At the end of last half (Xmas ’50) a very unpleasant melée took place between the T.B.s and QS. As it had for a long time been the custom to tan the T.Bs, as they ran up to the gods on the play nights, I spoke to the captain (Blagden) about it some time before the play, and he promised me it should be discontinued. When however the T.Bs went to try the gods, several were licked, and when I spoke to Blagden he again assured me it was contrary to his orders, and that he wd tan those QSS who had touched the TBs I was quite satisfied with this , and on the first play night all went off very quietly – On the second play night several TBs were standing round the College doors waiting to be admitted, and I went to speak to some of them, when to my great surprise I met a QS running after some fellows, who had managed to screw themselves into the doorway, with a knotted rope I stopped him and told him that the Captain had promised me there shd be no tanning, but he said he knew what had been told him, and refused to tell me what that was. Upon this I went away, and fetched all the sixth fellows, and steward who was in the Upper Shell, and we agreed to stop the tanning, if any were intended.
We did not however say anything, but kept ourselves in the background, to be ready for any emergency – In the meantime I had to speak to one of the seniors, but failed and soon after it struck six. The T.Bs then began to go up, and we saw the two QSS who kept the first bar, make them stoop down and go under the bar instead of through it, and repeatedly strike them – We then thought fit to interfere, and a rush was made wch ended in the two QSS getting bowled over, and the whole bar with its appendages coming down.* Some of us then ran all the way up to the gods, and saw the smaller TBs safely up – All the sixth fellows then went to dress but on presenting ourselves at the first bar we found that the Captain had given orders that none shd be admitted. I insisted on being allowed to speak to Blagden, and at last managed to gain access to him, but he refused to listen to me, saying we had all behaved in a blackguard manner, and that he shd show the whole thing up to Weare the next morning. I then said I wd have all the TBs down, but some of the sixth TBs asked me to wait ten minutes while one of them spoke to another of the seniors to try and arrange it amicably. Before that time had expired, Liddell came in and what with the noise of the band and the clapping, and the crush of people, it was impossible to get the “gods” down.
Next morning Weare sent for me, and the Captain, and two monitors, and in a stern voice asked what complaint I had to make; I said I did not come to him to complain of anything, but that he had sent for me. He then cross-examined me upon the events of the previous night, taking down all I said on paper and abusing me the whole time. He then sent me out of his house and told me to send in another sixth T.B. I went straight to Liddells, and showed up the whole thing and said I thought Mr W. was not doing the T.B’s justice, and he told me to send Mr W. to him. I then went back to Weare’s house and he told me he thought fit on acct of my very injudicious conduct to prohibit me from going to the third play – I angered him by telling him that it hadn’t been my intention either to go myself or let any T.B go and finally exasperated him, when, upon his declaring he wd report me to the Head Master I told him I had just been and showed the whole affair up. The two bar holders were then had in and severely punished and the whole of us dismissed from the august presence of Mr Weare. In the afternoon, L and Whitaker and myself sent to Mr W and when he made me a kind of apology and acknowledged he had no right over the TBs.
He behaved I think very unhandsomely to say the least of it, for he abused me before the QSS, and made it up when they were not present. The next morning great was the silence that prevailed along the sixth side of the school, nobody conversing above a whisper, and as we were going down school Blagden told me he wished to speak to me. He said he was extremely sorry it had ever occurred, and that he had thought it best to show it up to Weare, for fear either of us, being each prejudiced in favour of our own party, shd not do one another justice, and finished with ‘hoping to see us at all at the play, and offering his hand, wch I of course took and so the affair was finished. Afterwards Liddell had Austen and myself with the Capt and monitors to his house and said he was sorry anything had happened to disturb the general harmony, and when he had sent the QSS away he told me he thought I had been rather hasty and that I ought to have gone to Weare at once instead of getting up a row. Liddell of course spoke like a gentleman, but Weare quite the contrary, and I am not surprised at the dread of him and dislike wch all the QSS exhibit, and wch is not less felt by those unlucky fellows who are in the under school.
In the evening, we all went to the Play and parted in friendship with all the QSS. I think this has done the TBs good, as it will show we are resolved to make a stand against the supremacy of the QSS and my thanks are due to * all the sixth and upper shell who so willingly backed me on this occasion. I may perhaps have been too hasty, yet I do not see what else I cd have done, and I think that all T.Bs who read this acct will agree with me.
Jan 4 / 51
J. Murray Murray
* I have since heard that the QSS have always boasted that no TBs have ever invaded college, and in fact still do so. Let this contradict them –
*The following is a list: