Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/26

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


It must be that our minds are thinking of one who ought to be in this place to-night. About twelve months ago, when I last met York Powell, some words that were said made a deep impression upon me. We were sitting in the combination-room of Christ's College, after dinner, and I happened to remark that the place seemed full of the memory of Robertson Smith, It is ten years since his death, and yet I could never enter the room but I recalled that inexhaustible flow of brilliant talk, those sallies of wit that used to set the table in a roar, the sharp tongue and generous heart of one, whose life was spent in noble endeavour and quiet deeds of kindness. "Yes," York Powell said, "I feel that too: it is the only kind of immortality worth having." He who spoke those words knows now what is behind the veil; but the immortality he wished for is his, I suppose no one who ever met him failed to carry away some intellectual or moral stimulus, some help or encouragement for his own studies or his own cares; no one could fail to know him for a grand master in the freemasonry of generous spirits, except a soul which knew not the sign. It is no enviable thing to stand in his place. I cannot pretend to give what he could have given us: my store is small, the time has been very short, I trust you will listen with something of his gentle tolerance.