Page:Once a Week, Series 1, Volume II Dec 1859 to June 1860.pdf/89

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76
[January 21, 1860.
ONCE A WEEK.

RECOLLECTIONS OF OXFORD.
A DAY WITH THE CHRISTCHURCH DRAG.

alt = A hunter on horseback is confronted by an angry man on foot, the owner of the land he is trespassing on, while behind him the squire’s men lock into the stable the man who has been laying the drag trail

CHAPTER I.

Although I dearly loved my uncle, the Prebendary, and honour his memory with a true respect, I am thankful that he only paid me one brief visit—on the occasion of his taking his doctor’s degree—during my pleasant years at Oxford. My uncle was just a thought too fond of Greek to be really good company for us undergraduates, and he had an uncomfortable habit of alluding to the class list, which to hunting men was almost offensive. I blushed when he asked Phil Hunter, of Oriel, who had just performed the unprecedented feat of winning the Aylesbury Steeple Chase, and being plucked for his Little Go the same week, what he thought of Peile’s “Agamemnon?” Nor did Philip at all alleviate my distress by inquiring, in reply, whether “Agamemnon was one of the colonel’s[1] young ’uns?” and whether my uncle knew “what he was by?”

Furthermore, the announcement of his coming caused me great expense and inconvenience in re-arranging my apartments. My favourite terriers must be driven from their snug retreat in “the study,” to the uncertain diet and coarse society of some dog-merchant’s yard. Highly-coloured delineations of “the cracks of the day,” and “the pets” of the evening, both performing miracles of saltation, must be taken down and concealed. The roulette table; the travelling cigar-chest, oak, bound with brass,—robur et æs triplex,—and “just holding a fortnight’s supply, sir, between three and four pounds;” the musical box—it has never recovered its original tone since that wild O’Brien would give it some preserved ginger for playing “Ah, non giunge” so “awfully jolly;”—the well-peppered target for puff-and-dart; the battledores and shuttlecocks; the devils-on-two-sticks: even the cornopean, which everybody loved, except, perhaps, the mathematical tutor,—(on one occasion he so far forgot himself as to rush out of his room, and inquire from the landing, “What lunatic was ill-treating that wretched horn?”—but there never was a mathematician yet with a soul); all these must be removed, and in their place must be set out the obsolescent reading desk, and dusty dictionaries, the solemn paraphernalia of a “sap.”


  1. Colonel, now General Peel.