It was on February 10th 1889 that I was first planned at Bladon. I had been a local preacher for about two years previously and was by then regarded as perhapes "fit for Bladon". It was one of the best country appointments, the home of the Fryers, the Adams and other families upon whom untried undergraduates could not be allowed to practice. A scholar of Corpus Christi and a fellow Methodist local preacher from Wadham came to breakfast. Then together the three of us set out in the circuit chariot. My fellow 'local' went on to Combe and the Corpus man came to hear me preach.
Mymorning text was Galations 6 verses 7a and 8 and in the evening Hebrews 6 verse 6. There was a candid comment to the effect that the morning's sermon was very 'dry' and I cannot recall any other remark. I still think the Bladon congregation in those days was long suffering and kindly disposed. We went to school in the afternoon where I gave an address interspersed with suitable stories.
We were entertained by "old Mr Adams" with royal hospitality - things which seemed much nicer than in college.
The journey home left an indelible impression. The horse was a sober old beast. I believe, though it was white, it was used to pull a coal cart on weekdays. Whether it had a sabbath I know not but it's spirit was sabbatic and it's appearance such that no proctor would suspect that the young men in the trap behind were undergraduates without cap and gown 'after hours'.
But we had other trouble. A heavy snowstorm came on during the evening and we had to return in deep darkness through several inches of snow. We did not know the way and the horse had difficulty in getting along so we felt it would be inhuman to remain in the trap. As we had to depend on the horse we could not allow him to be blinded by the driving snow. I was therefore appointed to hold up my umbrella over his head. it was long after ten o'clock when we reached Oxford.