mean by ‘Less Taxes’? How can they be less? I abolished the last of
them a month ago!”
“It’s been put on again, y’reince, and by y’reince’s own orders!”,
and other printed notices were submitted for inspection.
The Warden, whilst looking them over, glanced once or twice at the
Sub-Warden, who had seated himself before one of the open ledgers,
and was quite absorbed in adding it up; but he merely repeated
“It’s all right. I accept it as my doing.”
“And they do say,” the Chancellor went on sheepishly–looking much
more like a convicted thief than an Officer of State, “that a change of
Government, by the abolition of the Sub-Warden—I mean,” he hastily
added, on seeing the Warden’s look of astonishment, “the abolition of
the office of Sub-Warden, and giving the present holder the right to
act as Vice-Warden whenever the Warden is absent –would appease all
this seedling discontent I mean,” he added, glancing at a paper he held
in his hand, “all this seething discontent!”
“For fifteen years,” put in a deep but very harsh voice, “my husband
has been acting as Sub-Warden. It is too long! It is much too long!”
My Lady was a vast creature at all times: but, when she frowned and
folded her arms, as now, she looked more gigantic than ever, and made
one try to fancy what a haystack would look like, if out of temper.
“He would distinguish himself as a Vice!” my Lady proceeded, being far
too stupid to see the double meaning of her words. “There has been no
such Vice in Outland for many a long year, as he would be!”
“What course would you suggest, Sister?” the Warden mildly enquired.
My Lady stamped, which was undignified: and snorted, which was
ungraceful. “This is no jesting matter!” she bellowed.
“I will consult my brother, said the Warden. “Brother!”
“–and seven makes a hundred and ninety-four, which is sixteen and
two-pence,” the Sub-Warden replied. “Put down two and carry sixteen.”
The Chancellor raised his hands and eyebrows, lost in admiration.
“Such a man of business!” he murmured.
“Brother, could I have a word with you in my Study?” the Warden said in
a louder tone. The Sub-Warden rose with alacrity, and the two left the
My Lady turned to the Professor, who had uncovered the urn, and was
taking its temperature with his pocket-thermometer. “Professor!” she
began, so loudly and suddenly that even Uggug, who had gone to sleep in
his chair, left off snoring and opened one eye. The Professor pocketed
his thermometer in a moment, clasped his hands, and put his head on one
side with a meek smile
“You were teaching my son before breakfast, I believe?” my Lady loftily
remarked. “I hope he strikes you as having talent?”
“Oh, very much so indeed, my Lady!” the Professor hastily replied,
unconsciously rubbing his ear, while some painful recollection seemed
to cross his mind. “I was very forcibly struck by His Magnificence,
I assure you!”
“He is a charming boy!” my Lady exclaimed. “Even his snores are more
musical than those of other boys!”
If that were so, the Professor seemed to think, the snores of other boys
must be something too awful to be endured: but he was a cautious man,
and he said nothing.
“And he’s so clever!” my Lady continued. “No one will enjoy your
Lecture more by the way, have you fixed the time for it yet?
You’ve never given one, you know: and it was promised years ago,
“Yes, yes, my Lady, I know! Perhaps next Tuesday or Tuesday week–”
“That will do very well,” said my Lady, graciously. “Of course you will
let the Other Professor lecture as well?”
“I think not, my Lady? the Professor said with some hesitation.
“You see, he always stands with his back to the audience.
It does very well for reciting; but for lecturing–”
“You are quite right,” said my Lady. “And, now I come to think of it,
there would hardly be time for more than one Lecture. And it will go
off all the better, if we begin with a Banquet, and a Fancy-dress
“It will indeed!” the Professor cried, with enthusiasm.