Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/157

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145
JOWETT'S LIFE

during the subsequent changes, he was never in perfect sympathy with reformers who would radically alter the system. I have often wished that some skilful hand would draw a portrait of the old college don before he is finally numbered with the dodos. I present the suggestion to any one in want of a setting for a novel of 'sixty years since.' A college don was for the most part a young clergyman anxious to succeed to a living and marry a wife. For him, a fellowship was a mere step on the path to comfort. But some men, by external fate or idiosyncrasy, were doomed to permanent celibacy. Then they took one of two paths—either they acquired a taste in port-wine and became soured, or mildly (sometimes more than mildly) sybaritical; or else they accepted the college in place of a family, and felt for it a devotion such as an old monk may have had for his convent. It was their world; their whole 'environment'; the object of a local patriotism as intense as could ever animate patriots in a wider sphere. A touching anecdote tells how Whewell, the typical Cambridge don, begged, when dying, to be raised in his bed that he might have one more glance at the great court of Trinity. That was the last flash of an enthusiastic