Sunday, February 14, 2010

23Jun1870, Opening Ceremony for Keble College

OXFORD, June 23rd, 1870.
—After breakfast at good Dr. Cradock's (who was much exercised in mind by a tipsy row last night, in course of which May overheard an undergraduate conferring a degree on a policeman as follows : "Bobby, admitto to ad gradum," etc.) we all went to Keble College. The quad was all dotted over with pretty bright groups of people ; old Edward was plunging about 50 ways at once, and enthusiastic friends kept turning up. I saw Uncle B., Uncle H., the James's, Mr. Wood, Sir W. Farquhar, Mr. Hunt, etc., and was shown Miss Yonge the Great ! a striking-looking grey-haired woman, with beautiful eyes and an expressive face.

Considering the College is now nothing but rooms, being minus chapel, library and hall, it is very well-looking ; original and as little monotonous as possible.

Towards 11 the procession formed ; and, after securing places in the temporary chapel, we flew to the door to see it streaming round the quad. Beautiful it was, with its white clergy and choir, its scarlet Doctors and Bishops, its golden-robed Chancellor. We had but a glimpse and went back into the chapel. But then came the loud, joyous chanting nearer and nearer, and so they entered the chapel, where a solemn little service was held. At the early Communion, we heard that £320 had been given. This service was a special one, closing with the Te Deum. The great moment was Edward's kneeling at the altar, while (all kneeling too except the choir, who stood) the Veni Creator was sung in Latin. Darling Lavinia was close to me—what a never-to-be-forgotten thing this day will be to her ! After, we most of us managed to get on the platform in the quad, whence many good hearty speeches were made. Lord Salisbury excellent ; Dr. Pusey, venerable and touching ; Mr. Liddon, glorious ! And dear Edward himself spoke with great earnestness and vigour, and also with true deep modesty and humility. Dr. Pusey brought Lavinia gracefully and kindly into his speech, which nearly did for poor little pussy-cat.

In short it was a beautiful day in one's life : a day of bright sunshine and hope, and also of earnest prayer and solemn looking forward.

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