Goldsmith may likewise have belonged to this association, but his propensity was rather to mingle with the gay and thoughtless. On one occasion we find him implicated in an affair that came nigh producing his expulsion. A report was brought to college that a scholar was in the hands of the bailiffs. This was an insult in which every gownsman felt himself involved.
Gownsman?" and he addresses his son from college, who is come to pass an Easter holiday with his parents. "You got them out of Catullus, sir," says the scholar. "I got them out of no such thing, sir. I got them out of my favourite Democritus Junior out of old Burton, who has provided many indifferent scholars with learning;" and who and Montaigne, were favourite authors with the good General.
The independence affected by a crowd of petty sovereigns, the contumacious resistance which they were in the habit of offering to the authority of the Crown and of the Court of Session, their wars, their robberies, their fireraisings, their practice of exacting black mail from people more peaceable and more useful than themselves, naturally excited the disgust and indignation of an enlightened and politic gownsman, who was, both by the constitution of his mind and by the habits of his profession, a lover of law and order.
But I requested him to tell me how the event had become public? Not a gownsman was present, except Hector Mowbray; and surely he was above the character of an informer? Especially, thought I, in this instance! The president however was silent; I was suffered to suppose what I pleased, and I left him with the sentence of rustication confirmed, and my long expected academical honours deferred.
Or you may gaze, as Christian gazed every morning with continually new wonder, at the colors of the dawn brightening into sunrise, such as it looks on a winter's morning so beautiful that it seems an almost equal marvel that nobody should care to see it but yourself, except perhaps a solitary gownsman, a reading man, taking his usual constitutional just as a matter of duty, but apparently not enjoying it the least in the world.
The Whigs took refuge in Oriel, the Tories assaulted the gates, and an Oriel man, firing out of his window, wounded a gownsman of Brasenose. The Tories, "under terror of this dangerous and unexpected resistance, retreated from Oriel." Yet such was the academic strength of the Jacobites and the Churchmen, that a Freethinker, or a "Constitutioner," could scarcely take his degree.
But, he is of your opinion, serjeant, and thinks that a layman can have no authority over a gownsman." "And isn't he right, your honour! Think what a mess of it the militia officers make, when they undertake to meddle with a regular corps. Some of our greatest difficulties in the last war came from such awkward hands attempting to manage machines of which they had no just notions.
Among them, close to me, was the tall man who had upset me; and a very handsome, high-bred looking man he was. I tried to slip by, but he recognized me instantly, and spoke. "I hope I didn't hurt you much, Really, when I spoke so sharply, I did not see that you were not a gownsman!" The speech, as I suppose now, was meant courteously enough.
It indicated that though he might allow himself liberties with men of his own class, he was too well bred to do so with me. But in my anger I saw nothing but the words, "not a gownsman." Why should he see that I was not a gownsman? Because I was shabbier? Why should he know that I was not a gownsman?
The lord and his tutor were for sporting the door of a glum: that is, breaking into the chamber of a gownsman who loves study.