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TO J. P. GELL, ESQ.

Rugby, September 30, 1835. My situation here, if it has its anxieties, has also many great pleasures, amongst the highest of which are such letters as that which you have had the kindness to write to me.

I value it indeed very greatly, and sincerely thank you for it. I had been often told that I should know you much more after

you had left Rugby, than I had ever done before, and your letter encourages me to hope that it will

You will not think that it is as a mere form of civil words, when I say we shall be very glad to see you here, if you can take us in your way to Cambridge, or in Westmoreland in the winter, if you do not start at the thought of a Christmas among the mountains. But I can assure you that you

will find them most beautiful in their winter dress, and the valleys very humanized. I have just seen, but not read, the second number of the Rugby Magazine. I have an unmixed pleasure in its going on, perhaps, just under actual circumstances, more than at some former time, because I think it is more wanted. We shall soon lose Lake and Simpkinson and the others, who go up this year to the University. There is always a melancholy feeling in seeing the last sheaf carried of a good harvest; for who knows what may be the crop of the next year? But this, happily for us, is, both in the natural and in the moral harvest, in the hands of Him who can make disappointment and scarcity do his work, no less than success and plenty.

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Rugby, October 12, 1835. Our visit to Westmoreland was short, for we returned home early in August.

But I could not have enjoyed three weeks more ; for the first week we had

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so much rain that the Rotha flooded a part of our grass. Afterwards we had the most brilliant weather, which brought our flowers out in the greatest beauty ; but the preceding rain kept us quite green, and the contrast was grievous in that respect when we came back to the brown fields of Warwickshire. But I cannot tell you, how I enjoyed our fortnight at Rugby before the school opened. It quite reminded me of Oxford, when M— and I used to sit out in the garden under the enormous elms of the School-field, which almost overhang the house, and saw the line of our battlemented roofs and the pinnacles and cross of our Chapel cutting the unclouded sky. And I had divers happy little matches at cricket with my own boys in the school-field,-on the very cricket ground of the “eleven,” that is, of the best players in the school, on which, when the school is assembled, no profane person may encroach. Then came my wife's happy confinement, before which we had had a very happy visit of a day from the whole family of Hulls, and which was succeeded by a no less happy visit from the whole family of Whatelys.

Have you seen our Rugby Magazine, of which the second number has just made its appearance? It is written wholly either by boys actually at the school, or by undergraduates within their first year. I delight in the spirit of it, and think there is much ability in many of the articles. I think also that it is likely to do good to the school.

We have lost this year more than half of our Sixth Form, so that the influx of new elements has been rather disproportionately great; and unluckily the average of talent just in this part of the school is not high. We have a very good promise below, but at present we shall have great difficulty in maintaining our ground; and then I always fear that, where the intellect is low, the animal part will predominate; and that moral evils will increase, as well as intellectual proficiency decline, under such a state of things. At present I think that the boys seem very well disposed, and I trust that, in this far more important matter, we shall work through our time of less bright sunshine without material injury. It would overpay me for far greater uneasiness and labour than I have ever had at Rugby, to see the feeling both towards the school and towards myself personally, with which some of our boys have been lately leaving us. One staid with us in the house for his last week at Rugby, dreading the approach of the day which should take him to Oxford, although he was going up to a most delightful society of old friends; and, when he actually came to take leave, I really think that the parting was like that of a father and his son. And it is delightful to me to find how glad all the better boys are to come back here after they have left it, and how much they seem to enjoy staying with me; while a sure instinct keeps at a distance all whose recollections of the place are connected with no comfortable reflections. Mean time I write nothing, and read barely enough to keep my mind in the state of a running stream, which I think it ought to be if it would form or feed other minds ; for it is ill drinking out of a pond, whose stock of water is merely the remains of the long past rains of the winter and spring, evaporating and diminishing with every successive day of drought. We are reading now Plato's Phædon, which I suppose must be nearly the perfection of human language. The admirable precision of the great Attic writers is to me very striking. When you get a thorough knowledge of the language, they are clearer than I think an English writer can be from the inferiority of his instrument. I often think that I could have understood your Uncle better if he had written in Platonic Greek. His Table Talk marks him, in my judgment, . . . . as a very great man indeed, whose equal I know not where to find in England. It amused me to recognise, in your contributions to the book, divers anecdotes which used to excite the open-mouthed admiration of the C.C.C. Junior Common Room in the Easter and Act Terms of 1811, after your Easter vacation spent with Mr. May at Richmond. My paper is at an end, but not my matter. Perhaps I may see you in the winter in town.

END OF VOL. I.

G. Woodfall and Son, Printers, Angel Court, Skinner Street, London.

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