Monday, February 21, 2011

27Jan1879, Arthur to be First Master at Selwyn

HAWARDEN, January 27th—F ebruary 2nd, 1879.
—A blessing to come to dear Hawarden at so bright and peaceful and prosperous a time as to all nears and dears. I had the grand excitement of being the first to tell them of a great piece of news just sent me by Arthur himself, viz., of his having been offered the headship of the new "Selwyn College" at Cambridge, which is to be opened in about 2 years. Canon Lightfoot, Bp. Abraham, and Prof. Westcott have all agreed in their choice; and he has accepted, in such a noble, modest, earnest spirit. 0 what it is not to have Papa, May, or Mrs. Talbot, or At. Emy, to tell! The anxiety of course is lest the experiment should fail at Cambridge, or be anyhow far less successful than at Oxford; they have raised much less money, and propose to begin building with £20,000, with the view of putting up 50 men, and only opening with 20, just the scale upon which Keble began. Uncle W. looked grubous major at the prospect! thinking the Keble success most unique, and that even it has serious rocks ahead as to tutors, etc. But nothing can take from the great honour and compliment it is to "little pig Arthur" as Papa used to call him of old. He is only just 27.

On Wednesday came Bright and his daughter, and we did want a Boswell. Endless and delightful was the talk; chiefly on religious matters about which the stout old fellow seems specially alive—perhaps the more from the recent death of his wife. An uncompromising old nonconformist puritan is he. I believe he generally monopolizes talk, but that can't be done with Uncle W. by! He announced that he disliked all clergy (and ministers) as a rule, and, poor man, he had 5 administered to him in 3 days

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