Sunday, February 19, 2006

08Mar1857, Christ Church, Oxford

OXFORD, March 8th, 1857.
—One of the happiest days I have ever spent. As soon as we were dressed, after Mrs. Talbot had read aloud the Xtian Year for the day, Johnny appeared, in his cap and gown to please me, for he says the men of Ch. Ch. (Christ Church, Oxford) are not wont to walk about in them, though every other college does, and he is an anxious martyr to manners and customs. Well, under his escort, we walked to Ch. Ch., which I am happy to say we found free from smell, and Johnny's rooms much the better for the chloride of zinc, and looking bright and comfortable. The breakfast one is much longer than broad, and had its whole length filled with the breakfast tables, covered with an elegant spread. The grate amused me : its bars were of the most collegiate and ecclesiastic appearance, of this shape.(With a sketch.) Mr. Majendie soon turned up : in fact we had, I thought, rather too much of these gentlemen, one or other of whom, or all together, were with us nearly all day. The toast was cut in a collegiate way also, triangles of an impressive appearance. We had an excellent breakfast ; the coffee alone being rather inferior. Beautiful sort of hashed fish, which was obtained after some little difficulty, caused by some regulation against the importation of fish for breakfast. However we had it, and it was lucky we did, for Mr. Majendie had two or three helps of it. Indeed, one of my notes of Oxford was the large quantity everybody eat, myself included, for there was no help for it. . . .

We went to luncheon at Mr. Majendie's rooms in Peckwater Quad, adjoining Tom Quad (e.g. Johnny's quad), where we found an excellent spread. A young Mr. Villars, son of the new Bishop (on which account Mrs. Talbot warned me not to speak disrespectfully of Lord Palmerston's bishops : as if I was likely to !), Mr. Henniker, and Mr. Palmer, all came in to luncheon : all being Johnny's friends. They made pleasant talk, and we had a very good luncheon. It was in fact a very complete dinner.

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