The same infant was proclaimed king over each grave—heir to France and England, to Valois and Lancaster. Poor child, his real heirloom was the insanity of the one and the doom of the other! Well for him that there was within him that holy innocence that made his life a martyrdom!
More than a year had passed, and it was March when Malcolm was descending the stone stair that leads so picturesquely beneath the archway of its tower up to the hall of the college of St. Mary Winton, then really New College. He had been residing there with Dr. Bennet, associating with the young members of the foundation educated at Winchester, and studying with all the freshness of a recent institution. It had been a very happy time for him, within the gray stone walls that pleasantly recalled Coldingham, though without Coldingham’s defensive aspect, and with ample food for the mind, which had again returned to its natural state of inquiring reflection and ardour for knowledge.
Daily Malcolm woke early, attended Matins and Mass in the chapel, studied grammar and logic, mastered difficult passages in the Fathers, or copied out portions for himself in the chamber which he as a gentleman commoner, as we should call him, possessed, instead of living in a common dormitory with the other scholars. Or in the open cloister he listened and took notes of the lectures of the fellows and tutors of the college, and seated on a bench or walking up and down received special instructions. Then ensued the meal, spread in the hall; the period of recreation, in the meadows, or in the licensed sports, or on the river; fresh studies, chapel, and a social but quiet evening over the supper in the hall. All this was varied by Latin sermons at St. Mary’s, or disputations and lectures by notable doctors, and public arguments between scholars, by which they absolutely fought out their degrees. There were few colleges as yet, and those resident in them were the elite; beyond, there was a great mob of scholars living in rooms as they could, generally very poor, and often very disorderly; but they did not mar the quiet semi-monastic stillness within the foundations, and to Malcolm it seemed as if the truly congenial home was opened.
The curriculum of science began to reveal itself to him with all the stages so inviting to a mind conscious of power and longing for cultivation. The books, the learned atmosphere, the infinite possibilities, were delightful to him, and opened a more delightful future. His metaphysical Scottish mind delighted in the scholastic arguments that were now first set before him, and his readiness, appreciation, and eager power of acquiring surprised his teachers, and made him the pride of New College.