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thrown at you. But although disagreeable at the time, I must confess that fagging, like many other trials, was finally productive of good fruits. It not only taught me to clean knives, lay tables, and make toast, but, what was more important, it made me humble, considerate to others, and less sensitive to small injuries and insults.

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Before I had been many days at school I had made two very extraordinary discoveries. One was that the Eton boys had no mammas. On the day after my arrival I found Jones and Vere throwing my nightcaps out of the window, and called out to them not to do so, as my mamma had told me to wear them. I shall never forget the burst of laughter with which this statement was received. The only thing more ridiculous than wearing nightcaps was having a mamma.' Thompson, who was good-natured, spoke to me afterwards about it gravely and as a friend. An Eton boy, he said, had no 'mamma,' but a mother,' 'mater,' or 'maternity; I might take my choice; and the corresponding terms were used instead of papa. But the second discovery was more startling-there were no boys at all at Eton. As soon as the smallest atom had his name registered on the head master's books he was constituted then and there a fellah.' This designation, it must be understood, has no reference to Egyptian bondage, but is the superlative form of fellow, synonymous with 'good fellow,' and signifies that its happy possessor has all the best qualities implied by the latter term and many more beside. The epitaph, therefore

'Here lies a fellow of no notoriety,

Not even a fellow of the Royal Society,' confounds together two different words. These changes in style appeared to me somewhat dignified, but in another matter I was sadly disappointed. I had always looked forward to being an Etonian ;' there was something melodious and classical in the designation. To my dismay I now found that there was no such being, and that the term, like the corresponding 'Ox

onian,' was only fit to be used by tailors and shoemakers.

My next discovery was-with all deference to the head master and provost be it spoken-that the real autocrat of Eton was-the pieman. He was a pleasant personage to behold, of sleek aspect and unctuous smile, and had he lived in the good old days his contour would have done credit to some pious fraternity. At the same time he was no ascetic or religionist. No; on the contrary, he wore his hat on one side of his head, and affected a certain jauntiness of manner much out of keeping with his corporate proportions. No one doubted that there was something very remarkable about this man; a haze of mystery always seemed to surround him. His name could not be found in any directory, and many boys confidently affirmed that no one knew who he was or whence he came. Some believed that he was a man of fortune who had an eccentric fancy for selling pies; but he was generally regarded as a being entirely different from any other ever created. The machine which he carried on his arm bore, like himself, a double character. It was a square tin box with legs underneath and a handle above, and of so convenient a height, that, while it served as a receptacle for 'turts' and other juvenile delicacies, it also answered as a seat on which the owner could rest himself and keep the contents warm.

This genius was the centre of Eton in more than a metaphorical sense, for he took up his position at an entrance near the school gate, which most boys had to pass once, and many half a dozen times a day; and here not a few would linger on their way, and cluster like bees round a honeypot, listening to the soft sentences which fell from his oracular lips. To them he was the censor morum et elegantiarum, from whose decision there was no appeal. Sometimes he would astonish his admiring audience by snatches from authors; sometimes he would himself essay a period or Heliconian flight; and if any little boy indulged his little wit so far as to bazard 'You're a

poet,' he was instantly extinguished with the concise metrical rejoinder, 'Sir, I know it.'

But the most prominent, and in those days the most refreshing trait in Spanky's character, was his reverence for rank. The point where he daily took up his position was exactly opposite the most aristocratic house in the school, to whose windows he could lift his longing eyes and imagine that he could see 'my lord' changing his noble trousers after football, or honouring with his spoon a pot of strawberry-jam, which he had been allowed the privilege of sending him. Often was some learned effusion with which he had been charming the listening throng brought to a sudden termination by 'Good morning, my lord,' or often by a reverential silence announcing that your grace' had dawned on his happy eyes. But for the scions of commercial houses, however rich they might be, he entertained but small respect. He would sometimes direct our attention in the following manner to a boy whom he perceived approaching.

Is that you, my little Burton? Hope you're getting on in your studies, sir. I know one of your public-houses in the Isle of Wight, sir. Your beer's very much liked, sir. You don't put rats'-bean in it, as some do. Saw a coal-porter last time I was there, waving a pewter pot and calling out, "Three cheers for Burton's ale!" Did, indeed, sir.'

Who is that, sir? That's Mr. Snookson. They're great cotton manufacturers. Very respectable people, sir, in their way-oh, very. Never heard nothing at all against them. I believe it's a very good concern. They're not in a small way, you know, sir. Oh, dear no!'

But when a boy of still lower origin was presented to his view he was unable to control his feelings. There were a few sons of rich tradesmen at Eton, and he seemed to think that no such ill-conditioned progeny had a right to come

Betwixt the wind and his nobility;' and took every opportunity of publicly expressing his sentiments.

Good morning, sir,' he would say, with mock politeness, calling general attention to his victim. 'Glad to see you back, sir. Called at your establishment in the vacation; bought some pocket-handkerchiefs there, sir. Very reasonable, sirfour shillings a dozen-but I don't find them wash well. Would you like to see one, sir? Can show it you. Got one in my pocket.'

I need not say that the boy addressed did not want to see or hear anything more, and made his escape as quickly as possible from the general laughter and taunts by which he was assailed.

But although Spanky was a poet and a courtier, he never allowed fancy to interfere with business. His commodities did not lose for want of recommendation. Did you but ask for a bottle of ginger-beer, he inquired whether you said champagne, observing that what he had was called ginger-beer, but was champagne. Nor did he in his own case despise the profits of trade. His acuteness in deciding who could be trusted and allowed to run up ticks, and who, on the contrary, was a bad sort,' was beyond all admiration. He kept an account-book by him for making entries, and was so constantly studying this favourite literature, that his little audience would at times grow impatient, and some would maliciously suggest that he was adding tails to the noughts. It required a hardened reprobate to defraud Spanky of his due. soon as his account was presented he allowed no peace until it was paid. Every time his victim passed into school it was, 'Good morning, sir! Got it about you, sir?' or Good evening, sir! Did you say you had it now, sir?' This repeated about six times a day generally wore out the patience of the most incorrigible. Some little boys, however, have an amazing power of opposition; and I remember on one occasion when Spanky, exasperated and forgetful of his dignity, followed one of these into his dame's house; he received payment in kind by having one of his own pots of jam broken on his head.


No! Even the great Spanky was not exempt from the cares of life. He had, moreover, an enterprising rival as soft, as portly as himself, and possessed of a much more formidable engine of destruction. At three o'clock every day something like a huge barrow with two wheels was seen approaching the school wall, beside which it was soon moored, opened, and-oh, wondrous display!-what an aggravating variety of delights saluted the bewildered sense.

Here were grapes, raisins, oranges, cakes, all sorts of biscuits, ices, sausage-rolls, and patties. But the highest heaven was a strawberry mess,' composed of fresh fruit beaten up with ice-cream and sugar. On the bright revelation being made, some immediately made their choice and fell to,' while others who had been extravagant, and were not so well provided with 'tin,' stood round and beheld them with mingled admiration and misery. Never did counsel regard woolsack, or curate crozier, with half such longing eyes as these little mendicants did the contents of that magic waggonette. Sometimes these feelings overcame them, and they gave way to doleful appeals, such as 'I say, Bryant, you might as well tick me some grapes;' or 'I say, Wilton, sock me half an ice, I know you're a brick;' but generally in vain. The dispenser of this tantalizing store was a good-natured commonplace individual, without either the romance or the astuteness of Spanky, and was more often imposed upon by his juvenile customers.


could he sometimes parry a thrust and turn a sentence to account; and when some little fellah' would complain that he had given him but a small pennyworth of preserve in his jam bun; I was afraid it might disagree with you, sir,' showed the amiability of his intentions.


Life is a series of disenchantments. In how many respects had my childish ideas been altered before I had been a month at Eton! I had

imagined, among other things, that men holding the high position of Eton masters would be superior to any other body in the world; that those whose duties and whose caps and gowns were similarly awful would be in every respect a band of brothers, cast in the same mould of unapproachable perfection. How different was the reality! I was so much surprised that I came at last to the conclusion that they had more peculiarities than any other individuals located within so small a space. They exhibited every phase and degree of kindness and coldness, of ability and irritability. One was sensitive, and thought that nothing could prevent a boy from learning his lesson but a malicious desire to offer him a personal affront. Another was magniloquent, and liked to hear himself better than any one else, and visited inattention with proportionate severity. I remember on one occasion, when a master of this latter type had been making a long oration, to which, as usual, no one had been listening, he suddenly turned upon me, and demanded sharply whether I understood what he had been saying. Fearful of a tedious repetition, I hastily replied in the affirmative. Then draw your conclusions,' was his summary and convicting reply. Some masters, who were naturally deep and knowing, had, in the pursuit of their avocation, acquired powers which seemed almost supernatural. They would close their eyes, and relapse into apparent unconsciousness; but, at the same time, if any little boy attempted to misconduct himself during this apparent interval of oblivion, he was as certain to be swished as he was to have mutton for his dinner. All but the most severe occasionally indulged in humorous sallies, for which schoolmasters of all ages seem to have had an amiable weakness; and whenever it was understood that any thing of the kind was intended, the boys laughed immoderately, particularly those who were ill prepared with their lessons. I am bound, however, to add that the jokes indulged in were never in the least objectionable; on the contrary, they were in ge

neral conspicuously innocent-such as that Hannibal died of Prusic acid, &c.

Of the head master I happily saw very little until towards the end of my Eton days. Dr. Hawtrey is admitted by all to have been one of the most learned and gentlemanly of men; and although familiarly known in the school as Plug,' or 'Gulp,' was always highly respected. He was a gentle successor to fierce old Keats, and, except in very transparent cases, never questioned a boy's word. Sometimes, no doubt, he was imposed upon; but the lesson taught by his generosity was not forgotten. He aimed at reclaiming the froward more by a commendation of honour than by an infliction of punishment.


But besides the regular masters, whose sway was acknowledged by every boy in the school, there was an amphibious class styled 'extra' masters. These despised men were ⚫ permitted to catch whom they might to teach and charge, but had no means of enforcing discipline, inasmuch as, however irritated they might be, they had no right to 'complain' to the Doctor. That the professor of dancing and modern languages should be condemned to these realms below seemed nothing wonderful; but I was certainly astonished to find the mathematical master among the shades. latter was a particularly goodnatured man, and presided in a round, theatrical-looking building, generally known as the 'Stationhouse.' Those boys whose parents desired it were entered on the books of this establishment, but the time spent there was one rather of recreation than of study. A pleasant change was sometimes made by turning off the gas, or by letting off squibs and crackers in November, which was a particularly merry time. The unfortunate master did not even receive sympathy or commiseration from his classical superiors, but was rather looked upon by some as an interloper and enemy to versification; and I remember hearing one of them observe, with reference to his genial manner, that a cap and bells would

be better suited to him than a cap and gown. This state of misrule exists no longer. The study of mathematics is no longer optional, and the master has been raised to his proper position in the school.

Breaking bounds is a timehonoured custom at all schools. At Eton the bounds are narrow, but no punishment is inflicted for transgressing them provided the offence be not brought prominently under the eyes of the authorities. Hence arises the system of shirking.' If a master is seen approaching-and he can generally be recognized at a distance by the radiance of his white tie-the boys disappear right and left, over hedges and ditches, into shops, or anywhere. Sometimes a sporting or disengaged master will give chase across country, or pull a presumptuous offender from under a counter, but such occurrences are not common. I was only once in any danger in this respect. It happened that as I was walking up the High Street in Windsor I espied one of the masters approaching. He was a particularly dangerous man, and was known to have walked along with an umbrella over his head, in hopes of nailing' incautious wanderers. Immediately on seeing him I turned and took refuge in a neighbouring bootmaker's, for the tradespeople all know the system which prevails, and readily offer a retreat to fugitives. As illluck would have it, Mrs. Dragon was coming into that very shop to try on a pair of boots, and I saw a complacent smile playing on Mr. D-'s countenance, which I thought by no means indicative of good intentions. On looking round I observed at the end of the shop one of those large boot and shoe trophies which we sometimes see in such establishments; and, as the illomened couple entered, I crept quietly behind it. Mrs. Dragon took her seat near the door, and began to inspect her pretty little boots; but the master made straight for the trophy behind which I was concealing myself. As he approached its end I gradually sidled round, until at last, when he was fairly behind it, I made a bolt for the door,

upsetting Mrs. Dragon, bootmaker, boots and all, and not stopping to draw breath until I was half way across Windsor Bridge.

To turn to more serious subjects. My tutor informed me, about a month after my arrival, that I should have shortly to pass a regular examination. Few boys, even of those who are best prepared, relish such a prospect, and I, being somewhat'shaky,' felt especially nervous. When the awful morning arrived I repaired, with the rest of my fellowsufferers, to the well-known bookseller's, where a gentleman, whose comfortable appearance seemed to mock our misery, supplied us, much to his satisfaction, with pens, paper, and a portable inkstand. He also handed each a paper of printed instructions, which referred principally to unimportant matters, but concluded with the grand statement: "A few good verses are worth much, and many are more; but many bad verses are worth nothing;' which certainly betrayed a lamentable ignorance of the value of poetry at the present day.

An examination is never a pleasant thing, and this one was no exception to the rule. Those who had been idle or negligent were, of course, in dire distress, while the rest were worried by their thoughtless importunities. The first day was principally for verses; and, 'Give us a three-syllabled word for place;' 'What's the Latin for seat?' and such-like questions, varied by 'I'll give you a licking when we come out,' might be heard at intervals around; but the masters, by walking up and down, caused the fusilade to be somewhat irregular. Some of the boys' papers, from repeated scratchings, crossings, and interpolations, more resembled pictures, or pieces of music, than exercises. The second day was passed in the same miserable manner, only, instead of writing verses, we had to translate from books. My friend Thompson thought to be very sly on this occasion, and said he was well up in his topography, i.e., a knowledge of the different pockets in which he had stowed his 'cribs;' but his ingenuity did not avail him,

for he spent all his time in trying to find the place in one of them, and when the hour arrived for showing up, had nothing to present but a blank sheet.


I had to pass another examination about a year afterwards, and, as I was fairly industrious, rose considerably in my division. In a class of about sixty boys, the golden or middle part was composed of such as had been moderately gifted with industry and intelligence, while the extremes formed a ludicrous contrast to one another. At the head were boys, generally of weak constitution, who never joined in the games, but devoted themselves entirely to reading. Many of them made their anxiety for distinction unpleasantly prominent, wrote exercises three or four times as long as were required, and were suspected of soliciting the masters' favour in various unlawful ways. These characteristics made them naturally unpopular in the schools, and they were generally stigmatized as 'saps' and 'swinks,' the wheat being thus literally among the 'chaff.' At the other, or 'lag' end of the class, came widely-different community, whose mental decrepitude was almost grotesque. They were, fortunately, for the most part, boys of good expectations, who were never likely to be dependent on their own exertions. A great incentive to labour is wanting to such as are born to fortune, and they are almost as much to be pitied as blamed. There are more such boys at Eton than in any other school, and I feel certain that they make as much progress there as they would anywhere else. The birch is the only cogent argument which can urge such loiterers along the flowery path of knowledge; and a friend of mine, whose parents took him away and sent him to a private tutor, confessed to me afterwards that he never learned anything after he left Eton. Examinations were the bugbears of these lotoseaters. They were skeletons to them in more than one sense; and when, at the end of the half, the Doctor read out the results, the invariable statement that Vere and Lloyding had been absent from indisposition,

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