He was clearly going nowhere:

  • (Mathematics) Not very good.  He spends a good deal of time apparently in investigations in advanced mathematics to the neglect of his elementary work.  A sound ground work is essential in any subject.  His work is dirty.
  • (Greek) He seems to find the subject a very hard one & most of his work has been very poor in quality.  I think he tries.
  • (Latin) His Latin work is for the most part careless & slovenly: he can do much better when he tries.
  • (“House report”) No doubt he is a strange mixture: trying to build a roof before he has laid the foundations.  Having secured one privileged exemption, he is mistaken in acting as if idleness and indifference will procure further release from uncongenial subjects.

The pointer came from Josh Gans on Google+