Public School Magazine, December 1900


In these days of the “brilliant young man,” it is always pleasant to see the older school asserting itself, to however small a degree. The Head Master of Rossall is evidently of this opinion, for he has presented the school library with a tablet inscribed by the facile quill of King Manamaalteel, an eminently readable author, and one who would probably have achieved an even wider popularity than he has done, had he written in English instead of Cuneiform. Readers of the Public School Magazine will remember his “Monarchy, and how I did it,” “Blue Blood, by one who has got some,” “Babblings from Babel, by a Babylonian Babe,” and numerous other enthralling volumes. Rossall is to be congratulated on acquiring his latest work. Happy Rossall!

How they’ll jostle down at Rossall,
For this interesting fossil.

     (Sat prata biberuntEd.)


Visitors to Dulwich may rave about the local scenery, the splendid view of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway from the college grounds, and the picturesque je ne sais quoi of the workmen engaged in taking up the drains, but the melancholy fact remains that for over three weeks there has not been a single Vanilla chocolate to be had at the Buttery for threats, tears, reproaches, or coin of the realm. It is on such occasions that scenery, drains, and workmen lose their charms. The poetry of life vanishes in a moment before the sterner realities. Drains are good, but you can’t eat them during School, and the same remark applies to workmen and scenery. And so Dulwich is wrapped, for the time being, in gloom.


There is going to be trouble at Eton unless the “childish, idiotic, inconsiderate, and utterly scuggish custom of pelting the E. C. R. V. Band when they play” ceases immediately. Matters and missiles have actually reached such a pitch that a large instrument was seriously damaged by having several chestnuts thrown into it. It is these old customs that weld our community into one homogeneous whole, and prevent life from becoming a dreary farce. True, it may be unpleasant for the band to have chestnuts thrown at them, but they should follow the example of the comic press, and when chestnuts come their way, make the most of them.


Apropos of the article upon Loretto which the Editor tells me is to appear elsewhere in this issue, it is interesting to note that out of 135 boys in the School, 102 are in the choir. Loretto is blithe enough, despite her periodical Blues.


Bradfield has come to the conclusion that only barbarians are happy. This opinion (which was carried by 18 votes to 16) was backed up by sound argument. One member instanced the dog as a type of happiness because he could scratch himself. Having started at scratch, as it were, he went on to say that to early man starvation was impossible, as he had only to meet a friend, and whichever of the two proved victorious in the ensuing combat would at the same time stock his larder.


The Editor of The Leys Fortnightly, in speaking of his staff, refers to his reviewer as “one of the most weighty members on the Fortnightly Committee.” Does this mean that we are to expect ponderous reviews? Tremble, O Editors!


Repton wants a School blazer. I am told that in the Summer holidays a member of the School was seen in a green blazer with yellow braid, and—the ink on my pen grows white as I write it—a bright red cap. O tempora, O mores! And yet they still sing Floreat Repandunum.


Unfortunate is the position of Elizabeth College, Guernsey. Cut off from hope and England by the Channel, she cannot find a single club in the island which can put a team into the field. It is notoriously difficult to play Football without opponents, and the editor of the Elizabethan invites suggestions. It would seem a case for Conscription. Or why not hire mercenaries at so much per hour, with double wages if, without giving the game away, they lose it?


It was a painful shock to me to read in the Meteor that the Rugbeian contributors to the Paris Exhibition had been badly hung—but it hardly seems appropriate for the Meteor to complain of “skying.”


A correspondent at Haileybury tells me that Mr. Frank Bullen has been lecturing to them upon “Whales and the Whale Fishery.” The author of The Cruise of the Cachalot seems to have painted a very handsome picture of the pleasures and profits of the trade. It appears, indeed, as my correspondent points out, that the crews catch a lot.


Apropos of the lecture, my correspondent further asks if I can answer him: Why did the whale wail? Chestnuts being in season, I will spare him the retort obvious. Of course everyone knows the reason: The smelt smelt.


K. B. writes to tell me of the pleasure he derived from the Speech Day at Worksop this year. In commenting upon the performance of the choir, he observes that among other things they sang “I’m going to my lonely bed, in four parts,” and asks me what I think of it. Unfortunately I have never heard the piece; but the title interests me extremely. There is something very fascinating in the picture of a man going to bed in four parts; though how his bed can be lonely when the four bits of him are inside is not quite apparent. K. B. further tells me that the date of this interesting madrigal is 1523-1566. Perhaps that explains it. Tempora mutantur.


Talking of Football (Who was?—Ed.) Bedford Grammar are having a satisfactory season. They have only played three schools up to date, and the scores have been: v. St. Paul’s 48 points to nil; v. Dulwich 28 to nil; v. Haileybury 34 to nil. A new nihilist club will shortly be formed unless the police interfere.


Blundell’s had a day out lately, winning one of their matches by 25 goals and 7 tries to nil. I am told that a new motto is shortly to adorn the School Arms: Non cupidus ego, sed multum amo.


Jack Point.


Editor’s notes:
sat prata biberunt: From the last line of Virgil’s third eclogue: claudite iam riuos, pueri; sat prata biberunt — “close the irrigation canals, boys; the meadows have drunk enough”. Wodehouse uses the ‘editorial’ interruption to tell his ‘Jack Point’ persona to stop with the poetic effusions and get on with the column.
E. C. R. V.: Eton College Rifle Volunteers; after 1908 they became a junior contingent of the Officers Training Corps and were known as the E. C. O. T. C.
“skying”: hanging an ill-regarded painting in a difficult-to-see spot near the ceiling of a crowded art-gallery wall
“going to my lonely bed”: The madrigal by Richard Edwardes (ca. 1523–1566) was originally “In going to my naked bed” but most Victorian-era anthologies bowdlerized this to “In going to my lonely bed.” Amusingly, one early manuscript source for the madrigal is The Mulliner Book.
tempora mutantur: times change
non cupidus ego, sed multum amo: Roughly, “I’m not greedy, but I like [having] a lot”; this Latin tag is not found otherwise on the Internet so may well be a Wodehouse coinage rather than a classical quotation.

 —Notes by Neil Midkiff, with thanks to John Dawson