This morning, Monday 21st July /73., Otter (Captain) told me that there was a matter which must be decided by the Council of M & accordingly Phillimore, Rodocanachi & myself went into College where the meeting was held. It appeared that on Saturday a QS had left his gown on Grant’s steps & it was taken by the servant till after “Abbey” when he gave it to a T.B, named Lefroy, to return to it’s owner. Lefroy, as he crossed the yard, put on the gown & sat on School steps with the gown still on, waiting for the Q.S. to whom it belonged. Just then one of the Q.S. Monitors came out of College (named Holthouse) & saw Lefroy wearing the gown, he immediately told him to take it off & Lefroy, of course, did so. These were the facts of the case & on this ground Holthouse & the other Q.S. said that Lefroy ought to be tanned. I, however, said that though Lefroy had done wrong in putting on the gown, still he ought not to be tanned for it, as it was such a trivial matter, & there was no rule that a TB should be tanned for wearing a gown, although it was an understood thing that a TB should never put one on; as the other two T.B monitors agreed with me & voted against the tanning the Q.Ss were unable to carry out their intention (Vide Entry no. 182 see 8). This did not satisfy them however, so Holthouse showed up to Scott with a view, I suppose, of getting his consent to the tanning. Scott did not view the matter in the same light as the Q.Ss but he spoke to me about it & said I had acted perfectly right in not giving consent to the tanning, & that he should have done the same has he been in my place, but at the same time that, as the Q.S.s has imagined themselves insulted, Lefroy must apologise to Otter as being the chief representative of the Q.Ss. This I think a satisfactory way of settling the matter, but the hostile spirit shown by the Q.Ss has excited no little ill feeling amongst the T.Bs & it is much to be regretted that the Q.Ss took up the affair so hotly, for had Holthouse asked for an apology at first, without making an absurd fuss about tanning, the matter would have been settled quietly. This officious Monitor also spoke to me today about fellows in the second II wearing white shags up fields, but as this has always been the custom, I took no notice of it, beyond telling Otter that for the last 3 years, at least, all T.Bs & Q.Ss in the Second II had always been permitted to wear shags.
H. J. Roberts
There are 6 TBs in the Sixth this term,
H.J. Roberts. (Grants)
E.G. Phillimore. (Grants)
M. Rodocanachi (H.B. Rigauds)
E. Rodocanachi (H.B. Rigauds)
H. M. C McPherson (Home Boarder)
L .S. Bristowe (“”)
Scott announced up school that he has determined to make three T.B monitors & nominated myself, Phillimore & E. Rodocanachi, of course we do not read prayers up school & the title of “monitor” seems to be rather an empty one, however the Q.S.S. were in a great state about it & not one joined in the clapping which ensued after Scott’s speech, this, to say the least of it, was very bad taste.
*This rule or at least a similar one had been made in 1862 (vide Entry No. 30) but it had been broken once or twice since.
In consequence of a T.B having been tanned in College without the consent of the head T.B. Scott has given the following rule “That the Captain & Monitors have a general authority to deal with moral offences which may fall under their cognizance but that no T.B shall be sent for into College or be punished by a Q.S without the consent of the Head T.B or Head of the House. The following were the circumstances. On the night of the first Play, a 3rd election Q.S named Randall observed one of the T.Bs who did not seem to be doing his share of clapping, & because he (Randall) had been tanned when a T.B for no clapping at the Play, he showed up the T.B (Barber H.B Rigauds) to the godkeepers after the Play was over, next day Stuart Q.S one of the godkeepers sent for Barber & tanned him in College without asking leave of either Bramwell or me. As soon as I heard of it I went to Bramwell & asked if he had given permission for the tanning to take place, he said that he had heard nothing about it till it was over, so I asked him to go to Scott & demand an apology from the Q.Ss but he said he would rather that I went; accordingly at 5 ½ on Friday I went to Scott’s & told him the whole matter saying that all the T.Bs were determined to have an apology & that if one was not given no T.B would clap on the second night; Scott agreed with me that an apology was due & said he would speak to Rawson (Captain) Q.S about it The next morning Rawson spoke to me about it & said he was quite ready to apologise & wished that the matter should not got to Scott, he also said that he had been opposed to the tanning himself but that all the other Seniors were for it, however I told him that as Scott already knew about we had better leave it in his (Scott’s) hands. Accordingly at 10 A.M Scott sent for Rawson & myself to his house where Rawson apologised in the name of the Q.Ss for having tanned barber without asking leave of the head T.B & I in the name of the T.Bs expressed myself satisfied; Scott then dismissed us after thanking us for having settled the matter amicably, for had it got into the papers in might have created a row like the “Winchester funding affair” which had just taken place.
There was no Charterhouse match this year on account of that school being moved to Godalming, so instead we played the M.C.C at Lords & were beaten in the first innings by over 200 runs. The disgraceful conduct of some of the younger townboys present at this match must not be passed over without mention. Some of these specimens of Westminster took it into their heads that they could not leave the Pavilion without leaving their traces behind them, so they proceeded to break some of the chairs placed on the roof & also some of the slates on the top, they then amused themselves by throwing the pieces of slates about & succeeded in breaking one or two windows, & finally one of them turned on a watertap; this was not discovered till next day when an indignant letter was received by the Captain from the M.C.C, stating that 50£ damage had been done & mentioning that this was the first time a Public School has so disgraced itself. Of course great indignation was felt about it amongst the fellows in the VIth & Remove, & a large number of fellows would have been tanned but the matter got to Scott’s ears & he contented himself with handing the two principal culprits; if the matter had become have been public it would, without doubt, have done Westminster an immense amount of harm. I am happy to add that no Grantites were concerned in the row.
In March another of those unpleasant rows took place which have from time to time made their appearance in the chronicle. Several articles had been missing in this house (Grant’s) from October last, when about the time of the Athletic Sports a boy named Lefroy had lost a little mechanical engine under circumstances which left no doubt that it had been stolen. All available means were tried to discover the culprit but without any result, and several other depredations were committed between that time and the play. Of course, as is always the case in these matters, suspicion attached to one boy but the event has proved that such ideas were entirely unfounded, and it needs very little if a boy be unpopular, as was to a slight extent the case with this fellow, to point the finger of suspicion at him. Well, as Jones had made a row about these losses at Christmas it was confidently expected that we had seen the last of them for nobody thought the thief would be so audacious as to persist in such a course when the probability of detection was so much greater. However soon after we returned for the present half, a pair of skates very mysteriously disappeared from Kitchin’s drawers, & were mysteriously put back when a noise had been made about their abstraction during a few days after the occurrence. In this matter also we were quite powerless, but a few days after one of the smaller boys had 10L stolen from one of his drawers where he had foolishly left it exposed to the gaze of any who from curiosity or other motive might be prowling about. As all the servants were above suspicion, the only feasible plan for detecting the culprit was tried viz:- to compel every boy return an account of his money affairs and to compare such account with any other means of ascertaining their correctness. The only account which presented any occasion for further inquiry was that of a boy named D*, a general favourite in the house, and as he was unable to explain satisfactorily the discrepancies in his return further inquiries were instituted. He was then found to have taken other boys’ books & sold them to the four booksellers in Hollywell Street, and on this being proved his friends were requested to remove him from the school, which was accordingly done. A fortnight afterwards a little fellow who had only just come to the house came forward and confessed to the theft of the money, which of course complicated matters to a much greater extent, as it seemed doubtful whether D* ought not to have his sentence mitigated when he was shown to be innocent of the charge which though indirectly had nevertheless brought about his expulsion. However Scott, & I must say I think his opinion was correct, declined to readmit him to the house and school on the ground that, taking the books was quite an equivalent offence to stealing the money, and as he was 15 years of age he was quite capable of distinguishing between right and wrong to this extent. K* who had taken the money was flogged but owing to the exceptional circumstances in his case, his youth, a severe family bereavement that had lately bereaved him, his penitence & that his confession alone could have convicted him of the guilt, he was not required to leave. The issue of this sad matter was much complicated by the interference of the Seniors who while the matter was ‘sub judice’ came to the determination to tan the little wretch and they accordingly sent for him without asking my leave, but when this reached the ears of one of the masters he put an immediate stop to the proceeding and K* got off untanned, but of course this unwarrantable interference with T.B. business caused a little ill-feeling though I rejoice to say it has soon subsided. Thus ended one of the most vexatious and distressing rows that has occurred for a long time at Westminster.
Scott handed a fellow the other day for his imprudence to a master & on caning him in the Library expressed a wish (in my absence) that the Q.S.S. would look after the discipline of the Townboys a little better. On the strength of this O’Brien, head monitor, sent for the fellow who had been tanned & told him that if it happened again he should tan him up school. This I could not stand. So, as they seemed determined to stick to what they said, we went to Scott & laid the case before him. He seemed to think it very trivial & said his words had been somewhat misunderstood. That a monitor had a perfect right to tan a town boy, for break of discipline, indecency, or lying, but always with the full consent of the head town boy. Phillimore (the captain) waged that if VIth T.B.s might tan, seconds could also, since they ranked about town boys, but Scott said that his meaning was that there should always be more than one boy in authority among the town boys, adding that if there were as many T.Bs as Q.Ss in the VIth he should limit power to the first 4 town boys. So we altogether came off victorious, since no Q.S. may tan without the head town boy’s leave, & the precaution concerning the seniors & VIth T.B. is put to rest forever.
Two days after the above had happened Bandinel a VIth T.B. told me his gold watch was gone from his cupboard in Chiswick. We consulted together & determined to examine everyone’s drawers, which we did on the following morning, but found nothing. The same day I was informed that a fellow named Bray had lost 2/6 from his drawers. Suspicion again pointed to T– who had been seen by one of the maids with a gold watch, which evidently was not his own. Worsley too (a shell T.B.) had his suspicions about him stealing the half crown. He gave his reasons, which are too lengthy for insertion. I sent for T– & heard the whole case & at length after telling innumerable lies he said he wished to speak to Marshall. We of course thought he was going to confess his crime, & so were very glad, thinking our business in the matter would end here – but not so. Instead of confessing he seems to have told Marshall that we were unjustly making him answer to charges of which he was innocent. Marshall sent for me & I gave him the true account, reading off the evidence which I had taken down on paper. The consequence was that he had T– in with him for a couple of hours, at the end of which he had confessed to both stealing the money & the watch. After progress we were surprised to hear that Marshall had sent for T–‘s hat and that he had gone down to the cloisters. Of course we thought he had gone to the Dean but it turned out the next morning that he had hidden the watch in a hole in Fighting “Green”. He was expelled, or rather taken away privately, & now I think we may be quite sure we have no more prigs. So much for T–. But we had not finished the matter. Marshall called the first four of us into his room the next day & instead of thanking us for doing out best to clear up this mystery, began by telling us that looking into the fellows by telling us that looking into the fellows drawer was illegal, & that we ought to have brought the case to him sooner. Now we thought this very hard for without us the thief would never have been found out, & as for its being illegal to search the drawers, it was done with the consent of everyone, as a means to clear them of all suspicion. I hope to God such a case may never happen again in the house, but if it does, I strongly advise the head of the house to have nothing to do with any investigations whatsoever, but leave Marshall to find out for himself.
Hardly a week had elapsed after the last row when Scott asked me to inquire among the fellows, about a thermometer of his which he had lost from its place by his desk up school. Now it happened that a boy named T had been seen with a thermometer the night before the loss of Scott’s was perceived. I of course turned to him first, & asked where his thermometer was. He said that he had broken the bulb to get the mercury. I told him to bring me the wooden part, which he declared he had lost, but afterwards produced. There was only one other in the house, so I took them both up school & tried them in the place where Schott’s had been. One only fitted. That was T–‘s. I then asked him where he had got it from. He said that he had brought it from home, that his father had bought it 2.day!! & given him one. This was a palpable lie, so I took the thermometer to Scott, who immediately identified it. T– was sent for & after telling several lies at last confessed to have taken it down to look & to have been afraid of putting it back, for fear any should see him. Scott flogged him in the library, merely for telling lies, judging, & I think fairly, that he intended to put it back, only had not the moral courage. This is another instance of the gentlemanly spirit which exists at Westminster at the present day.
For more than a year past, fellows in this house have from time to time been losing money, from their drawers, purses, etc. Just this time last year there was one of these rows shown up to Marshall. Everything was done to find out the culprit, but in vain. Of course, someone was suspected and when he went into college we congratulated ourselves on having got rid of the thief. We were however mistaken & ever since then money has been going in a most serious way, so much so that I became almost certain that is was none of our fellows in this house, but either some of the next house, who could have got in at the windows, or some of the servants. At length, about three weeks ago, one of the fellows losing continually small pieces of money from his purse determined to mark it. This he did. The bait was taken. On it being missed, I sent for everyone’s keys to fit his drawer, none however fitted, so I sent for everyone into Chiswick & made them produce all their money. At length* William’s fag, B. was called in & to our surprise produced the marked sixpence, evidently without the least suspicion. This I did not take as proof positive, but cross-examined him severely. The course of which he declared, upon his honour, that Sutcliffe had given it him in change & carefully enunciated what he had spent, & on what. I had spoken to “Mother Crowther” about the maids, and my suspicion of the maids, and about one in particular. She (Mrs. C) told this maid, who, naturally, came to me saying that I had calumniated her, & was very much mistaken. I of course begged her pardon, & was in fact very sorry for suspecting her, but was driven to circumstances that I could not help myself. I then went in to Marshall, & told him all I knew of the case. He sent for B, who confessed to him to have taken money from William’s drawer 4 separate times & twice from another fellow’s. Marshall of course went to Scott, who pronounced the sentence to be expulsion. Now the thief’s brother was very much liked in the house, & his father and his mother were both ill. We therefore thought the sentence rather severe. We racked our brains to think of something that would punish as effectively without hurting the feelings of his parents & friends. We accordingly (I think at the wish of the whole house) went to Scott to beg him to reconsider the sentence & proposed to him a medium to flog him, & then only rusticate him for a year. But to our surprise Scott turned to the other extreme & after flogging him only rusticated him to the second of the half (3 weeks). So we shall have the young blackguard back here next half & we half repent ever having gone up to Scott about him. So ended this particular row & again we congratulated ourselves that we were free from this horrible mystery which had thrown a gloom over the house so long.
*Mr Williams it was who had lost the money. I call the thief B. not wishing to mention names
Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, came of age on Sunday the 9th of Nov., but owing to it being on a Sunday it was kept all over the Kingdom (except Westminster) on Monday. That is we did not keep it properly. It being Monday we of course expected leave till 10. This we did not get, so I went with Phillimore (captain) to Scott after breakfast to demand an early play: he would not hear of it, but said he would look at the “Papers” & see if it was to be kept here. We were not content, & went to him a second time, armed with the “Times” which gave notice that all the abbey and two government offices were to suspend business for the day in honour of the Prince’s birthday. He was of course obliged to yield but only gave a half holiday & that with very bad grace. It was very shabby of him, for it is not every year that a Prince of Wales comes of age. In fact it is more than 80 since George 4th arrived at the age of manhood. However, we will hope that when the next Prince of Wales comes of age, the majority may be kept with more loyalty at Westminster & that the School (being a Regia Schola) may be permitted to rejoice, in a sensible way, at any blessing which befalls the Royal Family.