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Something better than tradition also de- surface of the water to make it any, clares that it was the seat of the first thing but very hazardous for a stranger Bishop of Chichester, who, many hun- to get inshore of the Owers' Light. In. dred years ago, made it his episcopal deed, even now at half ebb, the breakers capital.
are very plainly seen, while, at low Standing, at this day, upon that water, much of the rocks is dry. Now shingly beach, and looking round upon the shoals and reefs, extending so far the dreary flat, with only a small out to sea in fact nearly seven miles straggling village, and a few scattered from the shore), are, consequently, very farm-houses, and an unpretending little treacheroris. Lying as they do in the church far away among the trees, one direct course of vessels coming through can scarcely believe that it ever could Spithead and bound to the Thames, or have been the paradise of holy men who even in the way of vessels coming up had the credit of always selecting the channel round the back of the Wight, snuggest nooks in England as their and vice versa, they have been the deabiding-places ; but the fact is, that we struction of many a brave ship. From cannot now form any opinion as to the the stout man-of-war, running for Portseligibility of the actual site, because mouth to the collier-brig standing norththat has long since disappeared. The ward, many a sad tale is told of their sea has encroached so much upon that perishing. Caught in a south-west or shore, that the cathedral or monastery south-easterly gale, and too near in shore, (or whatever it was) has been long since the wind and current carried them entirely submerged, and small vessels hopelessly in on the Owers (now one now find an anchorage, with three fa- sheet of foam, because of the furious thoms water, in what is still known as surf that breaks there), and they soon “the Park," doubtless from having went to pieces. been at some remote period, before the It is because of this very going to sea swept over it, part of the episcopal pieces, and the hapless case of many domain. Perhaps, where the little a gallant heart, that we are down at coaster now casts her anchor, a few hun- Selsey Bill to-day. Look at that large, dred yards from the beach, once roamed new-looking building, much resembling the deer, under the shadow of the trees, a comfortable, good-sized carriage house. or even the cathedral or palace-wall it. It stands facing the sea, at about 150 self. The remains of ancient buildings, yards from high watermark, and, with its nigh buried in the sand, are, it is said, flagstaff and ensign, is conspicuously seen. to be still seen at low water.
Around its open doors are grouped a But to-day we have cause more to re- number of boatmen, and preventive men joice over the present, than to mourn the from the neighbouring station, and the past. This Selsey Bill, with its belong- excitement amongst them evidently beings, is a most dangerous locality for tokens something unusual. And so the unwary shipman. Look out sea- there is. A glance within those open ward, and you will descry — scarcely, doors explains it all. It is the life-boathowever, without the help of a glass - house of the Royal National Institution, a light-ship pitching in the troubled and there, high upon her launchingwaters. She seems hull-down, she is carriage, rests the life-boat. We walk So far from shore-some seven miles round her. Beautifully built, and as away. That is called the Owers' Light, strong, and as complete as she can be off Selsey Bill. She is moored on the put together, she looks fit for any very elbow of a shoal, and between her weather. And then the name enand the shore on which we are standing blazoned on her bows, “Friend” (in it is scarcely safe for vessels to pass. commemoration of a handsome donation There are intricate channels known to given to the Institution by members of the skilful pilot, but the good old the Society of Friends), seems so approBishop's domain is yet too near the priate. But this is the occasion of her quarterly exercise, and we shall see her But the skies are clear and bright, better presently. She has everything and the sea is smooth to-day, and so she on board-oars, masts, sails, rudder will only pull a little and cruise a little, shipped and all, and is ready to run and then come back to watch for a real down to the water's edge at a moment's need. And she presents a pretty sight. notice. And they do not wait long for Every one of her crew (and she pulls that. Watch in hand, to note the time twelve oars 1) has his life-belt on; and so occupied, the gallant chairman of the somehow this, taken in connexion local committee gives the word to run with the unusually buoyant appearance her out, and launch her. In an in- of the boat herself, as she goes boundstant, twice a score of stalwart arms are ing along, occasions a wonderful conhauling at the ropes with a will. The fidence in her. Besides, she looks strong boat and carriage together weigh some for the very wildest sea. · Everything five tons ; but this is nothing in such about her is the best that can be used. hands, and with a cheer she runs out put together with the knowledge that upon the turf, and is soon ploughing precious lives depended on the work. through the deep shingle-bank beyond. But now she is making sail. Her One has now only to imagine a stranded build is not perhaps favourable for sailvessel out there upon the reef, with the ing to windward, but yet she really distress-signal in her rigging, and the makes her way upon a wind surprisinggreat breakers beating so furiously over ly. Her coxswain understands her her that she cannot hold together per- capabilities, and knows just what she haps an hour longer. One has only to can do. imagine the sheets of spray so blinding Ashore they are preparing for her the whole horizon, that we can scarcely return. A capstan is rigged out on the make her out, and the gale blowing so higher part of the beach; a line of pormadly that not another sound can be table skids is laid down, and, as soon as heard; and, if then we add to this the the boat touches the shingle, a purchaseutter uselessness of any ordinary boat tackle is hooked on, the capstan manned, attempting to put out to rescue, and the and the boat will be gradually drawn sad looks of the fishermen, as they stand up until it reaches the carriage—which helpless on the beach, unable to render is presently done. After an hour's the slightest aid to their fellows perish cruise she steers homeward. A little ing out there among the breakers-one, trouble to place her stem on the skid, I say, has only to picture this, and then and the windlass does the rest. The his heart will go with the life-boat, carriage tilts up the reverse way now, hurrying to the water's edge. And she and becomes an inclined plane up which is soon there. Those strong and willing the life-boat is drawn ; the forewheels are arms force her through the heavy connected, and she travels to her house shingle, until they reach the declivity again, ready for the next summons. of the beach. Then she runs down by We return home, thankful that such her own weight; her crew leap in and a good work is going on : for the hu. take the oars; the carriage runs partly manity that prompted it—for the geneinto the sea, and, at a word, the pin is rosity that carries it out. The lives of withdrawn, the carriage tilts up, and the those poor fellows to whom we owe so boat glides off swiftly into the water. many of our luxuries are surely worth The men give way at the oars, and she our caring for; and England, we feel is off. Only seven minutes have elapsed sure, will never refuse to hold out a hand from the time she quitted the boat to succour them in an hour of peril. house until she is afloat.
DEAD MEN WHOM I HAVE KNOWN; OR, RECOLLECTIONS
OF THREE CITIES.
BY THE EDITOR
OLD MARISCHAL COLLEGE-DR. WILLIAM KNIGHT-LOCAL MISCELLANEA
-WILLIAM THOM OF INVERURY.
“By St. Andrew," says Dugald Dal. never read how thou didst pin him in getty in the “Legend of Montrose," his own dungeon without forgetting when the seeming serving-man of Lord altogether that it was the cause of Menteith declines to help him to un Presbyterianism that was imperilled, buckle the armour which he is feeling and feeling my heart leap with glee that somewhat tight around his portly person my fellow-collegian was uppermost. after the feast in the Highland castle, As Marischal College was founded in “ here's a common fellow, a stipendiary 1593, and as Dalgetty left it at the age “ with four pounds a year and a livery of eighteen, to carry the learning whilk “ cloak, thinks himself too good to serve he had acquired there, and his gentle “ Ritt-master Dugald Dalgetty of Drum- bluid and designation, together with his “ thwacket, who has studied humanity pair of stalwart arms, and legs conform, “ at the Marischal College of Aberdeen, into the German wars, it is a matter of " and served half the princes of Europe." easy calculation that this most celebrated And all through the story the valiant of all the sons of Marischal College must Ritt-master keeps reminding those about have left its cloisters about 1620, and him of this fact of his having studied must have belonged to the latter end of at Marischal College as one of his chief its first generation of students. It is distinctions. Even in that tremendous not creditable to the academic antimoment when, in the dungeon at Inver- quarianism of the place that there has ary, he astutely recognises the spy who never been a search in the college-books has secretly entered to talk with him as for his matriculation-entry. But I would being no other than the great Argyle fain here rouse the academic antihimself, and, springing on his wily lord quarianism of the place to a larger ship, brings him to the ground, and, labour than this. Why have we not pinning him there by main strength, a history of Marischal College and throttles him into capitulation-even in University, or, at least, an Athence et that tremendous moment the thought of Fasti of that venerable institution ? the dear Alma Mater in the north Though the Ritt-master Dalgetty may be country flashes through his stalwart her most celebrated alumnus, and though mind, and it is with a quotation of she may have been chiefly heard of over Marischal College Latin that he nego- the world at large in association with tiates with the prostrate Marquis. Bless- his name, yet, even before Sir Dugald ings on thy memory, if only for Alma sat at her bursars' table and there learnt Mater's sake, thou shrewd and doughty that art of rapid mastication which he Sir Dugald ; and may thy last days have found so useful to him in after life, she been peaceful, with the widow Strachan had sent forth one or two sons of some for thy spouse, in thy regained paternal note; and, if to these were added the estate of Drumthwacket! Great as is much longer list of her eminent alumni my veneration, on historical grounds, from Sir Dugald's days down to the for the Presbyterian Marquis, whom present time--ending, let us say, with men called Gillespie Grumach on account that Sir James Outram, the Bayard of of the cast in his eye, I confess I can India, whom Sir Dugald himself would
have respected, albeit Outram's soldiership was of a more dashing and irregular type than that which Sir Dugald favoured, and his famous refusal of Indian prize-money would have seemed to Sir Dugald a piece of needless punctiliousness—then the roll of the notabilities of Marischal College might seem not an insignificant one. At all events, it is the bounden duty of any Anthony Wood that may be living now in Aberdeen to do his best to draw it up, imbedding it in such a text of the general history of the College as he can prepare. Or, if there is no one Anthony Wood to do the work, then let some local antiquarian society put their heads together, and at least give us a volume of Marischal College dates, documents, and lists of names, such as the King's College people have already executed for their institution. For, alas! the history may now be rounded off and complete. Marischal College and University exists no longer in its separate identity. It was fused, a year or two ago, along with King's College, into the single University of Aberdeen. There is still a fine granite building called Marischal College, in which a portion of the work of the united University is carried on; but the real antique establishment-Dugald Dalgetty's Marischal College and mine-is no longer in rerum naturâ. All is apt, therefore, for the writing of its history.
Ah! the massive old pile in the great space of ground entered by the old gateway from the Broadgate, how well I can see it yet! Not the fine modern building which visitors to Aberdeen now look at, and which was finished about 1842, at a cost of some £21,000 ; but its predecessor on the same site-a great, square, hulking, yet lofty, ancient lump of a building, impressive by its amorphous gray massiveness even in the daylight, but in winter-nights quite weirdly to look at in the dark space that en shrined it, with the few lights twinkling in some of its small windows, and the stars seeming to roll, soliciting astrological watch, over the battlements of
its high observatory! There it had stood, the main part of it, the same through all the years since Dugald Dalgetty had seen it; and, mayhap, on the battlements of its left tower, astrologers, in the shape of mantled old professors, had watched, and, groping up the turret-stairs in the dark, one might encounter their professorial ghosts. And then the class-rooms as we sat in them by day—all old and quaint, though some older and quainter than others and the great common hall, stretching the whole width of the main building in the first storey, with its old chimneypiece in the middle, on which were carved the arms of the Earls Marischal, with their noble motto of scorn for public opinion (“Aiunt : Quid aiunt ? Aiant ;” or, in English, “ They say : What say they ? Let them say”), and its wainscoted walls hung with many old portraits of historical interest by George Jamesone and others. Among these was a portrait of Descartes, which I could never cease gazing at-it was such a queer, puckered old face. The hair came down over the forehead, and the eyebrows were arched up to meet the hair, so that, between the two, the forehead, which was broad enough, had not an inch of visible height. But he looked a terribly determined intellectual little devil for all that; and, though I knew little about him, and rather wondered at first how any mortal, wherever he was born, could have had a name that seemed so like the plural of a wheeled vehicle, he and I took a fancy for each other. There were other portraits, some of them of old Aberdonians, or other Scotchmen, that interested me; but none, as far as I recollect, so much as this. And so, for four years, often in this public hall, but oftener still in the class-rooms where we were taught all that Marischal College had to teach, we wore the red gowns and the red velvet collars which were the compulsory costume of the Students of Arts, till one early spring-day we were ranged ceremoniously in the public hall, some eighteen or twenty of us who had completed the curriculum out of a class
originally seventy strong, and there, the college ; but there was always one clad all uncouthly in black silk gowns, period of the college-session when all which the college-beadles had begged, were brought together pell-mell. This borrowed, or stolen from the city-clergy was the period at which the students of for the occasion, were made to repeat all the faculties exercised in common the words of a Latin oath, and, having the grand privilege, which belonged to been dabbed on the head individually them by charter, of electing their Lord by the Principal with a sacred bit of Rector for the year. Sometimes English black velvet, were created and admitted readers may note a paragraph in the Masters of Arts. When I think what London newspapers stating that Lord Magister Artium implies according to So-and-so, or the Earl of So-and-so, the English standard, and then recollect or the Duke of So-and-so, or at least what a flock of fledglings we were (the some Baronet or Right Honourableyoungest of us exactly sixteen years and almost invariably one of the most confour months old) that flew off into the spicuous statesmen of the kingdomworld from that northern nursery of has been elected Lord Rector of the learning, feathered legally with the fine University of Aberdeen, or has lost the designation, the thing does seem rather election in competition with some other - absurd. Matters, however, have been public man, equally well known. But considerably mended of late in the Scot- if only the English reader of such a tish system in this respect; and it is casual paragraph could have got inside right to say that, even in those days, in the vast local uproar and excitement of some of the Scottish universities-at all which the paragraph was the condensed events, in that of Edinburgh-the de- result! Talk of the Saturnalia of a gree of A.M. was a much rarer honour, contested election! The humours of won only by a very few every year after the wildest and noisiest election of a very special examination.
a member of Parliament for an English The regular college-session was in borough could not be richer than those winter only, or from the beginning of which I recollect as attending our November to the end of March. It annual election of a Lord Rector for was during these five winter months old Marischal College. It was an affair that the red gowns of the “Colliginers," of some three weeks. First there were as they were called by the town's the meetings of the separate classes, in people, made the streets of Aberdeen which all sorts of persons, likely and picturesque. The bright new gowns unlikely, were proposed ; then there of the freshmen, or first year's students were the aggregate meetings, in which marked them out for persecution by the three or four candidates that had their seniors ; and it was considered by this time been pitched upon by desirable to get the velvet collars ink- general agreement, were upheld and stained and the sleeves and body toned discussed ; and, lastly, there was the down in colour as soon as possible. The grand meeting in the hall on electionfourth year's students, or “Magistrands," day, most of the professors being were easily recognised by the superior present, when the two or perhaps the tatteredness and discoloration of their three candidates that it had been rescarlet garb. It was only the Arts' solved finally to pit against each other, students, who may have numbered were formally nominated and seconded about 250 in all, that wore this flaring amid cheers and yellings from the costume; the less numerous students of multitude—after which the whole body the other three faculties—to wit, Law, of the electors retired to vote indiMedicine, and Theology-wore no pecu- vidually in the four “nations” into liar dress. In general the four facul- which they were distributed. Each ties had little interconnexion—the “nation" included all who were natives students of each attending their own of a particular region of Scotland traset of professors in their own part of ditionally marked out-one of the