The Ship of Stars eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 271 pages of information about The Ship of Stars.

“And the others,” said she, “those who were writing around you, and the examiner—­how did you feel towards them?”

Taffy stared at her.  “I don’t know that I thought much about them.”

“Didn’t you feel as if it was a battle and you wanted to beat them all?”

He broke out laughing.  “Why, the examiner was an old man, as dry as a stick!  And I hardly remember what the others were like—­except one, a white-headed boy with a pimply face.  I couldn’t help noticing him, because whenever I looked up there he was at the next table, staring at me and chewing a quill.”

“I can’t understand,” she confessed.  “Often and often I have tried to think myself a man—­a man with ambition.  And to me that has always meant fighting.  I see myself a man, and the people between me and the prize have all to be knocked down or pushed out of the way.  But you don’t even see them—­all you see is a pimply-faced boy sucking a quill.  Taffy—­”


“I wish you would write to me when you get to Oxford. 
Write regularly.  Tell me all you do.”

“You will like to hear?”

“Of course I shall.  So will George.  But it’s not only that.  You have such an easy way of going forward; you take it for granted you’re going to be a great man—­”

“I don’t.”

“Yes, you do.  You think it just lies with yourself, and it is nobody’s business to interfere with you.  You don’t even notice those who are on the same path.  Now a woman would notice every one, and find out all about them.”

“Who said I wanted to be a great man?”

“Don’t be silly, that’s a good boy!  There’s your father coming out of the church porch, and you haven’t told him yet.  Run to him, but promise first.”


“That you will write.”

“I promise.”




     “CARWITHIEL, Oct. 25, 18—.”

“MY DEAR TAFFY,—­Your letter was full of news, and I read it over twice:  once to myself, and again after dinner to George and Sir Harry.  We pictured you dining in the college hall.  Thanks to your description, it was not very difficult:  the long tables, the silver tankards, the dark panels and the dark pictures above, and the dons on the dais, aloof and very sedate.  It reminded me of Ivanhoe—­I don’t know why; and no doubt if ever I see Magdalen, it will not be like my fancy in the least.  But that’s how I see it; and you at a table near the bottom of the hall, like the youthful squire in the story-books—­the one, you know, who sits at the feast below the salt until he is recognised and forced to step up and take his seat with honour at the high table.  I began to explain all this to George, but found that he had dropped asleep in his chair.  He was tired out after a long day with the pheasants.”
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The Ship of Stars from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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