the bush, and alertly refuses to double its value by coming into the hand. I could not now take the most trusting reader up into that high place, and hope to abuse his innocence by any feigned knowledge of those clustering colleges. All is a blur of leafy luxuriance, probably the foliage of the garden trees which embower the colleges, but not so absolutely such that it does not seem the bourgeoning and branching edifices themselves, a sumptuous Gothic suggestion, in stem and spray, of the stone-wrought beauty of the halls and chapels where nature might well have studied her effects of Perpendicular or Early English, or that spiritual Flamboyant in which she excels art. There remains from it chiefly a sense of flowery color which I suppose is from the nearer-to insistence of trees everywhere in bloom.

It was as if Oxford were decorated for the Eights by these sympathetic hawthorns and chestnuts and fond lilacs, and the whole variety of kind, sweet shrubs which had hung out their blossoms to gladden the pretty eyes and noses of the undergraduates' visitors. We could not drive anywhere without coming upon some proof of the floral ardor; but perhaps I am embowering Oxford more than I ought with borrowed wreaths and garlands from the drive to the Norman church of Iffley where our friend took us, ostensibly because it could just be got in before lunch, but really because we needed some relief from the facts of Oxford which, stamped thickly, one upon another, made us inexhaustible palimpsests of precious impressions. I am sure that if another could get at my memory, and wash one record clear of another, there would reveal itself such a perfect history of what I saw and did as would constitute every beholder a partner of my experiences. But this I cannot manage for myself, and must be as content as I can

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with revealing mere fragmentary glimpses of the fact, broken lines, shattered images, blurred colors. For instance, all I can get at, of that visit to the Norman church at Iffley, is the May morning air, with its sun and sweet, from which we passed to the gloom, richly chill, of the interior, and then from that again, into the sun and sweet, to have a swift look at the façade, with the dog-toothing of its arches, which I then for the first time received distinctly into my consciousness. A part of the precious concept, forever inseparable, is my recollection of the church warden's printed prayer that I would not lean against the chain-fencing before the façade, and of my grief that I could not comply without failing of the view of it which I was there for: without leaning against that chain one cannot look up at the dog-toothing, and receive it into one's consciousness.


As often I have thought of asking my reader to revisit Oxford with me, I have fancied vividly possessing them of this or that distinctive fact, without regard to the sequences, but I find myself, poor slave of all that I have seen and known! following myself, step by step through the uneventful events in the order of their occurrence; and if my reader will not keep me company, after luncheon, in my stroll across fields and through garden ways beyond my friend's house to that affluent of the Isis whose real name is the Cherwell, and which calls itself the Char, I know not how he is to get to the point where the Isis becomes the Thames, and where we are to see the first of the Eights, and two of the Bumps together. For except by this stroll we cannot reach the pretty water, so full, so slow, so bright, so dark, where we are to take boat, and get down to the destined point on its smooth breast, with a thousand other boats of every device, but mainly, but overwhelm

ingly, punts. The craft were all pushed or pulled by their owners or their owners' guests, who were as serenely and sweetly patient with the problem of getting to the Eights or the Bumps in time, as if the affair were subjective, and might be delayed by an effort of the will in the various cases.

As with other public things in England, this had such a quality of privacy that we seemed the only persons really concerned, and other people in other boats were as much figures painted in the landscape as the buttercups in the meadowy levels that stretched on either hand at our point of departure, and presently, changed into knots of boskage, overhanging the dreamy lymph. But I shall not get into my picture the sense of the lush grasses, with those little yellow lamps, or those Perpendicular boles, with their Early English arches, or their Flamboyant leafage, any more than I shall get in the sense of the shore gleamily wetting its root-wrought earthen brinks, or bringing the weedy herbage down to drink of the little river. River it was, though so little, and as much in scale with the little continent it helps to water, as any Ohio or Mississippi of ours is with our measureless peninsula. There is also something in that English air, which, in spite of the centuries of taming to man's hand leaves Nature her moods, her whims, of showing divinely and inalienably primitive, so that I had bewildering moments, on that sung and storied water, of floating on some wildwood stream of my Western boyhood. It has, so it appeared, its moments of savage treachery, and one still eddy where it lay smoothly smiling was identified as the point where two undergraduates had not very long ago been drowned. Sometimes the early or the later rains swell it to a flood, and spread it over those low pastures, in

an image of the vaster deluges which sweep our immense stretches of river valley.

There was a kind of warm chill in the afternoon air, which bore all odors of wood and meadow, and transmitted the English voices with a tender distinctness. From point to point there were reaches of the water where we had quite a boat's-length of it to ourselves, and again there were sharp turns where it narrowed to an impossible strait and the congested craft must have got by one another through the air. The people in the punts, and canoes, and boats, were proceeding at their leisure, or lying wilfully or forgetfully moored by the flat shores or under the mimic bluffs. They struck into one another where they found room enough to withdraw for the purpose, and they were constantly grinding gunwale against gunwale, with gentle murmurs of deprecation and soft-voiced forgivenesses which had almost the quality of thanks. Then, before we knew it we were gliding under Magdalen bridge past bolder shores, and so, into wider and opener waters where, with as little knowledge of ours the Char had become, or was by way of becoming the Thames which is the Isis. I believe it is still the Char where the bumps take place in the commodious expanses between the college barges tethered to the grassy shores. These barges were only a little more conspicuously aflame and aflutter with bright hats and parasols and volatile skirts than the shores; and they were all one fluent delight of color. On the shore opposite the barge where we were guests, there ran, soon after we had taken our first cups of tea, a cry of undergraduates, heralding the first of the two shells which came rowing past us. Then, almost ere I was aware of it the bow of a shell which was behind touched the stern of the shell which was before, and

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the first bump had been achieved. The thing had been so lightly and quickly done that the mere fact of the bump had not fully passed from the eye to the mind, when a glory wholly unexpected by me involved us: the shell which had made the bump belonged to our college, or at least the college to which our barge belonged. Shining in the reflected light, we rowed back up the Char to the point of our departure, and in the long, leisurely twilight found our first day in Oxford drawing on to night in the fragrant meadow.

Was it this night or the next that I dined in hall? There were several dinners in hall, and I may best be indefinite as to time as well as place. All civilized dinners are much alike everywhere, from soup to coffee, and it is only in certain academic formalities that a dinner in hall at Oxford differs from another banquet. One of these which one may mention as most captivating to the fancy fond of finding poetry in antique usage was the passing from meat in the large hall, portraited round the carven and panelled walls with the effigies of the college celebrities and dignities, into a smaller and cosier room, where the spirit of the gadding vine began its rambles up and down the glossy mahogany; and then into a third place where the fragrant cups and tubes fumed in the wedded odors of coffee and tobacco. If I remember, we went from the first to the last successively under the open heaven; but perhaps you do not always so, though you always make the transit, and could not imaginably smoke where you ate or drank.

Once, when the last convivial delight was exhausted, and there was a loath parting at the door in the grassy quadrangle under the mild heaven, where not even a star intruded, I had a realizing sense of what Oxford could mean to some youth who comes to it in eager in

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