May 22nd, 1847 (Saturday)

May 22, 2009

Sewell had a letter from the Archbishop of Armagh, which was not unfair considering the false light in which his Grace views things; for he has evidently been led astray by —, who has told him, what he before told Dr —, that in the original rules sent down to Stackallan there was no mention of the fasts. This is the reverse of the truth, as the copy of them in my possession fully attests. The Archbishop, being possessed of this erroneous notion, naturally enough objects to certain statements made by Sewell, and therefore is going to communicate with the Bishop of Oxford. However, we are not in the least alarmed, as the Bishop will understand the case in a moment, when we lay, not assertions, but documents, before him.

Breakfasted with Sewell in the Bursary, where I met Mr, Mrs & Miss Markland of Bath. On being introduced to the first, he enquired after ‘the young organist who went to St. Columba’s’. Sewell from the other end of the room cried ‘Here is the gentleman of whom you are speaking, Mr Monk – Mr Markland.’ Mr Markland was a warm friend of St Columba’s, & was rejoiced to hear of a similar Institution in England. He is an excellent man, sound Churchman, & has a most satisfactory horror of Sir Robert Peel.1

After breakfast I paid my bill at Brown’s, and went out to Radley, Mr Johnson having overtaken me on the road & given me a seat in his gig. In the midst of the labours of unpacking, who should appear but Sewell & the Sub-Rector of Exeter. They immediately set to work, & we delivered sundry chairs, &c. from the thrall of skeleton cases. The seven from Bristol are exceedingly fine. These with the magnificent walnut wardrobe from Mallam’s, gave Ley quite a new idea of our scheme. Indeed, the character of the place set off by the fineness of a spring day, the size & handsomeness of the House, told with great effect upon a cool mind, wholly a stranger to enthusiasm. He said it was a grand idea, & that ‘its very boldness deserved success.’ They were so relaxed by the long walk in the hot sun that we broached a bottle of Sherry, and drank refreshment to ourselves & success to Radley.

They returned in the afternoon & I continued my labours till night, assisted by Henry Searle the first Servitor who arrived. It was then so late that the girl, whom I had engaged to help me reside in such a hurry, found it hard to get milk & butter for tea; in fact the former she could not get at all, & the latter was not the best. When she went home I fastened the doors with due precaution, and then made the little boy sit down opposite me, while I helped him with his Tea. I could not think of leaving the little fellow to the solitude of a distant kitchen, knowing that if there were no rats or mice to enliven it, gloom & silence in a subterraneous apartment were too severe a test to impose on his nerves. I ate little but drank much, & then despatched Henry to bed with a charge to say his prayers.

I scarcely closed my eyes the whole night. I was somewhat solemn to feel myself, one may say, alone in a huge house, thus commencing a new era in my life, once more absolutely embarked in a College. The doubts, difficulties, perplexities, labour, and responsibility, attending the new situation, were no slow in crowding about me; but I was not cowed, nor alarmed, nor even dispirited. We have had sufficient external testimony to confirm the motions of our own minds, & when God blesses, no man has ground to fear. Got up at 5 o’clock, fagged enough, & roused Henry from a deep sleep, and asked him would he like to spend Whitsunday with his friends, (who live in Beaumont St., next door to my last lodgings,) which when he recovered his dormant senses, he seemed pleased enough to hear.


1: Probably to be identified as James Heywood Markland, 1788-1864. The son of an industrialist from Manchester, he practiced as a lawyer in London. However, his main interests were antiquarian, particularly book collecting. In 1841 he settled in Bath. He was a prominent supporter of church societies. See entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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