MACAULAY AT CAMBRIDGE.
In 1818 he enrolled himself among the undergraduates of Trinity College; shortly afterwards he secured rooms within the College walls, in the Bishop's Hostel; and finally he permanently occupied rooms in the Old Court, near the Chapel.
He was regular in the performance of his college duties, being seldom absent from prayers or lectures. His work, however, was done as best suited his convenience, and he was ready at all times to cast books aside that he might chat with some friends, or go out into the surrounding country for a long stroll with a few of his chosen companions.
While in college, Macaulay developed a strong taste for political debate, and he was never happier than when able to find some one willing to engage in a fair tilt-at words on current political questions.
His love for political excitement sometimes led him into strange situations. On one occasion, when the streets of Cambridge were filled with crowds of votes, excited over a closely contested election, he was hit full in the face by a dead cat. The aggressor came forward and very civilly asked pardon, offering the explanation that the compliment had been intended for a Mr. Adeane. Macaulay good-naturedly accepted the apology, saying, "I only wish you had meant it for me, and hit Mr. Adeane."
During his entire college course, Macaulay was one of the most active members of the Cambridge Union, which at that time had far less liberty than is now accorded to college debating clubs. In fact, to such a length was the authority of the Vice Chancellor of the University carried, that discussion was forbidden on any questions or political measures, except such as had been proposed before the beginning of the century. This restriction, while nominally observed, was cleverly evaded by framing the resolutions in such a way as to make the discussion bear on current questions, while apparently dealing with past events.
At the close of these debates, the disputants usually betook themselves, for refreshments, to the "Red Lion"
Macaulay won a fair share of University honors, being twice awarded the Chancellor's medal for English verse, and also obtaining the Greaves Essay prize. Without doubt, it was only by the life of easy sociability which he led, and by the active part which he took in all the affairs of the student world around him, that he was prevented from winning the highest honors. As it was, though he failed to secure a place in the Tripos of his year, he gained a Fellowship with distinction, and narrowly missed being awarded one of the three silver goblets for excellence in declamation.
He always looked back with intense satisfaction upon his college life, and regarded the years during which he was in the enjoyment of his fellowship as the happiest of his career.