"Ah! it's you, old boy? Well, just sit down on yourself anywhere, and make yourself homely. If you want something to read, you'll find a copy of Watts's Ballads behind the washstand. Or, if you want something of a religious character, you'll find the last number of my little sheet hanging on the chandelier. You'd better take it and read the 'Familiar Conversions.' They'll enthuse you, my boy. They're taking the world by storm. That's only the third one in that number; there are thirty-nine still to come: The conversion of the Goodie and the Poco; the conversion of the Goodie's aunt and the Poco's grandson, and a great many more. I flatter my -"
"What are you reading there?" interruptingly inquired the Ibex, as he toyed furtively with the razor-strop hanging from his scarf-pin.
"Well, I'll tell you," replied the Lamprey, picking up the papers that had fallen from his sleeve to the floor. "The Rev. Dr. Bonfire Burnham was just in to see me, and he told me that he feared my piety was growing lukewarm. I had lost the pristine unction. He pointed his eye right at me and said, 'Lamprey, with grief I have noticed in the last two issues of your little publication that your front cover, hitherto your redeeming feature, Lamprey, has displayed in its printed matter a latitude most unprecedented, and an obliquity never before attempted by decorous journalism.'
"Worst of it was, my Ibex, I knew it was so, and I've been feeling quite badly about it. So I thought I'd do penance by reading our worthy contemp -"
"Contemptibles," pensively suggested the Ibex, as he sadly slipped a small package of tooth-powder in his rubber boot.
"That was n't just the word I wanted, but I guess 't will do. And by the way, Ibex, - there's nothing mean about me, I'll read them to you."
The Ibex crouched low behind the chandelier, adjusted his lung-protector, and replied, while a tear coursed down his cheek, "Easy, please, and a little at a time."
Lamprey smiled, and, taking up a small, apparently harmless paper, he began: -
"'The Harford Daily Cabalist. Dedicated to Economy, Respectability, and Weather Reports.
"'Thermometer at Hubbard's yesterday, 8 M., 95; 12 A. M., 82; 6 P. M., 103. The record of the thermometer is changed three times a year by permission of the Pauline Society. Whether report: The whinds will be south-northerly by east. The stationary will be falling or even perhaps.
"'The accuracy of everything printed in the Cabalist can be vouched for with perfect safety, as nothing is put in our columns which has not first received the approval of the Faculty and Board of Overseerers assembled in their regular biennial meeting. This insures respectability.'
"Here, Ibex, is a five-column editorial."
"Just wait till I get settled," whispered the quadruped, as he curled himself cosily in the coal-shovel.
The Lamprey recommenced his reading: -
"It is a weeping shame and should mst certainly be a matter of college discipline. We are greaved and shocked that there are still some men in the University who persist in appearing on the street without lavender-topped gaiters. The college owes it -"