Today is the first day of lectures, with Wilde, Victorian "place", and George Eliot on the menu. These lectures are all held in the St. Cross buildings, which are less than five minutes walk from Harris Manchester. Last week we had (another) library induction at the English Faculty Library, which is in the St. Cross buildings. The trees are flaming up before their annual death, and the streets busy with new students. En route to the St. Cross buildings, I saw a small gate leading away from the road and several grave stones beyond.
I love graveyards, as I've said before, so I followed under the leafy bower to what I thought was a paltry scattering of ancient stones and what turned out to be Holywell Cemetery, a venerable clearing of the dead next to St. Cross Church, a medieval church undergoing restoration. The first headstone I came to belonged to none other than Kenneth Grahame, beloved writer of The Wind in the Willows.
Apparently, the inspiration for Carroll's Mad Hatter is buried somewhere on the grounds, and though I missed the graves of the aesthete Walter Pater and art critic Kenneth Tynan, I did spy the Inkling Charles Williams.
I wandered through the untrodden grass through the slight paths, all utterly quiet and reverent, with the breeze lightly disturbing the ivy but not the sleepers, and the only sudden noise a pheasant erupting from a bush.
"And autumn grows, autumn in everything," writes Robert Browning.