The Eunuchus (which was the play fixed for last year, but not acted *) was repeated this year acted with great spirit, some of the performers playing their parts in first rate style. H.R.H. Prince Albert was present on the 3rd night & expressed himself much pleased. I am happy to say that this year there was no repetition of the unpleasant circumstances which attended the play at Xmas /50. V. 399.
John A Whitaker
The play (the Andria) was stopped this year in consequence of the death of her late lamented Majesty the Queen Dowager notwithstanding the efforts of the head Q.S. & head monitor who positively got a Royal Command to continue it as usual. Dr Liddell would not accept the command and they were sold.
W.C. Macready Prin. Opp.
The Prince of Wales’ Birthday happening this year on a Sunday we had leave out on Friday after 5 and no school on Saturday instead of a whole Holiday on Monday. There was likewise leave out in the same week on Tuesday at 5 till Thursday morning Wednesday being the 5th of November.
C.F.L West OP.
On May 27th being the day on which the Queens Birthday was kept (& which had generally fallen in the Whitsuntide Holidays, but did no this year owing to their early commencement) the Sixth had leave up Town in the Evening to see the illuminations.
I wished very much that the Sixth Dinner should not be forgotten, & therefore proposed that it should be held as nearly as usual as circumstances would permit which was agreed to. It was held on the 2d Play Night Decr 12th /44 at Gingers. Six Town Boys only attended. And although I fear it will prove of little use, except observing it as a custom, yet if managed with care it certainly can do no harm. On account of the death of the Princess Sophia the first Play Night (of the Eunuchus) was postponed from Monday the 9th to Wednesday the 11th the 2d Night being on the Thursday.
J. Preston O.P.
I may here observe that this Play was a very good one, & brought a very fair cap also several ambassadors & persons of that description.
Monday Oct. 28th 1844 being the Feast of St. Simon & St. Jude was observed by attendance at the Abbey during morning service. But it was also the opening day of the New Royal Exchange which the Queen was to open in person. Dr Williamson therefore gave the Sixth Form leave to see the procession return from 12 till ½ past 1 & from ½ past 1 till ½ past 5 which permission was of course taken advantage of. Leave out was granted to some from Saturday noon to Monday night limited of course to throw who had invitations, & refused to others. Most however if not nearly all the Boarders had leave up Town during the day. The procession on its return disappointed many as the Queen did no come back in state.
By the Queen’s command issued during the Holidays, as week was at last gained which prolonged the vacation until the 25th when the School again met.
J. Preston O.P.
On August 5th 1844 as a prince was born Williamson generously resolved not to add a week to the Bartholmewtide Holidays; as he knew always had been customary – alleging that there was no reason for such an extension. Surely Eton must laugh at us & yet it no fault of ours (I mean the Westminsters individually) that we fare so badly.
We had hitherto had a week’s holidays extra for the Princesses; therefore there was still more reason for one now a prince was born.
On June 7th 1844 the King of Saxony came to view the interior of Westminster Abbey; on which occasion School broke up at ¼ to 5 but the reason was not much known, or the circumstance observed in the School, & I myself did not know it, until told it afterwards at the Fields. Dr Williamson was introduced and also two of the QS who happened to be aware of his coming & went into the Abbey at the time Dr Williamson said “he has asked a Holiday for you” & consequently a week was expected but not obtained – & instead thereof we had an Early Play – Worse than ever!
J. Preston O.P.
It is usual when any of the Royal Family die, or any of the Masters of Westminster; as has long been the custom, to defer the play untill the following year. But although the Duke of Sussex died this year before Whitsundtide, the Play (Phormio) was prepared as usual – and acted extremely well.
Nov.13th 1843 J. Preston