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propound questions on which he should discourse, that he is recorded to have made a laughing refusal ; "he sets up tops," he said, in his allusive way " and I am to whip them for him." But it is plain that he had a genuine contempt for his own written style : he says that on the one side he errs by being "overfamiliar and subrustic; on the other as "sour and satyrical." He evidently had the ironical quality in great perfection ; his writings and recorded conversation abound in quaint little unexpected turns and capricious illustrations ; he had one of those figurative minds that love to express one idea in the terms of another, and see unexpected and felicitous connections. His sermons are strange compositions ; they straggle on through page after page of thickly printed octavos, “he being a great preacher according to the taste of those times," says an antique critic of them, going on to object that they keep the reader in a "continued twitter throughout." He must have been very light of heart who could have "twittered " continuously through the good hour that the very shortest of them must have taken to deliver. Quotations from Homer, mystically interpreted, strange mythological stories, well worn classical jests; perhaps the sense of humour was as different among the men of that era from ours as their sense of theology undoubtedly was- more discursive if not deeper!
It has struck more than one writer about John Hales, that the following is a curious trait : he was a remarkably good man of business : he
bursar of Eton for many years, and his precise, formal signature may still be seen in the audit books, and it is told of him that he was accustomed to throw into the river at the bottom of the college garden any base or counterfeit coin that he chanced to receive on behalf of the college, paying the loss out of his own pocket.
Pure-minded, simple-hearted little man, reading Thomas-à-Kempis in his violet gown; poor, degraded, but not dishonoured; what a strong, grave protest your quiet, exiled life , self-contained and serious, is, against the crude follies, the boisterous energies of the revolution seething and mantling all about you ! the clear-sighted soul can adopt no party cries, swears allegiance to no frantic school ; enlightened, at the mercy of no tendency or prejudice, it resigns all that gave dignity to blessed quiet, and takes the peace without the pomp; with unobstrusive, unpretentious hopes and prospects shattered in the general wreck, the true life-philosopher still finds his treasures in the old books, the eternal thoughts and the kindly offices of retired life. This is a gentle figure that Eton's sons may well be glad to connect with her single street, her gliding waters and her immemorial groves; though as yet the reverence of antiquity sate lightly upon
her, though she was not yet in the forefront of the loud educational world, yet in her sequestered peace there was a cloistral stateliness that she somewhat misses now. Not that we grudge her the glory of a nobler mission, a wider field of action, a more extended influence, in days when the race and battle are more than ever for the fleet and strong. But we lament over the nooks that the ancient years so jealously guarded and fenced about from the world and its incisive voice, where among some indolence and some luxury and much littleness the storage of great forces was accomplished, and the tones of a sacred voice not rarely heard. Ah! it is an ideal that this century has lost the knack of sympathising with! Perhaps she is but creating the necessity for its imperious recall.
A MINUTE PHILOSOPHER
T Lord Falkland's court of intellect at Great
Tew,—that delightful manor thrown open like a perpetual salon to worthy visitors, where Oxford scholars would arrive, order their bedroom, give notice of their intention to be present at dinner, and betake themselves to the library to read or talk,-there was at one time a constant and an honoured guest.
This was a certain Fellow of Merton, by name John Earles, * some ten years older than his host, and so devoted to his lordship that, as he himself tells us, he gave all the time that he could make his own to cultivating his society. And at first this was a good deal, for Earles was not a busy man; besides his Fellowship at Merton, he was merely chaplain to Lord Pembroke, and vicar
* The name seems to have been spelt quite indifferently, Earl, Earle, or Earles. John Earles' father was Registrar of the Archbishop's Court at York; John Earles seems to have matriculated at Christ Church, on June 4, 1619. But, according to Wood's Fasti, he took his B.A. degree on July 8, 1619, at Merton, and obtained a Fellowship there in the same year.
of a distant Wiltshire parish to which he paid but few visits. Between him and Lord Falkland there was a kind of intellectual bargain ; they read Greek together, and John said that he learnt more than he taught, and that he was amply repaid for his exertion by the fresh, lively light which that sympathetic mind cast upon the great variety of subjects which passed under review in that high argumentative atmosphere.
John was known to his friends as a singularly sweet-tempered, amiable man, one who could count no enemies with the faults of a scholar, it is true, his hair tangled, his canonical coat dusty, slovenly and negligent in his habits; a bad man of business, and a forgetful, absent-minded fellow But they condoned these faults as being so unconscious, the externals of a character which could afford to dispense with social ornament; the habit of a dreamy yet active mind, so bent upon reverie and so strenuous in thought, that it could not bear to waste time and trouble upon things that were undeniably unimportant. Genuine absent-mindedness has a great charm for thoughtful men; when it is the index of deliberate abstraction, they are apt to look upon it almost enviously, as the sign of a high aloofness from ordinary sublunary anxieties, an aloofness which they are themselves unable to command.
John was in the habit of thinking a great deal about his fellow-men; he was not philoso