How peaceful it had been, his college, when he first arrived! Colleagues greeted each other warmly. They sat out in the quadrangle, taking tea and discussing their scholarship. No one taught more than a couple of hours a week.
Then the fall began. Contact hours went up. Colleagues became busier; there was less time to talk. Scholars worked alone, with their office doors closed. But still they waved at one another across the quadrangle. Still they visited each other’s offices for tea.
Things fell still further. Colleagues worked in solitude, only in solitude. Some stayed home to work in their studies. Some fell ill in isolation. Some prayed in solitude in the college chapel.
And then? His colleagues have begun to scowl at one another, W. says. Colleagues snarl at each other in the college corridors. Who talks of their scholarship now? Who talks of ideas? Who reads now? Who writes?