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MY OLD SCHOOL.
I pity the man who does not love down the precise line which now-ahis old school! To such a one the days separates public schools from years of boyhood, to which most of us private. We of the eight-or we of are wont to look back with such fond. the nine, for I do not see why the ness, are diminished and shrunk to a Blue.coats should be shut outpoor ten weeks each. He has nothing must, I fear, consent to admit some pleasant to remember, save the Mid- strangers within our pale. We are, summer and Christmas holidays; those alas ! becoming daily less and less exbright, brief, evanescent days of per- clusive ; but it is sufficient that almost petual plum-pudding and lollypops ad every body understands what distinclibitum. It is but a short time since tion, and what state of things we a valued friend of mine confessed to mean to imply, when we speak of me, that, above all things, he wished private, as opposed to public, schools. he could look back with any thing re- At these, I think it may be laid down sembling a feeling of affection for his as a general rule, that boys seldom old school or his old master, for he continue to any advanced period of should then be able to fill up (such boyhood—they are either transplanted was his expression) what was now a in due season to one of the public sort of blank in his existence.
schools, or, when they have acquired It is in one of those delightful es- a sufficient stock of information for says of Charles Lambe, that a school- the particular purpose to which master's letter is quoted, in which he they may be destined, they are is made to express his regret that he taken away, and set to work forthnever knew what it was to be loved by with. They seldom remain at a his pupils. He represents himself to private school till they are capable his correspondent, real or imaginary, of any thing like serious, sensible as visited by one of his former flock, thinking for themselves ; at public now arrived at manhood; and he says, schools they do; not to mention that sadly-" He did never love me ; and these latter contribute, in no inconwhat he now mistakes for gratitude and siderable degree, to accelerate the kindness for me, is but the pleasant capacity; and somewhere hereabouts, sensation which all persons feel at re- if I am not mistaken, lies the secret of visiting the scenes of their boyish the complaint above quoted; for few, hopes and fears, and the seeing on I think, will venture to deny, that, equal terms the man whom they were, though at a public school somewhat accustomed to look up to with reve. less attention than private ones generrence.”
It may be so in some, per- ally show is paid to comfort-that haps—tlicugh I would fain hope other word and thing so peculiarly English wise in the majority of cases. -- yet there is far more real love and Doubtless there are, and will be, pe- esteem entertained for the master by dagogues that never can be loved, be his quondam seholars than falls to the the nature of their disciples ever so lot of those who sway the destinies of loving; and disciples that will never “ Classicalacademies” and “Establishlove, be their pedagogues ever so ments for young gentlemen.” Perhaps loveable. But I do stoutly deny the I may be wrong--and perhaps I cannot position of Elia's schoolmaster--that claim to be considered as a perfectly the relation of master and scholar for- impartial witness for I am all for bids the existence of any thing like public schools; and had I—the very attachment between them-and, if thought makes me shudder-all the need were, I should not want for sons of Ægyptus, and all the wealth backers. The schoolmaster in ques- of Cresus, I should not think I could tion was, however, as any body who employ the latter better than in giving takes the pains to read his letter will the former an opportunity of learning perceive, a private schoolmaster; and those lessons of open, honest, manly ihis, I think, will tend, in some mea. independence-of fighting one's own sure, to account for, though not to way fairly, and honourably, and boldestablish, his dictum. It would, per- ly—which a public school, and a pubhaps, be somewhat difficult to lay lic school only, can teach to a boy ;
and which, if not learned in boyhood, with age, which confines us on the are seldom to be acquired in later life. east-Goswell Street bids fair to have A boy cannot, to my thinking, begin its name immortalized as having been to depend upon himself too soon. Ideemed worthy to be the residence of have said nothing about the superiority the immortal Pickwick ; but I know of intellectual culture in these more not that we have any other neighbour extensive nurseries. A public school 66 renowned in story or in song." may, in many instances, be unsuccess- Nobody who knew us not would sus. ful-although the likeliest place in the pect us of lurking so quietly among world—in making a scholar; but it such uncongenial streets, and lanes, will very rarely fail to make a gentle- and courts, and alleys. But only do
us the favour to turn up CharterI am, then, all for large public House Lane, or into Carthusian schools—The larger the better; and, Street, and you shall not be without from my own experience of such your reward. Does the quiet of the places, I venture to assert that there square strike you as refreshing after is to be found in them much genuine the confusion and hurly-burly you esteem and affection entertained by have just quitted? You have not yet the pupil towards his master. I have half fathomed the depths of our stillone in my mind's eye at this moment, ness. Keep on, if you please-sowhere it is pre-eminently the case ; I under the great archway on your left do not mean my own, though I think and you are in a moment more out of we would scarcely yield even to the the world than in any college on the
men in liking for our preceptors. banks of Isis or Camus. You look Foul befall us, indeed, when we learn up at the old rude semi-Cyclopian to remember, with any thing save wall, and the windows of an elder affectionate gratitude, the names of fashion, with a silent expression of our old and kind masters-when we wonderment at lighting upon such cease to honour and bless the memory things in such a place. You walk of “good old Thomas Sutton," and about delicately, as if fearing to disacknowledge not within our bosoms a turb the deep repose of the genius loci. sentiment of semi-filial regard at the You peep through arched passages very mention of Charter-House! and half-closed doorways with a timid
We boast not, indeed, to be the curiosity, half expecting to be terrified neighbours of royalty, as do our and " taken in the manner by the brethren of Eton. We liave not apparition of some strange form suited around us the pleasant fields of our to so strange a habitation; some dis. cousins of Harrow and Rugby. We embodied monk, searching in vain for cannot show cathedrals with our kins• the cell which was his earthly dwell.. men of Winchester, and Westminster, ing-place, retaining still, according to and St Paul's; but we are not with the creed of Sir Kenelm Digby, “ a out our share of attractions neverthe- bias and a languishing” towards his less. Nor will we, in addition to our bodily haunts, muttering, as he flits intrinsic merits, disdain to acknown by, whispered Pater-Nosters and ledge some trifling obligation to the hollow-sounding Ave-Marys. You advantages of contrast.
We are, at turn to flee at the first glimpse of an the same time, fortunate and unfortu. old man in a black cloak; but pause, nate in our locality. The bellowings half ashamed of your own apprehenof Smithfield, in spite of the “mugitus sions. Look again—take courage ; boum" of the Georgics, are any thing there is nothing so very terrible about but classical. We are compassed about poor old brother Aby fat bulls-a pearl literally among and you shall see many such as he, swine. Wilderness Row sends forth and learn to look on them too without a dense and dingy population, con- alarm. Yonder is a group of them tinually belying the name it bears; aprici senes-seated on the bench in and on our western boundary we are the great court in that quiet basking not far removed from the multitudi- gossiping idleness which old age asks nous tribes of Clerkenwell and Saffron and loves-canvassing the merits of Hill, νιπτοποδες χαμαιεύναι, ,
the new building now in progress of dense, and, alas ! more dirty. One erection the warmth of to.day's sun solitary ray of glory, indeed, streams as compared with that of yesterdayupon the massive wall, now bending or the number of minutes yet to elapse
ere the bell summons them to their hight Brooke Hall, that snuggest of social meal. Happy souls ! that have symposiac chambers, albeit Dan Phosno heavier cares than these to load the bus with his jolly visage peereth in evening hours of life, and make them never at its windows : let him make drag wearily to a close—that can for- thee free of its happy corporation get in this tranquil retreat the chances seat thee at its hospitable board and changes which compelled them to feast thee with its dainties--cheer seek its shelter ! Many a gossip used thee with its social converse-send I to have with those old fellows in my thee away when the hour of parting time, waylaying them as they toddled comes, grieving only that it comes so through the short cloister adjoining soon :-and if that day is not noted as what used to be called Watkinson's a white day in thy calendar--if ever Arch, on their way to their afternoon thenceforth thou speakest word or devotions ; and many a queer tale did syllable of Charter-House save in its I hear when they happened to be in a honour, thou hast less taste and more more than usually communicative hu- ingratitude than, whoever thou mayst
There were some of the poor be, I would willingly give thee credit brothers of the Charter-House in those for. days, whose stories,
To me there are few greater pleafiction,” might put many a novel to sures in life than an occasional afterthe blush.
noon's visit to my old school. It seems Nor leave, I charge you, a single to me a positive duty to hold it, and to corner unexplored, till you have found cause it to be eld, in honour. and admired our great hall, its old as jealous of its reputation as of my dark wainscotings, its lanterned roof,
Whoever filches from it its its galleries for fair dames and merry good name, goes nigh to commit a minstrelsy, and its quaint old fireplace similar depredation upon myself. He garnished with mimic instruments of who slanders my school wounds not
Still less, if thou canst by any my school alone-my own ribs are means make interest with one in autho- bruised by its thumps. I would do rity, neglect to persuade him to open battle for its claims against the cham. to thy wondering eyes our governor's pion of any other school in the three room, with its huge latticed bay-win- kingdoms, and feel myself thrice dow, its tapestried walls, and its gor- armed in the justice of my quarrel. geous chimneypiece. Let him take I have only to learn that such a one thee, too, into our chapel, pausing duly, is a Charter-House man, and I look ere thou enterest, to peruse the iam- upon him forthwith with a kindlier bics which declare the end of Nicholas eye-with a sort of free-masonic
Mann, “ Olim magister, nunc remise brotherly feeling. But he must (at citus pulvere. Let him point out to any rate, so far as regards our common
thee the resting-place of the munificent school) be "likeminded” with myself, old man,
that noble sample of Britain's or I shrink from him as I would from Top merchant sons, whose bounty it is our a chimney-sweeper in a narrow pas
duty and our pride annually to com. sage. I know of nothing which Viva memorate:- let him show thee where more stirs my bile, than to hear a
sleeps, not far from his side, one of coxcombical jackanapes affect to dethe worthiest of his many worthy sons, spise and make scoff of the source
“ clarum et venerabile nomen," Car- of whatever little knowledge (for in 3 thusian Ellenborough :-and then let such cases it always is little) he phim lead thee out upon the terraced may happen to possess. I am natu.
walk, and display to thy astonished rally and constitutionally a man of gaze an extent of territory whose very peace, but I could tweak the nose of existence in such a spot is to more the fellow with the most unalloyed than half the world a thing unknown, satisfaction :- I long to kick him:
undreamed of, and almost, save to like Maria, “ I can hardly forbear la actual vision, incredible. Yet one hurling things at him." He is one of
thing more : let the heart of thy cice- those thankless children whom it is w rone warm towards thee, as thou “ sharper than a serpent's tooth” to
expressest thy increasing gratification have; an intellectualmatricide: Icould at all which he showeth thee: let him even find in my heart to give him, like take thee, at the proper hour, nothing those iron old Romans, his sack, his loth, into that ne plus ultra of comfort, viper, and his ape_ I never could un
NO. CCXCVI, VOL. XLVII.
derstand on what grounds they added lo! in that central recess, hight Midthe cock and the dog-and hold him dle Briers, seems to rise up before me kicking under the water till he was the identical dispenser of sweet things, within half a gulp of bidding defiance whom it was my prime delight years to the efforts of the Humane Society. ago to torment. Alas! it is but one I am, as I said, pacifically disposed, yet of Fancy's pranks — like Macbeth's I could pick a quarrel even with Cow- air-drawn dagger, " there's no such per, that most peaceable specimen of thing.” There have been strange rethe “ genus irritabile,” for the merely volutions in the last few years. I knew so much as hinting that to “ love the in my time three dynasties of piemen. play-place of our early days” can There is another now, and for all I by any possibility be “ a weakness ;" know there may have been a dozen and yet, though he rails at schools more between.
And could not thy roundly, he describes so well the plea- gentler sex, O enticing Mrs Clayton! sure which one feels in revisiting them preserve thee from usurping violence ? in after life, that I do not believe What man of iron heart could seize he could in his heart have enter- thy sceptre and transfer thine ancient tained much dislike for them.- seat of empire? I miss thee sore, O “ A weakness,” forsooth! Then do gentle autocrat of tarts! Never again I glory in my infirmity—for I am shall I fall upon thy dainties, as I was proud of loving the spot where I wont to do of yore, with all the indissported away the few years which we criminating appetite of thirteen! Ne.
little victims," as Gray calls us, are ver more shall I wantonly upset thine allowed to gallop through, before care orange-basket, as of old, and take to jumps up in the saddle behind us. I my heels, leaving thee, like some anile look-profane wretch that I am!—with Atalanta, to gather up as thou best a peculiar pleasure at the chapel win. mightest the golden fruit, bearing dow, happily not painted, through me, kind soul, no greater malice than which one memorable afternoon I wishing thou couldst“ just ketch that si swiped" the cricket-ball :--at the young warmint, that's all." corner behind whose shelter I used, There is one, and one only lack in daring defiance of magisterial edicts, about my old school which always and ambitious imitation of maturer strikes me very forcibly. I have walk. manhood, to inhale the fragrance of ed through other great schools, and the forbidden and furtive is weed :" in their halls, their dormitories, their -at the roof over which I scrambled schoolrooms I see, above and around night after night, at the peril of life me, hundreds of names that have thrown and limb, for no earthly object save a fresh glory on the pulpit, the bar, the chance of a sound flogging the fol- the senate, the camp, and the quarterlowing morning. I cannot but con- deck-names that will die only when fess to a slight compunctious visiting the last man dies—anxiously preserved at the sight of the window, from whose and proudly displayed—names carved “ coign of vantage" I more than once or traced perchance ere yet a dream saluted some unsuspicious passer-by, of future greatness had flitted across now with a shower of peppering peas the young vision—when the height of or innocuous nutshells, now perchance the boy's ambition was to leave some with a not scanty libation of that pure memorial of himself, however rude, element, which Pindar and the tee- behind him—that his name might not totallers pronounce most excellent. be utterly forgotten in the spot which Some little twitches of conscience, I it was destined one day to hallow, say, I cannot but acknowledge; but, The thickly-lettered walls of such after all, I would not give a fig for a places are their simplest, noblest, most man who could go back to his old eloquent panegyric. Their men must school and not find a spot pregnant look up at them with somewhat of with some reminiscence of mischief. that pride which animated him who, Your stiff-starched, steady-going ju- after long gazing in speechless ecstasy venile, who never gets into a scrape, on the masterpiece of the great master and looks virtuously indignant at the of his art, broke forth at last into the bare mention of a birch, is no boy exulting boast, “ And 1, too, am a after my heart :- I have something of painter !" Sir Oliver Surface in me.
We have none of these-at least we I stroll down the old cloister, and had none till within these few years
and these are somewhat scattered; and comparatively speaking, alone. My all, moreover, carved by the monoto. best friends, good and true Carthunous uncharacterising hand of the sians into the bargain, feel it not, and artificer. They are all the same, un- smile- thank Heaven, not sneeringly relieved by any picturesque variety of -at what they are pleased to call my type or hue-all formal, priggish, hobby, my crotchet, my foible, or, as copy-book,
tombstone-like, looking the phrase is nowadays, my idiosyninscriptions-immortality purchased crasy. Well, be it so. It were unat threepence per letter! I know not grateful in me to grudge them a harmto what this nakedness of our walls is less laugh at my expense, who am to be attributed; but I do not now ex- wont to enjoy so many at theirs. pect ever to see it remedied. He Laugh and let laugh, so long as there would be a bold spirit who should first be nothing sardonic in the grin, is, to mar with his rude autograph the white- my thinking, a fair and honest maxim : ness of the virgin plaster :-illi robur I love not a friend whom I cannot et as triplex circa pectus erit,--and, if rally with impunity. But for myself the latter be not somewhere else, as I confess I hold the ties of societies well as circa pectus, he will stand a if I may so express myself—of such good chance of smarting for his auda- societies I mean as a school or a col. eity. But let it not be thonght that lege, whose names are hallowed in our we show no great names, because we minds by many a bright recollection of have none such to boast. No, we the past-by many a common benefachave our full share, and more than our tor whose memory we can bless - by full share. What a glorious alphabet many an illustrious son, to whom we we could make :—Par exemple, A, can point with a common pride - by Addison-B, Blackstone-bah! I am many a near and dear friend there won stopped at the outset, for I must not -I hold, I say, the ties and the claims make invidious distinctions, and al- which such fellowships have upon us, ready I want a second B for Barrow. to be inferior in strength only to those I do not know that to me, individually, of country and of blood; and in the the absence of these mural records is next degree of shame to him who a matter of much moment, for I-and brings disgrace on the gray hairs of I trust all good Carthusians-have his sire and the honour of bis ancesmost of them by heart: but we want tors, do I place the man who feels no them for the public, who have no inte- reverence for the well springs whence rest in searching out our glories, and his spirit drank its earliest draughts, need to have them pointed out to them and scruples not, without one qualm before they hold us in due honour. of conscience, to put his “ alma To my mind's eye they are as visible mater” to the blush. I love that fond as though they met my bodily vision, old classical epithet of “alma mater: in real tangible black and white, at I see no reason why it should not be every step I take.
They puff me up applied to a school as well as to a in my own esteem, and make me shine university ; nay, I know not indeed in my own eyes with a reflected glory. whether it be not the more proper apBut that is not all they do for me. plication of the two ; but, however These departed sons of Charter-House that may be, it smacks of a wholesome
stand to me, of whose future existence respect, a reverential affection in the I they had not the remotest idea, in a re- choice spirits who were wont to use it,
lation of which they never dreamed. which alone wouid be sufficient to They are the sureties for my good be- warm my heart towards their memohaviour—my involuntary godfathers. ries. But I bid fair to wander. Were leverto transgress the sixth com- That old chapel too—what a host of mandment, my nightly couch would recollections does it not awaken! It be haunted by 500 spirits, besides that of was not often my lot to kneel within the murdered man. In my dreams I its walls as a worshipper, for I had should see them, bending all upon me numerous and kind friends around, their serious, reverend, reproving who made my Sabbath-days for the glances; and hear their solemn accents most part holidays; but I well rememsaying, with a severity not unmixed ber being once debarred from this inwith sorrow,-" Thou a son of Sutton, dulgence, as a punishment for some and didst thou do this?" I am fain
scrape I had got into, and having to to confess that on this ground I stand, attend its services for three or four suc