The Oxford Letter

After six weeks of vacation and reading period the Hilary Term has begun. Most conversation these days starts with some reference to that evergreen topic, the inclement weather and ends with a sharing of vacation experiences or with some witty comment on the escape of three wolves from the Oxford Zoo. The last wolf was shot today, so sheep once more can graze with peace and the Oxford girls ride their bicycles and stay out after dark.

It rained yesterday; it is raining now and it will rain tomorrow. But it is a gentle rain that falls on Oxford, and the grass is always green and many flowers are still in bloom and the air is brisk and healthy and noses are cold and red. And so here I sit in my room (nearly the size of the Dunster Common Room) with only a small coal fire for heat. It is no wonder that I'm wrapped up in an automobile blanket and an umbrella over my left shoulder. No, there's not a leak (I' m not on the top floor) but there is a penetrating draft which comes first from the left and then from my back and overhead; so by a simple shift of the umbrella from my left to a verticle position and vice versa, as the wind changes, the trick is done. This little feat was suggested to me by a young Rhodes Scholar from Georgia; and though so many of the Rhodes men here are referred to in rather dampish terms, still this Southerner is so sensitive to cold weather to be of an original turn of mind. It is this same fellow who experimented with and electrical heating mattress and nearly set the college on fire.

But now I think it is necessary to speak of more serious things. Someone from Harvard has been sending little epistles to my Tuter here in Wadham. So now I hasten to express my genuine satisfaction of all that is Oxford including the high walls on which are cemented broken beer bottles, the Oxford girls and their black stockings and bicycles, the cold water in the hot showers, the Englishman's nonchalance and the bulls in Christ Church meadow. Certainly there are but few better places in the world where thinking is so high, romance so sweet, history so well preserved and living conditions so primitive. The English are Greek in spirit and English only in manners; and a happier, friendly people once their social bristles are accepted-- never have I met.

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