There is, of course, tea, a meal between meals. It is bad form to finish all the little sandwiches, buttered bread and biscuits served with tea for two, but Bradley, with only a little help, can do it. And then select "one of those and one of those and one of those" when the waiter comes by with the pastry cart.
Torn between quality and quantity, Bradley succumbed to the latter. "I found this place," he said as he devoured breakfast, "where they give you a piece of steak, french fries, pork and beans, a salad...." Such a Lucullan feast, it was suggested, must have shattered his budget. "No," he said, "it's only eight shillings odd."
Like a buck fifteen. On a side street Bradley had discovered a restaurant any child of the Depression would have recognized as a greasy spoon, an enterprise conceived in venality and dedicated to the proposition that in any town—especially any college town—there is a considerable element of the populace that has a steak appetite and a cheeseburger wallet. He had been eating there for three days. It was suggested there might be some correlation between his diet and a digestion problem he was having, and logic prevailed over passion. "But, boy," Bradley said, "they sure give you a lot."
In the off-guard moments, when he forgets to be facetious, Bradley will admit he has drawn certain impressions (not, please, conclusions) from history. He admires the principled Gladstone. "He wasn't afraid to make his religious conviction felt in the area of statecraft. Even when he was Prime Minister he wasn't ashamed to go into the slums and talk to prostitutes, to try to convert them." Bradley the statecraftsman would temper Gladstonian idealism with the pragmatism of Bismarck, who was running political power plays from a split-compromise formation in the same period. "He was practical," Bradley says. "Never have a war if you can bluff your way out of it. But I'd rather not talk about them. I admire them, but I really haven't read enough about them to draw conclusions." Gladstone, like the harmonica, must not be discussed until he has been mastered. One must be sure. In art, Bradley thinks he knows what he likes, but no Impressionism adorns his wall and none will "until I find something that really has a meaning to me." To do otherwise would be like reading Herzog "because everybody is."
Bradley is not short of opinions. When the talk is off the record he is not reluctant to express decided views, and he can harass an antagonist with a polemic all-court press. But in this phase there are things a man ought to keep to himself, and there is so much to be learned from others.
In St. Albans, a satellite of London, a Mr. Turcotte was pointing out the "umbrella" ceiling in the restaurant. Only two of its type left in England. Twelfth century. "I like the way they've replaced the old beams," Bradley said. "They haven't made any pretense. You can tell which are new, but that helps you appreciate the old ones."
St. Albans, Mr. Turcotte had said, had a population of about 50,000. "How many Negroes are there?" Bradley asked. "Three hundred," Mr. Turcotte said gravely, "and in a few years there'll be five times that." It seemed to Bradley that England, only now facing a situation the U.S. has had for 200 years, might profit by our mistakes. "Oh, it is a problem." Mr. Turcotte said.
"What are you worried about?" Bradley asked. "Is it just housing?" That was the principal thing, Mr. Turcotte said. Property values, you know. "I'll tell you," he added. "The races weren't meant to live together, and it won't work." Ever? "No, never."
Passing through Leighton Buzzard on the way back to Oxford, Bradley was asked his opinion of Mr. Turcotte. "A very interesting man," he said, "from several points of view." Thank you, Mr. President.
If Bradley ever does make it to the White House, he'll probably be late for the Inauguration. The conductors were slamming the doors of the 8:55 express to London—reasonably, for it was 8:55—when a large personage barged into the Oxford station, scattering commuters. With a last great bound, like Kelso at the wire, he mounted the train and slumped against a compartment, his chest heaving. "Ah, Mr. Bradley," a bespectacled gentleman said. Breathlessly Bradley acknowledged the tutor's introduction of his wife. He would be delighted, he said, to join them for breakfast, but "I...I have to talk to these guys." He also had to dress. "Hold this," Bradley said, peeling his coat at the door of a men's lavatory. "I hope I have a tie in my pocket."