Thursday November 5th

‘Gunpowder treason and plot, I see no reason, why the gunpowder treason, Should ever be forgot’

‘And I see no reason’ as Dr. Arnold remarked ‘why it should ever be remembered!’

Quite early in the term Hobson approached me as to the practicability of fireworks, but after last year when there was a slight row because Father happened to be out to dinner and fireworks were let off, I had to say I was afraid it couldn’t be allowed — but even when little Lord John Russell was a Grantite in 1803, ‘the boys’, as he tells us, ‘went Guy Fauxing and squibbing and Usher Ward, an Usher of the House [i.e. a tutor at Grant’s House] at names read them a lecture. telling they were an example to all the ruffians and scoundrels in Europe!’

There was however no ‘squibbing’, only a little Fauxing: Graham dressed up in rags and an old top hat, [and] created shouts of amusement, and the entertainment was varied by leap-frog etc…However it did no harm to anyone, and I merely laughed at them.

Huckwell this morning remarked that ‘you should never make random statements’. Admirable! But unfortunately he is famed for making such statements and then, when questioned, drowning one in a torrent of noise but no apparent arguments fit: he finds himself in a tight place, abruptly closing the discussion with ‘Oh! Well, it’s useless to argue with you, you haven’t got a notion of the rudiments of logic!!’ I always like to get upstairs early, merely to see Huckwell coming up the stairs, first of all you see that unique and incomparable fat hand (there is no other word!) grasping the handrail, and that’s all, then he heaves into sight, and goes through the small boys who are pushed aside, for all the world like nine-pins, by his massive bulk, until he gets to the top. Oh! Dear! How Boult and myself liked to laugh, we sat next to each other (a fatal combination). Huckwell had a habit of balancing himself forwards against Boult’s unhappy desk, which creaked and groaned so(!), and then remarking ‘wherever you look you circles, in the room, in the street’ etc, all Boult and myself could see was the massive circle(!) in front of us!!

I had one of the most exhilarating and delightful experiences I have ever had in Deb. Soc. tonight, making a speech for the motion when I knew the rest of the house were against me, and speaking so clearly, and, I may say, well, for something told me that I was speaking well, that the House listened to me with the utmost interest and attention and not only so but I saw that I was making an impression, and eventually sat down amid much applause. Unfortunately the House is too hardened and the motion was lost by 16 votes to 7 but the fact remains that beside the Proposer and Seconder and myself, 4 people voted for a motion that is usually carried unanimously in favour of the re-introduction! Malden, my Under-Secretary, has, I see, in reporting my speech, begun ‘ The Secretary in a very clear and convincing speech said’ etc, a little touch of flattery I much appreciate. I also, to some extent, lost some votes by showing afterwards, in speaking again, that I was very keen for the re-introduction by saying ‘If the re-introduction of Rowing at Westminster (i.e. not Putney) were ever again possible, as I hoped it might be, I could not see why we should‘ [once] again be the rivals of Eton…Anyhow, I have never enjoyed making a speech more and I felt conscious I was on my own ground and competent to speak with authority.

C.C. Sharpe (OW) came to dinner with Father but what was more important, I had to take Prep the whole time instead of getting off at 8:30 and even the delights of Pickwick, which I am reading straight through again, could not prevent me from getting horribly bored. Barrington-Ward lent me some exceedingly interesting manuscript reminiscences of ‘Stelfox’s’ College in 1833′ by Rev Henry Smith, a son of Rev Samuel Smith, Headmaster, which he is going to publish in the Elizabethan.

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