Letter from DR. L. R. PHELPS to E. L. GRIGGS.
|1.||Oriel no doubt demanded a far higher standard of loyalty than other colleges. The Fellows were the picked men of the University and were encouraged by the Provost to set to other colleges a pattern in even the details of life. At a time e.g. when Common Rooms 'reeked' of port wine--the Oriel 'teapot' was a common source of chaff against its members. Spartam nactus es hanc orna was, down to my time, made the motto of the Society. For pursuit of knowledge, for devotion to their pupils the Fellows of Oriel had a reputation which they were jealous in preserving.|
|2.||The life of the Common Room and its conversation was of a critical type--insisting on clear definition of terms and logical sequence in argument. I remember a Sermon by one who was a member of it at a later date on the text 'Why callest thou Me good?' in which the preacher remarked how often in our younger days when we had gone rather farther in statement or argument than our knowledge or our premises justified, we were properly taken up by some older man and called upon to prove our point more conclusively or to define more accurately. It was a reminiscence, we felt, of the old Common Room. Such a society is more likely to be a good training-ground for the wits, than a scene of cordial relations!|
Now on both these grounds H. C. was chilled and repelled rather than encouraged and stimulated by the atmosphere in which he found himself. It stood in sharp contrast to the 'give and take', the genial discussions, the irresponsible statements, the camaraderie