We had an early play on March 1st as usual – no leave out, though it fell on a Monday. Lord Lansdowne asked for one on the 17th. We also had leave out on Easter Monday, as an equivalent to Good Friday.
On the 27th of March the Eight had leave to see the Oxford & Cambridge race.
We had an early play which was asked for by Mr. Mowbray, an Old Westminster who had taken office under Lord Derby; April 10th.
This year the early play which we usually have the day after the last challenge, the Min. can. early play, unfortunately “coincided”, as Scott said, with one that he had promised us to honour Mr. Southey, who has obtained a first class at Oxford; we could not get both from Scott.
A.F. Pope, Prin. Opp.
Early in November this year a Sixth Town boy in Marshall’s house (Berners) had occasion to hide four fellows for making a row after being repeatedly told not to do so. One of them was seen leaving the room by Mrs Crowther- she shewed the matter up to Marshall. He asked me for a list of the fellows who had been hided before this half by us, and I gave it to him- there were eleven name; some had been hided by Berners some by Dowdeswell & some by me. Marshall shewed the whole affair up to Scott, and at the same time told us that he would have no one touched by any Sixth T.B. in his house, & that every one was to shew up to him if this rule was broken. Berners & I went to Scott & complained of this rule which would leave the house without any head at all. Scott gave us a fair hearing and told us after an hour’s conversation that he would make a new rule that no Sixth Town boy should use any stick or racket in hiding any boy; but he did not mind the use of a hairbrush of the hand. We thought that this was the last we were to hear of it; but next Tuesday evening (we went in to Scott on Friday) after third school Scott publicly put Berners Dowdeswell & myself down, depriving us of all authority in the house & in the school; making Shadwell Head T.B. & giving the management of the house to French & Hamersley the two next in order who are in the Remove. He gave as the reason for this that we had abused our authority.
*The Sixth did not consider that this entitled Shadwell to keep the T.B. ledger.
Next day we three went to Scott to ask for an explanation of this most violent measure; he could not mention any single case of hiding that we could not give a reason for- nor did he seem to have any strong personal feeling on the matter, but offered to reconsider it if we persuaded Marshall. Now this last was impossible, as he was exceedingly angry with Berners, who had been the worst in the row, & with me who had been in several rows of the sort previously. To Dowdeswell Marshall had nothing to say- he told him that if he had not insisted on being considered on the same footing as Berners he would not have been found fault with. We were put down before Dow. & I said that, so I cannot see how the two facts are reconcilable. We had a ballot in the house which was managed by French & Hamersley, to find out whether it was considered that we had been justly put down. Among twenty seven there was only one vote against us. All our endeavours however were of no use, and we were obliged to remain in our new position till the beginning of the next half (January 1858); when Scott privately told me to resume my place as Head Town boy, while Dowdeswell also resumed his. Berners had left.
We have not however considered ourselves responsible for order in the house, as we told Marshall on our honour that we would hide no one in his house except in case of personal impertinence, thereby resigning all responsibility.
Fri. April 4th.) Rev. T. W. Weare, the Under Master, who has since Liddell left Westminster, made it his business to interfere in every possible way with everybody else’s, chose to give in imposition to a Sixth T.B., Maples, a thing which no master can do up school or down, but the Headmaster. The imposition was given for a trifle, which has nothing to do with the case. Going down school, Mr Weare in his benevolence kindly told Maples that he would excuse the imposition. Maples, not being particularly affected by such magnanimity, made no reply; at which Weare got angry; Maples told him the imposition was given in the beginning for nothing (too truly), at which Weare doubled the former imposition. I went with him (M.) to Scott’s house (who had not been at prayers) & explained the matter; but Scott quietly listened to me & then refuted (!!) me by saying that there was no proof that such was the rule of the school, & when I referred to Mr Weare’s own mouth (See the bottom of the third Page no. 399) Scott said there was nothing to prove that Murray had not misunderstood Weare. Against such argument there is no use reasoning. Scott finished by saying that he should give me a written rule to put in the Ledger, to the effect that every master in the school has authority over everyone in whatever form, or house. In that case we should have six Masters, excluding French &c., allocating probably without knowing what the other were about. The way in which Weare is “loved and respected” (to use his term) is not at all different from before. The Q.S. fear him on account of their elections, & hate him. The following is the new rule
In absence of the Head Master no boy in the VIth form whether Q.S. or T.B. is entitled to claim any exemption from the authority of the other Masters of the school in respect of impositions &c.
(Signed by C.B. Scott)
It is not in our power to do anything against this rule; though it is against all precedent. But I hope that whoever is Head Town Boy when we next have a new Headmaster will represent the matter to him, in order that this rule may be annulled.
On Tuesday Feb 5 (Shove Tuesday) while Berens, Tomyn, Hammil & FitzGerald T.Bs & Balfour & Harrington Q.Ss were quietly walking through Smith Square they were assaulted by a man leading a horse, who knocked Fitzgerald down & tried to do the same for Hammil, but was prevented by Berens who have him a licking. He showed up to Scott, who would not believe him, & then got a summons from Arnold the Westminster Magistrate. Scott took out a cross summons against him for knocking down FitzGerald, which he got with difficulty, as Arnold in these cases is generally prejudiced against Westminster. The case came on Wed. 20; when, the facts being brought out by the evidence clearly in favour of the Westminsters, Arnolds dismissed the man & praised the conduct of Berens & Hammil. The man had tried to identify the fellow but failed.
A.F. Pope. Pr. Opp.
Last half I tanned two under fourths for smoking, on which one of them showed up; Marshall made a row about it & spoke to Scott, who however declared that I was perfectly justified in so doing.
A.F. Pope. Pr. Opp.
Certain fellows having determined to cut Lloyd on “Chairing Day”, attempt it and with success, the consequence was that Liddell called the monitors and me into the library the following day and said that he would not enquire the names of the parties, though he thought it a most disgraceful thing, and had a great mind to abolish “Chairing” altogether.
J. Gray. Pr. Opp.
The consequence of my having been shown up for tanning a fellow (which he most justly deserved), Liddell told me that the only way a Head Townboy or Head of a House had of keeping order was by showing up to the Masters; I told him that it never had been the custom of Westminster to do so, and therefore I could not think of being the first to break through an old rule. He said however that he did not care about fellows being tanned for any blackguardly or beastly action-
JohnGray Pr. Opp.
The other morning Liddell called me up and said he was surprised to hear that Bishop’s Boys were not considered TBs, nor allowed to exercise authority over them (TBs) as Pr. Opp. when above any other TB in the Sixth, at the same time saying that when he made the BBs leave off their purple gowns, he then placed them on the same footing as TBs – I argued with him some time, and showed many instances where BBs , though above any TBs in the Sixth, yet, were not considered Pr. Opps. He summed up by saying that he should see Weare (the Under Master and an Old Westminster) about it. He has not spoken to me since counting it, and thus, I suppose, ends the matter; but I hope that all future Pr. Opp. Will not surrender up his or any other TB Ledger to any Bishops Boys.
J. Gray Pr. Opp.
Liddell has during the holidays carried his alterations up School still further by painting all below the gas pipes which was plastered last Bartholmy & also adding an extra coat of paint to the old Coat of Arms over the shell.* The Sixth Forms have also been removed & oak ones put in their stead corresponding with the rest of the forms, & instead of sitting in his former place as of old Liddell has removed his chair and table to the middle of the Sixth, round which is a sort of octagon shaped form matching the rest of School & behind his chair is a sort of wooden canopy painted oak which looks as if it could be a door and is not. To add to all this the old examination table has been placed I suppose to make it look new; and all the names on the top most of which were, as will be remembered, exceedingly well cut, have been demolished by putting a new board covering the whole of them. What the meaning of all this unnecessary trouble and expense is not at all evident, for if our predecessors were able to sit at the old forms why should not we? The only trace of the old forms is the upper shell, the humanities table, & the last boy which I have no doubt will soon share the fate of the rest, and undergo the same renovating system which has destroyed so many old names of Old Westminsters. When this will stop I cannot venture to assert but I am afraid not until the whole of School has had and perhaps of everything else pertaining to Westminster has been converted into a sort of “Private Academy for the Education of Young Gentlemen.” I for my part, & I hope my readers will sympathise with this, like to see old customs kept up and old memories both of forms & houses to be left as they have been for so many years.
*now being sort of gingerbread coloured shield supported by green dragons
O Salvin. Princeps Oppidamus.
The 5th November was an early play but not as it has been for several years past with leave out the previous night, Liddell did not give us this because he said we had had too many holidays lately.
O Salvin. Prin. Opp.