I’ve been keeper of the Bird and Baby since the last tender sold the grounds to the university. I was a spry young fellow then, eager to get myself established in the world, so when the blokes asked me if I was up to keeping a shop for them I said, “Why not? Brew, good wages and lots of laughs from scholarly blokes, what could be better?” 

In about my fifth year as keeper three or four chaps walked into the Bird and Baby. Running a university pub you get to recognizing a professor when you see one, and after five years you’ve seen enough to know a true scholar from a lecturer (the blokes that teach for money). These three were true professors from their trousers to their caps. Now, philosophy scholars, they always is looking up at nothing like there’s something confusing them. History professors are all squinty-eyed, I suppose from all them worn out books they have to read. But Literature proffs, they always look like they’re looking for something to laugh at. These three were Literature proffs. I could tell straightaway.

The tallest of them I had seen before, his name was Jack Lewis, and he came sauntering in like a conquering king in a new land. “Goodman,” he said, “Do you happen to have a rather spacious back-room in here?” 

“Out of the way of things.” Said Mr. Coghill.

“With plenty of artwork hanging.” Said Mr. Owen.

“And very, very dim lighting.” Said the fourth. 

“Which we and a few other fellows may occupy for one to six hours, one day a week?” finished Mr. Jack.

Eulalia Hogers
Author