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Binford had expected to return early in the afternoon, and as it was so late I began to feel uneasy, fearing she had met with some accident. The express office closes at 6 o'clock, and they received no reply to the 'phone. On learning this, I was really frightened, and wanted them to telephone police headquarters to learn if any accident had been reported. The clerk made light of it, and I could not induce him to call them. I felt indignant, besides frightened, and was thinking how I could call them myself, when in walked Gusty. Imagine my relief. The business had been so rushed at the express office that the clerk who was attending to our business, said if she would wait until after closing time, 6 o'clock, he would very quickly arrange things for her. This she had done.
Friday, May 27. After breakfast, paying our dues, tips, etc., we left for Windsor Castle. The royal family being in residence, we were only admitted to the grounds. The castle is magnificent, the grounds are not very extensive but are most beautifully kept. While looking at the castle and grounds, I suddenly became aware that I should very much like to take some views of them back home with me, and asked Gusty where I could get them. She looked at me and laughed, and said:
"Why, Ontie Lilly! Postcards are just what you want and you refused to get any."
From that moment I became a most enthusiastic collector, and almost drove Gusty distracted at times in my anxiety for fear of missing one.
We lunched at the old White Hart Hotel, and afterward took a carriage for a drive to Stoke Poges Church. On our way we stopped at Eton College. The afternoon session was just over and we met the students leaving. They look very funny in their short Eton jackets, short pants, round white collars and tall silk hats. The young men wear long pants. Otherwise, all dress alike. We went into the college and into one classroom. Everything is very old. Benches in use to-day are the same as of old. No luxury there, but plain hard, wooden benches, carved in names, nicks and initials by the ever active fingers of many generations of students.
Arriving at Stoke Poges Church, we went into the churchyard where lie the remains of Thomas Gray. He was buried in his mother's grave. Gray wrote his mother's epitaph as follows:
"Dorothy Gray, widow, the careful, tender mother of many children, one of whom alone had the misfortune to survive her. She died March 11, 1752, aged 67."
On the opposite side of the church is the famous yew tree under the branches of which Gray wrote his elegy. This tree is gnarled and immense. We went through the old church, were in the pew that William Penn and family had occupied. It is large and quite plain. From here we drove to Burnham beeches. These are large, magnificent old trees. Our driver was quite loquacious and very anxious to show things of interest. About this time I caught a whiff of tobacco smoke. No one being in sight, I knew the man was taking advantage of us, by smoking. Watching closely, I soon detected him, and Gusty told him I would not permit it. The cigar stump was immediately thrown aside, and all was serene.
On this drive we saw Penn's house. It is called Stoke Park Mansion. We drove on to Slough, where we took the train to Oxford.
Arriving at Oxford, we stopped at Hotel Clarendon, a "varsity" house, as one of the maids proudly told
On our way to Oxford, we had a tea basket put in our compartment, and Gusty had her 4 o'clock tea, and I a sandwich. I can not learn to like tea even here in England where they know how to make it. We were glad to retire early, as the day had been a stren
Saturday, May 28, we went to visit the colleges. Christ Church came first. The old dining hall and kitchens are still in use. In the hall is an open timber roof handsomely carved, as are also some of the tables. Portraits of celebrated men who attended this old college line the walls of the room. Henry VIII occupies the place of honor.
Cardinal Wolsey. Queen Elizabeth occupies a prominent place, having been a patroness of the college.
The old kitchen presented a scene of busy life as we entered it, dinner being in preparation. Great sides of meat, huge quantities of vegetables of all kinds, were being prepared for cooking. The broiler, which is just inside the enormous old chimney, stands upright, with gratings on all sides, long arms of steel at each corner, hinged, on which the meat was hung when these arms were straightened into place. The height is about four or five feet. This was filled with charcoal and kindling just ready to light. When the meat is roasting these arms are swung from side to side as cooking advances.
From here we went to the cathedral and Christ Church meadows. The flowers all over England are beautiful, both cultivated and wild, and are at their best now. The hawthorns are especially beautiful to me. There are two varieties, the hedge or bush, which is white, with single flowers which grow in such close clusters that the bushes are a lovely mass of bloom ; the other variety is a tree, called May. These flowers also grow in clusters, but are double and fragrant. The colors of the hawthorns are white, pink, red and variegated.
The fields and lawns are white and yellow with daisies and buttercups. The field daisies are like our own. The English daisies are the small pink and white variety. Peckwater College quadrangle is beautiful, as the windows of every room have boxes filled with lovely flowers in full bloom. You can hardly conceive how charming the effect is, of the bright variety of coloring on the old gray stone walls. The grounds of all these colleges are perfectly kept, making a picture long to be remembered. The walks are broad through the grounds and there are numerous parks, in some of which I saw deer that were quite tame. We visited Merton College chapel, Magdalene (pronounced Maudlin) College and cloisters, and Tom Quad, so called because the big bell is Tom and is in the quadrangle. We drove out to Iffley, where they have the Oxford boat races. At the starting point, houseboats of every description line the river Thames on both sides, and at the races are filled with pretty girls and their chaperons and friends, making a beautiful sight. In the afternoon we drove to the rest of the colleges. There are twenty-two in number. Then through the residence part of the city. Ivy grows profusely here, and, as elsewhere over England, covers houses, fences and even treetops. This was a delightful drive. We returned to the hotel, and on going down to dinner found the dining room well filled with numerous dinner parties, given by students, the young girls being there with their parents or chaperons, all having a joyous time.