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The Casual Ward by A. D. Godley

THE WORKING MAN (After seeing his Picture in the Press)


                     CASUAL WARD

                     ACADEMIC AND OTHER

                     * * * * *

                     A. D. GODLEY

                     * * * * *

                     SMITH, ELDER &CO.
                     15 WATERLOO PLACE
                     [All rights reserved]

                     PRINTED BY
                     LONDON AND BECCLES

Nearly all the flights in this book have been first taken in the Cornhill Magazine, the Oxford Magazine, or the Saturday Review. They are reproduced by the kind permission of the Editors of these periodicals. I am allowed also to reprint a set of verses published by Messrs. Constable &Co.

                     A. D. G.

November, 1912



[On a Proposal to place Bicycles within the precincts of the Bodleian Library]

I. Not concerning a thing of no moment, O Conscript Fathers, you are now called upon to decide: whether to one man by the counsel and advice of Curators it is to be permitted that he should take away from you the power of placing in the Proscholium the instruments of celerity, the assistances of (your) feet, the machines appointed by a certain natural providence for the performance of your duties: whether, in which place our ancestors sold pigs with the greatest consent and indeed applause of the Roman people, from that (place) bicycles are to be ejected by one guardian of books. O singular impudence of the man! For be unwilling, Conscript Fathers, be unwilling to believe that in this pretence of consulting for (the interests of) a public building something more is not also being aimed at and sought to be obtained: in such a way (lit. so) he attacks bicycles that in reality he endeavours to oppress the liberty of each one of you: that by this example and as it were by the thin end of a certain wedge he may lay the foundation of a royal power over all these things, which I (as) consul preserved. Concerning which matter I could say much, if time allowed me: now behold and examine the miserable condition of those whom a man devoid of constancy and gravity overturns from (their) fortunes.

II. What! shall the Masters of Arts, what! shall the Doctors, what! shall the Proctors themselves (than which kind of men nothing can exist more holy, nothing more upright, nothing more auspiciously established) be compelled to come on foot that they may consult those most sacred volumes in which the Roman people have wished that all learning should be included? The Hypobibliothecarii, what men! what citizens! will, I believe, walk, especially considering that it is to be contended by them against the lengthiness of a journey: and then, if, as (usually) happens, some sudden tempest should arise, they must suffer (their) bicycles lacking shelter to be most miserably corrupted by rain. It has been handed down to memory, Conscript Fathers, that Caius Duilius was permitted by the republic, which he had saved by (his) incredible fortitude, to be borne by an elephant whenever he had been invited to a dinner. Therefore, did he use a most luxurious quadruped that he might by so much the more quickly arrive at a banquet: shall we, who desire to hasten not for the sake of lust and the belly, but for the sake of this learning and books, be forbidden to employ bicycles? I pray and entreat you, Conscript Fathers, do not allow this disgrace to be branded upon the heart itself and entrails of the commonwealth.

III. But for(sooth) the College of All Souls (which I name; for the sake of honour) is near, in which machines may be sheltered. O thing before unheard (of)! From which place even undergraduates have been excluded by a certain divine will: into that shall bicycles be thrown? O times, O manners! It is not fitting, Conscript Fathers, that the studies of most learned men, Fellows, should be interrupted in this way. Moreover, they also have a library, that to them also it may be possible to say that wheels should be kept afar off: they have keys, bolts, bars, a gate, a porter: they will exclude, reject, expectorate them. Which act I blame in such a way that I confess and acknowledge that it will be done with the greatest legality.

IV. If the Founder of the Library, if Sir Thomas Bodley himself, I say, should stand forth from the Elysian fields, it is not necessary that I should remind you with what ancient severity he would inveigh against this new power, against the Bibliothecarius, nay rather, against the Curators themselves: for you can calculate (it) in (your) minds. He would say to them, “Did I give you authority over books, that you should use it against bicycles? did I place you in an upper part of a most convenient building, that you should also rule the lower? did I endow you with huge wealth and an enormousness of stipend, that you should therefore the more exercise a kingly dominion over the common utility, and the necks, heads, lives, fortunes of the poorer citizens?” To which interrogation and most stern reproach I do not think they, although they are of a remarkable audacity, could answer anything: for neither is there (anything) that can be replied.

V. Although I wish to say more things, I am deterred by the will of the editor of that most known Magazine (than which paper I do not think that anything is more conjoined with the safety of the republic): nor am I not also prevented by tears and weeping itself. Conscript Fathers, if there is anything in you of constancy, if of gravity, if of fortitude, if of humanity (which that there is I most certainly know), fortify this common citadel of the good: open the Pig Market, closed by the intolerable influence of bad men: be unwilling, be unwilling that the seat of the Muses, the School of Divinity, the most delightful meeting-places of Boards of Faculties, should be stained by royal power and polluted by cruelty. Which that it will certainly happen if you do not prevent it by your votes, I most confidently predict and vaticinate.



“There's nothing that emphasizes the amari aliquid of life like one's tobacconist,” mused Fane Trevyllyan as he flung a box of eighteenpenny Emeticos into the fire and lit a Latakia cigarette.

It was a lovely August morning in the Eights of 18—; and the stroke of the Charsley Hall boat reclined wearily in his luxuriously furnished apartments within that venerable College and watched the midday sun gilding the pinnacles of the Martyr's Memorial. It had been a fast and furious night, and Trevyllyan had lost more I.O.U.s than even he cared to remember: and now he was very weary of it all. Had it not been for one thing, he would have thrown it all up—sent dons, deans, duns, and dice to the devil, and gone down by the afternoon train: as it was, there was nothing for it but to recline on his tiger-skins and smoke countless cigars. He never would train.

“Going to row to-day, Fane?” It was little Bagley Wood, the cox. Trevyllyan sanctioned his presence as if he had been a cat or a lapdog: to all others he was stern and unapproachable—a true representative of his Order.

“Don't know, caro mio,” was the reply. “It's such a bore, you know: and then I half think I promised to take La Montmorenci of the Frivolity up the Cherwell to Trumpington in the University Barge.”

“What! when the Lady Gwendolen de St. Emilion has come down on purpose to see us catch Christ Church! why, sapristi, where can your eyes be?” The stroke hissed something between his clenched teeth, and Bagley Wood found himself flying through an unopened window.

Cherchez la femme! it's always the way with the Trevyllyans,” muttered the lad, as he picked himself up from the grass plot in the quadrangle and strolled off to quiet his nerves with a glass of aguardiente at the Mitre.

                     * * * * *

An August moon shone brightly on the last night of the great aquatic contest: the starter had fired his pistol, and all the boats but one were off.

“Hadn't you better think about starting, Trevyllyan?” asked the coach of the Charsley Hall Eight, a trifle pale and anxious. “See, they are all under way. Glanville Ferrers, the Christ Church stroke, swears you shan't bump him as you did last week. He must be past the Soapworks by this time.”

Caramba! then I suppose we ought to get in,” replied the other; and as he spoke he divested himself of the academical garb that scarcely concealed his sky-blue tights, and stood, a model of manly beauty, on the banks of the rushing river. Then, throwing away a half-finished cigar, Trevyllyan strode into the boat. Per Bacco! 'twas a magnificent sight. As the crack Eight of the river sped swiftly after her rival, cheers arose from the bank, and odds on both boats were freely taken and offered by the cognoscenti.

You and I, amigo mio! have seen many a race in our day. We have seen the 'Varsity crews flash neck and neck past Lillie Bridge: we have held our breath while Orme ran a dead heat with Eclipse for the Grand National: we have read how the victor of the pancratium panted to the meta amid the Io Triumphes of Attica's vine-clad Acropolis. But we did not see the great Christ Church and Charsley's race—that great contest which is still the talk of many a learned lecture-room. They say the pace was tremendous. Four men fainted in the Christ Church boat, and Trevyllyan's crew repeatedly entreated him to stop. But he held on, inexorable as the Erinnyes.

Fair as Pallas Anadyomene—fair as the Venus whom Milo fashioned pour se desennuyer in his exile at Marseilles—the Lady Gwendolen de St. Emilion sat throned on the University Barge, and watched the heroes as their bare arms flashed in the moonlight. And now they were through the Gut, and the nose of the Charsley's boat pressed hard on its rival: yet Fane Trevyllyan did not make his final effort. Would he spare Glanville Ferrers? Quien sabe? They had been friends—once. But the die was cast. As the boats sped past her the Lady Gwendolen stooped from her pride of place and threw a rose—just one—into the painted poop of the Christ Church wherry. That was all: but it was enough. Trevyllyan saw the action where he sat: one final, magnificent, unswerving stroke—those who saw it thought it would never end!—and with a muttered “Habet!” he sent the brazen beak of his Eight crashing in among the shattered oars of his helpless competitor.

Galeotto fu il libro, e chi lo scrisse.

II. NEW OR KODAK STYLE (From the French)

   If they are frivolous, these Universities!
   At present great sensation in Oxford: this town, so gloomy, so sad
   ordinarily, is to-day en fete.
   Is it that one elects a new Vice-Chancellor?
   It is the contest aquatic of the Colleges which goes to take place.
   One discusses in the salons the most chic how many kilogrammes
   they weigh, these heroes of the oar.
   Everywhere Professors in straw hats and Heads of Colleges en
   What a spectacle!
   . . . . .
   On the barges. . . .
   Grouped on these venerable hulks, crowds of ladies excite our
   admiration by their beauty and our respect by their intelligence.
   Whence do they come, these damsels, so young, so charming?
   It is that they have arrived from the metropolis at the request of
   their brothers, their cousins—what do I know of it? perhaps their
   pretendants—of whom they wish to enhance with their applause the
   athletic triumph.
   . . . . .
   After all, they are adorable, these English misses!
   . . . . .
   On the bank. . . .
   One hears the portentous echo of the Five-Minutes-Gun.
   Moment tremendous!
   They have started: one sees already the strokesman of the
   One would say a whole University that runs on the towing-path, and
   that utters loud cries.
   Here and there coachmen are seen carrying pistols and pronouncing
   terrible execrations.
   Why these pistols? . . .
   A little brutal, these English: but of a force, a virility!
   . . . . .
   I myself who speak to you am infected by this enthusiasm.
   I run: I utter cries: I raffole of the leading-boat : I shout En
   avant! Vive la Madeleine! Vive le Cercle Nautique! Hourra! . . .
   But one does not do these things at forty years.
   I am out of breath, what? I wish to stop.
   Arrest yourselves, my friends too impetuous!
   I appeal to you in the name of France, who respects you: do not
   annihilate me, do not pulverize me. . . . .
   Vain appeal! One would say the car of Juggernaut.
   I am knocked down: I am crible with kicks: I am massacred.
   . . . . .
   Ah! . . .


Thucydides, an Athenian, wrote the history of the epidemic among the Oxonians, how they had the epidemic, having begun to write as soon as it broke out on No. 2 Staircase, and considering it to be the most noticeable of all that had appeared previously. (For the place was not liable to diseases at other times, but especially free from them, except that which affected the teeth: on account of which they used to go up to the metropolis, in word to consult the Delphic oracle but in deed to go to Olympia, so that not a few were banished from the city both for other reasons and not least this.) As to the causes of it, then, let any one speak who is aware of them: but I will show what things happened on account of it, having both myself put on an aeger and seen others similarly afflicted, so that I can describe it with equal certainty more than the narrative of another not having done so, but relying on the incredibility of historians more than the sureness of experience.

For in the first beginning of the sickness men remembered what Homer says about the lower and higher animals in the Trojan business—

    First did he assail the mules and fleet dogs, but afterward, aiming
    at the men his piercing dart, he smote,

seeing that now too not less but equally as much first, the College Tutors were attacked, and next the scouts, and last of all the men themselves. But most of all the scouts were affected, and this caused the greatest calamity: so that a man must often wish that his scout might recover, wishing indeed contrary to nature, but being persuaded by the greatness of the surrounding misfortune, lest he should suffer even worse things at the hands of a scout's boy, or considering it terrible if he shall lose even the daily enjoyment of his breakfast not being brought to him. And all laws concerning meals were brought into a state of confusion, so that many anticipated taking the commons of another. And they welcomed the hospitality of those outside the walls, regarding their hunger in the present as much more important than another man's inability to pay his debts in the future.

But when the men themselves began to suffer, then indeed the disease was the commencement of lawlessness to a greater extent for the city. For cuttings of chapels and avoidings of lectures, which are an agony for the present more than a possession for ever, and in short all such things as the indulgence of was formerly more disguised, these a man easily dared to do, it being uncertain on the one hand whether his tutor has the influenza, and on the other if he himself might not put on an aeger before being hauled he should pay the penalty. And though some, indeed, did things exactly contrary to this, and being before unaccustomed now went in the morning with a run to chapel in order that fewer being present the paradoxicalness of their appearance when compared with the multitude of those who were absent might gain them a prestige of virtue not real but simulated—yet with most there was now neither fear of the Dean by land nor by sea of their coaches: disobeying whom they ate and drank all kinds of things contrary to law, no one being willing to exert himself for that which seemed to be honourable, and calculating that the present abstention from pastry was not equivalent to the possibility of being bumped in the future about as much and not less than if he had smoked three pipes and a cheroot. And not only was injustice prevalent among those who were as yet in good health, but many of those in the ships, being or seeming to themselves to be sick, had their places taken by others accustomed rather to fight upon the land, whose manly inexperience, though in word more creditable than the cowardice combined with experience of the others, was in reality less powerful than the language which those on the bank thought worthy to use concerning them.

Nevertheless, about this time the Oxonians sent an expedition against Cambridge, having manned a slow train to Bletchley, Nicolaidas being commander second himself; and they advanced as far as Third Trinity, and having ravaged part of the land and set up a trophy, they returned home.


At this time the Chancellor being among the Oxonii there was instituted a contest of horses such as this nation is accustomed to celebrate every spring. And this contest is of such a kind, not being well arranged according at least to my opinion:—Having dug trenches and built other ramparts parallel indeed to each other but transversely to the running of the horses themselves, they do not any longer stand round them invoking the gods as those do who play golf, but on the contrary, when they have placed men upon horses they cause them to cross these by leaping under the lash, as far as the goal: and whoever anticipates the others arriving at the goal, sitting at least on the same horse on which sitting he set out, and not it running, having left him behind, nor he himself on foot, he is considered to have conquered. The reason why I said that this contest is not well arranged, is of the following kind: because it being possible to contend in a level place without danger or difficulty, the Oxonii nevertheless themselves make obstacles so as to prevent the horses from (not) arriving at the end of the course, neither being compelled nor there being any necessity ([Greek text]). Then, however, they did these things, and also, as they are accustomed to do on such occasions, they sent messengers to inquire of other prophets and also of the Delphic oracle who should be the conqueror. The Pythian priestess, being mindful how she had formerly made a good shot in respect of the Median business, replied in the hexameter rhythm that the issues of victory lay around a wooden wall. Now having this as a proof I will neither refuse to believe in oracles myself nor allow others to disbelieve them. For when the race had begun and the horses had been sent away by the sound of a trumpet, other men were taking part in the contest, and also Pheron the son of Trapezites a Corinthian: this is not the Pheron who, his father having founded a city, was himself expelled from it by the few, who were called Hetairi, because he had allied himself with the democracy forsooth ([Greek text]). And there are other things written about this Pheron in the history composed by Proctor, who was tyrant of Oxonia second himself for one year, and in fact caused Pheron to fall out by reason of sedition. What I have said just now is a digression and refers to other matters, and I will now come back to my former story. So then the men, having in the first part of the contest done things worthy of themselves, and having for the most part, although not all, yet the majority, avoided the (not) falling into ditches and the like incurably at least, came presently to the wooden fence, which I conjecture to be the wall meant by the Delphic oracle. It being then necessary either remaining on the hither side to be driven away from all hope of the prize or leaping to run risks concerning their lives, and the rest having leapt in such a way that they crossed the fence sitting rather upon the ground than upon their horses, and some neither with them nor upon them, as the Lacedaemonians say about their shields: this Pheron, of whom I have before made mention, showed himself to be prudent in other things and also in this. He, having a horse much the most active of all the rest, was not left behind by it, but sat there holding on firmly until he had arrived at the farther side; and from thence, the race being easy for him, he came to the goal very much the first, having anticipated. In this way he obtained the prize. I have learnt the names of all the other competitors: but I do not think it proper to relate them, not now at least.

When the spectators had seen these things (and there was also a contest for the natives of the country, in which not a few were roughly handled) they returned in chariots to the city, driving not straight like the Greeks, but obliquely, as is customary. This story some relate, relating things credible to me at least; there being two Oxonii in one chariot, and no one else, one of them entreated the other after they had gone some way without misfortune that he also might be allowed to hold the reins of the horses: to whom the other replied “But—for do you not already hold them?” These men then having left such a memorial of themselves did nevertheless arrive safely at the city.


1. Nunc initia causasque motus Mauretanici expediam. Mauretaniam post decessum Tedimurii cuicumque servitio expositam avaritia et mala cupidine fines augendi contemptis populi studiis occupaverant Brigantes, barbara gens. mox rectorem imposuere e sacerdotibus Peripateticorum instituta professum. non tulere Mauri intempestivam sapientiam. namque ut divitias ita librorum scientiam contemptui habent: et est plerisque indocta canities.

2. Pollebat inter Mauros Rursus quidam Aratus multa scholarum patientia. is collectis in aulam Edmundi popularibus ad seniores hunc in modum locutus fertur: “si apud rerum humanarum inscios verba facerem plura cohortandi causa dicenda erant. nunc autem sunt in oculis quibus alios iniuriis validiorum potentia laeserit. quid memorem Scotos Stubbinsiorum dominatu potitos? quid Tabernarios Balliolensibus traditos, mox ab iisdem suum lucrum ex aliena benevolentia comparantibus invitos venditos atque mancipatos? Scimmerios cum maxime Rhodesii subiectos habent, puerili rei nummariae imperitia generis humani regimen expostulantes. quanta profanarum litterarum scientia pacatissima loca polluerint, non est opus dictu apud gnaros. quid meliora ab iis expectatis qui Hiberniam nuper [praemii nomen] occupaverunt? eandem nobis Brigantes necessitatem imponent, gradum capessendi. et baccalaureos videbimus.” tum ad iuvenes conversus “eone ventum esset” interrogat “ut antiquissima aulae iura corrumpi sinerent? Reginensium specioso vocabulo nuncupatos pessimam servitutem passuros: praelectiones et deorum templa prope noctu insolitis adeunda: et praecipua foeditate Brigantium arcana. mox et specimen partium Magrathium remigare coacturum, eo immitius quia toleravisset. num et sanctissimam Edmundi effigiem nuper a cive in somnis visam inter quaggas et aprorum capita et eiusmodi ludicra fore ostentui? proinde simplex et pastoricius et aratro adsuetus populus priscam et traditam a patribus tranquillitatem coleret et tueretur.”

3. His et talibus accensos ducit in viam, Brigantium fines et principes ipsos gentis rutilo pigmento maculaturos, ni liberentur. egressis claudit portas Reginensis sacerdos, metu an conscientia dubium: nec non Brigantes quamquam civili bello distracti struxere vallum et loricam hostem arcendi. igitur utrinque exclusi palantur in viis Mauri: procurtoribus grata ea species nomina et collegii genus per ludibrium percunctantibus. mox ab Omnianimensibus propter mediocritatem doctrinae consimilibus hospitio accipiuntur: et inter socios conscribi concessum. ibi per speciem cruditatis interfecti. aula in formam provinciae redacta. nec enim magis iustis indiciis unquam adprobatum est, non esse curae Vice-Cancellario securitatem bonorum, esse exstinctionem.


(It is perhaps not generally known that the Daily Hieroglyphic, one of the leading morning papyri of Egypt under the —th Dynasty, despatched a special correspondent to Greece at the time of the Trojan War. Some fragments of his communications have been discovered by the energy of modern tomb-robbers, and the courtesy of the British Museum has enabled us to publish these disjecta membra, which may perhaps be of interest to the public at the present juncture.)

The only social evenement (writes the correspondent under date Jan. 10, 1100 B.C., or thereabouts) which I have to chronicle is a reported domestic esclandre in the family of Menelaus, the genial and popular Prince of Sparta. In consequence of this the Princess Helena, it is alleged, has gone to Paris.

                     Mycenae, January 12.

It appears from the Court Circular that Her Royal Highness has been advised by her physicians to reside for some time in Asia Minor. At the same time I cannot conceal the fact that the Corinthian society paper, Alethea, mentions the name of a Trojan prince in connexion with this story. I am naturally unwilling to make myself the mouthpiece of scandal.

                     February 1.

The fact can no longer be disguised that grave international complications are likely to arise between Troy and Mycenae. It is stated on the highest authority that the Argive ambassador has been recalled from the former capital, the alleged reason being promotion to a still higher diplomatic post: there seems, however, to be no reasonable doubt that the practical rupture of relations between the Empires of the West and East is not remotely connected with the eternal maxim, “Cherchez la femme.” Much sympathy is expressed with H.R.H. Prince Menelaus.

                     February 20.

Everything points to war. Orders for a substantial increase of the Navy have been placed in the hands of Messrs. Odysseus &Co., the celebrated firm of shipbuilders. Heroes are earnestly called for.

The Argive Chamber was, last Wednesday, the scene of an animated debate. M. Diomedes, War Minister, demanded a vote which would enable him to enrol three more phalanxes. He was bitterly opposed by M. Thersites, Leader of the Extreme Left, who demanded to know why the Achaean nation was to be plunged recklessly into war for the settlement of matters properly pertaining to the province of a Divorce Court. Fortunately for the success of M. Diomedes' proposal, the closure was put in operation.


M. Thersites' funeral is announced for to-morrow (about the time of loosing oxen).

                     February 25.

I cannot better describe the existing political situation than by quoting the opinion of leading newspapers in Achaea and elsewhere.

All the official journals are consistently warlike in tone. They declare that nothing will satisfy Achaean aspirations but the annexation of Helen. The Athenian Asty declares that should King Agamemnon employ the opened floodgates of popular enthusiasm as a stepping-stone to lop off another limb from the decaying trunk of the (so-called) Trojan Empire, he will have achieved a permanent blessing to civilization.

On the other hand, the Olympian Times comments severely on the precipitate action of Agamemnon, and animadverts on the rash proceedings which have led to a rupture that might have been averted by diplomacy. As the Times is understood to be the mouthpiece of the Powers, such an utterance may well give rise to the gravest apprehensions.

The Oracle—a Phocian organ of pronounced clerical tendencies—preserves an ambiguous tone.

Everything indicates a warlike attitude on the part of the entourage of King Priam. Hector Pasha has been appointed War Minister. The Prehistoric Post speaks of the enlistment of two new regiments of Hittite Bashi-Bazouks in the interior of Asia Minor. The Cassandra, however, a journal little read although supposed by some to be inspired, has constituted itself the organ of the peace party, and confidently predicts the destruction of Troy.

The Ephemerios Chronographos has received the following telegram from the veteran statesman Nestor: “Profound sympathy Achaean aspirations. Bag and baggage only possible policy. Postcard follows.—Nestor, Hawarden, Pylos.”

                     March 1.

His Majesty and the Greek Fleet sailed to-day from Epidaurus, amid scenes of great enthusiasm. Her Majesty the Queen and His Excellency Count Aegisthus were both visibly affected. Mycenae is daily paraded by crowds shouting, “To Ilion!”

                     March 8.

The Fleet is at Aulis, waiting until the process of raising the wind shall have been concluded. Meantime, the services of the notorious Klepht Achilles have been engaged. This popular enlistment creates great enthusiasm.

The report recently prevalent as to human sacrifices is contradicted this morning by an official dementi.

H.R.H. the Princess Iphigeneia has joined a Russian religious house.

Trojan bonds are quoted to-day at 53.8 (a fall of 0.2).


The attitude of the Olympian Powers causes considerable anxiety.

                     Tenedos, March 15.

Telegrams per Beacon will have informed you that the Powers have issued a Collective Note to the Greek expeditionary force, forbidding the landing of heroes and others. Notwithstanding this, there seems to be no doubt that several demi-gods under Achilles have landed, and are endeavouring to effect administrative reforms. Achaean newspapers of all shades condemn the recent action of Poseidon in attempting to raise a storm. Hector Pasha is committing atrocities.

                     March 17.

In spite of the known discrepancy between the views of the Powers, they have issued a Collective Note urging upon His Majesty King Agamemnon the necessity of prompt withdrawal. In view of his possible refusal, it is understood that thunderbolts are in preparation, and Ares has been mobilized. This action is severely commented upon by the Achaean Press in general. The Phaeacian Daily Chronicle goes so far as to threaten a mass meeting in Trafalgar Square. Meanwhile, Hector Pasha is committing atrocities.

                     March 18.

The Powers have issued Collective Notes to the contending parties. It is understood that nothing short of a Deus ex machina can avert a formal rupture of relations between the Courts of Troy and Mycenae, as acts which are liable to the interpretation of belligerency are daily committed.

The ambiguous attitude of Zeus tends to complicate the situation. His Majesty the King narrowly missed being hit by a thunderbolt this morning.

                     March 20.

I am authorized to state that the intervention of a Deus ex machina has brought about the arrangement of a modus vivendi. The Achaean expeditionary force is to withdraw, and Helen is to be autonomous. Menelaus, however, is to be free to enforce administrative reforms.

                     March 21.

Peace with Honour has been proclaimed. It is possible, however, that some embarrassment may still arise from the action of King Priam in assessing the material, moral, and intellectual damage inflicted on himself and his allies at 152,833 tripods, 18 women, and an ox. This sum will certainly be disputed.

It is asserted as probable that the Poet Laureate,—Homer, will be invited to compose an epic poem commemorating the events of the raid. An edition of 20,000 copies will be issued, including 50 on India paper, with corruptions and emendations by eminent scholars.


The Roman correspondent of the Stella Lugdunensis writes to his paper under date A.V.C. 817:—

All the Press is naturally full of the recent debate in the Senate on the alleged unconstitutional indiscretions of our Imperial Master. (H.I.M., I should add, is at present on a lecturing tour in the Peloponnesus; statements in the Custos Burdigalensis to the effect that He is giving a series of violin recitals are wholly without foundation.) The impression produced is on the whole one of unanimous condemnation of His Majesty's recent action. How—it is argued even by the Right—can it tend to the stability of Roman foreign policy that in the regrettable military operations between the Suebi and the Chatti the Emperor should have directed General Count Corbulo to prepare an invincible plan of campaign for each of the belligerents? The Extreme Left, as represented by Messrs. Barea and T. Peters (? Paetus), goes much farther, and does not hesitate to criticize the autocratic dilettantism which professes to lay down the law on artistic matters which it does not in the least understand. It is time (said one speaker) that our so-called Emperor should cease to be persuaded by the plaudits of a decadent and servile entourage into imagining Himself a Second Sarasatius. Absolutism is generally condemned.

Messrs. Nerva and Nymphidius and other prominent Imperialists have, of course, defended their master; but their apologies, it is felt, were somewhat perfunctory and half-hearted. In allusion to the lamented demise of the Dowager Empress, it was pointed out that pity and loyalty alike should forbid trampling on a Ruler bowed down by repeated domestic bereavements; and attempts were made to enlist sympathy for the Imperial Orphan. These, however, have not been uniformly crowned with success.

Tension undoubtedly exists. I cannot (to speak plainly) conceal from myself the fact that in a given contingency, the nature of which it is unnecessary and, perhaps, undesirable to specify further, circumstances at present unforeseen might conceivably pave the way for developments of which it might be impossible to predict the eventual termination.

                     * * * * *

“Ought Nero to Abdicate?” is the subject of a “symposium” in the current Primum Saeculum et Post. The signatures L and S are commonly associated with the talented author whose Pharsalia has long been recognized as the most charming of Saturnalian gift-books, and the Rev. L. A. Seneca, formerly private tutor in His Majesty's household. Should H.I.M. decide to abdicate, it is anticipated that He will edit our Boeotian contemporary the Oracle, which is sadly in need of new blood. Nero will give it that. The meetings held at the Palazzo Pisone were strictly private.

                     * * * * *

The Suebian Press continues to hint at fresh indiscretions. There is no doubt that a state of tension exists, which can only be alleviated by the restoration of reciprocal confidence between H.I.M. and the Roman people. The result of the approaching conference between the Emperor and Prince Tigellinus is eagerly discussed.


H.M.'s interview with the Chancellor at Brundisium is stated to have been productive of entirely satisfactory results. It is said that Nero now thoroughly understands the situation, and is resolved to remodel His conduct accordingly. Tension is greatly alleviated.

                     * * * * *

I cannot more graphically summarize the present improved situation than by quoting the headlines in the Acta Diurna.

                     GREAT REVIEW OF PRAETORIANS
                     OUTSIDE THE SENATE HOUSE.
                     HIS MAJESTY IN THE SENATE.
                     AVE CAESAR OPTIME MAXIME.
                     GREAT ENTHUSIASM.
                     NEW ISSUE OF CONSULS EXPECTED.

All this tends to indicate that the period of mutual suspicion and distrust is practically at an end. Nothing shows it more clearly than the happy renewal of social relations between the Emperor and the leading members of the Senate. As a guarantee of good feeling, several of our legislators have consented, at His Majesty's earnest request, to assist Him in the forthcoming Pageant of Empire to be held in the Circus Maximus. Their collaboration is indeed indispensable, large consignments of empty lions being reported to have arrived at Ostia. The hearty sympathy between our Ruler and His people is still further attested by the fact that several Senators who were but lately among the foremost critics of Absolutism are now taking a personal and prominent share in the scheme of street illuminations recently suggested to the Emperor by His Chancellor. Members of the Stoic Democratic Federation have been invited to meet H.I.M. at dinner at the Cafe Locusta.

                     * * * * *

The Cafe Locusta dinner has been a great success. It is not expected that the Stoic Democratic Federation will express any further opinion hostile to the Imperial policy.

M. Nymphidius has been commissioned to form a Ministry.

Not the least noteworthy among social evenements is the departure of Piso (whose tendency to form cabals has for some time been a sore subject in Imperialistic circles) for his estates in Thule, N.B. He has left, according to one account, by the Hook (unco).

                     * * * * *

I quote from the Court Journal:—

    “The Emperor Nero reigns in the hearts of His People. Persons
    asserting the contrary will be decapitated.”


Going down the other day to the Kerameikos, I met my friend Philogeorgos, who is at present one of those who desire to hold office in the city. And I said to him—

“Philogeorgos, you look sad; is it because you fear lest you should not be elected Archon?”

“No, Socrates,” he replied. “It is not that which saddens me; it is the baseness of those who try to prevent the people from choosing me.”

“In what way do they act basely?” I asked.

“There is a certain wine-seller,” he said, “who is offering what the Hyperboreans call Free Drinks (that is, you know, draughts of wine without payment) to all those who will vote for Misogeorgos, but not for me.”

“That is very unkind of the wine-seller. But why do you say that the transaction is base?”

“Why, of course it is base. How can it be anything else?”

“When we predicate baseness of a transaction,” I said, “we must also predicate baseness of those who are concerned in it, or at least of one of them. Now, Philogeorgos, let me ask you a question; for you are accustomed by this time to answer questions. When you wish for a pair of shoes or a flute, how do you obtain one?”

“How else,” he said, “except by buying it from a shoemaker or a maker of flutes?”

“How else, indeed?” I replied. “So, then, the tradesman gives you something which he possesses; and you give the tradesman in return something which you possess. And this exchange is advantageous to both of you, and honourable; is it not?”

“I suppose so.”

“And neither of you becomes base?”


“Then it is not a base transaction?”


“Now consider in this way; Does a vote belong to the man who possesses a vote?”

“Yes, Socrates; but I am afraid that you are going to quibble, as usual.”

“It is only by dialectic,” I replied, “that we can arrive at the truth. And the wine belongs, I suppose, to the wine-seller?”

“It would seem so, at least.”

“Then when the wine-seller gets the voter's vote in exchange for his own wine, they simply give each other what each possesses; and such a transaction, as you have said, is advantageous to both parties, and honourable, and not base at all.”

“I said,” he replied, rather angrily, “that you were going to quibble. Of course, the case is quite different. A vote is a sacred thing; and it ought not to be exchanged for the satisfaction of mere bodily desires, such as the desire for drink.”

“Nor for any other material comfort?” I asked.

“Certainly not,” he replied.

“Nobly spoken, indeed!” I said. “But I confess, all the same, that you rather surprise me; for only this morning I heard the herald proclaiming in your name that all the citizens would have Free Food if they voted for Philogeorgos. And I remember how some years ago either Phaidrolithos or one of those around him used to promise at elections that everyone should have three acres of land and a cow, on condition that the city kept him and his party in power. You do not mean to tell me that what Phaidrolithos or his friends did was base?”

“No, indeed,” he replied. “But surely, Socrates, even you must see that this is a different matter altogether.”

“How different? You say that votes must not be exchanged for material comforts; yet Free Food is a material comfort; and so are three acres, because they produce food; and so, I presume, is a cow. And these things were offered to the voter in exchange for his vote, just as the wine-seller now is offering draughts of wine.”

“No, Socrates, it is not the same thing at all. When I talk of Free Food, and when men like Phaidrolithos talk of land and cows, we do not give these things immediately in exchange for votes. We could not; they are not ours to give; we have not got them.”

“That is very true,” I said. “For I remember when Phaidrolithos and his party were put in power many people used to come to those in authority and demand that they should now receive three acres of land each and a cow; and when they did not receive these things they were indignant, as having been deceived. And I daresay that when you are in power men will come expecting to receive Free Food, and will not get it. But, as far as I can understand your argument, it is honourable to promise in return for a vote that which you cannot give; but when one promises that which he can give, as the wine-seller does, that is base, and that makes you sad. Is it not so? And the reason seems to be that when the wine-seller offers Free Drinks for a vote, then the vote is sold; but when you offer Free Food for a vote, then it is not the vote which is sold, but only the voter.”

“Socrates,” said Philogeorgos, “you are a philosopher; and no philosopher ever understood politics. But I am busy, and have really no more time to waste upon you and your dialectics.”

“Farewell, then, Philogeorgos,” I said; “but please do not be angry with me for being so stupid. And if I were you,” I continued, “I do not think I would be angry with the wine-seller either; for perhaps the draughts of wine will make the citizens drunk, especially when they need not be paid for; and when a citizen is drunk he will run the risk of voting for you rather than for Misogeorgos. Do you not think so?”

But Philogeorgos was already out of hearing.


“Is not this a dreadful thing, Socrates, that Balphurios has been lately doing about what he calls a Referendum?”

“What thing?” I said. “I have heard indeed lately that he has said this—that if he and his friends should be elected to sit in the Ecclesia, he will not propose a law taxing Megarian imports without first consulting the citizens; and he has invited Askoithios to do the same thing, and not to give autonomy to the Samians without first consulting the citizens. Is that the dreadful thing?”

“So dreadful, Socrates, that even now I can scarcely believe it: for it aims at the destruction of the democracy. But I can tell him that Askoithios will certainly not do what he is invited to do.”

“Why will he not do it?” I asked.

“Because Askoithios knows very well already that all the citizens are in favour of giving autonomy to the Samians.”

“Well, Phileleutheros,” I said, “in that case he will do no harm by having consulted them. And does Balphurios also know what the citizens think about taxing Megarian imports?”

“Certainly: he knows that all men (except himself and his friends) abhor such a plan.”

“Then,” I said, “no harm will be done there either; for the citizens, being consulted, will say what they wish.”

“But, Socrates, it is always harmful that the citizens should be consulted. And that is why Askoithios will not consult them.”

“Why, Phileleutheros,” I said, “are you not a democrat?”

“Of course I am.”

“And in a democracy do not the people rule?”

“I suppose so.”

“By saying what they wish to have done, or otherwise?”

“By saying so, I suppose.”

“And if they are not allowed to say what they wish, they are not ruling, and it is not a democracy?”


“Then Balphurios, who asks the people what they wish, is a democratic man; and Askoithios, who does not ask them, is not a democratic man; nor are you one, apparently, O Phileleutheros.”

“This is all nonsense, Socrates,” he said. “Balphurios cannot be a democrat: for I am a democrat, and I do not agree with Balphurios. And you have not the least conception of what is meant by democracy: which is, that certain persons are chosen by the majority of the citizens that they may sit in the Ecclesia and carry out the wishes of the people.”

“But for what reasons do you choose such persons?” I asked.

“They ought to be chosen, Socrates,” he replied, “because they possess the qualities proper to democratic men.”

“You mean,” I said, “that they must hate and speak evil of the rich; and that they must wish to diminish the number of our triremes; and that they must refuse to tax Megarian imports; and that they must be conscious of their own virtues and the vices of others.”

“I do not altogether praise your definition; but it will do.”

“But with all these qualities,” I said, “will your ecclesiasts always know what you wish when something unexpected happens about which it is necessary to decide? For instance, if one of the chief speakers proposes a law that all burglars should be honoured by dinners in the Prytaneum, will not your ecclesiasts come to us and say, 'O Socrates and Phileleutheros, we possess all the qualities proper to democratic men: we are conscious of our own virtues, and we should like to diminish the number of your triremes: and for these qualities we have been elected; but as to this matter of giving burglars a dinner in the Prytaneum, about this we do not yet know your wishes: and we would gladly be informed by you?'”

“If they do not know our wishes of themselves,” said Phileleutheros, “they will suffer for it at the next election.”

“That is very unpleasant for them,” I replied. “Suppose now that you hired an architect to build you a house, and that while he was building it he needed your advice, and came and said to you, 'O Phileleutheros, I have given your house four walls and a roof according to your wishes; but you have not yet told me whether your banqueting-hall ought to have three windows or six. About this I do not yet know your wishes, and I would gladly be informed by you.' Will you then say to him that you have no authority to tell him your wishes any more, but that if he happens to decide contrary to your will you will not employ him again? Similarly, it seems to me, you are in danger of making the Ecclesia no longer the agent of your wishes, but it and those who lead it will be now and then tyrants and not your servants—if to make laws not according to the will of the people is tyranny. And you can punish the ecclesiasts by dismissing them after a time, of course; but you will only elect others who will be tyrants again in the same way as their predecessors.”

“But the Nomothetae, Socrates, will prevent them.”

“Hardly,” I replied. “For your leaders of the Ecclesia, who are democrats and will not consult the people, and whom you praise, will ask the Nomothetae for their opinion three times; and when thereby they are quite satisfied that their proposal is displeasing to the Nomothetae it will forthwith become law. So that the conclusion is this: that the leaders of the Ecclesia will in most cases have authority to do what they like without consulting anybody. And these leaders, Askoithios and his friends, are few in relation to the mass of the citizens, are they not?”

“They are not many, certainly.”

“That is something to be thankful for,” I said. “They then, being few, will rule for the time; and when the few rule, that is oligarchy. Is it not? Unless perhaps you will say that when your enemies are in power in the Ecclesia, it is oligarchy; but when your friends are in power, then it is democracy?”

“Socrates, you are right, for once. That is precisely what I do say.”


“Come in” said the Senior Tutor of St. Boniface: and two scholars came in. (He knew they were scholars, because this was his hour for seeing scholars.) One was a heavy-looking young man in a frock coat and tall hat. The other was a spruce youth, who looked as if nature had intended him for an attorney's clerk; as, indeed, nature had.

“Scholars, I presume, gentlemen?” inquired the Tutor. The young men bowed. “In what subjects, may I ask? You, sir” (turning to the spruce youth) “Mr.—I forget your name—eh? Oh, thanks—is it Classics? History? Natural Science, perhaps?”

“Oh no, sir; I hold a 'Daily Thunderer' Scholarship.”

“Exactly: I remember now. You read all through Tit-Bits for a whole year, and the 'D. T.' pays you—l,200 pounds, isn't it? The task is a little dear at the price, it always seemed to me: but still, Tit-Bits—”

“It isn't quite that, sir,” put in the youth; “it was for the 'Encyclop—'”

(“I knew it was dear at the price,” the Tutor murmured.)

'”—aedia Pananglica,'“ continued the scholar. “My Scholarship is for reading that. I have it outside, in three packing-cases.”

“The Scholarship?” asked the Tutor, weakly.

“No,” said the scholar; “the 'Encyclopaedia Pananglica.'”

“Well,” the academic dignitary resumed, “and what have you read? To prepare yourself for a university career, I mean.”

“The 'Encyc—'”

“Of course, of course; but anything else? I wish to know so as to advise you with respect to the direction of your studies. Have you, for instance, read any Homer?”

“Homer!” the youth replied—“Oh, yes, I know about Homer. There is a picture of Homer, drawn from life, and very well reproduced, among the illustrations of the article 'Education.' There is one there of Comenius, too. Homer and Comenius—”

“Were both educationists, I know,” said the Tutor: “but not, properly speaking, in the same way. However—you have not studied the father of poetry in the original, it would appear. Any Xenophon, perhaps? or Caesar?”

“I don't think I know much about Xenophon,” replied the young man, “but I have a friend who failed in Caesar for the Cambridge Locals, and he said it was pretty easy.”

“Do you know any Greek or Latin at all?”

“Well, as I came along I bought a Delectus: I was told it might be helpful for attaining the highest honours.”

“Exactly. You thought it might be helpful—of course, of course. You were quite right—perfectly, perfectly correct,” the Tutor murmured, with a faraway look in his eyes. Then he collected himself, and turned to the other aspirant. “And you, sir—pardon me, I didn't quite catch—eh? Oh, thanks!—what, may I ask, are the conditions on which you hold your Scholarship?”

“My education,” replied the heavy young man, “was completed at the Jabez H. Brown University of Thessalonica, Maine, U.S.A. I am a recipient of a Scholarship under the provisions of the will of the Right Honourable Cecil J. Rhodes, the eminent philanthropist. No doubt, Professor, you will have heard of him.”

“Ah! a Rhodes Scholar,” said the Tutor. “That is better—much better. You will, no doubt, study the Classics. There are those (I am well aware) who are disposed to object to modern American Scholarship as an excessive attention to minutiae: but personally, I confess, I am no enemy even to a meticulous exactness, which alone can save us from an incurious and slipshod rhetoric! . . . And what, then, are the points of scholarship which it has been your endeavour to elucidate? Have you followed in the steps of the lamented Professor Drybones of Chicago, who died before he could prove, by a complete enumeration of all the instances in Greek literature, that [Greek text] is never the first word of a sentence? Have you—”

“Pardon me, Professor,” put in the Rhodes Scholar. “That ain't my platform at all. I may say, I don't take any stock in literatoor.”

“Am I then to understand,” the Tutor asked, “that you are not acquainted with the Greek and Latin Classics?”

“Not considerable,” replied the American. “In fact, not any.”

“And to what, then, have your studies been directed?”

“Not to books, Professor. No, nor yet laboratories and such. I was elected Scholar by the unanimous suffrage of my class in Thessalonica, Maine, for Moral Character. When it comes to Moral Character, you look at me. That is just where I am on top every time.”

“Moral Character!” exclaimed the Tutor, aghast. “Oh, dear me! I am afraid that won't do at all—here. Moral Character—well, I hardly know how to put it—but the fact is that if that is all that you have to rely upon, you would be sent down within a year infallibly—Oh, infallibly, I assure you! . . . But,” he continued, “we must try to think of something for both of you gentlemen. Could I not give you both a letter of recommendation to my friend the Master of St. Cuthbert's? There, I know, they value very highly both morality and the 'Encyclopaedia Pananglica.' I am sure it would be just the place for you both. Do let me write!”

“As the Master of Alfred's sent Cecil Rhodes on to Auriol?” suggested the spruce young man, innocently.

“As the Master of—why, no,” said the Tutor, “I think that won't do, after all. Really, I believe, we must try to keep you at Boniface.” Boniface had suffered severely from agricultural depression. “Well, gentlemen—come to me again two hours hence, and we will try to think of something for you. Good morning!”

                     * * * * *

The Tutor was in a sad quandary. Paid as he was by results fees, he could not afford to receive pupils who would disgrace him in the Schools. Yet it had always been his creed that a College must adapt itself to existing circumstances, and be instinct with the Zeit Geist.

For a long time he remained wrapt in meditation.

                     * * * * *

Two hours elapsed, and the Tutor was again confronted with the twin aspirants to academic honours. He regarded them with the mien of one visibly relieved from a load of care. “These papers, gentlemen,” he said, pointing to certain documents which lay upon the tutorial table, “relate to a project of which you have doubtless heard—I refer to the extension of our Public Schools into the remoter regions of the British Empire. They are reprinted from Mr. Sargant's admirable letter to the Times, and the leading article on the subject. You are acquainted with them—No? Then pray take the papers: you will find them most instructive and agreeable reading during the voyage.”

“The—the voyage?” exclaimed the Rhodes Scholar.

“Certainly,” said the Tutor, “during the voyage. During the long afternoons when you are steaming over the oily calm of the Bay of Biscay, or being propelled (by friendly natives) down the rushing waters of the—ah—Congo. What I am proposing is that you two gentlemen should become members of our Branch Establishment in Timbuctoo. You must have heard of it! When schemes so beneficial to the Empire are mooted, was it likely that the Colleges of our great Imperial Universities would not take the lead in the van of progress? And when Eton, Harrow, and Giggleswick have founded institutions, similar to themselves in every respect except that of mere locality, in Asia, Africa, and Australasia, was the College of St. Boniface to be a laggard? Assuredly not. Gentlemen, I commend you to our Alma Mater beyond the seas.”

“But, Professor,” the Rhodes Scholar objected, “I was sent here across the salt water dish to join the College of St. Boniface. They were kind of sot upon that in Thessalonica. I guess they will be disappointed, some, if I ain't made a professing member of St. Boniface.”

“But you will be, my dear sir—you will be!” cried the Tutor, with vehemence, “a member of St. Boniface-in-Timbuctoo: Sancti Bonifacii Collegii apud Timbuctooenses alumnus: it is precisely the same thing. You have doubtless read, in the course of your historical investigations, how Eton is really an offshoot of Winchester: is Eton not a public school? Of course it is. Similarly, in the Middle Ages a portion of the University broke off and migrated to Stamford. Was it Oxford any the less because it happened to be at Stamford? Not the least. The two institutions—St. Boniface in Oxford and St. Boniface in Timbuctoo—are precisely identical. When you gentlemen in future years are competing for—and I trust, I am sure, obtaining—positions of distinction and emolument in the great world, you will be entitled to describe yourselves as Boniface Men. You can drop the 'Apud Timbuctooenses' if you like: the omission will not be considered fraudulent. But I see no reason why you should drop it. Personally, I should glory in it. Had I won a scholarship for Moral Character, I would go to Timbuctoo to-morrow! There, it seems to me, is your special sphere. In Oxford, Moral Character is so frequent as to be a drug, a positive drug: but in Timbuctoo the possession is precious in proportion to its rarity.”

“But have they got the Tone and the Tradition there, sir?” asked the holder of a 'Daily Thunderer' Scholarship. “That would be, for me, very important. My family were especially anxious—”

“Assuredly they have got the Tone and the Tradition. Coelum non animum mutant—you have met with that, probably, in the 'Encyclopaedia Pananglica.' Absolutely unimpaired, I assure you. We take great pains about that. Just an instance—the Visitor is the Bishop of Barchester, just as here with us: the local King wanted to be Visitor, but of course we couldn't allow that. Imagine—a Visitor with fifty-three wives, not to mention! It wouldn't have done at all: the Tone must have suffered. We are in constant communication (wireless, of course) with the Timbuctoo Branch: we are always being consulted. Only this morning we had to deal rather severely with an undergraduate member of the College—aboriginal, as many of them are—who insisted on playing the tom-tom in prohibited hours. Of course, we must back up the Dean, and in case of—emergency, we replace him and compensate his relations.”

“You speak, sir,” said the student of the Encyclopaedia, “of a local King. I understood that the College was on British territory.”

“The British Empire,” replied the Tutor, “includes Hinterlands. This is a Hinterland. It is consequently from time to time the duty of the local college authorities to assist the British Resident at the Court of Timbuctoo in pulling down the French, German, Italian, Russian, and Portuguese flags, all of which have been occasionally erected. But the country is practically annexed. We are—ah—suzerains.”

“I understand, Professor, from your observation relative to the tom-tom,” put the American scholar, “that the students of your College are subjected to the regular British discipline? That would be kind of essential for me. Cecil J. Rhodes, the eminent philanthropist, was particularly anxious that I should have the full advantages of your fine old high-toned mediaeval College rules. You have regulations, I presume?”

“The regulations,” replied the Don, “are framed (as exactly as possible in the circumstances) on the lines with which we are familiar in Oxford. It has not been advisable, so far, to establish the Proctorial system in its entirety throughout the capital of Timbuctoo; but within the walls of St. Boniface (or perhaps in strict truth I should say within the Zariba) the strictest discipline prevails. Clothing is essential—if not worn, at least carried in the hand—for attendance in Hall and at lectures. Morning chapel is obligatory: conscientious objectors, if aborigines, may keep a private fetish in their rooms. Cannibalism is only permitted if directly authorized by the Dean, after a personal interview.”

This appeared to satisfy the Rhodes Scholar; his companion wished further to know whether residence in a Colonial College could be regarded as a step on the Educational Ladder. His friends, he said, had impressed upon him that his function in life was to climb the Educational Ladder.

“The ladder to which you refer,” explained the Tutor, “can be scaled as well in Africa as in England. In fact, better; there are distinctly greater facilities. In view of the regrettable inadequacy (at present) of any organized system of primary education in Timbuctoo, secondary education has been obliged to modify some of its standards. The University of Oxford, never backward in the march of progress, is prepared to make the requisite concessions; and, as a result, you will find that the highest honours are attainable without any acquaintance with the ordinary subjects of our curriculum. It is, I should say, the very place for you. Remember, too, that the very largest latitude is allowed—nay, encouraged—in the choice of special subjects qualifying for the M.A. degree; and what a field you will find! The habits of residents—indeed, of some among your own fellow students—are most interesting to the student of Anthropology! while investigations among the flora and fauna of this country must be fraught with the most delightful potentialities. I confess, I envy you. I do not think I am saying too much if I assure you that this University will be ready and willing to confer upon you, not only the ordinary M.A. degree, but a Doctorate of Science or Letters!

“Then,” continued the Tutor, “as to recreations; neque semper arcum tendit Apollo—I beg your pardon, I mean to say that you cannot always be studying the domestic habits of the hippopotamus under a microscope. Sports and games you will find plentiful and interesting. There is head-hunting, for instance—”

“Hunting the head of the college, do you mean, Professor?” asked the American.

“Certainly not,” replied the Don, with dignity. “That would not, under any circumstances, be permitted. If it were the Dean, now—but, oh no, certainly not the Head. What I refer to is the pursuit and collection of decapitated human heads, belonging generally to personal enemies of the collector; it is a sport common in Borneo, and among other interesting, if primitive, nationalities. This pastime is, I understand, a favourite one with some students of the college. It is practised, I need hardly say, under the very strictest supervision; there must be a certificate signed by the British Resident, and a special written recommendation from the Director of the Craniological Department of the Museum. Under such restriction abuse is, of course, impossible. Then, again, there is golf; and it is hardly necessary to remind you that the Sahara provides perhaps the finest natural golf links in the world.”

“Well, Professor,” said the American, “I guess I will start. But how are we going to get right there, now? On the cars?”

“By the Cape to Cairo railway, when it is open,” the Tutor answered. “There will be a branch line. At present, the main line is, as you are aware, incomplete, and the branch is—well, in course of construction. Passengers are conveyed by motor. Or, if not by motor, by ox-waggon; trekking by the latter method is, I believe, the safer way; both, however, are, I understand, most commodious. I may explain to you that the present is a particularly auspicious occasion for your journey; you will travel in the company of the new Junior Dean, whose society, I am sure, you will find delightful. His predecessor, a personal friend of my own, succumbed, I grieve to say, a few months ago—owing to the alleged inadequate supply of beef-steaks at a 'Torpid' breakfast. . . . Painful, but apparently inevitable. I need hardly say, the perpetrators of this insult have been rusticated for a whole term.”

“Is the Junior Dean a coloured person—a nigger?” asked the Rhodes Scholar.

All the College officials,” explained the Don, “are, in the highest and best sense of the word, white men. Some of the Ordinary Fellows, it is true—Mr. Sargant's scheme contemplated, you see, the election to fellowships of persons of local distinction. But our officials are, without exception, Oxford men. It would be impossible, otherwise, to preserve the Tone and the Tradition.”

“And now, gentlemen,” he continued, “I must not keep you too long. Procrastination is the thief of time, eh? and besides, your boat leaves Southampton to-morrow. All expenses on the journey refunded by the Timbuctoo Bursar, on application. Are your boxes unpacked? No? Then all you have to do is to alter the labels.”

“About the 'Encyclopaedia,'“ said the spruce youth. “It is in three packing cases—a bit 'eavy. Will carriage be paid?”

“Oh certainly, certainly,” replied the Tutor. “Of course, I might relax our regulation about bonfires in the quadrangle—but no, no, I am sure you will find it most useful, even up-to-date—in Timbuctoo. Good morning!”

                     * * * * *

The Tutor, with a sigh of relief, renewed his perusal of the “Itinerarium” of Nemesianus. Nemesianus, honest man! did not know where Timbuctoo was. Nor, for the matter of that, did the Tutor.


“It is always interesting,” said my friend, Feedingspoon, “to consider the various stages of the process by which knowledge is disseminated. An inscription (we will say) or an important textual variation is discovered: it is then misinterpreted to fit a preconceived theory; then it is introduced into a cheap German edition, for the School-Use explained. Subsequently, an English school-book is copied from the German: the English commentary is imparted (by me) to undergraduates, in the form of lectures; and the undergraduates' notes are presently submitted to an examiner in the Schools, who marks them a—?, and says they show evidence of some original research. By how many degrees, do you suppose, is the examiner removed from the truth?”

“It depends,” I said, “whether he be a D.D., an M.A., or a D.Litt. But I do not understand the necessity of the lecturer. Cannot your undergraduate read the English book for himself?”

“No,” he replied, “he cannot. There are, of course, exceptional persons. But the ordinary man's mind is so constructed that he is incapable of comprehending that which is seen by the eyes unless it be also heard by the ears. Moreover, when he is not safely shut up in a lecture-room, he is almost always compelled to be either eating, or playing football, or meeting his maternal uncle at the station. Lastly, if the student could read for himself, there would be no need of a lecturer: which is absurd.

“Such being the admitted theory of education,” continued Feedingspoon, “I feel that I am necessary to the machinery of the Universe. The position which I occupy is at the same time one of some labour. This morning, for instance, I rose late (having been occupied till past midnight in reading to my pupils selections from the Poetics of Aristotle, in order that they might sleep soundly and wake refreshed): hence, I was unable to follow my usual practice, which is, to call my alumni at 6.30, to accompany them in a walk before breakfast, and map out the scheme of reading which they are to follow until luncheon. I only trust that this isolated omission of a plain duty may not wreck their futures! As a result of my somnolence, I had but ten minutes in which to prepare two lectures on subjects of which I had previously been ignorant; but, thanks to Mr. Gow's Handbook to School Classics—a work with which my pupils are unfamiliar because I have not yet told them to read it—I succeeded in displaying an erudition which, in the circumstances, was creditable. Since the conclusion of my lectures, I have been employed in visiting the candidates whom I am preparing for examination, and encouraging them to continue their studies. Personal attention is indispensable to the true educator. But I must confess that I am somewhat dashed and embarrassed by the receipt of a request from Tomkins, a scholar of this College, that I should discontinue my daily inspection of his reading, as he wishes to have time to do some work: coupled with a letter from the Senior Tutor, who wishes to know if I do not think that a little more individual attention is advisable in the case of Tomkins. . . .

“I must now,” he said, “ask you to excuse me. The representatives of my College are about to play a football match in the Parks: and although the game is one with the rules of which I have never been able to familiarize myself, and in which, between ourselves, I take no interest whatever, I conceive that my absence from the crowd of spectators might well loosen that sympathy between myself and the junior members of the College, without which they must infallibly meet the fate of the man who reads his books for himself and neglects the dictation of his Tutor. Moreover, I have to spend the later part of the afternoon in reading the Cr—, I should say, the admirable and scholarly version of Professor Jebb—to three Commoners who are taking up Sophocles for Honour Moderations.”

“Your day,” I said, “seems indeed to be somewhat occupied. Let me at least hope that the work which you are doing will win you the applause of the learned, and a place among the Educationists of the century.”

                     * * * * *

On leaving Feedingspoon, it happened that the first man whom I met was Fadmonger, the Fadmonger, the one with a Continental reputation. He had been ordered to play golf in the morning, and was returning from the links. As we walked together towards the North of Oxford, I was about to repeat to him the substance of my conversation with Feedingspoon. But on my mentioning the latter's name, Fadmonger interposed, and said that he really could not trust himself to speak on that subject. He then discoursed upon it at great length, using the most violent language about Obscurantism, Packed Boards, the Tutorial Profession, Sacrifice of Research to Examination, Frivolous Aims and Obsolete Methods, and the like.

“What,” he cried indignantly, “are we to think of a curriculum—so called—which includes the Republic of Plato and excludes the Onomasticon of Julius Pollux?”

“Assuredly,” I replied, “there can be only one opinion about it.”

“Exactly,” he said; “you are one of the few sensible men I know. Our methods, I can tell you, are getting us into serious discredit abroad. I should just like you to hear the things which are said about Literae Humaniores by Professor Jahaleel Q. Potsherds of Johns Hopkins, and Doctor Grabenrauber of Weissnichtwo. They think very little of this University at Johns Hopkins.”

“Indeed,” I said; “I am pained to hear it.”

“Yes,” replied Fadmonger; “it worries me a good deal. I have almost resolved to give up the rest of my lectures for the Term, and go to the Riviera for a complete change. . . .

“No,” he continued, after a pause, “there is nothing to be hoped from the College Tutor. Obscurantist he is, and obscurantist he will remain: he is our great impediment to serious study—study, that is, of anything except so-called classical texts. It is to the young student that we must look for salvation. Do you know young Frawde of my College? I have had most interesting talks with him—a really able man, but of course quite misunderstood by his tutors: able men always are.”

“He is, I suppose,” said I, “reading for a Final Honour School.”

“Of course he is doing nothing of the kind,” Fadmonger replied with some warmth. “In the present degraded condition of Honour Greats it is quite unworthy of a serious student. He is at present preparing to take a pass degree: and after that he thinks of going abroad to devote himself seriously to a course of Tymborychology. A most interesting young man, with admirably sound ideas on the present state of the Schools. . . .”

                     * * * * *

It happens that I know Frawde: and when I next met him I commented with some surprise on his new departure. Frawde was quite candid, and said it had been necessary to do something in order to patch up his much-ploughed character before Collections. He had been plausible, and Fadmonger credulous.

“And really, you know, the Fadder wasn't half a bad chap”—he had given Frawde a recommendation to read in the Bodder—“and I am going there too,” said the serious student, “as soon as I can find out where it is: but nobody seems to know. After all, lots of chaps go abroad after their degraggers: why shouldn't I have a spade and dig in Egypt or Mesopotamia or somewhere, same as anybody else? Eh?”

And, upon my word, I really don't see why he shouldn't.


“The question is,” said Pluto to the deceased Tutor, “which of our penalties we can assign to you. Something you must have, you know: it's the rule of the place.”

“Sorry to hear you say so,” replied the Tutor. “I had hoped that perhaps I might be allowed a little quiet to enjoy the pleasant warmth—my doctor really sent me here as an alternative to Algiers—and possibly throw in a little journalistic work which would advertise you in the evening papers. You're not known enough up there.”

“Not known? Why, surely you yourself must often have been recommended to—”

“Of course, of course,” the Tutor hastily interrupted,—“but not by any one whose opinion or advice I at all respected. Whereas if I might just have leisure to look round and jot things down, now that I am here, I could put you in touch with specialists who—”

“Now, look here,” said the Monarch, “if you're going to stay here at all, you must please to remember that this isn't a University. I simply won't have idlers loafing round wasting their own time and demoralizing society with their lazy habits. Pardon my abruptness” (he continued, more mildly), “but with all the exclusiveness in the world I can't prevent our getting a little mixed now and then, and if people come here with academic ideas I really couldn't be responsible for order and morality. We should be as Anglo-Indian as Olympus in no time.”

“Very true! very true!” said the Shade. “I quite see. Satan finds some mischief still—eh? as I used to say when I was a Dean. Since you really insist on it, I suppose there had better be some trifling torture by way of occupation. Only look here—it mustn't be any of the things I used to do up above. Quite absurd, you know, to go on reading the same books you did at school—no, I mean, to be made to continue on the same old lines I followed before I came up—down, I should say. It's so monotonous, and it isn't improving.”

“Well,” said Pluto, “we'll see what can be done, on that assumption. It does rather limit possibilities, though, doesn't it? You see I have to confess that, considering it's the nineteenth century, we are a little behind the times—no great variety in the matter of punishments.”

“Why don't you bring them up to date?” asked the visitor.

“Practically,” he replied, “it's a question of expense. With funds, I could do much more. Roasting over a slow fire, for instance, is good: they have that in another place: but just think of the coal bill! Then viva-voceing and vivisecting without anaesthetics are of course admirable; but the cost of expert labour involved would be ruinous. Result is, that nearly all my penalties are self-acting and consequently simple in design; and, on the whole, except in the case of blases people who come here with a too varied experience, they answer tolerably well.”

“All right,” said the Tutor, “suggest an occupation.”

“Let me see,” said the Ruler of the Shades, and he pondered a few moments. “How would it be, now, if you were to take a turn with our friend Sisyphus? He rolls a big stone up a hill, and just as he thinks it's going to get to the top, down it comes again—most disappointing. Quite inexpensive, and very healthy, I should say, and really, as an object-lesson in the force of gravity, not uninstructive.”

“Won't do at all,” replied the Tutor. “In the Vacations I was always walking up hills and having to come down before I got to the top. Then in the Term I used to teach Logic to passmen; and really, if you think—”

“Yes, yes,” Pluto agreed; “the occupations would be practically identical. Of course, that won't suit you. Well, then, there's Ixion, who goes round on a wheel.”

“I'm a bicyclist myself,” objected the Tutor.

“Are you? Pity, too, because Ixion says his wheel's old-fashioned; he wants a new one with pneumatic tyres warranted puncturable, which shows that he is really entering into the spirit of the thing. You might have had his old one for a song, I'm sure. However, what do you say to calling on those Danaid girls, and getting them to teach you their little industry? There, again, you have simplicity itself. Take a can with a hole in the bottom, go on pouring water into it—”

“I thought I told you,” murmured the deceased, wearily, “that I have followed the profession of teaching.”

“Very true; I had forgotten. Don't know what we can do to suit you, really! Perhaps you'd like to imitate Theseus—sedet aeternumque sedebit, as Virgil said. Astonishing how Virgil picked these details up! There's old Theseus, sitting like a hen. They say he's as tired of sitting as if he were a rowing-man.”

“As an ex-member of the Board of the Faculty of Arts—” began the Tutor.

“Ah, dear me!” replied Pluto. “Then that won't do either? Those Boards must be excellent from my point of view. I have often wished I had one or two down here. But I'm really afraid we're getting to the end of the list. And, you know, if we can't provide you with anything, back you'll have to go. I won't keep you, eating your head off. But, talk of eating! shall I put you up beside Prometheus, and ask his eagle to do a little overtime work by taking a turn at your liver? I am afraid we could hardly stand you a private eagle all to yourself. It is said to be quite painful; I really don't think you can have gone through that, with all your experience.”

“Oh yes I have,” returned the Tutor; “a long course of Hall dinners has familiarized me with every possibility in the way of liver trouble. The eagle business would be the merest crambe repetita.”

“Bless the man!” cried Pluto, justly provoked. “Very well; then you can't stay here, that's all. I've given you all the alternatives Hades has at its disposal, and you tell us you have been through them all in your University! All I can say is, you had better go back to it, and stay there.”

“The Bursar,” said the Tutor, “will not be best pleased to see me again. He thinks he has got my Fellowship, and is going to use it for the benefit of the College farms. I can tell you he won't like it one bit when I reappear at the College Meeting.”

“The Bursar and I shall have plenty of time for an explanation—later,” said Pluto.


I have been a good deal distressed lately by the reverses of my friend John Bull, who is one of the leading tradesmen in this town. Everybody knows his establishment. It does a very large business indeed: you can get practically everything there—coals, Lee-Metford rifles, chocolate, biscuits, steam-engines, Australian mutton, home and colonial produce of every kind, in short. My old friend is tremendously proud of his shop, which, as he says, he has made what it is by strict honesty (and really for an enterprising tradesman he is fairly honest) and attention to business principles. He has put a deal of capital into it, and spares no expense in advertising; in fact, he keeps a regular department for poetry, which is written on the premises and circulated among customers and others, and explains in the most beautiful language that the house in Britannia Road is the place to go to for everything. John, who prides himself on his literary taste, considers this to be the finest poetry ever written; and Mrs. Bull reads it out to him in the evening before he has his regular snooze after supper.

Everything was going on swimmingly until this unfortunate Hooligan trouble began. I must explain to you that Mr. Bull owns a great deal more property than the actual premises where he transacts business. Somehow or other, in course of time he has become the proprietor of bits and scraps all over the town and suburbs—tenements, waste lands, eligible building sites, warehouses, and what not—the whole making up what, if it was put together, would be a very considerable estate. How it all came into John Bull's hands nobody knows properly; indeed, I don't think he does himself. Some of it was bought, and bought pretty dear too. Some of it was left to him. A good deal of it he—one doesn't like using the word, but still—well, in fact, took; but, mind you, he always took everything for its good, and for the ultimate benefit of society, not for any selfish reasons; so that to call Mr. Bull a pirate, as Dubois does who keeps the toy-shop over the way, is manifestly absurd. Anyhow, it is a very fine property, and would be bigger still if Jonathan C., a cousin of the family, hadn't taken off a good slice which used to belong to John.

As I was saying, this property is a very large straggling affair, most of it a long way off from the shop. Its owner finds it very hard to look after every part; all the more so, because this town has no regular police, and is therefore continually troubled by gangs of roughs, who go about breaking windows and even heads, and doing damage generally. They are always giving a great deal of trouble to the Bull people; and what makes it worse is that very often they are actually tenants on the property, who ought to know better. One of these Hooligan crowds lately made a dead set against poor John; it was all the harder because to my personal knowledge he had shown himself most kind and forgiving to various members of this particular gang; and once before, when they came and broke his windows, he refused to prosecute, and simply gave them five shillings to drink Mrs. Bull's health and not do it again. That is the kind of man he is, sometimes. In spite of this indulgent and charitable treatment, they came the other day and made a raid into an outlying corner of his property and did all sorts of damage; and not content with this, they actually squatted there on land which was no more theirs than it is mine (I am thankful to say), where they insulted and even assaulted innocent passers-by, and levied blackmail on John Bull's adjacent tenants, and, in short, became the terror of the neighbourhood and a disgrace to civilization. And when Mr. Bull's watchman (I told you there is no regular police force, and everybody has to look after himself), when Thomas Atkins, I say, came with orders to turn them out, they told him to go—I hardly like to say where—and absolutely refused to stir; quite the contrary; they hid themselves behind rubbish-heaps and hoardings and such like, and threw things at Thomas; and when he tried to catch them, they ran away and hid behind more hoardings, so that when you thought they were in one place they were always somewhere else, and the poor watchman got so knocked about with stones and brickbats that the next morning, when he came round to the shop to report progress, he had a black eye, and a cut head, and a torn coat, and a nasty bruise on one of his legs. Mrs. Bull had to patch up his coat and give him some arnica and vaseline.

Poor Mr. Atkins! He is a most respectable man, and an excellent watchman, as was his father before him. It is a tradition of the Atkins family that they are as brave as lions, and do not know what fear is; but unfortunately they are not always very clever, and Thomas is a little slow at learning, and does not pick up new tricks readily. His father had a tremendous hammer-and-tongs battle with the Dubois' watchman once, right in the middle of the public street—thirty-six rounds or so they had of it—and licked him, as John Bull says, in true British style; and that is always Thomas's way, and the only thing that he understands properly; none of your underhand dodges like hiding behind places and throwing brickbats when one isn't looking. So that the Hooligan ways of fighting were quite too much for him at first. And although Mr. Bull spent a lot of money in buying him a new watchman's rattle and a very expensive second-hand truncheon, nearly as good as the best kind, still it was all no good, and Thomas couldn't turn the invaders out.

All this time you must not suppose that Mr. Bull's neighbours had nothing to say about the matter. On the contrary, they were very much interested and, I am sorry to say, pleased. Dubois the Frenchman, and Muller, the man who keeps the World's Cheap Emporium, and Alexis Ivanovitch, the big cornfactor in the next street who is always maltreating his workmen, were never tired of saying nasty things about Mr. Bull and crowing over the mishaps of Mr. Atkins. Everybody knows what a terrible quarrel there was some years ago between Muller and Dubois, and how Muller went into the toyshop and thrashed the Frenchman then and there, so that poor Dubois had to go to bed for a week, and for a long time afterwards used to go about vowing vengeance. But this didn't in the least prevent the two from fraternizing on the common ground of enmity to John Bull. They would meet—by accident, of course—just under his windows, and then Muller would say, very loud, to Dubois, “Is it not ridiculous, my friend, that this once apparently so mighty Herr Bull and his watchman should again by the Hooliganish crowd have been defeated?” Or perhaps, “This is what comes of your big businesses and your straggling premises with no one to protect them. How much better to have a small compact business (though it's not so small either, mind you) like my Emporium, by a large number of properly trained watchmen defended!” And Dubois would say,—so that it annoyed the Bull household very much indeed,—“Behold the fruits of being a pirate and a robber. Conspuez M. Atkins! Justice for ever! A bas les Juifs!” (he always says that now when he is angry—goodness only knows why). Indeed Dubois got so excited that he actually thought of breaking John's windows, though on reflection he decided that he wouldn't do it just yet. And John was very cross with Atkins and the shopboy, and even with Mrs. Bull and his son J. Wellington Bull, and caused it to be generally known that he would knock Dubois's head off for sixpence if he got the chance. Then Paddy Gilhooly, who is a tenant of the Bulls', in Hibernia Road—and a shocking bad tenant, too, who never pays any rent when he can help it, and keeps his premises in a disgraceful condition, with a lot of pigs and poultry running about in the front parlour—this Paddy must needs put his finger in the pie and turn against his own landlord, so that whenever Mr. Atkins came along Hibernia Road Paddy would put his head out of window and shout, “Hooligans for iver! More power to th' inimy! Crunchy aboo!” and other similar observations, of which no one took the least notice, because it was the way with the Gilhooly family. Still, it was very ungrateful of Paddy, after all John's kindness to him; besides being painful to Mr. Atkins, who is a near cousin of the Gilhoolys and would not wish to be disgraced by the conduct of his relations. I don't know why it is, but somehow or other Mr. Bull has not the gift of making himself generally popular. Time after time he has lent Paddy money; and as for Muller and Dubois, if they want good advice on the proper conduct of their business, they know where to come for it: but they don't seem to appreciate the privilege. In short, if it wasn't for that little bankrupt wine merchant Themistocles Papageorgios, whom John saved some time ago from the consequences of litigation with a Turkish firm, I doubt if my poor friend has one sincere wellwisher among all the townsmen.

However, I am glad to say that most of them have begun to change their tune lately, thanks to Mr. Bull's luck being on the mend. Thomas Atkins did not make a very good start, certainly; but as time went on he learnt a number of new tricks, and the violent exercise which he had to take put him into excellent training. Moreover, some cousins of the Bulls showed a very proper family spirit, and sent the eldest son, Larry, to help Mr. Atkins. So, what with Thomas being, so to speak, a new man, and Larry being very strong and active, and the shopboy coming out to lend a hand when required, the three between them began to turn the tables. They caught two or three of the marauders at last, and had them locked up; and I sincerely hope and trust that they will do the same with all the rest very soon. This seems to have produced a great change in the sentiments of Mr. Bull's fellow-citizens. Muller is not nearly so contemptuous as he used to be about Atkins; and Dubois, I suppose, has remembered that he is going to have a big summer sale this year, and that it would be very embarrassing, under the circumstances, to be embroiled with an influential person like this brave M. Bull, as he calls him now. Only Ivanovitch is still very sulky and goes on using violent expressions. I am afraid there will be trouble yet between my poor friend and the cornfactor—though goodness knows the town ought to be big enough to hold both of them. But the fact is they have both got mortgages on a china shop in the suburbs which is in a bad way financially, and it makes them as jealous of each other as possible.

Evidently this Hooligan affair is not going to last for ever; and, on the whole, if things don't get worse, Bull may congratulate himself on having done pretty well so far. But it has hit him rather hard. What with buying things for Mr. Atkins and paying him for working overtime, and having had to put up new fire-proof shutters, and sending out the shopboy away from his duties to help Atkins and Larry, he has lost a deal of money, one way and another; and besides, as he is very much afraid of this kind of thing happening again, it looks as if the whole business of the shop were going to be put on a different footing. For here is J. Wellington Bull, who was to have helped behind the counter, going out now to do watchman's duty with the others; and as likely as not the old man himself will have to take to patrolling his property instead of looking after his customers; so that, in all probability, there will be no one but Mrs. B. to see after the shop. And, as John said to me the other day, these are no times for leaving a business to be managed by old women.

He says he has seen enough of that kind of thing.


   This is the tale that is told of an almost universally respected
   Who, being fully aware of the views of Continental Potentates, and
   their plans ambitious and sinister,
   For the better defence of his native land, and to free her from
   continual warlike alarms,
   Determined that he would popularize the conception (and a very good
   one too) of a Nation in Arms!
   Now this is the way he proceeded to fan the flame of patriot ardour—
   (This metre looks at first as easy to write as blank verse, or Walt
   Whitman, but is in reality considerably harder),—
   He assured his crowded audience that, while everyone must deprecate a
   horrid, militant, Jingoist attitude,
   Not to serve one's country—at least on Saturday afternoons—was the
   very blackest ingratitude:
   Death on the battlefield,—or at least the expense of buying a
   uniform,—was the patriots' chiefest glory;
   Dulce et decorum est (said the statesman, amid thunderous cheers) pro
   patria mori!
   Everyone should be ready to defend his hearth and home, be it humble
   cot or family mansion,
   Provided always that he discouraged a tendency to Militarism and
   Imperial Expansion:
   That was the habit of mind which a Briton's primary duty to stifle
   Seeing that the country's salvation lay rather with the intelligent,
   spontaneous, disinterested volunteer who didn't care how obsolete the
   pattern of his rifle was:
   Too much skill in shooting or drill was a perilous thing, and he did
   not mean to acquire it,
   For fear of alarming peace-loving Emperors and such-like by display of
   a combative spirit;
   Regular armies tended to that: and in view of the state of
   international conditions he
   Meant to cut down our own to the minimum consistent with Guaranteed
   Being convinced as he was that an army recruited and trained on a
   properly peaceful principle
   Would be wholly (and here comes a rhyme that won't please the mere
   purist, but I'm sorry to say it's the only available one) wholly, I
   say, and completely invincible!
   This being so, he did not propose to devise any scheme or with
   cut-and-dried details to fetter a
   Patriot Public which quite understood of itself that England
   Expects—et cetera.
   After this oratorical burst, as the country next day was informed by
   about two hundred reporters,
   The Right Honourable Gentleman resumed his seat amid loud and
   continuous applause, having spoken for two hours and three quarters.
   The Public at once declared with unanimity so remarkable that nothing
   would well surpass it
   That patriotic self-sacrifice was a Priceless National Asset:
   No rational person, they said, could fail to be deeply impressed by
   the charms
   Of that truly august conception, a Nation in Arms:
   To become expert in the use of strictly defensive weapons, spear or
   sword, Lee-Metford, torpedo, or sabre,
   Was a duty—if not for oneself, yet incumbent without any shadow of
   doubt on one's neighbour;
   Still there were some who might possibly urge that the world was at
   peace, and the time was not ripe yet for it,—
   Besides the undoubted fact that a patriot who was asked to sacrifice
   his Saturday half-holiday might legitimately inquire what he was
   likely to get for it;
   So on the whole while they recognized quite (what a metre this is, to
   be sure!) that the Minister's scheme was replete with attraction,
   They decided to wait for a while (what with the danger of encouraging
   a spirit of Militarism and a number of other excellent reasons) before
   putting his plan into action.
   Then the Continental Potentates—and if I venture at all to allude to
   them, it is
   Only to show how all this Nation-in-Arms business may lead to the most
   regrettable extremities:
   This part of my poem in short most painful and sad to a lover of peace
   And in fact I believe I can deal with it best by a delicate use of the
   figure Aposiopesis—
   However—the net result was that a time arrived when Consols went down
   to nothing at all, caddies in thousands were thrown out of work and
   professional footballers docked of their salary,
   And several League matches had to be played at a lamentable financial
   loss in the absence of the usual gallery!
   Then, some time after that (it's really impossible to say what
   happened in between) when business at last had resumed its usual
   And the nation in general was no longer engaged in painfully realistic
   manoeuvres, on the Downs, between Guildford and Dorking,—
   Then the public met and resolved like the person whose case is
   recorded in fable
   That now that the steed had been stolen (or at least suffered from
   exposure to the air) it was high time to close the door of the stable;
   And that never again no more should their cricket-fields, football
   grounds, croquet lawns, bunkers,
   Be profaned by the feet of Cossacks, Chasseurs, Bashi-Bazouks, or
   And I don't think they talked very big about Nations in Arms, or
   inscribed on their banners any particularly inspiring motto,
   But they learnt to shoot and to drill, not more or less but quite
   well—in spite of the dangers of Militarism—for the plain and simple
   reason that they'd got to!


   Essence of boredom! stupefying Theme!
      Whereon with eloquence less deep than full,
   Still maundering on in slow continuous stream,
      All can expatiate, and all be dull:
   Bane of the mind and topic of debate
      That drugs the reader to a restless doze,
   Thou that with soul-annihilating weight
      Crushest the Bard, and hypnotisest those
   Who plod the placid path of plain pedestrian Prose:

   Lo! when each morn I carefully peruse
      (Seeking some subject for my painful pen)
   The Times, the Standard, and the Daily News,
      No other topic floats into my ken
   Save this alone: or Dr. Clifford slates
      Dogmas in general: or the dreadful ban
   Of furious Bishops excommunicates
      Such simple creeds as Birrell, hopeful man!
   Thinks may perhaps appease th' unwilling Anglican.

   Lo! at Society's convivial board
      (Whereat I do occasionally sit,
   In hope to bear within my memory stored
      Some echo thence of someone else's wit),
   Or e'er the soup hath yielded to the fish,
      A heavy dulness doth the banquet freeze:
   Lucullus' self would shun th' untasted dish
      When lovely woman whispers, “Tell me, please,
   What are Denominational Facilities?”

   From scenes like these my Muse would fain withdraw:
      To Taff's still Valley be my footsteps led,
   Where happy Unions 'neath the shield of Law
      Heave bricks bisected at the Blackleg's head:
   In those calm shades my desultory oat
      Of Taxed Land Values shall contented trill,
   Of Man ennobled by a Single Vote,—
      In short, I'll sing of anything you will,
   Except of thee alone, O Education Bill!

THE WORKING MAN (After seeing his Picture in the Press)

   Working Man! whose psychic beauty
      (Unattainable by me)
   Still it is my pleasing duty
      Painted by your friends to see,—
   You, whose virtues ne'er can bore us,
      Daily through their list we scan,
   Let me swell th' admiring chorus,
      Let me hymn the Working Man!

   You whose Leaders, highly moral,
      Always shocked by war's alarms,
   Could not in their country's quarrel
      Contemplate the use of arms,
   Yet, should strikes provide occasion,
      Then by higher promptings led
   Do with more than moral suasion
      Break the erring Blackleg's head:—

   You, whose intellectual state is
      Such that you are aiming at
   Getting all your culture gratis
      (Not that you're alone in that),—
   Always with the strict injunction
      That whate'er be false or true
   Every teacher's simple function
      Is to teach what pleases you:—

   Not to gain by learned labour
      Any sordid quid pro quo:
   Not to rise above your neighbour
      (Comrades ne'er are treated so):
   Not to change your lowly station,
      Not for rank and not for pelf,
   Academic education
      Only, only for itself,—

   Yet in whose commercial dealings
      Vainly we attempt to find
   Those disinterested feelings
      Which adorn the Student's mind,—
   Seeing that, O my high-souled brothers!
      There your dream of happiness
   Is (like mine, and several others')
      Earning more for working less!

   'Tis not that I blame your getting
      Anything you think you can:
   'Tisn't that which I'm regretting,
      Noble British Working Man!
   No—although the facts I mention
      Sometimes wake a mild surprise—
   Still—the truth's beyond contention—
      You are good, and great, and wise:

   Swell my taxes: stint my fuel:
      Last, to close the painful scene,
   Send me, rather just than cruel,
      Send me to the guillotine:
   Ere the knife bisects my spinal
      Cord, and ends my vital span,
   This shall be my utterance final,
      Bless the British Working Man!


   They tell me the Millennium's come
      (And I should be extremely glad
   Could I but feel assured, like some,
      It had):
   They tell me of a bright To Be
      When, freed from chains that tyrants forge
   By the Right Honourable D.
      Lloyd George,
   We shall by penalties persuade
      The idle unrepentant Great
   To serve (inadequately paid)
      The State,—
   All working for the general good,
      While painful guillotines confront
   The individual who could
      And won't:
   But horny-handed sons of toil,
      Who now purvey our meats and drinks,
   Our gardens devastate, and spoil
      Our sinks,
   Shall seldom condescend to take
      That inconsiderable sum
   For which they daily butch, and bake,
      And plumb;
   Such humble votaries of trade
      No more shall follow arts like these;
   Since most of them will then be made

                     * * * * *

   And can I then (with some surprise
      You ask) possess my tranquil soul,
   And view with calm indifferent eyes
      The Poll,
   While partisans, in raucous tones,
      With doleful wail or joyful shout
   Proclaim that Brown is in, or Jones
      Is out?
   I can: I do: the reason's plain:
      That blissful day which prophets paint
   Perhaps may come: perhaps again
      It mayn't:
   And ere these ages blest begin
      (For Rome, I've heard historians say,
   Was only partly finished in
      A day)
   In men of sentiments sublime
      'Tis possible we yet may trace
   The influence of mellowing Time
      And PLACE:—
   O who can tell? Ere Labour rouse
      Its ever-multiplying hordes
   To mend or end th' obstructive House
      Of Lords,
   And bid aristocrats begone,
      And their hereditary pelf
   Bestow with generous hand upon
   Why, Mr. George,—his threats forgot
      Which Earls and Viscounts cowering hear,—
   Himself may be, as like as not,
      A Peer!


   Tomkins! when revolving lustres
      Thin those shining locks that now
   Wreathe their hyacinthine clusters
      Round your intellectual brow,—
   You who in your nobler station
      Still are kind enough to seek
   Our political salvation
      Rather more than once a week,—

   Think you, will your rightful value
      Still be duly understood?
   Will the British Public hail you
      Always great and always good?
   When the Peoples fight for Freedom
      And the tyrant's rage confront,
   Will they call for you to lead 'em?
      —No, my friend: I fear they won't.

   Soon or late are Truth's apostles
      Laid upon their destined shelf;
   You, who talk of Ancient Fossils,
      Tomkins! will be one yourself:
   Dons and Men with gibe and sneer your
      Ancient crusted ways will view,
   Wondering oft with smile superior
      What's the use of Things like you!

   All the schemes that win you glory,
      Meant to mend our mortal mess—
   These will simply brand you Tory,
      Nothing more and nothing less:
   You who waked the world from slumber,
      You, who shone in Progress' van,
   You'll be then a mere Back Number,
      Obsolete as good Queen Anne!

   You I see with zeal excessive
      Dying then for causes, which
   Now (forsooth) you call Progressive,
      In reaction's Final Ditch:
   By Conservatives in caucus
      (Ardent youth, reflect on that!)
   Sent to stem the horrid raucous
      Clamours of the Democrat . . .

   No: I do not wish to quarrel
      With your high exalted sense;
   No: there isn't any moral—
      Not of any consequence:
   Only, 'neath your exhortations
      Passive while we're doomed to sit,
   Themes like these conduce to patience,—
      And I thought I'd mention it.


   My Tityrus! and is't a fact
      (As wondrous facts there are)
   That History's scenes thou wouldst enact
      Beside the banks of Cher?
   Wilt thou for pomps like these desert
      Thy calm and cloistered lair,
   Not quite so young as once thou wert,
      Nor (pardon me) so fair?

   We saw thee stalk in youthful prime
      With high Proctorial mien:
   We saw the majesty sublime
      Which marked the Junior Dean;
   O pundit grave! O sage M.A.!
      Say in what happy part
   Thou wilt before the crowd display
      Thy histrionic art!

   With cranium bald, which ne'er again
      Will need the barber's shear,
   Wilt thou present in Charles his train
      Some long-locked Cavalier?
   A sober Don for all to see
      Who once didst walk abroad,
   Wilt now an Ancient Briton be
      And painted blue with woad?

   Me from such scenes afar remove,
      And hide my shuddering head
   Where Nature doth in field and grove
      Her fairer pageant spread:
   There will I meditating lie
      'Mid summer's calm delights,—
   But thou wilt walk adown the High
      My Tityrus,—in Tights. . . .


   A Novelist, whose magic art,
   Had plumbed ('twas said) the human heart,
   Whom for the penetrative ken
   Wherewith he probed the souls of men
   The Public and the Public's wife
   Declared synonymous with Life,—
   Sat idle, being much perplexed
   What Attitude to study next,
   Because he would not wholly tell
   Which Pose was likeliest to sell.
   To him the Muse: “Why seek afar
   For things that on the threshold are?
   Why thus evolve with care and pain
   From your imaginative brain?
   Put Artifice upon the shelf,—
   Take pen and ink, and draw—Yourself!”
   The author heard: he took the hint:
   He photographed himself in print.
   His very inmost self he drew. . . .
   The critics said, “This Will Not Do.
   No more we recognize the art
   Which used to plumb the human heart,—
   This suffers from the patent vice
   Of being not Art but Artifice.
   'Tis deeply with the fault imbued
   Of Inverisimilitude:
   He's written out; his skill's forgot:
   He only writes to Boil the Pot!
   It is not true; it will not wash;
   'Tis mere imaginative Bosh;
   And if he can't” (they told him flat)
   “Get nearer to the Life than that,
   He will not earn the Public's pelf!”

   This happens when you draw Yourself.
   Or—I should say—it happens when
   Such portraits are essayed by Men:
   For presently a Lady came
   And did substantially the same.
   (Let everyone peruse this sequel
   Who dreams that Man is Woman's equal),—
   She with a hand divinely free
   Drew what she thought herself to be:
   It did not much resemble Her
   In moral strength or mental stature—
   Yet did the critics all aver
   It simply teemed with Human Nature!


   In that dim and distant aeon
   Known as Ante-Mycenaean,
   When the proud Pelasgian still
   Bounded on his native hill,
   And the shy Iberian dwelt
   Undisturbed by conquering Celt,
   Ere from out their Aryan home
   Came the Lords of Greece and Rome,
   Somewhere in those ancient spots
   Lived a man who painted Pots—
   Painted with an art defective,
   Quite devoid of all perspective,
   Very crude, and causing doubt
   When you tried to make them out,
   Men (at least they looked like that),
   Beasts that might be dog or cat,
   Pictures blue and pictures red,
   All that came into his head:
   Not that any tale he meant
   On the Pots to represent:
   Simply 'twas to make them smart,
   Simply Decorative Art.
   So the seasons onward hied,
   And the Painter-person died—
   But the Pot whereon he drew
   Still survived as good as new:
   Painters come and painters go,
   Art remains in statu quo.

   When a thousand years (perhaps)
   Had proceeded to elapse,
   Out of Time's primeval mist
   Came an AEtiologist;
   He by shrewd and subtle guess
   Wrote Descriptive Letterpress,
   Setting forth the various causes
   For the drawings on the vases,
   All the motives, all the plots
   Of the painter of the pots,
   Entertained the nations with
   Fable, Saga, Solar Myth,
   Based upon ingenious shots
   At the Purpose of the Pots,
   Showing ages subsequent
   What the painter really meant
   (Which, of course, the painter hadn't;
   He'd have been extremely saddened
   Had he seen his meanings missed
   By the AEtiologist).

   Next arrives the Prone to Err
   Very ancient Chronicler,
   All that mythologic lore
   Swallowing whole and wanting more,
   Crediting what wholly lacked
   All similitude of Fact,
   Building on this wondrous basis
   All we know of early races;
   So the Past as seen by him
   Furnished from its chambers dim
   Hypothetical foundations
   Whence succeeding generations
   Built, as on a basis sure,
   Branches three of Literature,
   Social Systems four (or five),
   Two Religions Primitive;
   So that one may truly say
   (Speaking in a general way)
   All the facts and all the knowledge
   Taught in School and taught in College,
   All the books the printer prints—
   Everything that's happened since—
   Feels the influence of what
   Once was drawn upon that Pot,
   Plus the curious mental twist
   Of that AEtiologist!

   But the Pot that caused the trouble
   Lay entombed in earth and rubble,
   Left about in various places,
   In the way that early races—
   Hittites, Greeks, or Hottentots—
   Used to leave important Pots;
   Till at length, to close the list,
   Came an Archaeologist,
   Came and dug with care and pain,
   Came and found the Pot again:
   Dug and delved with spade and shovel,
   Made a version wholly novel
   Of the Potman's old design
   (Others none were genuine).
   Pots were in a special sense
   Echt-Historisch Documents:
   All who Error hope to stem
   Must begin by studying them;
   So the Public (which, he said,
   Had been grievously misled)
   Must in all things freshly start
   From his views of Ancient Art.
   All (the learned man proceeded)
   Otherwise who thought than he did,
   Showed a stupid, base, untrue,
   Obscurantist point of view;
   Men like these (the sage would say)
   Should be wholly swept away;
   They, and eke the faults prodigious
   Which beset their creeds religious,
   Render totally impure
   All their so-called Literature,
   Lastly, sap to its foundation
   All their boasted education,—
   Just because they've quite forgot
   What was meant, and what was not,
   By the Painter of the Pot!

                     * * * * *

   Pots are long and life is fleeting;
   Artists, when their subjects treating,
   Should be very, very far
   Carefuller than now they are.


   When by efforts literary you might scale the summits airy
      Which the eminent in fiction are ascending every day,
   Why obscurely crawl and grovel?—I will write (I said) a Novel!
      So I started and I planned it in the ordinary way.

   I'd a Heroine—a creature of resplendent form and feature,
      With a spell in every motion and a charm in every look:
   I'd a Villain—worse than Nero,—I'd a most superior Hero:
      And the host of minor persons which is needed in a book:

   Each was drawn from observation: yet was each a pure creation
      Which revealed at once the genius of originating mind:
   Not a man and not a woman but combined the Broadly Human
      With a something quite peculiar of an interesting kind:

   What a wealth of meaning inner in the things they said at dinner!
      How their conversation sparkled (like the ripples on the deep),
   Half disclosing, half concealing a Profundity of Feeling
      Which would move the gay to laughter and incite the grave to weep!

   There they stood in grace and vigour, each imaginary figure,
      Each a masterpiece of drawing for the world to wonder at:
   There was really nothing more I had to find but just the story,
      Nothing more, but just the story—but I couldn't think of that.

   Yet (I cried), in other writers, how the lovers and the fighters
      Are conducted through the mazes of a complicated plan,—
   How the incidents are planted just precisely where they're wanted—
      How the man invites the moment, and the moment finds the man!

   How a Barrie or a Kipling guides the maiden and the stripling
      Till they're ultimately landed in the matrimonial state,—
   And they die, or else they marry (in a Kipling or a Barrie)
      Just as if the thing was ordered by unalterable Fate,—

   While with me, alas! to balance my innumerable talents,
      There's a fatal imperfection and a melancholy blot:
   All the forms of my creating stand continually waiting
      For a charitable person to provide them with a Plot!

   Still I put the endless query why I wander lone and dreary
      (Barred from Eden like the Peri) minus fame and minus fee,
   Why the idols of the masses have an entree to Parnassus,
      While a want of mere invention is an obstacle to me!


   Arise, my Muse, and ply th' extended Wing!
   It is of Language that I mean to sing.
   Thou mighty Medium, potent to convey
   The clearest Notions in the darkest Way,
   Diffus'd by thee, what Depth of verbal Mist
   Veils now the Realist, now th' Idealist!
   Our mental Processes more complex grow
   Than those our Sires were privileged to know.
   In Ages old, ere Time Instruction brought,
   A Thought or Thing was but a Thing or Thought:
   Such simple Names are now forever gone—
   A Concept this, that a Noumenon:
   As Cambria's Sons their Pride of Race increase
   By joining Ap to Evan, Jones, or Rees,
   A prouder Halo decks the Sage's Brow,
   Perceptive once, he's Apperceptive now!
   Here sits Mentality (that erst was Mind),
   By correlated Entities defin'd:
   Here Monads lone Duality express
   In bright Immediacy of Consciousness:
   O who shall say what Obstacles deter
   The Youth who'd fain commence Philosopher!
   The painful Public with bewilder'd Brain
   For Metaphysic pants, but pants in vain:
   Too hard the Names, too weighty far the Load:
   Language forbids, and Br-dl-y blocks the Road.
   From Themes like these I willingly depart,
   And pass (discursive) to the Realms of Art.
   Ye Muses nine! what Phrases ye employ,
   What wondrous Terms t' express aesthetic Joy!
   As once in Years ere Babel's Turrets rose
   Contented Nations talk'd the self-same Prose:
   As early Christians in the Days of Yore
   Took what they wanted from a common Store:
   So different Arts th' astonished Reader sees
   Pool all their Terms, then choose whate'er they please.
   'Mid critick Crews (where Intellect abounds)
   Sound sings in Colours, Colours shine in Sounds:
   When mimick Groves Apelles decks with green,
   Or Zeuxis limns the vespertinal Scene,
   Staccato Tints delight th' auscultant Eye
   And soft Andantes paint the conscious Sky:
   Nor less, when Musick holds the list'ning Throng,
   How crisply lucent glows th' entrancing Song!
   Each loud Sonata boasts its lively Hue,
   And Fugues are red, and Symphonies are blue.
   Not mine to deem your Epithets misplac'd,
   Ye learned Arbiters of publick Taste!
   Yet such th' Effect on merely human Wit,
   That Esperanto is a Joke to it.

   Hail, Terminology! celestial Maid!
   Portress of Science, Guide to Art and Trade!
   I see Democracy—an ardent Band
   Who fain would read yet wish to understand—
   Compell'd that Goal in alien Tongues to seek,
   Fly for Relief to Necessary Greek,
   Claim as their Right (advised by Mr. Snow)
   The sweet Simplicity of [Greek text],—
   While Dons con English till they're pale and lean,
   And Candidates in Mods do English for Unseen!


   Relate, my Muse, the fame of him
      Whose calling and peculiar mission
   It was to wage with courage grim
      A battle 'gainst effete Tradition!
   When Movements moved, with holy zest
      He scaled the breach and led the stormers,—
   And was among the first and best
      Of Educational Reformers.

   He saw the Boy at Public Schools
      Regard his books with fear and loathing,
   From Latin's arbitrary rules
      Deriving practically nothing:—
   He said,—“O bounding human Boys,
      Of all the fare whereon you batten,
   What chiefly mars your simple joys?”
      With one accord they answered “Latin!”

   “Exactly so,” th' Inquirer cried,
      “This is the lore which cramps and stunts us;
   O how can pedagogues abide
      A course that makes their pupils dunces?
   Since with the rules of Latin Prose
      They can't be brought to yield compliance,
   This Fact conclusively it shows—
      They've all a natural bent for Science!”

   They sought for Scientific Truth,
      And pedagogues with books and birches
   Guided the faltering steps of Youth
      In biological researches:
   The infant in his nurse's care
      In Science' terms was taught to stammer:
   They practised vivisection where
      They used to cut their Latin grammar;

   'Twas all in vain—the Human Boy
      Remained unalterably chilly:
   Still less than Virgil's tale of Troy
      He liked compulsory bacilli!
   Much grieved the Zealot was thereat:—
      “We'll try,” he said, “a course of Spelling” . . .
   But O, the way they hated that
      Quite overcomes my power of telling!

   “There must be ways,” the good man said,
      “(Though hitherto perhaps we've missed 'em)
   Of putting things within the head:
      We've something wrong about the System:”
   And musing on the sacred flame
      Of Genius, and the cause that hid it,
   He unto this conclusion came—
      COMPULSION was the thing that did it.

   “Within the Boy's aspiring brain
      For Study still there lies a craving,
   And what is won against the grain
      Is never really worth the having;
   This boasted Categorical
      Imperative is clearly vicious,—
   Pastors and masters, one and all,
      Must ascertain their pupils' wishes!”

   And now those simple human Boys,—
      All, to a boy, for Culture yearning,—
   No pedagogues with idle noise
      Impede upon the path of Learning:—
   Released from books and teachers both,
      No intellectual pastures feed 'em;
   And, if they lose in mental growth,
      Think how they gain in moral freedom!


                     Of a Cheerful Hope.

   Whene'er you do to Meetings go, as many such there be
   (And few and far those persons are who home return to tea),
   Then take with you this principle, to cheer you on your way—
   The less there is to talk about, the more there is to say.

                     Of an Exordium.

   Consult your hearers' happiness, and state for their relief
   That you'll avoid prolixity and study to be brief:
   For if you can't be brief at once, 'twill comfort them to know
   That you'll arrive at brevity in half an hour or so.

                     Of Obedience to Rule.

   Should e'er the Chairman censure you, as Chairmen oft will do,
   And tell you that you miss the point, and bid you keep thereto,
   (Though points are things, by Euclid's law, that always must be
   They have no parts or magnitude, and therefore don't exist)—
   Obey at once the Chairman's hest (because, as you're aware,
   It is a most improper thing to argue with the Chair),
   Accept his ruling patiently, without superfluous fuss,
   And state the things you might have said—unless he'd ruled it thus.

                     Of a Peroration.

   And when you've spent your arguments yet somehow still go on
   (It shows a want of enterprise to stop because you've done),
   Don't search about for topics new or vex your weary brain,
   But take what someone else has said and say it all again.

                     Of Impartiality.

   And when at last your speech is o'er, be careful if you can
   That none may hint—a horrid charge—that you're a Party Man:
   So speak for this and speak for that as blithely as you may,
   But keep your mental balance true, and
               Vote the other Way.


   Two youths there were in days of yore
      Called Jones and Robinson.
   Jones had abilities galore,
      While Robinson had none.

   They met with corresponding fates:
      And Jones, that genius proud,
   Obtained in time a First in Greats:
      While Robinson was ploughed.

   Jones hoped that mental gifts like his
      Might gain a Fellowship:
   But ah! full many a slip there is
      Between the cup and lip:

   “You have a brain,” the College said,
      “Which unassisted soars:
   'Tis not for Colleges to aid
      Abilities like yours!

   Go—wealth awaits your gathering hand,
      And empires crave your rule!
   But Fellowships like ours are planned
      To help the helpless fool.”

   He tried the Press: he tried the Bar:
      But still the Bar and Press
   Said, “Not for him our openings are
      Whose gifts ensure success:

   Such posts are meant ('tis justice plain)
      For those unhappy chaps
   (Like Robinson) whom lack of brain
      Unfairly handicaps!”

   And now—yet check the rising tear:
      It seems that long ago
   Those Founders whom we all revere
      Meant it to happen so—

   Some lack of necessary food,
      All in a garret lone,
   Has ended Jones. I thought it would.
      But Robinson's a DON.


                     BY LAMBDA MINUS

   A rumour and rumbling volcanic
      Is heard in the Radical Press,
   And Presidents tremble in panic
      And Wardens their terrors confess:
   How each with anxiety shivers,
      The Dean with his fines and his gates,
   The ruffian who ragged me in Divvers,
      The pedant who ploughed me in Greats!

   The doctrines degrading they taught, and
      The Progress they nipped in the bud:
   The things that they did when they oughtn't
      And failed to perform when they should:
   The Questions prevented from burning,
      The Movements forbidden to move,
   Recoil on their centres of learning,
      Their Parks and the System thereof!

   Afar will Democracy chase it,
      That gang of impenitent Dons
   Who drowned the occasional Placet
      By bawling their truculent Nons:
   No idle and opulent College
      Will feed that obstructionist clique,
   Those scoffers at Practical Knowledge
      Who vote for compulsory Greek.

   And now when the Party of Labour,
      Asserting its virtuous sway,
   Annexes the wealth of its neighbour
      In Labour's traditional way,—
   When purged of its various abuses
      By Birrell's beneficent rule,
   This haunt of the obsolete Muses
      Is changed to a charity school,—

   When Fellows and bloated Professors
      Their stipends are forced to disgorge,
   (Obeying the fiat of Messrs.
      Keir Hardie and Burns and Lloyd George)
   Deprived by the wrath of the Nation
      Of all their unmerited aids,
   Perhaps to escape from starvation
      They'll take to respectable trades!

   O wholly delectable vision!
      I view with excusable glee
   The fate of the shallow precisian
      Who failed to appreciate Me;—
   I fancy I see myself tossing
      With blandly contemptuous mien
   A penny for sweeping a crossing
      To him who was formerly Dean!


(“Education differs from technical training.”—Expert opinion in a letter to the Times.)

   Not in vain with quaint devices
      Infants of the age of four
   Build their mimic edifices
      All upon the nursery floor;
   Neither is the presage missed
   By the Educationist,
   When he doth the fact recall
   How that Balbus built a wall!

   Thus I mused on such-like theses,
      While my errant fancy swam
   Through the circumambient breezes
      To the silver streams of Cam,—
   There observed with pleased surprise
   Ancient Universities
   Still in touch at every stage
   With the Progress of the Age;

   There, released from sloth and coma
      (Alma Mater's chief defect),
   There they grant a new Diploma
      To the budding Architect,
   Take the blighted Builder's art
   To their academic heart,
   Hope it may in time become
   Part of their curriculum:

   There they tell their College Porters
      Not to think it strange or odd
   When a load of bricks and mortar's
      Dumped within the College quad;
   No indignant Tutor hauls
   Him who scales the College walls,—
   Plying on that airy perch
   Architectural Research!

   Thus I sang: I seemed to see an
      Epoch made, the Future's guide;
   But my glad exultant paean
      Was not wholly justified:
   Men whose names we all revere,
   Stars in Architecture's sphere,
   Phrases used which don't imply
   Any genuine sympathy:

   Ch—-mpn—-ys, Bl—-mfield, T. G. J—-cks—-n,
      Hushed my lyre's triumphant string—
   Said in limpid Anglo-Saxon
      What they thought about the thing:
   “Seats of learning are designed
   For to Educate the Mind,
   Not to teach a craft or trade,”
   That was what these persons said!

   What! and must a thwarted Nation
      Draw the obvious inference?
   What! a Liberal Education
      Doesn't mean the quest of pence?
   (Really, this extremely crude
   Obscurantist attitude
   Isn't quite what one expects
   From distinguished Architects!)

   Here's another dear illusion
      Reft away and wholly gone:
   O the spiritual confusion
      Of the pained progressive Don!
   If the facts are quite correct
   As regards the Architect,
   Comes the question, plain and clear,
   How about the Engineer?


   Now is the time when everything is glad,
   Their vernal greenery the fields renew,
      Each feathered songster chants with livelier tone,
   And lambkins leap and cloudless skies are blue,
      And all is gay and cheerful:—I alone
            Am singularly sad;
   Mine erstwhile happiness and calm content
      Yields to a sense of sorrowful surprise:
      Things that I thought were thus, are otherwise:
   And all is grief, and disillusionment.

   For He, who did in everything surpass
   Our common world,—the Good, the Truly Great,
      The Working Man, who shamed with standards high
   Our obscurantists unregenerate,—
      Is not, 'twould seem, better than you, or I,
         Or any other ass:
   The vision's faded, as a snowflake melts;
      Fallen is that idol from his high renown:
      He hath waxed fat, and kicked, and tumbled down,
   And we must seek ensamples somewhere else!

   Where is it, Comrades! in this direful day—
   That noble zeal for academic lore,
      That reverence due for discipline, in which
   He used to shine conspicuously o'er
      The Brainless Athlete and the Idle Rich?
         O, does he now display
   That ample breadth of calm impartial view,
      That sober judgment and that balanced mind,
      Which we were taught that we should always find,
   O R—-skin College, domiciled in you?

   I have a Pupil: when his mental food
   Fails (as it will) his appetite to sate,
      What! does that patient much-enduring elf
   Proclaim a strike? set pickets at my gate?
      Boycott my lectures? give them for himself?
         (Full oft I wish he would:)
   Nay—when he finds those lectures dull and flat,
      He asks no other: new ones might be worse:
      Too well he knows that Cosmos' ordered course
   Meant him to hear, and me to talk like that.

   Also I own I'm disappointed by
   Your friends and patrons, British Working Man!
      For they, methought, were champions of the Cause,
   Fighters for Freedom, foremost in the van,
      Not servile scruplers, bound by rules and laws,
         Not men who dealt in dry
   Respectable traditions: leaders true,
      No timid Moderates, who would define
      Too strict a boundary 'twixt Mine and Thine,
   Potential martyrs, heart and soul with you:—

   'Twas all illusion: they would feed you with
   Mere talks on Temperance: when your spirit's wings
      Would soar to Sociology alone,
   Whereby will come that blessed state of things
      When none has property to call his own,
         They give you—Adam Smith . . .
   These too are fall'n: ah me, that I should live
      To hear our brightest Radicals and best
      By angry Labour in such terms addressed
   As might apply to a Conservative!

   To this conclusion I perforce must come,
   'Twere best we parted: seeing that we, 'twould seem,
      Haply have no appreciation of
   Your high ambitions and your aims supreme,
      Nor can we hope that you should greatly love
         Our mental pabulum:
   Depart, O Comrades! to some happier sphere
      Where you can still be nobly on the make,
      And mine, or plumb, or brew, or butch, or bake,—
   Best to depart, and leave us mouldering here!

   Yea, if ye scorn our learning overmuch,
   Misguided sons of horny-handed toil!
      Yet discontented with your lowly lot
   Still pine to burn the sad nocturnal oil
      'Mid academic culture, or 'mid what
         Describes itself as such—
   Go elsewhere, O my brothers! only go
      To Bath, to Birmingham—where'er the Don
      Teaches the sacred art of Getting On,——
   —It is not far from here to Jericho.


   It is Research of which I sing,
   Research, that salutary thing!
   None can succeed, in World or Church,
   Who does not prosecute Research:
      For some read books, and toil thereat
         Their intellect to waken:
      But if you think Research is that
         You're very much mistaken.

   All in Columbia's blessed States
   They have no Smalls, or Mods, or Greats,
   Nor do their faculties benumb
   With any cold curriculum:
      O no! for there the ambitious Boy,
         Released from schools and birches,
      At once pursues with studious joy
         Original Researches:

   A happy lot that Student's is,
   —I wish that mine were like to his,—
   Where in the bud no pedants nip
   His Services to Scholarship:
      And none need read with care and pain
         Rome's History, or Greece's,
      But each from his creative brain
         Evolves semestrial Theses!

   On books to pore is not the kind
   Of thing to please the serious mind,—
   I do not very greatly care
   For such unsatisfying fare:
      To seek the lore that in them lurks
         Would last ad infinitum:
      Let others read immortal works,—
         I much prefer to write 'em!


   When I ponder o'er the pages of the old romantic ages, ere the world
   grew cold and gray,
   When there wasn't a relation between Oxford and the Nation, or a
   Movement every day,
   How I marvel at the glamour (in these duller days and tamer) which
   informed those scenes of glee,
   At the glamour and the glory of contemporary story, and the Eights as
   they used to be!

   It is obvious that the weather must have differed altogether from the
   kind that now we know:
   I arise from reading Fiction with the permanent conviction that it did
   not hail, nor snow:
   For each fair and youthful charmer had a summer sun to warm her and a
   bran new frock and hat,—
   In the progress of the lustres, when the crowd of Fashion musters it
   has grown too wise for that.

   Every boat from keel to rigger was a grand ideal figure as it skimmed
   those Wavelets Blue,
   While the Heroes who propelled 'em were comparatively seldom of a
   commonplace type, like you—
   In their strength and in their science they were positively giants,
   through the gorgeous days of old,
   Still an Admirable Crichton in those lieben alten Zeiten was the
   oarsman brave and bold:

   He could row devoid of training, and (it hardly needs explaining) got
   a quite unique degree:
   With his blushing honours laden, he espoused a lovely maiden at the
   end of Volume Three:
   This alone he had to grieve for—that he'd nothing more to live for,
   or expect from Fortune's whim:
   For I never could discover, when his Oxford days were over, what the
   world could hold for him!

   O the rapture singlehearted of that Period has departed, with its
   views ornate of Man,
   And I think it won't come back till we restore the Pterodactyl, or
   revive the late Queen Anne:
   We have grown in mental stature, and we Go Direct to Nature, in these
   days of stress and strife,
   And the hero of a novel in a palace or a hovel is intolerably True to

   Not an infant learns to toddle but EFFICIENCY'S his model, which he
   still pursues with rage,
   In a manner inconsistent with the methods dim and distant of that
   mid-Victorian age:
   For that atmosphere Elysian it has faded from our vision and has gone
   where the old tales go,
   And I really don't know whether I regret altogether—but the simple
   fact is so.


   Minstrels! who your choicest notes
   Keep for men who row in boats,
   Mark with what exalted mien
   Comes the Hero of the Scene!
   He, amid the festal swarm,
   Fashion's glass and mould of form,
   How in shape and how in features
   Far surpassing other creatures,
   How incomparable to
   Common things like me and you!
   He in whose transcendent state
   All the ages culminate—
   Could we ever keep him thus,
   How delightful 'twere for us!
   Could he, 'mid the admiring throng,
   Ever beauteous, ever young,
   Still abide for ever pent
   In his true environment,
   Wear that aureole still which now
   Decks his high victorious brow!
      Out, alas! that Fortune can't
   Ever give us what we want!
   HE must quit this vernal stage:
   HE must sink to middle age
   (E'en the Poet's soaring wit
   Scarcely can envisage it):
   Go with men of common clay
   In to business every day:
   Be perhaps a Brewer, or
   Haply a Solicitor,—
   None the fact to notice that
   Haloes once adorned his hat:
   Ay! the ways of Fate are odd:
   Men are mortal . . . Ichabod . . .

                     * * * * *

   Yet shall stay by stream and tree
   Something still of what was He,—
   Plainly put, his More or Less
   Immaterial Consciousness,—
   Very fine and very large,
   Floating o'er his College barge:
   Always while the world continues
   Bards shall sing his thews and sinews,—
   Here he rowed and here he ran,
   Being rather more than man;—
   Thus as ages onward go
   Still he'll great and greater grow,
   Larger still in prose or rhyme
   Looming down the aisles of time,
   Till he sit, sublime and vast,
   'Mid the Giants of the Past,
   Men who lived in days of old
   (Ch-tty, W—dg-te, N-ck-lls, G-ld),
   Lived and rowed in ages dark
   Long ere Noah built the Ark,
   Very, very famous oars,
   Mighty men in Eights and Fours,
   Towering o'er our Browns and Smiths
   Huge and grey, like Monoliths.

      Thus the Hero's happy fate
   Keeps in store a blissful state,
   All adown the Future dim,
   Nearly worthy e'en of Him!


   Dear Youth! whose wealth and lineage high
      Each outward sign denotes,
   The highly fashionable tie,
      The latest thing in coats—
   Imprinted on whose candid brow
      No gazer could detect
   (As e'en your enemies allow)
      The Pride of Intellect—

   Who, 'spite your want of mental scope
      And lack of Serious Aim,
   Still left us, as we dared to hope,
      More pensive than you came,
   And thus at least, while critics vied
      In pointing out our flaws,
   For our continuance supplied
      A kind of Final Cause:—

   Your part is played, your turn is o'er:
      Prepare to quit the stage:
   It seems you're not the person for
      The Spirit of the Age:
   Though high your birth, though large your means,
      I see—'tis sad, but true—
   Soon, 'mid these academic scenes,
      No corner left for you!

   Ah! what avail the things that went
      To build your prosperous lot,
   The ample cash, the long descent,
      The athlete's frequent pot,
   The waistcoat bright of ardent red
      Or fascinating green,
   The social charm that captive led
      The Provost, and the Dean?

   I see the Cherwell's peaceful flood,
      I see the courts of King's
   Invaded by a student brood
      Which knows all kinds of things—
   A crowd with high desires replete,
      Whose recreations are
   To sit at Professorial feet
      And join a Seminar:

   Bright Butterfly! your haunts of old
      Are tenanted by men
   Who realise what studies mould
      Th' Efficient Citizen . . .
   These shall alone the blessings know
      Of Isis and of Cam,
   And You (I'm sure 'tis better so)
      Will go to—Birmingham!


   Lo, where yon undistinguished grave
      Erects its grassy pile on
   One who to all Experience gave
      An Alpha or Epsilon!

   The world and eke the world's content,
      And all therein that passes,
   With marks numerical (per cent.)
      He did dispose in classes:

   Not his to ape the critic crew
      Which vulgarly appraises
   The Good, the Beautiful, the True
      In literary phrases:

   He did his estimate express
      In terms precise and weighty,—
   And Vice got 25 (or less,)
      While Virtue rose to 80.

   Now hath he closed his earthly lot
      All in his final haven,—
   (And be the stone that marks the spot
      On one side only graven,)

   Bring papers on his grave to strew
      Amid the grass and clover,
   And plant thereby that pencil blue
      Wherewith he looked them over!

   There, freed from every human ill
      And fleshly trammels gross, he
   Lies in his resting-place until
      The final Viva Voce:

   So let him rest till crack of doom
      Of mortal tasks aweary,—
   And nothing write upon his tomb
      Save [Greek text: beta]—(?).

                     THE END

                     * * * * *



{24} 1897

{77} 1900.


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