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by the right of custom, and the fact that we had to pay for them was a very minor consideration. The remnants of a dessert, if an uncut cake may be termed a remnant, the contents of the decanters after a large wine party—these too, in many cases, are claimed by the scout. In fact, large baskets of provisions are almost daily carried out of the colleges at Oxford-provisions which are paid for by undergraduates, eaten by scouts and their families.
In some colleges the line of ownership between master and servant seems to be traced in exceptionally faint characters. A Merton undergraduate at the commencement of one term invested in a peculiar patent corkscrew. This article he used for a day or two; then it disappeared for a week and again reappeared. This vanishing process was repeated at intervals. Finally, much to the owner's indignation, on his inquiring for a corkscrew, his scout offered to sell him his own property at a considerable reduction. Indignation gave place to amusement when he discovered that the identical corkscrew had already been sold to four other men on the same staircase. Again, crockery of all sorts, and many small articles of furniture pass from their legal owner's possession when at the end of his second or third year he is relegated to lodgings, and are sold by the scout to the incoming proprietor ; and this process is repeated from generation to generation.
Such, then, are the bed-maker's recognised perquisites. They are not always the sole ones. While we should be sorry to take away any man's character for honesty, personal experience would lead us to doubt whether all scouts are content with committing these legitimate or legitimatised depredations. The amount of coal and faggots annually charged for in battels to the undergraduate world points to one of two conclusions. Either a college grate at Oxford consumes three times as much fuel as any other grate in any known part of the world, or—and this seems the more probable interpretation-the fuel is not always consumed in the college.
One word more on this subject. It is very rarely that money is stolen out of an undergraduate's rooms, and, if money is missing, in nine cases out of ten the scout is not the thief. Apart from all other considerations, it is not worth a scout's while to run the risk of illegal pilfering when he has so many chances thrown in bis
way of enriching himself at his master's expense legally.
4. General expenses, including gas, water, salaries of servants other than bed-makers, part of bed-makers' salaries, waiting in hall, junior bursar's salary, etc., 121.- This comprehensive category reads well enough on paper-looks, in fact, as if a great deal of accommodation was provided at a very small cost. To our somewhat dull comprehension, two only of the seven items appear in any way justly chargeable-viz. gas and etc.'
Gas, we know by our experiences of Oxford lodgings, is a very costly article. •Etc.,' we are willing to believe, implies something that requires paying for. Let us take the other items singly.
Water.--Inasmuch as men who live in lodgings pay nothing at all for water, and inasmuch as they do pay for every conceivable thing that the ingenuity of the landlord can suggest, we have fair cause to expect that the price of water in Oxford must be very trivial. Ten pounds a year, we should imagine, would about cover the expenditure of an ordinary college on this head; and the item therefore hardly deserves the prominence it receives. Salaries of servants other than bed-makers.—We presume that by these extra servants are meant the porters and the messenger. Are the undergraduates of Balliol charged nothing for each message which they send ? Have they no such thing as a gate bill ? Both of the questions would, we fancy, be answered in the affirmative, and in that case we can see no reason for an extra charge. There are plenty of respectable men in Oxford who would be glad enough to fill the posts of porter and messenger, and make no charge at all to the college, provided they were allowed to pocket the proceeds of the gate bill and messenger's fees. Part of bed-maker's salary.-We should say that the parts of the bed-maker's salary 'which we have already discussed are or ought to be more than ample to satisfy the requirements of the most avaricious scout in Oxford. Waiting in hall.—This again reads well enough. But for the benefit of the uninitiated we will simply say that the waiting in hall’ is performed by the bed-makers' and • servants other than bed-makers.' Junior bursar's salary.—It would be well if an analysis could be made of the junior bursar's precise duties. A junior bursar, we should have thought, would be a kind of supervisor of the economical arrangements of a college. The junior bursarship at Balliol College in the absence of any economical arrangements would seem to be somewhat of a sinecure.
5. Cleaning windows and dusting carpets, il. 178. 6d.—That windows must be cleaned and carpets dusted we are perfectly ready to admit. Why about 1501. should annually go into the capacious pockets of the college under this head, we fail to see. In the first place, as neither of the above-mentioned occupations would exactly come under the head of skilled labour, we should have imagined that the work might be done at a somewhat less costly rate. In the second place, never having heard of professional carpet-beaters or window-cleaners, we have some reason to believe that these offices are performed by the bed-makers' and servants other than bed-makers.' In the latter case further comment is unnecessary.
6. Interest for use of furniture, 31.; and furniture, depreciation of, 31.—While we fully recognise the fact that furniture is liable to be depreciated by usage--more particularly by undergraduate usage --we plead guilty to a weak desire on our own part to become farmers of the Balliol College furniture on the specified terms. A capitalist might find many worse investments for his money.
7. Local government rate, 31. 18.; and poor-rate, il. 138.-- If these figures represent at all à fair charge, the city of Oxford ought to be congratulated on the perfection of her local government,
No. 610 (NO, cxxx. N. s.)
condoled with on the pauperism of her population. Painfully conscious as we are that we are exposing ourselves to the charge of being at once sceptical and uncharitable, we venture to doubt whether any large university town can be very poor, and to hint that the system of local government does not err on the side of economy. If, on the other hand, the figures do not represent a fair charge, it remains that either the townspeople of Oxford are fattened at the expense of the university, or that certain colleges are fattened at the expense of their undergraduate members. A story was told to us not so very long ago by an undergraduate—not of Balliol, but of a popular college in the High Street—which may bear repetition. The enormous proportion which the poor-rate, or the local government rate—we forget exactly which of the two it was-bore to his room rent, struck him as being somewhat peculiar. Being of an inquiring turn of mind, he calculated what would be the total amount at this rate paid annually by the college under this heading, and arrived at the result that it amounted to some 350l. So he went to a banker in the town and inquired how it was that a building which occupied so limited an area of ground should be so highly rated. And the banker, smiling at his interrogator's simplicity, made answer in the words of a popular song, “They all do it.'
They all do it. Not very high-sounding words those, but pregnant with much meaning. What is this it that they—the collegesall do? Is it that they annually mulct their undergraduate members of some hundreds of pounds under the specious heading of * Local Government Rate' and Poor Rate'? We profess our own inability to supply an answer to our question. We prefer to leave it to the framers of General Accounts' in the several colleges. We have already stated that there is a considerable variation in the sum to which the terminal battels at different colleges ordinarily amounts. Having to a certain extent discussed that part of collegiate expenditure which comes under the heading of General Account,' we will dismiss this subject with the following statements.
We have lying on our table before us the General Accounts' charged to undergraduates of two colleges, Balliol and Brasenose. In the one case the sum total is 781., in the other it is 561. We believe that we are further justified in remarking that the cases selected are not extreme ones, either way.
It remains to examine other items in college expenditure-items which are supposed to be more or less under the individual undergraduate's control. We use the term ‘more or less' designedly; there are few expenses indeed, except those incurred in the way of luxury, which an undergraduate has the absolute control of. We are at once struck by the great variation in the prices of the hall dinner as supplied in different colleges. In some cases as little as 18. 6d. is charged, in others almost double the amount. It cannot be supposed that the Magdalen man is ipso facto a more voracious being than his fellow undergraduate of Jesus, or that the Christ
church man devours more butcher's meat than his brethren of Brasenose. The existence of such a difference in the price of dinners must be accounted for in some other way. There remain the following possible reasons :-Either the dinners supplied at Christchurch and Magdalen are superior in quality to those supplied at Brasenose and Jesus, or the supervision of the kitchen arrangements at the lastnamed colleges is stricter than at the former.
If the first of these hypotheses be correct, we have but little to say, and that little must be said very plainly. Either the dinners at these more expensive colleges are too good, or those of the less expensive ones are not good enough. It would be an absurd—we may use a still stronger expression, a disgraceful-encouragement of invidious distinctions to imagine that the undergraduates of one college can require more delicate nurture than those of another. idea of such a thing would be scouted at once in the undergraduate world. But—and here we can speak from personal experience as having dined, at some period of our existence, in almost every college hall—there does not exist, at any rate since the system of commons has gone out, any marked difference in the quality of the food. The cookery is indifferent enough in some cases, superior in a few, and the waiting likewise varies; the food, we repeat, is substantially of the same quality. It remains then that the variation in price-a by no means insignificant variation-must be the result of defective supervision on the part of the authorities of certain colleges.
Now the college cook is in some cases a responsible official with a fixed salary; a salary only accidentally affected by his performances in the cooking line. He is told by the bursar or one of the college authorities to supply a moderately good dinner at a certain price, which it is his business to cook, and his interest to cook decently well. Dismissal might, we believe that it occasionally does, punish repeated carelessness or want of skill. On the other hand, the typical undergraduate, acting on a theory that 'tipping' is in the long run economical, may chance to remember the cook at the end of the term if the cravings of the inner man have been properly attended to. And it is under this system, we take it, that the more economical dinners, &c., are provided.
But, again, there are cases where the cook is not, in the strict sense of the term, a servant of the college at all. He is not paid a fixed salary by the college, but he pays himself by what he can make out of the confiding and comparatively helpless undergraduates. And here, we opine, it will be his interest to supply as little for the money as he conveniently can. This he has every encouragement and every facility for doing. He stands in the position of a tradesman with a monopoly and something more besides. The undergraduates have either to eat whatever dinner he may provide, and to pay the price which he charges them, or they get no dinner in hall of any sort. But, the uninitiated may well ask, why not dine elsewhere? Simply because there is no option in the matter. An undergraduate
in college may not be actually compelled to eat the dinner supplied in hall, any more than the proverbial horse can be made to drink the water ; but he is obliged to pay for a certain amount of dinners in the week. Even in colleges where a man is allowed to take his name of hall as often as he likes, there is often a fine attached to the privilege. And in most colleges the rule is, that five dinners in the week are charged for at the full price. Moreover, it is only quite recently that undergraduates have been permitted by the University authorities to dine at their own expense anywhere except in hall, or in the case of out-college men at their lodgings. In addition to the ordinary or, to use a truer term, the extraordinary charges made for dinners at Oxford hotels, there is always for the undergraduate world a pleasing risk of being called upon to contribute a sovereign to the University chest for infringing the statutes. No doubt the original intention of this statute was to check the needless expense incurred by dining out of college, now practically nullified by the increased expense of the college dinner. It is only quite latterly that owing to a wise system of tolerance on the part of the authorities, one or two of the clubs have taken the initiative in supplying dinners at a moderate price. And here we may remark en passant that we have never yet heard of a case in which this liberty has been abused. We may even go further and that the presence of such competition has had a decidedly salutary effect in the way of improving the dinners and reducing the charges both of college cooks and of licensed lodging-house keepers. To return to our subject. These cooks—or, to give them their proper title, these kitchen farmers—are wise men enough in their generation. In one case which we happen to know of, and probably in others, they forestall complaint by serving up a really excellent dinner at a very moderate priceto the high table. The undergraduates have to be content with a very inferior table-d'hôte at about the same price. Common-room life is, we regret to say, apt to engender a certain amount of animal selfishness, and, provided that his own table be sufficiently furnished with royal dainties, the college fellow will often turn a deaf ear to the complaint of the undergraduate on the subject of the food supplied to him. Impunity in this as in other cases leads to audacity, and so it comes to pass that during the summer term, when cold dinners and late suppers are in vogue, the kitchen farmer does not hesitate to charge such prices as il. 48. for a leg of elderly lamb, and 108. a couple for doubtful fowls. From four to five shillings is about the ordinary charge at a college in the High Street for a plain, very plain, cold supper.
'I always seem to run it up to 88.' This we have a distinct recollection of hearing an undergraduate say. Complaint is made, and it is decided by the official supervisor of the kitchen arrangements that the cook's charge is not excessive. "The man must make his fair profit,' argues this gentleman, and the fellows are perfectly satisfied with the food and the price. It is a very minor considera