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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 161 pages of information about Ilka on the Hill-Top and Other Stories.
on all college affairs, and was not above playing an occasional trick on a freshman or a professor.  As for Cranbrook, he rather prided himself on being a little exceptional, and cherished with special fondness those of his tastes and proclivities which distinguished him from the average humanity.  He had therefore no serious scruples in accepting Vincent’s offer to pay his expenses for a year’s trip abroad.  Vincent, he reasoned, would hardly benefit much by his foreign experiences, if he went alone.  His glance would never penetrate beneath the surface of things, and he therefore needed a companion, whose aesthetic culture was superior to his own.  Cranbrook flattered himself that he was such a companion, and vowed in his heart to give Harry full returns in intellectual capital for what he expended on him in sordid metals.  Moreover, Harry had a clear income of fifteen to twenty thousand a year, while he, Cranbrook, had scarcely anything which he could call his own.  I dare say that if Vincent had known all the benevolent plans which his friend had formed for his mental improvement, he would have thought twice before engaging him as his travelling companion; but fortunately he was so well satisfied with his own mental condition, and so utterly unconscious of his short-comings in point of intellect, that he could not have treated an educational scheme of which he was himself to be the subject as anything but an amiable lunacy on Jack’s part, or at the worst, as a practical joke.  Jack was good company; that was with him the chief consideration; his madness was harmless and had the advantage of being entertaining; he was moreover at heart a good fellow, and the stanchest and most loyal of friends.  Harry was often heard to express the most cheerful confidence in Jack’s future; he would be sure to come out right in the end, as soon as he had cut his eye-teeth, and very likely Europe might be just the thing for a complaint like his.

II.

After having marched over nearly half a mile of marble flag-stones, interrupted here and there by strips of precious mosaic, the two young men paused at the entrance to a long, vaulted corridor.  White, silent gods stood gazing gravely from their niches in the wall, and the pale November sun was struggling feebly to penetrate through the dusty windows.  It did not dispel the dusk, but gave it just the tenderest suffusion of sunshine.

“Stop,” whispered Cranbrook.  “I want you to take in the total impression of this scene before you examine the details.  Only listen to this primeval stillness; feel, if you can, the stately monotony of this corridor, the divine repose and dignity of these marble forms, the chill immobility of this light.  It seems to me that, if a full, majestic organ-tone could be architecturally expressed, it must of necessity assume a shape resembling the broad, cold masses of this aisle.  I should call this an architectonic fugue,—­a pure and lofty meditation—­”

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