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began to read aloud and read on until he, or she, discovered that No. 2 had fallen asleep. Then No. 2 was roughly awakened, and ruthlessly set to work till No. 1 fell asleep. So it went on till the day's quota was finished, or till bath fell asleep at the same time. It was almost a regular part of poor "slavey's " work in the morning to pick up the Areopagitiea from the fender or from behind the battered coal-scuttle. I am glad to think the book cannot write its history, as I am writing mine; for its life at this time was a series of hairbreadth escapes, and, even at the best, it was sadly misunderstood. I have seldom had intercourse with a more suggestive mind than Ian's; but I have seldom made less headway with a book than I did at that time with Milton's Areopagitiea.
And yet, in spite of all our hard work, Jack got little chance of becoming a dull boy. Surely University life has never since "teemed with quiet fun" as it did in those halcyon days. It seems to me that most of the good stories one hears to this day about the Glasgow dignitaries spring from episodes that happened then.
It was surely that winter that a student of Professor Caird's dropped in on him late at night, and insisted on talking metaphysics till Ursa minor became uneasy, and sent for Professor Young. They decided to go for a stroll, and turned their steps in the direction of Gartnavel Asylum. Arrived there, they threw stones at Dr Yellowlees' window.
"Who's there?" called the sage.
"Caird: and Young is with him."
"Oh!" was the calm response. "Which of you has brought the other?"!
Was it not at the end of that
first term, too, that Professor Veitch's closing remarks were received with such boisterous applause that the plaster fell in Professor Ramsay's room below? "Ah," said Professor Ramsay; "the premises don't seem to be strong enough for Veitch's conclusions."
My tendency might have been to run too much in a rut; but no chum of Ian's got a chance of doing that. I don't think we missed one of Mr Mann's excellent concerts, and many a discussion on Berlioz or Wagner took place at midnight in the eyrie, while the city slept quietly, away down below.
I remember one afternoon we were sitting sleepily over our books, when suddenly Ian shut his mighty tome with a bang.
"I must have a glimpse of that St Luke window," he said abruptly. "Coming?"
He seized his hat as he spoke, and we strode through the busy streets without a word till we found ourselves in the quiet crypt of the cathedral. What a delight that St Luke window was to both of us! Ian had discovered it, of course. He had a sleuth hound's scent for the great and beautiful. It used to be an unfailing subject of wonder to me how he came to know so much about things. We stopped for a time to listen to Dr Peace's fine sonorous music as it flooded the building, and then, with a great detour through the slums, we made our way homewards.
There was silence between us no longer. That which happened rarely, happened then. The sight of all that poverty and sickliness and crime made our hearts burn within us, and we talked with almost molten eagerness of all we longed to do to save mankind. Poor little boy and girl!
We crossed the park, and looked back from the top of the slope. The great toiling suffering city had fallen into its ordinary perspective,—but the dusky glow of the setting sun seemed to raise it into the region of our dreams; and our ignorant untried hopes and longings rose with that cloud of smoke from the heart of the weariness and woe. Poor little boy and girl!
Such moods were rare. As a rule we were content to sip the sweets of life on a lower level. A joke could be wrung from everything in those good old days, and the greatest joke of all was our poverty. Our allowance was paid monthly. The first week we lived as lightheartedly as the lilies of the field; when the second or third week came on, we began to take thought; and the fourth week usually found us referring to physiological tables of diet "just as a matter of scientific interest," and expressing our warm belief in the nutritive value of lentils and oatmeal.
I remember on one occasion a classmate invited me to spend a "week-end" at her home some little distance out of town. My ticket cost rather more than I expected, and I was obliged to borrow a few coppers from Ian. "And do get me a sandwich," I added, "I am so hungry."
He surveyed the remaining pence that lay in his hand.
"Will a bun do?" he said simply. "If I buy you a sandwich, I can't afford my car out to the University, and I haven't time now to walk."
I don't know what my fellowpassengers thought of us — I am sure they can't have guessed the joke—but we stood and laughed
till the tears ran down our cheeks.
When the first year came to an end, I took a situation "doon the watter," and continued my education by the feeble means of correspondence classes; but every Saturday I came up to spend a day or two with Ian. Our good landlady made this an inexpensive luxury; I took for granted that she had become attached to me; but it may only have been that she disliked darning Ian's socks even more than I did.
I really think we saw each other to more purpose during those brief visits than we had ever done before. I was always supposed to be tired with my week's exertions, so Ian installed me in a corner of the stiff horsehair sofa while we exchanged our newly acquired instalments towards a complete philosophy of life,—while he told me all the new jokes, and showed me the books he had bought or borrowed since my last visit. Then we went for a walk—unless he chanced to be playing football —and we wound up the evening by another royal "crack," or some form of entertainment.
On the strength of my salary, we now considered ourselves fairly well-to-do; so much so that I rashly lent fifteen pounds to a friend — on excellent security — and, before we knew where we were, Ian and I were poorer than ever.
For three weeks I was obliged to forego my precious weekly visits; and our correspondence was confined to an impassioned appeal on my part for a scrap of geological information, wherewith to appease the wolfish hunger of a pupil with enquiring mind. Oh, those pupils with enquiring minds! —" but that is another story."
Ian apologised afterwards for replying to my query on a postcard. It seemed tactless certainly; but he said it was all he could afford. He had even given up his pipe for the time.
Two weeks had still to drag out their weary length before my salary was due. I had forgotten that Ian's bursary was payable in the meantime, until one morning I received the following intimation of the fact,—
"Relief Of Lucksow! Advance of General M." (the University clerk, I suppose) "to the aid of the starving garrison.
"Seats taken for Salvini to-morrow evening—front row of dress circle. Will meet you by 10.15. Postal order enclosed for fare."
Oh, the halcyon days!
At the end of three years Ian took his B.Sc. with honours, and went on to Cambridge. Neither
of us was a very great correspondent, and you may fancy my delight when some friends of his invited me up to spend May Week.
What a fortnight that was! Even now as I sit in the evening in my dusky High School classroom, poring over a mighty pile of exercises, I have only to close my eyes
But I must not begin to talk of all that now; and, indeed, the halcyon days were over when we bade farewell to our eyrie at the top of a long common stair: the halcyon days were those in which we bought stamps singly and bootlaces by the pair; when we looked out on the lights of the mighty city away down below, and fell asleep alternately over the pages of the Areopagitica; when—ach, inein Lieberf—we were above it all—alone with the stars!
A SOLDIER S CHRONICLE.
Perhaps the last authorities to be consulted by one writing a military history of the reign of Queen Victoria would be the clergy; not, of course, because of any mistrust in their intelligence or truthfulness, but because they are less qualified to speak with accuracy in military matters than those who are more nearly concerned with the profession of arms. If, for example, one desired precise information about the strength of the cavalry depot at Canterbury, it would hardly be to Archbishop Temple that he would apply, nor would he be justified in troubling Dr Cameron Lees with inquiry about the strength of the forces in Scotland. Nevertheless it is on the writings of the clergy, monks or friars, that one has principally to rely for the facts of a period when the history of this country was essentially military. Barbour, Fordun—or, more accurately, his continuator Bower—and Wyntoun are the chief Scottish authorities for the momentous War of Independence, and, like the English writers, Hemingburgh, Trivet, and the nameless Franciscan friar of Carlisle, who compiled the invaluable so-called Chronicle of Lanercost, were all clerics. True, it was an age when it behoved bishops, especially those whose sees lay along the Marches, to be as much at home in the camp as the chapter-house, and many of these are far better remembered by the havoc they wrought in other people's flocks than for pastoral work in their own. But it was not they who wrote the chronicles; their military duties left them no time for superfluous quilldriving, and the duty was gener
ally relegated to some subordinate brother in a monastery, who collected what information he could about the movement and strength of armies, and the result of battles. Hence the ludicrous exaggeration of numbers which is so frequent; as when Hemingburgh, canonregular of Guisborough, states that in the spring of 1307 Robert de Brus was hiding (!) in the hills about Glentrool with 10,000 men. It is well ascertained now that Barbour was correct in putting the following of the King of Scots at that critical period no higher than 150 to 300, to support whom the stores of fish and game in that wilderness must have been taxed to the utmost.
But there was one notable exception to the monkish chroniclers of the fourteenth century. One only, and that not Sir Thomas de la More, whose share in the authorship of 'Mors et Vita Edwardi Secundi' is known now to have been very slight. The one author who knew thoroughly what he was writing about and the scenes he was describing was an English knight, Sir Thomas Gray of Heton, in Northumberland, who was constantly in the field against the Scots in the reign of Edward III. Having had the misfortune to be captured by them early in 1355, he relieved the tedium of two years' imprisonment in Edinburgh Castle by studying various metrical and prose chronicles in Latin, French, and English. He tells us, in that Norman-French which was the habitual speech of feudal families both in England and Scotland in the fourteenth century, that com geris nauoit en le hour autre chos of air—" as he had hardly anything else to do at the time "—he conceived the idea of making an abbreviated translation of the chronicles of Great Britain. One night he dreamt that the Sibyl appeared to him, accompanied by a cordelier friar who supported a ladder of five rungs. Mounting the steps one by one, the Sibyl showed the knight in succession the works of Walter of Exeter, Gildas, Baeda, John of Tynemouth, William of Malmesbury, Roger de Hoveden, and many others. She introduced the cordelier as Thomas of Otterburn, whom she commended as a sure guide in the labour he was about to undertake. The five steps of the ladder corresponded to as many periods which Sir Thomas was enjoined to observe, four of them being historical. The fifth and highest—le scinkisme bastoun—he was warned not to attempt, for it embraced the future, and he would only get into difficulty if he attempted to deal with the prophecies of Merlin, Banister, and Thomas of Ercildoune.
Waking from his dream, the captive knight set about his labours at once, in the design of dividing the work into four books, comprising the periods, and compiled from the authors, indicated by the four lower rungs of the ladder. He gave his manuscript1 the title of 'Scalacronica,' or the ladder chronicle—in allusion, no doubt, to his dream ; but inasmuch as this dream is only a literary affectation, introduced as a prologue, such as John of Tynemouth prefixed to his 'Historia Aurea,' the real reference was to the crest of the Grey family, still carried by Earl Grey of Howick
and Sir Edward Grey, Bart., M.P., of Falloden—namely, a scaling ladder or, hooked and pointed sable.
Were the 'Scalacronica' no more than a compilation from the sources, most of them well known, mentioned by Gray in his Prologue, there would be no excuse for detaining the readers of ' Maga ' to discuss it, although it amplifies the brief allusions made by extant writers to certain important events. What impart to it special interest are the original passages introduced, not only from the personal experience of a cultivated layman, actively engaged in the events described, but from what the author had been told by his father, also named Sir Thomas Gray, who was constantly in the active service of Edward I. and Edward II. in the Scottish and Continental wars. This portion of the 'Scalacronica,' then, forms a personal narrative, extending over two generations of a period—the very heyday of chivalry —embracing the establishment of Scottish independence. The following may be among the causes why so little attention has been paid to Gray by recent historians of the fourteenth century. The only known copy of his work, written throughout in Norman French, exists in the library of Corpus Christi at Cambridge. If this is the same manuscript from which John Leland made his abstract in the first half of the sixteenth century, then we have to deplore its grievous mutilation since that time. Had the thief been content to abstract some of the contents of the first three rungs of the ladder, we should
1 Some doubts have been expressed whether a plain soldier could be found at that period capable of writing so much with his own hand. It would be very unusual, no doubt; but even if Gray employed an amanuensis, that would not impugn his authorship.