Now and then, Waymark sought refuge from the loneliness of his room in a visit to his colleagues at the Academy. The masters’ sitting-room was not remarkable for cosiness, even when a fire burnt in the grate and the world of school was for the time shut out. The floor was uncarpeted, the walls illustrated only with a few maps and diagrams. There was a piano, whereon Herr Egger gave his music lessons. Few rooms in existence could have excelled this for draughts; at all times there came beneath the door a current of wind which pierced the legs like a knife; impossible to leave loose papers anywhere with a chance of finding them in the same place two minutes after.
When Waymark entered this evening, he found his colleagues seated together in silence. Mr. Philip Q’Gree—“fill-up” was his own pronunciation of the name—would have been worse than insignificant in appearance, but for the expression of good-humour and geniality which possessed his irregular features. He was red-headed, and had large red whiskers.
Herr Egger was a gentleman of very different exterior. Tall, thick, ungainly, with a very heavy, stupid face, coarse hands, outrageous lower extremities. A mass of coal-black hair seemed to weigh down his head. His attire was un-English, and, one might suspect, had been manufactured in some lonely cottage away in the remote Swiss valley which had till lately been the poor fellow’s home. Dr. Tootle never kept his foreign masters long. His plan was to get hold of some foreigner without means, and ignorant of English, who would come and teach French or German in return for mere board and lodging; when the man had learnt a little English, and was in a position to demand a salary, he was dismissed, and a new professor obtained. Egger had lately, under the influence of some desperate delusion, come to our hospitable clime in search of his fortune. Of languages he could not be said to know any; his French and his German were of barbarisms all compact; English as yet he could use only in a most primitive manner. He must have been the most unhappy man in all London. Finding himself face to face with large classes of