A Princely Temper

A former student of mine attended the University of St Andrews.

One evening, cycling on the pavement without lights, she turned a corner and knocked over a young man. They both found themselves sprawled across the pavement. Before she could get up her victim had got to his feet and extended a hand. “Hi, I’m Wills,” were his words. For a moment his assailant, from a staunchly republican background, awaited the arrival of “security” and wondered whether the Tower was to be her destiny.

Instead she found herself helped back onto her feet while her victim assured himself that she was unhurt. From time to time they would encounter one another around the university when there would always be an enquiry as to her well-being and progress.

The impossibility of stage-managing such an encounter suggests to me that it revealed an important truth.