Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Escape from Merton College

When the car came in to the outer quad of Merton college, Tolkien walked away to his office, inside the inner quad, on the other side of the outer one. Jack and Roy stayed with Susan, they asked her to stay head down hidden in the car. She did and was pretty uncomfortable. « What if the people who saw us coming give me away ? » The men left the car.

They noted how Freeman came in after some talking with the warden in the lodge. Susan heard his voice and it chilled her all over, but he did not look into the car.

« Gentlemen, » he said, « this is all a terrible mistake, the lady who asked for your help is very deranged and needs psychiatric treatment. She believes she has been in another world and that she is its queen, we cannot predict what will happen if she hallucinates again in public. Please tell me where she went, I promise it is for her own good . »

Susan reflected it was funny how different he could talk to people whose help he wanted and to people whom he wanted to « help » as he called it. It made her sweat.

Jack and Roy did neither lie nor tell him the truth. They simply did not answer.

« Very well, I will go and look for her myself. I know your friend who has hidden her here is a Professor Tolkien, and we will see if he sees reason. »

He walked into the building.

When he disappeared Jack and Roy waited 15 seconds, counting, then turned on the guard from the mental hospital, running through the lodge as briskly as Jack's stodginess allowed him to, gave him a few good blows and thus chased him away. You may wonder why the wardens did not help the visitor, but for one thing he was standing outside the lodge, and for another they knew and liked Jack.

That done, Roy came running back to the car and told Susan : « Now you can sit up straight again. »

He started the car, they waved goodbye to Jack who waited.

So, Susan and Roy Campbell left Merton College and she sighed of relief.

« Well, so much for now, we'll see how soon the police get to blow the whistle on us runaways. »

As this made her bite her jaws together, he added : « cheer up – it cannot go worse than wrong, and if it goes wrong, at least the case is a bit better known than most, you won't just be forgotten in the asylum at the pmercy of whatever they want to do with you. »

She sighed again with some less relief. And the car went on.