Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/244

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228
A Study in Temptations.
 

posts for every dog to defile. The simile is used by Erasmus."

This encouragement, delivered in O'Nelligan's most impressive manner (impossible to describe, and only to be imagined by those who may have encountered an Irishman with the blood of two kings, eighteen earls, and a Christian martyr in his veins), gave De Boys the self-confidence which he was too modest to assume on his own warrant. It must be owned, however, that his tutor's instruction was, though solid, excessively dull. The one consuming passion of O'Nelligan's life was grammar, and for his pupil's leisure moments he had invented a game on Comparative Syntax, which, in his judgment, transcended chess, and threw whist on its death-bed. Mauden felt, therefore, to his own dismay, a something not wholly unlike relief when, after three years of hard reading, the excellent man confessed that he had taught him what he could, and that the time was now come for him to show his mettle at the University. De Boys rushed home, and with characteristic impetuosity blurted out at the dinner-table that he was going to Oxford.

"What time do you start?" said the gentle Miss Caroline, who wondered whether his journey could have anything to do with the cow.

"To Oxford!" thundered his uncle. "To Oxford! This comes of listening to a curate's great swelling words of vanity. You know what the Apostle Paul saith, that those who seemed to be somewhat, in conference added nothing to him. Take heed by his experience. To Oxford! And what will you find there? The lust of the eye, the