By Jonathan Smith, Christopher Stray
The author and recipient of those attractive letters, Alexander Chisholm Gooden (born 1817), went as much as Trinity collage, Cambridge in 1836, having formerly been trained on the college of London. A glittering educational occupation beckoned; he used to be most sensible of the Classical Tripos in 1840, and within the following 12 months went to Germany to learn for a Trinity fellowship, yet died tragically early from peritonitis after rowing at the Rhine.The 169 letters among Gooden and his friends and family amassed during this quantity represent a wealthy and hitherto unknown resource for pupil existence in Cambridge within the 1830s. They conceal quite a lot of subject matters: friendships, neighborhood politics, lodging, garments and accounts, the personalities and vagaries of dons, and Gooden's overall healthiness. additionally they provide an in depth photograph of his profession as a scholar of classics and arithmetic, and, after his exam luck in 1840, as a personal educate to undergraduates.The alterations among Cambridge and London kinds of scholarship prompted problems for Gooden; they give the reader an strange and fascinating mild on his fight to be triumphant at Trinity.
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Extra info for Cambridge in the 1830s: The Letters of Alexander Chisholm Gooden, 1831-1841 (History of the University of Cambridge)
I have latterly been more idle even than before (and that is something to say) having positively and literally done nothing but read novels and yawn for an hour or two over the difficulties of the Medea. We have been taking several trips to places in the neighbourhood, such as Southampton and Portsmouth etc and at the latter place saw the young Queen of Portugal or rather of two Portuguese Cities: Donna Maria16 is very like what the newspapers have described her, that is fat with a fair complexion and a figure remarkably full and womanly for her age.
To both your sons I owe much gratitude for their docility, industry and attention during the hours of my attendance. The first quality is seldom found in an equal degree in the relation of pupils to a teacher but little farther advanced than themselves. Their possession of it relieved me completely from the irksomeness which I should otherwise have felt in the task of dictating to young men of their age. You will I hope give me credit for the high sense of obligation under which I have been laid by Mrs Gooden’s kindness in recommending pupils to my care.
The reputation for conspicuous talent which your second son enjoys renders it unnecessary for me to say more than that I cordially add my mite to the suffrages which he already commands. I hope he will not be offended at my assumption of the temporary and pro-tanto superiority implied in so doing. He has shown in his Mathematical labours the ready and sound apprehension which I was led to expect from him; and in the drudgery of his algebraical papers in particular, he has earned the praise of a patience truly invincible.