Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/101

This page has been validated.

clined, and as I had made up my mind to use all the half-holidays for study, this association did me a lot of good and his help was invaluable.

One day when he had just come into his room, I shot a question at him and he stopped, came over to me and put his arm on my shoulder as he answered. I don't know how I knew; but by some instinct I felt a caress in the apparently innocent action. I didn't like to draw away or show him that I objected; but I buried myself feverishly in the Trigonometry and he soon moved away.

When I thought of it afterwards, I recalled the fact that his marked liking for me began after my fight with Jones. I had often been on the point of confessing to him my love-passages; but now I was glad I had kept them strenuously to myself, for day by day I noticed that his liking for me grew or rather his compliments and flatteries increased. I hardly knew what to do: working with him and in his room was a godsend to me; yet at the same time I didn't like him much or admire him really.

In some ways he was curiously dense; he spoke of the school life as the happiest of all and the healthiest; a good moral tone here, he would say, no lying, cheating or scandal, much better than life outside. I used to find it difficult not to laugh in his face. Moral tone indeed! when the Doctor came down out of temper, it was usually accepted among the boys that he had had his wife in the night and was therefore a little below par physically.

Though a really good mathematical scholar and a firstrate teacher, patient and painstaking, with a gift of clear exposition, Stackpole seemed to me stupid and hidebound and I soon found that by laughing at his compliments I could balk his desire to lavish on me his unwelcome caresses.