Imatges de pàgina

with ancient custom, the head-master intrusts him with a ring, which he keeps for the day, and the motto on which_commendat rarior usus—is a hint that auch request is not to be made too often. On these days four hours are employed at "books-chambers." Saturday, by a singular exception to the practice of almost all schools, is not a half-remedy; but the afternoon school ends at five, at which hour there is chapel. On Sundays there is morning chapel at 8, breakfast at 9, and at 10 the whole school attends the service (litany and a sermon) at the cathedral, where place is allotted them in the choir, two oaken arm-chairs forming seats of honor for the two senior prefects. There is a Scripture or Greek Testament lesson at 4, and evening chapel at 5. On the afternoons of halfremedies, when the weather allows, the whole school, in pairs, each boy with his socius, (according to the founder's rule-sociati omnes incedunto,) under the command of the prefect of hall, start from college at 2 P. M. for " Hills;" the breezy downs about a mile south-east of the college, called St. Catherine's Hill, which has always formed the supplementary playground for Wykehamists. Here Whitehead used to lie and read his favorite "Atlantis," and compose abundant poetry perhaps not much worse than in his laureated days. Here also, in days within the memory of many, a badger-bait was the great excitement provided for less poetic spirits, on extraordinary occasions; but now the time (an hour and a half) is usually spent in walks in the adjoining country within certain bounds, with an occasional paper-chase or game at football. At other times a college boy is more strictly confined to bounds than is the case at any other public school; the gates being kept strictly locked, and no exit allowed except into "Meads "—the playground at the back of the college, containing about two acres, with good football and cricket-ground, and fives-courts -or into College street as far as the bookseller's. The present warden has given a degree of liberty which is much valued—"leave out” to the whole school from 12 to 1, within certain bounds which do not include the city; for any business which a boy may have in the streets special leave has to be obtained. Supper-consisting of bread and cheese, or beef (on alternate nights) and beer, for prefects; bread and butter and tea for inferiors—is served out at 6; which leaves the services of the juniors at liberty, if required, for toasting, &c., at the prefect's mess" at 6:30; those official personages enjoying the privileges of having tea, coffee, &c., made for them by their "valets” in chambers from that hour until 7:30. From then until prayers at 8:45 is "toy-time"-supposed to be occupied in preparing the work for the next day, but when, it may be easily concluded, a good deal besides goes on not provided for by any college statutes however comprehensive. All the chambers are supposed to be locked and quiet by 9 o'clock. A certain quantity of bread is given out in hall at 6:30 for use in chambers, but there is no regular meal after the 6 o'clock tea or supper; though there are often surreptitious cookings of tea and coffee, and other accessories, on the "half-fagot” on the hearth; not less enjoyed because liable to sudden interruption and punishment by the second master if he makes, as he is supposed occasionally to do, a round of inspection. It was at such little suppers that Tom Warton, (who ought to have been a Wykehamist,) when living with his brother the Doctor, delighted to assist; hiding himself, like a great boy, when Dr. Warton happened to come round; and doing the “impositions” of Latin verse inflicted upon his young fellow-culprits. Bed-time is 9.15 for the juniors; for the prefects. 10. In commoners the hours are much the same. It will be found, on calculation, that the average day's work expected from a boy at Winchester is rather more than seven hours; quite sufficient if fairly employed. But when working for "standing up time," or election day, a zealous boy will give up a good deal more time than this.*

Dinner is now at 1:15, for which only half an hour is allowed. It is rather singular that, in this respect, a step has been backwards, so far as modern habits are concerned. In the last generation Wykeham's scholars dined more fashionably; the old "supper” at 6, consisting of roast mutton and bread, (no veg. etables,) had become virtually their dinner-the original dinner of hot boiled beef at 12:45 being looked upon in the light of an early lunch; and since they then breakfasted so late as 10 o'clock, the appetite was not keen enough to rel. ish a dish which is always found to be distasteful on constant repetition, so that commonly the plates of boiled beef went into the “tub” before-mentioned, and served to mend the fare of the prisoners in the county jail

, while the boys made their luncheon on bread and cheese. Now, meat is only served once in the day, at the early dinner; beef on Mondays and Thursdays, and mutton on the other days, with the ordinary vegetables, bread, and cheese; and pudding twice in the week. The choristers still wait at table--the only representatives of that class of poor scholars, "servitors," whom our schools and universities formerly maintained. They are now usually the sons of tradesmen in the city, and have a separate school of their own in College street, though they still stand on the

At these times a good deal of extra reading is done, and strange devices are adopted to secure early waking in the morning. "One very original alarm-known as a "scheme"—is of venerable antiquity, and deserves notice, though not very easy to describe. A hat-box (or some such article)






1. Cutting the hours, (an inch of candle is allowed per hour.) 2. The functior, or candlesconce, to which the string is tied. The rusb-light burns down to the bundle of loose paper,

which burns the string. 3. The "scheme" arranged. 4. The paper alight. 5. The "scheme" calls. is hung by a string over a boy's head as he lies in bed, the string being fastened to the wall, and a rush-light so arranged as to burn it through at a certain hour; when down comes the hat-box on the sleeper's head. The boy who wishes to be called may probably be a prefect; but it need hardly be said that the head upon which the hat-box descends is a junior's.

college roll as "third book;" but formerly they seem to have been of somewhat higher grade, were eligible to scholarships, and in the roll of 1683 several of them appear in fifth and fourth book. Their little gray dresses are furnished them from a legacy of good John Fromond aforesaid.

Election to Scholarships. The election day, both for Winchester and New College, is on the Tuesday next after the 7th of July, (St. Thomas à Becketty) when the warden of New College, Oxford, with two of his fellows, called the “posers,” (or at one time "supervisors,") arrive at the college, when they are received with an oration "ad portus" by the senior scholar.*

In old times they always rode down from Oxford with their servants behind them, making Newbury their half-way house, where they seem to have supped upon a very liberal scale. A regulation of the founder provided that they shall not bring with them more than six horses. They had presents given them by the Winchester society; for instance, in 1417, a scarlet cap for the warden, and a "hurry" (or cap) for each of the posers; and they, in their turn, complimented "the warden and Mrs. Harris," and "Mr. and Mrs. Schoolmaster," in 1633,) with Oxford gloves. In the year of the plague, when Winchester was infected, the election was held at Newbury; the electors from the two colleges meeting there. The practice of riding down on horseback was continued by Dr. Gauntlett, Warden of New College, until 1822, when he was in his 70th year; he also slept at Newbury by the way, and gave a dinner there to all Wykehamists who chose to attend.

The Oxford visitors, on their arrival, proceed at once to “ Election Chamber" to hear any complaint which the boys may have to prefer. This is called the "scrutiny;" the seven senior prefects, and the seven juniors in chambers, (one from each chamber,) are separately questioned; but complaints are seldom made. Next morning the examination for election of scholars to New College begins-no longer in the renowned "Election Chamber” itself, but in the long "Warden's Gallery," as more convenient for the purpose; all prefects who are of standing to leave the school are examined, with any others who choose. As a rule, none can be elected who are over eighteen on the day of election; all others are superannuated. Boys, however, who bear a good character, and have passed a creditable examination at the election before their eighteenth birthday, can stand again next year. The vacancies used to be about nine in two years, but the uncertainty attending this was the cause of many severe disappointments; now, six scholars are elected every year, and the competition is opened to the commoners. This examination usually ends on Saturday evening, and on Monday the "roll" comes out with the names of those elected to Oxford; on Tuesday the election to fill vacancies on the Winchester roll begins. This is now entirely a matter of competitive scholarship; all boys from ten to fourteen are eligible, the candidates being subjected to two graduations of ex amination, according to age. There are, on an average, about fourteen vacancies in college in the course of the year; and a more than sufficient number of boys are placed "on the roll,” in the order of merit, to succeed to these vacan cies as they occur.

* Two other speeches are spoken in school just before their arrival:-1. "Fundatoris laudes," by the senior “ Founder's kin" scholar; 2. Elizabethæ et Jacobi laudes,” (commonly I nown as Elizabeth and Jacob,”') by the second scholar on the roll.

Election day is the great college festival—both wardens, the posers, and resident fellows, all dine on the daïs in hall, the boys sitting at their tables below, with somewhat better fare than ordinary, especially one ancient dish-a kind of mince-meat—highly popular under the name of "stuckling." One table, by a curious traditionary custom, is called the "children's table"—the wardens and fellows present each choosing one of the junior scholars for their child," and presenting him with a guinea and a luxurious dinner at this privileged hoard.

Games. The games at Winchester, as at most public schools, are almost entirely confined to cricket, football, and fives. The annual matches with Eton and Harrow, formerly played at Lord's, have made cricket the most popular and historical. The first match on record, as played against any other school, was their victory over Harrow in 1825, on Lord's ground, when the two brothers Wordsworth were captains of their respective elevens. Next year they beat Harrow and Eton successively at Lord's; on the whole, the laurels have been pretty evenly divided amongst all three schools, Eton having rather the best of it, as, from their great superiority in numbers, it would be only reasonable to expect. College and commoners join, of course, to form the Winchester eleven. Of lato the authorities have thonght it undesirable, for many reasons, that these matches should be played in London, but the Eton and Winchester elevens have been allowed to meet alternately on each other's ground and keep up the friendly contest. The largest innings on record in any public schools' match is that of E. B. Trevilian, who played in the eleven four years running, and finished with 126 to his name, against Eton, in 1862. None showed more enthusiastic interest in these matches than the late excellent warden, Robert Speckott Barterloved and respected by all who knew him from the time that he was a boy in college, (whence he was elected to Oxford, over the heads of many seniors, at sixteen,) and whose death in 1860 was a public loss to Winchester. He had seldom missed a match at Lord's from the time he played in the school eleven himself. He was a tremendous hitter in his day; and the remarkable punishment which he dealt out to the ball, when he was lucky enough to catch it on the "half-volley," has given to a long hit of this character at Winchester (and even elsewhere) the name of "a Barter." His hospitality to the stranger eleven, when they came down to Winchester to play, endeared him to many Etonians in only a less degree than his own Wykehamists. Kindly and gentle as his nature was, beaming out from every line of his joyous face, he could be rather terrible upon just occasion. Traveling outside the coach to Oxford when quite a young man, a fellow-passenger persisted in using language of gross profanity, undeterred by his quiet remonstrance At last that powerful arm seized the rihald by the collar, and, holding him out over the coach-wheel, Barter vowed to drop him if he did not promise to be silent. Such maintenance of order and decency by the strong hand falls in exactly with the humor of all honest-hearted school boys; and the story did as much for their warden's popularity with the successive generations of Wykehamists as the hardest “drive" he ever made on the cricket-ground.

The Winchester football game is peculiar. It is played “in canvas," as it is called. A portion of Meads, some eighty feet by twenty-five, is marked off by screens of canvas on each side, within which the game is played, the two other ends forming the lines of goal, across which the ball is to be kicked. It is placed in the middle of the ground to begin with, and a hot” formed round it by the players stooping down all close together, with their heads down, and at a given signal trying to force the ball or each other away. The canvas screens answer to the Rugby “line of touch.” When the ball escapes over these, it is returned into play by juniors stationed for the purpose, and a hot is formed afresh. But no verbal description could give an adequate notion of the game. Matches are usually played with six only on each side; and in this respect the Winchester game differs entirely from the exciting scene of the Rugby matches, where a hundred players in their parti-colored caps and jerseys, may be seen carrying on the struggle at once. But the game is fierce enough after its own fashion, there having been two broken legs during the present season. The great annual match is that between the “first sixes” of commoners and college, played on “egg-flip day," as the founder's commemoration day (the first Thursday in December) is popularly called. But the more attractive match (at any rate to a stranger) is between twenty-two of each, on the 5th of November.

Breaking-up for Vacation. The breaking-up ceremonies at Winchester are peculiar and interesting, though some of their picturesque medievalism'has disappeared of late years. Some, of intermediate date, are perhaps less to be regretted. The scholars no longer rush out of gates after early chapel, on the last dark morning of the winter half-year, each with a blazing birch broom, up College street, and along the wall of the close up to the old White Hart Inn, where a sumptuous breakfast was prepared before the chaises started for their respective destination. This curious torch-race, (in which the burning birch must have had a symbolical meaning,) long the terror of old ladies who lived on the line of the course, gave place subsequently to a race of the senior boys in sedan chairs. Top-boots are now no longer considered by young gentlemen of twelve "your only wear" to go home in; although the term for them-gomers, (i. e., go-homers)-still survives in the Winchester dictionary. Great were the struggles of the happy possessors, with the aid of soap and other lubricators, to get into them; and the bootmakers were always in attendance on that morning to assist in the operation. Still greater must have been the difficulty in some instances, when boys from a distance had traveled two days and a night on the top of a coach, to get them off again. · Railway stations and cabs have destroyed much of the poetry of "going-home." But the beautiful old hymn, "Jam lucis orto sidere,” is still sung in procession round the “sands" of chamber-court, on the last morning of the summer half-year, on coming out of chapel, by the whole body; the head and second masters, followed by the grace-singers, leading the way. On the six last Saturdays, just before going to Hills, the old Wykehamist melody, which all schools have borrowed from them in some form or other, "Dulce Doroum," is poured forth lustily in hall, the old “Domum tree” having long disappeared.

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