Sunday, January 16, 2011

18Mar1877, Visiting Alfred at Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE, Sunday, March 18th, 1877.
—Walked about with F. afterwards and ended at Alfred's rooms for luncheon. Enjoyed the sight of his beautiful books — presents and prizes, with such loving head-turning inscriptions within! He and we thence to S. Mary's, where F. and I had to stand all thro' a gorgeous rhetorical sermon by Dr. Farrar in aid of schools: there was not much in it, however; but what there was, good. A mighty mass of undergraduates. He caused a good deal of stir last Sunday by a great onslaught on Drink. After this, we went straightway to Newnham Coll., where they left me and I had a delightful troll with the nice old Principal (Miss Clough) and sight of the girls' rooms. It seems doing admirably; and the tone of the girls feminine and unaffected. They attend lectures in Cambridge and hear some in their College. Some go in for the whole University course, but the most part are content with the Higher Local Examination. Mazy, who was here last week (staying with the Sidgwicks), is hot upon the brilliant idea of Helen going up there for a few years. F. and Alfred returned for me, and were shown all over the Coll., bedrooms and all ! by one of the students, to their great amusement; but Alfred looked so academic in his cap and gown that it seemed quite the right thing. There seems to be all proper care and chaperonage, and regular hours, but no stupid primness or unnecessary constraint. Went round by the Backs to call on Nora Sidgwick: then paid a visit to Mrs. Thompson. The Master came up, and was most kind and cordial; delighted us beyond by saying that he would have given the Hulsean Essay Prize to Arthur, who was so nearly successful as to be printed full length as "prox accessit" or whatever the sayin' is. Likewise said the Master that he greatly regretted Arthur's not getting the Fellowship, for which he was better suited, in every respect but pure learning, than the man who got it. Oh, how my mind turned at once to darling daddy! it seems as if I must tell him.

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