Графични страници
PDF файл

vailed; I could not part with my feelings, and would not if I could.

In the midst of this, a trifling question obtruded itself—Had Bertha any, and what feelings towards me? Strange to say, I had never very seriously asked this before, so richly did I deserve the epithet which my tutor had bestowed upon me, and so true his remark, that “this love fools us passing well.”

Thinking I would settle the point, I took a walk by the side of the Charwell. Here, except that she had commended my dancing, said she should miss us all when we went away, and hoped she should see me again with Charles, I had not a breath to flatter myself with that I could be remembered, much less favoured. With that Charles, too, I had never been asked to return, and was now about to break for ever.

Nor did her high German as well as English descent fail to be thought of. Was ever fool, therefore, more deluded by his heart, when I yet felt myself clinging to this delicious passion, in the very moment that I was uttering to myself the most fervid resolves to banish it for ever ?

But hope has well been called “ the most powerful of all tempters," and, like the great tempter of old, it can sometimes assume the form of an angel of light, the better to deceive its votaries; and if a sailor who had sunk full twenty fathoms deep never lost his hope till he lost his senses, what wonder if I would not forego this sweet friend of man in a mild

and blissful evening, at the blissful age of nineteen, and on the bank of a blissful river.

”Tis true, my tongue breathing philosophy and resolution, all the time my heart was beating rebellion, reminded me of what I had heard of St. Austin, who, while preferring prayers to be strengthened against carnal pleasures, secretly hoped he should not be heard. But such is the wayward nature of man -not, I fear, confined to his youth.

In the midst of this struggle, I was critically met by Fothergill, from whom I expected another scold, but it was lost in the news he had to tell. He had evidently something important to communicate.

“ Lad," said he, “ I called you a hard name when I last left you-but let that pass; for though I thought you what I wont repeat, you are at least not so mad and headstrong as your friend there,”—and he pointed to Christ Church. “ What has happened ?” asked I.

Only expelled, for not submitting to be rusticated; that's all."

I felt my cheeks immediately suffused, and my heart to beat high; for I found I still loved Foljambe, though still resolving to separate. Fothergill went

[ocr errors]


“ This froward spark, who thinks himself above all the world (you may guess what he thinks of you), did not chuse to submit to the punishment awarded to him for disobedience of orders, so broke prison,

* And to his general sent a brave defiance.'"

“ Do you mean,” said I, “ that he has executed his threat, and has quitted his college for ever ?"

“ I cannot exactly say,” answered Fothergill, “ that he has quitted his college, because his college has quitted him. For, before he could give his intended notice, though after he broke loose, he found himself expelled, propter contumaciam. In fact, having, as I said, left his prison without leave, his chief called for the book of battels, and struck him out of it with his own hand.”

66 Lamentable!” cried I, “ What will his family


“ That he has been rightly served," observed Fothergill.

66 And how does he bear it?"

“ Like all disgraced men of noble spirit; of course, triumphs. He has already made a great party, who canvass the measure with no good-will to the highminded chief who has thus asserted himself, and whom they blame for tyrannizing for tyranny's sake, as Mr. Hastings was intending to leave college altogether. He so represented it to the dean, in a letter, who returned it with this note on the passage in the margin: 'In your situation, you could not have been allowed to quit, till you had submitted to the punishment awarded and deserved.'”

“ And what is thought of it ? ”

“ The town is split, of course. By one party, the deed is deemed a detestable act of power; by the other, a firm measure of justice. May I ask your opinion?”

“ I am too grieved to give a free one,” said I ; “for I still love my schoolfellow.”

“ Love him, if you please,” said Fothergill; “ but let not that blind you to his egotism, his insolence, or his pride. It is not, nor it cannot come to good.Hunc tu Romane caveto.

Here, being joined by two or three fellows of Queen's, Mr. Fothergill left me to pursue my meditations on the banks of the Cherwell; and meditate I did, bitterly and deeply. For, with all my wrongs, I was anxious for Foljambe's fate ; though that, considering his position in the world, an only son, and great heir of a great family, and so commanding every where but at Oxford, left me in a little time without much anxiety on his account.

But when I thought of the proof this gave, in one so young, of a proud, overbearing, aristocratic, and haughty spirit, the total incompatibility of a friendship between him and me, except in the character of patron and follower, which our former equality forbade, struck me in unanswerable force. I found my sagacious tutor more and more right. I

gave the whole night to these reflections. It was the first great disappointment I had endured; but my spirit of independence coming to my aid, I resolved to bear it like a man; and as Hastings left the university the very next day, I had more leisure and opportunity to recover. Here his absence, indeed, was of service, not merely by taking from my vision the person who so constantly and anxiously filled , but in bringing to

my notice, and thence to my regard, others who, though not of such a bold flight of character, or of such high birth and connection, equalled, if not ex. ceded him, in most of those qualities which really sweeten life. Some were scholars; some

men of genius-many of feeling ; none forgot themselves ; all bore their faculties meekly.

This did not fail to have its effect, and I was at length brought to believe that there might be other gentlemen, as well as other gifted persons, than were confined to Christ Church, and that Oxford might contain respectable, lively, and amiable persons, though Hastings was not there.

This was encouraged by my tutor, who bantered me for supposing there could be only one man in the whole university worthy of being my friend.

In the words of old Cassius, protesting against the exclusive right of Cæsar to fill the eye of Rome, he often twitted me with

“ When went there by an age since the great flood,

But it was famed with more than one man." And when I thought, as I sometimes did, of Hastings' taunt about the animals I herded with at Queen's," he would ask, if the two Addisons, father and son, both of them Queen's men, were animals to be ashamed of.

I loved Addison too well for this to fail of its effect, and the absence of Hastings, together with the merit of others whom I was now not unwilling to cultivate, taught me a useful lesson, that though the hare and many friends is not a desirable, perhaps is a

« ПредишнаНапред »