DECADENT friend was bewailing

to me the other day what he described as a very sinister sign of the times: namely, the growing school of young men who wear their hair short, smoke briar pipes, and ride about to foot- ball matches on bicycles. Regret their existence as one might, he said, there they were. It was impossible to ignore them—barbarians, things ravenous of beef and beer, having no lot in the ‘‘ heritage of beauty,” strainers of muscles and breakers of records. He had seen them at the Oval. He had sat upon a broken arch of Lillie Bridge and sketched the monstrous outlines of their calves. But, my friend admitted, there was solace in the reflection that, after all, these same athletes were but outward symbols of a deeply decadent age. Inthe healthy days with which this century began, our fine old grandfathers gave no heed to athletics. Cricket and football were for the yokels in the village. No gentleman took exercise. In tilbury or curricle our grandfathers bowled along the streets, and, as for training, drank themselves under the table every night. But we, poor, jaded creatures of the century’s end, can afford to disregard no means of keep- ing body and soul together—we should die if we didn’t take exercise. The athletic movement is merely the product of our valetudinarianism.

I am sure my friend did not mean what he was saying, but there was something in it for all that, and it was with a certain morbid curiosity that I went one Sunday morning in June to Wadham College, that I might talk with that primeexemplar of an outworn civilisation, Mr. Fry, the triple- blue, the Oxford athlete. Remembering the volumes of bated breath with which every undergraduate receives Mr. Fry’s name, I half expected to find him disporting himself upon the grass of the front quad- rangle, that sacred area having been

131. August 1894.

given him by his college as a private jumping-ground, or declaiming his own Greek verses to a congregation of genu- flective dons.

‘* Where,” I asked of the porter, ‘‘ are Mr. Fry’s rooms?”

‘*Fry ?” he said slowly ; ‘‘ which Fry do you mean? What initials ?”

Was there then more than one Fry? T, H, E, were the only initials I had ever supposed the great athlete to possess, but it appeared that he was officially known as Mr. C. B. Fry. There was also a Fry— but that is another interview.

Steep and tortuous, and of a darkness peculiar to their kind, were the stairs leading up to Mr. Fry’s ‘‘ two-pair front, first quad.” ; nor, when I knocked at the oak, came any answer; nor, when I opened it, was any one in the room. But the clock on the mantel-piece showed that it was the hour appointed, 11 A.m., the table was laid for breakfast, and down by the fire something under a cover was keeping as warm as it could ; all of which portents prepared me for the apology that was shouted from the other side of the bedroom door, and the loud splashing and stamping as of one taking a cold tub. I stood upon the hearthrug and took a look round. A regular college-room it was, rather dark under its low ceiling and beautifully panelled with oak. Engrav- ings of the academic kind—little boys with apples and little girls with pears— mingled with drawings by younger artists and many photograph-groups of the foot- ball and cricket teams, and all the other bodies adorned by the gentleman in the next room. It was evident that he was a smoker, for there were pipes all over the room—pipes in racks and pipes in cases and pipes of every description. Indeed,

there was little to distinguish this room from that of an average undergraduate, except the absence of any photographs of It was very nice and com- 4E2

Miss Yohé.

Cc. B. FRY READY FOR A RACE, Reproduced by kind permission from “‘ Spy’s” Cartoon in ‘** Vanity Fair.”


fortable, however, and on the breakfast- table the scout had arranged a neat pile of letters. Were they applications for autographs perhaps, or begging letters from unsuccessful athletes ?

Just as I was stooping to peep, like a good journalist, under the dish-cover by the fire, my host emerged from the next room, glowing and apologetic.

‘*Won’t you really have any of my breakfast with me ?” he said. ‘‘ A college breakfast is not much good at this hour of the day, I admit. But on Sunday morning, when there are no lectures to attend and one can go to chapel in the evening, I’d rather miss a dozen hot breakfasts than that extra hour or two in bed.”

‘* But how is that for training ?”

**Ah, but I’m not training just now, you see, and even when I am, it is always an awful struggle with me to get up. It’s pretty rough having to knock off smoking” (here Mr. Fry looked round benignly upon his pipes), ‘‘ and I am as fond of puddings as I ever was and miss them awfully just at first—but wild scouts can hardly drag me out of bed. Last year I bought a little spirit-kettle and determined I would get up every morn- ing at 5.30 and boil myself a cup of cocoa, like the people who are inter- viewed in the newspapers. I actually did get up the first morning, but it was so beastly cold, and what with one thing and another I was in bed again long before the little contrivance began to boil. My scout found it singing merrily when he came to wake me. Oh, and last term there were some men in Wadham who came and dragged me out of bed at eight, the brutes, when I wasn’t training and had kept all my chapels. I went up to one of them in his rooms the next day, about ten in the morning, and found him reading. He was a smaller man than I

am, and I put him to bed forcibly. Why shouldn’t one lie in bed if one likes? Are you sure you won’t have anything? Not

even a piece of toast? Will you just excuse me for a moment? I must just see who this letter is from—such an odd handwriting !”

Mr. Fry slit the letter open, quickly, as he seemed to do everything. He had only taken seven minutes to make his toilet, yet his curly hair was parted and his tie knotted with the precision of the most leisurely of dandies. Mr. Fry has a handsome face and the expression of a school-boy. He looks absurdly young


to have done all that he has. But he gives the impression of being all muscle, whether you see him doing the long jump or sprinting between the tapes in the costume of an acrobat without spangles, or, as I saw him, at his breakfast in the sombre tweeds of civilisation.

He looked up from his letter and asked me if I had heard of Mr. Van Ingen. I had not had that pleasure. ‘‘ He is an American fellow,” I was then told, ‘‘ and came here the other day to ask me if Oxford would be willing to accept a challenge to an athletic contest from their university, Yale. It seems that Yale challenges Harvard every year out there, and they have annual sports, just like Oxford and Cambridge. So the thing’s almost arranged now. It’s coming off at the Queen’s Club a few days after the Lords’ match, and it’s going to be just like our contest with Cambridge—same events and same men to_ represent Oxford. I hear the American chaps are devils to sprint, and from all I can hear we shall have an exciting day of it. Yes, Z shall have to do the hundred yards again and the long jump.”

‘*Is it good fun, jumping ? enjoy it?”

‘* Rather, it’s the best thing in the world. To feel one’s self whizzing through the air without knowing how— it’s just like flying, I should imagine. You seem just to give one spring up and then the air rushes past you in a hurricane, and there you are again on your feet, safe and sound.”

‘*But sometimes with a broken re- cord?”

‘* Thanks,” laughed Mr. Fry. ‘‘ But when I’m doing the long jump on any occasion, such as the Sports, I don’t enjoy myself half so much as when I practise alone. I’m not particularly nervous, but it’s rather a strain to feel you’re being watched by hundreds of strangers, and that perhaps the whole fortune of the ’Varsity depends on you. Last year I caught the photographer's eye just as | was going to jump and it quite put me off my balance. Now that you’re interviewing me, I must tell you about another interviewer and my last year’s jump. He was connected with some American paper and came to me for my impressions of things in general and ‘leaping,’ as he called it, in particular. Now that long leap of yours,’ he said, ‘how far was it you leaped?’ Twenty- three, five and a half.’ Feet or yards?’

Do you

Photo by Hills and Saunders, Oxford,



‘“FRY OF WADHAM.” he inquired, looking up briskly from his

note-book. I am afraid that in the excite- ment of the moment I was wicked enough to say yards’—anyway, it was put down as yards’ when the interview appeared. I saw a copy the other day.”

‘* We journalists often call feet yards. Tell me some more about your jumping.”

‘* Well, I don’t know that there’s any- thing more to tell,” said Mr. Fry, taking a meditative puff from the pipe he had just lighted. ‘‘I suppose that, if these sports with Yale are coming off so soon, I oughtn’t really to have lighted this pipe. To-day was fixed for going into regular training. No, I'll be hanged if I put the pipe out. I'll start training after lunch. I always think training counts more in jumping than in anything else. If you’re going to do ‘the mile,’ or any heavy order like that, it doesn’t do to run your- self too fine, but in the long jump—or in the hundred yards, for that matter—where you don’t want any sustained effort, but just simply ‘a spurt,’ 1 find that every particle of one’s body that hasn’t been made into muscle tells against one. Per- sonally, detest the routine of training. I have to give up heaps of things that I’m fond of. I’m like the beggar in some play or other who says every day to the rising sun, To-day is a fast-day.’ But I’ve never yet known what it is to train more than is good for me. And sol go on suffering. I suppose that the next time I smoke will be at the dinner after these Yale and Oxford sports.”

**Still, in spite of your privations, I suppose you manage to enjoy yourself pretty well up here?”

‘*] should like to see the man who could not. When I was at Repton, I thought Repton was the one place in the world where -any reasonable being could make himself perfectly happy. But I think there is one other, and that is Oxford. As for the dons, I think they’re a cruelly maligned race. I like them immensely. To the general public the word ‘don’ conjures up a confused vision of prejudice and port wine and other terrible things. I haven’t ever come across a don of that description, and I’ve been up three years now. What made me come here and not to Cambridge ? Well, I think it was the mumps. I had a bad attack of them at Repton just when I was going up to Cambridge to try for a scholarship, and as soon as I got well some one advised me to come up for a scholarship to Wadham. I was lucky


enough to be senior scholar of my year, and here I am, and I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. You see the splendid thing about Wadham is,” . . . and my host entered upon a description of his college and its manifold charms. Every undergraduate, so I find, swears by his own college, and so I will not raise dis- cussion by quoting the panegyric.

Mr. Fry is a very busy man. He is president of the Athletic Club and captain of the Association Football Team and of the Cricket Eleven, all of which offices carry with them a large amount of responsibility. Mr. Fry bears the re- sponsibility quite lightly, and finds time to be also. an industrious classical student. I knew one man who went up to Oxford and led a very happy life, and only in his third year discovered from a_ chance remark dropped by a friend at the break- fast-table that Oxford was also a seat of education. But it is the etiquette for the scholars of every college to do some reading whilst they are up, and Mr. Fry took an excellent First in Mods., and is on the high way to a similar distinction in Finals. Yet he gives a good deal of spare time to desultory reading. Georges Sand and Alphonse Daudet seemed to be his favourite authors, to judge by the presence of all their works on his shelves. ‘*T am very fond of pictures, too,” he said, ‘‘ but I don’t know anything about them. I seldom go through Trafalgar Square without going into the National Gallery, and I don’t like to miss any of the small shows in Bond Street. But, as I say, I don’t really know why a picture is good or bad, only just whether I enjoy looking at it or not. I take a great interest in heaps of things that I know nothing about.”

‘* For instance?”

‘* Well, politics for one, and golf for another—especially golf. I never played before this term, and did very well, like everybody else, the first time I went on the links. Of course, I have fallen off fearfully since then, but I do think it’s a fascinating game.”

‘Have you any idea of taking it up seriously, as a change from cricket and football ?

**Good heavens, no! I only look on golf as a kind of glorified croquet. One

gets as good exercise from it as from any other game, and I’m not fond of walking without anything to keep me excited ; but as for comparing it with cricket or football, that’s impossible.

One lives far


more fully in the one moment that it takes to kick a goal or make a good catch than in whole afternoons of tramp- ing about after a golf-ball. But why make comparisons at all? _ It’s the most arrant nonsense when people say that golf is becoming more popular than cricket or football.”

‘**Do you think cricket and football ought to be made compulsory in all Public Schools?”

‘*] don’t know that I do altogether. I’m sure that compulsory games don’t make any difference to the athletic stan- dard of the school. Look at Charter- house, which supplies both 'Varsities with so many good Association players ; foot- ball is not compulsory there. The boys who don’t take to a game of their own accord never do much good in it, and very often they are the boys who have some special hobby, like botany, which they enjoy more and which keeps them out of mischief. I fancy there is very little real ‘loafing’ in Public Schools, and I hate the idea of such a thing as compulsion in such things as games. Personally, I can’t imagine any one not playing when he has the chance.”

‘* And you don’t think that the rage for


athietics that has sprung up within the last twelve years or so is only another form of valetudinarianism ?

Mr. Fry seemed bewildered at the very idea, so! plied him with only one more question. I asked him what he intended to do when the time came for him to quit the scene of his many triumphs, his beloved Wadham.

‘* Well,” he answered, ‘‘ I am going to be a schoolmaster. I am fond of Latin’ and Greek for their own sakes, and I feel that I should be able to teach them de- cently,” and he confided to me the name of the school where he hoped one day to work. | fancy that his ambition is of the kind that is not likely to be disappointed.

When I got out into the great quad- rangle I could not but envy the young athlete, with his off-hand ways and trans- parent happiness, living in this beautiful college. Its very remoteness gives Wad- ham a great distinction. It is so far

from the tram and the electric lighting and the hoarse newsboys that have vul- garised the High Street, and on this quiet Sunday morning its walls and smooth lawns seemed to have an added charm. I felt altogether that I should like to be ‘*Fry of Wadham myself.

DQ om be O'S



HEY were playing a match (M.C.C. versus some county which you could not find upon the map unless you took a month to do so) at Lord’s; and I left the ground disgusted with the cricket. The day was hot with the best show of sun we have had since the sham of spring set in; and I remembered as I turned into the St. John’s Wood Road that my doctor had prescribed, in return for my modest outlay of two guineas, a daily walk of five miles and a voyage to the Cape. As neither of these was to be had at the chemist’s, the worthy man’s labour had so far been lost, but here at any rate was a day which might tempt even a dis- ciple of the hansom to stroll a while. I saw visions of health as it is drawn in the pictorial advertisements of the medicine- vendors, health which leads a man to dangle five robust infants on his knee while a buxom wife (vide the picture) is apparently cooking a steak at the drawing- room fire ; and steeled to great endurance I set out swiftly in the direction of Baker Street.

For a time all went well. The exercise seemed to be doing me good; I even resolved that I would get up next morning and walk farther than any man had ever walked before breakfast. It is quite possible that I should have accom- plished some heroic deed upon the spot had it not been for the cab-stand at the corner by the railway station. This is fully two hundred yards from Lord’s, and is generally a place where cabs do love to



congregate. On this particular afternoon there were at least three hansoms on the stand and one growler. This would not have mattered had they not chosen to make a demonstration when they saw me. No sooner had I come to the corner than Jehu No. 1 whipped up his horse and cried ‘‘keb?” while Jehu No. 2 shouted, ‘*’urry up that Derby winner, Bill, here's a gent horf to a funerel.” The words were as music in my ears, yet behind them was the echo of the medicine man’s voice and his threat of ‘‘isms,” which followed upon the pernicious habit of riding in hansoms. Dallying in the sweet suspense of temptation, I suddenly be- thought me of ‘*‘ The Other Half.” Why should I not learn how ‘‘ cabby lives—if he would tell me? The experiment was at any rate worth making.

‘*] say,” said I to the Jehu No. 1, who waited for me to get into his undoubtedly admirable cab, ‘‘come down and tell me something about your business, and I'll stand you a fare?”

‘* What’s that?” said he.

‘** Tell me about yourself,” I cried again, ‘‘ and I’ll give you five shillings.”

‘* Benk of Engravin’ ?” said he.

‘*T mean it,” said I. ‘‘ 1 want to know how you live ; consider yourself engaged while you tell me.”

By this time the other drivers had gathered round, and the idea seemed to tickle them, especially No. 2, who began to laugh uproariously.

** Wotd’yer think ?”’ exclaimed he, turn-



ing to the policeman on his beat, ‘‘ here’s a gent wants to know ’ow Bill lives;


[then to me] you ain’t from the Salvation Army, eh, guv’ner?”

I told him I was not, whereon the driver of the growler, who was a melancholy man, muttered audibly,

**If you’d arsk me, I'd tell ye mostly on taters. It ain’t no so-and-so circus drivin’ a cab an’ pair of hosses, that it ain’t. And I’ve been at it four-and-twenty year, and druv three divorces.”

‘*I beg your pardon,” said I, but your last observation was lost upon me. I think you said you'd driven three divorces.”

‘*T did so,” he moaned. ‘‘I wus three times had up to swear to gents, and twice complimented by the judge. That’s a thing any man might look to be proud on.”

We had now all crowded into the shelter, and, it being agreed upon that one gentleman should be despatched for mugs containing liquid refreshment to the order of the four, I sat down ona bench and began to catechise the three who remained behind.

‘* To begin with,” said I, ‘‘ tell me what were you doing before you took to this business ?”

‘*T was conducting a

*bus,” said Jehu No. 1,

» , ‘fand being had on the aK Va carpet three days in one week for short money, I

PA got the sack, and took to J Ue a keb.” Jehu No. 2 was not quite so ready in

/ giving his answer, but the melancholy

growler gave it for him.

‘‘He was coachman to Lord —,” said he, ‘‘and got the sack for driving a man to Earl’s Court while his master was at. the theaytre. Wot’s that to be ashamed on?—I arst you, how many coachmen is there in London wot don’t take up a fare in their broughams when the femily ain’t looking ?”

‘* That’s a capital idea,” said I, ‘‘ but it is new to me; now, suppose I wanted to drive a cab to-morrow, what should I have to do?”

At this question, the growler, who was the philosopher of the party, said with fine scorn:

‘*You drive a cab !—oh, that’s the line is it?”

I assured him at once that I desired the information from motives of the purest curiosity ; but at that he was sadder than ever. He thought there was a mystery, and regarded it as an affront that there


was not. Jehu No. 1, however, took up the question and supplied the answer.

‘*If you wanted a keb,” said he, ‘*you’d hev to go to Scotland Yard to the department wot looks after public kerridges. You never wus in prison perhaps?”

**No, I think not.”

‘* Nor a soldier nor a sailor?”

I shook my head.

‘And you could get a party to declare as you knew something about hosses, and two other parties, being householders, to say as you wus respectable?

‘*T might do so.”

‘Well, if you could, you might look to get a license, providin’, that is to say, that you know’d some- thing of the streets. You see _ there’s a ixamination, and they’re mighty per- ticler nowadays. How would you feel if a -man slapped a map be- fore your blinkers, and says, Drive me from the Hele- phant to ’Ornsey Rise’? Why you wouldn’t feel no- how. Not as_ it ain’t to be done, for I’ve done it, and so’s Jim here.”

‘“‘How did you manage it?” I asked.

‘““Why, I give half-a-crown to the Ma hei old chap ~~ wot A stands in the yard , r leastwise he stood in the old yard, and put it into you. He allus carries a map with him, and he coaches you up. Gives you tips wot you’re to be arst. You see it ain't the main arteries so to speak as beats you, it’s the streets as you’ve got to pass to get into’em. Them you’ve got to know like a catechism.”

‘*And a so-and-so sight better,” mut- tered the growler.

‘* But,” said I, ‘‘ suppose I had my license, how should I get a cab?”

‘““By going to a yard, and giving recommendations. Not that it’s easy ;


there’s many a slap-up cove found it un- common hard to get on a box first time round. Masters is wary, and wants to know who you are, and where you come from. If you could satisfy them that it’s on the square, they'd take you up, and you'd find a keb and pair of ’osses ready for you all days.”

‘*For which I should pay—?”

Here they all consulted together. The cab strike was just over. The question of payment was a highly interesting one. When Jehu No. t spoke at last, it was solemnly as the delivery of an oracle.







**You’d pay in the main what you could afford to. If you wasn’t a blind mug, you’d take the first five bob you earned, and put it in your trousers. After that you’d give the master any- thing up to fifteen bob.”

“Would such a sum be easy to earn?”

‘* Depends on your luck. I've known days when I’ve druv until me and the old hoss has hed the staggers, and not took enough to give to a barrel-organ. Other days I’ve took two and three pound.

All the year round I make a





matter of twenty-five or thirty bob a week, and that keeps me and the missus and the two kids with the bit she earns charing.”

‘*T take it,” said I next, ‘‘that some cabbies are cleverer than others, and pick up more money—is that so?”

‘‘OF course it is,” said the growler, who seemed to grow more irritable under the influence of the mug; ‘‘did ye ever


see two heads alike? Well, and you won’t see two cabmen alike. D’ye think I'd be sitting on the box of that second hand coffin of mine, if I could get up on a Forder ?—not me. But that’s our old age pension, that is—two bob a day to live on, and a hoss to drive, which you’ve got to hurry up to prevent him dying afore you gets to the knacker’s.”

‘Is there any particular knack in getting fares ?” I asked.

** Just as much knack,” said

Ja in the afternoon

Jehu No. 2, ‘as there is in spotting a vinner at Hepsom. If you was a son of mine a going into the keb line, I’d say to you, keep clear of the church, and don’t have nothing to do with soldiers. If there’s anything I can’t abide it’s a

half-pay se ‘““Nor me _ neither,” said No. 1; ‘‘it’s my opinion that

the only fightin’ half of ’em know anything about is fightin’ kebmen. Lord! they measure up the road to a yard, and you never know but’ what they'll find something to summons you on. Give mea slap-up chap from Pall Mall, oran old gal from the country. They are rum uns, too, some of the gents we drive nowadays. Only last night one kum up to me and says, Kebby,’ says he, ‘you’re not so drunkas I am!’ No, sir, I says, I wish I was.”

‘*How long are you out every day?” I inquired.

‘*That depends,” said No. 2. ‘* Old Joe there [he referred to the growler], comes out at nine in the morning, and don’t get home until two or three next morning. For myself, | come out at ten, having a regular job to drive a gent down to the city, and after that I generally pick up a few fares near the Mansion House. In the afternoon, I come up here if there’s a cricket job, or let the old hoss show his paces in the West End. In the evening | look to get a fare from here to a theaytre, and another fare back; but I’m always home somewhere about two or three to change hosses, and to sleep a bit.”



‘* Is it true,” said I, ‘*‘ that some cabbies let other men drive their cabs while they are resting in the shelters ?”

They all looked rather grave at this, and it was some moments before the growler answered the question.

‘* We ain’t going to mention no names,” said he; ‘‘ but ?t is done. You drive to a shelter or a public, and another chap takes your cab, and gives you half-a- crown. Wot’s the harm o’ that? I'd like to see some chap come along and drive my prupperty hoss for an hour, and give me half-a-crown. I ain’t took one and a bender since eleven o’clock.”


Pee wy


I pre :umed he meant eighteenpence, but **Do you ever drive queer fares?” | as we were on delicate ground I put asked. another question. ‘**Mostly drunks,” said Jehu No. 1;


‘*but a mate of mine drove a dead ’un the other day. He allus Says as the cove was dead when they put him in the keb—but he was called to take him to. the orspital, and when he got there it was a case for the crow- ner. I once drove a mad chap who would put a fleg up through the _ top, and fired horf a pistol in Regent- street—he thought he was the Spanish Armader, or some- thing may be.”

‘“‘It must be a hard life,” said 1; ‘you ought to live well?”

‘“*So they do,” said the growler, implying that he did not; ‘there ain’t many hansoms in’ London wot don’t have their steak pudding at one o'clock, and a couple of square meals on the top oo’ that. When I druv a tyred keb I thought myself pretty low down if I couldn’t get nine liquors a day, not counting tea. It’s different now; but I’ve got to match the hoss, guvner, and he don’t eat his blooming head horf, I can tell you.”

I agreed with him ; but at that moment Jehu No. 1 was hailed. The con- ference immediately broke up, and hav- ing relieved the melancholy of the growler, I hired No. 2, and risked the ‘‘ isms.”

Copyright strictly Reservea


ee ee


Her little childish world was set Within that tarnished frame, Beginning with the Alphabet She found so hard to name ; In early English, A to N, In Gothic O to Z ; Beneath the figures 1 to 10 | Stand out in dingy red.


OPHIA LOVEDAY, etat 9. Her Sampler, 1702 ”— The legend ends a quaint design In red and green and blue. Long laid to rest the patient hands That played with primal tints, And faded are the silken strands As sad and sallow chintz.


And then she set herself to build A house two stories high, |

With many rows of windows filled, Beneath an azure sky.

The tiles have lost their ruddy tone ; Unsteady leans the wall ;

The winds of many years have blown, | Yet has it braved them all.

Her garden grew, a garish green— Those yellow streaks were walks ; Long lines of lilies still are seen, ] Now drab on withered stalks. j | The roses in a clustered knot Have never ceased to blow, i Though planted in that tiny plot f So many years ago.


With childish art she stitched a heart, i Although at such an age

i She had not known of Cupid’s dart, 4 Not e’en from Herrick’s page.

| Content beside her mother’s knee She hummed some simple lilt ;

f Ah me, she must have danced to see | Her triumph glow in gilt !


| i | VI. |

And did she one day wed, and teach The art she practised there ? You ask me if she lived to reach The age of silvered hair. I cannot tell ; this simple line Is all I ever knew ** Sophia Loveday, ztat 9. Her Sampler, 1702.”

131. August, 1894. 4F



HE days are long past when Edin- burgh had a distinctive literary character of its own. In a literary, as well as in a political and social sense, it has suffered from the prevalent ‘* London- isation,” and although its great University and its Courts of Session prevent it from sinking into the category of a mere pro- vincial town, yet the days are only historic when there was a distinct and important characteristic to be found in anything or anybody hailing from ‘‘the cold gray metropolis of the North.” The days of Hume and Adam Smith, of ‘‘ the Wizard of the North,” ‘‘the Gentle Shepherd,” ‘*the Ettrick Shepherd,” ‘*the Man of Feeling,” of Lockhart, Dugald Stewart, and Sir William Hamilton, of John Wilson and the Woctes Ambrosiane of Jeffrey and the sledge-hammer critics of old ‘*‘ Maga” and The Edinburgh Review are bordering on ancient history, or at least are only in part as sweet memories to the oldest of us. It may safely, though paradoxically, be said that the Scottish literary world resides in London somewhere between Hampstead and St. John’s Wood on the one hand and Lincoln’s Inn Fields on the other. One does not forget that within the narrower circles of academic life there are still names to be conjured with in Science andin Arts. One does not forget Tait and Rutherford, and Turner, Geikie, Butcher, and Flint. Yet in the more catholic and human fields of general literature we may count the prominent Scottish literary men who reside in Edin- burgh on the fingers of one hand—David Masson, John Skelton, Walter C. Smith, Alexander Anderson, and John Stuart Blackie ; and this indeed is but a poor turn-out for Edinburgh, when we remember that the republic of letters includes such

Scots as Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Buchanan, William Black, Andrew Lang, George MacDonald, J. M. Barrie, William Sharp, and S. R. Crockett.

When I arrived in Edinburgh to make my morning call on the ‘‘Grand Old Man” of Scotland it was a_ beautiful spring day, and although the wind was orthodox enough to come from the east —Edinburgh has been called ‘‘ too east- windy and too west-endy "—it was with the greatest enjoyment that I made my way west along Princes Street—that queen of European streets. To my left the castle stood out against the clear, cloud- less blue sky, like some mighty giant sleeping and stretching east from its slopes ; the grand old town—‘‘ mine own romantic town,” as Scott called it—looked down with a very historical visage on the more modern beauties of the gardens below, and away to the Forth and the hills of Fife in the north, a peep of which I caught as I passed the several streets running north from Princes Street. Ruskin especially loved these openings in Princes Street, Professor Blackie told me later, for he said, ‘‘ When I come to them I can look from the works of man to the works of God.”

I was not long in reaching Douglas Crescent—a handsome crescent in the extreme west of the city, commanding an almost uninterrupted view of the valley of the Water of Leith, of Corstorphine Hill, of the Forth, and on clear days of the Lomonds of Fife. The Professor had written that I was not to come too early, as the regulation of his life was that the morning was to be kept sacred to the mysteries of his study, so that it was approaching noon when I entered the

picturesque hall of his house at No. 9g,


Douglas Crescent. In the dining-room I met Mrs. Blackie, little changed from what I knew her ten years ago, looking by her remarkably erect bearing more like a woman of sixty than one between seventy and eighty ; and soon we were joined by the Professor, who came in singing, and although I saw the feet marks of that cruel crow Time had not spared him, yet no one would imagine that this erect and youthful-looking figure,


bad. My dear sir, pessimism is a habit of thinking, or a frame of mind that leads a man to fix his eyes on the accidental faults or disagreeable points of any object or objects relatively to himself, and to infer from them, by a hasty conclusion, that accidental faults or differences are the essence of all things, and express the dominant character of the universe. How absurd this notion is we may learn from taking the example say of a rose, on which


carrying a still more youthful heart, was the body of a man in his eighty-fifth year. 1809—what memories that takes us back to! and this striking Scot, with his mar- vellous foie de vivre, his energy—dramatic often in its intensity, and his remarkable sympathy with the newer movements, was born, then, in the same year with Men- delssohn, Chopin, Darwin, Tennyson, Holmes, and Gladstone. I remark on his continued vigour, and he replies— ‘‘T am not so young as | was, that is certain, and yet there is life in me yet ; that comes with living as far as possible on a system, and avoiding pessimism and all such devilry. Pessimism, indeed! Be- lieve an old philospher when he tells you there is far more good in the world than

a pessimistic rhymer would express him- self thus :

“*T hate the flower that wears a thorn, It frets my dainty nose ; Sooner of smell would I be shorn Than smell the thorny rose !’

That sounds silly enough,” the Professor said, jumping up and laughing ; ‘‘ but the generality of our common one-sided con- clusions, on things great and small, are really not a whit more reasonable; be- sides,” turning to me with a half-sus- picious look, ‘‘I think your pessimism is bred in your London writers, and is not an accurate reflection of the feeling of the age. Well, come away up to my study,”


he said, opening the dining-room door ; and as I followed him up stairs he remarked, ‘‘A whiff from our