Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

vour.

one.

not resist the temptation of making a di- they are invariably addressed in a jargression to the times when we, as child- gon? But they do_and I learned the ren, had no trials at all ; and I do not be. vulgar tongue, and used it too; and lieve there can be a greater contrast in then, when the pampered, idolized life than was in those days felt and expe- child grows towards boyhood, he is told rienced by children male, in passing from

to know himself- and how should he ? the age of infancy to that of boyhood. -finery and flattery are no longer for You must have observed that mothers him. The next stage of life is one of are much prouder of male than female real hardship, for he has not only to infants. They stick a sort of rose in learn but to unlearn. He is, or rather the cap, as a badge of dignity, that all was, in our time, turned out of all fathe world may know what they are.

For kisses he had kicks; and, And, I am sure, when they first begin according to a vulgar saying, “ more to teach them to walk, and that is kicks than halfpence.'

The contrast often much earlier than they should,

was horrible--from a pet to an outcast. they take great pains to show what I am told all is altered now, and that they are. They shame us men out of the fine gentleman commences with the all our proprieties, and make us turn baby. As to myself, I was a little away our modest faces. An infant good-for-nothing ; half my time in tatmale, then, is the greatest treasure and ters, which nobody noticed ; and even darling-is really a little idol-a “dumb at the more advanced period, when

my idol" at first—but he is soon taught mother asked the question of my father, to lord it with a loud voice, a practice it was unquestionably time I should which some never are able to get rid have new breeches of some sort or of, and which, with a just retribution, other. There never passed a fifth of they often pay back upon that sex November, from the age of seven, that from whom they have acquired it in in.

a hole was not regularly squibbed dulgence. And it is curious that when through whatever I had a hole, do I the child female is taken to as the bet- say?-I should say many, if it was not ter pet, the indulged pampered boy is that in a short time they all ran into at once rudely cast off, and told ab- I was, from that age, as unlike ruptly that

the sweet child in the nankeen dress,

blue sash, and hat. and feathers, as a “ Girls must have white bread, and nice

dove is like a badger-not that I was sugar sops ;

as well clad as the latter. The first Boys must have brown bread, and good feeling of the young cast-off was desohard knocks.”

late enough. Oh, unfortunate age! Neither you nor I, Eusebius, would when the little urchin can receive imventure to object to the doctrine, for pressions, and make none. rough discipline of some sort is neces- mean to say the impressions I received sary to those who have to go through were of a tender kind. I only wonder a crooked perverse world; but the time that I did not turn savage, and that I of the announcement, and the previous did not through life bear a dislike to idolatry, make the lesson a somewhat women ; for from them came my chief

Now, nothing could be pain. greater than the contrast I suffered. There was a little incident at this I have a perfect recollection of myself age of early abandonment and deserin this idol state. I dare say I was a tion of favour, that might have ruined pretty, for all said I was a beautiful in the bud the tenderness which, neverchild. I remember my dress; and theless, in after life came to mature where will you find a finer idol, ready blossom. Discarded by mother, sisters, to step down from his pagoda.pedestal cousins, and pushed from home by to walk the ground ?-to walk it?- to: maid-servants, I one day sought soli. dignify it with the pressure of his foot- tary solace in a quarry, not far from a step. I well remember strutting in the temporary residence my father had finest nankeen dress, with a long and taken in the country. There I sat, as broad blue sash, a beautifully crimped meditative as such an incipient boy frill, and a white hat and feathers could be, when a little girl, (a village was taken up and kissed wherever I tailor's daughter,) about my own age, was met, and fondled, and talked to in came into the quarry, and sat by me a language that must have much re. for companionship. The spot was tarded my learning real English. How certainly retired ; and, at another age, do children acquire their language when my situation might have been critical,

No, ccxçı, YOL. XLVII.

I do not

cruel one.

D

1

2

and liable to scandal—but scandal I in his pocket, I thought he carried knew not then. How soon was I to that with him which should one day know it! Could the babes in the wood "give the world assurance of a man." be more innocent! And whence did the Not that I then made the quotation blow come ?—from my father. It hap- from Shakspeare- I was not so learned pened that, in one of his walks, with his but, as Mr Puff said, we both hit book as usual in his hand, that he might, upon the same thought. without interruption, give vent to his Of my acquirements and fitness for feelings, and repeat aloud a pathetic the college of St Mary Winton at passage, into the quarry he walked. that time, you shall determine, EuseHe was the most untheatrical man liv- bius, by the following translation ing in all his actions, a man of singu. which I made to my father, who took lar modesty, which, alas, I inherit! me in hand some time before, and from

To spout a speech, or lift his arm in a private school. A private school! action to the words, knowingly, before Oh! the indignity of going to a priman, woman, or child, would have

vate school, as I afterwards proudly been impossible ;-but here he did it thought; but I have passed over preunwittingly. There was something paratory schools, at many of which I to me so ludicrous in it, so unexpect- served, I cannot say merui-detestable ed, that, in the midst of his viva voce all. What with tossings in the blanexclamations I could not suppress a ket, putting forth my feet for peg-tops titter. He heard it and saw his un. to aim at, and wiring the toe, accordfortunate son, and one Sukey Bowers, ing to the recipe of the then and the tailor's daughter, sitting hand in ever-odious Latin grammar, fists, hand, like Cupid and Psyche, his only cane, and privations; and, I am sorry admiring audience.

I believe he was to adu, mcamesses of big and litilemore shocked than I was. He had all I can say is, that it is a wonder a presence of mind to recover his pro- boy ever comes out of the ordeal with priety, and with a good-natured smile health, temper, learning, or morals. asked the little girl her name, and But this is another digression, so walked away, and when I returned now to the translation, by which you home he had so completely passed his will discover that I did not add a jokes over the whole house, that there knowledge of prosody to my acquirewas not one in it that did not banter ments and deficiencies in grammar. me-and miserable I was for many a My father gave me the following month on account of it. Day after line out of Ovid; I do not know that I day was I asked if I had seen “ my have read it since, but I well remem. Sukey Bowers.” Heaven forgive me! ber it, and where I hammered at it, I verily believe I hated her; and if I with a little dictionary in two volumes, had heard her knell I might have been Entick's, on the ground; a little green the happier. I cannot philosophize patch, near a stile, with my back to upon this antipathy of very young per- the cow-house. The locus quo has, sons to the tender passion ; it is, however, little to do with it. We are nevertheless, very curious.

all garrulous, Eusebius- now for the certainly as miserable because I did line : not love when I could not love, as ever I was when under the “ amiable

“ Jam mihi deterior canis aspergitur insanity.”

But this is all a digression from my My father had laid down his book, new breeches, and never will lead to seemingly not liking the interruption. them, and all this while the tall and The word was given, “construe," robust Mr Flight is standing to take which I did thus. Jum, now; detemeasure of me, young Master Crack- v rior canis, a mongrel dog ; aspergilatin, for a pair of new mouse-colour tur, besprinkled ; atas, age.

The leathers, wherein I am to make my deuce he did !" said my father, gravely, public entry upon life in the best put his hand to his mouth, and walked manner I can. Naturally I put my out of the room. He seldom laughed, best leg foremost, then the worst; that is, rightly laughed; but I heard, out went one hip, then the other, and as he ascended the stairs, tit, tit, tit, soon all my dimensions were noted and a peculiar note he had, whether upon parchment. The mysterious from his nose or the roof of his mouth, notches struck me with wonder, and I cannot tell, when any thing moved when he put the important document him either to pleasure or displeasure.

I was

[ocr errors]

!

ætas.

that ;

I stood like a deterior canis, a mon- great and little Goes. But to the grel; but where my error was, for breeches, Eusebius; methinks I hear the life of me I could not then tell. you say, will the boy never put them

It was whimsical enough that age on ?--the new mouse-colour leathers. turning a man's hair grey should be Have patience they shall be on metamorphosed into a mongrel, and directly-no, that is impossible with so ill-bred a one; and such another leather breeches in those days. The metamorphosis, I will venture to as- evening before my departure, being sert, is not to be found in Ovid's fa- booked to Winchester, behold the armous books of that name,

rival of Mr Flight with his foreman While on this subject, my dear Eu- and a bag--and in that bag, or rather sebius, do let me boast of a little im- out of that bag, were turned my new provement within the year. It is not mouse-colour leather breeches. I a proof of great scholarship, but there longed to try them on, and would have was an improvement in taking an in. retired for that purpose, but was stopgenious shot at a passage. This was ped by Mr Flight, with “ No, young at Winchester. in the morning we gentleman, I must get them on.' had been reading Virgil, and when a You get them on?” said I, wishing boy was thrown out at prensos boves, to have the first wear myself. “ Yes, and it came to my turn, I was prompted said he, with a grin,“ on you, I mean; by another boy, and cried out boldly, they would hardly fit me.He was cot oxen.

right; it was impossible : in my ideas “ What do you mean?" said the of my own magnitude I had forgotten master.

and to me even they were a tight Oxen of the Cottage, sir," said I. fit, as you shall hear. First, Mr Flight's

"Oh, you sound-catcher!” said he; foreman took off his coat, and tucked and all laughed.

up his shirt sleeves. Then Mr Flight To remedy this defeat, I took par. took the breeches, and gave his shoulticular pains with my Livy—the even- ders a slight shake as if to try their ing lesson, in which was included strength-then told me to strip. It the passage respecting the prodigies was evident they could not be put on in the Roman camp. Now had it not over any thing else, so behold me in been that a notable prodigy was to be nubibus. Had I been to be ini. described, I should not have blundered. tiated in “ the great mysteries,” Mr The passage is~" Nam et lupus intra- Flight could not have held forth the verat castra, laniatisque obviis, ipse articles of initiation with more solemintactus evaserat, et examen apum in nity. For a moment I poised my right arbore prætorio imminente considerat.leg over them, supported bodily by Thus i translated it. Nàm, for; et, the foreman. I thrust iny leg down; and ; lupus, a wolf; intraverat, en- alas ! it would not go far; then, by a tered ; castra, the camps ; laniatis lift of the foreman, I contrived to get obviis, to look for the sheep ; que, in my other leg; then I felt myself and; ipse, he himself; evaserat, es- suspended, and then came “ the tug caped ; intactus, unhurt ; et, and ; of war.”

Mr Flight took the waistconsiderat, sat down upon ; examen, a

hand, and while he was shaking me swarm ; apum, of bees ; in arbore into the new mouse-colours, the fore. here I was not allowed to go further- man was forcing my unwilling limbs a general roar quite discomfited me. into them by rubbing and smoothing, The master twisted his mouth, and and tugging and pulling, and by more curled his nose; but it would not do, actions than there are words to express and so he fairly laughed with the them; by jerking me, lifting me, drag, rest.

ging me, and tossing me all round the “A very uncomfortable seat, Mr room, at least half an hour before I Wolf,” said he,“ and perhaps a tick- could make any substantial way whatler would make you construe better.” ever into my first real virile apparel.

For myself, I was in despair, and We were all forced to take a rest; and thought the field of literature was no I could not help seeing, that whatever field for my father's son, and in truth profit he got by them was got " with I thought he had enough for both. I the sweat of his brow.” After a little soon found, however, that others were rest, at it we went again; " the Sepot much wiser; took courage, and conde Fitte," as it might be fairly have successfully encountered the called. But here I was belpless; I

could not move a knee; not a joint exit, assured me all the difficulty was would bend. And there was 1 sus. over, that a second trial was quite pended by the waistband, the first edi. unnecessary, and that henceforth they tion of my father's learning bound in would fit like a glove. A second trial leather-calf, but not lettered. That I was not then equal to, and readily last finish came a long while after. believed him. wards. It certainly took a good hour I know, Eusebius, you delight to and a half to get me in. The descent be a boy again; will you therefore was not fucilis ; but to get out of go with me through the scene of them was worse. This was indeed a my first entrance, not at a private toil and labour. Sed revocare gra. school, indeed, but at that noble school dum.Hic labor, hoc opus est." Winchester, whose walls are and It is painful to think of it even now; ever will be dear to me, for to that so before the final tug, we must have excellent school do I owe all that I rest, and I will take advantage of it know worth knowing, and all I feel to make what apology I can for my worth feeling? The generous highmistranslation.

minded character of our public schools, I had taken obviis for ovibus, and I need not descant upon to you. I ovibus I knew were sheep, and lani. had known private, some ill conditionatis I considered to be the adjec. ed from the masters, others from the tive of lana, wool, and woolly sheep boys; and with the latter generally is is mere tautology, and the dative case

the error.

I know not why it is, but is, for; and really so many verbs there is a meanness among them toare omitted in Latin, why might they tally unknown at public schools-pernot be here, and so I only supplied haps I should say was. In my days, a “ to look," and I now gravely declare petted, home-fed, pampered, indulged that many a learned commentator and boy, first sent, at an early age, to a expositor has supplied a great deal rough private school, like Lucian's more out of his own head, and with as

private tutor, with a pot-belly that he little probability of being right. And could neither fill nor get rid of, was what is more natural than that a wolf the most miserable of creatures on should go out to look for the sheep; earth. The fact is, our public schools and where should he find them but are the growth of ages, and laws have out of the camp? And now, Eusebius, grown up with them that must not be I have but to call all who think differ- infringed; and hence there is a goently blockheads, dolts, idiots, and so vernment of law, not of caprice, and forth ; and you will find the above de- the boy feels himself, to a great defence not a very unfair specimen of gree, independent. The school does learned annotations, if you will only not take its character from a boy or put it into tolerable Latin.

two, but it is a character by time Now, then, it is time to extricate my acquired, handed down, and must self, if not out of this passage in Livy, at be maintained—and is maintained. least to make a passage out of my new And now, Eusebius, do you not think mouse.colour leather breeches. Mr

it is quite time for me to make my Flight caught hold of meround the body, second appearance in my mouse-colour his foreman had hold of the breeches at leathers ? Not yet. Is it not the best the knees- I kicked, I plunged ; they time, before I put them on, to discuss pulled: luckily my joints held my a little scholastic discipline ?

Do limbs together as well as the breeches not think I mean to insinuate a -it was a frightful endeavour-but disciplinal attitude. Only, that when 66 nil arduum est mortalibus-no- once on, as I do not mean to take them thing is too hard for man, and that, off again in a hurry, I might as well by-the-by, was said of a Flight. Mr not be too proud, and strut about gabFlight was a man of courage, and his bling my say, like the turkey, expandforeman scorned to be outdone—so ating my tail. Of discipline-why mince it again they went, “ like master, like the word flogging ?-according to old man; " " nothing is denied to well di- dictionaries, you will find it a good and rected labour." I was at length free wholesome exercise for man and boy, of my breeches, and they were free of (by man, meaning master.) It circulates

And from that day there is no- the blood, and that not too violently; thing I more admire than the political it sets the spirits free and the brain axiom, that " free bottoms shall carry alert. We have scarcely had a poet free goods.” Mr Flight making his since Milton, and he was the last that

me.

sons.

[ocr errors]

.ch

TOL

nec

birth was flogged at the university. What the boys sit while learning their les

a disgrace, says the prater of modern The “ taking up," is nothing forts times and modern nonsense ? Tell the more than the removal of the shirt CODE boy at Eton, at Winchester, at West- between the waistband and the waistdi minster, after he has suffered it, that coat, so that the space of back left

he is disgraced, and your next prating, open for punishment is very small, and Mr Prater, will be in a half whistle the twigs of the rod so far apart, that without your teeth, and you will not often not one hits, and seldom, indeed, see very clearly through your eyes.

all; and then the master makes but i en Disgraced, indeed! and by enduring just three blows-and these, generally, very levere discipline—by daring to obey! Do you lightly, and the matter is over, and little think the noble captains that fought at

harm done. It is only in case of very Waterloo had never been flogged ? ay, great offences another punishment is ll this to their honour, they had—and who inflicted, and that is by six blows in.

will say our soldiers want bottom ? stead of three ; and the boy is then taken 25 bis Nunquam ingenium idem ad res din up by two officers of the school-boyson

versissimas, parendum atque imperan- duty; and then, indeed, the space for dum, habilius fuit.That was the punishment is somewhat larger. All character of Hannibal--and it is a true this is, however, according to rule, by description of that acquired by the which the master is restricted; so that discipline of our public schools. When both are under it. For a master to you are in danger, I only wish you may

punish in

any
other

way is an unheardshow half as fair a face to the enemy of thing; nor would it be submitted

as they have. It is said that a man to. A cane, or a ferule, or any of the dari who marries has given bond to society little uncertain tyranny of a private

for his good behaviour. A fine-spirited school, would not be borne a moment ; youth who submits to discipline for a rebellion would break out. The

conscience-sake, who has been legi- boy that will be flogged will not be thens

timately flogged, has given his bottomry cuffed. His dignity would, indeed, be
bond, (as merchants call it,) both for offended; for I will venture to say there
his good behaviour and learning I say cannot be collected a number of higher-
who has been legitimately flogged-for spirited, manly-minded youths, than
here is a great distinction, very ob- are to be met with at our public
servable between the custom at private schools; and there is nothing they
and public schools. At the latter show their superior manliness in so
there are no little, galling, tyrannical much as in their obedience to disci-
oppressions-nothing takes place as pline. Custom gives rights, and rights
punishment but what is well under- reconcile to punishment. The mas-
stood upon entering, and by the cus- ter, even by adhering to custom, in
tom; no greater disgrace than is de. some respects shows, by example, the
served, if disgrace it can generally be beauty of obedience. They have
called, is conveyed or implied by sub- themselves been educated at the
mission. And all is open and above- school over which they preside; they
board for the first thing you see on know the youths under their care are
entering the noble building, the school- to be passed to the universities, and
room, is a large painting at one end, a thence into the world, to adorn it in
portrait of the rod, and this pithy ad- every rank; and they take pains to
monition_" Aut disce, aut discede, inculcate generous sentiments. I was
manet sors tertia, cæde. Even the rod once discovered by the head.master
is of a prescribed form and dimensions, out of bounds a serious offence. A
and supplied by one of the officers of friend was with me, but I alone was
the schools--one of the boys. It is a known. We joined the rest just as
turned handle, with four long twigs- the master, Dr Goddard, rode up. He
apple. And there is likewise a prescrib- called me out, and asked me who was
ed manner of inflicting punishment.

with me.
I was silent.

The youth The delinquent, without hesitation, who was with me did not give time for kneels down to a block, and two boys, the question to be asked again, but any that like the sport as it is termed, boldly stepped forward and said, " I take him up; that is, standing in front

» The Doctor turned his horse's of him on the other side of the block, head and rode away, and, I need not which is, in fact, an immovable benclı,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

say, never punished either. Thanks, the last of many in the row, on which good Doctor, for all your kindness;

was.

« IndietroContinua »