THE LIFE AND OPINIONS ROBERT ROBERTS XXI The question which I had debated with myself was soon afterwards decided by circumstances. My second year at Ruthin had passed I had read a little and I had saved a little, but neither the amount of my savings nor the success of my studies was enough to decide the question of College, but the knot was untied for me in another way. It was a late and cold spring I caught a severe cold, bronchitis came on. I partly recovered and recommenced school, got worse again, and was ordered to retire from work for a time. It was a severe and lingering illness, and I was not expected to recover, but a good constitution brought me out of it after some weary months. By this time my school at Ruthin was filled and my medical man forbade my attempting it any more as another such attack would probably prove fatal, etc. I was perplexed about the best course to pursue my savings were not enough to pay my expenses at Oxford, or even at the cheapest Theologi- cal College, and I did not know how to eke them out. I was too old for a Servitorship, and my knowledge of Classics not enough to give much hope for an exhibition or scholarship. I had heard of certain societies for assisting young men and made some inquiries about them, but I found that they belonged to a certain section with which I had no sympathy, and abandoned that idea. Then I thought of borrowing but the friends whose opinion I asked did not encourage that plan it would only be bur- dening myself with an Old Man of the Sea whose weight I should find difficult to get off my shoulders. How could a Curate on £ 60 or £ 70 a year pay off debts ? I had heard of one well known clergyman who had gone up to Oxford with a few pounds in his pocket and who had somehow managed to pull through, and was there not Morris Williams, a notable case in point ? In short, I made up my mind to do likewise and trust to the chapter of accidents. It was now July. I had three months to read, and at it I went like killing snakes. I read up my Horace, Virgil, etc., and prepared to go up at the next October examination, coute qui coute. I was thus engaged when an old fellow student at Caernarvon paid me a visit. When John Pritchard shared our privations at Mother Roberts's, he had OF looked forward to a Schoolmaster's desk as the height of his ambition. But Fortune had smiled on John since those days. An uncle had left him a small property, he had left his little school, gone to St. Bees, had passed, and was now a curate in full orders. When I told him what my plans were, he laughed. Why, you are a regular Quixote, man I re- member how you came among us at Caernarvon and went full pelt at everything. I daresay you will do something at Oxford, but I don't see the necessity of going so far." You had much better go to St. Bees. It need not cost you more than £ 60 or 180. for you are bound to be Librarian, which will save you one term's fees, and you can get pupils I dare say." Do they let students take pupils ? "Oh yes. Old Pughe in my time had half-a- dozen, and made a good deal of money I believe." But I am not so sure of the Librarianship, you see. Why, man Don't I know you of old ? You are sure of it. You know what I can do in the way of booklearning even I got a second class, you see, and there were only two above me." I certainly did know what John could do once, but I did not feel well satisfied as to what he could do now. Can you read the Epistles in Greek already, said he, why, before you will want them at St. Bees, you will be a great Greek Scholar, man. I could not read a bit of the Acts when I went up in my first term." But is not a degree worth something ? Not very much for a Welsh parson. Our bishop is quite partial to St. Bees men, and you will get on just as well without the little letters. Of course, if you go in for a Bishopric or a Deanery, you must have degrees, but if you go in for an ordinary living, what's the use ? Look at Davies of Castle. or Morgan of Uanfair they are not M-A.'s but who would not like their livings ? Well I for one would have no objection." The end of the talk was that I went to St. Bees. By the end of August I had forwarded my testi- monials and was on the road to that seat of learning. I had little money to spare, and of course had to reach St. Bees by the cheapest route, not the easiest or pleasantest. This cheap and nasty way was on the deck of a cattle steamer which left Liverpool at