`Here is the place - they are just going to pass!' cried Jude in sudden excitement. And pushing his way to the front he took up a position close to the barrier, still hugging the youngest child in his arms, while Sue and the others kept immediately behind him. The crowd filled in at their back, and fell to talking, joking, and laughing as carriage after carriage drew up at the lower door of the college, and solemn stately figures in blood-red robes began to alight. The sky had grown overcast and livid, and thunder rumbled now and then.
Father Time shuddered. `It do seem like the Judgment Day!' he whispered.
`They are only learned doctors,' said Sue.
While they waited big drops of rain fell on their heads and shoulders, and the delay grew tedious. Sue again wished not to stay.
`They won't be long now,' said Jude, without turning his head.
But the procession did not come forth, and somebody in the crowd, to pass the time, looked at the facade of the nearest college, and said he wondered what was meant by the Latin inscription in its midst. Jude, who stood near the inquirer, explained it, and finding that the people all round him were listening with interest, went on to describe the carving of the frieze (which he had studied years before), and to criticize some details of masonry in other college fronts about the city.
The idle crowd, including the two policemen at the doors, stared like the Lycaonians at Paul, for Jude was apt to get too enthusiastic over any subject in hand, and they seemed to wonder how the stranger should know more about the buildings of their town than they themselves did; till one of them said: `Why, I know that man; he used to work here years ago - Jude Fawley, that's his name! Don't you mind he used to be nicknamed Tutor of St. Slums, d'ye mind? - because he aimed at that line o' business? He's married, I suppose, then, and that's his child he's carrying. Taylor would know him, as he knows everybody.'
The speaker was a man named Jack Stagg, with whom Jude had formerly worked in repairing the college masonries; Tinker Taylor was seen to be standing near. Having his attention called the latter cried across the barriers to Jude: `You've honoured us by coming back again, my friend!'
`An' you don't seem to have done any great things for yourself by going away?'
Jude assented to this also.
`Except found more mouths to fill!' This came in a new voice, and Jude recognized its owner to be Uncle Joe, another mason whom he had known.
Jude replied good-humouredly that he could not dispute it; and from remark to remark something like a general conversation arose between him and the crowd of idlers, during which Tinker Taylor asked Jude if he remembered the Apostles' Creed in Latin still, and the night of the challenge in the public house.
`But Fortune didn't lie that way?' threw in Joe. `Yer powers wasn't enough to carry 'ee through?'
`Don't answer them any more!' entreated Sue.
`I don't think I like Christminster!' murmured little Time mournfully, as he stood submerged and invisible in the crowd.
But finding himself the centre of curiosity, quizzing, and comment, Jude was not inclined to shrink from open declarations of what he had no great reason to be ashamed of; and in a little while was stimulated to say in a loud voice to the listening throng generally:
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