Monday July 26th (Election Monday)

I can’t analyse my feelings at all. I am not nearly as affected at leaving as I should have been a year ago. I do feel it very deeply but I also feel and this is almost the strongest, that my time has come and that I couldn’t have another year. And so I feel miserable in fits and starts and at other times a curious indifference and longing to get it over and done with fills me; a sort of torpor which is perhaps a good thing as so highly-strung a person as myself would easily become sentimental and really upset. I rather dread the after effects of this sort of torpor when it really is all over. I broke down tonight after I had given my fagging prizes but only for a minute or two. I don’t understand it at all.

(I write the rest a week later)

I spent the morning up-Library with Low or rather about an hour of it. We copied out our epigrams. I sent in three, two of Father’s and one of my own.

These were Father’s: –

Habent sua fata libelli

My “Epi’s” sad lot

Oh! why need you ask it

T’will soon be forgot

I’ the waste-paper basket

Out of sight, out of mind

Two summer months before us stretch

We go some North, some East, some West

Where the Masters cease from troubling

And the Classics have a rest

My own was rather stupid: –

Out of sight, out of mind

Some ask that ‘Water’ be revived

We hope the same you’ll find

For though alas! it’s out of sight

It’s never out of mind

Having dropped these gems into the Headmaster’s letterbox we walked round cloisters and I took Low up into the Chapter Library. Then we watched from afar that most charming of ceremonies the Major Candidates bowing to the two Deans and Master of Trinity as they come down from School, preceded by the silver mace, after the Viva Voce Exam. The Old Master took off his hat with the most sweeping and courtly of bows. Low then accompanied me to the stores to buy fagging prizes. I bought a really gorgeous knife for Longton full of delights in the form of corkscrews etc and warranted to spoil any pocket into which it was put!! It was large, knifey and altogether extremely beautiful. I then bought a silver match-box for Smurthwaite and thence went up-fields.

The Town Boys vs. King’s Scholars match is the only match I would have given anything to have played in. It is the oldest fixes match in the kingdom, we have the scores since 1806 while we know it to have been played as an annual event as early as 1770 or thereabouts.

We went back for lunch and afterwards Low and myself walked up to Sotheran’s in Piccadilly via Christie’s where there were some charming pictures. To our horror in the room on the right opposite the door was an enormous canvas by one Gordon Stapleton or some such name called ‘England’s Heritage’. The scene was Poet’s Corner and life size were painted the goodest, ‘Eric’y, pious and angelic looking Westminster boys you can imagine, singing their blessed little souls out. Obviously it was painted on a Saint’s day. Low and I looked at each other and then we looked at the canvas and then we looked again at each other and with bated breath we asked each other if we could ever have looked like that. We crawled away like two worms followed wherever we went by the mighty white elephant which literally hit one in the eye. My metaphors are mixed I feel convinced!..

At 7.30 we had a shield supper in Middle. Previously I had arranged the tables in a T shape with the cups down the middle, my own idea and very nice they looked. I had the Shooting Cup opposite me. This is how we sat:

As will be seen only the team and Middle are asked. Of course I go officially and preside. We had a sumptuous repast which we provided ourselves beginning with croquets then Chickens, Pressed Beef, salad, cowcumbers, meringues and jellies to complete

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