Idyll by Logan Pearsall Smith
"I wish they hadn't asked me," said Matthew Craik, the Logic tutor of
St. Mary's, as he looked down at the party in the old secluded College
garden. "I wonder," he added, glancing at the reflection of his red tie
in the glass, his new tie, his black coat, his young and scholarly face,
"I wonder—but no, it isn't too red; they wear them red," he continued,
with attempted cheerfulness. "No—," but hearing the laughter of ladies
below his window, he scuttled back hastily.
His rooms were high up in the garden tower, almost up amongst the
topmost boughs of the College elms; and when, after a moment, he
returned to his window and peered down, he could see, through the green
of the trees, the white and pink of ladies' dresses, dappling the lawn,
and moving and meeting on the College paths. Among the summer leaves the
summer wind was breathing; now and then it blew in at the window, laden
with scents from the garden, and the happy stir and hum of human voices;
and Matthew Craik, or the Corn-Craik, as the undergraduates called him,
felt his heart beating high with an unwonted emotion of youth and
The early philosophers of Asia Minor were very remarkable and suggestive
men; but they had lived a long while ago, and now that he had finished
and published his book about them, he meant to enjoy himself a little.
And what shallow wisdom it was, moreover, to live in the almost solitary
way he had been living all the winter. All the winter! All his life
really; wasting his youth among books, and almost shut out from
everything that is light and amiable in experience. Why, the greenest of
his undergraduate pupils might easily know more of modern life than he
"Oh, don't harp so on modern life!" his friend Ranken, the junior Dean
of St. Thomas', often said to him in his acrid way. "Do for pity's sake
leave it alone and stick to your Asia Minor."
But then Ranken was absurdly cynical. Craik recalled with amusement some
of the remarks he had made during the winter, when they walked out
together for their Sunday walks; remembering how, as they returned in
the dusk through the red fringe of villas between Oxford and the
country, Ranken had sometimes paused opposite an uncurtained window, and
made merry, with bitter merriment, over the domestic picture they saw in
the golden light within,—a family at tea very likely, or an academic
parent romping with his children. Craik had always listened in
uncontradicting silence; only, standing in the chill gray of the
twilight, he would draw his coat about him more tightly; and afterwards,
alone in his rooms, these visions would sometimes haunt him, and not
As he looked down now, it was agreeable to him to see so many ladies in
the old garden; he had never quite believed that Ranken had very
authentic grounds for his narrow prejudice. For Ranken would have liked
to shut ladies out of Oxford altogether; and would have liked to keep it
a tranquil home of learning and celibacy, as it used to be before the
Royal Commission had granted the Fellows the liberty of marrying. For
this unblest liberty, he maintained, had filled the University with
frivolity and ladies, and so destroyed the old character of the place
that now, as was notorious, the whole of the Summer Term, with a good
part of the rest of the academic year, was given over to dances, and
picnics, and parties, and other silly and deteriorating trifles. Craik
had not been able to contradict his friend, for hitherto the sounds and
echoes of this social dissipation had hardly reached his retired corner,
save as he had heard them reverberating through the gloomy caverns of
Ranken's imagination. But he could not quite believe—here Craik began
to laugh, for his eye at that moment was caught by the gargoyle just
above him, which was also leaning over and looking into the sunshiny
garden. For hundreds of years it had sat there making faces, but now its
visage seemed more than ever twisted with a look of Gothic cynicism. As
Craik lingered, looking out, himself almost like a second gargoyle, he
thought he could see in the garden below two ladies of his acquaintance,
Mrs. Cotton and Mrs. Trotter. How ridiculous Ranken was in his views!
almost as grotesque as the gargoyle. Craik took his hat and stick, and
started downstairs. He would see for himself.
It was very worldly and very brilliant in the garden. Beside a crowd of
ladies and young men, three Professors and two Heads of Houses had
already arrived, and others were expected.
Mr. White, Mr. Long, and Mr. Maple Fetters, the young unmarried Fellows
who were giving the party, kept glancing toward the gateway, over the
shoulders of their arriving guests—all smiles, however, as they greeted
their friends with apposite remarks. On tables under the trees white
cloths were spread, looking almost blue in the vivid green, and on them
were plates of red strawberries, ancient silver bowls of sugar, and dewy
jugs of lemonade. Sounds of discreet gaiety, voices and laughter, and
the tinkling of glasses, quickened the sleepy silence of the garden;
while from beneath a high and fleecy cloud the rays of the westering sun
brightened the tree-tops and walls, lingered on the ladies' dresses, and
streaked with blue shadows the old green lawn. It put Craik in mind of
old coloured French pictures he had seen, or the courtly fêtes he had
read of; he thought, too, of the garden party in "Love's Cottage," a
pretty novel he had looked at lately, the party where Miss Molyneux
first meets Pastorel the poet.
He kept smiling as he moved about, but he really felt rather shy and
alien; if he only knew more people, and could be seen laughing and
talking and moving his hands, like the other young men!
He came across one of his pupils at last, and began to speak to him of
the recent boat-races in an animated way. But the undergraduate moved
off suddenly, with a hasty excuse, to join some ladies who had just
arrived, and Craik heard himself observing to a bush that "Brazenose had
rowed very well." The observation, he felt, was not brilliant, even for
conversation with a freshman; but as a fragment of soliloquy! He looked
round; no one could have overheard him? Soon he met his friend, Mrs.
Cotton, the wife of Professor Cotton, and he begged to be allowed to get
her an ice, or some other refreshment. The pink ice and biscuit were
inadequate, it struck him, as he carried them with care toward the large
presence of Mrs. Cotton; but was not this inadequacy, after all, of a
piece with the delicious and conventional unreality of an affair like
this? He noticed a brilliant purple feather conspicuously waving from
the top of Mrs. Cotton's bonnet, and was glad that everything was so
bright. How pleasant it was on a summer day, how pleasant and harmless
to play brilliantly at life! And, he thought with a smile, did not old
Aristotle himself place Magnificence high among the virtues?
But Maple Fetters still had his anxious eye-glass fixed on the garden
"Miss Lamb—has Miss Lamb come?" Craik heard voices murmuring about
"No, not yet, but she's coming. Just heard Maple Fetters telling some
"Long says he can't understand it. In her note she said—"
"So quiet, so different!"
"They say in London—"
"Oh, yes; and here everybody, Professors, Heads of Houses. It's too
"Well, she says she wants to study all the types."
"Ah, look, there she comes!"
Craik turned with the others, and saw Miss Lamb coming in through the
Gothic archway. Her face was shaded with a large white hat, and her
white dress, falling in long plain lines to her feet, brightened with
the sun as she walked over the grass, out of the shadow of the building.
Long and Maple Fetters started forward, and escorted Miss Lamb and her
aunt across the lawn. They drew near to Craik and Mrs. Cotton.
"Oh, there is Mrs. Cotton," Miss Lamb exclaimed, and turned towards
them. "Dear Mrs. Cotton," she said, "I was so hoping I should see you
Craik looked at Miss Lamb. She rested her eyes on him for a second, then
pressing Mrs. Cotton's hand, she stooped down with a graceful impulse
and kissed the fat old thing. Craik overheard Mrs. Lyon, the wife of the
president of All Saints, talking to the Warden of St. Simon's.
"Dear Miss Lamb!" she said in a deep and sentimental voice; "she is just
as nice to women as she is to men."
"She is much nicer, surely," the ancient Warden replied with a cackling
laugh; "she never kissed me!"
Miss Lamb had disappeared. And Mrs. Cotton was busy discussing with
philanthropic friends the affairs of Oxford charities.
"These Oxford parties are so nice," she said to Craik, as she turned her
benevolent spectacles away from him; "they save one writing such heaps
Again Craik walked about alone, smiling and conspicuous; and although he
tried to think that he was enjoying himself, he really wished very much
to be up in his tower again, up there in its pleasant green shade and
solitude. That, after all, was his place, the only place he was fit for;
and he had better stick to it, and stick to his books, and not cast
again the gloom of his presence on the social enjoyment of other more
fortunate people. For he could not talk agreeably, and laugh and be gay;
and, even if he could, which of the ladies who swept so prettily past
him on the grass would ever care to listen to him? Thus resignedly
musing, he retreated into the near shade of a laburnum tree, and,
ceasing to smile in his fixed and weary way, he watched through the
flowering branches the shining colours and placid agitation of the
garden party. All the men except himself were moving among the groups of
ladies, weaving darker threads into the brilliant pattern. Young Cobbe
he saw, the captain of the College boat club, walking with Miss Lamb,
walking and talking pleasantly, and he sighed; for although he was
Cobbe's tutor, and well versed in his stupidity, he could not help
envying the easy manners of the undergraduate.
But the half-real picture ceased to be a mere picture to him, and the
sequence of images grew almost too vivid, when he noticed that Miss Lamb
and her companion were coming directly to his tree. Could he manage to
slip away without being seen? She was coming probably to pick a spray of
the yellow flower to put in her white dress, or carry away perhaps as a
memory of the party. And if he were found standing there like a
policeman, it would be so awkward.
Miss Lamb fortunately met Maple Fetters, and, stopping herself, seemed
to be sending him on to the tree alone. When he reached it, he pushed
aside the branches and said, with a smile, "I say, Craik, I want to
introduce you to Miss Lamb."
"Yes, you. We saw you here; she wants to meet you."
"Wants to meet me?"
"Yes, you. Come along."
Craik came out from beneath the tree.
"Miss Lamb—does she live in Oxford?"
"You don't mean to tell me you've never heard of Miss Lamb?" Fetters
paused in astonishment. "You must be the only man in Oxford then who has
not. Miss Lamb is an American!"
"An American?" Craik had heard that American ladies were so brilliant.
"Miss Lamb, let me introduce Mr. Craik, our philosopher."
"Mr. Craik, I am glad to meet you."
Craik bowed; then he saw that Miss Lamb had put out her hand; he tried
to take it, but was too late. The American young lady however smiled,
and put out her hand again, and gave it to him frankly, almost as if it
were a present.
"We ought to shake hands, oughtn't we? It's the English way, isn't it?"
Craik stifled a guffaw, and his awkward sensations began to go.
"Mr. Cobbe, would you mind getting me an ice?"
Cobbe's face wore an odd expression as he bowed and disappeared. Maple
Fetters fluttered off to other occupations. Craik and Miss Lamb were
left alone, and they began to walk with vague steps, and, on the lady's
part, vague, unfinished scraps of conversation, through the sunshine
along the garden path. Then stopping, and resting her hands on her
parasol, she said, as if they were old friends already, "I wonder—would
you take me into your old College cloisters? I have heard so much about
them, and it wouldn't be wrong for us to run away from the party for
just a few minutes? I should so love to! You won't mind?"
"Oh dear, no!" Craik exclaimed. "Certainly we can go. It's through the
quadrangle. But Mr. Cobbe, will he find you?"
"Oh, he'll know where I am; and if he doesn't it's no matter. Come!"
They went under the garden tower, and through the little old quadrangle,
into the entrance of the cloisters. Of the history and traditions of the
place, and of the whole College, Craik spoke almost with eloquence,
while Miss Lamb listened with murmurs and interruptions of enthusiastic
interest. The cloisters, as he explained, were once the cloisters of a
monastery; the tower was the monastery tower; and the bell that hung
there, and twice a day rang the College into chapel, was the bell that
once sounded for the matins and vespers of the monks.
"What! monks? Did monks really once live here? Oh, how I should have
liked to have seen it then!"
"Ah, but you couldn't, you know. They never allowed ladies inside the
"Yes," Craik said, smiling, "wasn't it silly?"
They walked with slow steps around the shadowed cloisters, and Miss Lamb
talked idly of the party. It was such a pretty party, so amusing. Did he
often go to garden parties? No! How odd! She did—to ever so many, in
America, in London, and now in Oxford. The Oxford parties were the best
though. Then suddenly she cried in a changed voice, "But how frivolous I
am, Mr. Craik! I can see that you are quite shocked."
"Shocked! oh no, not at all."
"Well, then, you ought to be! Imagine being so frivolous in a solemn
place like this. Tell me, you study philosophy, don't you? It must be
splendid; I do envy you so! When I am in a place like Oxford I feel so
frivolous, somehow, and ignorant. Why, I feel afraid—" Then after a
moment's charming hesitation, "Yes, quite afraid to talk to clever
people. You mustn't mind what I say, will you?"
"But I'm not clever!" he exclaimed. "Why—"
"Oh, but Mr. Craik! Why, you've written a book!"
"But that's nothing. And it's only a sort of study, nothing really."
"I wish I could read it."
"Oh no! don't try; it's a stupid thing, only meant for students."
Miss Lamb paused, and, turning her eyes to Craik with a look full of
reproach, she said: "Ah! you are like the others, you don't think I am
serious; you think I would not understand it!"
"Oh no, not that!" Craik urged in quick distress. "You would understand
it, of course, what there is to understand. I only meant," he
stammered, "I only meant that it was not well written, not
interesting—not really worth reading, I mean."
"Oh, I'm sure it is worth reading, and I hear it's so clever. It is
about Asia Minor, isn't it. Asia Minor is so interesting; I wish you
would tell me something about it, and about your work. Do you like it
here? Of course you do. Have you been in Oxford long?"
For a third time they passed round the cloister square, loitering with
slow footsteps, through the old arches and past the epitaphs of the
ancient celibate Fellows, and Craik, talking with an unreserve that was
intimate and sudden, and yet somehow seemed quite natural to him, told
about his work, and the writing of his book. Then, in answer to a
question of Miss Lamb's, he described his quiet bringing up in an
obsolete old town where his parents were tradespeople; his early
schooling, how he had come to Oxford on a scholarship, and how he had
stayed there ever since, living in the same College, his parents having
died, and the Logic tutorship being offered to him just when he had
taken his degree. So he seemed to have lived a long while there, in that
sleepy old College, within its high walls and buildings: as an
undergraduate first, busy and almost solitary, save for a few friends
similar to himself; then as a tutor, still more busy with his work, and
still more solitary; and above all, during the last few years, when all
his thought and leisure had been given to his book on Ionic
philosophers. How many years was it altogether? Eight; no, ten. And
then, as she seemed to be really interested, he gave a sketch, half
humorous and half serious, of his life in College, his amusements, his
walks with Ranken. A bare, monastic life it seemed to himself when he
came to describe it. So little to tell of in so many years; and how long
ago it seemed!
"But dear me!" Craik exclaimed at last, with a blush, "I don't think I
have ever talked so much of myself before. It sounds rather dull, I'm
Miss Lamb stopped for a moment.
"Dull, Mr. Craik," she cried, "oh no, I think it is noble! To have
achieved so much already. You don't know how I have been interested!
Only it is so—I mean it makes me seem so—so—. I suppose you hate
"I mean look down on them, despise them."
"No! why I—"
"I'm afraid you really do, only you're too polite to say so. You don't
think, do you, that they could understand philosophy?"
"Of course they could, quite as well as we do, if they would only try."
"Do you think it would be any use my trying? Really, do you really? I
should so love to, if it would be of any use. You know, I have always
wanted to understand about it, and there is hardly anyone in the world I
admire so much as the philosophers. They are the real leaders of the
world—Socrates, and Emerson, and Herbert Spencer. And a frivolous life
like mine seems sometimes so—; But then people will never believe I am
in earnest, and they all make fun of me and discourage me so. Perhaps
they are right; but I have never had any one to help me."
"Oh, I am sure they are wrong!" Craik cried. "If you would only try. Do
you think I could—could help you?"
"Oh, you are too kind! And perhaps, if you wouldn't mind coming to see
me some afternoon to talk to me about it. And maybe you would bring
your book; I should so love to see it! And then if you would let me look
at one or two of your lectures, those you have for just the stupidest of
your pupils. No! don't tell me I'm not stupid, for I am, I assure you.
And I have no right to ask you to come; you are so busy."
"Oh, but I should be only too delighted! If I may; if you don't think I
should be a—with ladies, you know, I am always so afraid of being a
She smiled at him.
"Ah, you do yourself injustice, Mr. Craik. Indeed you do! But come," she
added suddenly, "we must be going back to the garden. How I hate to
leave this dear old cloister!"
"Must we really go?"
"Yes, we really must. Isn't it horrid, when you have had such an
interesting talk, to have to go back and say stupid and silly things to
stupid and silly people?"
They left the cloisters and, crossing the quadrangle, they stopped for a
moment, and looked at the blue picture set in an archway of grey walls,
the blue picture of the afternoon light and air in the depth and
distance of the garden.
"How pretty! It's like,—what is it like?"
"Like standing in the past, and looking into the present?" Craik
"Yes, it's like that. But I mean the people, the way they look so far
off and blue, as if they were under water. There's something else it
reminds me of."
"A tank at an aquarium, when you look through the plate glass?"
"Yes, it is like that, really!"
"With Professors and Heads of Houses swimming about like old fat carp."
"Oh, Mr. Craik, how can you? For shame!"
She paused again when she got through the archway.
"Tell me, Mr. Craik," she said, "is this the tower you live in? And
the gargoyle you told me about? I should so like to see him. He
must be charming. That face up there, peering over the roof? Oh yes,
I see. How too delightful! My! isn't that quaint? Just think, he
looks back on the past, and on the present, and on the town; and it
symbolizes—symbolizes—Life, doesn't it?"
"Yes,—perhaps it does," Craik said rather dubiously.
"He hasn't exactly a kind expression," said Miss Lamb, looking up
"No," Craik answered, looking up himself and laughing. "That's his way.
Then to-day he's shocked at seeing so many ladies here. He doesn't like
ladies, you know."
"How horrid of him! Why, what harm can we do here?"
"Harm! Why, Miss Lamb," Craik said with quaint politeness, "your visits
are our greatest blessings!"
Craik knew the old garden well, he thought, and he had certainly been in
it in all weathers. But to-day it came over him that he had never seen
the place before looking so oddly green and shining. Certainly, when he
and Ranken had walked there—poor Ranken! Craik smiled a little.
"What are you smiling at?" Miss Lamb asked.
"Smiling?" Craik said in embarrassment. "Why, was I smiling?"
"Certainly you were. It is strange, really it is, how much you are like
a friend of mine in America. The way you smile reminds me so much of
him. Really it is quite funny, the resemblance. But perhaps you don't
like to be told you look like other people?"
"Oh yes, I do." Then he added, after a pause, with desperate and awkward
courage, "if they are friends of yours."
Miss Lamb did not seem to notice either his compliment or his blush.
"How odd you should know Mr. Ranken," she said musingly. "I've not seen
him lately. Is he as sentimental as ever?"
"Ranken of St. Thomas'! Why, he's not sentimental. It must be someone
"He used to be then; I'm sure it is Mr. Ranken of St. Thomas'. I met him
last summer at Dieppe. We went on picnics. But, Mr. Craik," she added,
laughing, "really this garden is like Paradise! The undergraduates must
fancy they have got back into the Garden of Eden."
"Indeed you would think so," said Craik, "from the way they avoid the
tree of knowledge! They are so much cleverer than Adam."
They were in the midst of the party now, and Craik was proud, though
somewhat embarrassed, with the attention they attracted, and Mrs.
Cotton's smiles of obvious encouragement. Indeed he was almost glad when
Cobbe joined them and, planting himself in front of Miss Lamb,
exclaimed, "Well, Miss Lamb, well! Here I've been waiting half-an-hour
with this ice, it's melted into soup."
"I'm so sorry," Miss Lamb cried. "Come, let's get another." Then she
turned her eyes to Craik and said, giving him her hand in her friendly
manner, "Good-bye, Mr. Craik, good-bye; you won't forget? To-morrow,
Craik took off his hat; wiped his forehead; tried to get rid of some of
the dust on his boots, and then he rang the bell.
"Is Miss Lamb at home?"
"Yes, sir; Miss Lamb is in the garden."
Entering, Craik saw a number of hats and sticks in the hall. Miss Lamb,
he thought, must have several brothers. He put down his stick, and the
book with it, after a moment's hesitation; that was better, he would
leave it there and would come and fetch it when the conversation turned
that way. Then, buttoning up his black coat over the lecture notes that
filled his pocket, he followed the servant through the house out into
the little garden. It was full of strong sunlight, and there were
several undergraduates there. One was up in a tree; Cobbe lay in a
hammock smoking, and another of Craik's pupils lay on the grass at Miss
Lamb's feet, rolling lemons. He stopped for a moment.
"Oh Mr. Corn—Mr. Craik, I mean," Miss Lamb called out in a friendly
voice, "I am so glad to see you."
Craik advanced with an awkward smile, and Miss Lamb reached out her
right hand most cordially. In her left hand she held a lemon-squeezer.
"How good of you to come! And isn't it hot? Exactly like America, I've
been saying. We've just come out into the garden without our hats. Won't
you sit down on that rug, if you don't mind? Oh, I nearly forgot; let me
introduce you to my aunt, Mrs. Stacey. I guess you know everybody else."
Craik shook hands with a lady who was sitting and knitting in an arbour,
nodded to the undergraduates, and then settled down on a rug in the
sunshine. How he wished that he had not decided at the last moment to
wear a tall hat and a long coat! The undergraduates were all in
Miss Lamb spoke of the garden party.
"Your lovely college! It is too ideal; it is like a dream. And the
cloisters too! You don't know how solemn it made me feel. Now, you
needn't laugh, Mr. Cobbe, I really did feel solemn—more solemn, I
guess, than you have ever been. Gracious, it is hot!" she added, with
a sudden change of subject. "Mr. Craik, let me give you some of this
lemon squash; I made it myself."
"Thanks! I shall be most pleased to have some." Craik's voice seemed to
himself to be formal, and his phrase pedantic.
"Oh, but what was I saying?" Miss Lamb went on, looking at the company
"You were telling us how solemn you were," Cobbe suggested. "Wasn't it
rather a new experience?"
"Now, Mr. Cobbe, what a horrid thing to say," she replied, with great
good-nature. "You're his tutor, Mr. Craik, aren't you? Well, next time
you have a chance, I hope you'll set him some real horrid work to do.
I'm sure he needs it."
Miss Lamb said this casually, with a pleasant laugh, as she fanned
herself. No one answered; Craik, and even Cobbe coloured, and the
undergraduate in the tree suppressed a titter.
But Mrs. Stacey at this moment asked by happy chance some question of
Craik, addressing him as "Professor Craik," in her high American voice,
and he hastened to answer her with effusion.
"Oh, I say," one of the undergraduates exclaimed, "that was a splendid
score of yours, Miss Lamb, off the Warden. Perhaps you've not heard it,
Mr. Craik, the joke about the Garden of Eden?" he said, turning to
Craik, who had come to an end of his conversation with Mrs. Stacey. "The
Warden was showing Miss Lamb the garden, when she said to him, 'Why it
is like the Garden of Eden here, Mr. Warden; only I suppose you are
wiser than Adam, and don't disturb the Tree of Knowledge.'"
"My dear," Mrs. Stacey cried, "you didn't really speak so to the sweet
"But, I say," Cobbe exclaimed, "how's this, Miss Lamb? Long and Maple
Fetters tell that story as having been got off them, and they seemed to
think that they rather scored off you."
"They didn't a bit; they were only silly!"
"Then you did get it off on them?"
"No, I didn't."
"Oh, now, that explains," another undergraduate interposed, "that
explains the story Mrs. Cotton was trying to tell. It seemed, as she
told it, to have no point at all. 'Mr. Warden,' she made you say, 'Mr.
Warden, you have a lovely garden here, but I am told you never pick the
fruit.' 'The Warden, you know, is so particular about his figs,' Mrs.
Cotton added, 'it is quite a joke with all the Fellows.'"
Miss Lamb was silent. After a little while, however, when a few other
anecdotes of Mrs. Cotton had been told, and they came to the well-known
story of that lady and the cow in St. Giles's, she began to smile, and
before long was quite consumed with merriment, for a siphon of
soda-water, fizzing off by mistake in the hands of one of the
undergraduates, had sprinkled itself over Cobbe.
"You did that on purpose, Galpin, I know you did," he cried, jumping out
of the hammock and shaking himself.
"Oh, no, he didn't!" Miss Lamb said, shaking with laughter. "Indeed, I'm
sure he wouldn't for worlds!"
Her attention was then taken by the youth up in the tree, who had been
throwing down leaves and bits of sticks on the heads of the party below.
A piece of bark falling into the jug of lemon squash, Miss Lamb feigned
great wrath and indignation.
"I wanted to give Mr. Craik some more; but oh, you haven't drunk what
you have! Isn't it sweet enough for you?"
"It is just right, thank you," he said, and he took up the glass, tepid
now from standing in the sun, and was just going to drink it, when the
young lady cried: "Oh, wait a moment, please; there's a poor little
insect tumbled into it. Dear little thing! Do take it out—oh, be
careful! I can't bear to see anything suffer."
Craik fished the insect out of the lemonade with a blade of grass, and
Miss Lamb, putting it down on the ground, poked it tenderly in aid of
its moist attempts to crawl away. Ultimately Craik rose from his
uncomfortable posture on the ground. It was a long while, it seemed to
him, that he had been sitting there, smiling and solemn in the sunshine,
and casting about in his mind for an excuse to go; while the others he
envied so—the youth perched up in the tree, Miss Lamb fanning herself
and squeezing lemons, Cobbe smoking and slowly swinging in the hammock,
laughed and lazily talked, as if their life was one afternoon of endless
Arcadian leisure. But Craik had a morbid sense that his shadow, which he
glanced at now and then, had been growing, almost as if he were
swelling, he and his top hat, and casting a larger shade on the little
"Well, I must be going! We college tutors, you know," he said, feeling
pretty stiff in body and mind, but attempting nevertheless a little
jauntiness of air.
"Oh, but, Mr. Craik, you mustn't go now!" Miss Lamb cried, "really you
mustn't. Why, we're all going up the river to have late tea at Godstow,
and come home by moonlight; and I'm going to take my banjo. I hoped you
would come with us!"
"I'm sorry, but I must be back."
"Well, I'm really sorry, too; I am, indeed. You must come again." She
held his hand in hers for a second, and there was something appealing in
her manner. "Now you will come again, won't you? It's—it's rather hot
just to-day for philosophy, isn't it?" she added, her face brightening
with a friendly and apologetic smile.
Craik found his hat and stick, but not his book, in the hall.
"I've left a book here," he said to the maid.
"Oh, I beg your pardon, sir, I thought it was for Miss Lamb, so I put it
on the shelf where she puts the other university gentlemen's books that
they sends. I'll go and bring it, sir."
"Is this it?" she called from a neighbouring room—"'Elements of
"No," said Craik, hurriedly; "it's about Asia Minor. 'Life and Thought
"'In Hearly Asia Minor,' sir?"
"Yes, that's mine," Craik answered, in a voice that was not without a
touch of melancholy.