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Those variae lectiones, so tempting to the more erudite palates, do but disturb and unsettle my faith. The credit of the three witnesses might have slept unimpeached for me. I longed to new-coat him in russia, and assign him his place. No inconsiderable portion of his moderate fortune, I apprehend, is consumed in journeys between them and Clifford's Inn - where, like a dove on the asp's nest, he has long taken up his unconscious abode, amid an incongruous assembly of attorneys, attorneys' clerks, apparitors, promoters, vermin of the law, among whom he sits, 'in calm and sinless peace.' The fangs of the law pierce him not - the winds of litigation blow over his humble chambers - the hard sheriff's officer moves his hat as he passes - legal nor illegal discourtesy touches him - none thinks of offering violence or injustice to him - you would as soon 'strike an abstract idea.' D.has been engaged, he tells me, through a course of laborious years, in an investigation into all curious matter connected with the two Universities; and has lately lit upon a MS.
I am not the man to decide the limits of civil and ecclesiastical authority - I am plain Elia - no Selden, nor Archbishop Usher - though at present in the thick of their books, here in the heart of learning, under the shadow of the mighty Bodley. To such a one as myself, who has been defrauded in his young years of the sweet food of academic institution, nowhere is so pleasant, to while away a few idle weeks at, as one or other of the Universities.
Their vacation, too, at this time of the year, falls in so pat with ours. I can rise at the chapel-bell, and dream that it rings for me.
I have seen your dim-eyed vergers, and bed-makers in spectacles, drop a bow or a curtsy, as I pass, wisely mistaking me for something of the sort. Only in Christ Church reverend quadrangle I can be content to pass for nothing short of a Seraphic Doctor. Surely the sun rose as brightly then as now, and man got him to his work in the morning?
The walks at these times are so much one's own, - the tall trees of Christ's, the groves of Magdalen! Why is it we can never hear mention of them without an accompanying feeling, as though a palpable obscure had dimmed the face of things, and that our ancestors wandered to and fro groping!
In addition to a provoking short-sightedness (the effect of late studies and watchings at the midnight oil) D. He made a call the other morning at our friend M.'s in Bedford Square; and, finding nobody at home, was ushered into the hall, where, asking for pen and ink, with great exactitude of purpose he enters me his name in the book - which ordinarily lies about in such places, to record the failures of the untimely or unfortunate visitor - and takes his leave with many ceremonies, and professions of regret. * * * would take no immediate notice, but after supper, when the school was called together to evensong, he would never fail to introduce some instructive homily against riches, and the corruption of the heart occasioned through the desire of them - ending with 'Lord, keep Thy servants, above all things, from the heinous sin of avarice.
Some two or three hours after, his walking destinies returned him into the same neighbourhood again, and again the quiet image of the fireside circle at M.'s - Mrs. Having food and raiment, let us therewithal be content.The halls deserted, and with open doors, inviting one to slip in unperceived, and pay a devoir to some Founder, or noble or royal Benefactress (that should have been ours) whose portrait seems to smile upon their over-looked beadsman, and to adopt me for their own. When, thou wert, thou wert not antiquity - then thou wert nothing, but hadst a remoter antiquity, as thou calledst it, to look back to with blind veneration; thou thyself being to thyself flat, jejune, modern! or what half Januses are we, that cannot look forward with the same idolatry with which we for ever revert! Above all thy rarities, old Oxenford, what do most arride and solace me, are thy repositories of mouldering learning, thy shelves -- What a place to be in is an old library!Then, to take a peep in by the way at the butteries, and scullieries, redolent of antique hospitality; the immense caves of kitchens, kitchen fireplaces, cordial recesses; ovens whose first pies were baked four centuries ago; and spits which have cooked for Chaucer! It seems as though all the souls of all the writers, that have bequeathed their labours to these Bodleians, were reposing here, as in some dormitory, or middle state.If his muse of kindness halt a little behind the strong lines in fashion in this excitement-loving age, his prose is the best of the sort in the world, and exhibits a faithful transcript of his own healthy, natural mind, and cheerful, innocent tone of conversation.] D.is delightful anywhere, but he is at the best in such places as these. He is out of his element at Buxton, at Scarborough, or Harrowgate.collection of charters, relative to C----, by which he hopes to settle some disputed points - particularly that long controversy between them as to priority of foundation.The ardour with which he engages in these liberal pursuits, I am afraid, has not met with all the encouragement it deserved, either here or at C----.Not that, in my anxious detail of the many commodities incidental to the life of a public office, I would be thought blind to certain flaws, which a cunning carper might be able to pick in this Joseph's vest.And here I must have leave, in the fulness of my soul, to regret the abolition, and doing-away-with altogether, of those consolatory interstices, and sprinklings of freedom, through the four seasons, - the red-letter days, now become, to all intents and purposes, dead-letter days.They have their good glebe lands in manu, and care not much to rake into the title-deeds. started like an unbroken heifer, when I interrupted him. made many a good resolution against any such lapses in future. Of this poor stipend, he never received above half in all the laborious years he served this man.I gather at least so much from other sources, for D. A priori it was not very probable that we should have met in Oriel. would have done the same, had I accosted him on the sudden in his own walks in Clifford's Inn, or in the Temple. at her side - striking irresistably on his fancy, he makes another call (forgetting that they were 'certainly not to return from the country before that day week'), and disappointed a second time, inquires for pen and paper as before: again the book is brought, and in the line just above that in which he is about to print his second name (his re-script) - his first name (scarce dry) looks out upon him like another Sosia, or as if a man shold suddenly encounter his own duplicate! He tells a pleasant anecdote, that when poverty, staring out at his ragged knees, has sometimes compelled him, against the modesty of his nature, to hint at arrears, Dr.