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Title: Peter Binney - A Novel
Author: Marshall, Archibald
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Peter Binney - A Novel" ***

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PETER BINNEY

A NOVEL


BY

ARCHIBALD MARSHALL



NEW YORK

DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY

1921



PUBLISHED 1921 IN U. S. A.

BY DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY, INC.



  First Printing, September, 1921
  Second Printing, October, 1921
  Third Printing, December, 1921
  Fourth Printing, January, 1922



  PRINTED IN THE USA BY
  The Quinn & Boden Company
  BOOK MANUFACTURERS
  RAHWAY  NEW JERSEY



TO

E. F. BENSON



INTRODUCTION

It is over twenty years since "Peter Binney" was first published in
England, and I should be unwilling to offer it to my American readers
at this time of day without some plea for leniency towards a young
man's book, which contains perhaps more than the average number of
crudities to be found in such beginnings.  A few of the crudities I
have been able to soften, but if you begin tampering with early work in
the light of maturer knowledge, you are very apt to rub off the bloom
that attaches to it just because it is early work, written with spirit
and freshness, though with little skill.  So I have left "Peter Binney"
much as it was, with most of its imperfections on its head, and I trust
some compensating merits.

One merit I know it to possess.  It presents a picture of the lighter
side of undergraduate life as it was in Oxford and Cambridge, and as it
still exists, in spite of superficial changes; and that is something
that can only be done by a young man, whose memories are still fresh,
and to whom that life is still important enough to make it the basis of
a story.

New York, July, 1921



CONTENTS


CHAPTER

    I  Mr. Binney Makes Up His Mind
   II  Mr. Binney Interviews One Tutor, and Engages Another
  III  Lucius Wins a Year's Respite
   IV  No Help To Be Gained from Mrs. Higginbotham
    V  Mr. Binney Arrives in Cambridge
   VI  Lord Blathgowrie Has Something to Say
  VII  Mr. Binney Speaks at the Union And Makes a Distinguished Acquaintance
 VIII  The Newnham Girl
   IX  Mr. Binney Gives a Dinner and Receives a Rebuff
    X  "The New Court Chronicle"
   XI  "Put Him in the Fountain"
  XII  Lucius Makes One Discovery and Mrs. Toller Another
 XIII  Mr. Binney Gets into Trouble
  XIV  Nemesis
   XV  Lucius Finds a Backwater
  XVI  Third Trinity Makes a Bump
 XVII  Mr. Binney Drinks the Health of a "Blue"



CHAPTER I

MR. BINNEY MAKES UP HIS MIND

"I'll do it to-day," said Peter Binney.

He had been sitting deep in thought ever since he had climbed on to the
omnibus outside his place of business in the Whitechapel Road.  As the
vehicle pursued its ponderous way through the crowded streets of the
City, stopping now and again to add to its load of homeward-bound
business men, Mr. Binney sat in his seat, silent and preoccupied, his
eyes on the ground and a thoughtful frown on his face.  As it left the
Post Office, full inside and out, and bowled smartly along the broad
asphalted road towards the Viaduct, his face cleared, the light of
determination shone in his eye, and looking up, he said aloud:--

"I'll do it to-day."

His fellow passengers gazed at him in surprise, and a young lady who
sat by his side, heavily fringed and feathered, and laden with a huge
cardboard box, laughed a coarse laugh, and said:

"That's right, guv'nor, don't you put it off no longer."

Mr. Binney had not intended to express his determination aloud, and the
notice his remark had drawn annoyed him.  As the young lady was
apparently turning over in her mind further witticisms, he decided to
leave the omnibus and walk the rest of the way to his house in Russell
Square.  He made his way slowly down the unsteady stairs, and the young
lady said:

"A good cup o' beef tea's what _you_ want, George, and don't forgit the
'ot-water bottle," and as the omnibus pursued its way, leaving him
walking briskly along the pavement, she leant over the side and called
out, "Git Mariar to put a mustard plaster on yer chest," which made the
people on the omnibus laugh, although Mr. Binney could see no humour in
the remark.

He had come, however, to such a momentous decision during the last
half-hour that by the time he had gone a dozen steps he had ceased to
feel any irritation at the young lady's pleasantries, and walked
smartly along, his brain all on fire with his mighty purpose.

Peter Binney was a small man of about forty-five years of age.  His
hair was gingery, and his whiskers decidedly red.  He looked rather
like a little bantam-cock as he strutted along, and this was a curious
coincidence, for he had made his fortune by selling poultry food.

Every one has heard of Binney's Food for Poultry.  Indeed it would be
quite impossible for anybody who is able to read to be unaware of its
existence, for its fame is blazoned on every hoarding in the United
Kingdom.  It was Peter Binney who first conceived the idea of advancing
the cause of art and advertising his wares at the same time.  In the
early days, when the future world-famed business was just emerging from
its chrysalis state of a little cornchandler's shop in the
neighbourhood of the East India Docks, he was content to publish a
picture of a simpering young woman in a quilted satin petticoat and
dancing shoes, feeding a number of plethoric hens in a very clean
farmyard.  But when the shop became a factory and Mr. Binney's keen
business capacity began to tell, he issued his celebrated series of
"Raphael's Cartoons for the Home," across the sky of each of which ran
the inscription, "Binney's Food for Poultry."  After a little time he
published an edition of the "Plays of Shakespeare," in which all the
passages that Mr. Bowdler would have omitted were ingeniously converted
by Mr. Binney into eulogies on his Food for Poultry.  Poultry and taste
were alike fed by Mr. Binney, and his business flourished accordingly.
At the age of forty-five he found himself a rich man, with a house in
Russell Square, a family tomb in Kensal Green Cemetery (tenanted at
present only by his wife), and a son who was being educated at Eton.

But to return to the present time and Mr. Binney's purpose.  When he
had let himself into the house in Russell Square, he rang the bell and
inquired of the parlour-maid who answered it if Mr. Lucius was at home.
Hearing that he was not, Mr. Binney seemed somewhat relieved, and went
straight up into his dressing-room, where he put on the coat and
trousers generally reserved for Sunday wear, and exchanged his dark tie
for a brilliant red one.  Then he looked at his boots, and hesitated.
They were neat enough, but they had lost the sober brilliance of the
morning.  There was a row of similar boots freshly blacked under the
dressing-table, but even these must have wanted something in Mr.
Binney's eyes, for after looking at them thoughtfully he shook his
head, and opening the door stole quietly out and upstairs into a room
above his own.  It was rather an untidy room and evidently occupied by
a young man of athletic tastes, to judge by the dumb-bells and Indian
clubs, cricket-bats, guncases and fishing-rods that littered the
corners.  There was a row of boots and shoes under the dressing-table
here too, and among them a pair of shining patent leathers.  Mr. Binney
made his way across the room on tiptoe, and seizing the boots, trees
and all, retreated with them hurriedly to his own room, where he sat
down and put them on.  They were a good deal too big, but an extra pair
of winter socks set that right, and when Mr. Binney had buttoned them
he stood up on a chair and surveyed himself in the glass with
considerable satisfaction.  "I must get a pair like that," he said.
Then he went downstairs, and putting on his best hat and gloves, and
taking his best umbrella out of the stand, he left the house.

Turning to the left, Mr. Binney made his way towards Woburn Square.  If
he had looked the other way as he came out of his house he would have
seen his son Lucius coming towards him not fifty yards off.  Lucius was
very unlike his father.  He was a good-looking boy of about eighteen,
tall and slim, with blue eyes and a pleasant smiling mouth fringed with
a few fair downy hairs, of which he always spoke collectively.  He was
very popular among his school-fellows, and was commonly known by the
name of "Lucy."

"Halloa!" he said to himself as he caught sight of his father coming
down the steps of the parental mansion.  "Where's the governor off to,
I wonder!  Looks jolly smart, too.  S'pose he's going to call on that
old woman.  Jove! he's got a pair of shiny boots on.  I say, governor,
you're going it!  They're a bit too big for you though, my boy.  Shall
I give him a hail?  Think I won't.  He might want me to go and call on
the old tabby with him."

So Lucius let himself into the house and went upstairs.  As he passed
his father's room, the door of which was open, he looked in and saw
that the floor was littered with the component parts of a pair of
boot-trees.  "Didn't know the governor went in for those luxuries," he
said to himself.  Then a sudden thought struck him; he went in and took
up one of the pieces.  "Well, I'm hanged!" he said in a tone of deep
annoyance.  "They _are_ mine.  And he's actually got on my boots.
There's a piece of nerve for you!  There'll be a row when you get home,
young man.  I really can't stand that, you know."  And Lucius went out
of his father's room very much annoyed.

We left Mr. Binney making his way towards Woburn Square.  He walked on
until he came to a house with a brightly-painted blue door, where he
rang the bell and asked if Mrs. Higginbotham was at home.  The maid
treated him with the subdued cordiality of an old acquaintance and led
him straight upstairs to Mrs. Higginbotham's drawing-room, where her
mistress was discovered warming her feet at a bright fire, and reading
the _Christian World_.  She was a stout, middle-aged lady, and wore a
dress of rich black silk.  The room wore an air of warm, solid comfort.
Its decorations would not have satisfied the late Mr. William Morris,
it is true, but as they completely satisfied Mrs. Higginbotham, that
was not a matter of great importance.

"Dear me, Mr. Binney, this is very kind of you," said Mrs.
Higginbotham, rising to greet her visitor.

Mr. Binney shook hands with her and took the chair to which she had
motioned him.  He did not speak, but the compressed upper lip and the
thoughtful look with which he regarded Mrs. Higginbotham caused a
slight fluttering in that lady's ample bosom.  With a woman's instinct
she immediately knew as surely as if he had already told her what he
had come to say.  "He's going to do it to-day," she said to herself,
and true to the tactics of her sex she set herself at once to ward off
the critical moment as long as possible.  She plunged into conversation
of the sprightly religious order, for Mrs. Higginbotham was a good
woman and could talk by the hour together of preachers and movements
and causes, in which conversation Mr. Binney was quite capable of
holding his own, for he and Mrs. Higginbotham sat under the same
preacher and held the same theological views.  There was another point
in common between them, and while Mrs. Higginbotham is struggling to
maintain a bright and lively conversation, to which Mr. Binney replies
only by terse monosyllables, there will be time to explain what this
was.

Both Mr. Binney and Mrs. Higginbotham had a soul above their
surroundings.  In the case of Mr. Binney this has already been
indicated by the way in which, while conducting his business on the
most approved lines of commercial progress, he essayed to import into
it something better and nobler than the mere pushing of his wares and
the piling up of a fortune.  Those cartoons from Raphael had infused a
love of art into many humble homes, and not a few minds had been
enriched by the perusal of Binney's Shakespeare (a play given away with
every sack of his food for poultry), to such an extent that the
deterioration of eyesight brought about by the quality of paper and
print with which those masterpieces were issued was a very small matter
in consideration of the mental enlightenment which had been diffused
throughout the country.

Mrs. Higginbotham's aspirations were not of so educational a character.
Her literary yearnings were satisfied by the weekly appearance of the
_Family Herald Supplement_, to which event she looked forward regularly
with great pleasure.  That excellent periodical never made its
appearance in her drawing-room, although sundry works of fiction from
the lending library round the corner, dealing with the habits and
customs of the aristocracy, did.  Mrs. Higginbotham's father had been a
draper in a small way of business, and her husband, beginning life in
her father's shop, by the time he died had become a draper in a very
large way.  Wealth and luxury had been Mrs. Higginbotham's lot for many
years, but what she yearned for was the larger, freer life led by those
happy beings of whom she read in her chosen novels.  To be able to look
upon a lord without blinking; to be able to look upon lords every day
of your life; to have it said in a newspaper, "I saw Mrs. 'Fluffy'
Higginbotham" (Fluffy had been the term of endearment enjoyed by the
late Mr. Higginbotham) "sitting under the Achilles Statue in a
plum-coloured gown with lettuce-green _revers_;" to have cards of
invitation pouring in, every other one illuminated by a title; to
regard the London season as something more than the time of year when
the days were getting longer and it would soon be time to think about
going to the seaside--comfortable as Mrs. Higginbotham's circumstances
were, her life had been singularly devoid of these delights.

And this was not all.  Mrs. Higginbotham was romantic.  She revelled in
a love-story.  She adored the Apollo-like heroes of her favourite
fiction with an ungrudging wealth of admiration, and she envied hardly
less the blushing heroines on whom they lavished the stores of their
magnificent affections.  Mrs. Higginbotham felt that it ought to be the
lot of every girl to be a blushing heroine at one time of her life.
She felt that she herself had been unjustly deprived of that privilege,
although she had been an attractive girl, and, if she read the
expression in Peter Binney's eyes rightly, was attractive still.  The
late Mr. Higginbotham had been a good husband to her, but his actual
proposal had been of the "Here I am--Take me if you like--If you don't
there are plenty that will, and only too glad to get the chance" order.
She _had_ taken him, but he had never satisfied the romantic cravings
of her nature.  She, on her part, had been a good wife to him, but so
far as she was aware he had never, from first to last, regarded her as
a heroine, or if he had he had never shown it.

Would Peter Binney do more?  Was it too late to hope that a whiff of
the fragrant breezes of romance might yet blow upon her?  Mrs.
Higginbotham scarcely knew.  There was a something in the little man
that inclined her to think that he would not be averse to dally in the
Indian summer of a romantic courtship if she made it quite plain to him
that that was what she required; and there was a something, in spite of
his diminutive stature and the byegone forty-five years of his
successful life, in the fire of his eye and in his erect and proud
bearing, that whispered to Mrs. Higginbotham's heart that she might, by
guarding the sensation with extreme care, bring herself to regard him
as a very good substitute for the youthful adorer who it was almost too
much to hope would come forward at this time of day.

While these questions passed through her mind, Mrs. Higginbotham went
on talking, and Mr. Binney, answering her without knowing in the least
what she was talking about, mentally braced himself up for the proposal
he was about to make.  At last he broke into the middle of one of Mrs.
Higginbotham's sentences, and said in a firm and resolute voice, "Mrs.
Higginbotham, ma'am."

Mrs. Higginbotham saw that the time had come, and gave up the struggle.

"Yes, Mr. Binney?" she said in as cool a tone as she could muster.

"I am not so young as I was, ma'am," said Mr. Binney.

"We are none of us that," said Mrs. Higginbotham.  "At least not people
at our time of life."

"You have no reason to complain, ma'am," said Mr. Binney gallantly.

"My heart is young," said Mrs. Higginbotham, greatly pleased at the
compliment, "and if I am not very much mistaken, yours is also."

"I hope it is," said Mr. Binney, greatly pleased in his turn; "and on
that account I have a proposal to make to you, ma'am, which I hope you
will consider favourably."

"I'm sure I shall do that, whatever it is," said Mrs. Higginbotham
comfortably.

"I hope so," said Mr. Binney again.  "The fact is, ma'am, that I have
long regarded you with feelings of interest, which have in the course
of time developed into feelings of affection.  I can scarcely hope that
those feelings are returned, but I should wish to ask, ma'am, if there
is any chance in the near or distant future that they might be."

"Oh, Mr. Binney!" exclaimed Mrs. Higginbotham with a lively
recollection of the heroines of fiction.  "This is so sudden."

"It is, ma'am," said Mr. Binney.  "I am aware of that.  This sort of
thing _must_ be sudden at some time or another, if it is to result in
bus--I mean if anything is to come of it.  I don't wish to press you
for an answer yet.  I merely wish to lay my ideas before you.  I might
say that I wish to marry again in order to obtain those advantages
which--er--which _come_ from marrying again.  I might say that I want
an agreeable companion to sit at the head of my table, to entertain me
with her society in my leisure hours, and to act in the capacity of
mother to my only son.  I do want that, but that is not all.  I have
worked hard all my life, ma'am, and am now a comparatively rich man.
But I have had very little pleasure in my life.  I married my first
wife to please _her_.  I want to marry my second to please _myself_.
And I want above all to impart into the affair some of
that--er--_glamour_, which, in my opinion, should envelop all
courtship.  I therefore come to you, ma'am, an agreeable and charming
woman, and ask you, not to accept me as a man of good position able to
offer you a comfortable home, which I am aware you have already, but as
a man who, although no longer young, is younger than a good many
people, and who loves you for yourself alone, and would like to take an
opportunity of proving it."

Could Mrs. Higginbotham believe her ears?  If Peter Binney had asked
her to marry him in the way he had suggested, and scouted, she would
have accepted him with a sigh for lost illusions now no longer tenable.
But it really seemed as if that romance for which the poor lady had so
longed was going to be opened up for her, and an ardent swain, in the
person of Peter Binney, Manufacturer of Poultry Food, was ready to
throw himself at her feet and plead for her favour.  Mrs. Higginbotham
could scarcely yet grasp the happiness that seemed to be dawning on her
horizon.

"Do you really love me for myself, Mr. Binney?" she asked with
faltering lips.

"Say Peter," corrected Mr. Binney.

"Peter," said Mrs. Higginbotham submissively, with a delicious thrill.

"Yes, I do," said that gentleman.  "But I don't want you to accept me
in a hurry, you know," he added hastily.  "I want you to try me, to
prove me, to see what I'm made of."  He slapped his little breast with
a determined air, and looked round the room as if in search of some
object by means of which he might be proved on the spot.

Mrs. Higginbotham might have replied that she knew him tolerably well
already, having met him with some frequency for the last twenty years.
But his attitude caused her such a degree of pleasure that she was by
no means prepared to spoil the sensation by reminding him of that fact.
At the same time she was a little nervous and flurried.  She had all
the will in the world to prove him, but she didn't quite know how to
set about it.  If there had been a crusade handy she might have sent
him off to that, but she could think of no nineteenth century
substitute on the spur of the moment.  Mr. Binney had been a Volunteer
in his youth, as he had often told her, but he was one no longer, so
she could not set him to watch his accoutrements all night in a church.
Besides, Mr. Binney went to chapel, and the minister wouldn't have
liked it.  She didn't really quite know what he did want, but
fortunately Mr. Binney himself came to the rescue and made himself a
little clearer.

"Now, Mrs. Higginbotham," he began.  "By-the-bye, may I call you
Martha?"

"Yes, do," said Mrs. Higginbotham.

"Now, my dear Martha," began Mr. Binney again, "what you have got to do
is to tell me what in your opinion the behaviour of an ideal lover
should be, and what _I_ have got to do is to endeavour to the best of
my ability to act up to your opinion."

"Well, Peter," began Mrs. Higginbotham, "I must confess that I have
always wished that I had had in my youth a devoted lover who should be
something of a hero."

"Quite so, quite so," assented Mr. Binney with an energetic nod.  "I
shall do my best to be that, my very best."

"One," continued Mrs. Higginbotham, "whom I could admire
for--er--manliness and--er--light-heartedness, and--er--beauty, both of
form and feature."

"Exactly so," nodded her wooer.

"One who would regard me as the most beautiful--er--female in the
world; not that I should be that, of course, but I should like him to
think so."

"Of course, of course," said Mr. Binney.  "Quite natural."

"And who would try to make little opportunities of meeting me, and
being where I was."

"Exactly," said Mr. Binney, who had been admitted into Mrs.
Higginbotham's house any time these last twenty years whenever he liked
to present himself.

"Whose heart would beat quicker when he _did_ see me, and who would be
quite rewarded for any trouble he might have taken over the matter _by_
seeing me."

"I quite see, ma'am, I quite see," said Mr. Binney.  "The truth of it
is, you want to renew your youth, I take it.  Not that it requires much
renewing," he added gallantly.

"Oh, Peter!" exclaimed Mrs. Higginbotham coyly.

"And I want to renew _my_ youth, Martha," continued Mr. Binney with
some fervour.  "I've worked very hard ever since I was a boy, as you
know, and I never had the fun that I should like to have had, or that
the young fellows I see about me now have--my son, for instance."

"Dear boy," murmured Mrs. Higginbotham.

"Dear boy, certainly," acquiesced Mr. Binney, "and _lucky_ boy, too,
Martha.  Look what I've done for that boy.  I've sent him to Eton,
where _I_ never had a chance of going, or anywhere like it.  Why,
Martha, life is one continuous round of pleasure at Eton.  And now he
is going to Cambridge.  _There's_ a place for you!  Why, I assure you,
you could hardly believe the fun that young fellows have at a place
like Cambridge."

"Yes, I can.  I've read books about it," said Mrs. Higginbotham, "and I
had a nephew there once who used to tell me things.  Ah, Mr. Binney, if
I were only what I used to be twenty years ago, and you were at
Cambridge!"

"Pooh, Martha," said Mr. Binney.  "You weren't half so attractive as
you are now, I'll be bound.  And as for me, though I _am_ forty-five,
I'm as active as ever and could hold up my head with the best of them."

"I know you could, Peter," said Mrs. Higginbotham.

"Now, Martha, I've got something in my mind," said Mr. Binney.  "It's
been there for some time, but I haven't liked to mention it to you
because I was afraid--well, I didn't know how you might take it.  But
really, you've taken what I _have_ said in such a way as--as to be
extremely gratifying to me, and upon my word I don't believe you'll
think my idea so very absurd after all."

Mrs. Higginbotham looked at him with deep interest depicted in her face.

Mr. Binney squared himself and sat up in his chair.  "Lucius is going
to Cambridge in October," he said.  "Now what do you say to my going
with him?"

Mrs. Higginbotham's look of interest gradually brightened into one of
delighted agreement.  "Oh, Peter," she said, "if you only could!  Isn't
it too late?"

"Not a bit," said Mr. Binney.  "There's no limit of age.  I found that
out long ago.  I could go up there and be treated in all respects as if
I was five-and-twenty years younger than I am.  And do you know,
Martha," added the little man confidentially, "such is my freshness of
mind that I believe in time I should come to believe that I _was_
five-and-twenty years younger."

Mrs. Higginbotham looked at him in speechless admiration.  "It would be
lovely," she said.  "What an interest I should take in your doings,
Peter!"

This speech was as a spark to the tinder of Mr. Binney's inclinations.
"If you think about it like that, Martha, I'll do it," he cried
delightedly.  "And now I must be getting home.  I'll have a talk to
Lucius about it to-night, and come and tell you what I have decided
to-morrow."

Mr. Binney took a tender farewell of Mrs. Higginbotham, and left her to
spend the evening in roseate dreams of returning youth and a wider
horizon than that visible from her windows in Woburn Square.



CHAPTER II

MR. BINNEY INTERVIEWS ONE TUTOR AND ENGAGES ANOTHER

Mr. Binney and his son sat over their wine that evening in the
seclusion of the dining-room in Russell Square.  Mr. Binney had been
somewhat silent during dinner, thinking over the disclosure he was
about to make.  Somehow, now that it came to the point, he felt a
certain diffidence in mentioning it.  Lucius also had something to say,
but waited until the servants were out of the room.

"I say, father," he said, when they were left alone, "I've ordered a
new pair of patent leather boots from Peal's, and asked them to send
the bill in to you."

Mr. Binney, immersed in his thoughts, had forgotten the occurrence of
the afternoon, or he would not have rushed with such haste to his own
destruction.  "Bill into me, Lucius?" he exclaimed angrily.  "What do
you mean?  You've got your own allowance, and a very handsome one it
is.  I'm not going to pay your bills for you besides.  If it comes into
me I shall tear it up."

"You've got your own boots," retorted Lucius, "and very handsome ones
they are.  If you take a fancy to mine I don't mind you wearing them a
bit, only I haven't got enough for us both, so I thought you wouldn't
mind my getting another pair, as I can't do without."

"H'm!  Ah! yes!" said Mr. Binney, a trifle confused.  "No, I don't mind
really, my boy, though I don't think there are many fathers who would
take it like that."

"There aren't many fathers who would take their sons' boots," said
Lucius.  "By the way, father, talking about allowances, what allowance
are you going to make me at Cambridge?"

"Ah, Cambridge!" echoed Mr. Binney, as if that ancient seat of learning
had just been brought to his notice for the first time.  "Yes, we must
talk about Cambridge."

"I should like to have it settled before I go back to Eton for my last
half, if you don't mind," said Lucius.  "A lot of my friends are going
up, and we shall be sure to be talking over it a good deal.  I should
like to know what I shall be able to do and what I shan't."

"You ought to think yourself very lucky to be going to Cambridge at
all," said Mr. Binney with a shake of the head.  "I never had the
chance of going to Cambridge when I was a young fellow."

"Oh, I daresay it's a jolly enough place," said Lucius, "although I
shall be sorry to leave Eton.  Still, it isn't all fun, you know,
father.  There's a certain amount of work to be done."

"Work!  Of course there is," said Mr. Binney.  "But _what_ work!  Think
of being able to carry on your education till you're twenty-two or
thereabouts.  It's a grand thing, education.  I never had any myself,
at least not what _you_ would call education, although I flatter myself
I know as much as most people."

"Oh, yes, father," said Lucius.  "Why, bless me, you've edited the text
of Shakespeare."

"H'm, yes," said Mr. Binney, on whom a certain amount of adverse
comment had bred a measure of distrust in this feat.  He took a gulp of
port.  "We've always been friends, my boy, you and I, haven't we?" he
continued rather nervously.

"Friends, father?" said Lucius.  "Why, of course.  I should think so."

"You might, perhaps, almost say that we are more like brothers than
father and son," pursued Mr. Binney.

"I don't know that I should go quite so far as that," said Lucius.
"But we always get on very well together, don't we?"

"Yes, that is what I meant," said Mr. Binney.  "Now I've got an idea,
which may be a little unusual." ("Not at all," murmured Lucius
politely.) "But I hope you'll fall in with it.  At least when I say, I
hope, it doesn't matter a fig whether you do or not.  I'm not going to
be dictated to by my son, though he has been to a public school and I
haven't.  Who sent him there?"

"Why, you did, of course, father," said Lucius.  "I don't want to
dictate to you.  What is your idea?  That I shall go into the business
when I come down from Cambridge?"

"That you'll do, of course," said Mr. Binney.  "I hope you know on
which side your bread's buttered, and who buttered it for you.  No, my
idea is about myself.  I have worked very hard until now, but I haven't
had the time for self-improvement that I should have liked.  Now, what
I propose to do is to take three years holiday off business and go up
to Cambridge with you in October.  What do you think of that?"

What Lucius thought of it might have been accurately gathered from the
length of his face.  All power of speech seemed to have left him.  He
could only sit with open mouth staring at his father, and this
demeanour instantly set up the comb of that peppery little bantam.

"Well, well, what have you got to say?  Why don't you speak?" he cried,
with some heat.

Suddenly Lucius lay back in his chair, and gave vent to a loud, but
entirely mirthless, peal of laughter.  "That's a good joke, father," he
said.  "Gad! you _are_ a ripper.  Won't the fellows laugh when I tell
'em?"

This behaviour seemed to have a very ill effect on the circulation of
Mr. Binney's blood, which flew into his head to such an extent that his
face got as red as a tomato.

"What do you mean, sir?" he cried angrily.  "It isn't a joke at all.
Why should the fellows laugh, I should like to know?  I tell you what
it is, sir, you're ashamed of your father, you ungrateful young snob.
Where would you have been, I should like to know, if I hadn't made my
fortune and sacrificed myself to give you a good education?  Sweeping a
shop, I dare say, or a clerk on ten shillings a week.  That's what you
would have been, my fine fellow, and a good deal too good for you, too,
you idle young----"

"Steady on, father," interposed Lucius, now quite serious again.  "I'm
not ashamed of you, you know that quite well--there's nothing to be
ashamed of--but I didn't think you could mean it, really.  You can't
mean it, you know, why it's ridic--it's out of the question."

"_Why_ is it out of the question, sir?" asked Mr. Binney.  "_Why_ is it
out of the question?"

"Well," said Lucius, "look what a precious pair of fools we shall look."

"_You_ may, sir," said Mr. Binney.  "I dare say you will.  I can't help
your looking anything you please.  But I flatter myself there's nothing
particularly foolish looking about me, is there?  _Is_ there, I say?"

"Oh, no, nothing at all," Lucius made haste to reply, "but I should
think there would be if you went up to Cambridge as an
undergraduate--something precious foolish.  I suppose you mean to take
a house there, though, or something, and enter at some small college
where they won't worry you."

"I intend to do nothing of the sort, sir," said Mr. Binney.  "I shall
enter myself at Trinity.  It is, I believe, the best college at
Cambridge.  You chose it yourself.  And I have no intention of taking a
house.  I shall live in the college, and comport myself in the same way
as the steady young men with whom I, and you, too, I hope, expect to
associate."

"Oh, Lord!" groaned Lucius.  "Are we to go about together as steady
young men?  Well, you can't get into Trinity, you know, that's one
comfort.  The entrance examination is over and you couldn't pass it if
it wasn't."

"Couldn't pass it, sir!  You little know either your father's ability
or determination.  And it is not over.  There is another in October,
for which I shall present myself."

"You'll have your work cut out for you to get ready for it.  I suppose
you'll go to school for a term.  I should go to Johnson's at Margate if
I were you, where you sent me--you see you're just over age for a
public school--they'll take you as a parlour-boarder, and I should
think you might get the good-conduct prize if you're careful."

"That's right, sir," said Peter bitterly.  "Pour scorn on your own
father, who has given you all the advantages you ever had.  Of course,
you're a gentleman.  You've been to Eton and you're going to Trinity.
Yet you grudge me having my little bit of education, though I pay for
both."

"Oh, blow the education, father.  Why don't you stew up for London
University, and live comfortably at home?"

"Because I choose to 'stew up' for Cambridge University, sir, and let
that be an end of the matter.  You'll find there will only be one of us
there if you're not precious careful, and it won't be you."

Poor Lucius went to bed that night with a heavy heart.  He had rowed
for one year in the Eton eight, and wore with great satisfaction a
flannel coat of light blue.  He had hitherto looked forward with
pleasure to his career at Cambridge, with the hope of wearing another
light blue coat of a slightly different cut and shade of colour in the
course of it.  Now a dark cloud had arisen to obscure the happy azure
of his mental horizon.

"If he's going to be such a fool as to go up," he said to himself as he
undressed, "I'm hanged if _I_ will.  I'll go to Oxford instead,
although all the chaps I know best are going to the other shop, and I
shan't like it half as well."

He broached this proposition to his father the next morning at
breakfast, hoping all the time that he had given up his intention.  But
Mr. Binney was more than ever confirmed in it, having spent a happy
night in dreams of glorious youthful feats to be laid at the feet of
the fair Mrs. Higginbotham; and Lucius's idea was received so badly
that he relinquished it at once, and made up his mind ruefully that he
should either have to go to Cambridge with his father as his close
companion, or not go at all.  He went back to Eton the next day with
all his pleasure in the coming half spoilt by the dark fate that was
hanging over him, his only consolation being the recollection of the
difficulty of the Trinity entrance examination, which it had taken him
all his time to get through, although his work for the last ten years
had led directly up to it.

"Of course he can't do the work by October," he said to himself.  "He
doesn't know a word of Greek and only about three of Latin."

And this consolation had to suffice him, for he knew his father well
enough to realise that if he had made up his mind to do this thing, and
it was in him to do it, do it he would.  Moreover, on the day he had
left Russell Square for Eton he had seen a letter on the hall-table
addressed in his father's handwriting to the tutor on whose side he
himself was entered at Trinity, and blushed to think of what it
contained.

Lucius's tutor, who was the most popular in the college, wrote to say
that his own side was full, but that his colleague, Mr. Rimington,
still had a few vacancies.  So Peter wrote to Mr. Rimington and
received a reply requesting him to go up to Cambridge for a personal
interview.

Peter travelled to Cambridge the same evening and put up at the "Bull."
After dinner he went out to make his first acquaintance with a
University town.  It was a lovely April evening.  The deep violet of
the twilight sky revealed the irregular roofs and towers of the old
buildings.  There was a half foreign air about the clean paved streets
with the open rivulets running along the pavements.  Peter walked up
King's Parade and viewed with awe the pile of the famous chapel of
King's, past the University Library and the Senate House, and the
modern pretentious façade of Caius College, conceived and executed in
the best Insurance office style of architecture, and into the narrow,
noisy little Trinity Street.  The streets were full of men in caps and
gowns, and a few still in flannels and straw hats.  Mr. Binney wondered
how these latter could walk along so unconcernedly when they might at
any corner run straight into the arms of a perambulating Proctor.  He
was so imbued with the idea of himself as a budding undergraduate that
he half expected to be taken for one, and felt quite nervous when he
did meet a Proctor a little later on, lest he should be asked for his
name and college.  He was a little disappointed when that functionary
passed him without comment, but so reverential were his feelings
towards one who held such high office in the University that he could
not refrain from taking off his hat to him, a salute which the Proctor
gravely returned, much to Mr. Binney's gratification.  He would perhaps
have been less gratified if he had known that the great man, who was
not accustomed to receiving respectful greetings from middle-aged
gentlemen, took him for a subservient tradesman whose face he happened
to have forgotten.

When Mr. Binney turned into the open space in front of Trinity College
and passed through the noble gateway into the Great Court, his heart
swelled with pride as he stood and looked round him.  The twilight had
deepened into night, and the court lay quiet and spacious under the
stars.  Opposite to him stood the hall, its painted windows shining
brightly through the dusk.  To its right lay the Master's lodge, which
Mr. Binney had been told was also a royal palace, and in front of it
plashed the fountain underneath its graceful canopy of stone.  To his
right was the dark mass of the closed chapel, and all round the court
stretched the long low buildings with their lighted windows and busy
staircases, their modest regularity broken up by the three gate towers,
the hall, the lodge, and the chapel.  A little group of chatty dons
came towards him from the combination room, across the sacred grass,
one of them in all the bravery of a scarlet gown, and passed out
through the gate.  A porter touched his hat to them and Mr. Binney felt
that he could have done the same with pleasure.  Towards the
undergraduates who went to and fro in the court, along the flagged
pathways, his feelings were less reverential, but more curious, for he
hoped some day to be one of them.  What a proud thing it would be to
walk on these very stones in a square cap and a blue gown and feel that
one had a share in all the ancient surrounding glories.  He walked
slowly across the court, and up the steps of the hall.  He stopped to
read the college notices in the glass-covered cases which hang in the
passage between the kitchen and buttery hatches on the one side, and
the carved screen which gives access to the hall itself, through heavy
swing doors, on the other.  A crowd of waiters in their shirt-sleeves
were busy between the two clearing away the remains of the feast.  Mr.
Binney looked into the hall which was now nearly ready to be shut up
for the night.  The massive boards and benches of polished oak ran up
to the daïs in which were the two long tables where the dons sit at
their dinner long after the undergraduates have finished and left them
to their grandeur.  The pictures of bygone worthies whom their college
delights to honour looked down on him solemnly from the walls.  Behind
him was the beautiful screen with the gallery above, from which the
panels are removed on state occasions, when a bright array of fair
visitors looks down on the "animals feeding."  The lights were going
out now, and the high-pitched roof with its many rafters was fading
into dimness.  Mr. Binney turned with a sigh and went out, while a
servant locked the door and left the great hall to its solitude, with
the moonlight streaming in through the blazoned windows and the wakeful
eyes of the departed worthies watching through the night.

The next morning Mr. Binney called on Mr. Rimington.  He had to sit for
a quarter of an hour in the Tutor's ante-room, where half-a-dozen
undergraduates were awaiting their turn for admittance, looking over
the bound volumes of _Punch_ which were laid on the table for their
amusement.  Two of them were talking, and Mr. Binney listened with open
ears to their conversation which was "shoppy" in the extreme, and all
the more interesting to him on that account.  His appearance caused no
surprise, for fathers do sometimes visit their son's Tutors, but Mr.
Binney thought that every one present would know what he had come for,
and felt a little shy.

He was shown presently into the inner room, a handsome one with a
beautiful ceiling, and was received very kindly by Mr. Rimington, who,
however, seemed a little nervous.

"I don't know, Mr. Binney," he said, with some hesitation, "whether I
quite understood your letter." (Here he took Mr. Binney's application
from an orderly little pile on his desk.) "It seemed to mean that you
wished to enter yourself as an undergraduate of the college."

Mr. Binney sat on a chair before the Tutor fumbling his hat between his
knees.  "Certainly, sir," he said, "that is what I meant."

"There is an undergraduate of your name already entered, I believe, on
Mr. Segrave's side?"

"Yes, my boy Lucius.  He passed the certificate examination last month."

"Quite so.  We are very glad to have him here.  We hope he may row in
the boat and help us to beat Oxford."

Mr. Binney was surprised to find a don taking an interest in such a
frivolous affair as a boat-race, but it put him a little more at his
ease.

"There is nothing to prevent a man of my age entering at the
University, I suppose?" he inquired.

"No," said Mr. Rimington with some hesitation, "not from our point of
view.  But have you thought what it means, Mr. Binney?  It is a
little--er--unusual for father and son to be undergraduate members of
the same college at the same time.  Our rules are not at all irksome
for a young man--in fact, some people think we allow too much freedom,
although we find that we get on better by not drawing the rein so tight
as they do at some other colleges--but such as they are we could not
relax them, and in your case they might very well prove to be irksome."

"Not at all," said Mr. Binney, "not at all.  I am prepared to take the
rough with the smooth, and I can keep rules, if they are sensible
rules, as well as the young fellows."

Mr. Rimington laughed nervously.  "May I ask your reason for wanting to
come up to Cambridge so--so late in life?" he asked.

"I have a passion for education, sir," said Mr. Binney.  "I left school
at the age of fourteen, and have worked hard at my business ever since.
But money-making isn't the sole interest in life--besides I have got as
much money as I want.  I wish to regain some of the lost opportunities
of youth."

"Have you kept up your classical studies at all since you left school?"
asked the Tutor.

"I never learnt any classics, sir," answered Mr. Binney airily; "that
has all to come.  They didn't consider that Latin and Greek prepared us
for the business of life when I was a boy."

"Oh! then I am afraid it is not of the slightest use your attempting to
enter for our examination," said the Tutor, with a visible shade of
relief overspreading his face, "it would take you years to come up to
the standard we require."

"That is _my_ affair, sir," said Mr. Binney.  "I shall not only attempt
it, I shall succeed.  I have ability and determination."

Mr. Rimington looked annoyed.  "I think you will find you are
mistaken," he said.  "However, as you say, that is your affair and not
mine.  But, apart from that, I am not sure, Mr. Binney--I speak quite
openly--that it is the kindest course you could take, as far as your
son is concerned, to enter at the same college.  He comes to us with a
very good character, and we hope he will do us credit.  But it is
likely to go against him--I mean it will hardly be giving him a fair
chance with the other men of the college to be constantly under your
supervision.  A University education, you know, Mr. Binney, is a
valuable training for a young man, because he begins to learn to stand
alone, while he is not left entirely alone.  Your son would lose that
advantage, whatever else he might gain, if you were to be constantly
with him."

Mr. Binney straightened himself up.  Mr. Rimington's opposition roused
his fighting business instincts, which prompted him to take every
opportunity of gaining an advantage.  "That again is a matter for me to
decide, sir," he said.  "Lucius and I are very good friends and
understand one another thoroughly.  I have given him advantages of
education that I never had, but when I put my foot down he has to obey.
He knows that by this time.  We will leave him out of the question, if
you please."

Mr. Rimington again looked annoyed.

"If you are determined to come up for entrance to this college," he
said, "and succeed in passing the necessary test, which, I warn you,
will be a harder matter than you imagine, you would find yourself
compelled to associate with men of very immature views, Mr. Binney."

"I am not afraid of that," said Mr. Binney.  "In fact I shall enjoy it.
I have preserved my youth and can take the young fellows on their own
ground and beat 'em."

Mr. Rimington passed his hand over his mouth.  "Then I had better give
you the necessary papers," he said.  "You must send us a certificate of
good conduct, signed by a clergyman who has known you for three years."

"My pastor, the celebrated Dr. Toller, under whose ministrations I have
sat for the last twenty years would do, I suppose," said Mr. Binney.
"I am a Baptist."

"Yes, certainly," said the Tutor.  "Then there is the certificate of
birth.  And this paper will tell you all about the subjects for
examination.  I should advise you to engage a private coach.  You are
too late, of course, for the first examination, but----"

"There is another in October," interrupted Mr. Binney.  "I know.  I
shall present myself for that."

"Then I will wish you good-morning, Mr. Binney," said the Tutor.  "You
will excuse me, but I have a good many pupils to see."  Mr. Rimington
summoned up his usual amiable smile and took leave of Mr. Binney with a
warm grasp of the hand; and Mr. Binney went out through the ante-room,
where the waiting crowd had swelled to unusual proportions, and
clattered down the oak staircase into the court, hugging his precious
sheaf of papers.

In the Combination Room, that evening, Mr. Rimington and Mr. Segrave
discussed Mr. Binney over their wine.

"I did my best to dissuade him," said Mr. Rimington.  "It is very hard
lines on the boy."

"He is a nice boy," said the other.  "Wargrave"--this was Lucius's
house-master at Eton--"says he is one of the best boys he has in his
house; not at all brilliant, but of excellent character and a
first-rate oar--just the sort of freshman we want, as we can't expect
them all to be scholars.  I'm afraid it will spoil his life here if his
father insists upon inflicting himself on us.  What sort of a man is
he?"

Mr. Rimington laughed.  He would have liked to say, "Just a cocky
little tradesman," but he was a charitable man.  "If I were the boy,"
he said, "I would rather have him in London than at Cambridge.  But I
don't think we shall see him at Cambridge.  He left school thirty years
ago and has never learnt either Latin or Greek, or indeed anything that
we want, excepting, perhaps, arithmetic, and we don't want much of
that.  Yet he expects us to admit him in October."

"Oh, well then, we may set our minds at rest," said Mr. Segrave.  "But
it's a curious idea altogether."

Mr. Binney had got back to Russell Square by that time and was just
then engaged in writing out an advertisement for a resident tutor.



CHAPTER III

LUCIUS WINS A YEAR'S RESPITE

A week after Mr. Binney's visit to Cambridge, he wrote the following
letter to his son:--


"MY DEAR Lucius,--Yours of 29th ult. to hand.  I note you are getting
on with your work and enjoying yourself.  I have now relinquished my
attendance at the office, and have left the management in Mr. Walton's
hands, merely dropping in for an hour or two once a week to see how
things are going.  As far as I can see he will carry on the business
well during my three years' absence, and at the end of that time I
shall take the reins again and you will begin work there.  If all goes
well I shall take you into partnership a year after that, by which time
you ought to have fully mastered the details.


"_Re_ work for Trinity Entrance Examination.


"I have started on above, having engaged a private coach.  I had 430
answers to my application.  My choice fell on a gentleman named
Minshull, a Peterhouse man who dwells in the vicinity.  He took his
degree only last year and expects to enter the Church shortly.  He
comes every morning at nine o'clock and we work till one.  He lunches
with me, after which we take a walk in the Park or elsewhere, returning
for tea and another two hours' work.  Then Minshull leaves me, and
after a light dinner I do preparation for him for another two hours and
then to bed.  On Saturday we knock off at one, and I generally take an
outing with Mrs. Higginbotham, who wishes to be kindly remembered to
you.  She takes a great interest in my enterprise, and refreshes her
memory and mine during our little jaunts by getting me to repeat to her
without book such things as I have learnt during the week as come
within the limits of the curriculum to which she applied herself during
girlhood.  The subjects themselves are hardly such as in my judgment
repay the amount of study necessary to master them.  What with the
growing competition in commercial life, and the great influx of
foreigners--Germans and others--it seems to me waste of time to devote
three valuable years of a young man's life in getting up the opinions
of a man like Plato, who lived so many years ago that his ideas are by
no means up-to-date.  Or take a poet like Virgil again--if Virgil can
be justly called a poet.  Compare his thoughts with those of our own
immortal Shakespeare--the Swan of Avon--or even with Macaulay's _Lays
of Ancient Rome_, if you _must_ have matters of ancient history treated
in poetry.  And what is the use of puzzling over the Acts of the
Apostles in the Original Greek, when that book, as well as the rest of
the New Testament, has been so admirably translated in the Revised
Version?  What the authorities of our Universities entirely fail to
grasp is that Latin and Greek _are not spoken nowadays_.  How much
better young men would be fitted for the business of life if they were
trained to speak and write French and German fluently!  This is so
obvious to a man of experience that I seriously thought of writing to
the Chancellor of the University, the Duke of Devonshire, and laying my
views before him, but Minshull dissuaded me, saying that I should be in
a better position to bring to bear any influence I might possess after
I have taken my degree, which is perfectly true.  But the truth of it
is there are too many old women at the head of the Universities.  What
you want are keen-headed men, men of experience in the world, who would
move with the times, and get Oxford and Cambridge to move with them.  I
am so convinced I am right in this opinion, that if it were not for the
cares of business, to which I must return when I have finished with
Cambridge, I should apply for a Trinity fellowship after I have taken
my degree, and try to infuse a little spirit into the counsels of the
college and through it into the University.

"I must now draw to a close and return to my studies.  I feel that they
are beneath my powers, but at the same time I must not grumble at
having to begin at the bottom rung of the ladder.  'Thorough' has
always been my motto and will continue so.  No more at present, from
your affectionate father,--PETER BINNEY."


Mr. Binney's letters as the time went on became more and more sprightly
in tone.  With the cares of business he seemed to have finally laid
aside all the interests commonly felt by gentlemen who have reached
middle age.  He relapsed into slang.  Minshull, he said, was a "jolly
good sort," only you had to work.  It was no good trying to "kid him."
The subjects for examination he now found "beastly stiff," and it was
an "awful sap" getting them up, but he quite expected to have "bowled
them over" by the time the examination was due.  He mentioned Mrs.
Higginbotham once or twice as one on whose approval of the course he
was pursuing he greatly relied.

"Confound that old woman," said Lucius when he read this.  "She's
backing him up in all this nonsense.  She's a sentimental old donkey.
Well, he can't do it in time, that's one comfort;" and Lucius would
encourage himself by dwelling on this conviction, and then tear up his
father's letters.

He came up to town for two nights about the end of June on his long
leave.  Mr. Binney, of course, was full of his work.  He wished to be
treated just like any other youth with the ordeal of an examination
before him, and itched to talk over his chances.  But Lucius retired
into his shell whenever Cambridge was mentioned.  Mr. Binney, of
course, noticed this and began to get his back up about it.  At last he
tackled his son in the most effectual way as they sat together in the
library at Russell Square after dinner.

"Look here, young man," he said, "you may as well get used to this
idea.  You and I are going up to Trinity together, and I want to do the
thing fairly and squarely.  I shall put us both on an allowance, and at
present I intend to make them equal.  But if you're going to be sulky
about it, they won't be equal, or anything like it.  So put that in
your pipe and smoke it."

"What allowance?" inquired Lucius with some interest.  His father had
always refused to come to the point when he had asked him the same
question before.

"Well, I thought of £300 a year," said Mr. Binney.  "Minshull did it on
£200, and did it very well, but, as he says, Trinity is the college
where all the swells go, and if you want to live up to 'em you might
have to spend a bit more.  As I say, I want to do the thing well."

"I don't suppose Minshull knows much about it," said Lucius.  "Most of
the chaps I know are going to have about four hundred, and hardly any
of them less than three.  You have to be jolly careful on three hundred
a year at Trinity."

"Ah, well," said Mr. Binney, "I won't let a hundred a year, or even
two, stand in the way, and we'll share alike if you're sensible about
it.  But I'm not going to pay you four hundred a year to look down on
your father, so you had better make up your mind how you're going to
behave before October comes."

Lucius sat silent with a gloomy countenance and his hands in his
pockets.  When he was at school the idea of his father accompanying him
to Cambridge as a freshman seemed so absurd that he was sometimes
surprised to find that he was enjoying life much as usual, without
being very much burdened by it.  When he was at home and realised how
very much in earnest Mr. Binney was, the dark fate that hung over him
became less remote, and filled him with gloomy forebodings.  But youth
is elastic.  It seemed almost out of the question that Mr. Binney would
succeed in passing the entrance examination, while Lucius himself was
already admitted a member of Trinity College.  The allowance his father
had named seemed to him quite adequate, and he allowed himself to cheer
up a little and inquire after the health of Mrs. Higginbotham.

Mr. Binney coughed in some little embarrassment.

"Mrs. Higginbotham has a bad cold," he said, "and is confined to the
house.  I hope she will be well enough to accompany me to Lord's for
the Eton and Harrow match, if the state of her bronchial tubes, which
are giving her a lot of trouble just now, permit of it.  You will be
able to introduce us to some of your friends and future companions at
Cambridge."

"I'm very sorry," said Lucius, "but I shan't be there.  Henley comes in
the same week."

"I shall be at Henley as well," said Mr. Binney, "and Mrs. Higginbotham
has kindly consented to accompany me.  She takes a great interest in
your rowing career, Lucius, as she does in every other manly sport.
Ah!  I hope the day may come when I myself--but we mustn't count our
chickens before they are hatched, must we?  With regard to Henley, you
will be able to go about with us, I suppose, and see that----"

"Very sorry, father," interrupted Lucius hastily, "I shall be rowing
nearly all day long.  We're in for the Grand and the Ladies' Plate.
Besides, the captain of the boats is a terrible fellow.  If he caught
one of us so much as speaking to a lady he'd cut up very rough."

"Why is that, pray?" inquired Mr. Binney.

"Oh, I don't know.  They might offer us an ice or something.  We have
to be awfully strict, you know, over training."

"Ah, well, that's a pity.  Mrs. Higginbotham would like to meet a few
of the young fellows who will be my companions for the next three
years.  She said so.  Perhaps you might get one of your cricketing
friends who would be unoccupied to look after us."

"I'm afraid most of them will have people of their own to look after.
However, if any of them happens to lose his father and mother between
now and Henley, I'll see what can be done."

"And now I must go to bed," said Mr. Binney, "so as to begin work early
to-morrow morning.  I don't want to lose a minute more than I can help.
I'm not getting on terms with Mr. Plato as quickly as I should like.  I
shall be able to introduce you to Minshull before you start, Lucius.
He's a good chap, and not a bit stand-offish as you might expect,
considering he's a B.A., and I'm not even a freshman yet.  You'll find
him quite easy to get on with."

Minshull was one of those people in whose eyes a three years' residence
at Oxford or Cambridge is such a glorious thing, that if they have gone
through it themselves they can talk or think of nothing else throughout
their lives.  The healthy pleasant life of the average undergraduate is
idealised into a sort of seventh heaven, and a "blue" takes his place
immediately below the archangels and considerably above any mere
mortal.  Seniority of residence forms an almost complete bar to social
intercourse with undergraduates of lower standing, and the little code
of etiquette invented to enliven proceedings in the lesser colleges is
as the laws of the Medes and Persians.  To be or to have been "a
'Varsity man" was the only thing quite necessary in Minshull's eyes, if
you were to call yourself a gentleman, and he therefore saw nothing
that was not entirely laudable in Mr. Binney's determination to acquire
this hall-mark of superiority, however late in life.  While trying to
instil into his pupil the requisite amount of Latin and Greek, he
imparted to him at the same time his own particular point of view in
matters of undergraduate custom, taught him what to admire and what to
avoid, until Mr. Binney was infused with the spirit of a provincial
youth about to enter the gates of the University paradise from his
country grammar school.  Mr. Binney had first of all considered a
belated career at Cambridge as an opportunity for mending a defective
education; under the encouragement of Mrs. Higginbotham's yearnings
after vanished delights he had come to look upon it as a means of
gaining some of the prestige of golden youth; influenced by Minshull's
complacent reverence, he had insensibly drifted away from the careless
acquiescence with which Lucius, for instance, regarded his own proposed
residence at the University, and now felt that he should break his
heart if he was prevented from taking his part in the glamorous
delights which his tutor held before his eyes.  He made herculean
efforts to get on terms with his examination subjects, and worked
harder than he had ever done in his life before.

Minshull arrived at nine o'clock the next morning as usual.  Mr.
Binney, who had been working since seven and had breakfasted at eight,
had not yet returned from a short constitutional, and Lucius had the
privilege of an interview with his father's tutor.

Minshull was a tall young man, rather shabbily dressed, with a long
solemn face diversified by little ranges of spots of an eruptive
tendency.  He greeted Lucius with some respect, for Lucius was a
potential "blue," and Minshull would have been as incapable of keeping
on his hat in church as of talking without due reverence to a "blue."

"How's the governor getting on with his work?" asked Lucius with an
abashed snigger.

"Oh, pretty well," replied Minshull.  "He works very hard, but of
course he has to do everything from the beginning."

"No chance of his getting through, I suppose?" said Lucius.

"Oh, I don't know," said Minshull.  "If he works as hard as he has been
doing so far for the next three months he may just be able to scrape
through in October."

Lucius began to pace the room.

"If he gets into Trinity I won't go up, that's flat," he said.

"What!  Not go up to the ''Varsity' when you've got a chance!"
exclaimed Minshull.  "My dear fellow, you don't know what you're
talking about.  You will regret it all your life if you don't."

"Look here," said Lucius, "you were at Cambridge, weren't you?"

"Yes, certainly," said Minshull, slightly offended.  "I took my degree
last year."

"Well, how would you have liked to have your old governor playing the
fool up there at the same college?"

"I see no reason to suppose that Mr. Binney will play the fool," said
Minshull stiffly.  "I have put him up to everything he ought to know.
He won't make mistakes.  He is not likely to carry an umbrella with a
cap and gown or anything of that sort."

"Why shouldn't he carry an umbrella if it rains?  Look here, can't you
make certain of his getting pilled for this examination?"

Minshull looked horrified.  "What! and prevent his going up to the
'Varsity when he wants to?" he exclaimed.

"Or if you can't do that and he's likely to get through, tell him that
you don't think much of Trinity, and get him to go somewhere else."

"There are plenty of good colleges in Cambridge besides Trinity," said
Minshull, "although Trinity men don't seem to think so.  My own
college, for instance, Peterhouse, isn't big, but it is one of the
best, if not _the_ best of the smaller ones."

"Is it?  Well then, get him to go there.  Do you mean to say you don't
think it's a beastly shame him wanting to come up and spoil all my time
at Cambridge?"

"I can't see----" began Minshull, but just then Mr. Binney came in, and
Lucius left them to their labours, with the uncomfortable conviction
that the toils were closing in on him and that there was no help at any
rate to be gained from his father's tutor.

Henley week came round in due course, but Mrs. Higginbotham, alas, did
not come round with it.  Her cold had settled on her lungs and the poor
lady was brought very low.  At the time Mr. Binney hoped to have been
paddling her about on the Thames in a Canadian canoe she was surveying
the beauties of Torquay in a bathchair.  Mr. Binney had been told by
Minshull that if he really wished to pass the Trinity entrance
examination in October, it was absolutely imperative that he should not
lose a single day's work if he could possibly help it, so Lucius won a
reprieve for that occasion, at least, and as the Eton boys managed to
win the Ladies' Plate and rowed a good race in the semi-final heat for
the Grand Challenge Cup, he spent on the whole a pleasant Henley.
During the first few weeks of his holidays he was training for and
rowing in some of the up-river regattas, and September he spent with
various school-fellows in Scotland, so it was not until just before he
was due at Cambridge that he found himself once more in the house in
Russell Square and the society of his father.  Mr. Binney, in the
meantime, fired with a mighty ambition to show his mettle and acquit
himself well in his examination, had retired to an east coast village
with Minshull, and devoted himself strenuously to his books.  He had
worked very hard for six months, but a man who has left a cheap
commercial school at the age of fourteen, and that thirty years before,
can hardly expect to do in that time what a public school boy has been
working steadily up to ever since his education began.  A month before
the examination, Minshull saw that his pupil had no chance of success,
and told him so one morning as they were walking together by the sea.
Mr. Binney was heart-broken.

"_No_ chance, Minshull?" he asked plaintively.  "I don't mind working
another two hours a day, you know.  Isn't there _any_ chance?"

"I'm afraid not, Mr. Binney," said Minshull.  "You have worked very
hard; you couldn't have done better; but you see the work is all new to
you.  You might get in at the Hall, perhaps, or if you cared about it I
should think I might have enough influence with the Peterhouse
authorities to----"

"Never," said Mr. Binney firmly.  "Trinity or nowhere.  If I make up my
mind to a thing, I stick to it.  I shouldn't have made my fortune if I
hadn't."

"I should advise you, sir, to give up all ideas of attempting the
October examination," said Minshull.  "I can assure you you can't
possibly pass it, and if you do very badly it may be prejudicial to
your chances in the future.  Take a month's holiday, or you'll knock
yourself up.  Then set to work again and be ready for them next spring."

"I feel you're right," said poor Mr. Binney.  "I feel you're right,
Minshull, but it's a sad blow.  You'll excuse me if I just walk on
alone for a bit.  I shall get over it better."

Minshull left him, and Mr. Binney spent a very bitter hour by himself.
He had never been beaten before when he had made up his mind to
succeed, and it enraged him to think of the two hundred beardless boys
who would enter Trinity College as freshmen in a month's time, most of
whom had succeeded without any difficulty in doing what he could not do
even with the most strenuous endeavours.  Lucius, for instance, had
taken the whole thing very calmly, although he was not a particularly
clever nor a particularly diligent boy.  Then his thoughts passed on to
Mrs. Higginbotham--Martha.  That was the worst thought of all.  He had
written once a week to Mrs. Higginbotham, alluding in an airy way to
his new acquaintances, Plato and Virgil and Euclid, as if he and they
were on the most intimate terms of familiarity.  Now he would have to
tell her that their thoughts were too deep for him--for him who had
familiarised all England with the mind of a Shakespeare--and that the
languages by means of which they expressed their thoughts still
presented such a mountain of obstacles to him that it was doubtful if
he would ever succeed in getting over them.  Still, the confession
would have to be made, and Mr. Binney, with that directness which
characterised all his actions, determined that it should be made that
very night.  "I am very, very sorry, Martha," he wrote, "I have really
done my best.  I shouldn't have been worthy of you if I hadn't.  I'm
afraid your Peter is a bit of a dunce, although he never thought so
before.  Write and say you will not throw me over for it, and I shall
set to work again with renewed earnestness."

Mrs. Higginbotham, although deeply disappointed, wrote a very kind and
consoling letter from Torquay, where her bronchial tubes, which had
assumed complete mastery over all her actions, still detained her.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again," she wrote, and
thought she had said a very original thing.  "I always found, when I
was a young lady at school, that if I couldn't master my tasks
immediately, the only thing for it was, not to give them up, but to
determine that I _would_ master them in time; and my mistress, Miss
Dolby--now an angel--used frequently to point me out to the parents of
other pupils, and say, 'That child has great determination, and will
undoubtedly make her mark.'  I am aware that I have not fulfilled Miss
Dolby's prophecy up to present date, but your triumphs are mine, Peter,
and I trust that we shall both grow famous together."

Mr. Binney was much encouraged by Mrs. Higginbotham's letter.  He took
a holiday and went to Torquay, and by the time Lucius went up to
Cambridge early in October, very much relieved at the idea of at least
one year free from the companionship of his father as a fellow
undergraduate, he had settled down for a hard winter's work in Russell
Square.



CHAPTER IV

NO HELP TO BE GAINED FROM MRS. HIGGINBOTHAM

Lucius Binney enjoyed his first year at Cambridge exceedingly.  He had
been popular at school and he was very much liked at the University.
He did enough work to enable him to avoid friction with the authorities
and passed both parts of his Littlego in his first term.  He rowed in
the Trial Eights, but as he was not heavy enough to fill any place but
bow in a University boat, a place which was adequately filled already,
he did not get his Blue.  His allowance enabled him to play his part in
the hospitalities of University life with credit, and he showed no
disposition to exceed it.  He was made a member of the historic Amateur
Dramatic Club, commonly known as the A.D.C., and played the part of a
maid-servant in the first performances of his year on the most approved
principles of Cambridge dramatic art, with a slim waist, a high colour,
and an unmistakably masculine voice.  He would have been one of the
happiest men in the University if he had not been continually haunted
by the thought of his father.

But for some reason or other Mr. Binney, although he insisted upon
lengthy letters being written to him, giving the fullest possible
account of University matters, expressed no intention of paying him a
visit, as Lucius lived in continual fear of his doing.  Perhaps he was
ashamed of his inability to pass the entrance examination after having
made certain of doing so; perhaps he preferred to make his first
appearance amongst Cambridge men as an undergraduate and not as the
guest of an undergraduate.  At any rate he left Lucius unmolested
during his first two terms, but his letters became more and more
jubilant as he worked on at his examination subjects, and felt himself
getting nearer the desired goal.

Lucius had a friend called Dizzy.  His name was not really Dizzy, but
it is only fair to state that he had been christened Benjamin.  To him
alone, of all his friends, Lucius had disclosed, under a solemn promise
of secrecy, the dark fate that was hanging over him.

"He'll pass this time, Dizzy, I know he will," said Lucius, after
receiving a more than usually confident letter from his father, who
informed him that Minshull had told him that his Latin prose was, at
last, beginning to show signs of an elementary grasp of the fact that
there was such a thing as Latin grammar.

"Not he," said Dizzy with complete confidence.  "He'll never pass.  I
knew an old geezer--no offence to your governor, Lucy--who first took
up Latin when his little boys were seven and eight, under a governess.
First week they were all three about equal.  Then the eldest boy began
to forge ahead.  In a fortnight the little one left the old man behind,
and after a month the governess said she'd have to go if he didn't do
her more credit.  He didn't want that, so he married her, which was
what he'd been after all along, only hadn't liked to say so.  They
can't learn things at that time of life, my boy, any more than we can
make a pot of money by winking at a fellow on the Stock Exchange.  It's
not in 'em."

"You don't know my governor," said Lucius, his depression very little
lightened by Dizzy's narrative.  "He's been at it for nearly a year
now, grinding like a galley slave.  That fellow Minshull must have got
something into his head by this time.  And after all the entrance exam
isn't anything very big, is it?"

"Not to us; we're educated men," said Dizzy, who was a member of
Trinity Hall, where the entrance examination is tempered to the shorn
Trinity candidate.  "But it's the devil and all to people like your old
governor who ain't used to that sort of thing.  _He_ won't pass, Lucy;
don't you be afraid of it."

"It's too bad of him wanting to come up, isn't it, Dizzy?" said poor
Lucius, who yearned for sympathy and could only obtain it from this one
particular friend.

"It _is_ too bad," said Dizzy.  "I don't know what governors are coming
to.  There's mine wrote to me the other day and said I was disgracing
the family name, just because I turned out those lights in St. Andrew's
Street and got hauled up at the police court for it.  I told him I did
it entirely to save the ratepayers' money.  He's always talking about
the enormous fiscal burdens he's got to bear, or some such tommy-rot,
and I thought that would please him.  But not a bit of it.  Governors
never listen to reason.  I got eight pages back with a lot more about
the family name.  Hang it, it ain't much of a name after all."

It was not.  It was Stubbs.  But General Sir Richard Stubbs, V.C., had
done his little best to adorn it in days gone by and saw no great
probability of his son Benjamin doing the same in days to come.

The account Lucius gave at home of his doings fired Mr. Binney's
imagination.

"Splendid, my boy, splendid!" cried the little man, when he described
the two bumps which the Third Trinity boat had made in the Lent races.
"I shall go in for rowing myself; best exercise you can have," and Mr.
Binney drew himself up and struck the place where his chest would have
been if he had had one.  "Is it likely, do you think, Lucius, that you
and I will row in the same boat?"

"It's not only unlikely," said Lucius shortly, "it's impossible."

"Oh, indeed," said Mr. Binney, with a dangerous gleam in his eye.  "You
are such a swell I suppose, that nobody else can expect to come near
you."

"You wouldn't even belong to the same boat-club," said Lucius.  "You
ought to know that by this time.  Third Trinity is only for Eton and
Westminster men, the rest of the college belongs to First Trinity."

"I did know it," said Mr. Binney, "but I had forgotten it for the
moment.  You needn't take me up so sharp, Lucius.  Is First Trinity a
good boat club?"

"Of course it is," said Lucius.

"Very well, then, I shall join it, and take up rowing seriously.  Have
you spoken at the Union yet?"

"No, I don't belong to it.  I shouldn't speak if I did, and it's no
good belonging to that and the 'Pitt' too."

"The 'Pitt'!  What's the 'Pitt'?"

"It's a club."

"Is it the thing to belong to it?"

"Oh, I don't know.  A lot of people do."

"Ah, well, I must belong to that too."

"You have to be elected to it.  People sometimes get pilled."

"Well, I should hope there wouldn't be much chance of _my_ getting
pilled, whatever that may mean.  I belong to the National Liberal Club.
That ought to be enough for them, oughtn't it?"

"Quite enough for them, I should think," answered Lucius, who had once
dined at that famous institution with Peter, and been offensively
patronised by one of Mr. Binney's fellow-members, a man old enough to
be his father.

"I shall join the Union," continued Mr. Binney.  "I expect most of my
triumphs will lie there.  I am accustomed to addressing large
assemblies.  I was nearly elected to the London County Council two
years ago, as you know.  That's where I score, you see, being a man of
the world among a lot of boys.  I've learnt to do things that they are
only just beginning to think about."

"Yes.  You've made your pile among other things," replied Lucius.
"Most of us haven't learnt to do that yet.  We generally begin at the
other end and spend it first."

"I shan't grudge spending some of it," said Mr. Binney.  "I hope to
entertain the young fellows a good deal.  Minshull says if you give a
few good breakfasts every term--do the thing well, you know, with
perhaps some fruit and a bottle of claret to come after--you get a
tremendous reputation for hospitality throughout the 'Varsity.  Is that
so?"

"Well, I'm not sure I ever met anybody who drank claret at breakfast.
I did know a fellow who used to drink brandy.  He certainly did get a
tremendous reputation throughout the 'Varsity, but it wasn't for
hospitality.  He wasn't up there long."

"H'm.  Well, Minshull said he knew a man who went up a bit late, who
had more money to spend than most people, who got into the first set at
Peterhouse through his breakfasts."

"Did he?  Lucky fellow!  Well, I should give a few breakfasts if I were
you, father.  We shall all think you a tremendous chap."

"I mean to go one better than that, my boy, and give a little dinner
occasionally, to the _élite_ of the 'Varsity--Blues, and people of that
sort.  I daresay you young fellows will only be too pleased to go
outside the ordinary lines once in a way.  I suppose there's no rule
against giving dinners, is there?"

"I never heard of it.  It's pretty often broken if there is."

"I intend to do the thing well, and open a bottle of champagne.  I
daresay, now, champagne's a thing that's hardly known at Cambridge."

"That's what I told my wine merchant last term.  He was rather annoyed."

"I don't object to a little jollification occasionally.  I daresay you
and I, Lucius---for you shall do what I do--will become pretty well
known up there by-and-bye."

"I dare say we shall," said Lucius with a sigh.  And, indeed, it did
not seem unlikely.

Before Lucius went back to Cambridge for the summer term, he made one
last attempt to avert the catastrophe which had now become
imminent--for Minshull had told him that Mr. Binney was now quite
capable of passing the required test.  He called on Mrs. Higginbotham,
whose bronchial tubes had by this time become less ostentatious in
their behaviour.

"Well, Lucius," said that lady, when he was seated opposite to her in
her comfortable drawing-room, "you will soon have your dear father to
look after you at college.  It is not many young men who have a father
so ready to share in all their little pleasures."

"No," said Lucius.  "Don't you think you could stop him, Mrs.
Higginbotham, if you tried?"

"Stop him!" exclaimed Mrs. Higginbotham with raised voice and hands.
"My dear Lucius, do not tell me that you are so selfish as to be
jealous of an excellent father."

"Jealous!" echoed Lucius.  "I don't know what you mean."

"You _do_ know what I mean, Lucius," said Mrs. Higginbotham severely.
"And you _are_ jealous.  I can see it in your face.  Here is your dear
father continually talking to me with pride about the things you are
doing at Cambridge, while you are only thinking of yourself, and fear
that you will lose the position you have won when he is there to
compete with you.  What a contrast!  You should be ashamed of such
feelings, Lucius.  I am sure I should be if I were in your place.  What
matter if you do have to take a lower place in the estimation of your
young friends, when it is your own father--and _such_ a father--who
will replace you?  I do not like to think of such behaviour."

"He'll only be laughed at, you know," said Lucius.

"And do you mean to tell me that, as an unworthy revenge for your loss
of prestige, you would actually dare to hold your own father up to
ridicule?" inquired Mrs. Higginbotham.

"Of course I shouldn't," said Lucius.  "I should do my best to prevent
his making a f--I mean becoming notorious."

"There!" said Mrs. Higginbotham triumphantly.  "Now you have
acknowledged your baseness, Lucius.  I am thoroughly ashamed of you.
But you will learn that you _cannot_ prevent your father from becoming
notorious.  He is _bound_ to take the lead in whatever he takes up,
especially among a lot of boys many years his juniors, and far inferior
in capacity.  I am afraid that in addition to your miserable jealousy,
Lucius, there are things you wish to hide in your life at Cambridge,
things that you do not wish your father to know of.  I hope, indeed,
that is not so.  I should be truly sorry if the innocent life to which
he is looking forward with such pleasure was to be spoiled by the
misbehaviour of one for whom he has done so much."

"I've got nothing to be ashamed of in my life at Cambridge, Mrs.
Higginbotham," said Lucius.  "You don't seem to be any more reasonable
about this silly scheme than my father himself.  I had better go, I
think."

"I think so too," said Mrs. Higginbotham.  "And do not come and see me
again, Lucius, until you are in a better frame of mind, and can speak
with more respect to one of your father's oldest friends."

"I won't come and see you again at all, you silly old fool," said
Lucius; but he waited to say it until he was on the other side of the
door.



CHAPTER V

MR. BINNEY ARRIVES IN CAMBRIDGE

Lucius's first May term wore itself out with a burst of glorious summer
weather.  The boat races and cricket matches, the dances and college
concerts, the crowds of sisters and cousins, the mayonnaises and iced
cups, and all the other attributes of those ten days of mid-June which
go by the name of the May week, played their accustomed parts in
mitigating the severity of the toil to which Cambridge devotes itself
for the rest of the academic year.

But to Lucius there was a heavy cloud darkening the vivid blue of the
summer sky.  Mr. Binney was to arrive at the end of the term, to
undergo his examination.  The days passed with relentless speed, and
one unhappy morning he found himself walking up and down the long
unlovely platform of the Cambridge station, awaiting the train which
was bearing his father rapidly towards the scene of his future
exploits.  So far only Mr. Benjamin Stubbs shared with him the
knowledge of the evil fate that was in store for him.  But the secret
was bound to come out now, and Lucius wondered whether there was a more
unhappy man in all Cambridge than himself.

Mr. Binney arrived, accompanied by Minshull, for whom he had taken
rooms at the Hoop, in order that he might have the advantage of his
able tuition up to the very last moment, for he was determined to throw
away no little chance that might add to his prospect of success.  Mr.
Binney himself had been allotted rooms in college for the few days
during which the examination lasted.  If he was not already a Cambridge
man this was the next best thing to it, and a proud man was Mr. Binney
to find himself the occupant of a garret in the Great Court with a
bedroom which any one of his servants at Russell Square would have
turned up her nose at.  They were the rooms of a sizar, and were barely
furnished even for a very poor man's rooms, but the sizar had blossomed
into the Senior Wrangler of that year, and that fact repaid Mr. Binney
in full for any little inconvenience he might have felt at being
deprived of most of the necessities and all the luxuries of life to
which he had been accustomed.

Lucius accompanied his father to these rooms and left him to himself,
for he was lunching with the captain of his boat.  It was the last
night of the races, and Mr. Binney proposed, after spending a busy
afternoon with Minshull over his books, to go down to Ditton Corner and
see the boats.  Lucius thanked his lucky stars that he was rowing and
need not present his father to an admiring circle of friends on that
very public occasion.  He would have been pleased enough to introduce
him as a father, there or at any other place, if he had come up simply
to pay him a visit, for Lucius was a right-minded boy and showed no
disposition to be ashamed of his somewhat humble origin among his
circle of more or less gilded youth; but to have to say "My father, who
is coming up here next term," and to have to stand by while little Mr.
Binney tried to reduce himself to the level of an inexperienced
schoolboy, as he felt certain he would do, was an ordeal that he did
not feel equal to, and he made up his mind to let the inevitable
catastrophe bring itself about in its own way.  He told himself that he
was happy to have averted it for so long, for although some of the dons
knew of Mr. Binney's intention, and his own Tutor had actually talked
to him about it, the secret did not seem to have become public property
among the undergraduates of the college.

Mr. Binney was delighted with everything he saw.  The gay crowd in the
paddock at Ditton Corner, the lines of carriages on one side, and the
flotilla of moored boats under the bank, appealed to him with all the
force of a delightful novelty.  The boating men and others on the
tow-path across the river, with the photographers plying their trade
and letting off their amiable witticisms through their megaphones, the
boat crews in their coloured coats, some of them with flowers in their
hats, swinging down to their stations round the bend, gave him great
pleasure.  Then, after a pause, filled with the gossip and laughter of
the crowd, when a distant gun was heard, and three minutes afterwards a
second, and a minute after yet another; when the men in the boats under
the bank straightened themselves and said, "They're off"; when a moving
mass of the heads of men running was seen far away under the willows
across the meadows; when little men laden with bundles of coats fled
along the tow-path opposite towards the "Pike and Eel"; when the noise
of the shouting and the springing of rattles drew nearer; when every
head in the crowd was turned towards Ditton Corner, and two boats came
into sight very close to one another, and after them two more, and the
shouting and cheering was taken up by every one around him, Mr. Binney
lost his head with excitement, and yelled with the best of them,
especially for the heroes of Fitzwilliam Hall whom he, for some reason
or other, mistook for a Trinity crew.

"It's grand, Minshull, it's grand," he said as they made their way home
with the crowd along the river bank and across Midsummer Common.  "I
don't wonder at your being proud of Cambridge, Minshull."

"I'm glad Pothouse made their bump just opposite Ditton," said Minshull
complacently.  "Now you see what rowing is like, Mr. Binney."

"Lucius rowed well," said Mr. Binney.  "Didn't you think so?"

"Yes," said Minshull, who had been a diligent but ineffective La Crosse
and hockey player during his residence at the University, and hardly
knew an oar from a barge pole.  "But it seemed to me that he hardly
caught the beginning enough."

"You had better tell him that," said Mr. Binney with unconscious irony.
"I dare say he'll be glad of any hints he can get."

Lucius sat in his rooms in Jesus Lane the next afternoon in a very
depressed frame of mind.  His father had intimated that he was coming
to tea.  Lucius had invited Dizzy to meet him, hoping that his friend's
pleasant flow of conversation would help out the entertainment, and
prevent his own plentiful lack of cheerfulness from becoming too
apparent; but Dizzy had not arrived yet.  He devoutly hoped that nobody
else would unexpectedly honour him with his society.  But alas! an Eton
friend, one year his junior, who was in for the entrance examination,
took that untoward opportunity of paying him a visit.

"There's such a rummy little devil up," he said in the course of
conversation, "about sixty years old, with carrotty whiskers.  It
oughtn't to be allowed."

The blow had fallen.  Poor Lucius sat silent in untold misery, and just
then in walked Mr. Binney.  "My father," said the wretched boy.  "Lord
Blathgowrie."

Lord Blathgowrie shook hands with Mr. Binney without visible
embarrassment, and then, suddenly remembering a pressing engagement,
went out to spread his extraordinary news.

"A lord!" said little Mr. Binney with great satisfaction.  "Well, there
are a good many lords I could buy up.  However, that seems a nice young
fellow.  I wonder how he got on with his Virgil paper.  I must ask him
to-morrow."

Lucius groaned inwardly.  "I shouldn't pal up to chaps like that, if I
were you, father," he said.  "I should keep as quiet as I could, or
you'll make yourself and me look jolly ridiculous."

"Allow me to tell you, sir," said Mr. Binney up in arms at once, "that
no action I choose to take is likely to make either you or myself look
ridiculous.  And I object to being made the butt of such observations
from my own son.  It isn't the first time it has happened, and in order
that it may be the last, I beg to tell you that it is my intention to
knock ten pounds a year off your very handsome allowance for every
speech of that sort that I am called upon to listen to."

Lucius groaned again and passed his hand wearily across his brow, but
made no verbal remonstrance to his father's harsh announcement, and
just then the door of the house was heard to slam, and Dizzy tumbled
noisily upstairs and into the room.

"My father--Mr. Stubbs," said Lucius dejectedly.

"How do you do, Mr. Binney," said the cheerful Dizzy.  "Pleased to meet
you.  Lucy--I mean Lucius, told me you were thinking of giving us a
turn up here.  Not a bad place, is it?  Better than Threadneedle
Street, eh?"

"I don't know very much about Threadneedle Street, Mr. Stubbs," said
Mr. Binney, a little taken aback by Dizzy's extreme friendliness, "but
this certainly is _not_ a bad place.  Indeed it is a very good place.
It is a noble place."

"How did you get on with your papers?" inquired Dizzy, helping himself
to a large slice of cake.  "Pipped 'em all right, I hope."

"I think I acquitted myself tolerably satisfactorily, thank you,"
answered Mr. Binney.  "We were examined on the Acts of the Apostles
this afternoon."

"Rummy old boys, those Apostles," began Dizzy in a vein of reminiscent
anecdote, but Mr. Binney interrupted him.

"Mr. Stubbs," he said, "I am a man of religious views.  I must beg you
not to make light of sacred matters.  You'll excuse my making the
stipulation, but----"

"Oh, not at all," said the unabashed Dizzy ambiguously, "don't mention
it.  I was only going to say that it seems a rummy thing--however,
perhaps I'd better not.  See the races yesterday?"

"I did," said Mr. Binney, warming at once.  "I never saw anything which
pleased me better.  What a thing it is to see a lot of young fellows
going in for such a grand sport as that!"

"It is," said Dizzy.  "I'm a whale on sport.  I ain't much of a hand in
a boat myself, but put me on a horse and I'll undertake to----"

"Tumble off," interpolated Lucius, who was in a state of irritation
verging on desperation.

"Lucy, you've got a fit of the green-eyed monster," said Dizzy.  "You
ride like a bag of potatoes yourself, and you're jealous of those who
can beat you.  Don't you pay any attention to him, Mr. Binney.  You'll
get to know him by-and-bye.  Going to keep a horse up here?"

"I hadn't thought of it," said Mr. Binney doubtfully.  "I rather
thought of devoting myself to rowing."

"Capital thing," said Dizzy.  "I knew a fellow who----"

Dizzy's anecdote was so little to the point that it may be omitted.  In
later life he would probably become one of those old men who interrupt
conversation with the dread opening, "I recollect upon one occasion,"
and sail off into interminable pointless reminiscence.  But, at
present, his absolute lack of self-consciousness and his flow of
youthful good spirits made him very agreeable company, and when he left
Lucius's rooms half-an-hour later, he had completely captivated Mr.
Binney with his artless prattle.

"That's a very nice young fellow," said Mr. Binney, when the door had
closed on Dizzy's back.  "If all your friends at Trinity are like that,
Lucius----"

"Stubbs isn't at Trinity," said Lucius, "he's at the Hall."

"Really!" said Mr. Binney, much surprised, "I thought that Trinity men
never associated on equal terms with men of other colleges."

"That's one of Minshull's ridiculous ideas, I suppose," said Lucius.
"It doesn't matter what college a fellow is at if he's a good chap, and
there are plenty of good chaps in Cambridge outside Trinity, especially
at the Hall."

"But I should have expected a little more--what shall I
say?--deference, in a man from another college."

"Well, then, I'm afraid it's one of those expectations in which you'll
be disappointed if you're really coming up here.  Trinity's the best
college in Cambridge--or Oxford either for that matter--but it isn't
the only one, and nobody thinks it is unless it's fellows like
Minshull, who are always running it down, although they would have
given their ears to belong to it themselves."

"I don't like the tone you take up about Minshull, Lucius," said Mr.
Binney.  "Minshull's a very good fellow, although he hasn't had the
advantages that you and I have.  I owe him a great deal, and I shan't
forget it.  Now I must go and look over the subjects for to-morrow's
papers."



CHAPTER VI

LORD BLATHGOWRIE HAS SOMETHING TO SAY

Poor Lucius went up to Cambridge for his second year with his allowance
pared down to £360 a year, for, careful as he was, he had not been so
successful as altogether to avoid hurting his father's
susceptibilities; and with him went Mr. Binney, for eighteen months of
hard toil had enabled him to pass the entrance examination, and he was
now duly admitted a pensioner of Trinity.

Lucius had been allotted rooms in college, while Mr. Binney inhabited
one of the choice mansions in Jesus Lane.  He had knocked off ten
pounds from his son's allowance for suggesting a retired situation in
the Trumpington Road.  "I am determined to do the thing as well as my
means will permit of," he had said.  "If I can secure good rooms in
college next year, I shall do so.  Until then I shall take the best
lodgings that are available."

They parted at the railway station.  "I suppose I shall see you some
time to-morrow," said Mr. Binney, when he had collected his luggage and
was just stepping into a fly.

"I suppose so," said Lucius dejectedly, as he drove away.

Lucius dined that night in hall, and sat in extreme misery while his
friends aired their humour at his expense, for by this time the news of
Mr. Binney's arrival had become public property.  Their chaff was not
ill-humoured, and if matters had stood as they evidently imagined,
Lucius could have borne it.  Elderly undergraduates are not altogether
unknown at Cambridge, although they do not often appear at Trinity
College; but they are usually careful to comport themselves with
dignified reticence, and to keep very much in the background.  A
University degree is, as a rule, the sole end they have in view in
putting themselves to school again, and they are very far from wishing
to ape the manners and customs of the young men with whom they share
the pursuit of that laudable object.  Lucius had the mortification of
feeling that if Mr. Binney had contented himself with working quietly
for a degree, and living the unobtrusive life which befitted his years,
the amused interest aroused by the event of father and son pursuing
their studies at the same time at the same college would have worn
itself out, and Mr. Binney might even have come to be considered in the
light of a pleasant acquaintance by Lucius's friends.  He knew quite
well that his father would not be content with this humble role, and
that the intermittent sniping of which he was now the object would
develop into a regular fusillade of ridicule when Mr. Binney had had
time to spread himself a bit and become more notorious.

He went back to his solitary rooms after hall and set himself down to
read.  Poor boy, he was too dispirited to do anything else.  He sported
himself in with the half-formed intention of refusing admittance to his
father if he should present himself.  But up to ten o'clock, when the
college gates are shut to outsiders, no one had attempted to invade his
privacy.  Soon afterwards he went to bed, having spent his first
evening at Cambridge entirely in his own society.  For two days he
moped alone, keeping to his rooms as much as possible and only leaving
the college to go down to the river, where his fame was steadily
rising.  His friends for the most part considerately kept out of his
way, thinking that he might be engaged in looking after his freshman
parent.  But strangely enough he heard or saw nothing of Mr. Binney.
He avoided places where he was likely to meet him, and so far his
father had never once been to his rooms.

On the third morning he determined to face the music.  "If I'm to stop
up here," he said to himself--"and I can't go down now I've got a
chance of my Blue--I must make up my mind to get used to it.  But it's
enough to make a fellow take to drink, or work, or something."  Then he
put on his hat and went round to the "Pitt" Club.

There was a group of men round the fire-place in the big room.
"Halloa! here's Binney Minor," said one of them.  "How's your major
getting on, old man?"

Then many agreeable pleasantries were fired off at him, while he sat on
one of the long seats and pretended to read a paper.  When it was found
that the pleasantries did not amuse him, and he was taking his fate
seriously, they ceased, and by-and-bye an exodus took place and he was
left to himself.

"I'm afraid poor old Lucy's papa is rather a trial to him," said one of
his late tormentors as they walked up Jesus Lane in the sedate and easy
manner affected by undergraduates who value their position.  "What has
he come up for, any way?"

"To look after Lucy, I suppose," said another, "but I don't know why;
_he's_ straight enough."

"Have you seen the little beggar?" inquired Blathgowrie, who was one of
the group.  "He's one of the rummiest little beggars you ever saw;
rather like an elderly jockey who's got into parliament.  Can't think
where Lucy gets his good looks from.  His mother must have been a
ripper."

"I saw him on the river yesterday," said a rowing man; "he was coxing a
First Trinity boat and shouting away as if he had been at it all his
life.  The crew looked frightened and the coach couldn't get a word in
edgeways.  I think that little man is going to afford us some
amusement."

"If he's going to play the fool," said the first man, "that's why Lucy
looks so glum when he's chaffed, and I don't wonder at it.  I must say
it's beastly hard lines on him, and he's such a good chap.  Binney
major's the sort of governor one would like to keep in the background.
Here's Dizzy."

Dizzy was on his way to the "Pitt."  When he got there he found Lucius
sitting alone, looking the picture of misery.  A few Bloods were
talking blatantly round the fire, and some quiet members were trying to
write letters or read the papers in other parts of the room.

"Well, how has he been behaving?" asked Dizzy, sitting down by his
friend.

"I haven't seen him yet," said Lucius.  "I can't think why."

"Perhaps he means to behave decently and keep out of the way,"
suggested Dizzy.

"Not he," answered Lucius.  "There's something up."

There was.  When Lucius got back to his rooms he found a note on his
table.

"Dear Lucius," it ran, "Pray what is the meaning of your not coming to
call on me?  You know very well that I can't go to your rooms until you
do, you being the senior man, and there are a lot of things I want to
talk to you about.  You will find yourself £10 poorer at the end of the
year for this piece of impertinence, and let me advise you to be very
careful how you behave.  Though a freshman I am still your father.
Come to tea this afternoon at five o'clock.  I am not to be trifled
with.--P.B."

The miserable Lucius went to his father's rooms on his way up from the
river.  Mr. Binney had been on the river, too, and had not yet
returned.  Lucius had an opportunity of surveying his father's
quarters.  There was nothing to show they did not belong to the most
callow freshman of eighteen.  There were two large shields with the
coats-of-arms of the University and Trinity College over the
mantelpiece.  There was a Trinity coat-of-arms on the coal scuttle, on
the match-holders, the pipe-rack, and every article in the room that
could reasonably bear it, as well as on every piece of crockery that
was laid out on Mr. Binney's tea-table.  The usual textbooks and
note-books lay about.  Lucius looked into the latter and found a feeble
attempt at a caricature of a respected lecturer, signed P.B.  On the
mantelpiece were some printed cards and papers relating to certain
small clubs and societies, of which the freshman seeks membership with
much avidity, and resigns with equal enthusiasm when he has reached the
dignity of his second year.  On a chair lay Mr. Binney's cap and gown.
To Lucius's horror, the stiffening of the cap had disappeared, and the
gown had been cut short.  These are the unfailing signs of the
second-rate undergraduate who wishes to be taken for a sporting
character.  Some misguided but radically inoffensive freshmen fall
under the influence of such ideals in their early days, and grow out of
them afterwards.  But surely Mr. Binney could not have made friends
with the rowdies yet!  He had hardly had time to make friends with
anybody.

Just then Mr. Binney himself came in.  He was in his boating clothes,
of which he was not a little proud.

"Oh, so you've condescended to come at last, have you?" he said.

"I'm very sorry, father," said poor Lucius.  "I'd no idea you would
stand on all that ceremony.  I couldn't make out why you didn't turn
up.  I thought perhaps you had made up your mind that it would be
better for us to take different lines."

"Another ten pounds off," roared Mr. Binney, "you know what I said."

"Oh, _damn_ it," said Lucius, losing patience.  "I shan't have anything
left at all soon.  I'd better go down at once, and have done with it."

"How dare you swear at me, sir?" cried Mr. Binney.

"Well, isn't it enough to make a chap swear?" answered Lucius, almost
crying.  "I've had such a jolly time up here, and now I'm ashamed to
show my face.  And as if that wasn't enough you take money off me every
time I open my mouth."

Mr. Binney relented.  He was fond of his son, and Lucius looked very
unhappy.  "I'll let you off this time," he said, "but don't let it
occur again.  Now, what I wanted to say was that I'm not getting on as
I expected.  Not a soul has called on me except some one who wanted a
subscription for a missionary society.  I was very pleased to give him
a sovereign, of course, but I could hardly take his call as a friendly
visit.  I have picked up a few friends of my own year at hall and
elsewhere, but that isn't what I want.  I want to know the
distinguished men.  You know them.  Why haven't you sent some of them
to call on me?"

"Look here, father," said Lucius.  "It's no use going on like this.
The people I know don't go in for all this 'calling' rot, and I'm not
going to ask them to.  If you _must_ know that particular lot, you'll
meet some of them in my rooms occasionally, and if they take to you,
well, you'll get to know some of them.  But you must take your chance
just like anybody else.  It's no good pushing things."

"Well, there's sense in that," said Mr. Binney.  "You can have a little
dinner in your rooms.  I'll pay for it, and I daresay we shall be very
good friends before the evening is out.  I suppose you couldn't get
Muttlebury up for it, could you?  You said you knew him.  I should like
to meet Muttlebury."

"No, I couldn't," said Lucius shortly.

"Well, any blues will do.  I should like to be able to tell Minshull I
dined with a party of blues.  He only knew one, and that very
slightly--Widgeon, who put the hammer or something last year.  He was
at Peterhouse--Pothouse, I mean.  By-the-bye, I suppose there's no harm
in my looking up men of my own year, is there?"

"I suppose not, not if you use your sense about it."

"Now, what about the 'Pitt' Club?  When is the election?"

"I don't know.  In about a fortnight I should think."

"Is my name down for it?"

"No."

"And why not, pray?"

"I've only been there once since I came up."

"Put it down at once, then, and don't lose any more time about it.
Minshull had never heard of the 'Pitt,' but I have learnt since I came
up that all the best known people belong to it.  And I should like to
belong to the A.D.C. too."

"I daresay I can manage that for you.  I'm on the committee now, and we
are always very kind; but, look here, father, there's not the slightest
chance of your belonging to the 'Pitt' or the A.D.C. either if you
don't keep yourself in the background at first.  And whatever made you
knock the stuffing out of your cap like that?  It's only the rowdies
whom nobody respectable has anything to do with who go in for that sort
of thing."

"Minshull told me that if you wore a new cap and gown everybody took
you for a smug," said Mr. Binney.

"Minshull's a fool," said Lucius, with withering scorn.  "You'd better
take my advice about things like that, not his.  And I should buy
myself a new cap if I were you."

A few days after, Dizzy gave a dinner.  Most of his guests had arrived
and were discussing the vagaries of Mr. Binney, who by this time had
become a public character, when Blathgowrie arrived in a state of some
perturbation.

"I say, you fellows," he said, as he came in.  "This business will have
to be stopped.  I've had that little bantam in my rooms since seven
o'clock.  I'm not going to stand it."

"What did he want?"

"Said he hadn't seen me in hall, and wondered what had become of
me--thought he'd pay me a friendly call."

"What did you do?"

"Well, I was civil for the sake of poor old Lucy.  But I didn't get him
out of the room for an hour, and he said he was coming again.  Hang me
if I ever saw such a pushing little scug."

"Lucy ought to tell him to keep to himself."

"Bless you, _he_ can't help it," said Dizzy.  "He gets his screw docked
every time he suggests such a thing."

"Well, I call it a beastly shame.  But if Lucius can't do it, somebody
else must."

"I'll do it," said Blathgowrie.  "I'm not shy.  He's bound to turn up
again soon; said we were fellow freshmen, or some such rot, and ought
to know one another better.  He'll know _me_ better before I've done
with him.  Hush, here's Lucy."

Mr. Binney was not elected to the "Pitt" Club, and Lucius had not been
able to bring himself to propose his name for membership of the A.D.C.,
preferring to lose the £10 of income which his father knocked off for
each rebuff, than to put his colleagues to the awkward necessity of
either rejecting his nomination, or of electing his father to clubs
where he was not wanted.  Nor did his dinner bring about that measure
of popularity which Mr. Binney had hoped for.  Lucius asked four of his
tried friends, who were very polite, very much bored, and retired
early.  Dizzy might have saved the situation, but Dizzy had gone up to
town with an _exeat_.  Mr. Binney had by this time joined the Union and
spoken twice.  He could talk of nothing else and looked forward with
confidence to filling the President's chair.

A few nights afterwards he again invaded Blathgowrie.  It was about
half-past nine, and that estimable nobleman had a select party of about
twelve playing the unallowable game.

There was an abashed silence when little Mr. Binney entered and flung
his cap and gown on a chair.

"Good evening, Mr. Binney," said Blathgowrie.  "We are engaged in a
quiet game of whist.  Could you make it convenient to call on another
occasion?"

"Don't mention it, my lord; don't mention it," said Mr. Binney.  "I'll
make myself comfortable and look on.  I should like to see whist
played.  It is a game I am unacquainted with, although I recollect when
I was a young fellow Snap and Old Maid used to be favourite games in
the family circle."

"They're favourite games up here," said Blathgowrie, "and so are Hunt
the Slipper and Puss in the Corner.  We'll play Puss in the Corner when
we've finished this, and you shall be poor pussy.  What, not going yet,
Astley!"

But first one and then another of Blathgowrie's friends was afraid he
must be going, and in ten minutes he was alone with Mr. Binney, putting
up the cards with unimpaired cheerfulness.

"I'm very sorry I've disturbed your game," said Mr. Binney, whom this
wholesale exodus had considerably amazed.

"Not at all, Mr. Binney, not at all.  My friends are in the habit of
retiring to rest early.  They're all anxious to catch the worm
to-morrow, you know."

"Don't call me Mr. Binney," said Peter; "call me Binney.  We're of the
same standing, you know."

"So we are, Binney," acquiesced Blathgowrie.  "Well, Binney, how do you
find yourself?  Pretty well, thank you?"

Mr. Binney began to grow suspicious.

"I hope, sir, I'm not intruding on you," he began.

"Well, Binney," said Blathgowrie, "to tell you the plain truth, you do
intrude confoundedly."

Mr. Binney started up out of his chair.

"Pray sit down, Binney," said Blathgowrie.  "I am commissioned by my
friends and your son's--Lucy's, you know--to tell you we consider
you're behaving in a devilish mean and shabby manner to him.  He's done
his best for you, you know, but to tell you the truth we don't care for
you, Binney.  You're not quite our sort, you know---a year or two older
perhaps--and we really can't have you poking in your nose where you're
not wanted.  There are plenty of nice quiet Johnnies about who'll be
very pleased to make your acquaintance, especially if you feed them
well, but speaking for the unworthy people whom you honour with your
attentions at present, I beg to inform you that they are declined with
thanks."

Mr. Binney arose in his wrath.  He was somewhat violent and altogether
incoherent.  Blathgowrie handed him his cap and gown and opened the
door for him.

"Good-night, Binney," he said, "mind the step;" and Mr. Binney
disappeared down the staircase.



CHAPTER VII

MR. BINNEY SPEAKS AT THE UNION AND MAKES A DISTINGUISHED ACQUAINTANCE

Mr. Binney went out of Blathgowrie's lodgings and into the street in a
white heat of indignation.  His blood boiled within him at the
indignity to which he had been subjected.  Was it possible that he,
Peter Binney, the founder of a great commercial house, the Bloomsbury
ratepayer, the almost successful candidate for the London County
Council, had been told in so many words by a mere slip of an impudent
boy that his society was not wanted by him and his callow friends?
What next! he wondered.  As if he cared for their contemptible society!
Pshaw!  It was the other way about.  If they had had the slightest idea
how his name was respected in the City, they would have sung a _very_
different tune.  He wouldn't have their acquaintance now, or join their
precious clubs if the committee went down on their bended knees and
begged him to do so.  He flung into his rooms burning with anger
against the whole insolent crew of them, and most of all against his
son, Lucius, whom he unjustly accused of being the disloyal cause of
his late reverse.

"Ah, Binney, I thocht ye wouldn't be long, and I'd just wait for ye,"
said a voice with a strong Scotch accent, from the depths of Mr.
Binney's armchair.

"Oh, that you, M'Gee!" said Mr. Binney.  "I'm pleased to see you.  But
you'll excuse me for being a little upset.  I've just undergone a piece
of monstrous impertinence from my Lord Blathgowrie, and I scarcely know
how to contain my anger."

"Toch!" exclaimed M'Gee.  "What for do ye want to mix yourself up with
such trash?  I've come to talk to you about the Union.  Sit down, man,
and listen."

M'Gee, like Mr. Binney, was a freshman, and like Mr. Binney again, had
come up to Cambridge many years later than the average young man enters
upon his University course.  He was the son of a Highland gillie, and
had succeeded with incredible difficulty, as far as money was
concerned, in gaining a degree at a Scotch University.  But that had
not sufficed for him.  He was ambitious, and extremely tenacious of
ideas.  He had early made up his mind to bring his brains to the market
of Cambridge, and at Cambridge he accordingly found himself at the age
of thirty-seven, with a scholarship at St. John's College, and nothing
else upon which to support himself except his determination to succeed
to the highest honours that Cambridge could afford.  He had joined the
Union with a shrewd and resolute eye to the President's chair, but the
lighter social success which held such a charm from Mr. Binney's point
of view he regarded with the most lofty scorn.  Self-contained and
self-reliant as he was, however, he was not entirely without a human
weakness for sympathy and encouragement in his aims, and had fixed upon
Mr. Binney, as one who shared with him some of the accidents of his
position, with whom to indulge in the occasional luxury of discussing
his ambitions.

"I wouldn't give a thought to these young 'bloods,' as they call them,"
said M'Gee.  "They'll be of no use to ye.  They make a big splash while
they are up here, but when they go down they're no better than dirt."
Here M'Gee snapped a bony finger and thumb.  "I'm no saying that I'd
like to be nothing but a worker in Cambridge," he went on.  "You keep
to yourself for three years and you come out Senior Wrangler at the end
of it, and they put your picture in the papers.  And then you go down,
and what glory do you get from it?  There's aye one way of getting
yourself known here, if you're a man of brains, and that's at the
Union.  Go round the rooms and look at the pictures of the Presidents
from the beginning.  Why, man, there's not a dozen of them that isn't
known to the world at large.  That's fame.  And it's the sort of fame
that's worth having.  Colloguing wi' lords an' that is a puir thing to
it."

"You're right, M'Gee," cried Mr. Binney, springing up, "You're right.
A lord!  What's a lord and all his hangers-on?  Froth!  Dregs!  Dirt!
as you rightly remark.  I won't have my boy associating with such."

"Leave your boy alone," said M'Gee.  "He is a boy, and does very well
as he is.  You and I are men, and we'll make use of this place which
most of them don't know the value of.  Study the questions of the day,
give a lot of preparation to your speeches, and speak every time the
house sits.  Force 'em to take account of you and you'll come out top."

"I will," said Mr. Binney, now greatly excited.  "I _can_ come out top
if I want to.  I know I can.  You and I will be carried down to
posterity, M'Gee, as two of the greatest Presidents the Union has ever
had.  To-day's Monday.  To-morrow I speak on the vaccination question.
I don't take any interest in it, but I'll get the subject up thoroughly
in the meantime, and my speech will surprise them."

And so Mr. Binney changed his social aspirations, and wrote long
letters to Mrs. Higginbotham describing the acclamations with which he
was received when he rose to speak at the Union, and painting in vivid
colours the honours paid to the occupant of the President's chair, that
chair which had been filled by so many illustrious men.

He and M'Gee spoke every Tuesday in that term.  M'Gee was intolerably
dogmatic, metaphysical and long-winded, always heard the secretary's
bell ring before he had half finished his argument, and invariably
emptied the house of all but the long-suffering officials whenever he
rose to his feet.  Mr. Binney as surely filled it.  He was a wind-bag,
but a wind-bag who delighted his audience in the same way as a monkey
on an organ is a source of appreciation not so much for its innate
humour as for the unstudied expression of its personality.  It was
quite true that Mr. Binney roused the applause of the assembly.  The
incipient statesmen lolling on the benches or writing notes on their
knees or strolling up to have a word with the President in his seat of
state, cheered him on, laughed uproariously at his witticisms as well
as at his studied and serious periods, and could never have enough of
him.  It was a long time since any speaker at the Union had amused his
audience so well, and he was in the seventh heaven of delight at his
popularity until the elections for the officers at the end of the term,
when both he and M'Gee stood for the committee, and appeared at the
bottom of the list, M'Gee with thirty votes and Mr. Binney with six.
This was a serious blow to him, and he began to realise that he had
been looked upon as a buffoon.

But before this other things had happened.  Although debarred from the
society of those with whom he had at first tried to ally himself, Mr.
Binney had contracted many acquaintanceships with men of his own year
and others who did not place the value of their friendship very high.
The boys fresh from school who had come up at the same time as himself
looked upon him as a great joke, ate his breakfasts and luncheons and
occasional dinners, and asked him to their own in return.  As he showed
himself anxious to be considered one of themselves, they obliged him,
with perhaps more familiarity and slappings on the back than they
usually made use of to one another.  But Mr. Binney enjoyed it and felt
he was getting on famously.  He greatly appreciated the tales of daring
which freshmen love to tell one another, about exciting runs from
avenging Proctors, and smart, one-sided conversations with Deans, in
which the freshman is always represented as using such witty and
convincing arguments that the Dean can only sit and listen, and is glad
to get rid of him at last at any price if he will only allow the
management of the college to remain in its present inefficient hands a
little longer.  Mr. Binney had not as yet emulated any of these deeds
of daring, for he still looked upon the authorities with considerable
awe, and was turning his attention for the most part towards getting
his work ready for the first part of the Littlego and maintaining his
reputation at the Union.  But he thought them very fine for all that,
and it was not long before he fell.

Among his fellow-freshmen was one, Brandon, a Rugby football-player,
who had once or twice played for the University.  He was not a Blue
yet, but he was the next best thing to it, and Mr. Binney cultivated
his society in the intervals of his more serious pursuits.  Brandon had
a friend called Howden who was a Blue, a great, noisy, good-natured,
ignorant ox, who was in constant danger of being sent down for his
numerous breaches of discipline.

Howden came into Brandon's rooms one morning to fish for a dinner, his
affairs being in a chronic state of financial depression.  He used no
unnecessary finesse in stating his ends.

"I've taken my name off hall to-night," he said, "and don't know where
to feed.  Got anything going, Brandy?"

"I'm going to dine with Binney," said Brandon.  "You'd better come too."

"What! that stuck-up ass!" said Howden.  "Didn't know you knew him.
No, thanks.  I don't mix with Bloods."

"Oh, I don't mean Lucy Binney," said Brandon, "I don't know him.  The
bantam's my pal."

"What! that little old man!" exclaimed Howden.  "Whatever do you want
to go and dine with him for?  He'll report you to the dons if you make
a row, and I don't care for dining where I can't enjoy myself."

"My dear chap," said Brandon, "you can make as much row as you like.
He'll be all the better pleased.  He's a tremendous little sportsman.
He gives you the best fizz and as much as you want of it."

"The deuce he does!  All right, I'll come, Brandy.  I don't know him.
I suppose that don't matter."

"Not a bit," said Brandon.  "I'll make that all right.  19A Jesus Lane,
eight o'clock."

"Right you are," said Howden.  "Don't forget.  I shall turn up."

Mr. Binney was as pleased as Punch when he learnt that he was at last
going to be honoured by the company of a Blue, and made an excuse to
write a note to Minshull in which he casually mentioned that he was
expecting Howden, "who plays back for the 'Varsity," to dinner that
night.

Howden came and made himself agreeable to his host.  Mr. Binney was
delighted to find that such a great man was not inclined to stand on
any ceremony.  The rest of the party were freshmen, who were also
inclined to treat the great Howden with deference, but in the course of
the dinner the deference vanished, and the company got hilarious and on
perfectly good terms with one another.  After dinner they "ragged," and
played a little game of "Soccer" with a sofa cushion, in the course of
which Mr. Binney got the wind knocked out of his body, and was not
sorry when his landlord came up to inform him that the chandelier in
the room below had fallen down.

"Let's go round and rag old Tubby Vane," said Howden.

Vane was another football Blue, and lived in college.  So the party
moved round in a body to the New Court.  Vane kept on the third floor,
and was out, so his visitors were baffled for the moment.

"There's old Miniken keeps below," said Mr. Binney, who was enjoying
himself to the full in this distinguished company.  "Let's go and rag
_him_."

Miniken was a Union light, a quiet reading man, when he was not
thundering forth Radical views in the debates.  Mr. Binney did not know
him very well, but wished to display the brilliant Howden to his
astonished gaze.

"All right," said Howden.  "Never heard of him, but I daresay he keeps
very good whisky.  Come on."

Miniken's oak was sported.

"He's skulking," said Howden.  "Let's kick his oak in."

"Hi!  Miniken!  Come out of that, you old beggar," yelled Mr. Binney;
but all was silence.

Howden took a short run and kicked in a panel.  Mr. Binney took a short
run at the same panel, and got his foot wedged.  When he had been
extricated with unnecessary violence by his companions, a combined
assault was made upon the oak, which presently gave way.  The rooms
were empty.

Howden turned up the lights and made a search for something to drink,
which was unsuccessful, as Miniken was a teetotaller.  Then they "made
hay" of his rooms, and, after completely changing their aspect, left,
to avoid an interview with a porter who was coming up the staircase to
see what the disturbance was about.  Mr. Binney never doubted but that
Miniken would be quite as amused as themselves when he came back, and
not a little flattered at receiving a visit from the august Howden, if
he found out who was responsible for the altered appearance of his
apartments.

When Miniken did return he was naturally annoyed at the discovery of
what had taken place.  He obtained from the porter the names of his
invaders, and sat down and wrote a letter of complaint to the Senior
Dean.  Then he put his room to rights and went to bed.

In the meantime Mr. Binney went home, greatly pleased with his
evening's entertainment.  Before retiring to rest he wrote a full
account of it to Mrs. Higginbotham, and expatiated on the popularity
that must accrue to him from having made a friend of Howden, who,
before parting from him, had assured him that he was one of the best
fellows he had ever met, and that he would stick by him and come and
dine with him whenever he liked.

The next day Mr. Binney was requested to call on the Junior Dean at a
specified hour.  He did so with some inward trepidation, and waited in
the ante-room where a secretary was at work, who informed him that the
Dean was engaged, but would see him in a few minutes.  Presently steps
were heard on the staircase, and to his surprise Lucius entered the
room.

"Halloa! you hauled too?" said the little man with a sheepish grin.
"What for?"

"I don't know.  Chapels, I suppose," said Lucius, who had heard of his
father's escapade, and whose face was covered with a deep blush.

"I hope we shan't get gated," said Mr. Binney.  "What are you going to
say to the old chap?"

Before Lucius had time to reply the Dean's door opened, and Mr. Binney
was summoned into the presence of the "old chap," who had been in
frocks when "Binney's Food for Poultry" was first becoming known.

"Sit down, Mr. Binney," said the Dean, who appeared unaccountably
nervous.  "I see you have not kept the requisite number of chapels
since the beginning of term.  Is there any reason for that?  I see by
my list that you have not been once to chapel on a Sunday."

Mr. Binney breathed a sigh of relief and drew himself up.

"I prefer to attend my own place of worship on the Sabbath," he said,
twisting his cap by the tassel.

"Ah! you are perhaps a Nonconformist," said the Dean.

"I am," said Mr. Binney; "and I'm not ashamed of it."

"No reason to be, Mr. Binney," said the Dean.  "I needn't trouble you
any more on that score then," and he made a pencil note on the paper
before him.  "But there is another matter," he went on, "which, I
confess, it surprises me to have to bring before a man of
your--er--standing.  I understand that you and some others broke in the
door of Mr. Miniken's rooms last night, and took most unwarrantable
liberties with his furniture.  I could hardly believe it, but I am
assured that it is so."

"It was a mere freak, sir," said Mr. Binney boldly.  "I went round with
Howden--the football Blue----"

"You needn't bring in anybody else's name," said the Dean.

"Well, we went round to call on--on another football Blue, but he was
out, and as old Miniken, who is a friend of mine, happened to live
below him, I said, 'Let's go and rouse him up.'  He was sported, so we
kicked in his oak for a lark.  We didn't mean any harm.  Of course, I'm
quite willing to pay for repairing the door."

The Dean passed his hand over his mouth.

"That you will have to do, of course, you and the others between you,"
he said.  "But I may as well tell you, Mr. Binney, that we don't
recognise such larks here.  If you want to behave like a troublesome
boy, you had better go somewhere else.  You are gated at eight for a
fortnight, and don't let me hear of any such piece of folly again, or
you won't get off so easily."

Mr. Binney took himself off feeling rather ashamed, but still a little
pleased with himself.  "Gated at eight for a fortnight," he said, as he
joined his son in the ante-room, where Blathgowrie had also made his
appearance.

"Serve you right, you little ass," said Blathgowrie as Lucius entered
the presence chamber.  "Now run along and play."

"You were not with your father, I think, when the door in the New Court
was broken in?" said the Dean.

"No, I wasn't," said Lucius shortly, his face a deep red.

The Dean threw a quick glance at him.

"Is your father--?" he began, and then stopped.

"Off his head?" said Lucius.  "I don't know.  I never thought he was
until he came up here.  I know _I_ shall be, pretty soon, if this goes
on."

"I didn't mean that," said the Dean, "I was going to ask if he intended
to stop here until he takes a degree."

"I suppose so, if he isn't sent down first," said Lucius bitterly.

The Dean could not disguise a smile.  "Don't get downhearted about it,
Binney," he said kindly, "we've all got our little trials to bear.  One
of mine is having continually to ask undergraduates why they don't come
to chapel.  I see you haven't kept a single chapel this term.  How is
that?"

"I was afraid I might meet my father," said Lucius.

The Dean smiled again.

"Your father has conscientious objections to joining in our services,"
he said, "and I'm afraid I couldn't accept that as an excuse in any
case.  Have you been anywhere instead?"

"I go to King's sometimes."

"Well, I think you had better come to Trinity sometimes too in the
future.  Good-night, Binney."

His introduction to Howden was the beginning of Mr. Binney's fall from
steadiness.  He soon made the acquaintance of other athletes of similar
character to Howden, and was very proud of being seen about with them.
These accommodating gentlemen had no sort of objection to his being
constantly in their company, so long as he fed them generously and put
no check on their boisterous behaviour when he was with them.  And Mr.
Binney was far from wishing to do this.  The new cap which he had
bought under Lucius's directions was soon exchanged for a very old and
battered one.  Howden and all his friends were rowdies, and Mr. Binney
in his mild way became a rowdy too.

One Tuesday evening towards the end of the term, Lucius found himself
in the gallery at the Union listening to a debate on the motion: "That
this house views with alarm the growing tyranny of University
officials," and sat dejectedly through an uproariously applauded speech
from his father, in the course of which Mr. Binney inquired "why a
fellow shouldn't smoke in cap and gown if he wanted to," and was twice
called to order for alluding to "the progginses."

"Come out of this; it makes me sick," he said to his companion.  They
went out and strolled slowly down Jesus Lane to Edwards's billiard
rooms.  Opposite the "Pitt," Mr. Binney passed them with two of his
noisy friends, carrying his gown on his arm.  He did not notice them,
nor a Proctor who was coming along Park Street, and Lucius had the
gratification of seeing his father stopped at the corner, and
peremptorily ordered to put on his gown by the Proctor.  Mr. Binney did
as he was told, taking off his gown again when the Proctor had turned
his back, and was let into his lodgings feeling himself the very devil
of a fellow.

After his first escapade with Howden, Mr. Binney was a little upset by
a letter he received from Mrs. Higginbotham in answer to the one in
which he had given her an account of the proceedings.

"You must not let yourself be led away by your high spirits," wrote
Mrs. Higginbotham, "and pray be careful that these new grand young
friends you have made do not lead you astray.  I should like you to
keep a good character with your masters and bring home a good report at
the end of the term.  My dear father often used to say that he would
rather my brothers won the conduct prize at school than any other, and
they always did so, which pleased my father very much until he
discovered that they used to buy the prizes themselves out of their
very liberal allowance of pocket money and write their master's name in
them, which was not right, and earned them a whipping from Mr.
Wilkinson who was at that time the head of the Lewisham Academy for
Young Gentlemen, where they were educated, as well as another from my
father, which they told me was far the worse of the two, as I can quite
credit, because my dear father, who made his own way in the world, had
been employed in early life in a furniture warehouse, and among his
duties was that of beating carpets."

Mr. Binney wrote in answer that little occurrences such as the one in
which he had taken part were common in Cambridge and increased the fame
of those who inaugurated them, and rebuked Mrs. Higginbotham for
talking of his "masters."  "The 'Varsity is not a school, my dear
Martha," wrote Mr. Binney, "and we are allowed a great deal of freedom
to amuse ourselves as we please."

Mr. Binney and Lucius now saw very little of one another, but before
Mr. Binney had allied himself with Howden and his crew, Lucius had paid
him a visit one afternoon and found a young man with a long, solemn
face not unlike Minshull's sitting on Mr. Binney's sofa.

"Ah, Lucius," said Mr. Binney, "I'm glad you have come.  This is your
mother's cousin, John Jermyn, whose father you may have heard me speak
of as a respected clergyman in Norfolk.  John tells me he has gained a
scholarship at Queens' and I am very glad to hear it--very glad.  It is
most laudable of him.  We must go and call on him when we have time.
Let me see, where is Queens'?  That little college at the end of the
Backs with a wooden bridge, isn't it?  Quite so.  A very nice little
college indeed.  I should have liked to have been at Queens' myself if
I hadn't been at Trinity.  Pity you couldn't come to Trinity, John.
However, we can't all be at the best college, can we?"

After a little more patronage from his uncle, John Jermyn took his
leave.

"You must look that young fellow up, Lucius," said Mr. Binney, "and he
tells me his sister Elizabeth is at Girton.  They both came up this
term.  A clever family.  You must go and call on her too--I believe
it's allowed--I don't care about going out there myself.  Their mother
was a great friend of your dear mother's when they were girls together.
We never saw much of her after she was married, for her husband held
his head high, although I have never heard that he was at Trinity or
any good college as a young man.  It is our turn to hold our heads high
now, but you must certainly call on John and Elizabeth, and show them
that we are not too proud to recognise our relations."

Lucius did call on John Jermyn soon afterwards and asked him to lunch.
The two young men found they had very little in common and the
acquaintanceship dropped.



CHAPTER VIII

THE NEWNHAM GIRL

The morning hours in Cambridge are for books, the afternoon for
exercise, and the evening for social intercourse.  So, at least, the
majority of the undergraduate members of the University regard them,
and sometimes throw in an extra hour or two of work between tea and
dinner.  Of course there are those who work all the evening as well as
all the morning, and there are others who do not work at all; but the
morning for lectures and books is a general rule, and one that has few
exceptions, however squeezed up the morning may be between late
breakfast and early luncheon.  If you go into the Great Court of
Trinity, let us say about ten minutes to eleven in the morning, you
will find it, comparatively speaking, deserted.  Quite deserted it
never is, unless in the dead hours of night, and not always then; but
now its chief occupants appear to be the bed-makers, who empty their
pails down the gratings, or stand for a few minutes' gossip by their
respective staircases.  Every now and then an idler passes through in a
leisurely manner, or a don scurries across the grass in a terrible
hurry.  White-aproned cooks from the college kitchens collect plate and
crockery from the various gyp-rooms and carry them away in green boxes
balanced on their heads.  Tradesmen's boys, their baskets on their
arms, pass from one staircase to another, quite unawed by their
surroundings, whistling as if their errands were taking them down a
street of numbered houses instead of to the studious rooms of a
venerable college, for centuries devoted to learning.  But of the
undergraduate life which is so busy in the courts of a college at other
times of the day there is very little, for most undergraduates are
listening to lecturers or coaches, or reading in their own rooms.

But the hour strikes and everything is changed.  Men in gowns of blue
or black, with note-books under their arms, come pouring out of the
lecture-rooms into the court.  Interspersed with them are the
lecturers, laden with books, their long gowns and ribbons flying; and
most curious of all, little groups of girls stand about the court
waiting until it is time for another lecturer to appear and dart
hurriedly into the room where his wisdom is to keep them entranced for
the next hour.  How horrified our grandfathers would have been could
they have pictured girls and men sitting in the same lecture-room
to-day, and how incredulous, could they have been told what a very
little difference such an unforeseen arrangement would make in the
daily life of their colleges.  For the women are already in Cambridge.
They have their own colleges, and if they have not yet their own
lecturers, they make very good use of ours.  And, strange to say,
nobody takes much notice of them, or realises that they are there at
all, except when they form their little groups round the college
doorways, or when their names are read out before those of the men in
the Senate House, or when they want something which Cambridge with all
its chivalry is not quite prepared to give them.

One such little group of girls was standing by the Trinity Chapel one
bright November morning in the first term of Lucius's second year,
waiting for the learned gentleman who was to lecture to them during the
next hour on some subject connected with the Classical Tripos.  The
learned gentleman was a little late and all the other lecturers had by
this time penned their flocks and were busily engaged in feeding, and
in some cases shearing them.  The men who were booked for the same
lecture as the girls were standing in twos and threes a little distance
away, or strolling up and down the flagged pathways.  At ten minutes
past the hour the lecturer was seen approaching at a hurried pace from
the direction of Neville's Court, and a minute later, girls, men, and
lecturer had disappeared, and the Great Court had settled down again to
its normal morning condition of dignified calm.

One of the girls was conspicuously attractive.  She wore a neat costume
of blue serge and a hat that showed up the gold of her pretty head.
Her eyes were blue and innocent, her little nose had a mischievous tilt
to it, and her mouth was like Cupid's bow.  These last named
attractions were not visible to Lucius Binney, who sat at the corner of
a desk a few rows behind her; but he had a good view of the soft curves
of a delicate tinted cheek, and a little shell-like ear perched
coquettishly underneath the wavy brown hair, and, to do him justice,
these beauties were not unappreciated by him, for he paid a good deal
more attention to them than to the dulcet tones of the learned
lecturer.  It was now about the middle of the Michaelmas term, and
Lucius had already sat in the same corner and looked at the same girl
three times a week since the beginning of term, eleven times in all,
and each time he looked his sense of the beautiful was more satisfied
than before.  Besides minor varieties the girl sometimes wore another
costume of grey-green cloth and a felt hat to match, with a woodcock's
tip in it.  Lucius was like the lover in Tennyson's poem who speaks of
his lady's dresses:--

  "Now I know her but in two,
  Nor can pronounce upon it,
  If one should ask me whether
  The habit, hat and feather,
  Or the frock and gipsy bonnet
  Be the neater and completer;
  For nothing could be sweeter
  Than maiden Maud in either."


He sometimes spoke of her to Dizzy, who attended the same lecture, and
whose admiration of the girl was æsthetically great, but had not
succeeded in penetrating his feelings.  These two would hang about the
court, chatting unconcernedly together, while she went out through the
Great Gate with her companions.  After the first week, when Lucius's
appreciation of her charms had begun to bite a little, she sometimes
gave him the merest glance out of the corners of her blue eyes as she
passed him.  There seemed to be a trace of amusement lurking in the
glance, and Lucius understood that his admiration, although by no means
obtrusive, had been observed--and dared he hope in some measure
accepted?--by its object.

"Oh, Dizzy, old man, she really _is_--that girl!" sighed Lucius, after
silently watching the blue serge coat and skirt and the fair hair under
the little hat disappear round the corner.  "She really _is_--"

What she really was did not transpire, but Dizzy quite understood and
agreed.

"She's a topper," said Dizzy.  "I can't say fairer than that.  She's a
topper."

"Have you noticed those little fluffy curls on her neck?" inquired
Lucius.  "With most girls they stick out straight and look as if they
ought to be tucked in somewhere.  But hers don't."

"Why don't you take a snap-shot at them with a Kodak in the
lecture-room?" suggested Dizzy.

Lucius did buy a Kodak after this, and stayed away from the charmed
lecture-room one morning with a heavy heart, in order to take
photographs of the girl as she went through the court to and from the
lecture.  He ensconced himself in a friend's rooms on the kitchen
staircase, the nearest position he could gain, for he did not want her
to see him standing in the court; but after pressing the button
feverishly six or eight times, and waiting impatiently for three weeks
until the other people had done the rest, he was rewarded with several
curious pictures of fog effects, only one of which showed a scene which
could be recognised as the Great Court, with a few dark little spots
some miles away, which Lucius interpreted as the girl and her
companions leaving the college, but did not gain much satisfaction from
the possession of them even with the help of a magnifying glass.

The girl was a Newnhamite (hideous word!).  Lucius and Dizzy knew that
much, though they could not discover her name.  She must have known
theirs, for the lecturer was in the habit of calling them over after
each lecture.  Unfortunately he omitted to do so in the case of the
lady students.

"It's just my luck, you know," said Lucius disconsolately.  "I've got a
cousin of sorts at Girton.  I ought to have looked her up before now--I
promised the governor I would--and I'd have done it pretty quick, you
bet, if she had had the sense to go to the other place."

"What is she like?" asked Dizzy.

"I don't know.  I've never seen her.  She is a sister of my cousin at
Queens'."

"Oh, I should look her up if I were you.  She may be pretty," said
Dizzy.

"Have you seen my cousin at Queens'?"

Dizzy had, and acknowledged that the inferences were not encouraging.

"Still there's no telling," he said.  "She may be a regular topper."

"Her father's a country parson," said Lucius, "and she has never been
anywhere.  I don't see the fun of tramping out to Girton to see a fat
girl with spectacles."

"And a space between her belt and the top of her skirt with hooks and
eyes showing," added Dizzy.  "No, I agree with you it isn't good
enough, although, of course, she may be a topper, you can't tell."

Lucius did bicycle out to Girton before the end of the term along a
straight and appallingly hideous road, only to find Miss Jermyn "not at
home" at the end of it, and then dismissed his cousin Elizabeth and
Girton College from his mind, and indulged himself in roseate dreams of
the Newnham girl instead.  Although he was constantly plunged in shame
at the behaviour of his father, and was gradually growing poorer and
poorer as time went on, owing to Mr. Binney's relentless views on the
subject of filial conduct, his first term at Cambridge in the
companionship of his father was not altogether an unhappy one.

At the end of it Mr. Binney went in for the first part of his Little-go
and failed ignominiously, for his work had greatly deteriorated since
he had been admitted to the friendship of Howden and the rest.  But the
disquieting news did not reach him until he had left Cambridge at the
beginning of the Christmas vacation, and that blow was not added to the
one caused by his failure at the Union, and another which befel him at
the end of term in the shape of an interview with his Tutor.  Mr.
Rimington looked grave as Mr. Binney entered his presence, and shook
hands with him without his usual smile.

"Sit down, please, Mr. Binney," he said.  "I didn't send for you when I
heard about that foolish affair in Mr. Miniken's rooms, because I
thought you must have taken part in it against your will, and I
couldn't but believe that nothing of the sort would happen again.  But
I learn, to my surprise, that you seem to have made a--a specialty of
that sort of behaviour, and however unpleasant the duty may be, I must
remonstrate seriously with you on the course you have adopted here."

Mr. Binney's mouth was dry.  Mr. Rimington's tone was more conciliatory
than that of the Junior Dean, but the latter, after his first few
words, had treated him just like any other undergraduate, while Mr.
Rimington addressed him as a middle-aged gentleman who had been making
a fool of himself; and Mr. Binney disliked this above all things.

Mr. Rimington paused, and Mr. Binney felt he was expected to speak.

"I was gated for that affair of Miniken's, sir," he said with a gulp,
"and the subject ought to be at an end.  It was foolish, perhaps, but
it was all done in good part, and I had no idea the man would make such
a fuss about it.  Since then I am not aware of having done anything to
bring my conduct under the notice of the officials of the college."

Mr. Rimington heard him out in grave silence.  "You have done nothing
that has actually had to be punished," he said, "but if you imagine,
Mr. Binney, that your conduct has not come very seriously under the
notice of the officials of the college, you are mistaken.  Behaviour
that would not call for much remark from a boy of eighteen or nineteen
is a different matter in a man of your age.  For one thing it is
demoralising in the extreme to the undergraduates with whom you
associate.  It is a very disagreeable task to have to point this out to
you, and I must say that it surprises me exceedingly that there should
be any necessity for my having to do so."  He paused so as to give Mr.
Binney a chance of speaking, who, however, took no advantage of his
opportunity, but sat gazing on the carpet.  His attitude seemed to show
that he was taking his Tutor's remonstrances to heart, but a slight
frown on his brow and the set of his mouth belied that assumption.

"Have you anything to say, Mr. Binney?" asked the Tutor.

"I should like to hear what _you_ have got to say first, sir," said Mr.
Binney.  "Then I will give utterance to my opinions."

"Very well," said Mr. Rimington.  "Then I had better say what I have
got to say in as few words and as strongly as possible.  When we talked
over your coming up here as an undergraduate in the spring, I pointed
out that it would hardly be fair to your son to be under your constant
supervision, and I pointed out other reasons why I thought you should
reconsider your decision.  You did not agree with me, and the
objections were not strong enough to induce the college to refuse your
application when you persisted in making it.  No man in his senses
could have foreseen that at the end of your first term, your son, who
has been here over a year, should bear a high character in the college,
while you, his father, should be giving us a great deal of trouble in
matters of conduct.  If that could have been foreseen I need scarcely
say that we should not have admitted you.

"Now, look here, Mr. Rimington," said Mr. Binney, with his most
uncompromising air.  "I take great objection to your manner of speaking
to me.  My son I refuse to discuss.  As far as I myself am concerned,
you have acknowledged that with one exception, for which I have paid
the appointed penalty, my conduct has not been such as to have called
for any special remark, supposing I had been of the age of the ordinary
undergraduate with whom you have to deal.  I take my stand on that
statement.  These references to my age are offensive to me.  I am here
in the position of an ordinary undergraduate, and I demand fair
treatment as such.  That puts the matter in a nutshell."

Mr. Rimington kept his temper.  "You seem to forget, Mr. Binney," he
said quietly, "that no ordinary undergraduate would be permitted to
speak to me in those terms.  You take advantage of your age, which I
think is about the same as mine, to address me as an equal, but wish it
to be ignored entirely in my estimation of your behaviour.  That, of
course, is an unreasonable demand, and one that I cannot entertain.  I
sent for you to remonstrate with you on the course that you have seen
fit to adopt.  But as you have taken my remonstrance so badly, I must
point out to you that my powers go far beyond a mere remonstrance, and
if you are incapable of seeing yourself in the wrong and mending your
ways, the college will have to think very seriously of asking you to
take your name off the books."

"Then, sir," said Mr. Binney, now very angry, "I have to inform you
that I shall not comply with the request of the college.  I am here,
and here I shall remain.  The treatment I have received I consider
infamous.  I demand to be let alone.  I shall keep on the right side of
the law in the future, as I have done in the past, and I challenge--I
_dare_ the college to touch me.  Let me remind you, Mr. Rimington, that
this University has been thrown open--yes, _open_, sir.  The old
iniquitous Test Acts have been done away.  One man has as much right
here as another.  If I am interfered with further, I will raise such a
storm throughout the country, that not only Trinity College but
Cambridge University shall tremble in its shoes.  I will wish you
good-morning, sir; and let me advise you to take my words to heart,"
and with this Mr. Binney took himself out of his Tutor's rooms, and
went straight round to the Union to write a fiery letter of indignation
to the _Daily Chronicle_, unmasking the unwarrantable interference with
the liberties of the subject practised by the authorities of a
"well-known college in a well-known University."  His letter was not
inserted.  So the storm he had threatened to raise delayed its raging
for the present.

After his departure, Mr. Rimington pondered for some time on his course
of action, and then wrote the following letter:--


"DEAR MR. BINNEY,--I enclose the _exeat_ which you will require in
order to enable you to leave Cambridge for the Christmas vacation.  I
have dated it for to-morrow.  You will, I think, on consideration
regret your manner towards me in our conversation of this morning, and
I shall be glad to receive any expressions of regret you may feel
inclined to make.  I must also repeat my statement that it is
subversive of all discipline in the college that a gentleman in your
peculiar position should constitute himself a leader in disorderly
behaviour, and warn you that if such behaviour is persisted in you will
not be allowed to remain here.--Yours sincerely,

    "ROBERT RIMINGTON."


"Let 'em try to remove me, that's all," said Mr. Binney, when he
received this very moderate communication.  "They'll be sorry for it
all their lives.  _Exeat_ dated for to-morrow!  What does he mean?  I
don't want to go down to-morrow.  A piece of impertinence!  I shan't
go."

But on consideration Mr. Binney did go down on the appointed day, and
having arrived at a more reasonable frame of mind after a few days'
residence in Russell Square, wrote to Mr. Rimington that he regretted
that he had been led in the heat of the moment to express himself in a
way he could not justify, and that, while he still stood his stand on a
position which, he thought, would prove to be unassailable, there was
no reason why he and Mr. Rimington should not agree to differ in a
perfectly friendly and gentlemanly way.



CHAPTER IX

ME. BINNEY GIVES A DINNER AND RECEIVES A REBUFF

Mr. Binney took advantage of his unexpectedly early arrival in town for
the Christmas vacation to pay a surprise visit to Mrs. Higginbotham.
He found that good lady seated by her drawing-room fire as on the
occasion of that momentous visit with the account of which this history
opens.  With the glad cry "Peter!" "Martha!" these two ardent souls
were locked in a close embrace, which afforded great gratification to
themselves, and not a little to the parlour-maid, who had delayed her
exit in order to satisfy herself as to the warmth of their greeting.

"My dear Peter," said Mrs. Higginbotham, "I did not expect to see you
for another two days at least.  How is it you have managed to come home
for your holidays so early?"

"We don't have holidays at Cambridge, Martha," said Mr. Binney; "we
call them vacations.  And of course we can come away when we like--that
is if the dons will let us."

"Well, it is a very agreeable surprise to see you, Peter," said Mrs.
Higginbotham.  "But how you have altered!  Why, you have cut off your
beautiful whiskers!"

"Yes," said Mr. Binney.  "Fellows don't wear whiskers at Cambridge.  It
is considered old-fashioned.  How do you like the change, Martha?"

"I don't know," said Mrs. Higginbotham, doubtfully.  "But you should
have asked _my_ leave first, you know, Peter, before taking a step like
that," she added, archly.

Mr. Binney enjoyed this.  He became facetious, affected to dig Mrs.
Higginbotham in the ribs, and jocularly cried, "Oh! you saucy little
skipper!"

Mrs. Higginbotham was scandalised.

"Peter!" she exclaimed, "surely you forget yourself."

"Pooh!  Martha," said Mr. Binney, "don't be old-fashioned.  That's the
way young men go on now-a-days."

"Is it?" said Mrs. Higginbotham, only half reassured.  "I don't think I
much like it.  It isn't respectful.  But I'm so pleased to see you
back, Peter, that I don't mind _how_ you go on.  And you certainly do
look younger, somehow--I suppose it is from cutting off your whiskers.
But do you know I think it makes you look _smaller_ too."

"Ah!" said Peter, "I used to be sorry I was rather short.  I'm not now.
It's a distinct score.  I've got a great piece of news for you, Martha.
I'm going to steer the first Lent boat next term, if all goes well.
The first boat captain told me the other day that I was the most useful
man they'd got, if I didn't play the fool and kept my head; he said if
I steered well in the Lents I should probably steer the first boat in
the Mays; and that means, Martha, that next year I shall very likely be
cox of the 'Varsity and get my Blue.  Think of that, now!"

"Lor!" said Mrs. Higginbotham, "And very nice too, I'm sure.  But why
are you wearing a tie with the Oxford colours instead of the Cambridge?"

"Oh dear!  Martha!" exclaimed Peter with some irritation.  "Will you
_never_ understand these things?  These are the First Trinity colours.
Nobody can wear the Cambridge colours unless he's a Blue.  And I'm not
a Blue yet."

"Aren't you?" said Mrs. Higginbotham.  "Well, never mind, I'm sure you
will be some day if you do your lessons--I mean your work well, and
satisfy the Professors.  And now, Peter, there is one little thing that
I wish to speak to you about.  That time you got into trouble.  I was
very grieved to hear about that.  My poor dear father always used to
say----"

"Oh, bother your father, Martha!" exclaimed Peter.  "What did _he_ know
about life at the 'Varsity?  I told you in my letter that nobody at
Cambridge thinks anything of a lark like that except the fusty old
dons--and who cares for what _they_ think?"

"It isn't polite of you to say, 'bother my father,' Peter," rejoined
Mrs. Higginbotham with some warmth.  "He was a very good father to me,
and I never gave him a moment's trouble till the day of his death.  I
did think that after the lesson you had received--being locked into
your bedroom every night at eight o'clock as I gathered from your
letter--that you would have seen the folly of such behaviour.  But I am
sorry to see from this paper which you sent me the other day, that this
is not the case."

Mrs. Higginbotham took up from the table at her side one of those
ephemeral journals which come and go at the Universities with almost as
much frequency as the successive generations of undergraduates who
produce them.  This one was called _The New Court Chronicle_, and had
been started by one of Mr. Binney's Rugby football acquaintances.  In
it was a weekly letter in imitation of those that appear in some of the
London Society papers, and one paragraph ran as follows:--

"Millie has come up here for a week to see something of her younger
brother, Arthur, who has entered at Trinity, and is quite a _persona
grata_ with the 'smart' set at that most _chic_ of all the colleges.
He took his brother-in-law to a dinner at Mr. 'Peter' Binney's rooms
one night, and Sir George came away quite charmed with the _verve_ and
_élan_ of his diminutive host.  Sir George says that there was not so
much wine drunk as in his days at Cambridge, but what there was, was of
excellent quality and seemed to _go further_.  Little Mr. Binney
insisted on making a speech, and caused uproarious merriment by
remarking that he _saw double_ the number of friends he had invited,
but he was pleased to welcome them all, and as many more of the same
sort as liked to come.  Owing to the sultriness of the weather, Mr.
Binney was unfortunately seized with a slight indisposition before the
party broke up, but he was comfortably settled in bed by his guests
before they left, and Millie met him in Jesus Lane the next morning
looking as sprightly as ever, and had a short conversation with him, in
which he humorously remarked that he had never turned his back upon don
or devil yet."

Mrs. Higginbotham opened the paper and pointed to this paragraph.

"It was indeed a grief to me to read that, Peter," she said, "and how
you could send it me of your own accord passes my comprehension.
Inattention to study I can overlook, and thoughtless levity of conduct
I can pardon--but _drunkenness_!  Oh, Peter, I never thought it would
come to _that_."

Mr. Binney had been getting very red during the passing of this
exordium on his conduct.

"Pooh, Martha!" he burst out at last.  "How could I have known that you
would take it seriously.  You don't think all that rubbish is true, do
you?  It is all made up and put in for a lark.  I sent it to you
because--well, because I thought it would please you to see how popular
and well-known I have become in Cambridge.  If you don't like it, throw
it in the fire."

"But if it is not true, Peter," said Mrs. Higginbotham--"and I'm sure
I'm very much relieved to hear that it is not--why do you allow such
things to be put into a paper?  It distinctly says you 'saw double,'
and I have always understood that to be an unfailing sign of--of
_tipsiness_.  I call it disgraceful taking away a gentleman's character
like that.  Supposing it should come round to Dr. Toller's ears, or
some others of the congregation?  And you a deacon, too, and so much
looked up to."

"Dr. Toller!" echoed Mr. Binney with much scorn.  "What do I care for
Dr. Toller?  _He's_ not a 'Varsity man; he doesn't understand these
things."

"He has got a University degree," said Mrs. Higginbotham.  "Indeed,
_two_ degrees.  He is always put in the bills as Rev. Samuel Toller,
B.A., D.D."

"That's nothing," said Mr. Binney.  "He wasn't at Oxford or Cambridge.
The rest don't count."

"Oh, don't they!  I didn't know," said Mrs. Higginbotham.  "But, at any
rate, I shouldn't allow those things to be said of you, Peter,
especially as they are not true.  It might get about, and I shouldn't
like that.  Now, tell me about some of your speeches at the Young Men's
Christian Association.  I am so glad you----"

"The Union, Martha!  The Union!" shouted Mr. Binney, annoyed beyond
bounds at Mrs. Higginbotham's consistent inability to grasp the true
inwardness of University life.

"Well, the Union then," said Mrs. Higginbotham.  "It's the same thing,
isn't it?"

"No, it's _not_ the same thing," said Mr. Binney, and then he calmed
down and gave Mrs. Higginbotham a full and true account of the building
up of his forensic ambitions, and their sad and disastrous downfall.
Mrs. Higginbotham was full of sympathy and womanly consolation.

"Ah, Martha," said Mr. Binney at last, "what a treasure I have gained
in your love!  My barque will never suffer shipwreck so long as the
haven of your true woman's breast is open to it."

"I trust not," said Mrs. Higginbotham.  "And now let us have tea up.  I
expect Annie will have toasted some muffins."

Lucius arrived home the next afternoon, and brought Dizzy with him for
a few days.  The point of view from which he had hitherto regarded his
father had been so rudely altered by Mr. Binney's behaviour during his
first term at Cambridge that Lucius had been unable to face the ordeal
of the first few days alone with him in Russell Square.

"You know what the governor is, Dizzy," he had said.  "It won't be so
bad if you are here for a bit, and we can have a good time.  I've got
_some_ money left, although my allowance has been getting smaller and
smaller ever since I came up to Cambridge.  We needn't be at home more
than we like, and we can go about a bit and see plays."

"I should like to come, old man," said Dizzy.  "I've got a bit of
splosh laid by, too.  I'm an economical beggar and I've let my bills
stand over till next term.  We'll have a rare old time.  I suppose your
governor won't want to go about with us, will he?"

"I shouldn't be surprised," said Lucius.  "You can never tell what
nonsense he'll be up to now."

"Oh, well, we must make the best of it, if he does," said Dizzy
cheerfully.  "He's not such bad fun if you take him in the right way,
and I can always get on with him very well."

"He's not your father," said Lucius.

Dizzy considerately gave thanks inaudibly.

But when they reached Russell Square they found that a change for the
better had set in in Mr. Binney's behaviour.  The responsibilities of a
householder and the head of a large business-house had temporarily
settled down on him again.  He went to the City every day for an hour
or two, and spent a good deal of his spare time in the company of Mrs.
Higginbotham, leaving the young men pretty well to their own devices.
He had been brought up to regard theatre going as injurious to the
morals, and, while he did not attempt to prevent Lucius from enjoying
himself in his own way, the remains of an early prejudice prevented his
accompanying him.  So Dizzy spent a pleasant week with his friend, and
as he was always cheery and obliging from morning to night, Mr. Binney
was delighted with his company.

One evening towards the end of Dizzy's visit there was a little
dinner-party in Russell Square.  The guests were Mrs. Higginbotham, Dr.
Toller, his wife and daughter, and a sprightly middle-aged lady called
Miss Tupper, who had been a friend of the late Mrs. Binney, whose place
she was generally supposed to be desirous of filling.  Mrs.
Higginbotham and she were very cordial to one another when they met,
but there was a delicate sub-acid flavour about their conversation
which hardly seemed in accord with the indelible sweetness of their
respective smiles.

Mr. Binney sat at the head of the table with Mrs. Toller on his right,
and Mrs. Higginbotham on his left, Lucius at the foot, flanked by Miss
Tupper and Miss Toller.  The Reverend Doctor and Dizzy faced one
another.

"And how do you like University life, Mr. Binney?" inquired Mrs. Toller
sweetly, when her husband had recited an impromptu grace, and infused
as much originality into it as possible, and the company had settled
themselves down to soup and agreeable conversation.

Mr. Binney, of course, was anxious to talk about Cambridge, but he did
not quite like a question which drew attention to his novice state.

"Oh, all University men like University life, Mrs. Toller," he replied.
"Though, of course, some are not in a position to appreciate it as much
as others."

"Oh, Mr. Binney, I'm sure _you_ are in a position to appreciate it,"
said Miss Tupper gushingly.

"I hope I am, Miss Tupper," said Mr. Binney.

"Who are the people who do _not_ appreciate it?" asked Mrs. Toller.

This gave Mr. Binney the opportunity he wanted of expatiating on the
prestige to be gained by membership of a good college, and a wide
circle of distinguished athletic acquaintances.  Mrs. Toller seemed
much interested and put many questions in a tone of innocent inquiry,
which had the effect of drawing Mr. Binney into a somewhat fuller
account than he would otherwise have given of his manner of life during
the past term.  Miss Tupper was enchanted with everything she heard.
She even clapped her hands.

"Oh, do tell me more, Mr. Binney," she cried.  "It is all so _young_.
I simply love to hear about it.  Lucius, why don't you back Mr. Binney
up?  I believe you are a very wicked boy when you're at college, for
all you are so quiet at home.  Oh, fie!"

Lucius made no reply to this sally.  The old feeling towards his father
which had been coming back slowly during the last few days was
disappearing again as the conversation developed, and he ate his dinner
in shamed silence.  Miss Tupper became more and more sprightly, but she
devoted herself to Mr. Binney although she was two places away from
him.  She was the daughter of a solicitor, while Mrs. Toller's father
had been a bookseller, and she wished to show that lady that the
manners of the upper classes possess a greater breadth and freedom than
those of the people with whom Mrs. Toller had mixed all her life.  Mrs.
Higginbotham was very anxious that Mr. Binney should not give Dr.
Toller reason to suppose that his habits had become at all loose during
his short residence at Cambridge, and tried to bring the conversation
down to the more sober aspects of University life, but the Doctor was
enjoying a very good dinner and was inclined to be tolerant.  He even
told some anecdotes of his own salad days when he had been a student at
Homerton College, but the mild devilry of his proceedings took such a
long time to narrate, and amounted to so very little when it was
reduced to speech, that his anecdotes fell very flat.  Mrs.
Higginbotham gave them rather more than their due share of
appreciation, but Mr. Binney listened with ill-concealed impatience,
and instantly capped each story with a much more highly-spiced one of
his own, while Miss Tupper actually had the temerity to snub the great
man, which exasperated his wife to such an extent that she half made up
her mind to bring her unseemly conduct before the next church meeting.

Under cover of this conversation Dizzy had been trying to get on terms
with his neighbour.  Miss Toller was very young and very shy, but
undoubtedly pretty.  Dizzy, that discriminating critic of feminine
beauty, had run his eye cursorily over her upon his first appearance.
"Pity she ain't turned out properly," he had said to Lucius.  "She's
worth it.  I should like to get her a proper evening frock instead of
that dowdy thing, and take her somewhere to get her hair waved.  I
could turn her into a regular topper in no time.  Give her a few
lessons on how to walk, and teach her to hold her hands properly and
you wouldn't know her when I'd finished with her."

"Shouldn't want to; you'd only spoil her," said Lucius.  "She's a nice
enough little thing as it is.  I've danced with her at children's
parties ever since I can remember."

"Come now," said Dizzy, "you wouldn't like to see the Newnham beauty
turned out like that of an evening."

"That's different," said Lucius, with a blush.

Poor little Miss Toller would have sunk into the earth with shame if
she had heard herself thus discussed.  This was her first dinner-party
end she had looked forward to it with tremulous but pleasurable
anticipation.  She was going to meet Lucius, and Lucius had always
stood for her as an embodiment of everything that was worthy of
admiration in the opposite sex.  She had recently been put in command
of her own small dress allowance, and had expended a good part of her
quarter's income on the frock that Dizzy had criticised so
contemptuously.  Lucius had not taken so much notice of her as she had
expected, considering that they had been friends all their lives; and
he seemed unhappy!  Poor boy!  With feminine intuition she instantly
divined something of the state of things that existed between him and
his father.  Hitherto she had regarded Mr. Binney with that respect due
to his age and his standing in her father's congregation.  Suddenly she
found herself hating and despising him with a fervour that surprised
even herself, and she would have given anything she possessed, even her
new frock, to be able to console Lucius without appearing to understand
why he was so downcast.  Lucius spoke very little to her, although she
sat next to him, and she was too shy to address him first; but now she
had to collect her wits and cope with the embarrassing young man who
sat on her left, who seemed more at ease than she could possibly have
conceived any young man being in the awe-inspiring surroundings of a
set dinner-party, and who spoke and behaved in quite a different manner
from anybody she had ever met before.

"Oysters!" began Dizzy, as an opening to conversation.  "I don't know
whether you know that if you eat a dozen oysters and drink a
wine-glassful of brandy after them, you die."

Miss Toller had never eaten oysters in her life, nor drunk brandy
except under strong maternal pressure for medicinal purposes, but she
looked rather frightened.  "Do you?" she said.

"Yes," said Dizzy, "the brandy turns the oysters into leather.
Leather's the most indigestible thing you can swallow, although of
course nobody would swallow it if they could help it.  But the funny
part of it is, that if you eat a piece of cheese the size of a
walnut--I don't know why _walnut_ particularly--it melts the leather
and then you are all right."

Miss Toller thought this information a trifle indelicate, but made no
comment on it, except the tacit one of leaving her oysters untasted.

"Been to any plays lately?" inquired Dizzy.

"No," said Miss Toller, "my father doesn't approve of theatres."

"Doesn't he?" said Dizzy.  "Quite right too.  I'm sure the nonsense
that's put on the stage now and called a play is enough to make you
ill.  And then they talk about dramatic art!  Why, there's more art in
a Punch and Judy show.  Lucius and I have been going the rounds for the
last week, and I'm hanged if I want to go and see another play till I'm
seventy.  Louie Freer's the only artist among the whole lot of 'em.
Ever heard her sing 'Mary Jane's Top Note'?  Oh, no, I forgot.  You
don't care for theatres.  But you should have seen Lucius at the A.D.C.
He was only a maid-servant--but _such_ a maid-servant.  He had letters
from all the Registry Offices in Cambridge offering him situations.
Every Sunday out and as many followers as he liked.  Didn't you,
Lucius?"

"He's talking nonsense, Nesta," said Lucius.  "He always will talk
whether he's got anything to say or not."

"But did you dress up as a maid-servant, Lucius?" asked the girl.

"He did," said Dizzy, "and his waist was twenty-two inches round.  His
name was Mary."  But here Mr. Stubbs's attention was demanded by his
other neighbour, Mrs. Toller, who had learnt enough of Mr. Binney's
late doings to satisfy her for the present, and had caught a few scraps
of the conversation addressed to her daughter, and thought it a trifle
free.

"And what may you be going to do, Mr. Stubbs, when you leave college?"
she asked with a slight touch of asperity.

"Well, 'pon my word, I don't know," replied Dizzy, who may have been a
little surprised at the directness of the inquiry, but didn't show it.
"I leave all that sort of thing to my old father, you know.  He's got
plenty of ideas on the subject, but he changes 'em about once a month.
I fall in with 'em all and give 'em up directly the new one comes
along.  It keeps him out of mischief, having something to think about,
and it don't hurt me.  I think it's the Church just at present--or is
it brewing?  No, brewing was last term.  My old father read in the
papers that the country spends more money on its drink bills than on
anything else, so he thought that if I was put in a position to enable
me to receipt a few of 'em, it wouldn't be a bad thing.  However, he
gave up the idea for some reason or other, and now we're turning our
attention to the Church."

"And do you feel that you have any vocation for the ministry?" asked
Mrs. Toller.

"Oh!  I shall rub along all right," said Dizzy.  "I've an old uncle
who's got several livings in his gift.  He'll give me one if I want it,
I dare say.  There's one up in Lincolnshire,--not much money, but a
nice house, and five hundred acres of rough shooting--you don't often
get that sort of thing with a rectory nowadays--and only about fifty
people in the parish.  I shouldn't mind going there, and I dare say I
could if I wanted to.  My old uncle's place is in the next parish, and
I could have a very good time."

Mrs. Toller listened with inward disapproval, but the mention of
Dizzy's uncle with his patronage and his "place" disarmed her rancour,
she being as arrant a snob as ever walked, and she said with much
sweetness:

"Don't you think, Mr. Stubbs, that the system of patronage adopted by
the Established Church is a little--what shall I say?--a little--"

"I _do_," said Dizzy with warmth.  "I quite agree with you.  I think
it's perfectly monstrous.  Now, look at my old uncle--well, perhaps I
oughtn't to let out family secrets--but I assure _you_ that for that
old man to be able to present people to livings--though, mind you, he's
a very nice old man, and I've nothing to say against him--well, upon my
word, it's enough to make you turn Particular Baptist or
something--never quite know why Baptists should be more particular than
anybody else---oh, I _beg_ your pardon, Mrs. Toller--'pon my word I
forgot we weren't of the same way of thinking--clumsy beggar, always
putting my foot in it--but you're not what they call a _Particular_
Baptist, are you?"

"Certainly not," said Mrs. Toller.  "The Particular Baptists were----"

"Quite so.  Yes, I remember.  And I know, of course, that Dr. Toller is
a most distinguished leader of religious thought--_everybody_ knows
that.  I ought to have remembered that he didn't happen to belong to
the same Church as I do--stupid of me.  But, you know, the truth of it
is, Mrs. Toller, that when a man gets up to the top of the tree, well,
he may be Archbishop of Canterbury, or a Cardinal or--or a man like
your husband, and to a fellow like me who don't follow these things
very closely, well, there isn't much difference, don't you know."

"You feel that, do you?" said Mrs. Toller, much gratified.  "Of course
_we_ think so; but church people are usually so bigoted.  I'm sure it's
a great pleasure to meet a member of the Establishment who is so
broad-minded."

Dizzy felt that he had completely retrieved his error, and proceeded to
amplify his ideas.

"I think it's such rot being narrow-minded, don't you know," he said.
"Look at the Buddhists.  They're just as good as we are.  I knew a
fellow once who became one.  He was fond of a good glass of wine.  He
had to knock _that_ off, and become a teetotaller.  He liked shooting,
but he had to give it up, because he said he couldn't take life--he
never had taken much before, but he used to hit 'em sometimes by
mistake, and he didn't want to run any risks.  Of course, he didn't eat
meat.  Then he hadn't been married very long, and there was a baby he
was very fond of.  He began to bring that up as a Buddhist too, and fed
it on apples and filbert nuts.  Don't know what his wife was doing all
the time, but it died in a month.  _He_ didn't care.  He just went on.
Now, that's what I call religion, you know, and I should admire that
fellow just as much if he were a Mormon or whatever he was.  Wouldn't
you?"

Mrs. Toller was not prepared to go quite so far as that, but she went
part of the way, and went very amiably.

"I suppose you have never heard my husband preach, have you, Mr.
Stubbs?" she asked.

"No, I haven't," said Dizzy.  "And it's a funny thing, because I've
been in London a good deal.  It's the people who come up from the
country who see and hear everything that's going on.  Now, you wouldn't
credit it, but I've actually never been to the Zoo."

Mrs. Toller did not quite see the connection of ideas, but her
amiability did not decrease.

"He preached a very fine sermon last Sunday," she said, "on 'The
Municipal Duties of an Enlightened Electorate.'  The papers were full
of it.  The _Daily Chronicle_ said it was 'an epoch-making sermon.'"

"I can quite believe that," said Dizzy.  "If a man talks sense in the
pulpit people will listen to him.  If he talks nonsense they won't."

"That is so true," said Mrs. Toller, and felt quite sorry when the time
came for the ladies to leave the table, for Dizzy had by this time
completely wiped out the memory of his little slip.

Driving home after the entertainment was over Mrs. Toller laid down the
law.

"Mr. Binney seems to have been behaving very foolishly at Cambridge,"
she said.  "I gathered something of the sort from Mrs. Higginbotham,
and wished to find out if it was true.  I could see that she was
ashamed of the nonsense he talked at dinner, and I felt for her, poor
thing.  I shall go and see her to-morrow and tell her so.  The way Miss
Tupper egged him on was disgraceful.  She ought to be ashamed of
herself, at her age, too.  If I were you, I should allude to it in your
prayer on Sunday, Samuel.  It will not seem so pointed as if you were
to do it in the sermon, and there is never any telling what Miss Tupper
may do.  She might leave the chapel altogether if she is offended, and
if she once took to going to church she'd give herself such airs that
there'd be no holding her."

"I think Mr. Binney is a very silly little man," said Miss Toller
vindictively.  "I believe he is making poor Lucius miserable."

"Nesta!" exclaimed Mrs. Toller, astonished at this outburst from her
usually submissive daughter, "I cannot allow you to speak like that of
your elders.  Mr. Binney is one of your father's greatest supporters.
Pray express yourself with more respect.  And as for Lucius--I've no
patience with him.  I've gone out of my way to be kind to that boy, and
he shows no more gratitude than if I was a mere nobody--hardly troubled
himself to answer when I asked him how he was getting on with his
studies, and actually turned his back upon me when I began to give him
a little advice about the temptations of University life.  Now if he
were like that nice young Mr. Stubbs it would be different.  Stubbs is
not a genteel name, but I believe he is very well connected, and he
certainly has a well-bred manner of speaking.  Samuel, I have asked him
to come with us and hear you preach on Sunday evening.  He said nothing
would please him better.  He has never been in a Nonconformist place of
worship, and he will certainly come if he is still in town.  I should
be careful what I said about the Establishment if I were you.  I should
like him to carry away a good impression of your preaching."

"I'll be sure and remember it, my dear," said Dr. Toller drowsily from
his corner of the carriage.  "Nesta, dear, write a note for me when we
get home--'Mr. Stubbs--no rubs.'  Then I shan't disgrace myself."  The
Reverend Dr. Toller cultivated his small gift of humour; he found it
necessary in order to live comfortably with his wife.

Dizzy took his departure the next morning, but not before a very
painful scene had occurred in Russell Square.  The _Times_ which graced
Mr. Binney's breakfast table, and was now eagerly searched each morning
for news of the Little-go examination, at last published the list.  Mr.
Binney's name was not in it.

Dizzy came down to find a dejected figure sitting at the head of the
table, while the disregarded urn which had filled the teapot and
flooded the tea-tray was beginning to flow over the surrounding tract
of tablecloth.  As he entered the room Mr. Binney bounded from his seat
with a yell of pain, and turned off the tap.  The physical anguish of
the moment diverted his mind from the mental shock he had undergone,
but the numbing realisation of failure soon settled on him again.
"Stubbs!" he said mournfully, "it is all over.  I shall never hold up
my head again."

"Lor, Mr. Binney!" exclaimed Dizzy.  "It can't be so bad as that, is
it?  Shall I ring for a servant to bring a cloth and mop it up?"

"It isn't that," said Mr. Binney, with the calm born of despair.  "I
have failed to pass the Previous examination.  I am a disgraced man."

"Oh, that's all, is it?" said Dizzy, helping himself to devilled
kidneys off the side table.  "I thought you'd scalded yourself.  Why,
bless my soul, I knew a fellow who had eight shots at the Little-go and
didn't pass it then.  I had three goes myself, and here I am as merry
as a cricket."

"Ah, you are young!" said Mr. Binney.  "You've got your life before
you.  I shall never get over it."

Nevertheless he did get over it, and the failure did him good.  He went
to Mrs. Higginbotham and confessed all.  He saw now, he said, that he
had wasted his time and opportunities.  He had consorted with idle and
graceless companions, and made himself a reproach to the authorities of
the college.  He had brought this appalling result on himself, and he
deserved it.

Mrs. Higginbotham gave the repentant prodigal full absolution.  She
advised him to write to Mr. Rimington, and promise full amendment of
his ways.  Mr. Binney did not take her advice in this particular, but
he did summon to his aid the learned Minshull, and set himself steadily
to read for several hours a day during the Christmas vacation in order
to make up for lost time.  Lucius found the house very dull.  An
unexpected invitation from his cousin John Jermyn's mother came for him
to spend the week after Christmas at the Norfolk Rectory, but
remembering his cousin John he did not feel attracted, and receiving
another invitation the day after to the ancestral home of the Stubbses
he accepted that, and refused the other.  He went up to Cambridge
early, for there was a chance of his rowing in the University boat, and
he wanted to keep a term before going to Putney, if he should be
fortunate enough to be wanted there; so he saw next to nothing of his
father for the remainder of the vacation.



CHAPTER X

"THE NEW COURT CHRONICLE"

Mr. Binney embarked on his second term at Cambridge with the full
intention of acquitting himself with credit and freeing his character
from the suspicion of unruliness which had unfortunately become
attached to it.  He was very much in earnest about his work, and mapped
out a course of arduous study which was to be continued right up to the
following June, when he hoped to make up for his first failure by
taking a high class in both parts of the Little-go.  The Union he was
determined to let severely alone.  His pride had had a severe rebuff
from the indignity which had been put upon him in the elections.  "They
can do without _me_," said Mr. Binney to his fellow-aspirant, M'Gee.
"Very well, then, I will show them that I can do without _them_."

"Toch! man, have another try," said the indomitable M'Gee.  "Rome
wasn't built in a day."  But he said it without enthusiasm, for the
path to success, according to his ideas, did not lie through the
follies and extravagances to which Mr. Binney had treated his audience
during the previous term.

"I shall never speak at the Union again, M'Gee," said Mr. Binney
firmly.  And he kept his word.

He was a little troubled as to what course he should adopt with Howden
and the rest of his athletic friends.  He did not want to drop them
altogether, but he wanted to make it clearly understood that the open
restaurant which he had previously conducted for their benefit was now
closed, and he had a suspicion that its closing might mean the
discontinuance of their favour, and a consequent loss of prestige to
himself.  He gave a dinner on the second evening of the term, or
perhaps it would be more correct to say that Howden, who professed
himself delighted to meet his old friend once more after five weeks'
absence, gave it for him in his rooms, and Mr. Binney paid the bill.
It was quite as noisy as any that had gone before it, but Mr. Binney
did not add to the gaiety.  He made a speech in the course of the
evening--he was rather fond of making speeches--in which he informed
his friends that he was about to embark on a severe course of study and
found he would not be able to have the pleasure of entertaining them
quite so often as before on account of the time that was thrown away
over these festivities.  What he said was cheered to the echo, which
gratified him not a little, but Howden, who followed him, did not
appear to have taken his remarks in the least seriously, and assured
him in a voice broken with emotion, that they would all stick by him
and never forsake him.  This was not quite what Mr. Binney wanted, but
Howden's affecting periods caused such an outburst of enthusiasm that
he succumbed to the general goodwill and allowed the matter to stand
over for the present.

On the next afternoon, however, it was decided for him.  He was sitting
over his books for an hour before hall when he received a call from
Mirrilees, the Captain of the First Trinity Boat Club.  Mirrilees was
an acquaintance of whom Mr. Binney might reasonably have been proud if
he had ever shown the slightest wish to have anything to do with our
hero apart from his official position as captain of the boat club to
which Mr. Binney belonged.  He was tall and well set up, a really fine
oar and a thoroughly good fellow in the best sense of that misused
term.  He was not everybody's friend, even in the exceedingly tolerant
atmosphere of undergraduate Cambridge, and athletes of the type of
Howden disliked him, and said so freely; but Mr. Binney had kept his
own opinion on this point, and if there was one man in Cambridge whom
he respected with all the force of the hero-worship which was a part of
his still undeveloped character, it was Mirrilees.  He therefore rose
to his feet, and showed by his nervousness of manner that he fully
appreciated the honour done to him.

Mirrilees sat down on the sofa and refused the proffered suggestion of
refreshment.  His keen eyes glanced round the room and then rested on
Mr. Binney.

"I told you last term," he said, "that we might want you to steer the
first Lent boat.  You're a light weight and you've got a head on your
shoulders.  At least you haven't lost it yet on the river, although you
seem to have done so occasionally elsewhere."

What Mr. Binney suffered at that instant in the way of remorse is
beyond description.  This was a very different thing to Mr. Rimington's
strictures on his conduct.  He made no reply, but hung his head.

"Now I've come to offer you the place----" Mr. Binney revived a
little--"but on certain conditions.  I am not going to have the cox of
any boat I've got anything to do with making himself more ridiculous
than he is by nature.  We shall be laughed at, of course, for having a
man of your age in the boats at all.  I don't mind that as long as
that's all there is to laugh at.  What I'm not going to stand is your
making yourself the butt and crony of every drunken rowdy in Cambridge.
I say what I've got to say perfectly straight as captain of the club to
one of its members who may turn out useful to it.  If you lay it to
heart and don't take offence I shall have done what I wanted to do.  If
you don't like such plain speaking, say so, and I'll clear out, and we
need never speak to one another again."

Mr. Binney's choler had shown signs of rising during this very plain
and unvarnished statement of the light in which Mirrilees regarded him,
but the hint with which the address had closed brought it down again.

"I don't take offence," he said slowly, "though I'm not used to--to----"

"Well, perhaps I put it a bit too strong," said Mirrilees, "but if I
were you I shouldn't have anything more to do with Howden and that lot.
I hear that they were all here last night again as usual, and that's
why I'm talking to you now.  They're only sponging on you and making
you appear a fool all the time.  If you steer the first Lent boat this
term--and mind, though I make no promises, that's intended to mean the
first May boat _next_ term--you'll have to train with the rest, and
that will mean knocking off all these diversions; and you'll find
plenty of good chaps in the boat club without running after
footballers, amongst whom you can't exactly expect to shine."

"I'm very grateful to you, Mirrilees, for your kind advice," said Mr.
Binney.  "I shall certainly take it, and you may rely upon me to do my
best for the honour of the club."

"That's all right then," said Mirrilees, rising.  "Walters is captain
of your boat, as you know, but I thought I'd just come round and settle
things up.  Good-night!"

Outside in the darkness of Jesus Lane, Mirrilees smiled continuously.
"Good Lord!" he said to himself.  "Fancy talking like that to the
father of one of your pals!  But it was the only way, and I thought
he'd stand it somehow.  I rather fancy I've done Lucy a good turn.  But
I hope he'll never know."

He left Mr. Binney in a fervour of amended ambitions.  What a grand
thing it would be to have a friend like Mirrilees, a man whom most
people turned round to look at if they passed him in the street, a man
who had already rowed two years in the University boat and would
probably row two years more before he left Cambridge, a man whose name
was known all over England.  Why, it was almost as good as knowing
Muttlebury or Guy Nickalls.  Lucius knew him, of course, lucky young
beggar.  He wondered whether it was worth while making another attempt
to make acquaintances through his son, but the memory of Blathgowrie
and others deterred him, for Lucius's friends were not all Mirrilees's,
and he made up his mind to deserve the great man's favour by a
brilliant career as a cox, and extreme carefulness as to his behaviour
both on the river and away from it.

And so for the best part of that term Mr. Binney's behaviour was
irreproachable.  He never missed a lecture or an appointment with his
Coach, and the amount of work he got through in the privacy of his
rooms was little short of marvellous.  He was on the river, of course,
every afternoon, and suffered greatly from the exposure to the cold as
he sat in his narrow seat, fumbling with numbed hands at the rudder
lines, and was carried swiftly along by the combined exertions of the
eight stalwart men who faced him.  His appearance always caused some
merriment on the tow-path, and the town urchins were a great trial to
him with their coarse banter, but the men of the First Trinity Boat
Club, as a rule, treated him with the respect due to his years, and, if
they did show a slight disinclination to walk up from the boats with
him, or to admit him into very close intimacy with them, he made up his
mind to bear the deprivation, trusting that it would disappear in time,
rather than fall again into the mistake he had made in trying to force
himself upon Blathgowrie and his friends.  As for Howden, there was not
so much trouble with him as Mr. Binney had expected.  For one thing, he
played Rugby football regularly for the University, and, although no
such arduous course of training is expected from a football player as
is necessary in the case of an oarsman, still a continuous course of
hilarious dinners is not regarded with favour by those in authority,
and Howden did not apply so often as before for sustenance at Mr.
Binney's table.  Mr. Binney also conceived the idea of employing Howden
himself to keep his friends off him.  He got him to talk about his
financial troubles one morning, a subject which he had before
instinctively avoided.  Howden was nothing loth, and poured out a
dismal tale of debts and duns.  Mr. Binney then afforded him temporary
pecuniary relief, and asked, as a favour, that Howden should inform his
friends that he, Mr. Binney, was very busy this term and would not be
able to see quite so much of them as before.  Howden accepted the
responsibility, and discharged it satisfactorily, and Mr. Binney was
left in peace to carry out his reformation.

But, alas! the old proverb still holds true: "Give a dog a bad name and
hang him."  Mr. Binney was now an exemplary character, but nobody would
believe it.  When his guests left his rooms after the evening already
alluded to, they got into trouble with the Proctors.  It was the usual
offence of smoking in cap and gown, but Howden added to it by running
away from avenging justice.  Neither Proctor nor Bull-dogs could hope
to equal him at that game, so they made no attempt to enter into
competition, but entered up his name, which was perfectly familiar to
all three of them, instead.  So the only thing Howden got by his little
sprint was the exercise, which he did not require, and a double fine
the next morning, which he could ill afford to pay.  His escapade also
came to the ears of his tutor, Mr. Rimington.  He would not have taken
notice of such a comparatively slight offence, if such offences had not
been of frequent occurrence with Howden.  As it was, he sent for him
and talked to him, and then it came out that Howden had been dining
with Mr. Binney.  It will be remembered that Mr. Rimington had
expostulated with Mr. Binney on the last day of the previous term, and
this occurrence had taken place on the second day of the present term.
Mr. Rimington may therefore be excused for coming to the conclusion
that his expostulations had had very little effect, and that Mr. Binney
was proceeding on the reckless career which had made him such a
nuisance to those responsible for the order of the college.  He said
nothing on this occasion, but continued to regard Mr. Binney with
feelings of strong disfavour.

Mr. Binney might have lived down his reputation in time had it not been
artificially sustained for him by the journal to which we have already
referred, the _New Court Chronicle_.  The editor of that enterprising
publication had found that Mr. Binney's eccentricities made very good
copy for him in the previous term, and confidently looked forward to
keeping up his circulation by exploiting our hero to a considerable
extent as long as his paper should continue to run.  He had had an
altercation with Lucius one night in the Great Court upon one of those
occasions when two factions meet and mutually disagree, and although,
or probably because, he had been in the wrong, the editor of the _New
Court Chronicle_ bore Lucius a grudge and was not above paying it off
by ridiculing his father.  He had also been one of the band whom Howden
had frequently invited to partake of Mr. Binney's hospitality, with
which he had made so free that Mr. Binney had decided that in his case
at least he would give the cold shoulder himself and not entrust the
work entirely to Howden.  The journalistic gentleman had not taken this
very kindly, and a flavour of malice had crept into his witticisms,
where before there had only been good-humoured chaff.  As Mr. Binney
gave him very little occasion now for humorous writing, he allowed
himself a freer hand, and invented stories against him instead of
merely repeating them.

In order to provide a fitting framework for his humour, he published
each week a correspondence between Mr. Binney in Cambridge and an
imaginary mother in London, in which the former recounted his exploits,
and the latter commented upon them.  The idea was carried out with some
humour and proved to be an acceptable feature of the paper.
Unfortunately the editor had hit upon the name of "Martha" for Mr.
Binney's supposed mother, and her letters were not so unlike Mrs.
Higginbotham's in style as quite to relieve Mr. Binney of the suspicion
that the story of his wooing of that good woman had reached Cambridge.
The only two people who could possibly be suspected of divulging it
were Lucius and Dizzy, and after the issue of the first instalment he
went angrily round to his son's rooms to see if the offence could be
brought home to him.  Lucius was out, but seated comfortably in his
armchair and smoking one of his cigars was Dizzy, who must have been
the culprit, if Lucius were not, thought Mr. Binney.

"Ah, Mr. Binney, pleased to see you again," said Dizzy genially.  "How
are you feeling!  Pretty toll-lollish?"

"No, Stubbs, I am not feeling particularly 'toll-lollish' just at
present--I thank you all the same," said Mr. Binney severely.  "I don't
know whether this publication has come to your notice yet?"  Mr. Binney
put a copy of the _New Court Chronicle_ on the table, which Dizzy took
up and glanced through with interest.

"It ain't bad," he said, "though it's got up by a set of rotters.
Hullo, what's this--something about you, Mr. Binney, eh?"

"Yes, sir," said Mr. Binney angrily, "and a most scurrilous piece of
work it is.  My dear mother, sir, has lain in her grave these twenty
years.  It is a scandalous thing that contempt should be poured on her
memory in this indecent fashion."

"It is," said Dizzy warmly.  "A most preposterous thing!  I quite agree
with you.  These fellows ought to be kicked, every one of them.  And if
they treated my old mater in that way I'd--I'd pay somebody to do it."

"But that is not all, sir," continued Mr. Binney.  "I don't know
whether you recollect meeting a lady of the name of Higginbotham at my
table?"

"Mrs. Higginbotham!" exclaimed Dizzy.  "Why, of course I do.  And a
most engaging old lady she was too.  Don't know when I've met a nicer."

"I'm obliged for your good opinion sir," said Mr. Binney stiffly,
"although I confess the idea of Mrs. Higginbotham as an _old_ lady is a
new one to me.  You are probably aware that her Christian name is
Martha."

"First I've heard of it," said Dizzy, "but it's an excellent name.  I
had an old aunt called Martha, and I thought she was going to leave me
a lot of money; but she didn't."

"You are _sure_ that you didn't know that Mrs. Higginbotham's name was
Martha?" asked Mr. Binney suspiciously.

"'Pon my word I hadn't the slightest idea of it, Mr. Binney," said
Dizzy.  "I shouldn't have had a word to say if you'd told me it was
Mary.  But why do you ask?"

"Never mind," said Mr. Binney.  "If you give me your word of honour as
a gentleman that the fact is new to you, I accept your assurance, and
there let the matter end.  Here is Lucius.  I should like to have a
word alone with him, if you will permit me, Stubbs."

"Certainly," said the obliging Dizzy, rising instantly.  "Come round
and give me a look in presently, Lucy.  I'll take another of those
weeds of yours if I may."

When he had got outside, Mr. Binney turned to his son, with, "Now, sir,
what is the meaning of this?"

Lucius glanced at the paper to which his father pointed.

"Oh, I've read the rubbish," he said wearily.  "It makes me sick."

"Read it," said Mr. Binney.  "Yes, I've no doubt you've read it, sir.
What I should like to know is how much you wrote of it."

"I don't know what you mean," said Lucius.  "I've had quite enough mud
thrown at me since you've been up here, father.  It isn't likely I
should take to throwing it at myself."

"Don't prevaricate, sir," said Mr. Binney, his voice rising.  "Did you
write it, or did you not?"

"I'm not going to answer such a ridiculous question," said Lucius
sulkily.

"Then I will answer it for you," said Mr. Binney.  "You _did_ write it.
I know you have always nourished evil feelings against that excellent
woman Martha Higginbotham, who I hope will one day do you the honour of
becoming your mother.  Not content with wreaking your unfilial spite
against your own father who begat you, you must smirch the good name of
a lady who has always loaded you with kindness.  Out upon such conduct,
I say."

Lucius held his head in his hands.  "I suppose I shall understand it
all soon," he said.  "At present it sounds like one of Dr. Toller's
sermons.  Is there anything about you and Mrs. Higginbotham in the
advertisements, father?  I've read all the rest of the rag and I don't
remember her name being mentioned."

"What is that name, sir?" asked Mr. Binney, pointing to the signature
of his imaginary mother's letters.

"Martha Binney," read Lucius.

"Yes, Martha Binney," echoed his father.  "And in two years and a half
from now, Martha Higginbotham will change her name for Martha Binney,
if we're both spared."

"It'll be a change for the better then, as far as she's concerned,"
said Lucius.  "But what _are_ you driving at, father?  You can't really
think I wrote that or had anything to do with it.  I'm not such a scug
as all that."

"And pray who else up here but you knows that Mrs. Higginbotham's name
is Martha?" inquired Mr. Binney.  "That's my point."

"Well, I don't think it's much of a point," said Lucius.  "It's a
fluke, their happening to hit upon that name.  But, look here, can't
you stop this sort of thing?  It's really awful the way things are
going on.  I don't suppose there's anybody ever been up here who's had
such a miserable time as I'm having.  Other fellows respect their
fathers.  You simply don't give me a chance."

This touched Mr. Binney to the quick.  He was very susceptible to
criticism since Mirrilees had spoken to him so plainly.  "I'm afraid I
have given you some reason to say that, my boy," he said.  "I--I was
led away last term.  I was under a wrong impression of what was the
thing and what wasn't the thing.  But that is all changed now.  I have
become a reading man and a boating man.  I have turned the page on
everything else."

"There was that dinner with Howden and the rest of them the very night
after we came up," said Lucius.

"It was the last dinner that Howden will get out of me," said Mr.
Binney.  "I have done with him--at least I hope so."

"Well, then, there's some hope," said Lucius.  "And, look here, father,
if you've really given up that sort of thing there's a much better
chance of your getting on with the fellows worth knowing.  I shouldn't
take any notice of that business, if I were you.  It will die down in
time.  Would you care to come to lunch to-morrow?  Mirrilees is coming.
He's a good chap, you'll like to meet him."

"Oh, I know him well.  He was in my rooms a few days ago," said Mr.
Binney.  "But I should like to meet him again very much.  Yes, I'll
come, Lucius," and Mr. Binney went away feeling that the reward of good
behaviour had already come, in spite of the _New Court Chronicle_.

But, alas!  Mr. Binney's reputation proved harder matter to live down
than he had anticipated.  The men whom he met on the river fought
rather shy of him, for to tell the truth, there was very little to
recommend the poor little gentleman as a companion for youth if he was
to be taken seriously as he now seemed to desire.  Howden and Co. had
only put up with him because of his dinners, and because, at the time
he had consorted with them, he had apparently not objected to being
made the butt of their not over-refined pleasantries.  He now led a
very dull and dejected life, but his work kept him employed, and the
prospects of his boat in the Lent races gave him something to look
forward to with keen expectation.  The First Trinity first Lent boat
had fallen to the fourth place on the river, but this year it was by
far the best crew practising, with the possible exception of the head
boat.  It was expected to make its first three bumps with comparative
ease, and to row an exciting race with Trinity Hall in the last night
of the races for the head place on the river.  Whenever Mr. Binney felt
inclined to get down-hearted at the thought of his unpopularity he
would buoy himself up with the anticipation of the glory that would
accrue to him if his hopes were realised.

Unfortunately the editor of the _New Court Chronicle_ found his
journalistic ingenuity increasing with practice, and spent such pains
over "The Binney Correspondence," that that feature of his paper soon
became the talk of Cambridge.  After the third number Mr. Binney wrote
him a letter of expostulation, which he published with appropriate
comment, but of which he took no further notice.  That week's
instalment of the Correspondence contained an account from "Your
repentant son, Peter Binney," of how he had been asked to dine with the
Vice-Chancellor, had disgraced himself by drinking too much wine, and
had been escorted home by the two Esquire Bedells with their silver
pokers, while he raised the town with a spirited rendering of "Rule
Britannia."  Mrs. Binney, the mother, expressed herself heart-broken at
the news, and announced her intention of coming up to Cambridge to
implore the Vice-Chancellor to overlook the offence, and give her
erring boy another chance.  She also alluded to her grand-daughter
Lucy, who was supposed to be studying at Girton College.  "She is a
good girl," wrote the old lady, "and would be ashamed to carry on in
the way you do, Peter, but the dear child tells me she wishes she had
been sent to Newnham College.  She likes the students there so much
better."

Poor little Mr. Binney went round to his son's rooms almost in tears.
He found Lucius still more angry than himself, for, although his
admiration of the Newnham girl was well known among his immediate
friends, and he did not take a mild degree of chaff on the subject at
all ill, the vulgar publicity now given to it goaded him to the verge
of desperation.

"Oh, it's you, father," he said.  "I'm going round to that fellow Piper
to tell him if this business isn't stopped I'll knock his teeth down
his throat."

"Ah, Lucius," said Mr. Binney plaintively.  "I wish I was big and
strong like you.  I'd have done that long ago.  But you're a good boy
to stick up for your poor father.  I'm going to increase your allowance
by £10 for asking me to lunch to meet Mirrilees, and if you get these
disgraceful attacks stopped I'll add another £20.  You'll get back to
the old figure if you're careful, and even beyond it."

"Thanks, father," said Lucius, "but I don't want paying for doing a
thing like that.  I've got a little score of my own against Mr. Piper,
and I'm going to pay it off now."  And Lucius took up his cap and left
the room.



CHAPTER XI

"PUT HIM IN THE FOUNTAIN"

Mr. Binney had wished he was big and strong like his son.  As a matter
of fact Lucius was quite a light weight, and although wiry and in good
condition, it was certain that he was quite incapable of fulfilling his
threat of knocking Piper's teeth down his throat, unless Piper allowed
him to do so without making any resistance, which was unlikely.  Piper
was a great heavy lump of bone and muscle, over six feet high, and
quite as fit as Lucius, for the latter had been finally rejected for
the University boat, for this year at least, and had gone out of
training, while Piper was still playing football.  These considerations
did occur to Lucius as he walked from his own rooms to those where
Piper carried on his editorial functions, but he was so angry that they
carried little weight with them.  In the New Court he met Dizzy.

"Come up here with me," he said.  "I've got a little job on."

Dizzy followed him up the staircase to Piper's rooms, talking volubly,
as was his wont; but Lucius gave him no answer.

Piper was discovered sitting at his table talking to Howden, who stood
with his back to the mantel-piece.

Lucius plunged into his business without any preface.

"Look here, sir," he said, "I've come about this stuff you've been
printing about me and my father.  I'll trouble you to stop it, if you
don't mind."

Piper's face darkened.  He was a bad-tempered man.  He was also a
clever man, and having no reason to be alarmed at any possible violence
on Lucius's part, which he would rather have welcomed than otherwise,
he thought he might as well draw him into a battle of words and afford
his intellect some little amusement.  So he choked down his temper and
said quietly:

"You are Mr. Binney, junior, I believe.  You are not mentioned from one
end of the paper to the other, except as having had the chuck from the
'Varsity boat, and I don't see you've any reason to complain of that."

"That's a lie," said Lucius instantly.  Piper started from his chair,
but sat down again and waited.  "You know perfectly well," continued
Lucius hotly, "that that rot about Lucy and Girton is meant for me, and
even if it wasn't I object to your making fun of my father."

This was what Piper wanted.  "Is the other Binney your father?" he said
with a sneer.  "I didn't know it.  If I had a father like that I'd
drown him."

Lucius made a dash forward, and Piper stood up with an evil smile on
his face.  But Stubbs caught hold of his friend and pulled him back,
and Howden stepped forward.

"Oh, come now, Pips!" expostulated he, "don't overdo it, old man."

But Piper took no notice.  He suddenly lost all control over his temper.

"What the devil do you mean by coming blustering here?" he shouted.
"Get out of my rooms this minute or I'll throw you out of the window.
Yes, you'd better keep him back, you putty-faced swab"--this to
Dizzy--"if he comes near me I'll put some marks on him that he won't
lose in a hurry."

Lucius shook off Dizzy's encircling grasp.

"Will you stop printing lies about me and my father?" he said.

"I won't stop anything," rejoined Piper.

"Then will you fight?"

"Fight!  By G--, yes.  Take off your coat and try."

Howden and Stubbs both tried to stop them, but they might as well have
tried to stop the tide rising.  They were shaken off impatiently.
Piper pushed the table and sofa aside, and in less than three minutes
after Lucius had entered the room they were at it hammer and tongs.

There was not much science displayed.  The room was too small, for one
thing, and there was a good deal of damage done to furniture and
breakables before it was all over.  If Lucius had kept cool he might
have made up in some measure for the great disparity in weight between
them, for he knew just a little more of the game than Piper; but both
of them were blind with rage, and it was attack on both sides, with
very little defence, as long as it lasted.

It did not last long.  Lucius fought as long as he could stand, but his
blows got weaker and weaker, while Piper got in again and again with as
much force as at first.  At last he knocked Lucius clean through the
glass doors of a cupboard which held his stock of crockery, and he fell
heavily on to the floor, and lay there insensible, with the blood
pouring from his head.  Piper had not had enough even to cool his
passion.  "Get a towel and water from the bedroom," he said to Dizzy,
who was kneeling by the side of his friend.  "And take him out of this
as soon as you can.  I'm not going to stay in the same room with him."
And he put on his coat and went out of the room.

Howden stayed behind and helped to restore Lucius to consciousness.
"It's rot his tackling a chap like Pips," he said; "he's not in the
same class with him, and he's a demon when he's roused.  I wouldn't
care to take him on myself."

"He's a d--d cad," said Dizzy, in deep concern, "and I don't care if he
hears me say so."

This was the only conversation that passed between them till Lucius
came round.  Then they both helped him across to his own rooms in
Whewell's Court, which they reached with some difficulty, as Lucius was
dazed, and as weak as a kitten.  Here the drama changed from tragedy to
farce, for Mr. Binney was waiting for them, and as soon as he saw the
state to which Lucius had been reduced he made such lamentations that
neither Dizzy nor Howden could help laughing.

"Oh, chuck it, Binney," said Howden.  "He'll be all right when he gets
to bed."

"Go out and get a doctor, Mr. Binney," said Dizzy.  "He's cut his head
with some broken glass, and we can't stop the bleeding."

Mr. Binney dashed out instantly in a frenzy of terror, and Howden and
Dizzy helped Lucius off with his clothes and into bed, where he lay
silent with his face to the wall, while the blood slowly oozed out from
under the bandages on his head and soaked into his pillow.  The two
stood looking at him irresolutely.

"I'm all right now," said Lucius faintly, "you needn't wait."  They
went into the sitting-room.

"Look here, sir," said Dizzy.  "You must stop this business.  It's gone
quite far enough."

"My dear fellow," said Howden, "I didn't have anything to do with it.
I told Piper he ought to stop it when Binney wrote to object,
because--well, because Binney ain't a bad old chap after all, and it's
rough on him.  But he wouldn't, and it isn't likely he'll stop now,
after this."

"Well, if he won't stop it of his own accord, he'll have to be made
to," said Dizzy.

"I don't know who's going to make him," said Howden.

"Oh, I think we can manage that," said Dizzy.

Mr. Binney came back with a doctor, who patched up Lucius's damaged
head and told him to keep in bed until he should come again on the next
day.  Mr. Binney kept fussing about the room wringing his hands over
the trouble that he had caused, and bewailing the smallness of his
stature which debarred him from visiting summary justice upon Piper for
the way he had treated his son.  He was a ridiculous little object in
his grief, and his behaviour was not soothing to the nerves of a sick
man.

"Do get him away," whispered Lucius to Dizzy.  "I want to go to sleep;"
and the latter, by the exercise of infinite tact, managed to remove Mr.
Binney from the premises.  A short time afterwards, having seen that
Lucius was comfortably settled, he removed himself, and then set to
work to lay plans to circumvent Piper and cause the downfall of the
_New Court Chronicle_.  First of all he went round to the rooms of an
influential member of the Third Trinity Boat Club, a man named Tait,
who was rowing "Seven" in the University boat.  He found him at home,
and with him were Mirrilees, two other members of the University crew,
and our old acquaintance Blathgowrie.  To them he confided his story,
which was received with interest and indignation, for Lucius was a
popular member of the boating set, between which and the clique
represented by Howden and Piper there happened to be a certain amount
of bad blood at that particular time.

"It's all the fault of that confounded little bantam," said
Blathgowrie, when Dizzy's tale had come to an end.  "It's jolly good of
Lucy to fight his battles for him after the way he's treated him.  I'm
hanged if I would."

"Those letters are the best thing in Piper's scurrilous rag," said
Tait.  "It's a pity to stop them, but if Lucy objects--and I expect it
was more on his own account than his governor's--I think it's about
time the paper was suppressed.  I've a good mind to take Mr. Piper on
myself."

"You can't do that," said Mirrilees quickly.  "You might manage to lick
him, but even that is doubtful, and he'd damage you so that you
wouldn't be able to row for a day or two.  Besides, if you licked him
once a week from now till the end of the term he wouldn't stop the
paper.  He's not that sort."

"It's got to be stopped somehow," said Dizzy.

"Who publishes it?" asked Blathgowrie.

"Breedon," said Tait.

"Very well, then.  We'll tell him to leave off, and if he don't we'll
boycott him.  We can get everybody to go somewhere else for their
_menus_ and all those little jobs.  He won't hesitate long between us
and Mr. Piper, I think."

Blathgowrie busied himself to some purpose, and submitted to Messrs.
Breedon & Co. a considerable list of gentlemen who proposed to transfer
their valuable custom if another number of the _New Court Chronicle_
appeared with Messrs. Breedon's name on the cover.  The firm caved in
at once and intimated to the editor that he must find another
publisher.  Piper made himself very objectionable, but Messrs. Breedon
& Co. were firm, and absolutely refused to bring out another number for
him.  Piper had now got his back up and swore to go on publishing his
paper if he brought out every number at a loss.  He found a more
obscure stationer than Messrs. Breedon & Co. who was willing to oblige
him, and went on with his editorial functions, throwing far more vigour
and malice into the next instalment of the "Binney Correspondence" than
he had done before.

Poor Lucius lay alone that afternoon in his comfortless college
bedroom.  He was very miserable.  He felt weak and ill, and his
thoughts took a melancholy turn.  He had done no good by his single
combat with the redoubtable Piper; in fact, things would now probably
be worse than before.  He had no energy to feel angry with his father,
but he saw the whole University pointing fingers of scorn at him, an
unpleasantness which might be expected to continue and increase as long
as he remained at Cambridge.  The hope which he had entertained up to a
week ago of a place in the University boat no longer buoyed him up
against adversity.  In his present state of depression he saw himself
missing everything that made Cambridge interesting to him, and heartily
wished himself away from the place altogether.  His thoughts, nowadays,
seldom kept long away from the girl whom he had seen for the first time
last term, but there was not much comfort to be got out of thinking
about her.  He had not been so fortunate this term as to have hit upon
a lecture which she attended, and no longer had the satisfaction of
sitting in the same room with her for an hour, twice a week.  He had
discovered that she went to a lecture at St. John's College, and used
to hang about outside the gates on the chance of seeing her as she went
to and fro.  But there are two ways between Newnham and St. John's, one
along Trinity Street and the King's Parade, the other past the backs of
the colleges, and after a time the uncomfortable conviction took hold
of Lucius that his divinity was taking a malicious delight in dodging
him.  If he waited outside the big gate of St. John's, she went home by
the backs, and if he lay in wait on the Bridge of Sighs, she would go
through the town.  And upon the rare occasions when he did meet her
face to face there was no sign that she was so much as aware of his
existence.  Lying on his bed, with heavy heart and throbbing head, as
the light of the short winter afternoon slowly died, poor Lucius took
the gloomiest view of his chances of ever becoming better acquainted
with her.

Just as he had reached the lowest possible depths of depression,
Mirrilees and Tait came in to see him, and to sympathise.  They told
him of Blathgowrie's strategy.  They had not discovered yet that Piper
had circumvented it, and arranged to produce his paper from another
address.

"We're going to hoot Piper in hall to-night," said Tait, "and see if we
can't bring on a scrimmage afterwards.  If we do, we'll put him in the
fountain.  I expect he'll oblige us.  He's a pugnacious beggar."

When they had gone, he received an unexpected visit from his cousin,
John Jermyn, who was much surprised to find him in bed, and hardly knew
how to express himself with reference to current events.  In a small
way, in his own college, John Jermyn had suffered some annoyance from
his relationship to Mr. Binney, and was not particularly proud of it.
His shyness, however, prevented him from alluding to his cousin's
reputation.  If he had done so, he might have discovered that Lucius,
in spite of his loyalty, was not very well pleased with his father at
that particular time.

"My mother is coming up next week for a few days," said Jermyn, "and I
came to ask you if you would lunch with us on Tuesday.  There will only
be she and my sister from Newnham.  You haven't met her yet."

"But surely, your sister is at Girton, isn't she?" said Lucius.

"No, Newnham," said Jermyn.

Lucius's heart suddenly lightened.  Any connection with Newnham was
welcome to him, and opened up possibilities.

"Why, I went out to Girton to call on her," said Lucius; "they said she
was out."

"Rather lucky," said his cousin.  "That's a Miss German with a G.
Well, then, you'll come on Tuesday, if you're well enough, at half-past
one."

"Yes, I'll come," said Lucius.  "Thanks very much."

When his cousin had left him he found that his spirits had lightened
considerably.  The visit of his friends had cheered him, for he had
thought that if he was to fight his father's battles for him he would
have to fight them alone, and it was pleasant to find that there were
others on his side.  And the Newnham girl seemed to be nearer to him,
somehow, now he knew that she and his cousin were at the same college.
He began to build castles in the air.  He knew that his cousin was in
her first year, and he thought that if his divinity had been in
Cambridge before last term, he must have noticed her; so the two were
of the same year, and probably friends.  He might get to know her
through his cousin--though it was difficult to see how an introduction
could be brought about.  At any rate he would be able to find out her
name, and that was something.  He was rather sorry that he had refused
the invitation to the Norfolk Rectory at Christmas.  He would make up
for it by cultivating his cousins now.  He comforted himself with rosy
visions, and by-and-bye fell asleep.  Mr. Binney came in after his
afternoon's work on the river was over, and went out again.  Dizzy
crept in, looked at him, and crept away again on tiptoe.  But still
Lucius slept on, and when he woke again about nine o'clock he was very
much better.

In the meantime the ill-feeling between the boating men and the
football players, fanned by Piper's treatment of Lucius, had burnt up
to a blaze.  When Piper went into hall that night, a little late, there
was a chorus of groans and hisses as he passed the table where
Mirrilees and Tait sat.  He stopped for an instant, and an ugly look
came over his face.  The groans grew louder, and the dons turned round
and looked down the hall from their seats at the high tables.  Then
Piper went to his place, the noise ceased and the dons, reassured,
turned to their dinner.  But there were ominous whisperings and glances
at the table where Piper sat, and like signs at the table of the
boating men nearer the door.  The latter finished their dinner early
and went out in a body.  When they had got outside the door they waited
by the college screens.  Men who belonged to neither faction dropping
out of hall one by one, looked with surprise at such an unexpected
gathering, and passed on.  Some of them waited outside to see what
would happen.  Before very long Piper came out, immediately followed by
Howden and the rest.  He looked black when he saw the waiting crowd,
and then there was a curious pause.  Bodily violence between
fellow-undergraduates is a rare thing unless arising spontaneously from
chance collisions of opposing factions.  In this case there was plenty
of bad feeling, but no hot blood at present, and although both sides
were eager for a quarrel, nobody quite knew how to begin it.  After a
moment's pause Piper went on towards the steps leading down to
Neville's Court.  He looked a very ugly customer.  Although Lucius had
not succeeded in doing him a fraction of the damage which he himself
had received, Piper had not got off quite unmarked.  He had a black eye
and a swollen cheek bone.  His temper was up, too, and he was probably
nearer the state of mind when a fight is a relief than any one there.

"Ugly bruiser!" remarked Tait as he passed.

Piper faced him instantly.  "What's that, sir!" he asked angrily.

"I said you were an ugly bruiser, sir."

Piper aimed a savage blow at him before the words were well out of his
mouth.  Tait had just time to parry it.  There was no need for any
further introduction.  Exactly where they were, with startled waiters
going to and fro from the kitchens to the hall, and the intermittent
stream of undergraduates passing through, the two parties fell upon one
another, and the noise of the combat rose above the clatter of plates
and the muffled swinging of the heavy doors, and reached the dons on
the daïs at the other end of the hall.  "Put him in the fountain,"
shouted Mirrilees, and the struggling mass surged slowly out of the
doorway and down the shallow flight of steps into the Great Court.
Blood was up now and there was no lack of sincerity in the blows that
were given and taken.  Little groups of disinterested spectators looked
on at the strange spectacle of men of the same college, most of them
well known throughout the University for their prowess in different
branches of sport, fighting fiercely, and gradually drawing nearer to
the great stone fountain which rears its stately mass from one of the
grass plots.  The boating men had a slight advantage in numbers, but
the footballers were, with some few exceptions, a heavier lot, and
progress was slow.  Piper fought savagely and disabled one or two of
the men who were dragging him along, while his friends were mostly
engaged in a series of single combats round him.  There is no knowing
how the battle would have ended.  In spite of their slightly superior
force it is doubtful whether Mirrilees's and Tait's party could have
succeeded in inflicting the punishment on Piper which they intended.
But before they reached the fountain a little party of dons who had
been apprised of what was going on came running down the steps of the
hall towards the struggling and swaying mass.  They were led by the
Senior Dean.  "Stop this, gentlemen, stop this," he shouted, as he
reached them.  A few of them stopped irresolutely.  The rest paid no
attention to the order.  It is doubtful if they heard it.  The Senior
Dean, who was a man of resolution, threw himself among them, followed
by one or two of his companions.  At first there was no result, except
that dons and undergraduates were mixed up together in one general
_mêlée_.  But gradually the voice and energetic action of authority
began to tell.  First one left off fighting and then another, until
Piper and the men who had got hold of him were the only ones still
left.  Deprived of the assistance of his backers, Piper was carried
with a little run right up to the steps of the fountain, but there the
Dean and a few stalwart Fellows who were helping him managed to stop
them by sheer force, and the fight ceased, leaving a dishevelled
panting crowd of combatants facing one another, with the stern figure
of judicial vengeance master of the field.  Names were taken, orders
given, and the crowd slowly dispersed.  The boating men held the
conviction that if they had been left alone they would have done what
they meant to do and avenged the defeat Piper had administered to
Lucius.  At any rate they had given him a lesson which he wouldn't
forget in a hurry.  The football men made a great deal of the fact that
they had been overpowered by superior numbers.  _They_ were also
greatly cheered by the conviction that they had given their opponents
something that they wouldn't forget in a hurry.

The sequel to the fracas was rather curious.  It resulted in an entire
healing up of the feud that had arisen, no one quite knew how, for it
dated from before the issue of the _New Court Chronicle_.  These
quarrels between two sets of men are rare in the University, but they
sometimes arise and continue for a year or so and then die away.  This
one would have disappeared slowly in due course, because no two sets of
men can be said to be absolutely clear and distinct one from another,
but are merged at some points by friendships between their respective
members.  But, the matter having been brought to a head by the quarrel
between Lucius and Piper, and the bad blood let off, the ill-feeling
disappeared as if by magic, and men who had fought with one another on
that night by the fountain might have been seen in one another's rooms
later on in the term the best of friends.

There was one exception to the general amicability.  Piper, who was an
evil-tempered fellow, emerged from the tussle in a black rage, and
continued in it for much longer than a normally constituted man would
have found such a state of mind possible.

The Senior Dean being wise in his generation, and having a fairly
shrewd idea as to how the unseemly fracas had arisen, and what was
likely to be its result, dealt lightly with the offenders.  There were
a good many official interviews and a few "gates," and then the matter
was allowed to drop.  None of the combatants actually told him in so
many words what had been the immediate origin of the fray, but Mr.
Binney having discovered the day after that Piper was more determined
than ever to continue the publication of his paper, had paid an early
visit to the Dean and asked him to suppress it officially.  He had
brought the term's numbers already issued with him, and the Dean
gravely perused the "Binney Correspondence" then and there, while the
object of it sat uneasily before him watching his face.

"I don't defend this, Mr. Binney," said the Dean, laying down the
papers on his table when he had finished them.  "A great deal of it is
very offensive.  But, you know, you've got yourself to thank for most
of it.

"I know--I know," said poor little Mr. Binney, whose cock-sureness in
his treatment of Deans and Tutors had been considerably reduced of
late.  "A good deal of it might fairly have been said of me last term.
But it isn't true of me now.  With the exception of a dinner in my
rooms on the second night of the term, after which occurred some
insubordination for which I was not responsible, nothing of the sort
mentioned here has happened.  I have been one of the quietest men in
the college.  It is my fixed intention to bring an action for libel
against this man Piper," he continued, with a slight return to his
former manner, "if this goes on, and if you don't see your way of
stopping it, sir.  It is intolerable."

"You will not find it necessary to do that, Mr. Binney," said the Dean.
"I will see that it is stopped.  You had better leave these papers with
me."

It did not add to Piper's amiability when it came to his turn to be
interviewed, to be told by the Dean that he had perused several numbers
of the _New Court Chronicle_, and that it was about time that
publication came to an end.  He allowed Piper to argue the point, but
when he found that they were no nearer an agreement on it than before,
he told him peremptorily that he had made up his mind that the paper
should be stopped, and stopped it must be.  He pointed out several
offensive articles aimed at the authorities of the University and
Colleges, and alluded very little to the "Binney Correspondence," and
finally found it necessary to tell Mr. Piper that he might choose
between publishing another number of the paper and remaining at
Cambridge.

So the _New Court Chronicle_ came to an end, and neither Mr. Binney nor
Lucius suffered any further annoyances from the printed expression of
Piper's malice.  The effects of the hitherto published instalments of
the "Binney Correspondence," however, did not end there as far as Mr.
Binney was concerned, as will afterwards, appear.



CHAPTER XII

LUCIUS MAKES ONE DISCOVERY AND MRS. TOLLER ANOTHER

Lucius was out and about again, not much the worse for his late
encounter, by the time Tuesday came round, when he was to lunch with
his cousin.  He was in fairly good spirits as he walked down the King's
Parade and Silver Street, towards the ancient pile of Queens' College.
He and his father were better friends than they had been any time since
Mr. Binney had come into residence at Cambridge.  Mr. Binney now
comported himself with the dignity that befitted his years, and no
longer made his son's life a burden to him by those continued
indiscretions which had brought shame and confusion of face to Lucius
in the past.  He had restored his full allowance, and Lucius was better
off in pocket than he had been since Mr. Binney had come up.  And then
the Newnham girl, to whom somehow he seemed to be getting nearer, now
that he had discovered that she and his cousin were fellow-students,
had distinctly given him a glance of recognition when he had seen her
in King's Chapel on the previous Sunday.  It was not much to pride
himself on, certainly, but such as it was he had hugged the thought of
it ever since.  She had been sitting with some other girls in the front
row of seats as Lucius walked up the chapel, and he had taken
particular notice of those other girls when he had manoeuvred himself
into a seat opposite her, in case one of them should turn out to be his
cousin.

John Jermyn kept in a charming set of oak-panelled rooms over-looking
the river.

There was an elderly lady sitting in the window seat as Lucius entered,
who rose to greet him.  She was tall and graceful, with a sweet face
and grey hair.

"You are very like your dear mother," she said, her eyes growing a
little moist as she looked at him.  "We used to be great friends in
days gone by, but that is twenty years ago now."

Lucius sat and talked to her in the window seat, while John Jermyn
wandered about the room with his hands in his pockets casting impatient
glances at the clock on the mantelpiece and the lunch on the table.
"Betty is late," he said.  "I told her half-past one, and it is getting
on for a quarter to two."

"We had better not wait any longer," said Mrs. Jermyn, rising.  But
just then light steps were heard on the staircase, the door opened, and
disclosed to Lucius's astonished gaze the form and features of the
Newnham girl.

Miss Betty Jermyn came forward, rosy and a little out of breath, with
murmured apologies, kissed her mother and her brother, and then waited
with a deepening blush and a mischievous light in her eyes, to be
introduced to Lucius, for whom the low dark room seemed suddenly to
have become filled with brilliant sunshine.

"This is jour cousin Lucius, Betty," said Mrs. Jermyn, and the two
shook hands, but found no words with which to address one another.

In the course of luncheon it came out in the most natural way that
Betty and Lucius had attended the same lecture in Trinity College all
last term, and remembered one another perfectly.

"But you must have known who I was," said Lucius, a sudden light
breaking in on him, as he remembered those little glances of amusement
which had so thrilled his soul last term.  "Gandey always used to read
out our names after the lecture."

"Yes, I knew who you were," said Betty, with a little laugh.  "And I
wondered how long it would be before you knew who _I_ was."

Lucius felt that when he was alone again he would be very angry with
himself for not having cultivated the society of his cousin John more
assiduously, and also for having refused Mrs. Jermyn's invitation to
stay with them in the Christmas vacation, but at present he was so
happy that there was no room for regrets.

It was quite apparent to the maternal eyes of Mrs. Jermyn before lunch
was half over that this nice boy with his mother's eyes was head over
ears in love with her pretty little daughter, whom she still looked
upon as a child, in spite of the dignity conferred upon her by a
scholarship at Newnham.  Her son, of course, saw nothing of the sort,
but he was pleased to find that his cousin, who was something of a hero
in his eyes, seemed to have taken a fancy to his sister, whom he found
it constantly necessary to keep in her place.  He was afraid that Betty
would never learn to show reverence where reverence was due, but it was
a relief to find that Lucius apparently did not take her little
audacities amiss, and indeed seemed to be even amused by them.  What
Mrs. Jermyn thought, it would not become us to disclose, but she
accepted Lucius's invitation for the whole party to lunch with him on
the next day, and her cordiality towards him had suffered no diminution
when they parted.

It was curious that Mr. Binney's name was not once mentioned between
them.  John Jermyn had given his mother a rather highly coloured
account of our hero's peccadillos, and Betty had added her little
comments, for the fame of Mr. Binney's exploits had penetrated even the
walls of Newnham College.

"Oh, mother," she had said, "you really can't have anything to do with
cousin Peter.  He is a horrid little man and leads Lucius such a life,
so everybody says.  And Lucius is so popular with all the men.  It is a
great shame."

"I never cared for Mr. Binney very much," said Mrs. Jermyn, "but I
should like you to ask Lucius to meet us, John.  I should like to see
dear Lucy's boy, although I saw very little of her after her marriage."

So Lucius had come, been seen and had conquered, and went away again
full of delighted wonder at the surprising thing that had happened.
His first desire was to find the sympathetic Dizzy and impart to him
the astounding news.  He tracked him down at the racquet courts and
brought him away when he had finished his game.

"I say, old man," he said in as calm a tone as he could muster, "I've
found out the name of that girl at last.  What do you think it is?"

"Oh, I don't know," said Dizzy, who had lost his match, and was as
nearly inclined to pessimism as was consistent with his equable nature.
"Henrietta, I should think, or Lulu, or Kate.  Parents haven't any
taste nowadays.  Look at mine christening me Benjamin.  Stubbs is bad
enough, but Benjamin!  'Pon my word I sometimes feel inclined to get it
changed by Act of Parliament."

"Her name is Elizabeth J----"

"Yes, it would be," interrupted Dizzy.  "Elizabeth Jones.  Just what I
said.  Well, what are you going to do about it?"

"I didn't say Elizabeth Jones," said Lucius.  "Elizabeth is a very
pretty name, especially when it's shortened to Betty.  Her surname
isn't Jones, it's Jermyn."

"Oh, is it?  Well, I'm not so sure that--_what_!  JERMYN!!  You don't
mean to say----?"

"Yes, I do," said Lucius triumphantly.  "That very girl is my cousin at
Newnham, and no other."

"Well, I'm blowed!" exclaimed Dizzy.  "But there, Lucy, I always told
you if you'd only take the trouble to hunt your cousin down, or rather
up, she'd turn out to be a topper.  And I was right.  When are you
going to have her to tea?"

"She's coming to lunch to-morrow," said Lucius.

"I'm engaged to-morrow, I'm afraid," said Dizzy.  "Going to lunch with
Blathgowrie.  I dare say I could get off it, though."

"You needn't try," said Lucius; "but I'll get her to tea some day soon,
before her mother goes away, and then you can come.  Oh, my goodness!
What a chance for a fellow! to be head over ears in love with a girl,
and think he's never going to get to know her, and then for her to turn
out to be his own cousin after all."

"Did she say anything about me?" inquired Dizzy.

"About you?  No.  Why should she?"

"Why shouldn't she, you mean.  I'm a very striking looking feller.  She
must have noticed me in the lecture-room last term."

"You needn't trouble yourself that she'll waste many thoughts on _you_."

"Oh, all right, old man.  Keep your wool on.  Now, don't forget to ask
me to tea one of these days.  I won't try and cut you out; you can rely
on me."

The remainder of that week passed like a happy dream to Lucius.  He
managed to spend some time every day with his cousins, found his way
right inside Mrs. Jermyn's heart, and seemed to make very good headway
up to a certain point with Betty.  That is to say, they became
excellent friends, and were on perfectly familiar terms, but at the end
of the week he was no nearer knowing whether she reciprocated his
admiration than at the beginning, for beyond a certain point he was
never allowed to go.  When Saturday came, Mrs. Jermyn went away and
left Lucius desolated.  But she had already asked him to stay with them
in Norfolk during the Easter vacation, and he was left in by no means
such a state of hopeless longing as before, for he managed to meet his
cousin pretty often during the rest of the term, and although he was
never allowed to enjoy the pleasure of her company for very long, she
seldom met him without a few words of conversation passing between
them, which gave Lucius something to live for now that the University
boat had gone to Putney and left him behind in Cambridge.

Mrs. Jermyn had not been able to avoid Mr. Binney altogether during her
stay at Cambridge.  She thought that she ought to see something of him
now that his son seemed likely to become an intimate friend in her
family.  Accordingly Mr. Binney was notified of her arrival, and called
on her at the "Bull" where she was staying.  Mr. Binney had not yet
recovered from the events narrated in the last two chapters, and was in
a depressed and dull state of mind.  He quite forgot to patronize Mrs.
Jermyn on the fact of her son being a scholar of Queens' College, while
he was a pensioner of Trinity, as he certainly would have done a few
months before.  Mrs. Jermyn talked chiefly about his wife, and Mr.
Binney, who had been a widower for fifteen years, and had set up the
image of Mrs. Higginbotham in the niche left vacant by the death of
Lucius's mother, followed her lead with some uneasiness of mind.  There
was no warmth of feeling between them, and each was mutually relieved
when Mr. Binney rose to take his leave.  He apologised for not asking
his cousins to lunch, but explained that he had to be down on the river
early every afternoon, and Mrs. Jermyn was not sorry that the
invitation was not given.

Mr. Binney, of course, still corresponded regularly with Mrs.
Higginbotham.  He had refrained from sending her the _New Court
Chronicle_, or, indeed, from mentioning that feature of it which most
nearly concerned him, for some slight sense of dignity, which he had
appeared to have relinquished during the Michaelmas term, had returned
to him, and he was not anxious to have it known that he was treated
with ridicule.  He wrote about his work and about the prospects of the
First Trinity first Lent boat, and if his letter did betoken a
depression of spirits, the tender Mrs. Higginbotham put this down to
his separation from her and threw a wealth of affection and sympathy
into her replies, which greatly consoled Mr. Binney during his trying
time.  She also expressed herself delighted with the improvement in
conduct displayed by her undergraduate lover, for, although Mrs.
Higginbotham liked to read stories of youthful daring and devilry, when
theory resolved itself into practice her mind recoiled affrighted.  Mr.
Binney was fond of imagery, and he often assured Mrs. Higginbotham at
this time that her love and confidence in him was the rock to which he
clung while the waves of adversity buffeted him; it was also an anchor,
and a port, and a city of refuge; a ray of sunshine, a star, a beacon,
a lantern; a refreshing fountain, an oasis in the desert, a cup of cold
water; a buckler, and a good many other things.  Mrs. Higginbotham made
no attempt to discover what the waves of adversity were that were
reported to be buffeting Mr. Binney.  She liked his poetical method of
expressing himself; she said it made her feel warm all over, and there
she let the matter rest.

But there was a serpent in this garden of mutual esteem.  If Mrs.
Higginbotham did not read the _New Court Chronicle_ and was ignorant of
the dreadful things that were being said about her Peter, there was
someone else who was fully acquainted with them.

The day after Mr. Binney's dinner-party in Russell Square, Mrs. Toller
called upon Mrs. Higginbotham, as she had announced her intention of
doing.  She waited for ten minutes alone in the drawing-room before
Mrs. Higginbotham made her appearance.  The first three or four she
spent in refreshing her memory of the contents of the room.  Then,
growing bolder, she inspected the contents of Mrs. Higginbotham's
Davenport writing-table, without, however, discovering anything that
interested her.  Thinking she heard a step on the stair she seated
herself quickly beside the fire and snatched up a paper from the little
table by her side.  Nobody came, and Mrs. Toller then turning over the
little pile of periodicals, lighted upon the creased copy of the _New
Court Chronicle_ which Mr. Binney had posted from Cambridge.

"Well! upon my word!" exclaimed Mrs. Toller to herself when she had
perused the paragraph in "Madge's Letter" already referred to.  She
then turned to the title page of the paper and made a note of the
publisher's address on the little ivory tablet she carried in her
purse.  When she had done that she heard Mrs. Higginbotham approaching,
so, hastily burying the _New Court Chronicle_ under the pile and taking
up _The Christian World_ instead, she affected to be so deeply
interested in its varied contents as to be unaware of Mrs.
Higginbotham's approach until that good lady had closed the door behind
her and begun to make apologies for her delay, which had arisen through
the arrival of a dressmaker to "try on."

When Cambridge University had once more got into the swing of term
time, there appeared every Monday morning among Mrs. Toller's
correspondence a wrapper enclosing a paper directed from that ancient
seat of learning.  Mrs. Toller always secreted this and opened it after
breakfast when the Doctor had retired to his study, for her
subscription to the _New Court Chronicle_ cost her sixpence halfpenny a
week, which was more than the good Doctor paid for having the _Daily
Chronicle_ served up hot with his breakfast every morning.  University
journalism is not apt to afford great entertainment to people outside
the University where it is practised, but Mrs. Toller, although a woman
of economical habits, counted the information which she derived from
the _New Court Chronicle_ cheap at the price which she paid for her
subscription, and looked forward keenly to the budget of news which
arrived for her every Monday morning.

It must not be supposed that Mrs. Toller intended to keep her
information from her excellent husband; she was far too good a wife for
that.  What she meant to do was to keep the _New Court Chronicle_ to
herself until the end of the term, in order that Mr. Binney's infamies
might heap themselves up until she had a good budget of scandal to lay
before the Doctor.  The game went merrily on for four or five weeks and
there was matter of offence against Mr. Binney enough to have brought
down upon him the wrath of the whole congregation of which he was so
distinguished a member.  But Mrs. Toller's appetite, whetted by the
disclosure she had already surprised, thirsted for more.  More she
would have had, for Mr. Piper had got his hand thoroughly in, but, as
we know, the _New Court Chronicle_ had come to an untimely end, and
great was Mrs. Toller's disappointment when she received, one Monday
morning, instead of the journal she had so looked forward to during the
whole of the Sunday's religious exercises, a letter from the publisher
informing her that the publication had ceased, and that he begged to
return to her the remainder of the term's subscription.  However, there
was quite enough upon which to act.

The Doctor retired to his study as usual after breakfast.  Mrs. Toller
got her daughter out of the way, produced the numbers she had already
received, and refreshed her memory of the whole of the "Binney
Correspondence."  Then she sought her husband, who was taking a
well-earned rest after his Sabbath labours over a novel, which he
hastily secreted upon the entrance of his wife.

"What's that you're reading, Samuel?" said Mrs. Toller.  "I shouldn't
waste my time over that trash if I were you.  I've got an important
matter to talk to you about."

Dr. Toller breathed a sigh of resignation.  He knew those important
matters.  If they were not complaints of the behaviour of various
members of his congregation, they were generally household matters
which Mrs. Toller could very well have settled for herself.

"You know how deep an interest I take in the welfare of the church,"
began Mrs. Toller, seating herself in the easy chair by the side of the
fire.

Dr. Toller knew only too well.  "Yes, my dear, certainly," he said.

"I should be very sorry," pursued Mrs. Toller, "if any scandal occurred
through the behaviour of one of our most prominent members, especially
when he happens to be a deacon."

"Yes, my dear," interrupted Dr. Toller hastily, "but I think that is
hardly likely to happen.  All our deacons are men of irreproachable
character."

"I am not so sure about that," said Mrs. Toller.  "There is one of them
who seems to be rapidly treading the broad road, and if he is not very
sharply pulled up, I tremble to think of the catastrophe that may
occur."

"Oh, nonsense, my dear," said Dr. Toller.  "You must surely be
exaggerating.  There is an occasional tendency towards undue
interference on the part of our officers, who are some of them men of
more money than brains, although I wouldn't for the world have it known
that I said so.  But I have no reason to dread anything worse than
that.  You have got hold of some trivial matter and are magnifying it
in your mind--quite unintentionally, I am sure," he added hastily,
observing the ominous stiffening of Mrs. Toller's upper lip, "and with
the best of intentions, I am sure."

"I am not aware," said Mrs. Toller, drawing herself up, "that
drunkenness is a trivial matter, Samuel, or revelry.  If it is so, I
have misread the meaning of Scripture, and I should be glad to be
corrected."

"Of course, my dear," said Dr. Toller, "such things are very dreadful,
but you have surely no reason to charge one of our deacons with
such--er--crimes."

"Read the passages I have marked with blue pencil in these papers,"
said Mrs. Toller, rising and handing the doctor her little bundle of
ephemeral journalism.  "And then say if you can justly accuse me of
exaggeration, which I beg to say is not a habit of mine.  I will leave
you for a quarter of an hour and then return."

When Mrs. Toller did return she found the Doctor chuckling over some of
the humorous sallies of Mr. Piper's young lions.

"Samuel!" she exclaimed, "is that the fashion in which you treat a
serious matter like this?  Such ill-timed levity is surely out of
place."

"Quite so, my dear, quite so," said her husband, his face instantly
becoming serious.  "I was not laughing at the news about Mr. Binney,
which I finished perusing some time ago.  Some of these young men are
very clever.  But really, with regard to Mr. Binney, I fully share your
feeling, my dear.  Mr. Binney has always been rather erratic, curiously
so for a man of his years and position, but I could never have believed
that this sort of thing would happen.  I--I--hardly know what to say
about it.  But how did you get hold of these papers?"

"Never mind that," said Mrs. Toller firmly.  "We must act, and act
promptly so as to save scandal."

Dr. Toller disliked acting at all on Monday morning, but he saw that
his wife was not to be trifled with, and said, "Certainly.  Yes.  I
quite agree with you.  What shall I do?"

"You must go up to Cambridge instantly, and remonstrate with the
misguided man."

Dr. Toller looked blank.  "Do you think that is necessary?" he asked.
"I should have thought a letter would have answered the purpose."

"Not at all," said Mrs. Toller.  "Mr. Binney is in that state of mind
in which he would take no notice of a letter.  Severe expostulation and
ghostly advice are what he wants.  He must be checked in his profligate
career at all costs, or worse may come of it.  I should go with you,
but I have my mothers' meeting this afternoon, and I am not one to
neglect my duty."

"But, surely, my dear," exclaimed the Doctor, "you would not wish me to
go to Cambridge to-day?"

"Certainly I should," replied Mrs. Toller.  "Why procrastinate?  And
yet, I don't know.  To-morrow perhaps I could accompany you.  Perhaps
there is no necessity."

"If it has to be done," said Dr. Toller, "perhaps it had better be done
to-day.  It is not a pleasant business, but I agree with you that the
gravity of the occasion demands immediate action, and I shall not
shrink from taking it.  I am really astounded at the disclosures made
in these papers.  If the extraordinary course Mr. Binney appears to
have taken were to come to the ears of the church committee, I don't
know what would happen.  I will go to Cambridge after the ladies' Bible
class this afternoon, and I think I will stay the night, my dear.  I
should like to have a look round the colleges, that is if you have no
objection."

"Yes, you can do that," said Mrs. Toller, "if you like.  And you might
call on Lucius and see how he is behaving himself, and on young
Bromley, at Emmanuel College.  And mind, Samuel, I shall expect a full
account from you when you return home."

So Dr. Toller packed his bag and traveled up to Cambridge by the five
o'clock train.  He drove first of all to Corpus, where he had a friend
among the Fellows.  He was persuaded to dine in Hall before he set out
on his visit to Mr. Binney, and enjoyed himself exceedingly at the High
Table, and in the Combination room afterwards.  He did not disclose his
object in coming up to Cambridge, but heard quite enough about the
extraordinary career of Mr. Binney, who enjoyed considerable notoriety
at the University, to persuade him that his visit of expostulation was
really needed.  About nine o'clock he told his host that he wished to
call on an undergraduate, and putting on his clerical cloak and hat, he
went round to Trinity College, where he was directed by the porter to
Mr. Binney's rooms in Jesus Lane.



CHAPTER XIII

MR. BINNEY GETS INTO TROUBLE

Since the dinner at the beginning of the term Mr. Binney had done
nothing further to bring him under the displeasure of the authorities.
Howden, in return for the pecuniary assistance he had received, kept
his noisy friends away from him almost entirely, and so managed it that
none of them considered himself ill-used by the cessation of Mr.
Binney's former hospitalities.  He worked very hard, and if the absence
of his previous amusements did make life rather dull to him, the
excitement of the coming Lent races and the probability that the crew
he was steering would give a good account of themselves buoyed him up.
Everything went well, the men were trained to a nicety, and most of
them were confident that their boat would go head of the river.  On the
morning of the races Mr. Binney was too nervous to work.  He attended
one lecture, but found himself quite incapable of discovering any
meaning in the lecturer's remarks.  After that he relinquished the
attempt to turn his mind to anything except boat-racing, and wandered
about the town, with his hands in his pockets, looking the picture of
misery.  By-and-bye it occurred to him to pay a visit to his son and to
try and extract some consolation from that experienced oarsman.  He
found Lucius engaged over a game of piquet with the ever-cheerful
Dizzy.  Lucius looked rather ashamed of himself when his father
entered, but Dizzy was not at all put out.

"Ah, Mr. Binney," he exclaimed, "very pleased to see you.  We are just
unbending our great minds a little.  All work and no play, you know,
won't do at all."

But reprehensible as card playing at twelve o'clock in the morning
undoubtedly is, Mr. Binney made no comment upon his son's occupation.

"I am terribly nervous, Lucius," he said.  "I wish this afternoon was
well over."

"What!  Got the needle!" exclaimed Dizzy, while Lucius cleared away the
cards.  "Well, I'm not surprised at it.  My old governor once had to
make a political speech.  He don't know anything about politics, but
the big man had disappointed 'em, and they couldn't get anybody bigger
at a day's notice.  I assure you he got so nervous that he lost the use
of his limbs and had to be massaged for an hour before he went off to
the meeting, and when he got there he made such a hash of it that
nobody's ever asked him to talk since, although he frequently obliges
when he _isn't_ asked."

"Political speaking is nothing to this," said Mr. Binney.  "I know all
about that.  When I put up for the County Council two years ago, I had
to make a speech every night of my life for a fortnight, and I enjoyed
it, although I didn't get in; but I feel so nervous now that I really
don't know what to do."

"You will be all right, father," said Lucius, "when you find yourself
sitting in the boat with the rudder lines in your hand.  Make a good
lunch and forget all about it till it's time to go down to the river.
I should take a glass of brandy if I were you.  It'll pull you
together, and can't do you any harm as you're not rowing."

"Brandy, Lucy!" echoed Dizzy, "the very worst thing you could possibly
take.  Don't you remember Dale who coxed the Eight at Eton.  When he
was in the lower boats he got the needle to such an extent he cried all
the morning.  Some fellow gave him half a glass of brandy.  It made him
as merry as a cricket.  He said he didn't care for anybody, but he
forgot which was his left, and steered 'em into the bank before they
had rowed twenty strokes."

"I am not likely to do that, Stubbs," said Mr. Binney, slightly
offended.  "I'm not a child.  I'm a man with a head on my shoulders, as
Mirrilees has often told me, but all the same I wish it were all over."

Just then Mirrilees himself came into the room and looked a little
disturbed at finding Mr. Binney there.  It was quite easy to treat him
as a freshman of no importance when he was by himself, but in the
presence of his son Mirrilees found the position awkward.

"You're bound to catch Pembroke to-night, I think," he said shyly, "and
I should certainly think you will go head on Saturday if everything
goes well."

"I feel so nervous, you know, Mirrilees," said poor little Mr. Binney.
"It's all very well for you young fellows who are used to it, but it's
all new to me, and it's no use pretending I feel at my ease."

"Oh, for heaven's sake don't lose your head," said Mirrilees anxiously,
"or Third will bump you to a certainty.  They're not so good as you
are, but they always go off with a rush, and may hustle you a bit at
first.  If they don't catch you before Grassy you'll keep away all
right, and ought to run into Pembroke at Ditton Corner."

"Third's pretty good," said Lucius.  "They're not to be sneezed at.  We
generally row faster than we are expected to."

Then followed a long discussion between Lucius and Mirrilees upon the
respective merits of the two boats, which was not calculated to allay
Mr. Binney's nervousness, so he took his leave, and wandered about
again until lunch time, more disconsolate than ever.  A hundred times
he wished he had never joined a boat club and even that he had never
come up to Cambridge.

He passed a very trying few hours until it was time to go down to the
boat-house.  During the long row down to the starting-point he
discovered that he had not entirely forgotten all that he had learnt
about the art of steering and felt a little better.  But when the crew
got out of the boat and waited about in the drizzling rain for the
first gun his fears returned and he was unable to take any part in the
mild horse-play with which the rest of the crew beguiled the interval.
The bustle of getting into the boat again and seeing that everything
was right with stretchers, rowlocks, and steering-gear, revived him a
little, but during that awful minute before the last gun, when the boat
was shoved out and the men sat forward with every nerve on edge, while
the coach stood on the bank, watch in hand, telling off the relentless
seconds, Mr. Binney's face of gloom and despair was a picture to
behold.  He was convinced that he was going to drop the chain so that
it would foul the rudder lines, or not drop it at all, or pull the
wrong string, or perform one of those mistakes to which the best of
coxswains are liable at these terrible moments.

But the gun went off at last, and before Mr. Binney had time to realise
that they were fairly off, the boat was swinging down the river and he
himself was steering as straight as an arrow towards the vivid blue of
the Pembroke cox's blazer, feeling as capable and clear-headed as he
had ever done in his life.

At first it seemed almost impossible to believe that they would ever
make up the distance which lay between them and the boat which was
moving along so steadily in front of them.  But they had not rowed
twenty strokes before Mr. Binney realised that they were slowly
creeping up.

A wild exultation took hold of him.  "We're gaining!" he cried.

Stroke's face was immovable, but he quickened up slightly.  Another
thirty strokes and there was only a length between the two boats.  Then
Pembroke spurted and began to draw away.

Mr. Binney's face fell.  "We're losing ground!" he said, but Stroke
made no answer.  His eyes were fixed upon something past Mr. Binney's
head, and our hero suddenly woke up to the fact that the cries of:
"Third!  Third!" which came from the bank behind him, were now much
nearer and almost as loud as those of "First!  First!" from their own
supporters alongside.

A panic seized him, and he quickly turned his head and saw the nose of
the Third Trinity boat within six feet of his own.  As he did so, he
unconsciously pulled one of his strings and the pursuing boat shot up
to within two feet.

"Steady, there, steady!" growled Stroke, with an awful frown.

Mr. Binney pulled himself together and set his teeth, determined to
think of nothing but the Pembroke boat, which had now increased its
lead to a length and a half.

"How far are they ahead?" asked Stroke, in a low voice.

Mr. Binney told him.  Stroke quickened up and Mr. Binney had the
delight of feeling the boat shoot away under him, while a tremendous
roar from the men on the bank told him that Third Trinity was being
left behind and that all danger of being bumped by them was over for
the present.

Up and up went the boat; the length and a half was lessened to a
length, then to half a length, then to a few feet.  The Pembroke stroke
quickened, and drew away for a few seconds, but the spurt soon died
down.  First Trinity went on gaining.  The Pembroke cox began to wash
them off with his rudder.

They had now reached the Red Grind, and Ditton Corner was close ahead.
Mr. Binney bided his time and crept in a trifle closer to the bank.
The nose of his boat began to dance up alongside the stern of the one
in front.  Then the Pembroke cox made a mistake and steered into the
river.  "We've got them," yelled Mr. Binney.

Stroke made a mighty effort, which was answered by Pembroke, too late,
for the Trinity boat was shaving the corner, while they were right out
in the river.  Mr. Binney held his course until the nose of his boat
was level with No. 5's rigger.  Then he pulled his left string sharply
and ran into them just behind their coxswain's seat.

"Well steered," said Stroke quietly, as he rested on his oar.
"Couldn't have been done better."  And Mr. Binney tasted the joys of
paradise.

The next day Mr. Binney's nervousness had vanished entirely.  He
thirsted to be again in the fray, and looked forward keenly to
repeating the triumph of the previous afternoon.  Needless to say he
wrote a long, exultant letter to Mrs. Higginbotham, recounting his
success and the honour it had brought him.  Lucius and Dizzy came round
in the morning to congratulate him and to wish him luck in the coming
race.

"Of course I wish Third had bumped them," said Lucius, as they walked
down Jesus Lane together, "but still the governor would have been so
sorry for himself that it's just as well they didn't."

"You would have had your screw docked, Lucy, if Third had caught them,"
said Dizzy, "so you may consider yourself jolly lucky they kept away."

"Oh, that's all over now," said Lucius.  "The Governor behaves much
more respectably than he did last term.  If that business had gone on I
really don't think I could have stopped up here."

Mr. Binney received their congratulations with equanimity.  He had
jumped from the depths of self-distrust to the height of complaisance,
and now felt that if he had gone to Putney with the University crew the
victory of Cambridge over Oxford would have been assured.

"Oh, it's as simple as anything," he said, in answer to their
congratulations.  "I can't think what ever can have made me feel so
nervous yesterday."

"Don't you be too cocksure about it, Mr. Binney," said Dizzy.  "I knew
a fellow once who rode in a steeple-chase.  He'd got by far the best
nag, and the odds were four to one on him.  But he was so certain of
winning that he forgot he was riding in a race at all, and got off to
pick a flower after he had jumped the first hurdle.  By the time he
remembered where he was and got on again, the other fellows had reached
the winning post.  The bookies nearly murdered him."

Mr. Binney was not in a frame of mind to take warning by this awful
example of forgetfulness.  He was so talkative in the changing room
that he was severely snubbed by the Captain of the boat.  Jesus, the
boat in front of them this evening, ought to have presented no
difficulties and would certainly have been caught by Pembroke in the
long reach the night before if First Trinity had not made their bump at
Ditton.  Mr. Binney steered very badly at Grassy and lost a lot of
ground.  His steering round Ditton Corner was a little better, but
nothing like so good as on the previous evening, and again Jesus got
away.  First Trinity made their bump at the railway bridge, but the men
had had a hard race instead of a very easy one, and some unpleasant
things were said to our hero when the race was at last over.

The next day Mr. Binney had learned a lesson, steered well, and caught
Lady Margaret at Ditton much in the same way as Pembroke had been
bumped on the first night.

First Trinity were now in the second place on the river, and had their
work cut out for them to bump Trinity Hall on the last night.

It was generally agreed that they were slightly the better boat, but
whether they were good enough to overcome the advantage that the head
boat always has in rowing in clear water, was a disputed point.  They
had at any rate nothing to fear from the boat behind them.  Mr.
Binney's previous experience had brought him into the right state of
mind to enable him to do his best.  The three bumps he had already made
had given him confidence, and his mistakes of the second night
preserved him from being over-confident.

First Trinity made up their distance by the time they had reached the
Red Grind, and from that time there was never more than a few feet of
daylight between the two boats until the end of the race.  At Ditton
they overlapped, but Mr. Binney made his shot too early, and the Hall
just managed to keep away.  The enthusiasm from the supporters of the
Crescent, standing or running on the banks, had the effect of steadying
Mr. Binney's nerves.  A ding-dong race ensued, right up the Long Reach,
but with all their exertion the First Trinity men were unable to
increase their distance.  At the railway bridge the nose of the
pursuing boat was a foot past the rudder of the other.  But Mr. Binney
knew that if he made a shot at them now all was lost.

"Plug it in," he said in a low voice to Stroke, "and we've got them."

Stroke did plug it in.  He was nobly seconded in one last despairing
effort by the men behind him.  The nose of the First Trinity boat crept
slowly but surely up, Mr. Binney pulled his left line just in the nick
of time, and First Trinity bumped the head boat not a dozen yards from
the winning post.

A very proud man was Mr. Binney that evening when everything was over,
when they had rowed back to the boat-house with the heavy flag flapping
behind them and the cheering crowd of men accompanying them on the
bank.  When he had changed and gone home to his rooms with the
pleasures of an amusing bump supper in the hall before him, he sat down
in front of his fire and went over in his mind the causes for
self-congratulation.  At last he had done something which raised him
out of the common ruck of University men, something that could never be
taken away from him.  He saw in imagination his rudder with the Trinity
coat-of-arms, the names and weights of the crew and the cox, and the
conquered colleges emblazoned upon it hanging up in his hall in Russell
Square.  His imagination did not stop there.  He saw other rudders
nailed up by its side, of which at least one should bear the combined
arms of Oxford and Cambridge.  He felt that he had acquitted himself so
as to earn him Mrs. Higginbotham's undying admiration, and visited a
telegraph office immediately upon his return in order to send that
excellent woman the earliest information of his brilliant achievement.

At the bump supper that evening Mr. Binney was the gayest of the gay.
He did not exceed his usual allowance of wine.  This, in spite of the
unmannerly taunts of the _New Court Chronicle_, he had never yet done
and would have been ashamed of doing.  But he was so excited by his
success that other members of the party who had not been so careful as
himself gave him full credit for having done so, and laughed
uproariously at his sallies of wit, clapped him vigorously on the back,
and displayed all the usual signs of the best of good fellowship.

Mr. Binney made a speech.  He always did make a speech whenever there
was an opportunity.  He said that this was the proudest moment of his
life.  (Cheers.)  He should despise himself if he thought otherwise.
(Cheers.)  He thought that the cox was the most important man in a
boat.  (Loud cries of "No!  No!" and laughter.)  Well, if he wasn't the
most important, at any rate, they couldn't get on without him, and he
was very proud to find himself in a position of that sort.  He had had
triumphs in his life before now (cheers and laughter), but they were as
nothing to this.  He didn't know how to say enough about it, although
he was used to public speaking.  (Laughter, cries of "Union.")  Some
gentleman had mentioned the word "Union."  Well, he had thought at one
time that success at the Union was the best sort of success that
Cambridge could afford.  He didn't think so now.  Give him success on
the river--he would leave all the rest to gentlemen not so fortunate as
himself.  (Loud applause and cries of "Sit down.")  He saw around him a
great many friends.  (Laughter.)  He hoped he might call them friends.
(Cries of "Certainly," "By all means.")  They were all jolly good
fellows, and so say all of us.  (Cheers.)  He had said before that this
was the proudest moment of his life.  He would say it again.
(Laughter, and the rest of Mr. Binney's speech, which he appeared to be
about to begin all over again, was drowned by vociferous cheers which
were gradually rounded off into "For he's a jolly good fellow," sung in
chorus by everyone present.)

At the close of the evening, just before twelve o'clock, as Mr. Binney
was going out of college, arm-in-arm with two jovial companions, the
gate was opened to admit Piper and one or two more football players who
had gained a great victory over Dublin University that afternoon in the
last match of the season, and had since celebrated the occasion by a
more protracted dinner than was good for them.

Piper was, in fact, very drunk, and his potations always had the effect
of making him extremely quarrelsome.  At this particular juncture he
was, in American phraseology, "looking for trouble."  He found it in
the obnoxious person of his late butt, Mr. Binney, who came towards him
smiling, his gown put on inside out, over his somewhat disordered
evening clothes.

The sight of Mr. Binney roused Piper's smouldering ill-humour to the
point of frenzy.  With a muttered execration he went for our hero.  Mr.
Binney saw him coming, and with a shriek of terror, turned round,
loosening his hold upon his two companions, and fled terrified back
towards the hall.

Piper gave a yell, and started off in chase, but lost his footing at
the two steps leading into the Court, and enabled Mr. Binney to get a
clear start as far as the fountain, before his pursuer was up and after
him again.

His two friends made no attempt to protect him.  They shrieked with
laughter at the ridiculous spectacle, and rolled about doubled up in
their ecstasy of amusement.

But fortunately for Mr. Binney the Great Court was full of his late
companions of the feast.  "Save me, save me!" cried the poor little
man, as he ran towards a group of them near the kitchen staircase.
Piper was still a _bête noir_ to a great many of the rowing men,
although with his exception the feud between oarsmen and footballers
was now quite healed.  Mr. Binney ran through the astonished group,
down the narrow passage leading into the Hostels.  They closed up their
ranks and let Piper run into them.  There was great confusion for the
moment, and cries of "Now then, sir, where are you coming to?" and the
like.  Piper forgot for the moment where he _was_ going to, and in the
meantime his companions came up.  One of them was Howden, who was in
the effusive after-dinner stage.

"You're the fellows who went head of the river, aren't you?" he cried.
"You're jolly noble fellows all the lot of you, and I shall be proud to
shake hands with you all round.  We're the fellows who have beaten the
Irishmen by two goals and a try to nothing.  And that's all right,
isn't it?"

It appeared to be all right, certainly, for the two groups immediately
fraternised with mutual expressions of admiration.  And even Piper was
so overborne by the general good feeling that he relinquished his
intention of spilling Mr. Binney's blood, and allowed himself to be
drawn off, while our hero crept round by Neville's Court, through the
screens and out again through the Great Gate, still somewhat
frightened, and by no means so hilarious as he had been five minutes
before.

The next morning Mr. Binney woke up feeling rather cheap, but not
without a thrill of pride when he recalled the glorious achievements of
the last four days.  He went to the chapel which he was accustomed to
attend twice on a Sunday, and thought that every member of the
congregation must have heard of his prowess on the river, and be eyeing
him with admiration as he handed round the plate at the close of the
service, clad in his undergraduate's gown.  As he sat at his solitary
lunch Howden came in.

"Hullo, Binney, old chap," he said, "here you are at last.  I've been
in once or twice to try and find you this morning.  You did jolly well
in the races.  I was there on Friday and saw you make your bump."

"It's a splendid thing, you know, Howden," said Mr. Binney, "taking
part in a great contest like that.  You know what it is, for you're a
celebrated athlete yourself.  It makes you feel warm all over, doesn't
it?"

"It makes you feel black and blue all over," said Howden, "after a game
like yesterday.  We didn't do so badly, Binney, did we?  We never
expected to beat them like that.  Look here, I've got some of the
fellows who were playing yesterday coming to supper with me this
evening, and two of the Irish chaps who are staying here over Sunday
are coming as well.  You come too, Binney.  We shall have a jolly rowdy
evening, quite like old times.  You're out of training now, and you
haven't had a bust since the beginning of the term.  Eight o'clock in
my rooms."

Mr. Binney looked shocked.

"What, on Sunday evening?" he exclaimed.  "My dear Howden, I couldn't
entertain the idea for a moment."

"Oh, well," said Howden, somewhat abashed, "we shan't be doing any
harm.  You must feed somewhere even if it is Sunday."

"I always dine in hall on Sunday," said Mr. Binney, "and go to church
afterwards.  I am sorry I can't join you, Howden, although, if it had
been on any other night in the week, I should have been delighted.
Those dinners we used to have were rather good fun, weren't they?  I
shouldn't mind another one now if we could keep it a bit quieter.  I'll
tell you what, Howden, we _will_ have another dinner in my rooms
to-morrow night; just to celebrate our going head."

"What, the old lot!" exclaimed Howden.  "That will be ripping, Binney.
I've never had such jolly dinners since I've been up here as yours
were.  You're such a capital good host, you know."

"Well, I like entertaining my friends," said Mr. Binney, much
gratified.  "I used to enjoy those dinners myself, but they certainly
were getting rather too rowdy.  We must keep a bit quieter to-morrow."

"Right you are," said Howden, and he and Mr. Binney drew out a list of
half a dozen constellations of the athletic world, who had already had
experience of Mr. Binney's hospitality in days gone by, and might be
supposed to be willing to partake of it again.

Mr. Binney's dinner was a repetition of those which had brought him
into disrepute during the previous term, only, instead of being quieter
than had been customary with those entertainments, it was a noisier
revel than any of them.  Bumpers had to be drunk to the First Trinity
Boat Club, and to the cox of its first Lent boat.  This was done before
the fish came on.  By the time the _entrée_ had made its appearance
success to the University Rugby Football Club had been duly honoured,
and the healths of the various members of it there present brought them
to dessert in a state of hilarious good fellowship.  Mr. Binney usually
objected to bumpers, but it was pointed out to him that his refusal to
empty them would be considered a cowardly insult to his guests in whose
honour they were proposed.

Alas! before dinner was well over, Mr. Binney was in a state the mere
imagination of which would have made him blush with shame in his more
collected moments.  His face was flushed, his speech thick, and his
laughter meaningless but incessant.  His guests were, most of them, in
a similar state, and the unhappy little man, instead of mildly rebuking
them for their excesses, as he had been accustomed to do, encouraged
them to further libations, and filled their glasses himself with an
unsteady hand, and giggling exhortations to make a night of it.  At a
later stage of the evening Mr. Binney was on his legs making the
inevitable speech.  It was an entirely incoherent speech, but his
hearers applauded it no less for that.  When a gleam of intelligence
did detach itself from Mr. Binney's rambling procession of verbiage and
pierce their heated brains, the cheers and hammerings on the table rose
to fever pitch, and spurred on the poor little object to still greater
exertions.  During one of these interludes, when the applause was at
its height and Mr. Binney stood leaning against the table with glassy
eye and fatuous smile waiting for the din to subside, and bracing
himself up for a further attempt, the door of the room opened, and a
tall black figure, its face wearing an expression of scandalised
amazement, stood framed in the door-way.  It was the Reverend Dr.
Toller come to expostulate with the wandering sheep of his otherwise
irreproachable flock.

Mr. Binney was the first to notice him.  He frowned slightly in a
determined effort to regain his scattered senses.  Then the amiable
smile spread once more over his face as he recognised his friend.

"Dorrertoller!" he cried, in a delighted impulse of hospitable welcome.
"Come in, my dear sir, and dring a glass o' wine.  You see me,
Dorrertoller, s'rounded by m' friends, celebrelating merrificent
vickery, boclub.  Genelmel, 'low me, ole friend, Dorrertoller.  Come
in, ole boy.  Mayself tome.  Siddown."

"Mr. Binney!" said the good doctor in an awful tone.  "Are you aware,
sir, of the terrible scandal you are bringing upon yourself and your
friends by this unseemly--this disgraceful conduct?"

"Thashalri, Dorrertoll," said the unhappy Mr. Binney.  "Siddow.  All
ole frells here."

It would ill become us to protract the account of this shameful scene.
Dr. Toller, shocked and horrified beyond all bounds, lifted up his
voice in expostulation and reproof to the best of his ability, but all
in vain.  Mr. Binney was past taking heed of rebukes, and wandered
foolishly along, pressing the doctor to make one of the party, and
drink the health of some of the best fellows he was ever likely to
meet.  That at least was the intention of his invitation, but his
enunciation not being so clear as could be wished, the warmth of his
welcome could only be gathered from his engaging smile and his
ineffectual attempts to drag a chair up to the table, a chair on which
one of his guests happened already to be sitting.  Most of the other
men took Dr. Toller for a Proctor and kept quiet, while Mr. Binney used
his utmost endeavours to induce him to join them.  They returned again
to their previous state of merriment when the Doctor had left the room,
having perceived that anything that he might have to say to Mr. Binney
would have to be kept until the next morning.

Later on in the evening, a Proctor did pay them a visit, the noise
having become so insistent that it was bound to attract the attention
of any one passing down Jesus Lane.  He took the names of all the
party, but Mr. Binney went to bed in happy oblivion of the event, as
well as of the advent of his pastor, and woke up in the morning with a
bad headache and a dim impression that something had happened the night
before which would cause him great uneasiness if only he could remember
what it was.

As he sat with throbbing head and smarting eyeballs over a late cup of
tea, which he dignified by the name of breakfast, a "bull-dog" was
announced, who brought him a slip of paper requesting him to call on
the Junior Proctor at a stated time.

Mr. Binney groaned.  He had a dim idea that he had had an unfinished
conversation with a Proctor at some previous state of his existence,
but he could not remember when.  He supposed it must have been during
the previous evening, but he could not remember having gone out after
dinner.

A little later on, a similar notice was brought to him from his Tutor.
Mr. Binney was in such a low state that he actually shed tears at this
fresh misfortune.  He must have done something very bad indeed.  If
only he could remember what it was!  But he couldn't, and his head was
too painful to allow him to exert it to any great extent.  All he knew
was that he would never be able to hold up that head again.  He would
be sent down for a certainty.  He would be eternally disgraced in the
eyes of all his friends, before whom he had been used to bear himself
so proudly.  He grew cold when he thought of what Mrs. Higginbotham
would say to him.  Then his thoughts flew with a deadly sinking of
heart to Dr. Toller and his fellow-officers in the congregation of
which Dr. Toller was the shining leader.  At this moment there was a
ring at the bell, and in a few moments Dr. Toller himself was
announced.  Mr. Binney buried his head in the cushions of his armchair
and wept aloud.



CHAPTER XIV

NEMESIS

Dr. Toller left Mr. Binney an hour afterwards, chastened and repentant.
The full enormity of his crime had been brought home to him.  His only
plea was that this was the first time such a dreadful thing had
happened.  Dr. Toller did not refer in direct terms to the _New Court
Chronicle_, as he remembered in time that his wife had not told him
before he left home how its numbers had fallen into her hands.  But he
drew from Mr. Binney an account of the occurrences of the term, and
amongst them of the attack that Piper had made upon him in his paper.
"I went in for revelry to some extent last term," Mr. Binney explained,
"but, even then, nothing of the sort that happened last night took
place.  This term my life has been hitherto irreproachable, and I did
not deserve these attacks."

Dr. Toller was pleased to hear it.  Poor Mr. Binney was so ashamed of
himself and looked such a pitiable object bundled up in his armchair
with a despairing look on his white face and black rings under his
eyes, that he readily promised to keep the account of the previous
night's orgie from Mr. Binney's friends in Bloomsbury, and before he
went gave the repentant sinner full absolution and a great deal of very
good advice.

When the doctor had removed himself it was time for Mr. Binney to call
on the Proctor, who was a Fellow of Jesus College.  Mr. Binney crawled
along down the sunny side of the lane feeling very miserable.  But the
interview was not quite so painful as he had imagined.  The Proctor was
a young man with a keen sense of humour.  He tried to impart a fitting
air of severity into his strictures on the disgraceful scene he had
interrupted, but spoilt it all by bursting into a peal of laughter in
the middle of his lecture.  After that there was nothing further to be
done but to extort a heavy fine from the culprit and to let him go.
Mr. Binney felt somewhat relieved as he walked out through the gates of
Jesus down the passage into the lane, but his heart sank again like
lead as he remembered his coming interview with his Tutor.  He had just
time enough to go into his rooms and drink a glass of milk and soda,
before it was time to repair to Trinity College to undergo the ordeal
of Mr. Rimington's displeasure.

Mr. Binney had to wait some time in the Tutor's ante-room.  His
thoughts were very bitter as he sat turning over the pages of a book,
keenly aware of the titters and whispers of the men who were waiting
with him.

The Tutor's face, when Mr. Binney at last entered the inner room, was
not reassuring.  It wore a severe, and, to Mr. Binney's overstrung
perceptions, it seemed a contemptuous look.  Mr. Rimington did not
shake hands with his pupil as was his wont, but motioned him to a chair
and plunged immediately _in medias res_.

"You know, of course, why I have sent for you, Mr. Binney," he said.
"I have no intention of expostulating with you.  I have tried that
already, and it proved to be of no avail.  I simply have to say that
the college can no longer put up with the way you choose to behave
yourself, and you must go down to-day."

"What? go down for good, sir?" said poor Mr. Binney in a broken voice.

"Yes, I think so," said the Tutor.

"Oh, surely you can't be so hard as that," pleaded Mr. Binney.  "Think
of the disgrace, sir."

"I do think of the disgrace," said the Tutor, with a short laugh.  "I
wish you had thought of it yourself a little sooner."

It will be remembered that on the last occasion of a conversation
between Mr. Rimington and Mr. Binney, the latter had taken a very high
line, for which he had subsequently apologised, but not quite
adequately.  Mr. Rimington had become very tired of Mr. Binney's
methods of speech and conduct, and had made up his mind to speak
shortly and sharply, and not to allow any discussion of his decision.
He was not, however, prepared for the total breakdown of Mr. Binney's
opposition to his authority.  The poor little creature sitting crumpled
up before him in abject and hot-eyed misery was a very different person
from the combative self-sufficient gentleman who had resisted his
warnings in such a high-handed fashion when he had before animadverted
on his conduct, so he did not refuse to listen when Mr. Binney began to
plead with him in a piteous, broken-hearted manner.

"I know I have disgraced myself, sir," he said, "I feel it deeply.  But
such a thing will never happen again, and it has never happened before."

"Oh, pardon me, Mr. Binney," said the Tutor.  "This affair is only the
climax to a consistent course of such behaviour.  I have had reason to
speak to you before about it.  You can't possibly have forgotten that."

"Not about drunkenness, sir," said Mr. Binney.  "I was drunk last
night, you know.  I confess it.  That has never happened before, and
will never happen again."

"There are degrees of culpability, of course, in these matters," said
Mr. Rimington.  "Where you seem to disagree with me is in thinking that
these disorderly meetings are allowable at all when a man of your age
and influence takes the lead in setting all rules of order and good
conduct aside."

"I don't disagree with you at all, sir," said Mr. Binney.  "I am very
sorry that anything of the sort has ever happened in my rooms.  I
promise you, if you will only give me another chance, that it shall
never happen again."

"You forget, Mr. Binney, that I ventured to impress my views upon you
at the end of last term, and warned you that if anything of the sort
happened again I should be compelled to take a serious view of it.  The
first man I had to deal with at the beginning of this term had got into
trouble through--er--his companionship with you.  And further than that
your name has become synonymous with disorderly behaviour throughout
the University."

What would not Mr. Binney have given at that moment to recall the
vanished days and spend them to better advantage?  The contemptible
light in which he must appear to men of his own standing was borne in
upon him like a flood, and he felt that it would indeed be better if he
left Cambridge for good and never showed his face there again.

"I deserve to be sent down in disgrace," he said feebly.  "There is
only one reason why I beg you to exercise your clemency--for the sake
of my boy."

Mr. Rimington's mild eyes flashed fire.  "I can scarcely trust myself
to speak to you on that subject," he said.  "If I do so it is because I
feel it my duty as a clergyman to try and bring home to you the
enormity of your conduct towards your son.  Are you incapable of----"

"Oh, don't, don't," interrupted Mr. Binney in a broken-hearted voice.
"I see it all.  Nothing you could say would be so severe as what I say
to myself.  I can't bear it.  I can't really.  But just think what an
awful thing it would be for him to have it said that his father was
sent down for drunkenness.  He would bear the brand of it all his life."

"It seems to me," said the Tutor dryly, "that you have already given
him something that he will have reason to be ashamed of all his life.
I have a great admiration for your son.  I tell you candidly, Mr.
Binney, that I don't know one other undergraduate who could have held
up his head in Cambridge after what he has gone through."

"Oh, don't say any more, I beg of you," cried Mr. Binney, cut to the
heart.  "And don't make things worse for him by sending me down."

"If I thought for a moment that your staying up here would make things
easier for him," said Mr. Rimington, "I own I should hesitate, although
I don't say that my decision would be altered.  But it seems to me that
the very kindest course to pursue on his account would be to prevent
his having any further cause to be shamed by your conduct up here.  No,
Mr. Binney.  You must go down this afternoon.  I have spoken to one or
two of my colleagues about it, and our decision is irrevocable.  I see
no use in protracting this painful interview."

Mr. Binney pleaded and besought, but all to no avail, and left his
Tutor's presence at last, a disgraced and despairing man.

The feelings of Lucius towards his father are too painful a subject to
dilate upon.  Never surely, since the wide doors of Cambridge
University were opened to all comers, had any of its members been
placed in a more disagreeable position.  Looking back on this trying
time in after years, Lucius wondered how he could ever have endured
life at Cambridge for a single day.  But he had attained to that state
of sympathetic intimacy with his cousin in which he could pour out some
of his troubles to her when they met, and be gently but effectually
consoled for them.  Betty had never met Mr. Binney, but she knew him by
sight, and nourished a fierce and bitter enmity towards him.

Lucius met his cousin, on the morning after his father's fall, outside
the lecture room of St. John's College, where she was engaged for an
hour three mornings in the week.  The other girls who were with her
gave Lucius a glance and then hurried off through the gate, leaving
them alone.

"Good-bye, Lucius," she said hastily, "I must go.  I don't know what
those girls are running away for like that."

"Do let me walk back with you, Betty," said Lucius.  "I'm so beastly
miserable, I don't know what to do."

"Very well, then.  Just for once," said Betty, after a look at his
face.  "We'll go along the Backs."

"I suppose you haven't heard about my father last night, have you?"
asked Lucius, as they made their way across the bridge.

"No.  What about him?" asked Betty.

"I really sometimes think he's going off his head," said Lucius
despondently.  "He was so pleased at his boat going head of the river
that he gave a great feed.  There was a terrific row.  In the middle of
it the old fool I have to go and hear preach at home turned up.
Goodness knows what brought him.  He came to see me this morning just
after breakfast, and seems to think I must have been in it too,
although he knew I wasn't there.  He began a long solemn jaw, but I was
so sick I shut him up.  He's an awful old outsider, and he's got
nothing to do with me, even if I had done something he didn't approve
of, which I haven't."

"But it doesn't matter what _he_ thinks, does it?" asked Betty with all
the scorn of the rector's daughter against a member of a usurping caste.

"I don't know," said Lucius dubiously.  "His wife is a spiteful old
woman.  Of course it will get to her ears and then it will be all over
the place.  There's one good thing, I have been away from home such a
lot, and have so many friends outside, that it won't matter so much to
me as it might have done.  But it will be awful for the poor old
governor.  I don't think he knows what he's laying up for himself."

"Oh, I shouldn't bother my head about him if I were you," said Betty
airily.  "It's his own fault, and he's got himself to thank for it.
It's you I'm thinking of."  Then she blushed a little.

Lucius blushed too.  "You are so awfully kind," he began, "and----"

"Yes.  Thank you," interrupted Betty, hastily.

"But I really shouldn't know what to do if it wasn't for you,"
persisted Lucius.  "It's like----"

"Yes, I know," interrupted Betty again.  "But you haven't told me all
about last night yet, have you?"

"No," said Lucius, his face falling again.  "The row reached such a
pitch that the Proctors came in.  My gyp told me that the governor was
going to be hauled this morning, and I shouldn't wonder if he were sent
down."

"Well, that will be all the better for you, won't it?" inquired Betty,
unmoved at the awful announcement.

"I don't know.  I haven't thought of that yet," Lucius admitted.  "But
I'm afraid it will kill the poor old governor.  I shall go and see him
when I get back.  I'm awfully sorry for him, although he has been so
tiresome.  But don't let's talk any more about it.  We're nearly there.
I say, Betty----"

"I think you'd better go back now," said Betty.  "You've come quite far
enough," and Lucius was not bold enough to disobey her.

He found Mr. Binney just returned from his visit to his Tutor.  "It's
all over, Lucius.  I'm sent down," he said hopelessly.

Lucius was at a loss for words.  The humour of the situation suddenly
struck him, and he had hard work to prevent himself smiling.

"I've been a bad father to you, my boy," went on Mr. Binney.  "I see it
all now.  I wish I had behaved differently.  But it is too late.  All
is over.  The blow has fallen.  I am a disgraced man."

"Oh, come, cheer up, father," said Lucius.  "I should think they would
give you another show if you promise to keep quiet in future."

"No, they won't," said Mr. Binney.  "They think I am spoiling your
chances at Cambridge.  And they are quite right--oh, _absolutely_
right."

"What nonsense," said Lucius.  "Is it only on my account they have sent
you down?"

"That chiefly," said Mr. Binney, with the calm voice of despair.  "But
they have lost faith in me.  And quite right too.  Oh, _quite_ right."

"Well, I'll tell you what, father," said Lucius, "I'll go and see
Rimington and ask him to give you another chance.  We're rather pals,
and he might listen, although it's rather cheek my tackling him."

"Oh, Lucius, if you only would," exclaimed Mr. Binney, grasping his son
eagerly by the arm.  "I believe he would listen to you.  I do really,
and it's my only chance.  I thought this morning that I shouldn't care
to stay at Cambridge any longer after what has happened.  But I can't
bear the thought of going down like this.  It is too awful."

"Of course not," said Lucius.  "I'll go at once."

Mr. Rimington was still receiving when Lucius presented himself in his
anteroom.  After a time he found himself cordially greeted by his
father's Tutor, and sat down without an idea as to how he should begin
what he had to say.

"I've come about my father," he said, reddening and playing with the
tassel of his cap.  "I hope you'll give him another chance, sir.  It
wasn't altogether his fault that all the noise was made last night, and
he'll be very careful that it doesn't happen again.  It will be rather
unpleasant for me if he is sent down," he added.

"Has your father asked you to come to me?" asked Mr. Rimington.

"No," said Lucius, "I come of my own accord."

"Wouldn't you be happier up here if your father were--were at home,
Binney?"

"I shouldn't be any happier if people could say he had been sent down.
In fact, I don't think I could stand it.  He'll keep pretty well in the
background after this, I should think, and I don't much mind his being
up here if he does that."

"I can't hold out any hopes of our decision being altered," said Mr.
Rimington after a pause.  "It is not I alone who am responsible for it.
But I think that your wishes in the matter should certainly be
considered.  I can't say more than that at present, and, as I say, your
father had better not entertain any hopes of our decision being
reversed.  If there is anything more to say, I will write to him in
London."

With this slender thread of hope Mr. Binney travelled home to Russell
Square that afternoon in sad and lonely dejection.  His head still
ached after his excesses of the previous night, and his mood was so
dark that he put off the confession which he knew he should have to
make to Mrs. Higginbotham, until the next morning.  As he dined in
solitary state that evening, attended by his neat and soft-footed
maids, he found himself wondering how the habits and customs of twenty
years could have broken down so completely under the influence of new
surroundings.  Two years ago he would have been the first to hold up
pious hands of horror at the mere mention of an orgie such as he had
taken part in the night before.  And, having returned once more to his
accustomed manner of life, he felt just as far apart from it as he
would have done then.  But he could not keep his thoughts away for long
from the dark fact that he had just been expelled from the University
for continuous bad conduct, and it will be agreed that this cannot have
been a pleasant recollection for a middle-aged gentleman with a
grown-up son.

Dr. Toller had promised Mr. Binney that he would keep to himself all
mention of the scene he had surprised.  His doing so was only another
example of the eternal self-complaisance of human nature.  Dr. Toller
was about as capable of keeping anything to himself that his wife
wanted to hear about, as a puppy is of holding a stick that its master
wants to take away.  At twelve o'clock Dr. Toller returned from
Cambridge to the wife of his bosom.  By a quarter past, Mrs. Toller was
in possession of the main outlines of his story, which had been filled
in before the half hour struck by all the details that Dr. Toller's
memory could supply.

"You won't tell anyone else what has happened, my dear, will you?" said
Dr. Toller, when his wife had extracted all the information from him he
was capable of affording.

"I shall tell what I please to whomsoever I please," said Mrs. Toller.

"But, my dear, my promise," expostulated the doctor.

"Bother your promise!" said Mrs. Toller, as she went out of the room.

After breakfast the next morning Mr. Binney, to whom another day had
brought no cessation of the gnawing pains of remorse, took his courage
in both hands, and putting on his hat and coat, went round to Woburn
Square.

The maid who opened the door to him gave a little start.  "Mrs.
Higginbotham is not at home, sir," she said.  "But she told me to give
you this little parcel if you happened to call."

Mr. Binney took the parcel, neatly tied up and directed in Mrs.
Higginbotham's well-known writing.  "Do you know when Mrs. Higginbotham
will be in?" he asked.

The maid hesitated.  "She told me to say she was not at home, sir," she
repeated awkwardly, and Mr. Binney went down the steps with the
terrible realisation hammering at his brain, that Mrs. Higginbotham had
heard of his disgrace and refused to receive him.

He waited until he had returned to the seclusion of his own library
before he opened the packet which she had directed to him.

It contained all the letters he had ever written to her.



CHAPTER XV

LUCIUS FINDS A BACKWATER

It was ten o'clock of a late April morning, one of those hot sunny days
which sometimes make it not unfitting that the term which in Cambridge
begins in April and ends in the middle of June should be known as the
Summer Term.  The morning in Cambridge, as has been explained, is
usually devoted to books, but here was Mr. Lucius Binney of Trinity
College in a very light grey flannel suit and a straw hat apparently
making preparations for some sort of an expedition.  He had collected
from different corners of the room a Japanese umbrella, two plethoric
silken cushions and a large box of chocolate creams.  He put them down
on the table and looked for a moment longingly at his collection of
pipes, but finally contented himself with filling a cigarette case,
which he slipped into his pocket.  At this juncture a step was heard
approaching.  Lucius had just time to cover the box of chocolate creams
with a cushion before the door was opened and Mr. Benjamin Stubbs
entered the room.  He was in cap and gown and carried a notebook.

"Holloa!" he exclaimed, "going on the Backs?  Not a bad idea this fine
morning.  I've a good mind to cut lecture and come with you."

"Oh I shouldn't do that, Dizzy, if I were you," said Lucius, "you'd
better go and hear what Mansell has got to say.  I can crib your notes
afterwards."

"We can both crib 'em off Hare," said Dizzy.  "I should like a paddle
in a canoe.  Lend us a hat and I'll leave these things here."

"I haven't got another hat except that one with the Third Trinity
colours and you can't wear that."

"Well, you Juggins, you can wear that and lend me the one you've got
on."

"The other doesn't fit me very well," objected Lucius.

"What rot! why, you wear it every day.  I'll tell you what it is, young
man, you've got some game on and you don't want me to come.  What is
it?"

Dizzy here took up one of the cushions on the table and disclosed the
box of chocolates which it hid.  Enlightenment diffused itself over his
intelligent features.

"Oh, I see, yes," he said, "Good morning, Binney, I'm afraid I shall be
late for lecture."  And he betook himself out of the room.

"Silly ass!" soliloquised Lucius.  Then he gathered up his properties
and made his way out across the Great Court, which lay wide and still
beneath a smiling April sky, through the Hostel and down the narrow
lane which leads to the river and the raft, where in summer-time a
flotilla of boats and canoes is moored under the trees.  Lucius
selected a Canadian canoe and deposited a cushion at either end,
supplementing those supplied by the boatmen.  The chocolate creams he
stowed carefully behind his own cushion, and taking his seat pushed out
into the open water through the maze of pleasure boats which stretched
half-way across the river.  He was almost alone on the water.  The
rooks cawed in the high elms which fringe the pleasant gardens by the
river, the whirr of a mowing machine came from some unseen lawn close
by; there was an idle summer feeling in the air.  Lucius paddled in a
leisurely manner up the river, past the terraced gardens of Trinity
Hall, the prow of his canoe breaking up the reflection of the beautiful
Clare Bridge as he passed under it, along the spacious level lawn of
King's and under the King's bridge into the darker waters bounded by
the old buildings of Queens'.  The illicit tinkling of a piano came
from an open window in the new King's buildings and two men leant idly
on the parapet of the bridge and watched him as he paddled slowly
underneath.  When he reached the wooden bridge of Queens', the bridge
which Sir Isaac Newton is said to have erected without a bolt or nut,
he turned round and dropped down the river again.  As he neared the
King's bridge he pulled out his watch.

"She said half-past ten," he murmured to himself.  "I suppose she is
bound to be a bit late.  Girls always are."

He lay back on his cushions and allowed the canoe to drift.  Opposite
to him was the entrance to a backwater, arched over with trees, and
crossed by a wooden bridge.  Lucius surveyed it idly.  "I wonder if she
will come down there with me," he said to himself.

At this moment a fair vision of youth and beauty in diaphanous summer
draperies came into sight on the river bank just above him.  Lucius
sprang out on to the bank and knelt down on the grass to hold the canoe
for the fair vision to step into it.  It was his cousin Betty.  She
looked cool and fresh and not at all as if she was doing a very bold
thing as she stepped into the wobbly craft and settled herself on the
cushions opposite him.

"This is ripping, Betty," said Lucius.  "It is most charming of you to
come out with me like this."

"You don't think I came for the pleasure of your company, do you?"
inquired Betty.

"Oh, no, not in the least."

"How conceited you are!  You know you do think it."

"I assure you, Betty, it never entered my head.  When a girl writes to
her cousin and asks him to take her out on the river, he would be a
conceited ass, as you say, to imagine for a moment that she wanted to
go with him."

"I didn't say I didn't want to go with you.  If I must go at all I
would just as soon go with you as any one."

"I don't know that there's any necessity for you to go at all if you
don't want to."

"Ah, but you don't know everything."

"Why did you come, then?"

"I'll tell you when we get back again.  Now paddle up to the Bridge of
Sighs."

"How mysterious you are!  But there's no hurry.  Let us go down this
little backwater.  You can't think how jolly it is.  There are shady
trees on one side and a field with daisies and cows and buttercups and
things on the other."

"No thank you, I don't want to go down a backwater.  I want to paddle
down to St. John's and back."

"What for?"

"I shan't tell you yet."

"Then I shan't paddle."

"How tiresome you are, Lucius!  You spoil all my pleasure in your
society."

"You said you didn't take any pleasure in my society just now."

"No more I do.  Now paddle along, there's a good boy."

"Who is that female on the bank taking such an interest in us?"

"She isn't a female.  Don't be rude.  She's one of my particular
friends.  Now go on please."

"What is she doing there?  Why doesn't she go home?"

"She will, when we have been up to the Bridge of Sighs and back, and I
shall go with her.  Now do paddle on and be quick.  I shall get into a
row, you know, if anyone else sees me here."

"I shan't go on until you tell me what all this is about.  Don't get
into a temper.  If you kick the bottom of the boat like that your foot
will go through and we shall both be in the water."

"You really are too provoking, Lucius.  I'll never speak to you again
if you don't go on directly."

Lucius began to paddle on slowly.  "Now, tell me," he said, "why you
wanted to come."

"Well, if you must know, that girl betted me a box of chocolates that I
wouldn't, and I do love them so and I've spent all last quarter's
allowance and can't afford to buy any.  Now do go on, Lucius, there's a
good boy.  We have only got to get up to the Bridge of Sighs and back,
and I shall get them."

Lucius stopped again.  "I don't know that I want you to get them
particularly," he said, "after what you have said about not wanting to
come with me.  Didn't you want to come with me a bit?"

"No, of course not."

"Not a little bit?"

"No."

"Then I shan't go on."

"Oh--oh--oh!  I feel as if I should like to throw something at you."

"Well, why don't you?  Look, there's the girl on the bank grinning at
you.  How pleased she'll be if I let her win."

"Horrid thing, she is!  But I hate you worse still.  I feel as if I
could do anything to you now."

"What, hurt poor little Cousin Lucy?  Oh, Betty, for shame!"

"Well, if you won't go on, turn back then, and I'll get out.  Only I'll
never speak to you again as long as I live."

"I say, Betty, are you very fond of chocolates?"

"Yes, I am, but I wouldn't sit here for another five minutes for all
the chocolates in the world.  Turn round and go back, please."

Lucius put his hand behind his back, and drew out the big box already
mentioned.

"Look here; let's stop and eat these here, while that girl looks on.
Then we'll go up to St. John's and back and you can have hers too."

This plan commended itself to Betty, and she spent a happy ten minutes
while the girl on the bank strolled about and pretended to be admiring
the Chapel of King's and the beautiful College of Clare, which are both
seen to advantage at the point where the canoe had stopped.

There is a time when even Buszard's most expensive confections cease to
charm.  When this time had arrived for Betty, she said, "I don't much
care if I don't get the others now, but I know I shall want them
to-morrow, so paddle on, Lucius.  I'm much more pleased with you now."

"Thank you, Betty," said Lucius, and the canoe proceeded on its way,
under the Clare, Hostel, and Trinity Bridges with the graceful willows
sweeping the water, round the curve where the classical front of the
Trinity library looks severely towards the paddocks and the elms, and
under the wall of the Master of Trinity's garden, where a blossoming
tree showed a mass of delicate pink against the red-tile gables of
Neville's Court, under yet another bridge flanked by the stone eagles
of St. John's, and between the walls of that college until they reached
their goal, the covered bridge, which, through no merit of its own, has
usurped the name of the Bridge of Sighs.

"Thank you," said Betty.  "Now be quick and get back.  What a sell for
that girl! and we haven't met anybody to matter either."

"Plenty of time for that.  We've got to get all the way back again.  I
didn't tell you before, because I thought you would be frightened, but
you remember Dizzy whom you met in my rooms last term when your mother
was up?"

"Yes, I hope he isn't coming out, is he?"

"Well, I'm afraid he is.  It's an old standing engagement; he promised
to row a party of Newnham dons--seven of them--on the Backs this
morning."

For one moment Betty's face blanched with terror.  Then she said, "You
are a donkey, Lucius.  Hurry up, please."

But Lucius wasn't going to hurry up.  He was very well content with his
present position.  Betty reclined opposite to him in a graceful
attitude, the brilliant colour of the Japanese umbrella a setting to
her pretty face.

"Why did you put on that pretty frock?" asked Lucius.

"Because it is so hot; just like summer."

"I know why you put it on."

"Of course you do when I've just told you."

"You put it on because you wanted me to think how pretty you looked in
it."

"I didn't do anything of the sort.  Don't be so silly."

"You do look awfully pretty in it, you know."

"Now, Lucius, if you begin saying that sort of thing I shall get out."

"All right.  The river is shallow here.  It won't come much above your
shoulders."

"Be quiet, and go on."

"I am going on.  I say, Betty!"

"Well?"

"Do you remember those lectures last October term?"

"Yes, pretty well; I've got the notes of them at home if you want them."

"Bother the notes!  Do you remember how regular I was?"

"How should I?  I didn't know you then."

"Oh, you wicked story!  You knew who I was perfectly well, you little
witch, and you let me go on like that for two whole terms without
making a sign.  It was cruel of you."

"Well, did you expect me to stop you in the street and say I was your
cousin, when you had never taken the trouble to call on me?"

"You know I thought you were at Girton.  Father said you were, and
there _is_ someone called German there."

"Yes, and you went to Girton such a lot, didn't you?"

"I could swear now when I think what an idiot I was."

"Then don't do it, please, although I quite agree with you.  And, of
course, you were much too grand to come and see us at Christmas."

"Confound it!  I say, Betty, was it you who got me asked there?"

"I certainly shouldn't think of doing so again.  And it was mother who
asked you last vacation.  I had nothing to do with it."

"Then it _was_ you.  Betty, you are a dar----"

"Now, then, be quiet, please."

"You and John are coming to us in town for a week, directly after term."

"Poor old John.  I wonder whatever he would say if he saw me now!"

They had now passed Clare again, and were gliding slowly along between
the pleasant meadow and the great lawn towards King's bridge.

"I say, Betty," said Lucius, "I don't want to frighten you, but who is
that on the bridge?"

"I should think the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Newnham waiting
for us," answered Betty without turning round.

"No, but really, I do believe it is John."

Betty turned round and saw a man in a straw hat with a green and black
ribbon leaning over the bridge.

"Yes, it is," she said, blushing scarlet, but speaking quite
unconcernedly, "he ought to be working.  I shall blow him up for it."

"Shall we turn round?  He hasn't spotted us yet."

"Turn round?  Whatever for?  You don't suppose I'm frightened of John,
do you?"

"I don't know.  You look rather as if you were."

"Of course I'm not.  But I don't know what he will think, and I should
look so idiotic if I began to explain."

"What about that backwater?"

"Is it very pretty?"

"Yes, very.  Hold your umbrella towards the bridge as we go round the
corner and he won't see you.  I'll pull my hat over my face."

So the canoe glided under the little wooden bridge and into the still,
shaded water beyond.

The other girl, who was still walking about along the river bank, and
had seen it disappear, waited for an hour, and then went away furious,
half intending to report Miss Betty Jermyn to the authorities of her
college.  Directly she had gone, the canoe came sliding out into the
river again.

Betty was speaking.

"I shouldn't much mind if John did see us now, should you, Lucius?"

"Not a bit, darling," answered the happy Lucius.  "But it wasn't John
at all.  I looked when you were holding the umbrella in front of your
face."


Our narrative has dwelt so long on a series of painful and
discreditable events, that it is hoped that the account of how Lucius
and Betty, boy and girl as they were, made up their minds to spend
their lives together, may have dissipated the gloom which the
sympathetic reader will have experienced in following the chequered
career of Mr. Binney.  We must now go back a little and fill up the gap
which we have left between the end of February and the end of April.

And first let us say that the very time Lucius and Betty were cooing
like a pair of young doves in the seclusion of that backwater of the
Cam, which now holds for them more tender memories than any other spot
in the world, Mr. Binney was still in evidence as an undergraduate
member of the University of Cambridge.  Lucius's plea had been
successful.  A week after Mr. Binney's return to Russell Square he had
received a letter from Mr. Rimington, to inform him that he might come
up again at the beginning of the following term, but that the slightest
breach of discipline on his part in the future would mean a sentence of
instant dismissal from which there would be no appeal.

But alas! this letter, welcome as its contents were, did not suffice to
raise Mr. Binney from the despondency into which he had fallen.  After
the receipt of Mrs. Higginbotham's mute but eloquent dismissal he had
passed a week of such black despair that he could never look back upon
it in after life without shuddering.  He had beaten his wings against
the doors of Mrs. Higginbotham's dwelling, but in vain.  There was no
admittance for him.  He had importuned her by post.  His letters
remained unanswered.  He scarcely knew how to bear the hard fate that
he had brought upon himself.  He was all alone in the house, for Lucius
had gone straight from Cambridge to Norfolk, and was now engaged in the
Reverend Mr. Jermyn's pleasant rectory house and garden in laying the
train which eventually culminated in the scene between him and Betty
recounted at the beginning of this chapter.  He would have gone down to
his place of business, but he was ashamed to face his manager and his
clerks.  He thought that every one would know he had been sent down
from Cambridge.

As a matter of fact, this particular event of his University career
never did become known to any but a very few.  Even Mrs. Toller did not
know it, although Mr. Binney was convinced that she must have done, for
she cut him pointedly in Gower Street one afternoon as he crept
miserably along taking a little air and exercise, and audibly
instructed her daughter to do the same, as Mr. Binney raised his hat.

After that he was not surprised to receive a letter from his fellow
deacons of Dr. Toller's chapel requesting him to resign his office,
which he did that day with an added pang of shame, and resolved that,
as he had now made the Baptist community too hot to hold him, he would
become a Wesleyan Methodist, and work his way up to a position of
authority in that body.  He also made up his mind to let the house in
Russell Square, which was far too large for himself and Lucius, and
take a flat in Earl's Court, since Mrs. Higginbotham seemed to be made
of adamant, and there seemed very little chance now of her ever gracing
his establishment.  With all these wrenches in his life, actual and
imminent, it may be imagined that Mr. Binney was not a happy man at
this time.

When Mr. Rimington's letter came, he decided to make one more appeal to
Mrs. Higginbotham.  He told her that he was going back to Cambridge,
and intended to lead a very different life in the future from that of
the past.  Might he nourish a hope that if he did something to make up
for past disgrace, Mrs. Higginbotham would forgive him and smile on him
once more?

To his intense relief and tearful joy Mrs. Higginbotham replied to his
letter.  It appeared that he was not to be debarred from all hope.  But
he was not to be allowed to see Mrs. Higginbotham again until he had
done something definite at Cambridge to atone for his past misconduct.

"I do not mean success in your play-hours, Peter," wrote Mrs.
Higginbotham.  "That you have already attained, and it has been the
means of leading you astray.  Such success as that will never restore
my lost confidence in you.  You must come to be well spoken of by
masters and pupils alike.  You must rise to the top of your classes,
and acquit yourself well in your examinations.  When you have done that
you may come and see me again.  Until then the memory of the dreadful
trouble you have brought upon yourself and upon me, who trusted you,
must abide with me.  I do not wish to load you with reproaches.  Your
own conscience must be a very heavy burden for you to bear.  But I
could not bear to see you with the account that one who shall be
nameless gave me of your conduct and appearances still fresh in my
memory."

Mr. Binney stifled his renewed feelings of remorse and wrote to ask if
the passing of his Little-go in the following June might be considered
a passport to Mrs. Higginbotham's society?  Mrs. Higginbotham replied,
Yes.  If he passed that examination well and behaved immaculately in
the meantime he might consider himself on the old footing with her.  So
Mr. Binney took heart, re-engaged the useful Minshull and retired to
Cornwall for the Easter vacation, where he ploughed away at his studies
so energetically that Minshull held out hopes of his attaining a second
class in one part at least of the examination.

When Lucius paddled his canoe out of the backwater with Betty sitting
opposite to him in a flutter of dimples and happiness, there was
literally no cloud on his horizon.  He had been up at Cambridge now for
three weeks and his father had never once given him occasion to wish
himself away.  Mr. Binney behaved himself irreproachably.  In fact, if
he had kept himself in the background as he was doing now from the time
he had entered the University, Lucius would have had no reason to be
ashamed of him at all.  Even as it was, the contrast of what Mr. Binney
was now and what he had been when he first came up was so great that
the relief felt by Lucius almost made up for the distress he had
previously undergone.  Mr. Binney as a subject for discussion had
somewhat lost interest by this time, and Lucius lived much in the same
way as he would have done if his father had never come to Cambridge.
Mr. Binney, whose nature was elastic, had recovered a little of his
self-importance now that he had nothing to fear from outraged
officialdom, and was rather inclined to patronise his son, and
generally to assume the high parental air with which he had treated him
before his own arrival in Cambridge.

But Lucius, whose appeal had saved his father from expulsion, took it
all in excellent part, and was only too thankful that things were not
worse.  He could have borne a great deal more and thought nothing of it
now that Betty had at last allowed him to put to her the all-important
question, and had given him the answer he wanted.  He whistled gaily as
he walked up to his rooms from the river and thought himself the
luckiest fellow in the world.

At the entrance to Whewell's Court he met Dizzy.

"I've done it, old man," he said with a beaming face.  "You're the
first person I've told about it."

"Then I'm sure I'm extremely flattered," answered Dizzy, "although I
haven't the slightest notion what you're talking about."

"I'm going to be married, Dizzy," said Lucius.  "Will you be my best
man?"

"Well, I'm going to play racquets at two," said Dizzy.  "If you could
put it off till to-morrow perhaps I could----"

"No, but really, Ben, I asked Betty this morning, and it's all right."

"My dear old man," said Dizzy, grasping him warmly by the hand, while a
bright smile lit up his ingenuous features, "I couldn't have been
better pleased if I'd done it myself!"



CHAPTER XVI

THIRD TRINITY MAKES A BUMP

There never was such a little man as Mr. Binney for getting knocked
down flat and picking himself up again as cocky as ever.  Lucius's
announcement of his engagement to his cousin Betty brought him to his
feet as pompous as if he had never been fined by a Proctor or rebuked
by a Dean.

"I never heard of such a thing," he said indignantly.  "Getting engaged
to be married at your age!  Why, it's ridiculous.  I won't have it.
That's flat."

"What won't you have, father?" asked Lucius.  "You can't stop my being
engaged to her, you know.  That's over and done with."

"It is not over and done with, sir," said Mr. Binney.  "The engagement,
if there is one, must be broken off."

"Why?" asked Lucius.

"Because I say so," said his father.

"You ought to give me a reason," said Lucius.  "I'm not a child.  I
love her and she loves me.  Why shouldn't we be married?  Of course I
don't mean now, but in two years' time or so, when you make me a
partner in the business."

"You'll never be a partner in the business," said Mr. Binney, "if you
persist in this folly.  You're a boy and she's a girl, and I won't have
it.  It's ridiculous."

"Of course she's a girl.  I shouldn't want to marry her if she were an
old woman," said Lucius.  "If you can't give me any better reason than
that, father, I don't think you're treating me fairly."

Mr. Binney laid down the law for half-an-hour or so longer.  He did not
produce a better reason for refusing his sanction to the engagement,
not having a better one to produce, unless he had told Lucius that he
was objecting simply for the pleasure of asserting his authority, which
was about the long and short of it.  Lucius left him at last, somewhat
dispirited, and sought the society of Dizzy, his friend.

"Governor won't hear of it," he said, laconically, as he threw himself
into an easy chair.

"Why not?" asked Dizzy.

"Wants to show his independence, I fancy," said Lucius.  "He talked a
powerful lot of rot.  Told me he'd turn me out of the house if I didn't
break it off."

"Oh, he'll come round," said Dizzy encouragingly.  "I know his little
ways.  You stick to it.  You'll find yourself settled in a
semi-detached villa at Brixton in a twelve-month, bringing home a
basket of fish for dinner, and making a row about the water-rate.
It'll turn out right in the end.  You see if it don't."

"I don't see much chance of it," said Lucius despondently.  "The
governor swears he won't allow me enough to marry on for five years at
least.  I've a good mind to take to gambling and try and pick up a bit
that way."

"Rub your eyes, old man," said Dizzy.  "This is Cambridge.  It isn't a
novel by Alan St. Aubyn, although you _are_ in love with a Newnham
girl, and the first fellow I've ever known up here who's gone anywhere
near it.  Not that they're not regular toppers, some of them," he added
hastily, anxious to clear himself from any suspicion of being wanting
in chivalry.  "But that sort of thing don't happen, as they say in the
play.  And that's all about it."

"Well, it's happened with me," said Lucius.  "And I'm pretty well down
in the mouth about it."

"Look here," said Dizzy.  "Shall I go and tackle your old governor?  I
daresay he'd listen to me."

Lucius laughed.  "I won't stop you," he said, "but it won't be any
good."

"We'll see," said Dizzy.  "I'll go at once."

When Lucius left his father, Mr. Binney began to turn over in his mind
the news he had received.  He was not really displeased at it now he
came to think it over.  Betty Jermyn was a very charming girl, and
there was no objection to her on the score of blood relationship, for
her mother had only been a second cousin of his wife's.  They were both
very young, it is true, certainly too young to marry yet; but then they
did not want to marry yet.  As far as money was concerned, Mr. Binney
fully intended to take Lucius into partnership with him in two or three
years' time.  And even if the girl should prove to be penniless, as was
probable, Lucius would have quite enough to marry on directly he gave
him a share in the business.  At this point in his ruminations Dizzy
entered the room.

"Ah, Mr. Binney!" he said.  "I thought I'd just look you up as I was
passing.  How's the work getting on?"

"Very well, thank you, Stubbs," replied Mr. Binney, with a pre-occupied
air.  "Have you heard anything about this nonsense between Lucius and
his cousin?"

"What, Miss Jermyn?" asked Dizzy.  "Yes.  I did hear they were thinking
of getting married or something of that sort.  I didn't take much
notice of it."

"Then you don't think Lucius is in earnest about it?"

"Oh, I wouldn't say that.  I should say he was in devilish deep
earnest."

"Now, look here, Stubbs," said Mr. Binney.  "Don't you think it's a
very ridiculous thing a boy not much over twenty getting engaged to be
married?"

"Well, if you ask me for a plain answer, I can't say I do.  I believe
in early marriages myself.  It don't come so hard on the children.  Now
look at my case.  My old governor didn't marry till he was past fifty.
What's the consequence?  When I go down from this place and want to go
about a bit and amuse myself, I shall have to sit by his bedside and
hold his hand.  I'm fond of my old governor, but it isn't good enough."

"That is a point, certainly," said Mr. Binney, thoughtfully.

"Yes, and look at the other side of the question," continued Dizzy.
"You married young yourself, I take it, and here you are at the prime
of life with a son old enough to be a companion to you.  Old enough!
Why, bless me, you're the younger of the two, and that's a fact."

Mr. Binney was very much impressed by this argument.  "There is a good
deal in what you say, Stubbs," he remarked.  "I don't want to be hard
on the boy, of course, and I've no objection to the girl personally.
She seems a very nice girl, what little I've seen of her."

"Oh, _she's_ all right.  She's a topper," said Dizzy.

"Of course I've got to keep up my authority, you know," pursued Mr.
Binney.  "It won't do to slack the rein yet awhile."

"By George, no," said Dizzy.  "I should be a whale on parental
authority myself if I were in your place.  Still, I don't think you'll
find Lucius disposed to question your decision.  He told me himself he
had the utmost faith in your judgment and should follow your advice
whatever it might cost him."

"Did he really tell you that?" inquired Mr. Binney, somewhat surprised.

"Well, he didn't put it quite in that way," admitted Dizzy.  "But
that's about what it came to."

"Then if he feels like that about it," said Mr. Binney, "I shall put no
further obstacles in his path.  He's a good boy, Lucius, and I'm
pleased with him."

"He's got a good father," said Dizzy.  "That's about the size of it,"
and he took himself off to inform Lucius that he had managed everything
for him in a perfectly satisfactory manner.

Mr. Binney had asserted his authority and was content.  Subject to the
approval of Betty's parents, she and Lucius were allowed to consider
themselves engaged, with the prospect of marriage when Lucius should
reach the age of twenty-three.  Mr. and Mrs. Jermyn made no objections.
Lucius had made himself very popular in the Norfolk rectory, and he was
a good match for their daughter from a worldly point of view.  He went
about Cambridge for the rest of that term in the seventh heaven of
happiness.

A few days after Lucius's future had been satisfactorily settled for
him, Mr. Binney had occasion to call on his Tutor.  He now no longer
looked upon this as an ordeal.  The sternest official critic could have
found no flaw in his behaviour during that part of the term that was
past, and he had no intention of giving any occasion for complaint
during the remainder of his residence in Cambridge.  He could hold up
his head before anybody, and entered the Tutor's presence with an air
of conscious worth.

Mr. Rimington received him pleasantly and attended to the business upon
which Mr. Binney had come.  "I hope you are feeling happy amongst us
now that things are going more smoothly, Mr. Binney," he said as he
blotted the paper in front of him.

"Thank you," said Mr. Binney, "University life is full of interest to
those who know how to value it."

Mr. Rimington looked at him and smiled.  "You have found out how to
value it now, have you?" he asked.

"Certainly," said Mr. Binney.  "I hope, sir, that you do not intend to
allude to past mistakes.  I should resent such remarks on your part."

"Oh, not at all," said Mr. Rimington hastily, "we have had no cause to
complain of you this term, Mr. Binney, and I have no wish to remind you
of what is over and done with.  I hope you are getting on well with
your work."

"I expect to take a first in both parts of the examination," said Mr.
Binney, rising.  "Good-morning, sir."

As the summer term passed quickly away with its feverish work and its
incessant pleasures, for it is the term when examinations closely
jostle its crowded gaieties, Mr. Binney found himself nearing two
important events.  In one week about the beginning of June he was to go
in for both parts of his Little-go, and at the end of it to steer the
First Trinity first boat in the May races.  With regard to his
examination, he felt confident of acquitting himself well.  That he was
over-confident was shown by his boast to Mr. Rimington, for it is not
out of material such as himself that first classes are made, even in
the most elementary examination that Cambridge affords.  But he had
worked so hard that he was certain of passing, and he looked forward
with trembling hope to a renewal of his intercourse with Mrs.
Higginbotham as a reward of his success.  In being chosen to steer the
representative oarsmen of First Trinity he had been extremely
fortunate.  When he had so disgraced himself in the previous term after
the success of his boat in the Lent races, Mirrilees had sworn that he
should never again steer a boat with which he had anything to do.  But
one of the coxswains tried for the first boat had fallen ill, others
had proved unsatisfactory, and by the middle of term, by which time Mr.
Binney had already proved that his manner of life would be innocuous
for the future, Mirrilees had relented, and he was installed in the
proud position that he so coveted.  Trinity Hall was the head boat on
the river, First Trinity was second, and Third Trinity was behind them.
All three were considered equally good, and no one could safely
prophesy what the result of the races would be so far as they were
concerned.  The Hall men laughed at the idea of losing their place; the
First Trinity men expected to bump them, and said so; while Third
Trinity kept quiet, but expected to find themselves in the second place
if not head of the river by the time the races were over.

Lucius was rowing bow in the Third Trinity boat, and his quiet
confidence that Third were a better crew than First exasperated Mr.
Binney, who wouldn't hear of it.

"Don't talk such nonsense," he said in an annoyed tone, when Lucius
ventured to advance the opinion that Third would finish head of the
river and First second.  "We shall row away from you, and catch the
Hall at Ditton on the first night."

"We shall see," said Lucius calmly.

"No, we shall not see, sir," said Mr. Binney angrily.  "I mean we
_shall_ see.  And we shall see that I am right."  He had quite
recovered his bombastic tone, only he had learnt by bitter experience
to quell it, except when addressing his son, who was too good-tempered
to resent it.

Betty, of course, showed the utmost interest in the prospects of the
Third Trinity crew.  She was delighted when she heard that they were to
row behind the boat which was to be steered by Mr. Binney, for she
still maintained a deep-rooted prejudice against her future
father-in-law, in spite of the welcome he had given her as Lucius's
intended bride.  "If they bump them, and I see it," she said to one of
her friends, the girl from whom she had won the box of chocolate
creams, "I think I shall scream with joy.  Oh, won't cousin Peter's
face be worth seeing when he has to hold up his hand and acknowledge he
has been beaten.  I'd give worlds to see it."

"You show a very vindictive spirit," said her friend.

Mr. Binney's time was fully occupied between putting the finishing
touches to his reading, and his work on the river.  He had almost
entirely dropped out of the social side of University life.  Although
his wings had been clipped, and he would now have been a quite harmless
companion, the men with whom he might have associated, had he behaved
differently when he first came up, still looked rather shyly on him;
and he had entirely dropped the society of men like Howden, for he had
learnt such a lesson that he would have been almost frightened of
results if one of them had even come into his rooms.  Indeed, the poor
little man led a very dull life, and when he had time to think about
it, on Sundays perhaps, or for half-an-hour after his work was done,
and before he went to bed, he often asked himself what was the use of
his staying up at Cambridge at all, since so much of what he had hoped
to gain from the place seemed to have been an illusive dream.  He had
lost his Martha, at any rate for the present, and in his moments of
insight he could not disguise from himself the fact that he was
unpopular, although he endeavoured to carry off the conviction with an
added bumptiousness of manner which did not endear him to those with
whom he came in contact.  He would probably have made up his mind to
leave Cambridge after this term, when he would have passed one
examination and attained to a considerable measure of success on the
river, but one consideration deterred him.  He hoped to be chosen to
steer the University boat in the following spring, and on the chance of
having that ambition realised he would have stayed on at Cambridge if
everyone in the place had cut him.

June came and brought the roses, and with them the anxieties of
Triposes and all the multitude of lesser examinations.  Mr. Binney went
in for the Little-go.  All day long he sat at a narrow desk in the Corn
Exchange, that classical building which the University of Cambridge
periodically hires for the purpose of putting her sons through their
facings, and wrote assiduously, only leaving off now and again to gaze
up at the roof with an expression of agonised effort, or to rest his
brain for a minute by idly reading the names on the corn dealers'
lockers which lined the walls.  On these occasions he would find his
thoughts wandering off to business affairs, for the corn dealers' names
meant considerably more to Mr. Binney than to the other few hundred
undergraduates who attained a short-lived familiarity with them during
those few days of effort.  But when he found his thoughts slipping he
would bring them back with a frown and wrestle eagerly with his
translations and his problems, for the card nailed on to the desk
before him reminded him that he was "Binney of Trinity," and that Peter
Binney of the Whitechapel Road must be ignored at least for the next
few days.

The examination lasted from the beginning of the week until Friday, and
the May races began on that day.  The hotels and lodgings throughout
the town gradually filled up with ladies, old and young, plain and
pretty, amiable and perhaps ill-tempered, although the smiling faces
one met in all the streets might have given the impression that all the
bad-tempered ladies had been left at home.  But Mr. Binney took very
little notice of the change.  By day he slaved in the Corn Exchange.
After his afternoon's work was over he went out with his crew on the
river.  In the evening he looked up his subjects for the following day
and went to bed early with his mind full of books and boats.  Even Mrs.
Higginbotham retired into the background of his mind, and other things
were forgotten entirely.  By the time the examination was over Mr.
Binney was rather despondent.  He had done fairly well, but not so well
as he had expected.  But he remembered a saying of his coach: "If you
think you have done _rather_ badly you may have done well.  If you
think you have done _very_ badly, you probably have."  He knew he had
not done very badly, so he took heart, dismissed the Little-go from his
mind entirely, and threw himself heart and soul into anticipations of
success in the races.  We have already described the gay scene on the
river bank at Ditton Corner in the May races, and one bumping race is
very much like another; so the experiences of Mr. Binney, when he had
steered in the previous Lent races, were not unlike those he underwent
in the Mays.  Of course he was now in a much more important position,
and his appearance in the coxswain's seat of the First Trinity boat, as
the First Division rowed down to the starting-point, never failed to
cause a flutter of amusement and inquiry to go through the waiting
crowd at Ditton Corner, which brought a blush to the cheek of Betty
Jermyn, who was generally to be found in a boat or on the bank, in a
position from which she could see everything that was going on.

She did not waste much time, however, on the contemplation of Mr.
Binney, in his dark blue coat and speckled straw hat, for in the bows
of the boat just in front of him, as they rowed down in reversed order,
was a slim muscular figure whose eyes eagerly sought the crowded ranks
of the onlookers as the crews rested for a minute on their oars before
they went swinging round the bend to their stations.  Betty was very
proud of her lover then, for even her inexperienced eyes could see that
the grace and ease with which he rowed were something to be admired,
and poor little Mr. Binney sank still lower in her esteem as he gave
the words of command "Get ready all!  Forward all!  Are you ready?
Paddle!" which was the signal for his boat to move on.

On the first night of the races there was no change in the position of
the three head boats.  Third Trinity drew up to First at Ditton Corner,
but then fell away and finished at about their distance.  First Trinity
gained on the Hall, but never got within a length of them.  Mr. Binney
steered with great judgment, and was told that he could not have done
better, but he was disappointed at not catching the head boat and a
little alarmed at Third Trinity having come so close to them during the
early part of the race.

"They always bustle up like that at first," said Mirrilees, to whom he
confided his tremors.  "We shall keep away from them all right, and I
hope we shall catch the Hall to-morrow."

Mr. Binney was comforted, but on the next night Third not only got to
within a length of them at Grassy Corner but hustled them right up the
Long Reach and very nearly caught them at the railway bridge.  This
pursuit seemed, however, to have increased their own pace, for it drove
them right on to Trinity Hall, whom they very nearly succeeded in
bumping.  All three boats passed the winning post overlapping, but if
Mr. Binney had made a shot at the head boat he would almost certainly
have missed it, and the boat behind would almost as certainly have run
into them.

He was warmly congratulated on his presence of mind by the Captain, but
he went home to his rooms by no means at ease, for he now saw plainly
that Third Trinity were just as likely to bump First as First Trinity
were to catch Trinity Hall.  He was as keenly anxious as any member of
his crew to go head of the river, and he felt that not only to fail in
that object but to be taken down a place instead would be more than he
could bear.

It was characteristic of Mr. Binney, as may already have been gathered,
to throw himself heart and soul into what he happened to be doing for
the moment.  He had entirely dismissed all thoughts of his late
examination from his mind, and even Mrs. Higginbotham scarcely entered
his thoughts during the whole of the next day, which was a Sunday, as
he walked or sat and went over, in his mind all the events of the last
two races and the probabilities of those that were to come.  He was
alone all day, for he now had very few friends, and Sunday was for
Lucius a happy day spent mostly in Betty's charming society.  So Mr.
Binney brooded, and by-and-bye dark thoughts began to enter his mind.

During the progress of Saturday's race, when First Trinity had been
chased all the way up the Long Reach by Third, Mr. Binney had cast one
fleeting glance behind him, and had seen the little indiarubber ball on
the nose of the Third Trinity boat within a few inches of his own
rudder, while the back of his son was swinging regularly and steadily
behind it.  An unreasoning anger and jealousy had taken hold of his
mind.  It was as much as he could do to prevent himself from shouting
out to Lucius to ask him where he was coming to.  It seemed to him an
intolerable thing that he should be prevented from gaining something
that he wanted by the action of his own son, and the more he thought of
it the more intolerable it seemed.  He had only to say a word to
Lucius, and Third Trinity would keep away from him, for it was quite
certain that if one man in the boat "sugared" they would have no chance
of making a bump.

Should he say that word?  That was the black thought that held Mr.
Binney in its grip during the whole of that pleasant June Sunday, when
Cambridge was full of life and gaiety, and he only wandered about
lonely and distraught.  It would not be sportsman-like behaviour
certainly, but Mr. Binney had not been brought up to be a sportsman,
and the iniquity of the proceeding did not strike him very forcibly.
It also never entered his head that Lucius would disobey his behests if
he brought pressure to bear on him.  Lucius was entirely dependent on
his father, and could be threatened with being immediately taken away
from Cambridge if he refused to do what he was told.  Mr. Binney had
worried himself into such a fever of desire that he could not bring
himself to look upon his possible defeat with the slightest equanimity.
He would have preferred that his boat should go head of the river on
the merits of its crew, but rather than not go head at all, he was
prepared to take any steps that would bring about what he desired.

But the morning light happily brought better counsels.  He dismissed
his half-formed intention of tampering with a member of the Third
Trinity crew, and went down to the river with renewed hopes.

The First Trinity men rowed like heroes and got up to the head boat at
Ditton Corner.  Third were pressing them hard, but lost a little by bad
steering.

The shouts from the bank were deafening.  Mr. Binney lost his head and
made shot after shot.  If he had waited, his crew would have made their
bump.  But in the meantime they lost ground, and Third was creeping up
again.

Mr. Binney turned round in his seat and saw a long sharp point with a
little ball at the end of it dancing gaily past his rudder.  Behind it
was the back of his son, swinging regularly.

"Keep off!" roared Mr. Binney, and made another dab at the Head boat.
Then he turned round again.  The little ball was within reach of him,
and behind it was Lucius rowing more vigorously than ever.  Mr. Binney
was aware of the ball and the back, and nothing else in all the world.

He lost his head completely and turned round in his seat, half rising,
pulling his right rudder line, and so crammed his boat right on to the
high bank under the tow-path.

"Catch a crab, or you go down to-morrow," he shrieked to Lucius.

The next moment, he could never recall how, he found himself
floundering in the river, in an inextricable confusion of boats, oars,
and shouting, struggling humanity.  He could not swim.  As he rose to
the surface the blade of an oar hit him on the head.  He went down
again, and gave himself over, but when he came up the second time he
felt himself grasped by the collar of his blazer.  "Don't kick!" gasped
the voice of his son.  "I'll get you out."

When he was hauled on to the tow-path, panting and dripping, he turned
round on Lucius in a fury: "What do you mean by it?  It was your
fault," he shrieked.  "You'll go down! you'll go down!"

Mirrilees, dripping from head to foot, with a slimy weed clinging round
his leg, shouldered his way through the crowd.

"Hold your tongue, you little beast, or I'll pitch you into the river
again," he said.

Other things happened to Mr. Binney that evening, of which he does not
now speak--some of them on his way to the First Trinity boat-house,
some of them when he got there, others as he made his way for the last
time to his rooms in Jesus Lane, and others again before he found
himself in the train on his way to London, having shaken the dust of
Cambridge from his feet for ever.

The next night Third Trinity bumped Trinity Hall and went head of the
river.  First Trinity were badly steered by the coxswain who had been
put into Mr. Binney's place, and succumbed to Jesus.



CHAPTER XVII

MR. BINNEY DRINKS THE HEALTH OF A "BLUE"

Nine months had passed and the nipping March winds were raising the
dust and numbing noses and finger-tips in London, while March sunshine
was bringing out daffodils and primroses in the country.  It was very
cold on the river Thames between Putney and Mortlake, but the sun was
shining brightly, and a little party on the deck of a steamer, which
was making its way with other similar craft to a station near Barnes
Bridge, seemed to be quite unaffected in spirits by the keen east wind,
for it was the morning of the Oxford and Cambridge boat race.  The
party on the steamer were all interested in the prospects of one
University, but the two crews were so equal that none of the sporting
critics had ventured to prophesy the winner in clear and unmistakable
terms, and everybody looked forward to seeing one of the best races
that had been rowed for years.

Surely that short but erect figure, standing in the bows, with a First
Trinity scarf showing above the collar of its overcoat and the ruddy
glow of health in its cheeks, can belong to no one but Mr. Peter
Binney, late of Trinity College, Cambridge!  And that ample comfortable
form on the seat beside him with a fur-lined cloak and a close-fitting
bonnet, well-secured against the wind, must be that of his true and
loyal wife, Martha Binney, relict of the late Matthew Higginbotham.
Here also are the Reverend Dr. Toller with his wife and daughter, for
Mr. Binney still lives in Russell Square, and is once more a valued and
important official in the doctor's congregation.  Here also are Mr. and
Mrs. Jermyn with their son and daughter, the latter attended by the
loquacious Dizzy, while John Jermyn sticks close to the side of Nesta
Toller, rather to the dismay of Mrs. Jermyn, who, charitable woman as
she is, has not taken kindly to that young lady's mother, and is not at
all anxious that this acquaintanceship which has been made under Mr.
Binney's hospitable roof should develop into intimacy.  There are other
people on the boat which has been chartered by Mr. Binney for the
entertainment of his friends, but we need not concern ourselves with
them.  There is one very important person, however, of those with whom
our story has concerned itself, who is not to be found there.  Surely
Lucius, and not Dizzy, entertaining as that gentleman's conversation
is, should be found by the side of Betty Jermyn!  And by her side
Lucius certainly would be, if duty and honour did not call him
elsewhere.  For Lucius has occupied the bow seat of the Cambridge boat
ever since they went into practice, and is even now, as Mr. Binney's
steamer makes its way up the crowded river, preparing to help launch
the frail shell which all those in whom we are interested confidently
hope will soon bear him to victory.

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Binney are alone for a time in the bows of the
steamer.  Let us join them, and listen to their conversation.

"See what an interest the world takes in this historic contest," Mr.
Binney is saying, waving his hand round towards the river dotted with
craft all moving the same way, and the banks lined with a dense,
holiday-making mass.  "It makes you proud of being able to call
yourself a 'Varsity man."

"Yes, indeed," answers his wife.  "And to think of Lucius actually
taking part in it!  I feel as proud as anything of the dear boy."

"So do I," says Mr. Binney heartily.  "There was a time when I should
have been jealous of him.  But that is all over and done with.  I've
put such things behind me.  Here am I, settled down comfortably with a
devoted and charming wife.  I can take life gratefully now as it comes,
and be just as proud of my boy distinguishing himself as if I had done
it myself."

"That's the way to look at it, Peter," says Mrs. Binney.  "We made a
mistake in thinking it was necessary for you to go to Cambridge in
order to keep young.  It's love that keeps the heart young, and so
we've found, haven't we?"

"Indeed we have, Martha," says Mr. Binney.  "Ah!  Shall I ever forget
what you did for me in that dark time of illness and remorse?  Shall I
ever forget reaching home that morning, racked with anguish at the
thought of the ingratitude I had displayed towards my noble-hearted
son, and the remembrance of the awful punishment I had received for my
rash folly?  How I sat indoors brooding over the past, feeling wretched
and miserable, without hope or comfort.  How the next day I was too ill
to get up, and by night time was mercifully beyond the reach of my
remorseful thoughts, because of the severe attack of pneumonia, which
the exposure and distress I had gone through had brought on.  How I lay
for days, tossing and burning on a couch of misery, and woke at last to
find your cool hand stilling the throbbing of my burning brain, and
your angel voice falling in words of balm on my distressed and fevered
spirit.

"Yes, dear," says his wife as Mr. Binney pauses for breath, "and then
you soon got better, didn't you?"

"Shall I ever forget," pursues Mr. Binney more energetically than ever,
"how, when I came again to the realisation of all the many follies I
had committed, you soothed and consoled me, how you brought my boy to
me, and neither of you would listen to my broken cries of repentance,
but gave me calves' foot jelly and grapes instead, and insisted upon
carrying on a cheerful conversation?  How you brought me the news of my
success in the Little-go, which was greater than I deserved, but less
than I expected; and finally, Martha, how you made me the happy man I
am to-day by promising to become mine when I had sufficiently
recovered, on the condition that I should leave Cambridge and settle
down once more to my business."

"Yes, dear, and now we're all comfortable and happy," says Mrs. Binney.
"I made mistakes too, Peter, as well as you, but they're all over now.
And----"

"Well, Mrs. Binney," interrupts a well-known voice, "this is something
like, eh?  I don't know whether you know that if you've got any
microbes or things of that sort in your system a wind like this blows
'em all away."

"I didn't know it, Mr. Stubbs," says Mrs. Binney, with a pleasant
smile.  "But I have no doubt the wind is a very good thing if only it
wouldn't blow all one's hair about one's face so?"

"Ah, dear lady!" says Dizzy, "you may consider yourself lucky you've
got any hair _to_ be blown about.  Now look at the top of _my_ old
pepper-box.  I haven't had to use a comb for a year, and I shall soon
be able to part my hair with a towel.  You wouldn't like to be like
that, would you?"

"No," says Mrs. Binney.  "But you are very young to be going so bald,
Mr. Stubbs.  What do you attribute it to?"

It appears that Dizzy attributes his growing baldness to hard work and
care combined, but just as he is explaining this to the sympathetic
Mrs. Binney the steamer shuts off steam and is turned and backed with a
good deal of commotion into her berth just by Barnes Bridge.

There is another hour to wait, but the time goes by somehow.  The party
stamp about the deck and huddle themselves up in coats and cloaks to
keep themselves warm, and by-and-bye a muffled roar from a mile away
down the river, warns them that the boats are drawing near.  The roar
deepens and increases, and by-and-bye, leaning over the rail of the
steamer, they can see the rhythmic flash of oars in the sunshine, and
nearer and nearer come the two boats, with the Umpire's launch fussing
along just behind them, and the four steamers which follow the race in
the background, the Cambridge steamer--_absit omen!_--some way behind
the rest.  Now they are alongside, and a mighty cheer goes up from all
the throats in Mr. Binney's steamer as they pass, and Cambridge is seen
to be leading by half a length.  Just here Oxford makes a spurt, and
creeps up level.  Cambridge answers it, and on they go under Barnes
Bridge, fighting every inch of the way, as they have done ever since
the starting gun sent them off like greyhounds from the leash, four
miles down the river at Putney.

Our party spends five minutes of breathless expectation, after boats
and following steamers have passed out of sight, and then another
cheer, louder than the first, goes up as the light blue flag slowly
unfurls itself from the flag-staff at the finish of the course, and the
dark blue is run up underneath it.  Then mutually congratulating one
another with every expression of delight and fulfilled expectation, our
party steam away down the river, very well pleased with their
afternoon's amusement.


On the night of the boat race Lucius dined with the crews; but while he
was by no means a drag on the hilarity of the proceedings, and may be
said on the whole to have enjoyed himself, he often found himself
wishing that he was at home in Russell Square, where Betty was.  He had
declined the invitation he had received to the "Blue Monday" dinner, as
Mr. Binney had announced his intention of exercising his hospitality on
that evening in honour of the distinction Lucius had gained in rowing
in the winning University crew.  The company was the same as that which
had graced Mr. Binney's board in the Easter vacation a year before,
with the exception of Miss Tupper, who had not entered the house since
Mrs. Higginbotham had taken her place there, and with the addition of
Mrs. Jermyn, Betty, and John.  The Reverend Julius Jermyn had returned
to his parish at Norfolk directly after the boat race on the previous
Saturday.  The Tollers would not have been there had not Mrs. Toller
practically asked herself.  She was sweetness itself in her intercourse
with Mrs. Binney, but although her claws were sheathed they were not
cut, and were likely to spring out at a moment's warning if she were
offended, and Mrs. Binney had wisely given in at once, and warmly
proffered the invitation which was being fished for.  Mrs. Toller could
not come without her husband, and Nesta had been asked in order to fill
up.

Mr. Binney took in Mrs. Jermyn.  It was known that Mrs. Toller would
resent this, but she was placed on her host's left, having been paired
off with Dizzy, to whom she had taken a great fancy, and smiled sweetly
as she took her seat after the Doctor's extempore grace.  Lucius was
allowed to take in Betty, and sat between her and her mother.  Next to
Betty came Dr. Toller on Mrs. Binney's left.  On the other side of the
table was John Jermyn, who had been made happy with Nesta Toller, with
Dizzy and Mrs. Toller next to them.  The table was decorated with
Lucius's silver cups, standing on an artistically crinkled square of
light blue silk.  The menus, adorned with appropriate aquatic emblems
and the arms of the two Universities, had been ordered expressly from
Messrs. Breedon & Co., and were quite in the orthodox Cambridge style.

"Very pretty," said Mrs. Toller, examining hers when she had settled
herself.  "One might almost imagine oneself transported to Cambridge,
Mr. Stubbs.  Quite delightful, is it not?"

"Yes," said Dizzy, "although to tell you the truth, I'm getting a bit
tired of Cambridge."

"Oh! but I thought young men never got tired of University life," said
Mrs. Toller.  "I have always heard that it was so very attractive.  I'm
sure you found it so, didn't you, Mr. Binney?"

But Mr. Binney was engaged with Mrs. Jermyn and affected not to have
heard the inquiry.

"It's all very well for a bit," said Dizzy, "but when a fellow gets my
age he wants to settle down and do something."

"Oh! come," said Mrs. Toller, "you're not so old as all that, Mr.
Stubbs."

"Not in years perhaps," said Dizzy.  "But I assure you that in other
things Methuselah was a babe compared with me.  I sometimes sit and
look at fellows amusing themselves, and I say to myself: 'Well, you are
a set o' Jugginses.  Call this life!  Why, you ought all to be in the
nursery!'  However, I've only got one more term and the whole thing
will be over."

"And what are you going to do when you leave the University?" asked
Mrs. Toller.  "Are you still thinking of entering the Church?"

"Oh! bless me, no," said Dizzy.  "That's off.  My old father got a bit
frightened, when these Kensit Johnnies began bally-ragging all over the
place.  He's a far-sighted old fellow.  He saw that if I got shoved
into a comfortable living and then they went and disestablished it or
something, I should get left."

"Have you ever turned your attention to the Nonconformist ministry?"
inquired Mrs. Toller.

"No, I can't say I have," replied Dizzy.  "Is there much in it?"

"The incomes made by our leading men are superior to anything in the
Establishment," said Mrs. Toller.  "Our people have been taught to
give."

"_Have_ they?" said Dizzy, with interest.  "Well now, that's worth
knowing.  I'll put my old governor on to that.  If you hear of a soft
thing going, I shall consider it very kind of you if you'll drop me a
line.  One's got to keep one's eyes skinned to pick up a living
now-a-days.  We're getting ready for the bar now, to tell you the
truth.  My old father was dining with a railway fellow down our way,
and he told him that they spent I forget how many thousands a year on
litigation.  My governor's a cute old bird, and he thought it wouldn't
be a bad thing if I could pick up a bit of it, so I've been eating
dinners at Lincoln's Inn for the last year or so, and previous poor
dinners they are too.  I don't think I shall take to it much.  In fact,
the governor's been dropping hints about diplomacy lately.  It seems
he's found out from the papers that the people ain't over and above
pleased with the way things have been carried on by the ambassadors
we've got now, and he thinks there might be a chance there in a few
years' time.  I don't much care what it is.  I suppose I shall keep
going somehow."

Lucius and Betty were talking quietly together on the other side of the
table.

"Only two more years," Lucius was saying.  "Won't it be ripping, Betty,
when we're settled down in a house of our own?"

"I don't think we shall ever have a better time than we've had for the
last year at Cambridge," said Betty.  "And think of another summer term
there together."

Lucius's face lit up.  "There's nothing like a summer term at Cambridge
when the girl you're in love with is there," he said.  "We'll go on the
Backs in a canoe every fine afternoon.  I say, Betty, do you remember
that backwater?"

"Of course I do, you silly boy," said Betty.  "I haven't forgiven you
yet for getting me to go up it on false pretences.  I'll see that you
don't get me there again though."

"I'll take particular good care that I do," said Lucius.  "I like that
backwater better than any place in Cambridge.  Betty, what shall you do
when I've gone down?"

"I know I shall be very miserable," said Betty, her face falling.  "But
don't let us talk about that.  We shall have another summer term
together."

Dr. Toller was making himself pleasant to his hostess.  He was an
agreeable man when he succeeded in banishing from his mind "the
Problems that confront the Age," and brought himself down to the level
of those who are content to let the Age worry along in its own way
without making too much noise about it.  Mrs. Binney, at the head of
her own table, was an attractive figure in a gown of rich black silk,
festooned with hangings of lace, and smiled engagingly at the Doctor's
conversation.

"Yes, Doctor," she said, in answer to a remark from him, "I feel I am a
very fortunate woman.  I have a comfortable house and the best of
husbands.  Peter is consideration itself to all my little whims, and I
assure you I have a great many whims.  There was a time when I feared
that this happiness would never come to me.  You know all about it and
were very kind to me when I thought it my duty to cut myself off from
all these bright prospects.  I am thankful that that trouble passed
away and I was not compelled to spend the rest of my life by myself.
There is the closest confidence between me and my husband.  He is of a
sanguine disposition, and I think I may say that any weight of
character I may have attained to--and you know, Doctor, I am a weighty
woman in more ways than one--keeps the balance true.  There is not a
happier couple in all Bloomsbury than Peter and myself, and you know
that in marrying him I have gained a son, which is a great joy to me,
for I never had a child of my own.  Lucius treats me with the greatest
respect and affection, and I could not be fonder of him than if he were
my own.  I am as proud as anyone of his success to-day.  Cambridge has
not proved an unmixed source of pleasure to me, as you know, but I have
seldom performed a more agreeable duty than when I arranged this light
blue silk on the table this afternoon with my own hands.  Anything that
I can do towards making the dear boy's life happy with the sweet girl
he is going to marry I _shall_ do, as if they were my own children, and
consider myself fortunate in being permitted to do."

If Mrs. Binney could speak in such terms of gratitude of the new life
she had entered upon, what words could be too strong for her husband to
use in describing his content in having gained as his helpmate that
most estimable woman.  She was the theme on which he was expatiating to
Mrs. Jermyn while the conversations already recorded were going on
around him.

"Nobody knows," Mr. Binney was saying, "what that woman has been to me.
She has stuck by me in sickness and in health, when I was working at
the business to which I was brought up, and when I was trying to do
something that I oughtn't have tried to do.  You know all about that,
Elizabeth, so I don't mind mentioning it to you, although it's all over
now.  I can't say that I'm altogether sorry to have had the mental
training that University life affords.  Nobody can deny that there's a
difference between a man who has been at the University and one who
hasn't.  You've had a husband at Oxford and a son at Cambridge and you
know that as well as I do.  But still on the whole I acknowledge that
Oxford and Cambridge are for the young fellows.  When I saw Lucius
pulling away in such perfect style in that boat on Saturday afternoon I
can tell you it warmed my heart to see it.  And Martha feels just the
same as I do about it.  She told me so.  Nobody knows, Elizabeth, what
a treasure I've found in that woman.  And as for Lucius, well, he
didn't take to the idea kindly at first--I don't know that it was to be
expected that he should--but they're as fond of one another as they can
be now, and--and it makes me very happy to see it--very happy."

The conversation became more general after this, and great were the
merriment and goodwill round Mr. Binney's table.

When dinner was over and the servants had left the room, Mr. Binney
rose to his feet.  There was an expectant silence and a rapping on the
table from all except Lucius, who knew what was coming and wished it
was well over.

"Ladies and gentlemen," said Mr. Binney, "I rise to perform a very
pleasant duty, a duty which I am proud of having occasion to perform, a
duty which I am sure all the friends I see gathered round me to-night
will join with me heartily in--in performing, a duty which--which I
will now perform.  I rise, ladies and gentlemen, to propose the health
of my son Lucius, who rowed with such conspicuous success in the
Cambridge boat last Saturday."  (Murmured but heartfelt applause,
rappings on the table, and "Well rowed, Lucy, well rowed," from Dizzy.)
"We have gathered round our table to-night," continued Mr. Binney,
"four members of the University of Cambridge."  ("Five, sir, five,"
from Dizzy.)  Mr. Binney's puzzled eye searched quickly round the table
and lit upon Betty.  "Five, of course," he said, "for have we not a
fair representative of the great college of Newnham in the person of
the dear girl whom I hope soon to welcome as a daughter?"  (Renewed
applause.)  "We have also a distinguished member of another University,
or rather of two Universities, for my friend Dr. Toller is a Bachelor
of Arts of the University of London and a Doctor of Divinity--_honoris
causâ_--of the University of Joppa, Pa., across the water.  And
speaking for the ladies, I am sure there is not one present here
to-night whose sympathies do not go out to the great University to
which I have the honour to belong."  (Rappings and subdued acquiescent
murmurs from the ladies with the exception of Mrs. Toller, who thought
Oxford rather more aristocratic.)  "I needn't say," pursued Mr. Binney,
"that to become a Blue is to gain the proudest position which Cambridge
can afford, and to become a rowing Blue is perhaps the highest
distinction of all.  I have always had occasion to be proud of my son
throughout his school and University career, and I am prouder than ever
of him to-night."  (Applause.)  "These trophies, ladies and gentlemen,
and this decoration of light blue, are signs of his having
distinguished himself in the highest possible degree in one path of
life--the path which only those who have youth, strength, and health on
their side can hope to tread.  In proposing the health of my son
Lucius, I am sure you will join with me in wishing him equal success in
other paths of life in the future, a success which, with the charming
girl who has promised to share it with him, I for one feel confident of
his attaining.  Ladies and gentlemen--My son Lucius."



THE END





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