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Colleges and Collegians.
The nursery, the public school, the University, and last, the world : such is our career, tardy enough while passing, but marvellously brief in retrospect. A child, playing happily in the green garden walks, and wondering much at the pleasant universe, which was all new, at the bright blue sky with its wealth of floating clouds, at the multitudinous forms of animated loveliness ; a boy, athletic and acute, loving cricket in the playing fields and boating on the river, commencing sacred converse with the lofty minds of Greece and Rome, equally ready for football or Latin hexameters, and with now and then a stirring in the mind, the flutter of a passing dream, an unintelligible inkling of the mystery of life ; and then a collegian. It is a very common road; so much so, that it is paved with truisms, and canopied with undeniable facts. Hundreds travel so far together; afterwards they plunge madly into the sea of life, and are variously borne by its currents. But it is in this, the very entrance to the world, that the mind is formed into a thing of energy; here are the almost invisible germs of power or weakness,—of a sublime or a purposeless existence.
Arthur Stuart and I were neighbours in our native county, Devon-went together to Eton, and thence to Oxford, entering the same college. We were close friends, as frequently happens, from the contrariety of our dispositions and faculties. Arthur was exceedingly quiet, with little apparent energy, unwilling to take part in boisterous enjoyments, and a sworn foe to all tumult and turbulence. His school life had little visible result beyond making him an admirable chess player; for his tranquillity appeared in no wise to imply a studious disposition. No tutor had any high opinion of him; strange as it may seem, your professional tutors are the worst men in the world to trust to for an estimate of intellectual power. They take merely a superficial view of things; they worship a good memory, an acute perception, and a strong faculty of abstraction. Genius