« PreviousContinue »
come perfectly inaudible ; and then, fairly vanquished by her malady, she covered herself up in her blankets, and groaned, most lustily, with pain and vexation.
I attempted to remonstrate with her upon the impropriety, and, indeed, the danger of leaving the house on so cold and foggy a night, but it was perfectly useless-she was determined to goand gave me to understand so, by shaking her fat, fubsy little hand at me; and, at the same time, exhibiting a rueful expression of mingled vexation and resolution, which was irresistibly comical. I saw at once the patient I had to deal with, and prescribed accordingly; nay, at her particular request, I waited to observe the effect of a sedative draught, whioh was procured at a neighbouring chemist's; and was wonderfully commended on account of its “ instantaneous” influence upon Mrs. -'s catarrh! The lady recovered her voice-called for her jewel-case--threw off her flannel wrappers by degrees, and, rising (not quite like Venus from the ocean) from the sofa---walked slowly to the opposite mirror, and declared, with a smile of conscious triumph, that she should still “look as well as most of the folks that would be at Lady L- -'s rout!”
I thought it was now high time to take leave, and rose for that purpose—"Good evening, my dear doctor!" exclaimed the grateful patient—“ Good evening-you will call to-morrow I shall be glad—very glad to see you--indeed I shall-good bye!" And I departed-without a fee !
Let not the kind-hearted reader smile incredulously at this declaration. Alas! nothing is more common than this kind of conduct towards young and unestablished physicians. The name and patronage of the rich and the fashionable are considered amply sufficient, as a remuneration for the advice and attendance of any young man, who has not yet forced himself into notoriety; and those, who will not hesitate to squander hundreds, nay thousands, upon worthless trifles, will decline the payment of an ordinary guinea fee to a physician or a surgeon, who may have wasted an hour or two of his time in friendly advice or professional assistance. I do not say, but that my plump and voluble patient in Bedford Square, may, at some future time, adequately remunerate me for any further attendance: but this will depend upon some really serious illness in the family—a stroke of paralysis, perhaps, on the good lady, or on her “poor, dear, loving soul" of a husband ;till when, I may be sent for at all hours, and upon all frivolous occasions ; merely from the kind, and I know, well-intended recommendation of “ dear Lady G- ," and without receiving a single see for my pains. And yet, if “ dear Lady
or any other ** dear” friend, was to hint at Mrs. 's illîberality, who would be more furiously offended than herself! “ Sun of China ! (I feelingly repeat) What contradictions do we find in this strange world !”
(To be continued.)
Twenty years ago the "Royal and Ancient foundation” of Christ's Hospital was very differently constituted to what it is at present. Innnovation had not yet ventured within the antique precincts of its cloisters, nor had it then interfered with those loved and cherished customs, which were consecrated by their antiquity. There was, in those days, an air of venerable gravity as well as of scholastic austerity upon all and every thing connected with the institution, from Sir John William Anderson, the stately president, down to Beadle Allen, the fag-shop keeper. The steward, Mr. Matthias Hathaway, was the very personification of pedagoguish solemnity; and his tall, upright, even stately form, surmounted by well powdered hair, gathered smoothly into à queue, had a wonderful effect upon the boys, and conveyed, even to strangers, no limited notion of his power and authority. The nurses, too, presented an appearance which comported well with the gloomy old hall, and the gloomier old wards—they were, with but one exception, fat, crummy, heavy old fashioned dames, looking as if they had been cut out of Holbein's picture, representing the Court of Edward VI., and hung at the lower end of the hall aforesaid. The internal arrangements, both as regarded the education as well as the conduct of the boys, was of this old fashioned, close, contracted character. The system of mental education was confined in the Grammar School to a very meagre acquirement of classical learning, except in the case of the Grecians, who certainly did receive, under Dr. Trollope, an admirable preparation for college ; but, where only two Grecians could leave in a year, perfectly educated, ten or twenty times that number of the other boys quitted the school imperfectly instructed. In the writing-school-for all the schools then had their exclusive scholars, as well as their exclusive masters,—the time of the boys was still more extensively squandered away, and two or three years would be invariably occupied, or rather wasted, in learning merely to write a superlative hand, and the ordinary rules of Arithmetic-Book-keeping, by double entry was not even taught—nor any thing, in fact, beyond the mere common routine of any parish school. Hence many hundred boys left the Hospital at the age of fifteen, who were entirely and utterly ignorant of the common rudiments of classical learning. It is true that many of these afterwards acquired some slight knowledge of Latin, but it must be sufficiently evident, that their time would have been much better occupied, and their advantages of acquirement much greater, had half of it been devoted, as is the plan now adopted, to the learning of classical and general knowledge combined.
The old system of corporeal punishment was practised, at the period I mention, by some of the masters, to an extent perfectly frightful. It was a common thing for one of the writing masters, when he entered the school-room in the winter, to exclaim to his usher, as he walked up and down the room, “ Come F- -! it's a cold morning, send me some of those noisy fellows, and I'll give ’em a brushing !”—and if any unfortunate urchin was fixed upon, as more loquacious than the others, no matter whether it was true or false, a “ brushing” he would receive, such as would suffice to warm him and the master, too, for the whole morning. But the most brutal exhibitions of this kind, were those which were performed in the hall before all the boys. This flogging, “at the top of the hall,” as it was termed, was, of course, intended for a formidable example, and was never resorted to, but for serious offences—such as stealing, or playing truant. On these occasions, after a suitable address from the steward, the delinquent is brought from the dungeon by the porter, who officiates on this occasion as the flogger, the steward standing by to regulate the number of lashes, which were proportioned not always to the enormity of the offence, but to the conduct of the offender in receiving them. Some of the boysresolute
young devils !—would pride themselves upon the duration of their silence, and after receiving some dozen“cuts” would then grumble out a solitary oh! which was usually deemed sufficient. Other young offenders would roar most lustily under the infliction, and these were more kindly dealt with. On one occasion, there
were some fourteen or fifteen boys flogged, one after the other, for rebelling against the orders of the steward, and rushing out at the gates, on a day, when they had expected a “ leave,” but were disappointed. These were selected as the boldest of the ring-leaders, and such an exhibition was never witnessed, I should think, at any public school before. It was a cold raw November morning, between seven and eight o'clock, and the porter, Rigby, who was naturally a good-natured, kind-hearted man, marshalled the culprits to the dais, where, in the old hall, the steward's table stood." He was followed by a beadle, with a formidable bundle of rods, and the whole cavaleade had, I can assure young a very awful effect. After a suitable address from the steward, the flogging began, and as the offenders were certainly some of the most tough fellow's in the school, it was not speedily at an end. I am not going to moralize upon the brutality or inefficacy of such exhibitions. I can only answer for myself, and affirm, that it had a most excellent effect upon my young and soft inind, for upon many future occasions of incipient error, the fear of flagellation was before my eyes, and my better génius prevailed.
So much depends upon the attachments which boys form at school, that I have often felt surprised more attention has not been paid to the subjeet by parents and pastors. In my case, this was strikingly examplified; for I came to London perfectly friendlessthe shy and diffident inmate of a secluded mountain-home, plunged at once into a populous microcosm. I was, besides, an object of supreme ridicule and fun, as Taffy always is, and, perhaps, will be, at any public school in England. As to young Probyn, he was too fine a gentleman to afford me any attention, excepting the high honour of cleaning his shoes, and brushing his coat* ; and even, had he beer otherwise disposed, I should soon have been deprived of his companionship, as his friends were compelled to remove him from school, in consequence of the stir, which a certain reforming Alderman made in the Committee, touching the abuse of the charity by its application to the convenience of the rich and the unqualified. Young Probyn's father was a dashing clergyman, and his cousin was the Earl of C--t, and he was one of the first who was removed, in consequence of the Alderman's
exposure, I have said I was utterly friendless. In so large a school, however, it is not to be supposed that I remained so long; and the cause of my first boyish friendship is extremely characteristic of the admiration, which human nature in its rude and early state (and what are boys but young savages ?) invariably bestows upon mere brute, courage. There was a bully of a fellow in our ward, named Jones-Ferdinando Jones--whose constant practice it was to
There is no fagging at Christ's Hospital; but at the time I was there, a system ite as pernicious was in vogue, it was termed bras and consisted in the bigger boys relieving the lesser of their money on leuve-nights, for which service they became their champions and defenders in all cases of unauthorized oppression, YOL. II. NO. VIII,
tyranize over every new boy,” that came into the ward. There was a blustering boldness about this lad, that carried considerable terror and dismay into the bosoms of those poor boys, who, like myself, had but just left the kindness and comforts of home; and Ferdinando usually made their fear subservient to his own interests. I had become subject to this young tyrant's exactions in more than one instance, when one day, he ordered me to bend my back, that he might enact the rider thereupon. I refused, and he struck me. My Welsh blood was up, and I returned the blow; there was but one alternative-I must fight him! Down; then, we went to the yard usually devoted to such encounters, and with us went some twenty or thirty of our ward, all anticipating some amusement from the contest. Ferdinando treated the affair very cavalierly, and, no doubt, expected to give “ Taffy Templeton," as I was called, a hearty drubbing: but, in this he was mistaken-he cried peccavi in less than three “rounds," and I was declared champion of the little boys! This was an honour for a new-boy almost unprecedented, and all the “ files” of our ward were loud in their praises, and liberal in their favours. I was exempted from brassing, admitted into the ward in cold or wet weather, had my choice of the “parts” of bread and meat--in short, Sir, I was a "lovey.”
Amongst all my newly acquired friends and patrons, none were more kind than a řad named Lovett,—the senior file and brasser of the ward. Lovett was an extraordinary boy in every respect. An orphan from his infancy, he never knew his parents :
* No mother's care
Well, indeed, for him would it have been, if it had been otherwise ; for to this sad, but unavoidable destitution, may many of poor Lovett's misfortunes be attributed. I never yet knew any person (and my knowledge of human nature has been pretty extensive) who possessed so many natural good qualities, but these were all perverted, for want of proper direction. His generosity ran into unmeaning prodigality; his bold courage degenerated into dogged obstinacy, while his physical superiority led him to exercise a despotic tyranny over all whom he could subdue by force of fist. I believe he had no friends in London,-none, at least, whom he could visit on leave-days; and, this privation rendered his brassing avocations the more constant and severe. His usual haunt on leave-nights was in an empty bed niche near the door, where, like a vigilant toll-keeper, he exacted a fee from those, who returned from their friends laden with fag, or money. I have already mentioned my exemption from these exactions; and I can well remember, with what boldness I entered the ward on these occasions, while the other boys would crawl up the stairs in fear and trembling, pondering woefully upon the supposed extent to which they might be mulct.