Page images
[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]


THE election-Jowett removes to the Lodge—Term begins -Jowett at home-Reforms : The laundresses ; the grace in Hall; the Undergraduates' Library-Dinner at the Albion Tavern-The translation of Plato-Life and work-Interview with MazziniJowett in Switzerland-At Tummel Bridge-At Glasgow for the Scott Centenary-Letters, &c. N September 7, 1870, Jowett was elected Master of

Balliol. The election was of course a foregone conclusion. For some years past his position in the College had been such that no other choice was possible. No other person could have been Master except in name, unless indeed Jowett had left Oxford. But cosa fatta capo ha, and the election, though expected, was an event. Not a week had elapsed since the battle of Sedan and the fall of the French Empire; yet the papers found time to say a few words about Balliol and Jowett.

Every one was asking: What use would he make of his new position ? Would he cast aside all restraint,



and reform the College after his own heart—or what was thought to be after his own heart? Would the old Balliol make way for a new Balliol, wider and more comprehensive than the old, but not less efficient? a Balliol where all who deserved help would obtain it; a College which was also a University in the range of the subjects taught, and the variety of the classes who met in it? What would become of the Chapel services: would they too be reformed on the new lines ? Every one felt that changes were at hand, for it was unlikely that the 'native hue of resolution' would fade away under the change of circumstances, as so often happens when the Opposition becomes the Ministry, or that the bridle of responsibility would check the energy which for years past had carried all before it.

Jowett had hoped to pay Morier a visit at the end of the Long Vacation, but this was now impossible. Only five weeks remained before the beginning of Term, and in this interval he had to move into the Master's Lodgings —which had just been rebuilt on a much larger planand to furnish them. He cared little at any time for his own personal comfort, but he was pleased at the thought of having a house in which he could entertain his friends, and he was careful that they should want nothing. He took with him his old College servant Knight, who with his wife and daughter kept the house-Jowett's table being supplied from the College kitchen. •We must be hospitable,' he said, when arranging his plans with Knight; 'we must be hospitable'-and Knight did not fall behind his master's wishes.

On September 12, 1870, he writes to Lady Airlie :

“The election passed off quietly without any contretemps or protest. I am going to Malvern on Friday to be admitted


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

by the Visitor'. I was hoping that I should have had a reasonable excuse for coming to Scotland again and to the Tulchan ?), for he was reported to be at Dunkeld. But this turns out not to be the case. And having Plato to finish, who will take about a month longer, a house to furnish, servants to find, a cook for the College (a most important matter, for I am very desirous that we should have a good reputation for eating and drinking), also a Bursar or man of business for the College, I know not how to leave Oxford at present. I want you, when you return to London, to come and see my house and make suggestions about furnishing.'

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


From his secretary, the late Mr. Matthew Knight 3, I learnt a few more details. The first person to greet him by his new title was Archdeacon Palmer, who met him while taking a stroll in the quadrangle.

In furnishing his house he was helped by various friends, whose gifts he always valued, and remembered the names of the givers. He was proud of his house,' Mr. Knight adds; and when he returned from à visit or a sojourn at Malvern, he would often say with a sigh of relief, “ Well, I am glad to be at home again!” Once he brought a lady, one of the visitors staying with him, into the study, and, as he opened the door, I heard him say, “Come with me, and, like Hezekiah, I will show thee all the treasures of

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

my house."

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

On the first Sunday of Term Jowett preached in the College Chapel from the text, 'Except the Lord build the house, their labour is but vain that build it': and of



· Dr. Jackson, Bishop of Lon- p. 396), the Master's friend and don.

secretary, of whom we shall often ? Lord Airlie's shooting box in hear in these pages, died after Glen Isla.

many years of ill health on • Matthew Knight (cf. vol. i. September 24, 1895

[ocr errors]

course he spoke of the College, of the past and the future, what the College had been and what he hoped that it might be ?

Owing to various causes, it was now possible to make considerable changes in the domestic management of the College; Jowett took the matter into his own hands and gave particular attention to it, in the hope of securing greater economy and efficiency. I quote from a letter of Mr. Edwin Harrison, one of Jowett's intimate friends, who was then an undergraduate at Balliol:

'OXFORD, October 22. I had a walk with “the Reverend the Master of Balliol” the other day. He is in a reforming mood,-has passed a sumptuary law restricting each man to one guest at dinner weekly, has abolished the long grace-duet? after meat, and substituted a short grace-solo before it, and now meditates a grand revolution in the Balliol cookery-opprobrium of our race. The head cook died at the end of last Term, full of iniquities, so there is a chance of better things.'


Even the laundresses felt the touch of his reforming finger, and were compelled to revise their charges, and submit to checks. The undergraduates, of course, had their stories of these changes. It was told in the Apocrypha of Balliol how the indignant women had clamoured for an interview with the Master. The interview was granted, and when the hubbub of complaint had subsided, the clear voice was heard asking, Will you wash for Balliol at such a price?' 'No' was screamed in chorus. "Then, Knight, show these ladies downstairs.' A second interview was granted, and with no better result: but at the third the Master was victorious. By the ingenuity of a malicious friend I was compelled,


[ocr errors]

1 The sermon is No. iv. in College Sermons.

? See below, pp. 5, 21.

« PreviousContinue »