* * * * *
He was twenty-four years old, without upbringing, and utterly alone in the world. He had raised himself, body and soul, out of printed books, and about all the education he ever had was half an hour’s biting talk from Charles Weyland. Of course he did not recognize his denied youth when it rose and fell upon him, but he did recognize that his assailant was doughty. He locked arms with it and together they fell into undreamed depths.
Buck Klinker, returning from some stag devilry at the hour of two A.M., and attracted to the Scriptorium by the light under the door, found the little Doctor pacing the floor in his stocking feet, with the gas blazing and the shade up as high as it would go. He halted in his marchings to stare at Buck with wild unrecognition, and his face looked so white and fierce that honest Buck, like the good friend he was, only said, “Well—good-night, Doc,” and unobtrusively withdrew.
Triumphal Return of Charles Gardiner West from the Old World; and of how the Other World had wagged in his Absence.
Many pictured post-cards and an occasional brief note reminded Miss Weyland during the summer that Charles Gardiner West was pursuing his studies in the Old World with peregrinative zest. By the trail of colored photographs she followed his triumphal march. Rome knew the president-elect in early June; Naples, Florence, Milan, Venice in the same period. He investigated, presumably, the public school systems of Geneva and Berlin; the higher education drew him through the chateau country of France; for three weeks the head-waiters of Paris (in the pedagogical district) were familiar with the clink of his coin; and August’s first youth was gone before he was in London with the lake region a tramped road behind him.
From the latter neighborhood (picture: Rydal Mount) he wrote Sharlee as follows:
Sailing on the 21st,
after the most glorious trip in history. Never
so full of energy and enthusiasm. Running over with the most
The exact nature of these plans the writer did not indicate, but Sharlee’s mother, who always got down to breakfast first and read all the postals as they came, explained that the reference was evidently to Blames College. West, however, did not sail on the 21st, even though that date was some days behind his original intentions. The itinerary with which he had set out had him home again, in fact, on August 15. For in the stress and hurry of making ready for the journey, together with a little preliminary rest which he felt his health required, he had to let his advertising campaign and other schemes for the good of the college go over until the fall. But collegiate methods obtaining in London were too fascinating, apparently, to be dismissed with any cursory glance. He sailed on the 25th, arrived home on the 3rd of September, and on the 4th surprised Sharlee by dropping in upon her in her office.