« AnteriorContinuar »
SHUT OUT THE MULTIVITA
gatherings, there were, in fact, all the or with whom they might hope to be appliances at hand for forcing the young associated by good luck; and as to ideas, and turning growing boys into learning-well, if they picked up enough men before they were half through of it to pass creditably among some who their teens.
knew no more, and others who knew The Holyshadian was, at a very less than themselves, that was sufficient, early stage, initiated into the wary provided only they were gentlemen, and, use of those miserable short cuts to this being granted, they might be what knowledge known as “cribs.” Better else they liked compatible with respectto have plenty of time for breakfast and ability. tea, and five minutes for the preparation Mathematics and modern languages of lessons, than a few moments for were beneath a Holyshadian's notice. either meal, and half-an-hour of careful, They were included among the “expainstaking study. It was a simple tras," as were also music and drawing. plan. One boy took the “crib," and My personal and peculiar acquaintance read from it slowly, the others seated with the properties of a triangle was about the room following him with the limited to what I had seen of it as utmost attention, and each writing down a musical instrument in a regimental with a pencil in bis own book, any band, or in the orchestra of a theatre. word which there was a chance of his The religion of Holyshade was a forgetting
dull Respectability, hallowed by the As to the science of making Latin external surroundings of antiquity. It verses, why, it was clear that, as every was a “made” wine in a genuine cobHolyshadian, in my time, was compelled webby bottle. to make verses, whether he had any taste Chapel-time on a whole holiday took for the employment or not, anyone, the place of school-time. It had this stupid or clever, could make verses. If advantage, that it required no preparastupid, he would do stupid verses ; iftion. It had this disadvantage, that it clever, clever. After a year and a half effected nothing for individual benefit. of this, a boy would be indeed a dunce How impressed has any visitor been on if he had not mastered the knack of seeing that grave old Mediæval Chapel treating any theme in Ovidian metre, for the first time. What Holyshadian from the Birth of Minerva to the has not delighted in the sweet strains Reform Bill. Was there not a Gradus of the anthem sung by fresh young ad Parnassum, with a perfect store of epi- voices, and felt his heart throb at the thets, which you could pick and choose rejoicings of the Hallelujah resounding at will, and fit in to measure? But, for beneath that glorious roof? Yes, for a the Holyshadian too stupid, or too busy moment he has seen the stones instinct with any of the various amusements, with life ; for a second, he has heard the boating, billiards “up town," cricket, echo of the past, and has mistaken it and so forth, to have any leisure for for the voice of the living. Another prose themes or Latin verses, what was minute, and the grey stones are again he to do? Nothing—but to come to an inanimate, the momentary throb of life understanding with someone to perform has ceased, the clanging doors are shut, these learned exercises for him. In and the echoes are once more homeless. short, with a few honest, hardworking The time-mellowed colours of the exceptions, mainly among the Collegers, venerable stained glass window, over the whole school was employed in getting the spot where once stood the altar, the maximum of enjoyment with the dye the sun's rays as they pass through minimum of work, out of Holyshade. to fall, in richly-toned patchwork, upon They were fine dashing fellows, placed the chancel floor,-a variegated woof as there to commence an acquaintance with unreal as the mere sentimentalism of those with whom they would either have religion. Save for this the chapel is to mix by right of birth and position, cold and drear; for all that made its No. 167.-Vol. XXVIII.
glory and its life in the past, left it possible from one so much her junior three hundred years ago, and all who in every way. gave it animation but half-an-hour I find an entry in my diary, dated since, are in the playing-fields, or on September 19, after I had been a year the river, rejoicing in their liberty. at Holyshade :Well,—in after life the majority will “ Whitledge came for subscription to find out how they have been educated the Chapel Window. Humbug. Wrote only to enshrine Respectability, and, to Governor for one pound. Will give seeing, that, in the long run, this wor- less if I can. Subscribed to the Footship is the least irksome, and the most ball and Field. No letter from Alice. generally accepted, they will contentedly Nor from Austin. Bad. Not heard bring up their children in the practice from Governor for an age. Finished of the same rites and ceremonies.
Charles O'Malley. Capital. Apart from the highly instructive “SUNDAY.-Hot and fine : went for a sermon in chapel, which those boys who walk with Bifford mi. Met Uncle had watches were accustomed to time Herbert. He said he was only down anxiously, the sole approach to any- for a day. Gave me seven and sixthing like a religious moral training, pence. Glad of this, as I am rather was, that on Sunday afternoon, or low in pocket. Thompson ma. offered evening, a class had to read an abridg- me five shillings for my buttons. Shan't ment of Paley's “Evidences of Chris- sell them till I am very hard up. Old tianity,” in “Pupil-room" to their tutor. Jugson's not quite so strict as he was. Paley's, in fact, were the only evidences “Monday.—Had a magnificent game of living Christianity in the place : the of football. Worked like bricks. Got chapel and the College itself were one shin. No letters again to-day : monuments of a defunct Faith. It can horrid bore that. Put in a lottery for be easily imagined how interesting this a set of camelian (West's) buttons. Bill study was to a set of boys, from fourteen got 'em. Sarah came to put my light to sixteen, who would have willingly out. Baited her by lighting it again. sacrificed to Jupiter (being on familiar Good night. terms with the heathen deities) for the “ TUESDAY.--No letter from Governor. sake of the bour's leisure, whereof Paley Letter from Austin, at Boulogne in had deprived them.
France. He begins to speak French. I Austin Comberwood wrote to me fre- don't. Hate extra work except for going quently, and through him I commenced out at night. Lark. a correspondence with Alice.
Another day : Deprived of my friend's recitals of “No letter. Pulled up to Squigley Scott's novels, I developed a taste for after four. Hunted swans coming back. light literature, and, inspired by Alice's Nearly swamped in locks in Bills out“ Blue Beard," I composed a drama on rigger, and so obliged to go in Parry's a story in a book of romantic legends, tub. Left Bill in the lurch, and hunted called “Chess with the Devil.” About swans coming back. Dead tired." this time I began to keep a diary, and Here is a sequence : though separated by distance and by “So tired from yesterday's events I age from Austin, our friendship grew overslept myself, and went into school stronger and stronger. I told him late, for which I got sixty lines of Long everything concerning myself in my Ovid. Came back. Letter from Alice. letters to him, a confidence which he Fryer came to-day for music lesson. was not slow to return. Alice, too, Bore. What with fagging, music, and honoured me beyond my years with work for my tutor, I could only get five letters, which in after times were im- minutes for breakfast. Not much play portant, as voluntarily conferring upon for me to-day. Go to my tutor at a me a sort of fraternal right to assist and quarter to seven, and after twelve, and do advise, where assistance and advice were a pæna after four."
tumbles I rested the point of the knife “Pulled up with Hipworth mi. Hall on the second bar, and anxiously steering. We've taken a chance boat.” watched the browning process, which
This meant paying a certain sum to was very slow. the proprietor of boats for the month or At this moment Gulston, a boy the week, and taking the chance of about my own age, ran in to say that getting any sort of boat. It was a all the fags had been dismissed, and popular method with those who had not that Leigh, our master (a boy in the had boats built for them, especially to Upper Fifth, to whom with other wards the end of the boating season. young slaves I had been allotted) Extract continued :
had said I was to be sent to him at “ Pulled up in three-quarters of an once. Thinking that the toast might hour, then coming back hunted swans. help itself in my absence, I piled a Fun. Must get order for jacket and dictionary and a lexicon on the fender, things to pay Small's bill. Capital which supported the handle of my knife, dodge. Alpaca overcoat to be cut into while the point of the blade remained smoking coat and in-door coat. Amale. on the bar of the grate. I should not kite and coral studs at Dick's. Small be absent long, and doubtless it would will let me have onyx buttons for ten be ready on my return. I went into his shillings. Reading Devereux. Bother, presence trembling. here we are at the beginning of another His “ mess” consisted of three: himregular week. No letters.”
self, Dampier, and Crossland ma. They The . "regular week” meant one had each two fags, and so their table, without a whole and a half holiday at breakfast and tea was admirably in it.
served by six boys, who made the tea, As to the fagging, how I remember the coffee, the toast, and cooked such crying over the first toast I ever made delicacies as could be got out of saucein obedience to my master's command. pans and frying-pans in the way of a I had not got a toasting-fork, and so kind of washy omelette, excellent fried was obliged to stick the roughly cut eggs, and buttered eggs (a superb dish piece of bread on a knife, and having by the way), fried ham, and chicken. wrapped a pocket-handkerchief round Fags learnt something which was of my hand, I knelt down before the fire considerable use to them when they to do my best. I roasted my face, and arrived at that no-man's ground known in changing my attitude dropped the as the Lower Division of the Lower slice into the ashes. Finding that I Fifth, where there was rest at last, was unobserved, I picked it up, dusted where the Holyshadian could neither it, replaced it on the knife, and con fag nor be fagged; where, having tinued the operation. To my disgust served his time, he could enjoy himit suddenly became charred in the self, attending to his own luxuries and centre, while the bread remained per- necessities. fectly white, but very dry, around the “Where's the toast ?” asked Leigh, one black spot. One side being a com who was waiting with some potted meat parative failure, I turned it, and hoped on his plate in anticipation of a choice for a more successful result. In changing finish to his tea. its front, however, it perversely glided “Not quite done,” I replied tremoff the knife, and fell once more among bling. the cinders. Having carefully dusted it “Bring it,” he said sharply, while with my pocket-handkerchief, and blown his two companions eyed me suspioff such specks of coal-dust as would ciously. have been fatal evidence against me if I returned to my own room where I called on to assert that no accident had had been experimentalizing. There was happened to it, I rather impatiently a strong smell of burning. The toast began again. To secure it from further was smoking, and in another minute
would have been unfit for human food. exciting, and I must say he exhibited I rushed at it, landed it on my table, considerable skill and dexterity in peringeniously scraped it with my knife, forming this feat about ten times, only dusted it once more with my pocket prodding me, and that purposely, on the handkerchief, and tried to flatter myself last occasion, when I cried out sharply, that Leigh would be too glad of the and was immediately told that in contoast to scrutinize details. So I stuck sequence of this ebullition I must reit on the knife, and reappeared before ceive the toasting-fork bastinado, which him.
consisted of three thwacks from the “Hullo !” he exclaimed, while the prong-end of that switch-like instrutwo others laughed. “What's this ?” ment. “Toast," I answered.
This I bore with Spartan courage, He did not attempt to touch it. and, at its termination, I was about to
“You have been scraping it,” he said, quit the room, when Leigh called out, looking first at it, then at me, with the “Now, then! I didn't tell you to go, eye of one experienced in such matters. did I ?”.
“Scraping it ?" I echoed innocently. “No." “ Yes. Don't tell a lie about it. “No fag can go without being told. Iaven't you?" .
Stop where you are.” "I did-just-only-a-little," I re- “Let him do another bit on the toastplied, feeling that the supreme moment ing-fork for practice,” suggested Damhad arrived when I should be imme- pier. Crossland ma. cut a slice off his diately ordered off to be tortured and loaf. executed.
“Go and do it properly,” said Leigh, “It's been in the cinders, hey ?” presenting me with the toasting-fork,
“No, not in the cinders," I answered, and taking care to give me a cut across wishing to be very particular as to the my hand with it. Whereat I winced, exact truth.
but grinned. Thus was I being edu“Then what did you scrape it for ?” cated, socially, by the martyrdom of he asked, naturally enough.
fagging. “Because it did not fall in the cin. Once back in my own room I gave ders-only in the fender," I replied, way. I thought of home, of Ringhurst, with an attempt at a conciliatory tone. of Austin, of Alice, of what they were
"Oh, indeed!” said Leigh. Then doing at this time, and of the happy turning to the others, he asked, “Is it days I had spent there. I thought of to be the Chinese punishment, or the Nurse Davis, little Julie, and the dear ordeal of the fork ?"
old days past and gone, of Frampton's They voted for the latter. I did not Court, and it seemed to me as though my know what was in store for me, and so friends and acquaintances were one and my pent-up feelings gave way, and I all standing around me, bemoaning my burst into tears.
suffering and degradation. Then, sud" Oh, don't-please-1-couldn't denly remembering the ordeal and the help-it-I never-toasted before !” bastinado, and fearing lest the mysteri.
My supplication was unheeded. ous torture, alluded to as “the Chinese
“Put your hand on the table, palm punishment," should be in requisition down, spread your fingers out," said for my particular case, I braced myLeigh, sternly. I obeyed convulsively. self up to the work, and produced
“Now," he went on, “the ordeal of such a highly finished work of toastthe fork will teach you to toast properlying art, as sent me back to my master in future."
with an air of conscious pride. They Then he took a fork and jobbed it had ended their meal, and paused in down four times in rapid succession discussing some project of amusement in the four spaces between my fingers, to examine my chef-d'oeuvre. It was so spread out on the table-cloth. It was satisfactory, that Leigh informed me I
sight, and of my being present on a certain occasion, which was of more importance to me, in the future, than at the time I could have imagined possible.
WHAT WE DID TO A SWAN-WHAT THE
SWAN DID TO US-SOME HOLYSHADIAN
might have it for myself, and forth with dismissed me.
And this was my first experience of fagging at mess. I have nothing to say against the system. On the contrary, I praise it on the whole, as practised at Holyshade in my time. Its abuses were rare, and were resented at once by the upper boys, themselves masters, on a fair representation of the state of the case being made to one of their leaders by the injured party.
I remember only one instance of cruelty. One of the Sixth Form, a Colleger, maltreated a small lower boy, Oppidan. Immediate action was taken. The Oppidans, about six hundred, invaded College in a body, headed by the Oppidan Captain, and demanded the surrender of the bully, who, how. ever, had effected his escape by a back staircase. In the meantime, the masters, having got wind of what seemed to be the commencement of an insurrection, assembled for rapid consultation, and strategically cut off the return of the forces, by posting themselves at the head of every landing in College, where, the doors being only opened wide enough to admit one at a time, no boy could pass without encountering one or two authorities in their official dress, to whom he was obliged to render up his name and address.
Dr. Courtley summoned the whole of the Sixth Form, and himself, having heard the details, undertook the punishment of the offender. The school returned to its duties, and all went on as peaceably as heretofore. But it had been an awkward time. The boys were in the right, and the masters were, fortunately, sensible men : but one overt act, on either side, might have seri. ously affected the gravest Holyshadian interests.
Pleasantly enough, and carelessly enough in all conscience, my time now passed away at my tutor's, until an incident of a rather sporting character shortened my career at old Keddy's, and was the cause of my being thrown once more among some old friends, of whom for some considerable time I had lost
It occurs to me at this point to ask myself whether a child should be carefully blind to his grandmother's faults, as so many Holyshadians appear to be to those of their Alma Avia ! For if the University be their Alma Mater, Holyshade College must be thus dignified.
Am I, as an Englishman, whose boast is that he lives in a free country, to protest that there is no better system of educating youths than that adopted at Holyshade ? Britons “never, never, never, and never, for ever, will be slaves ;" and the Holyshade plan leaves them to themselves, as I have already shown. If enslaved at all, they becomo slaves to themselves, to their own wills, to their own pleasures. My father was perfectly correct in his instinct as to this public school “making a man" out of the materials furnished by parents. But what sort of a man was to be turned out ? Formed in the Holyshade mould, they were “men” of fif. teen and sixteen, among whom there might, at rare intervals, be found a youthful Daniel living as if in the midst of Babylon, a Tobias in Nineveh, or a Thomas of Aquinas in the school at Naples. But the representatives of Daniel, Thomas, and Tobias, at Holyshade, were the objects of practical joking and derision. And they certainly were not lively boys, nor did anybody give them credit for genuine piety. They were only taken notice of to be kicked. or ignored contemptuously as sanctified humbugs. We, as boys, took much the same view of such pietists, as was the fashion among the luxurious pagans of