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King's College, London, and it was there that he first became intimately acquainted with his life-long friend and future brother-in-law, John Thadeus Delane. In 1836 they both matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, of which Dr. Macbride was then the Principal, and Jacobson, afterwards Bishop of Chester, the Vice-Principal.
At Oxford, Dasent read hard, and became a good classical scholar, though by no means neglecting the river or the cricket-field, his interest indeed in athletics and any feats of endurance only ceasing with life itself.
He soon became a favourite with Jacobson, as did Delane; and another lasting friendship begun at Magdalen Hall was with Manuel Johnson who, after taking his degree, was appointed to succeed Rigaud as Radcliffe Observer.
Johnson was very popular in the university, and the Observatory became the resort of the leaders of the High Church party in Oxford. Here Dasent, who was a frequent visitor, came for a time under the spell of Newman; but a more enduring religious influence seems to have been exerted over him by Maurice, whose kindly nature never failed to appeal to the young. We gather from Dasent's diary that he rarely missed the university sermon when Newman or Pusey preached, and that so great was the crowd at St. Mary's to hear the latter that undergraduates waited patiently for the doors to open, when a scramble ensued for places, like the rush at the doors of a popular theatre.
In Easter Term 1840 he took his degree, obtaining a Second Class in Classics in the company of James Anthony Froude, Lord Farrer, and the late Mr. John