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ment the work of Frank Tarver. When some quiet, studious little Colleger, who was only known as a 'sap,' cast aside his shyness and, with but an occasional halt, gave us a dim idea of the humour of a Dogberry or a Sneer we were amazed, and cheered accordingly.
Tarver was greatly proud of his elocution, and was always open to be ‘drawn' in that direction during our French lesson. If it were possible to pronounce the words on purpose more vilely than usual, we did it, and he would interfere with nerves on edge as at a scraped slate pencil. 'Stop, stop!' he would cry; that is not the way to pronounce it. Now listen.' And then he would recite it ore rotundo, upon which we would applaud, and say how fine it was, and ask him to go on. He, nothing loth, would continue, carried away by the swing of the language, till much of the school time consumed. Though our Eton French was not very extensive under his tuition, he certainly showed us how musical the language could sound-under certain circumstances !
But to return to the Fourth of June. The cricket in Upper Club in the afternoon was rather a full-dress affair, carried on in the presence of a band and strolling spectators, the topic of conversation being not so much the issue of a one day's match as the form displayed by the Eton team, and the chances of certain wearers of 'twenty-two' caps to get their 'flannels' and play at Lord's. Next to the Eton and Harrow match, it is the largest open-air meeting where Etonians gather together, where greybeards, who haven't seen each other for years, meet and talk over old times and discuss their contemporaries. Sometimes it is an unprophesied success in life. ' Did you think he had it in him? I thought he was a bit of a remember licking him once because he hadn't washed his neck.' Sometimes the talk turns on one of fortune's derelicts.
'I wonder what happened to Brown? Oh, don't you know? A bit too fond of the sex. There was a row about it in India, and he had to come home; then he tried being a “ bookie" for some time, but wasn't sharp enough to keep his end up. The last I heard of him he was driving a cab in London—wanted to drive Jones for nothing, for old sakes, but Jones made him take a sovereign all the same.' Such comments on life may be overheard in a casual conversation between old schoolfellows.
Here you may see the diplomat, the warrior, the Jew financier, the noble, and the divine being bear-led by their sons in the bravery of buttonhole and white waistcoat round the familiar haunts of Poet's Walk; and the mature angler will magnify by many pounds the pike he caught in Fellows' Pond, and the effect it produced on his digestion. And then, for those who
are historically minded, a stroll round that upper gallery of the Cloisters where engraved, drawn, and even caricatured, the great ones of Eton hang enshrined. Here you may wander in cool silence, and muse on the worthies of past time.
Here Sir Henry Wotton, the greatest of the Provosts, an incomparable letter writer, poet, ambassador to Venice, friend of the best spirits of his time, whose warning to the Church remains enshrined in his epitaph, ‘Disputandi pruritus, ecclesiarum scabies,' gazes at you with critical but not unkindly eyes in the musty old engraving.
Next to him, his predecessor, Sir Henry Savile, the 'extraordinarily handsome man, no lady had a finer complexion,' whose creamy pallor may be verified by a look at the oil portrait of him in the Provost's lodge, the scholar, the translator of the Bible, student of St. Chrysostom, a bookworm in every line. His eye has not the bright inquiring look of Wotton, the diplomatist, but the quiet lustre of contemplation. One can fancy him saying 'Give me the plodding student. If I would look for wits, I should go to Newgate.'
Then Dr. Arne, seated at the spinet, with the corners of his mouth drawn down as if he smelt a bad smell, the effect perhaps of church music upon an emotional nature, yet with a dash of pride as he looks down his nose at the obedient fingers.
Shelley too, with the dreamy eyes of a girl, wistfully gazing out of the portrait, and translating common objects into poetical phantasy, his dishevelled hair and negligent collar typical of his wayward nature. Mr. Nugent Bankes has described the scorn of the average Etonian for the budding satirist; small wonder was it that the young poet, who doubtless loafed most profitably, became the butt of his companions, and a safe ‘draw' on account of his ungovernable rages. His is not the face of an athlete, but that of a boy of imagination, whose character is well described by John Moultrie :
Pensive he was, and grave beyond his years,
And happiest seemed when, in some shady nook (His wild sad eyes suffused with silent tears),
O'er some mysterious and forbidden book
He pored until his frame with strong emotion shook. Not far off hangs a contrast in character—the neat portrait of Mackworth Praed, with silky hair, flowing in studied negligence, the poet of the ballroom, whose well-dressed verses delighted a former age and may be regarded in a measure as the prototype of the Bab Ballads.
Dr. Keate, a flogger of many delinquents, and Dr. Goodall are portrayed in silhouette : the one a short sturdy figure, a combination of Napoleon and a washerwoman, with cocked hat
worn square and apron flowing to the ground; the other a courtly gentleman arrayed point device even to the bunch of seals depending from his fob, and hugging his cane under his elbow as he hurries along with short steps; no florescent detail here, but the bare character in outline of two great Headmasters.
Many Church dignitaries are here, but none more typically Etonian than the handsome, alert young Bishop Selwyn, looking equally ready to row a match' with you or show you the way of salvation. His figure is full of energy, and is radiant with the gospel of cheerful effort as he leans lightly on the Bible. Gladstone, with clasped hands, tensely confronts an opponent; and Lord Salisbury, bowed with the weight of European affairs, gazes into the future with a sad prophetic eye.
Thomas Gray, holding a piece of paper in an exquisitely feminine hand-is it a matchless ode, or one of his charming letters from abroad to Mr. West or his mother?—with large contemplative eyes and a sad, pensive look, which makes one wonder whether all poets in those days had large eyes or whether artists gave them such because they wrote poetry.
Henry Fielding, the great Etonian novelist, law-giver too, and philanthropist, is drawn by Hogarth with no flattering hand. His bewigged profile looks like a benevolent, and at the same time satirical, nutcracker, indicating truly the character that said sharp things, but did kindly acts.
Lord Robert Manners, the hero of George Crabbe's Village, the bright, young, handsome naval captain, killed in battle in 1782, and typical of so many other Etonians; one excuses Crabbe's somewhat fulsome praise of him from a semi-domestic position if he really was as beautiful as Sir Joshua makes him.
It is well to pause and take stock of these leaders of men, and to speculate on how much or how little each of them owed his success to his old school, and whether or not some little stimulus given, or lesson learnt, roused the energies towards climbing the peaks of life.
Your duty towards the past, however, is not exhausted till you have strolled into College Hall and viewed the portraits of those distinguished alumni who have secured a place in that select gallery; and, finally, at the foot of the stairs you find that battered monument of our ancestors which will outlast, let us hope, all water companies and such makeshifts of artificial purification—the College Pump. Its brown iron handle is smooth from the grasp of countless generations, and the edges of its stone trough worn by the lustrations of Tugs' innumerable, long since gone to their rest. A few strokes, and out gushes such water pure from Nature's filter, and so cold that, like that of a mountain spring, it seems to taste of the rock.
You may say with Apemantus ‘Here's that which is too weak to be a sinner, honest water, which ne'er left man i' the mire.' Perhaps it is the rain of your father's time which has percolated by slow degrees through the hard sponge of the earth till it has trickled into the depths below, for no one knows how long such vintage has been laid down in bottle; but its crust it has dropped long ago, and it has a tang of age about it.
But you did not quench your thirst at this spring, for there was tea to be had, either at Layton's up Windsor, or at 'my tutor's' in a boy's room. If the latter, it was a 'sock' tea, furnished with delicacies from Barnes Brown, cakes from Atkins's, and, most important of all, strawberries from Mother Lipscombe. Sometimes the latter were bought in the street in pottles, ingenious cornucopias invented in the interests of the seller, whereby a few showy specimens at the top covered the poorness of the fruit beneath. Out of these, with the addition of cream, a tolerable strawberry mess could be obtained, but not so luxurious as that garnished with the ice cream of Messrs. Layton.
Soon the street begins to look bright with gay ribbons, white ducks, and gold lace, sported by many a jolly young waterman, some of them looking a trifle shy and uncomfortable in their finery; but this wears off so soon as they take their seats in the boat, and are supported by their comrades. The little coxswains, dressed like glorified middies and resplendent admirals, hold in their hands, like shy débutantes, the huge bouquets which it is the tradition for the captain of their boat to give them. There are many ways of trying to look unconcerned in a novel and striking dress in the public street, and few manage to do it successfully. Even the old hands find that long ribbons hanging down over the right ear will press themselves on the attention and sometimes tickle, and the eye instinctively wanders downward past the gaudy shirt to see if the trousers hang right over the buckled shoes, and the hand strays furtively up to feel if the tie is straight. But once at the Brocas and all thought of dress vanishes, for they settle down in their places like experienced oarsmen. It was not till about 1877 that the custom was adopted of sending the Eight as a separate crew in the procession of boats, but it has since been rightly discarded, because the final representative crew which is to row at Henley is not, and never can be, fixed so early in the rowing
It is curious that an eight-oar should be the permanent type for boat racing, for we never hear of a six-oar or a twelve-oar being built. Probably experiments have been tried in that direction, and the old type of craft proved the best ; but I cannot help thinking that a race at Henley between ten
oars or twelve oars would prove an imposing affair, and it might be interesting to see if they would prove faster than eight oars.
The head boat of Eton, the Monarch, being a ten-oar, always had a solid air of dignity about it. It was the House of Lords among the boats, and contained scholars and men who did not go in for the strenuous career of racing; and sometimes the Captain of the School, or the Captain of the Eleven, was asked to take an oar in it honoris causâ, consequently the form displayed was not always the best. But in spite of an occasional attempt to catch crabs, there was always a leisurely stateliness about the old boat, and the fact that the Captain of the Boats always rowed stroke gave it a prestige above all the others. The boat itself was constantly had in requisition by parties of old Etonians and masters calling themselves · Ancient Mariners,' and also by boys, for expeditions up the river when they had a • bill’off 'absence.' Next in the fleet came the Victory, the neatest crew of all, in their light blue stripes; then the Prince of Wales, usually called “Third Upper,' these three being the Upper Boats. Then the Lower Boats, led by the Britannia, in their order, steered by the coxswains in their dark blue jackets, looking like pouter pigeons with their bouquets pinned to their chests. You may see now the same uniforms and the same colours worn as were in vogue in the 'seventies, except that I am told each boat does not retain its particular cap and blazer, but the ordinary colours are lumped together according to Upper or Lower Boat choices, &c. This, no doubt, is for economy's sake, for under the old system, when you obtained a 'draught,' or move into a higher boat, a new uniform had to be purchased ; but it is to be hoped no further changes will be made. Two important changes were made during that decade; a new boat, called the Alexandra, after the then Princess of Wales, was added to the list, with colours of black and white; and one which we regretted at the time, viz. the change of the colours of the Dreadnought from the red check on a white ground to pink rings on a white ground. The old colours were distinctive, original, and not unbecoming, whereas the new had a way of looking faded and old at once, and for a time we called them in derision the 'Neapolitan ice colours.' I was wearing an old Dreadnought cap one day at Henley Regatta, when I was spotted by the sharp eye of the nigger minstrel 'Squash.' 'Make way there, you toff with the chessboard cap,' he shouted over a mass of boats, ‘my move, I think.'
In those days the boats rowed up to Surley for their 'supper on Boveney Meads,' accompanied by a string of spectators, who walked along the bank. Tables were laid in a field opposite