Excerpt from Book:
The Master of St. Benedict's had got as much out of life as most men. His had been a longer life than is allotted to many men—it had exceeded four score.
There had been room in these eight decades for all the things that men desire: for ambition, for wealth, for the world's favour, for success—well-earned success—and for love. There had also been distinction, and the soft, delightful voice of praise had not been silent.
The success and the distinction had come early in life, and the love had come late. In the nature of things it could not have come earlier. It came in time to crown the rest of the good gifts that Providence had poured into the lap of the Master of St. Benedict's. It had been his already for twenty years, and it was his still. Surely we are right in saying that he had got as much out of life as most men?
He had begun life on a bleak Yorkshire moor, following the plough over his father's fields. A kindly North Riding vicar, noting the boy's taste for reading, and his inaptitude for the drudgery of the farm, had placed him at his own cost at the grammar school of the adjoining town. With a small scholarship the Yorkshire ploughboy came up to Cambridge. He came up with a very few loose coins in the pocket of his homely-cut clothes, and with a broad North-country dialect as barbarous as the cut of his coat.
He had survived the practical jokes, and he had stayed 'up' when the witty men had gone 'down.' He had won the highest honours of his year, and in due course he had been promoted to a college Fellowship. Everything had come in delightful sequence: honour, riches, distinction, love. It had all fallen out exactly as he would have had it to fall out. He might have liked the love to have come earlier—he had waited for it forty years: it came at sixty, and he had enjoyed it for over twenty years!