasions, and one of these occasions was the calling over of names on half-holidays, styled at Eton "Absence," and at Harrow "Bill." To see Westcott performing this function made one, even in those puerile days, feel that the beautifully delicate instrument was eminently unfitted for the rough work of mere routine on which it was employed. We had sense enough to know that Westcott was a man of learning and distinction altogether outside the beaten track of schoolmasters' accomplishments; and that he had performed achievements in scholarship and divinity which great men recognized as great. "Calling Bill" was an occupation well enough suited for his colleagues—for Huggins or Buggins or Brown or Green—but it was actually pathetic to see this frail embodiment of culture and piety contending with the clamour and tumult of five hundred obstreperous boys.
It was not only as a great scholar that we revered Westcott. We knew, by that mysterious process by which school-boys get to know something of the real, as distinct from the official, characters of their masters, that he was a saint. There were strange stories in the School about his ascetic way of living. We were told that he wrote his sermons on his knees. We heard that he never went into local society, and that he read no newspaper except The Guardian. Thus when Liddon, at the height of his fame as the author of the great Bampton Lectures, came to Harrow to preach on Founder's Day, it was reported that Westcott would not dine with the Head-master to meet him. He could not spare three hours from prayer and study; but he came in for an hour's conversation after dinner.
All that we saw and heard in Chapel confirmed what we were told. We saw the bowed form, the clasped hands, the rapt gaze, as of a man who in worship was really solus cum Solo, and not, as the manner of some of his colleagues was, sleeping the sleep of the just, or watching for the devotional delinquencies of the Human Boy. His sermons were rare events; but some of us looked forward to them as to something quite out of the common groove. There were none of the accessories which generally attract boyish admiration—no rhetoric, no purple patches, no declamation, no pretence of spontaneity. His anxious forehead crowned a puny body, and his voice was so faint as to be almost inaudible. The language was totally unadorned; the sentences were closely packed with meaning; and the meaning was not always easy. But the charm lay in distinction, aloofness from common ways of thinking and speaking, a wide outlook on events and movements in the Church, and a fiery enthusiasm all the more telling because sedulously restrained. I remember as if I heard it yesterday a reference in December, 1869, to "that august assemblage which gathers to-morrow under the dome of St. Peter's," and I remember feeling pretty sure at the moment that there was no other schoolmaster in England who would preach to his boys about the Vatican Council. But by far the most momentous of Westcott's sermons at Harrow was that which he preached on the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity, 1868. The text was Ephesians v. 15: "See then that ye walk circumspectly." The sermon was an earnest plea for the revival of the ascetic life, and the preacher endeavoured to show "what new blessings God has in store for absolute self-sacrifice" by telling his hearers about the great victories of asceticism in history. He took first the instance of St. Anthony, as the type of personal asceticism; then that of St. Benedict, as the author of the Common Life of equality and brotherhood; and then that of St. Francis, who, "in the midst of a Church endowed with all that art and learning and wealth and power could give, reasserted the love of God to the poorest, the meanest, the most repulsive of His children, and placed again the simple Cross above all the treasures of the world." Even "the unparalleled achievements, the matchless energy, of the Jesuits" were duly recognized as triumphs of faith and discipline; and the sermon ended with a passionate appeal to the Harrow boys to follow the example of young Antony or the still younger Benedict, and prepare themselves to take their part in reviving the ascetic life of the English Church.
"It is to a congregation like this that the call comes with the most stirring and the most cheering voice. The young alone have the fresh enthusiasm which in former times God has been pleased to consecrate to like services.... And if, as I do believe most deeply, a work at present awaits England, and our English Church, greater than the world has yet seen, I cannot but pray everyone who hears me to listen humbly for the promptings of God's Spirit, if so be that He is even now calling him to take a foremost part in it. It is for us, perhaps, first to hear the call, but it is for you to interpret it and fulfil it. Our work is already sealed by the past: yours is still rich in boundless possibilities."
It may readily be believed that this discourse did not please either the British Parent or the Common Schoolmaster. A rumour went abroad that Mr. Westcott was going to turn all the boys into monks, and loud was the clamour of ignorance and superstition. Westcott made the only dignified reply. He printed (without publishing) the peccant sermon, under the title "Disciplined Life," and gave a copy to every boy in the School, expressing the hope that "God, in His great love, will even thus, by words most unworthily spoken, lead some one among us to think on one peculiar work of the English Church, and in due time to offer himself for the fulfilment of it as His Spirit shall teach." Those who remember that Charles Gore was one of the boys who heard the sermon may think that the preacher's prayer was answered.
With the masters generally I was on the best of terms. Indeed, I can only remember two whom I actively disliked, and of these two one was the absolute reproduction of Mr. Creakle, only armed with "thirty Greek lines" instead of the cane. Some of the staff were not particularly friends, but notable as curiosities; and at the head of these must be placed the Rev. Thomas Henry Steel. This truly remarkable man was born in 1806. He was Second Classic and Twentieth Wrangler, and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He became a master at Harrow under Dr. Wordsworth in 1836; left the School in 1843, to take a country living; returned to Harrow, under Dr. Vaughan, in 1849, and in 1855 became (for the second time) master of The Grove, one of the largest boarding-houses in Harrow, where he remained till 1881. He was a keen, alert, and active old gentleman, with a rosy face and long white beard, like Father Christmas: and he carried, in season and out of season, a bright blue umbrella. His degree sufficiently proves that he was a ripe scholar, but, as George Eliot says, "to all ripeness under the sun there comes a further stage of development which is less esteemed in the market"; and, when I was in his Form, it was chiefly characterized by an agreeable laxity of discipline. As regards his boarding-house of forty boys, it was currently reported that he had never been seen in the boys' side of it. Perhaps he went round it when they were asleep. But it was on his preaching that his fame chiefly rested. His sermons were written in a most exuberant style of old-fashioned rhetoric, and abounded in phrases, allusions, and illustrations, so quaint that, once heard, they could never be forgotten. I believe that he kept a small stock of these sermons, and seldom added to it; but knowing, I suppose, that if preached twice they must inevitably be recognized, he never preached a sermon a second time as long as there was even one boy in the School who had heard it on its first delivery. This was a very sensible precaution; but he little knew that some of his most elaborate passages had, by their sheer oddity, imprinted themselves indelibly on the memories of the hearers, and were handed down by oral tradition. One such especially, about a lady who used to visit the hospitals in the American War, and left a bun or a rose on the pillow of the wounded according as she thought that they would recover or die, had an established place in our annals; and it is not easy to describe the rapture of hearing a passage which, as repeated by one's schoolfellows, had seemed too absurd for credence, delivered from the School-pulpit, in a kind of solemn stage-whisper. However, "Tommy Steel" was a kind-hearted old gentleman, who believed in letting boys alone, and by a hundred eccentricities of speech and manner, added daily to the gaiety of our life. For one great boon I am eternally his debtor. He set me on reading Wordsworth, and chose his favourite bits with skill and judgment. I had been reared in the school that derided—
"A drowsy, frowsy poem called The Excursion, Writ in a manner which is my aversion,"
and "Tommy Steel" opened my eyes to a new world of beauty. By the way, he had known Wordsworth, and had entertained him at Harrow; and he told us that the Poet always said "housen," where we say houses.
Another of our curiosities was Mr. Jacob Francis Marillier, a genial old gentleman without a degree, who had been supposed to teach writing and Mathematics, but long before my time had dropped the writing—I suppose as hopeless—and only played a mathematical barrel-organ. He had joined the staff at Harrow in 1819, and, as from my earliest days I had a love of Links with the Past, I learned from Mr. Marillier a vast amount about the ancient traditions of the School, which, even in 1869 (when he resigned), were becoming faint and forgotten.
Yet a third oddity must be commemorated; but in this case it is desirable to use a pseudonym. I think I remember in one of Bulwer-Lytton's novels a family called Sticktoright, and that name will do as well as another. The Rev. Samuel Sticktoright was essentially what is called a "Master of the old school." He was born in 1808, came to Harrow in 1845, and had a large House for thirty years. I have just been contemplating his photograph in my Harrow album, and he certainly looks "the old school" all over, with his carefully-trimmed whiskers, double-breasted waistcoat, and large white "choker," neatly tied. By the boys generally he was regarded as an implacable tyrant, and I have heard (though this was before my time) that a special victim of his passionless severity was a pink-faced youth with blue eyes called Randall Thomas Davidson. Personally, I rather liked him; partly, no doubt, on the principle on which Homer called the AEthiopians blameless—namely, that he had nothing to do with them. But there was a sly twinkle in the corner of Mr. Sticktoright's eye which bespoke a lurking sense of humour, and in the very few words which he ever bestowed on me there generally was a suggestion of dry—very dry—fun. He was, of course, the most uncompromising of Tories, and every form of change, in Church or State or School, was equally abhorrent to him. In local society he played a considerable part, both giving and receiving hospitality; and it was the traditional pleasantry to chaff him as an inveterate bachelor, at whom all the young ladies of the place were setting their virginal caps. These jests he received very much as Tim Linkinwater received the allusions of Mr. Cheeryble to the "uncommonly handsome spinster," rather encouraging them as tributes to the fact that, though now advanced in years, he was well preserved, and, as most people surmised, well off.
These facetious passages were, of course, confined to the society in which the masters moved, and we boys knew them only by hearsay. But what we saw with our own eyes was that the only human being who ever dared to "cheek" Mr. Sticktoright, or to interfere with his arrangements, or to disregard his orders, was his butler, whom we will call Boniface. Everyone who knows school-boys knows that they have a trick of saying things about those in authority over them, which really they do not the least believe but which they make a bold pretence of believing. So in the case of "Sticky" and Boniface. They were of much the same age, and rather similar in appearance; wherefore we said that they were brothers; that they had risen from a lowly station in the world, and had tossed up which should be master and which butler; that "Sticky" had won the toss, and that the disappointed Boniface held his brother in subjection by a veiled threat that, if he were offended, he would reveal the whole story to the world. This tradition seemed to present some elements of unlikelihood, and yet it survived from generation to generation; for not otherwise could we account for the palpable fact that the iron severity which held all boy-flesh in awe melted into impotence when Boniface was the offender.
The solution of the mystery was romantic. Dr. Butler, contrary to his usual practice, was spending the Christmas holidays of 1876-7 at Harrow. One day a stranger was announced, and opened the conversation by saying—"I regret to tell you that your colleague, Mr. Sticktoright, is dead. He died suddenly at Brighton, where he was spending the holidays. I am his brother-in-law and executor, and, in compliance with his instructions, I have to ask you to accompany me to his house." Those who know the present Master of Trinity can picture the genuine grief with which he received this notification. Mr. Sticktoright had been a master when he was a boy at school, and a highly-respected colleague ever since he became Head-master. That the bearer of the sad news should be Sticktoright's brother-in-law seemed quite natural, for he must have married a Miss Sticktoright; and the Head-master and the executor went together to the dead man's house. There, after some unlocking of drawers and opening of cabinets, they came upon a document to this effect: "In case of my dying away from Harrow, this is to certify that on a certain day, in a certain place, I married Mary Smith, sometime a housemaid in my service, by whom I leave a family."
So there had really been much more foundation for our tradition than we had ever dreamed, and Boniface had probably known the romantic history of his master's life. The extraordinary part of the matter was that old Sticktoright had always spent the Easter, Summer, and Christmas holidays in the bosom of his family at Brighton, and that no one connected with Harrow had ever chanced to see him basking in their smiles. [N.B.—the names, personal and local, are fictitious.] In the north aisle of Harrow School Chapel, where departed masters are commemorated, you may search in vain for any memorial to the Rev. Samuel Sticktoright.
Yet one more curiosity must be named, this time not a Harrow master. "Polly Arnold" kept a stationer's shop, and, as a child, helping her grand-mother in the same shop, had sold pens—some added cribs—to Byron when a boy in the school. Here was a Link of the Past which exactly suited me, and, if only Polly could have understood the allusion, I should have said to her—"Ah, did you once see Byron plain?" I happened to have a sister who, though exceptionally clever and lively, had absolutely no chronological sense. I took her to see Polly Arnold one day, when this conversation ensued—"Well, Miss Arnold, I am very glad to make your acquaintance. I have often heard of you from my brother. He tells me you remember John Lyon. How very interesting!" [N.B.—John Lyon founded Harrow School in 1571.] To this tribute Polly replied with much asperity—"I know I'm getting on in life, Miss, but I'm not quite three hundred years old yet"—while my sister murmured in my ear—"Who is it she remembers? I know it's someone who lived a long time ago."
But the name of Arnold, when connected with Harrow, suggests quite another train of thought. At Easter, 1868, Matthew Arnold came to live at Harrow, with a view of placing his three boys in the School. The eldest of the three was the invalid to whom his father referred in a letter quoted in my first chapter: I was able to show him some little kindnesses, and thus arose an intimacy with the parents, brothers, and sisters which I have always regarded as—
"Part of my life's unalterable good."
 "The wood belonged to the Hazeldeans, the furze-land to the Sticktorights—an old Saxon family if ever there was one." My Novel. Book I.
"I may have failed, my School may fail; I tremble, but thus much I dare; I love her. Let the critics rail, My brethren and my home are there." W. CORY.
Everyone who travels by the North Western, or the Great Central, or the Midland Railway, must be conversant with the appearance of that "Pinnacle perched on a Precipice," which was Charles II.'s idea of the Visible Church on Earth—the Parish Church of Harrow on the Hill. Anselm consecrated it, Becket said Mass in it, and John Lyon, the Founder of Harrow School, lies buried in it. When I was a Harrow boy, the Celebrations of the Holy Communion in the School Chapel were rare, and generally late; so some of us were accustomed to communicate every Sunday at the 8 o'clock service in the Parish Church. But even in holy places, and amid sacred associations, the ludicrous is apt to assert itself; and I could never sufficiently admire a tablet in the North aisle, commemorating a gentleman who died of the first Reform Bill.
"JOHN HENRY NORTH,
Judge of the Admiralty in Ireland. Without an equal at the University, a rival at the Bar, Or a superior in chaste and classic eloquence in Parliament. Honoured, Revered, Admired, Beloved, Deplored, By the Irish Bar, the Senate and his country, He sunk beneath the efforts of a mind too great for His earthly frame, In opposing the Revolutionary Invasion of the Religion and Constitution of England, On the 29th of September, 1831, in the 44th year of his age."
Alas! poor Mr. North. What would he have felt if he had lived to see the Reform Bills of 1867 and 1885? Clearly he was taken away from the evil to come.
Until the Metropolitan Railway joined Harrow to Baker Street, the Hill stood in the midst of genuine and unspoilt country, separated by five miles of grass from the nearest point of London, and encompassed by isolated dwellings, ranging in rank and scale from villas to country houses. Most of these have fallen victims to the Speculative Builder, and have been cut up into alleys of brick and stucco, though one or two still remain among their hay-fields and rhododendrons. When I first ascended Harrow Hill, I drove there from London with my mother; and, from Harlesden onwards, our road lay between grass meadows, and was shaded by hedgerow timber. Harrow was then a much prettier place than it is now. The far-seen elms under which Byron dreamed were still in their unlopped glory, and the whole effect of the Hill was wooded. So an Eton man and Harrow master wrote:—
"Collis incola frondei Nympha, sive lubentius Nostra Pieris audies, Lux adest; ades O tuis Herga mater, alumnis!"
"Goddess of the leafy Hill, Nymph, or Muse, or what you will, With the light begins the lay,— Herga, be our guest to-day."
The site now covered by the externally hideous Speech-room—a cross between a swimming-bath and a tennis-court—was then a garden. In truth, it only grew strawberries and cabbages, but to the imaginative eye, it was as beautiful as the hanging pleasaunces of Semiramis.
Dr. Butler, with a hundred gifts and accomplishments, had no aesthetic or artistic sense; and, under his rule, the whole place was over-run by terrible combinations of red and black brick; and the beautiful view from the School-Yard, stretching away across the Uxbridge plain, was obstructed by some kind of play-shed, with a little spout atop—the very impertinence of ugliness.
Of the various buildings at Harrow, by far the most interesting is what is now called "The Fourth Form Room," in the West wing of the Old School. It is the original room which John Lyon designed—"A large and convenient school-house with a chimney in it,"—and in its appearance and arrangements it exactly bespeaks the village Day School that Harrow originally was. Its stout brick walls have faced the western breezes of three hundred years, and in their mellow richness of tint remind one of Hatfield House and Hampton Court. This single room has been the nucleus round which all subsequent buildings—Chapel and Library and School-Rooms and Boarding-Houses—have gathered; and, as long as it exists, Harrow will be visibly and tangibly connected with its Founder's prescient care.
John Lyon knew nothing of Conscience Clauses. He ordained that all his school-boys should attend the Parish Church; and so they did, stowed away in galleries where hearing was difficult and kneeling impossible. In 1836 Dr. Christopher Wordsworth, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln, was elected Head-master of Harrow, in succession to the genial but too gentle Longley. Seeing that Worship was practically impossible for the boys under existing conditions, he set to work to build a Chapel. It occupied the same site as the present Chapel, but only one fragment of it remains, embedded in the West wall of Sir Gilbert Scott's more graceful structure. The Chapel was consecrated by the Visitor, Archbishop Howley, in 1839. Dr. Wordsworth, justly proud of his handiwork, invited his brother-master, Dr. Hawtrey of Eton, to view it. Much to Wordsworth's surprise, Hawtrey did not take off his hat on entering the Chapel; but, when he neared the altar, started back in confusion, and exclaimed, in hasty apology, "I assure you, my dear friend, I had no notion that we were already inside the Sacred Edifice."
So much for the aesthetics of Harrow Chapel as originally constructed, but time and piety have completely changed it. In 1855, Dr. Vaughan added a Chancel with an apsidal end, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott. Next, the central passage of the Chapel became a Nave, with pillars and a North Aisle. Then the South Aisle was added, and decorated with glass before which one shudders, as a Memorial to Harrow men who fell in the Crimea. So the Chapel remained till 1903, when two curious additions, something between transepts and side-chapels, were added in memory of Harrow men who fell in South Africa. The total result of these successive changes is a building of remarkably irregular shape, but richly decorated, and sanctified by innumerable memories of friends long since loved and lost. A tablet, near which as a new boy I used to sit, bears this inscription—
In mournful and affectionate remembrance of JOHN HYDE D'ARCY, Scholar of Balliol College, Oxford, and formerly Head of this School. He passed through the Strait Gate of Humility, Toil, and Patience, into the clear light and true knowledge of Him Who is our Peace.
"If any man will do His Will, he shall know of the doctrine."
Few sermons have ever impressed me so powerfully as this significant memorial of a life which lasted only nineteen years.
The morning and evening services in the Chapel were what is called "bright and cheerful"—in other words, extremely noisy and not very harmonious or reverent. We had two sermons every Sunday. The Head-master preached in the evening; the Assistant-masters in the morning. Occasionally, we had a stranger of repute. Dr. Butler's preaching I have already described, and also that of Farrar and Westcott. Mr. Steel's traditional discourses were in a class by themselves. But other preachers we had, not less remarkable. I distinctly remember a sermon by Mr. Sticktoright, who told us that we did not know in what way the world would be destroyed—it might be by fire, or it might be by water (though this latter alternative seems precluded by Genesis ix. 11). The Rev. James Robertson, afterwards Head-master of Haileybury, compared the difference between a dull boy and a clever boy to that between an ox and a dog. "To the ox, the universe comprises only the impassive blue above, and the edible green beneath; while the dog finds a world of excitement in hunting, and a demi-god in man." Dean Stanley, preaching on Trinity Sunday, 1868, thus explained away the doctrine of the Trinity—"God the Father is God in Nature. God the Son is God in History. God the Holy Ghost is God in the Conscience." And Thring of Uppingham bellowed an exposition of Psalm lxxviii. 70 with such surprising vigour that he acquired among us the affectionate nickname of "Old Sheepfolds." It is a pleasure to place in contrast with these absurdities the truly pastoral and moving sermons of Mr. John Smith, whose apostolic work at Harrow I have already commemorated. His paraphrase of 1. St. Peter iv. 7-8 still lingers in my ear—"Be watchful, be prayerful, be very kind." He is thus described on a Memorial Tablet in the Chapel:
To the Young a Father, To friends in joy or grief a Brother, To the poor, the suffering, and the tempted, A minister of Hope and Strength. Tried by more than common sorrows, And upborne by more than common faith, His holy life interpreted to many The Mind which was in Christ Jesus, The Promise of the Comforter, And the Vision granted to the Pure in Heart.
It may seem odd that one should remember so much about sermons preached so long ago, but Bishop Welldon's testimony illustrates the point. "When I came to Harrow, I was greatly struck by the feeling of the boys for the weekly Sermon; they looked for it as an element in their lives, they attended to it, and passed judgment upon it." (I may remark in passing that Dr. Welldon promptly and wisely reduced the Sunday Sermons from two to one.)
But the day of days in Harrow Chapel was Founder's Day, October 10th, 1868, when the preacher at the Commemoration Service was Liddon, who had lately become famous by the Bampton Lectures of 1866. The scene and the sermon can never be forgotten. Prayers and hymns and thanksgivings for Founder and Benefactors had been duly performed, and we had listened with becoming solemnity to that droll chapter about "Such as found out musical tunes, and recited verses in writing." When the preacher entered the pulpit, his appearance instantly attracted attention. We had heard vaguely of him as "the great Oxford swell," but now that we saw him we felt a livelier interest. "He looks like a monk," one boy whispers to his neighbour; and indeed it is a better description than the speaker knows. The Oxford M.A. gown, worn over a cassock, is the Benedictine habit modified by time and place; the spare, thin figure suggests asceticism; the beautifully chiselled, sharply-pointed features, the close-shaved face, the tawny skin, the jet-black hair, remind us vaguely of something by Velasquez or Murillo, or of Ary Scheffer's picture of St. Augustine. And the interest aroused by sight is intensified by sound. The vibrant voice strikes like an electric shock. The exquisite, almost over-refined, articulation seems the very note of culture. The restrained passion which thrills through the disciplined utterance warns even the most heedless that something quite unlike the ordinary stuff of school-sermons is coming. "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them." The speaker speaks of the blessedness and glory of boyhood; the splendid inheritance of a Public School built on Christian lines; the unequalled opportunities of learning while the faculties are still fresh and the mind is still receptive; the worthlessness of all merely secular attainment, however desirable, however necessary, when weighed in the balance against "the one thing needful." The congregation still are boys, but soon they will be men. Dark days will come, as Ecclesiastes warned—dark in various ways and senses, darkest when, at the University or elsewhere, we first are bidden to cast faith aside and to believe nothing but what can be demonstrated by "an appeal, in the last resort, to the organs of sense." Now is the time, and this is the place, so to "remember our Creator" that, come what may, we shall never be able to forget Him, or doubt His love, or question His revelation. The preacher leans far out from the pulpit, spreading himself, as it were, over the congregation, in an act of benediction. "From this place may Christ ever be preached, in the fulness of His creative, redemptive, and sacramental work. Here may you learn to remember Him in the days of your youth, and, in the last and most awful day of all, may He remember you."
Five minutes afterwards we are in the open air. Boys stare and gasp; masters hurry past, excited and loquacious. Notes are compared, and watches consulted. Liddon has preached for an hour, and the school must go without its dinner.
Enough has now been said about the Chapel and its memories. I must now turn to lighter themes. I remember once hearing Mrs. Procter, who was born in 1799 and died in 1888, say casually at a London dinner-party, when someone mentioned Harrow Speech-Day—"Ah! that used to be a pleasant day. The last time I was there I drove down with Lord Byron and Doctor Parr, who had been breakfasting with my step-father, Basil Montagu." This reminiscence seemed to carry one back some way, but I entirely agreed with Mrs. Procter. Speech-Day at Harrow has been for more than forty years one of my favourite holidays. In my time the present Speech-Room did not exist. The old Speech-Room, added to John Lyon's original building in 1819, was a well-proportioned hall, with panelled walls and large windows. Tiers of seats rose on three sides of the room; on the fourth was the platform, and just opposite the platform sat the Head-master, flanked right and left by distinguished visitors. There was a triumphal arch of evergreens over the gate, and the presence of the Beadle of the Parish Church, sumptuous in purple and gold, pointed to the historic but obsolescent connexion between the Parish and the School. The material of the "Speeches," so-called, was much the same as that provided at other schools—Shakespeare, Sheridan, Chatham, Aristophanes, Plautus, Moliere, Schiller. An age-long desire to play the Trial in Pickwick was only attained, under the liberal rule of Dr. Wood, in 1909. At the Speeches, one caught one's first glimpse of celebrities whom one was destined to see at closer quarters in the years to come; and I never can forget the radiant beauty of "Spencer's Faery Queen," as I saw her at the Speeches of 1869.
While I am speaking of Celebrities, I must make a short digression from Speech-Day to Holidays. Dr. Vaughan, some time Head-master of Harrow and afterwards Dean of Llandaff, was in 1868 Vicar of Doncaster. My only brother was one of his curates; the Vaughans asked my mother to stay with them at the Vicarage, in order that she might see her son, then newly ordained, at his work; and, the visit falling in the Harrow holidays, they good-naturedly said that she might bring me with her. Dr. Vaughan was always exceedingly kind to boys, and one morning, on our way back from the daily service, he said to me—"Sir Grosvenor Le Draughte has proposed to break his journey here, on his return from Scotland. Do you know him? No? Well—observe Sir Grosvenor. He is well worthy of observation. He is exactly what the hymn-book calls 'a worldling.'" The day advanced, and no Sir Grosvenor appeared. The Doctor came into the drawing-room repeatedly, asking if "that tiresome old gentleman had arrived," and Mrs. Vaughan plied him with topics of consolation—"Perhaps he has missed his train. Perhaps there has been an accident. Perhaps he has been taken ill on the journey"—but the Doctor shook his head and refused to be comforted. After dinner, we sat in an awe-struck silence, while the Vaughans, knowing the hour at which the last train from Scotland came in, and the length of time which it took to drive from the station, listened with ears erect. Presently the wheels of a fly came rumbling up, and Dr. Vaughan, exclaiming, "Our worst anticipations are realized!" hurried to the front door. Then, welcoming the aged traveller with open arms, he said in his blandest tones—"Now, my dear Sir Grosvenor, I know you must be dreadfully tired. You shall go to bed at once." Sir Grosvenor, who longed to sit up till midnight, telling anecdotes and drinking brandy-and-water, feebly remonstrated; but the remorseless Doctor led his unwilling captive upstairs. It was a triumph of the Suaviter in modo, and gave me an impressive lesson on the welcome which awaits self-invited guests, even when they are celebrities. But all this is a parenthesis.
I should be shamefully ungrateful to a place of peculiar enjoyment if I forbore to mention the Library at Harrow. It was opened in 1863, as a Memorial of Dr. Vaughan's Head-mastership, and its delicious bow-window, looking towards Hampstead, was my favourite resort. On whole-holidays, when others were playing cricket, I used to read there for hours at a stretch; and gratified my insatiable thirst for Biographies, Memoirs, and Encyclopaedias. The Library was also the home of the Debating Society, and there I moved, forty-two years ago, that a Hereditary Legislative Body is incompatible with free institutions; and supported the present Bishop of Oxford in declaring that a Republic is the best form of Government. The mention of the Debating Society leads me to the subject of Politics. I have said in a former chapter that the Conservative Reform Bill of 1867 was the first political event which interested me. It was a stirring time all over the world, in France, in Italy, and in Mexico. There were rebellions and rumours of rebellion. Monarchical institutions were threatened. Secret Societies were in full activity. The whole social order seemed to be passing through a crisis, and I, like the Abbe Sieyes, fell to framing constitutions; my favourite scheme being a Republic, with a President elected for life, and a Legislature chosen by universal suffrage. But all these dreams were dispelled by the realities of my new life at Harrow, and, for a while, I perforce thought more of Imperial than of Papal Rome, of Greek than of English Republics. But in the summer of 1868, Mr. Gladstone's first attack on the Irish Church caused such an excitement as I had never before known. It was a pitched battle between the two great Parties of the State, and I was an enthusiastic follower of the Gladstonian standard. In November 1868 came the General Election which was to decide the issue. Of course Harrow, like all other schools, was Tory as the sea is salt. Out of five hundred boys, I can only recall five who showed the Liberal colour. These were the present Lord Grey; Walter Leaf, the Homeric Scholar; W. A. Meek, now Recorder of York; M. G. Dauglish, who edited the "Harrow Register," and myself. On the polling day I received my "Baptism of Fire," or rather of mud, being rolled over and over in the attempt to tear my colours from me. The Tory colour was red; the Liberal was blue; and my mother, chancing to drive through Harrow with the light blue carriage-wheels which my family have always used, was playfully but loudly hissed by wearers of the red rosette. Among the masters, political opinion was divided. Mr. Young, whom I quoted just now, was a Liberal, and a Tory boy called Freddy Bennet (brother of the present Lord Tankerville) covered himself with glory by pinning a red streamer to the back of Young's gown while he was calling "Bill."
In the following year our Politics found a fresh vent through the establishment of The Harrovian. I had dabbled in composition ever since I was ten, and had printed both prose and verse before I entered Harrow School. So here was a heaven-sent contributor, and one morning, in the autumn of 1869, as I was coming out of First School, one of the Editors overtook me and said—
"We want you to contribute to The Harrovian. We are only going to employ fellows who can write English—not such stuff as 'The following boys were given prizes.'" Purism indeed!
Here began my journalistic career. For three years I wrote a considerable part of the paper, and I was an Editor during my last year, in conjunction with my friends Dumbar Barton and Walter Sichel.
Harrow is sometimes said to be the most musical of Public Schools; and certainly our School Songs have attained a wide popularity. I believe that "Forty Years on" is sung all over the world. But, when I went to Harrow, we were confined to the traditional English songs and ballads, and to some Latin ditties by Bradby and Westcott, which we bellowed lustily but could not always construe. E. E. Bowen's stirring, though often bizarre, compositions (admirably set to music by John Farmer) began soon after I entered the school, and E. W. Howson's really touching and melodious verses succeeded Bowens' some ten years after I had left. Other song-writers, of greater or less merit, we have had; but from first to last, the thrilling spell of a Harrow concert has been an experience quite apart from all other musical enjoyments. "The singing is the thing. When you hear the great body of fresh voices leap up like a lark from the ground, and rise and swell and swell and rise till the rafters seem to crack and shiver, then you seem to have discovered all the sources of feeling." This was the tribute of a stranger, and an Harrovian has recorded the same emotion:—"John was singing like a lark, with a lark's spontaneous delight in singing; with an ease and self-abandonment which charmed eye almost as much as ear. Higher and higher rose the clear, sexless notes, till two of them met and mingled in a triumphant trill. To Desmond, that trill was the answer to the quavering, troubled cadences of the first verse; the vindication of the spirit soaring upwards unfettered by the flesh—the pure spirit, not released from the human clay without a fierce struggle. At that moment Desmond loved the singer—the singer who called to him out of heaven, who summoned his friend to join him, to see what he saw—'the vision splendid.'"
I am conscious that, so far, I have treated the Moloch of Athletics with such scant respect that his worshippers may doubt if I ever was really a boy. Certainly my physical inability to play games was rendered less bitter by the fact that I did not care about them. I well remember the astonishment of my tutor, when he kindly asked me to luncheon on his carriage at my first Eton and Harrow match, and I replied that I should not be there.
"Not be at Lord's, my boy? How very strange! Why?"
"Because there are three things which I particularly dislike—heat, and crowds, and cricket." It certainly was a rather priggish answer, but let me say in self-defence that before I left the school I had become as keen on "Lord's," as the best of my compeers.
That, in spite of his reprehensible attitude towards our national game, I was still, as Mr. Chadband said, "a human boy," is proved by the intense interest with which I beheld the one and only "Mill" which ever took place while I was at Harrow. It was fought on the 25th of February, 1868, with much form and ceremony. The "Milling-ground," now perverted to all sorts of base uses, is immediately below the School-Yard. The ground slopes rapidly, so that the wall of the Yard forms the gallery of the Milling-Ground. The moment that "Bill" was over, I rushed to the wall and secured an excellent place, leaning my elbows on the wall, while a friend, who was a moment later, sat on my shoulders and looked over my bowed head. It would be indiscreet to mention the names of the combatants, though I remember them perfectly. One was a red-headed giant; the other short, dark, and bow-legged. Neither had at all a pleasant countenance, and I must admit that I enjoyed seeing them pound each other into pulp. I felt that two beasts were getting their deserts. To-day such a sight would kill me; but this is the degeneracy of old age.
Now that I am talking about school-fellows, several names call for special mention. As I disliked athletics, it follows that I did not adore athletes. I can safely say that I never admired a boy because of his athletic skill, though I have admired many in spite of it. Probably Sidney Pelham, Archdeacon of Norfolk, who was in the Harrow Eleven in 1867 and 1868, and the Oxford Eleven in 1871, will never see this book; so I may safely say that I have seldom envied anyone as keenly as I envied him, when Dr. Butler, bidding him farewell before the whole school, thanked him for "having set an example which all might be proud to follow—unfailing sweetness of temper, and perfect purity of life." In one respect, the most conspicuous of my school-fellows was H.R.H. Prince Thomas of Savoy, Duke of Genoa, nephew of Victor Emmanuel, and now an Admiral in the Italian Navy. He came to Harrow in 1869, and lived with Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Arnold. He was elected King of Spain by a vote of the Cortes on the 3rd of October 1869. He was quite a popular boy, and no one had the slightest grudge against him; but, for all that, everyone made a point of kicking him, in the hope of being able to say in after-life that they had kicked the King of Spain. Unfortunately Victor Emmanuel, fearing dynastic complications, forbade him to accept the Crown; so he got all the Harrow kicks and none of the Spanish half-pence. When I entered Harrow, the winner of all the classical prizes was Andrew Graham Murray, now Lord Dunedin and Lord President of the Court of Session; a most graceful scholar, and also a considerable mathematician. Just below him was Walter Leaf, to whom no form of learning came amiss; who was as likely to be Senior Wrangler as Senior Classic, and whose performances in Physical Science won the warm praise of Huxley. Of the same standing as these were Arthur Evans, the Numismatist, Frank Balfour, the Physiologist, and Gerald Rendall, Head-master of Charterhouse. Among my contemporaries the most distinguished was Charles Gore, whose subsequent career has only fulfilled what all foresaw; and just after him came (to call them by their present names) Lord Crewe, Lord Ribblesdale, Lord Spencer, Mr. Justice Barton of the Irish Bench, and Mr. Walter Long, in whom Harrow may find her next Prime Minister. Walter Sichel was at seventeen the cleverest school-boy whom I have ever known. Sir Henry McKinnon obtained his Commission in the Guards while he was still in the Fifth Form. Pakenham Beatty was the Swinburnian of the school, then, as now, a true Poet of Liberty. Ion Keith-Falconer, Orientalist and missionary, was a saint in boyhood as in manhood. Edward Eyre seemed foreordained to be what in London and in Northumberland he has been—the model Parish-Priest; and my closest friend of all was Charles Baldwyn Childe-Pemberton, who, as Major Childe, fell at the battle of Spion Kop, on a spot now called, in honour of his memory, "Childe's Hill." De minimis non curat Respublica; which, being interpreted, signifies—The Commonwealth will not care to know the names of the urchins who fagged for me. But I cherish an ebony match-box carved and given to me by one of these ministering spirits, as a proof that, though my laziness may have made me exacting, my exactions were not brutal.
On the 15th of June, 1871, Harrow School celebrated the three-hundredth anniversary of its foundation. Harrovians came from every corner of the globe to take part in this Tercentenary Festival. The arrangements were elaborated with the most anxious care. The Duke of Abercorn, affectionately and appropriately nicknamed "Old Splendid," presided over a banquet in the School-Yard; and the programme of the day's proceedings had announced, rather to the terror of intending visitors, that after luncheon there would be "speeches, interspersed with songs, from three hundred and fifty of the boys." The abolition of the second comma dispelled the dreadful vision of three-hundred-and-fifty school-boy-speeches, and all went merry as a marriage-bell—all, except the weather. It seemed as if the accumulated rain of three centuries were discharged on the devoted Hill. It was raining when we went to the early celebration in the Chapel; it was raining harder when we came out. At the culminating moment of the day's proceedings, when Dr. Vaughan was proposing "Prosperity to Harrow," the downpour and the thunder drowned the speaker's voice; and, when evening fell on the sodden cricket-ground, the rain extinguished the fireworks.
On that same cricket-ground nine days later, in the golden afternoon of Midsummer Day, George Clement Cottrell, a boy beautiful alike in face and in character, was killed in an instant by a blow from a ball, which struck him behind the ear when he was umpiring in the Sixth Form game. On the 29th of June his five hundred school-fellows followed him to his resting-place in the Churchyard on the Hill, and I believe we unanimously felt that he whom we had lost was the one, of all our number, of whom we could say, with the surest confidence, that he was fit to pass, without a moment's warning, into the invisible World. Beati mundo corde.
 Writing to John Murray in 1832, Byron said—"There is a spot in the Churchyard, near the footpath, on the brow of the Hill looking towards Windsor, and a tomb under a large tree (bearing the name of Peachie, or Peachey), where I used to sit for hours and hours as a boy: this was my favourite spot."
 The Rev. E. M. Young.
 Herga is the Anglo-Saxon name of Harrow.
 Charlotte Seymour, Countess Spencer, died 1903.
 The name is borrowed from "Sybil." The bearer of it was an ancient physician, who had doctored all the famous people of his time, beginning with "Pamela."
 Mr. R. de C. Welch.
 The Hill. Chapter vi.
 Some authorities say that it was the last on record.
 This paper appeared in The Commonwealth.
"For place, for grace, and for sweet companee, Oxford is Heaven, if Heaven on Earth there be." SIR JOHN DAVIES.
The faithful student of "Verdant Green" will not have forgotten that Charlie Larkyns, when introducing his Freshman-friend to the sights of Oxford, called his attention to a mystic inscription on a wall in Oriel Lane. "You see that? Well, that's one of the plates they put up to record the Vice's height. F.P.—7 feet, you see: the initials of his name—Frederick Plumptre!" "He scarcely seemed so tall as that," replied Verdant, "though certainly a tall man. But the gown makes a difference, I suppose."
Dr. Plumptre was Vice-Chancellor of Oxford from 1848 to 1851, and Master of University College for thirty-four years. He died in 1870, and the College thereupon elected the Rev. G. G. Bradley, then Head-master of Marlborough, and afterwards Dean of Westminster, to the vacant post. It was an unfortunate choice. Mr. Bradley was a man of many gifts and virtues, and a successful schoolmaster; but the methods which had succeeded at Marlborough were not adapted to Oxford, and he soon contrived to get at loggerheads both with Dons and with Undergraduates.
However, there existed at that time—and I daresay it exists still—a nefarious kind of trades-unionism among the Headmasters of Public Schools; and, as Bradley had been a Head-master, all the Head-masters advised their best pupils to try the scholarships at University College.
So far as I had any academical connexions, they were exclusively with Trinity, Cambridge; and my father was as ignorant of Oxford as myself. All I knew about it was that it was the source and home of the Oxford movement, which some of my friends at Harrow had taught me to admire. Two or three of those friends were already there, and I wished to rejoin them; but, as between the different Colleges, I was fancy-free; so when, early in 1872, Dr. Butler suggested that I should try for a scholarship at University, I assented, reserving myself, in the too probable event of failure, for Christ Church. However, I was elected at University on the 24th of February, 1872, and went into residence there on the 11th of the following October. The Vice-Chancellor who matriculated me was the majestic Liddell, who, with his six feet of stately height draped in scarlet, his "argent aureole" of white hair, and his three silver maces borne before him, always helped me to understand what Sydney Smith meant when he said, of some nonsensical proposition, that no power on earth, save and except the Dean of Christ Church, should induce him to believe it. As I write, I see the announcement of Mrs. Liddell's death; and my mind travels back to the drawing-room and lawns of the Deanery at Christ Church, and the garland of beautiful faces
"Decking the matron temples of a place So famous through the world."
The 13th of October was my first Sunday in Oxford, and my friend Charles Gore took me to the Choral Eucharist at Cowley St. John, and afterwards to luncheon with the Fathers. So began my acquaintance with a Society of which I have always been a grateful admirer. But more exciting experiences were at hand: on the 20th of October it was Liddon's turn, as Select Preacher, to occupy the pulpit at St. Mary's. The impressions of that, my first University sermon, have never faded from my mind. A bright autumn morning, the yellow sunlight streaming in upon the densely crowded church, the long array of scarlet-robed doctors, the preacher's beautiful face looking down from the high pulpit, with anxious brow and wistful gaze. And then the rolling Latin hymn, and then the Bidding Prayer, and then the pregnant text—He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. Are we listening to St. John the Baptist or St. John the Evangelist? The preacher holds that we are listening to the Evangelist, and says that the purpose of St. John's Gospel is condensed into his text. "If to believe in Him is life, to have known and yet to reject him is death. There is no middle term or state between the two.... In fact, this stern, yet truthful and merciful, claim makes all the difference between a Faith and a theory." And now there is a moment's pause. Preacher and hearers alike take breath. Some instinct assures us that we are just coming to the crucial point. The preacher resumes: "A statement of this truth in other terms is at present occasioning a painful controversy, which it would be better in this place to pass over in silence if too much was not at stake to warrant a course from which I shall only depart with sincere reluctance. Need I say that I allude to the vexed question of the Athanasian Creed?" The great discourse which was thus introduced, with its strong argument for the retention of the Creed as it stands, has long been the property of the Church, and there is no need to recapitulate it. But the concluding words, extolling "the high and rare grace of an intrepid loyalty to known truth," spoke with a force of personal appeal which demands commemoration: "To be forced back upon the central realities of the faith which we profess; to learn, better than ever before, what are the convictions which we dare not surrender at any cost; to renew the freshness of an early faith, which affirms within us, clearly and irresistibly, that the one thing worth thinking of, worth living for, if need were, worth dying for, is the unmutilated faith of Jesus Christ our Lord,—these may be the results of inevitable differences, and, if they are, they are blessings indeed."
The same Sunday was marked by another unforgettable experience—my first visit to St. Barnabas'. The church was then just three years old. Bishop Wilberforce had consecrated it on the 19th of October, 1869, and made this characteristic note in his diary:—"Disagreeable service. Acolyte running about. Paste squares for bread, etc., but the church a great gift." Three years later, a boy fresh from Harrow, and less sensitively Protestant than the good Bishop, not only thought "the church a great gift," but enjoyed the "acolyte running about," and found the whole service the most inspiring and uplifting worship in which he had ever joined. My impressions of it are as clear as yesterday's—the unadorned simplicity of the fabric, emphasizing by contrast the blaze of light and colour round the altar; the floating cloud of incense; the expressive and unfussy ceremonial; the straightforward preaching; and, most impressive of all, the large congregation of men, old and young, rich and poor, undergraduates and artisans, all singing Evangelical hymns with one heart and one voice. It was, if ever there was on earth, congregational worship; and I, for one, have never seen its like. The people's pride in the church was very characteristic: they habitually spoke of it as "our Barnabas." The clergy and the worshippers were a family, and the church was a home.
At the Dedication Festival of 1872, there was a strong list of preachers, including W. J. E. Bennett, of Frome, and Edward King, then Principal of Cuddesdon. But the sermon which made an indelible impression on me was preached by R. W. Randall, then vicar of All Saints, Clifton, and afterwards Dean of Chichester. It was indeed a memorable performance. "Performance" is the right word, for, young as one was, one realized instinctively the wonderful art and mastery and technical perfection of the whole. There was the exquisitely modulated voice, sinking lower, yet becoming more distinct, whenever any specially moving topic was touched; the restrained, yet emphatic action—I can see that uplifted forefinger still—and the touch of personal reminiscence at the close, so managed as to give the sense that we were listening to an elder brother who, thirty years before, had passed through the same experiences, so awfully intermingled of hope and tragedy, which now lay before us on the threshold of our Oxford life. It was, in brief, a sermon never to be forgotten; it was "a night to be much remembered unto the Lord."
Some thirty years later, I was introduced to Dean Randall at a London dinner-party. After dinner, I drew my chair towards him, and said, "Mr. Dean, I have always wished to have an opportunity of thanking you for a sermon which you preached at St. Barnabas', Oxford, at the Dedication Festival, 1872." The Dean smiled, with the graceful pleasure of an old man honoured by a younger one, and said, "Yes? What was the text?" "The text I have long forgotten, but I remember the subject." "And what was that?" "It was the insecurity of even the best-founded hopes." "Rather a well-worn theme," said the Dean, with a half-smile. "But not, sir," I said, "as you handled it. You told us, at the end of the sermon, that you remembered a summer afternoon when you were an undergraduate at Christ Church, and were sitting over your Thucydides close to your window, grappling with a long and complicated passage which was to be the subject of next morning's lecture; and that, glancing for a moment from your book, you saw the two most brilliant young Christ Church men of the day going down to bathe in the Isis. You described the gifts and graces of the pair, who, between them, seemed to combine all that was best and most beautiful in body and mind and soul. And then you told us how, as your friends disappeared towards Christ Church Meadows, you returned to your work; and only were roused from it two hours later, when a confused noise of grief and terror in the quadrangle below attracted your attention, and you saw the dead bodies of Gaisford and Phillimore borne past your window from their 'watery bier' at Sandford Lasher."
On Advent Sunday, December 1, I saw and heard Dr. Pusey for the first time. He was then in broken health; but he gathered all his physical and mental energies for a great sermon on "The Responsibility of Intellect in Matters of Faith." The theme of this sermon was that Intellect is a great trust confided to us by God; that we are responsible to Him for the use of it; and that we must exercise it in submission to His revealed Will. What He has declared, that it is our duty to believe. Our Lord Himself had uttered the most solemn warning against wilful unbelief; the Athanasian Creed only re-echoed His awful words; and the storm which assailed the Creed was really directed against the revealed Truth of God. "This tornado will, I trust, by God's mercy, soon pass; it is a matter of life and death. To remove those words of warning, or the Creed because it contains them, would be emphatically to teach our people that it is not necessary to salvation to believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, or in One God as He has made Himself known to us."