LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Lord Byron and Some of his Contemporaries
An Account of Christ’s Hospital.

Lord Byron.
Mr. Moore.
Mr. Shelley. With a Criticism on his Genius.
Mr. Keats. With a Criticism on his Writings.
Mr. Dubois. Mr. Campbell. Mr. Theodore Hook. Mr. Mathews. Messrs. James & Horace Smith.
Mr. Fuseli. Mr. Bonnycastle. Mr. Kinnaird.
Mr. Charles Lamb.
Mr. Coleridge.
Recollections of the Author’s Life.
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“It is for slaves to lie, and for freemen to speak truth.

“In the examples, which I here bring in, of what I have heard, read, done, or said, I have forbid myself to dare to alter even the most light and indifferent circumstances. My conscience does not falsify one tittle. What my ignorance may do, I cannot say.”       Montaigne.


To describe so well-known a school as Christ-Hospital, would to thousands of readers be superfluous; but to such as are unacquainted with the City, or with a certain track of reading, it still remains a curiosity. Thousands, indeed, have gone through the City and never suspected that in the heart of it lies an old cloistered foundation, where a boy may grow up, as I did, among six hundred others, and know as little of the very neighbourhood as the world does of him.

But it is highly interesting on other accounts. Perhaps there is not a foundation in the country so truly English, taking that word to mean what Englishmen wish it to mean;—something solid, unpretending, of good character, and free to all. More boys are to be found in it, who issue from a greater variety of ranks, than in any other school in the kingdom; and as it is the most various, so it is the largest, of all the free-schools. Nobility do not go there, except as boarders. Now and then, a boy of a noble family may be met with, and he is reckoned an interloper, and against the charter; but the sons of poor
gentry and London citizens abound; and with them, an equal share is given to the sons of tradesmen of the very humblest description, not omitting servants. I would not take my oath,—but I have a very vivid recollection, that in my time there were two boys, one of whom went up into the drawing-room to his father, the master of the house; and the other, down into the kitchen to his father, the coachman. One thing, however, I know to be certain, and that is the noblest of all: it is, that the boys themselves, (at least it was so in my time,) had no sort of feeling of the difference of one another’s ranks out of doors. The cleverest boy was the noblest, let his father be who he might. In short, Christ-Hospital is well known and respected by thousands, as a nursery of tradesmen, of merchants, of naval officers, of scholars, of some of the most eminent persons of the day; and the feeling among the boys themselves is, that it is a medium, far apart indeed, but equally so, between the patrician pretension of such schools as Eton and Westminster, and the plebeian submission of the charity schools. In point of University honours, it claims to be equal with the greatest; and though other schools can show a greater abundance of eminent names, I know not where will be many who are a greater host in themselves. One original author is worth a hundred transwriters of elegance: and such a one is to be found in
Richardson, who here received what education he possessed. Here Camden also received the rudiments of his. Bishop Stillingfleet, according to the Memoirs of Pepys, lately published, was brought up in the school. We have had many eminent scholars, two of them Greek Professors, to wit, Barnes, and the present Mr. Scholefield, the latter of whom attained an extraordinary succession of University honours. The rest are Markland; Dr. Middleton, late
Bishop of Calcutta; and
Mr. Mitchell, the translator of “Aristophanes.” Christ-Hospital, I believe, has sent out more living writers, in its proportion, than any other school. There is Dr. Richards, author of the “Aboriginal Britons;” Dyer, whose life has been one unbroken dream of learning and goodness, and who used to make us wonder with passing through the school-room (where no other person in “town-clothes” ever appeared) to consult books in the library; Le Grice, the translator of “Longus;” Home, author of some well-known productions in controversial divinity; Surr, the novelist, (not in the Grammar school;) James White, the friend of Charles Lamb, and not unworthy of him, author of “Falstaff’s Letters:” (this was he who used to give an anniversary dinner to the chimney-sweepers, merrier, though not so magnificent as Mrs. Montagu’s.) Pitman, a celebrated preacher, editor of some school-books, and religious classics; Mitchell, before mentioned; myself, who stood next him; Barnes, who came next, the Editor of the Times, (than whom no man (if he had cared for it) could have been more certain of attaining celebrity for wit and literature;) Townsend, a prebendary of Durham, author of “Armageddon,” and several theological works; Gilly, another of the Durham prebendaries, who wrote the other day the “Narrative of the Waldenses;” Scargill, an Unitarian minister, author of some tracts on Peace and War, &c.; and lastly, whom I have kept by way of climax, Coleridge, and Charles Lamb, two of the most original geniuses, not only of the day, but of the country. We have had an ambassador among us; but as he, I understand, is ashamed of us, we are hereby more ashamed of him, and accordingly omit him.

In the time of Henry the Eighth, Christ-Hospital was a monastery
of Franciscan Friars. Being dissolved among the others,
Edward the Sixth, moved by a sermon of Bishop Ridley’s, assigned the revenues of it to the maintenance and education of a certain number of poor orphan children, born of citizens of London. I believe there has been no law passed to alter the letter of this intention; which is a pity, since the alteration has taken place. An extension of it was probably very good, and even demanded by circumstances. I have reason, for one, to be grateful for it. But tampering with matters-of-fact among children is dangerous. They soon learn to distinguish between allowed poetical fiction, and that, which they are told, under severe penalties, never to be guilty of; and this early sample of contradiction between the thing asserted and the obvious fact, can do no good even in an establishment so plain-dealing in other respects, as Christ-Hospital. The place is not only designated as an Orphan-house in its Latin title, but the boys, in the prayers which they repeat every day, implore the pity of Heaven upon “us poor orphans.” I remember the perplexity this caused me at a very early period. It is true, the word orphan may be used in a sense implying destitution of any sort; but this was not its original meaning in the present instance; nor do the younger boys give it the benefit of that scholarly interpretation. There was another thing, (now, I believe, done away,) which existed in my time, and perplexed me still more. It seemed a glaring instance of the practice likely to result from the other assumption, and made me prepare for a hundred falsehoods and deceptions, which, mixed up with contradiction, as most things in society are, I sometimes did find and oftener dreaded. I allude to a foolish custom they had, in the ward which I first entered, and which was the only one that the company at the public suppers were in the
habit of going into, of hanging up, by the side of every bed, a clean white napkin, which was supposed to be the one used by the occupiers. Now these napkins were only for show, the real towels being of the largest and coarsest kind. If the masters had been asked about them, they would doubtless have told the truth; perhaps the nurses would have done so. But the boys were not aware of this. There they saw these “white lies” hanging before them, a conscious imposition; and I well remember how alarmed I used to feel, lest any of the company should direct their inquiries to me.

Speaking of “wards” and “nurses,” I must enter into a more particular account of the school. Christ-Hospital (for this is its proper name, and not Christ’s Hospital) occupies a considerable portion of ground between Newgate Street, Giltspur Street, St. Bartholomew’s, and Little Britain. There is a quadrangle with four cloisters, a cloister running out of these to the Sick Ward; a portico supporting the Writing School; a kind of street, with the counting-house, and some other houses; and a large open space, presenting the Grammar School. The square inside the cloisters is called the Garden, and most likely was the monastery garden. Its only delicious crop, for many years, has been pavement. The large area is also misnomered the Ditch; the town-ditch, I suppose, having formerly had a tributary stream that way. One side of the quadrangle is occupied by the Hall, or eating-room, one of the noblest in England, adorned with enormously long paintings by Verrio and others, and with an organ. Another side contained the library of the monks, and was built or repaired by the famous Whittington, whose arms are still to be seen outside.

In the cloisters a number of persons lie buried, besides the officers of the house. Among them is Isabella, wife of Edward the Second, the
“she-wolf of France.” I was not aware of this circumstance then; but many a time, with a recollection of some lines in
“Blair’s Grave” upon me, have I ran as hard as I could at night-time from my ward to another, in order to borrow the next volume of some ghostly romance. In one of the cloisters was an impression resembling a gigantic foot, which was attributed by some to the angry stamping of the ghost of a beadle’s wife! A beadle was a higher sound to us than to most, as it involved ideas of detected apples in church-time, “skulking” (as it was called) out of bounds, and a power of reporting us to the masters. But fear does not stand upon rank and ceremony.

The wards, or sleeping-rooms, are twelve, and contained, in my time, rows of beds on each side, partitioned off, but connected with one another, and each having two boys to sleep in it. Down the middle ran the binns for holding bread and other things, and serving for a table when the meal was not taken in the hall; and over the binns hung a great homely chandelier.

To each of these wards a nurse was assigned, who was the widow of some decent liveryman of London, and who had the charge of looking after us at night-time, seeing to our washing, &c. and carving for us at dinner: all which gave her a good deal of power, more than her name warranted. They were, however, almost invariably very decent people, and performed their duty; which was not always the case with the young ladies, their daughters. There were five schools; a grammar-school, a mathematical or navigation-school (added by Charles the Second,) a writing, a drawing, and a reading-school. Those who could not read when they came on the foundation, went into the last. There were few in the last-but-one, and I scarcely know what they did, or for what object. The writing-school was for those who were intended for trade and com-
merce; the mathematical for boys who went as midshipmen into the naval and East India service; and the grammar-school for such as were designed for the Church, and to go to the University. The writing-school was by far the largest; and, what is very curious, (which is not the case now,) all these schools were kept quite distinct, so that a boy might arrive at the age of fifteen in the grammar-school, and not know his multiplication-table. But more of this, on a future occasion. Most of these schools had several masters; besides whom there was a steward, who took care of our subsistence, and had a general superintendance over all hours and circumstances not connected with schooling. The masters had almost all been in the school, and might expect pensions or livings in their old age. Among those, in my time, the mathematical master was
Mr. Wales, a man well known for his science, who had been round the world with Captain Cook; for which we highly venerated him. He was a good man, of plain simple manners, with a heavy large person and a benign countenance. When he was in Otaheite, the natives played him a trick while bathing, and stole his small-clothes; which we used to think an enormous liberty, scarcely credible. The name of the steward, a thin stiff man of invincible formality of demeanour, admirably fitted to render encroachment impossible, was Hathaway. We of the grammar-school used to call him “the Yeoman,” on account of Shakspeare’s having married the daughter of a man of that name, designated as “a substantial yeoman.”

Our dress was of the coarsest and quaintest kind, but was respected out of doors, and is so. It consisted of a blue drugget gown, or body, with ample coats to it; a yellow vest underneath in winter-time; smallclothes of Russia duck; yellow stockings; a leathern girdle; and a little black worsted cap, usually carried in the hand. I believe it was the
ordinary dress of children in humble life, during the reign of the Tudors. We used to flatter ourselves that it was taken from the monks; and there went a monstrous tradition, that at one period it consisted of blue velvet with silver buttons. It was said also, that during the blissful era of the blue velvet we had roast mutton for supper; but that the small-clothes not being then in existence, and the mutton suppers too luxurious, the eatables were given up for the ineffables.

A malediction, at heart, always followed the memory of him who had taken upon himself to decide so preposterously. To say the truth, we were not too well fed at that time, either in quantity or quality; and we could not enter with our then hungry imaginations into those remote philosophies. Our breakfast was bread and water, for the beer was too bad to drink. The bread consisted of the half of a three-halfpenny loaf, according to the prices then current. I suppose it would now be a good two-penny one; certainly not a three-penny. This was not much for growing boys, who had nothing to eat from six or seven o’clock the preceding evening. For dinner, we had the same quantity of bread, with meat only every other day, and that consisting of a small slice, such as would be given to an infant of three or four years old. Yet even that, with all our hunger, we very often left half-eaten; the meat was so tough. On the other days, we had a milk-porridge, ludicrously thin; or rice-milk, which was better. There were no vegetables or puddings. Once a month we had roast-beef; and twice a year, (I blush to think of the eagerness with which it was looked for) a dinner of pork. One was roast, and the other boiled; and on the latter occasion we had our only pudding, which was of pease. I blush to remember this, not on account of our poverty, but on account of the sordidness of the custom. There had much better have been none. For supper
we had a like piece of bread, with butter or cheese; and then to bed, “with what appetite we might.”

Our routine of life was this. We rose to the call of a bell, at six in summer, and seven in winter; and after combing ourselves, and washing our hands and faces, went, at the call of another bell, to breakfast. All this took up about an hour. From breakfast we proceeded to school, where we remained till eleven, winter and summer, and then had an hour’s play. Dinner took place at twelve. Afterwards was a little play till one, when we again went to school, and remained till five in summer and four in winter. At six was the supper. We used to play after it in summer till eight. In winter we proceeded from supper to bed. On Sundays, the school-time of the other days was occupied with church, both morning and evening; and as the Bible was read to us every day before every meal, and on going to bed, besides prayers and graces, we at least rivalled the monks in the religious part of our duties. The effect was certainly not what was intended. The Bible perhaps was read thus frequently in the first instance, out of contradiction to the papal spirit that had so long kept it locked up; but, in the eighteenth century, the repetition was not so desirable among a parcel of hungry boys, anxious to get their modicum to eat. On Sunday, what with the long service in the morning, the service again after dinner, and the inaudible and indifferent tones of some of the preachers, it was unequivocally tiresome. I, for one, who had been piously brought up, and continued to have religion inculcated on me by father and mother, began secretly to become as indifferent as I thought the preachers; and, though the morals of the school were in the main excellent and exemplary, we all felt instinctively, without knowing it, that it was the orderliness and example of the general system that
kept us so, and not the religious part of it; which seldom entered our heads at all, and only tired us when it did. I am not begging any question here, or speaking for or against. I am only stating a fact. Others may argue, that, however superfluous the readings and prayers might have been, a good general spirit of religion must have been inculcated, because a great deal of virtue and religious charity is known to have issued out of that school, and no fanaticism. I shall not dispute the point. The case is true; but not the less true is what I speak of. Latterly there came, as our parish clergyman,
Mr. Crowther, a nephew of the celebrated Richardson, and worthy of the talents and virtues of his kinsman, though inclining to a mode of faith which is supposed to produce more faith than charity. But, till then, the persons who were in the habit of getting up in our church pulpit and reading-desk, might as well have hummed a tune to their diaphragms. They inspired us with nothing but mimicry. The name of the morning-reader was Salt. He was a worthy man, I believe, and might, for aught we knew, have been a clever one; but he had it all to himself, He spoke in his throat, with a sound as if he was weak and corpulent; and was famous among us for saying “Murracles” instead of “Miracles.” When we imitated him, this was the only word we drew upon: the rest was unintelligible suffocation. Our usual evening preacher was Mr. Sandiford, who had the reputation of learning and piety. It was of no use to us, except to make us associate the ideas of learning and piety in the pulpit with inaudible hum-drum. Mr. Sandiford’s voice was hollow and low, and he had a habit of dipping up and down over his book, like a chicken drinking. Mr. Salt was eminent with us for a single word. Mr. Sandiford surpassed him, for he had two famous audible phrases. There was, it is true, no great variety in them. One was “the dispensation of Moses:”
the other (with a due interval of hum), “the Mosaic dispensation.” These he used to repeat so often, that in our caricatures of him they sufficed for an entire portrait. The reader may conceive a large church, (it was Christ Church, Newgate Street,) with six hundred boys, seated like charity-children up in the air, on each side the organ, Mr. Sandiford humming in the valley, and a few maid-servants who formed his afternoon congregation. We did not dare to go to sleep. We were not allowed to read. The great boys used to get those that sat behind them to play with their hair. Some whispered to their neighhours, and the others thought of their lessons and tops. I can safely say, that many of us would have been good listeners, and most of us attentive ones, if the clergyman could have been heard: as it was, I talked as well as the rest, or thought of my exercise. Sometimes we could not help joking and laughing over our weariness; and then the fear was, lest the steward had seen us. It was part of the business of the steward to preside over the boys in church-time. He sat aloof, in a place where he could view the whole of his flock. There was a ludicrous kind of revenge we had of him, whenever a particular part of the Bible was read. This was the parable of the Unjust Steward. The boys waited anxiously till the passage commenced; and then, as if by a general conspiracy, at the words, “thou unjust steward,” the whole school turned their eyes upon this unfortunate officer, who sat
“Like Teneriff or Atlas, unremoved.”
We persuaded ourselves, that the more unconscious he looked, the more he was acting. By a singular chance, there were two clergymen, occasional preachers in our pulpit, who were as loud and startling, as the
others were somniferous. One of them, with a sort of flat, high voice, had a remarkable way of making a ladder of it, climbing higher and higher to the end of the sentence. It ought to be described by the gamut, or written up-hill. Perhaps it was an association of ideas that has made us recollect one particular passage. It is where Ahab consults the Prophets, asking them whether he shall go up to Ramoth Gilead to battle. “Shall I go against Ramoth Gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? and they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.” He used to give this out in such a manner, that you might have fancied him climbing out of the pulpit, sword in hand. The other was a tall, thin man, with a noble voice. He would commence a prayer in a most stately and imposing manner, full both of dignity and feeling; and then, as if tired of it, hurry over all the rest. Indeed, he began every prayer in this way, and was as sure to hurry it; for which reason, the boys hailed the sight of him, as they knew they should get sooner out of church. When he commenced, in his noble style, the band seemed to tremble against his throat, as though it had been a sounding-board.

Being able to read, and knowing a little Latin, I was put at once into the Under Grammar School. How much time I wasted there in learning the accidence and syntax, I cannot say; but it seems to me a long while. My grammar seemed always to open at the same place. Things are managed differently now, I believe, in this as well as in a great many other respects. Great improvements have been made in the whole establishment. The boys feed better, learn better, and have longer holidays in the country. In my time, they never slept out of the school but on one occasion, during the whole of their stay; this was for three weeks in summer-time, which I have spoken of, and which they were bound
to pass at a certain distance from London. They now have these holidays with a reasonable frequency; and they all go to the different schools, instead of being confined, as they were then, some to nothing but writing and cyphering, and some to the languages. It has been doubted by some of us elders, whether this system will beget such temperate, proper students, with pale faces, as the other did. I dare say, our successors are not afraid of us. I had the pleasure, not long since, of dining in company with a Deputy Grecian, who, with a stout rosy-faced person, had not failed to acquire the scholarly turn for joking, which is common to a classical education; as well as those simple, becoming manners, made up of modesty and proper confidence, which have been often remarked as distinguishing the boys on this foundation.

“But what is a Deputy Grecian?” Ah, reader! to ask that question, and at the same time to know any thing at all worth knowing, would at one time, according to our notions, have been impossible. When I entered the school, I was shown three gigantic boys, young men rather, (for the eldest was between seventeen and eighteen,) who, I was told, were going to the University. These were the Grecians. They are the three head boys of the Grammar School, and are understood to have their destiny fixed for the Church. The next class to these, and like a College of Cardinals to those three Popes, (for every Grecian was in our eyes infallible,) are the Deputy Grecians. The former were supposed to have completed their Greek studies, and were deep in Sophocles and Euripides. The latter were thought equally competent to tell you any thing respecting Homer and Demosthenes. These two classes and the head boys of the Navigation School, held a certain rank over the whole place, both in school and out. Indeed, the whole of the Navigation School, upon the strength of cultivating their valour for the navy, and
being called King’s Boys, had succeeded in establishing an extraordinary pretension to respect. This they sustained in a manner as laughable to call to mind, as it was grave in its reception. It was an etiquette among them never to move out of a right line as they walked, whoever stood in their way. I believe there was a secret understanding with Grecians and Deputy Grecians, the former of whom were unquestionably lords paramount in point of fact, and stood and walked aloof when all the rest of the school were marshalled in bodies. I do not remember any clashing between these great civil and naval powers; but I remember well my astonishment when I first beheld some of my little comrades overthrown by the progress of one of these very straightforward personages, who walked on with as tranquil and unconscious a face, as if nothing had happened. It was not a fierce-looking push; there seemed to be no intention in it. The insolence lay in the boy’s appearing not to know that such an inferior human being existed. It was always thus, wherever they came. If aware, the boys got out of their way; if not, down they went, one or more; away rolled the top or the marbles, and on walked the future captain—
In maiden navigation, frank and free.

They wore a badge on the shoulder, of which they were very proud, though in the streets it must have helped to confound them with charity boys. For charity boys I must own, we all had a great contempt, or thought so. We did not dare to know that there might have been a little jealousy of our own position in it, placed as we were midway between the homeliness of the common charity school and the dignity of the foundations. We called them “chizy-wags,” and had a particular scorn and hatred of their nasal tone in singing.


The under grammar-master was the Reverend Mr. Field. He was a good-looking man, very gentlemanly, and always dressed at the neatest. I believe he once wrote a play. He had the reputation of being admired by the ladies. A man of a more handsome incompetence for his situation perhaps did not exist. He came late of a morning; went away soon in the afternoon; and used to walk up and down, languidly bearing his cane, as if it was a lily, and hearing our eternal Dominuses and As in præsenti’s with an air of ineffable endurance. Often, he did not hear at all. It was a joke with us, when any of our friends came to the door and we asked his permission to go to them, to address him with some preposterous question, wide of the mark; to which he used to assent. We would say, for instance, “Are you not a great fool, sir?” or “Isn’t your daughter a pretty girl?” to which he would reply, “Yes, child.” When he condescended to hit us with the cane, he made a face as if he was taking physic. Miss Field, an agreeable-looking girl, was one of the goddesses of the school; as far above us, as if she had lived on Olympus. Another was Miss Patrick, daughter of the lamp-manufacturer in Newgate Street. I do not remember her face so well, not seeing it so often; but she abounded in admirers. I write the names of these ladies at full length, because there is nothing that should hinder their being pleased at having caused us so many agreeable visions. We used to identify them with the picture of Venus in Tooke’s Pantheon.

School was a newer scene to me than to most boys: it was also a more startling one. I was not prepared for so great a multitude; for the absence of the tranquillity and security of home; nor for those exhibitions of strange characters, conflicting wills, and violent, and, as they appeared to me, wicked passions, which were to be found, in little, in this epitome of the great world. I was confused, frightened, and made solitary. My
mother, as I have observed before, little thought how timid she had helped to render her son, in spite of those more refined theories of courage and patriotic sentiments which she had planted in him.

I will not mention the name of the other master, the upper one, who I am now about to speak of, and whom I have designated at the head of this paper as a schoolmaster of the old leaven. I will avoid it, not because I can thus render it unknown, but because it will remain less known than it would otherwise. I will avoid it also, because he was a conscientious man in some things, and undoubtedly more mistaken than malignant; and last, not least, because there may be inheritors of his name, whose natures, modified by other sources, and not liable to the same objections, might be hurt in proportion to their superiority.

He was a short stout man, inclining to punchiness, with large face and hands, an aquiline nose, long upper lip, and a sharp mouth. His eye was close and cruel. The spectacles threw a balm over it. Being a clergyman, he dressed in black, with a powdered wig. His clothes were cut short; his hands hung out of the sleeves, with tight wristbands, as if ready for execution; and as he generally wore grey worsted stockings, very tight, with a little balustrade leg, his whole appearance presented something formidably succinct, hard, and mechanical. In fact, his weak side, and undoubtedly his natural destination, lay in carpentery; and he accordingly carried, in a side-pocket made on purpose, a carpenter’s rule.

The only merits of this man consisted in his being a good verbal scholar, and acting up to the letter of time and attention. I have seen him nod at the close of the long summer school-hours, perfectly wearied out; and should have pitied him, if he had taught us to do any thing but fear. Though a clergyman, very orthodox, and of rigid morals,
he indulged himself in an oath, which was “ God’s-my-life!” When you were out in your lesson, he turned upon you with an eye like a fish; and he had a trick of pinching you under the chin, and by the lobes of the ears, till he would make the blood come. He has many times lifted a boy off the ground in this way. He was indeed a proper tyrant, passionate and capricious; would take violent likes and dislikes to the same boys; fondle some without any apparent reason, though he had a leaning to the servile, and perhaps to the sons of rich people, and would persecute others in a manner truly frightful. I have seen him beat a sickly-looking, melancholy boy (C—n) about the head and ears, till the poor fellow, hot, dry-eyed, and confused, seemed lost in bewilderment. C—n, not long after he took orders, died out of his senses. I do not attribute that catastrophe to the master; and of course he could not have wished to do him any lasting mischief. He had no imagination of any sort. But there is no saying how far his treatment of the boy might have contributed to prevent his cure. Masters, as well as boys, have escaped the chance of many bitter reflections, since a wiser and more generous intercourse has increased between them.

I have some stories of this man, that will completely show his character, and at the same time relieve the reader’s indignation by something ludicrous in their excess. We had a few boarders at the school; boys, whose parents were too rich to let them go on the foundation. Among them, in my time, was Carlton, a son of Lord Dorchester; Macdonald, one of the Lord Chief Baron’s sons; and R——, the son of a rich merchant. Carlton, who was a fine fellow, manly and full of good sense, took his new master and his caresses very coolly, and did not want them. Little Macdonald also could dispense with them, and
would put on his delicate gloves after lesson, with an air as if he resumed his patrician plumage. R—— was meeker, and willing to be encouraged; and there would the master sit, with his arm round his tall waist, helping him to his Greek verbs, as a nurse does bread and milk to an infant; and repeating them, when he missed, with a fond patience, that astonished us criminals in drugget.

Very different was the treatment of a boy on the foundation, whose friends, by some means or other, had prevailed on the master to pay him an extra attention, and try to get him on. He had come into the school at an age later than usual, and could hardly read. There was a book used by the learners in reading, called “Dialogues between a Missionary and an Indian.” It was a poor performance, full of inconclusive arguments and other commonplaces. The boy in question used to appear with this book in his hand in the middle of the school, the master standing behind him. The lesson was to begin. Poor ——, whose great fault lay in a deep-toned drawl of his syllables and the omission of his stops, stood half-looking at the book, and half-casting his eye towards the right of him, whence the blows were to proceed. The master looked over him; and his hand was ready. I am not exact in my quotation at this distance of time; but the spirit of one of the passages that I recollect, was to the following purport, and thus did the teacher and his pupil proceed.

Master. “Now, young man, have a care; or I’ll set you a swinging task.” (A common phrase of his.)

Pupil. (Making a sort of heavy bolt at his calamity, and never remembering his stop at the word Missionary.) “Missionary Can you see the wind?”

(Master gives a slap on the cheek.)


Pupil. (Raising his voice to a cry, still forgetting his stop.) “Indian No!”

Master. “God’s-my-life, young man! have a care how you provoke me.”

Pupil. (Always forgetting the stop.) “Missionary How then do you know that there is such a thing?”

(Here a terrible thump.)

Pupil. (With a shout of agony.) “Indian Because I feel it.”

One anecdote of his injustice will suffice for all. It is of ludicrous enormity; nor do I believe any thing more flagrantly wilful was ever done by himself. I heard Mr. C——, the sufferer, now a most respectable person in a government office, relate it with a due relish, long after quitting the school. The master was in the habit of “spiting” C——; that is to say, of taking every opportunity to be severe with him, nobody knew why. One day he comes into the school, and finds him placed in the middle of it with three other boys. He was not in one of his worst humours, and did not seem inclined to punish them, till he saw his antagonist. “Oh, oh! Sir,” said he; “what, you are among them, are you?“ and gave him an exclusive thump on the face. He then turned to one of the Grecians, and said, “I have not time to flog all these boys; make them draw lots, and I’ll punish one.” The lots were drawn, and C——’s was favourable. “Oh, oh!” returned the master, when he saw them, “you have escaped, have you, Sir?” and pulling out his watch, and turning again to the Grecian observed, that he found he had time to punish the whole three; “and, Sir,” added he to C——, with another slap, “I’ll begin with you.” He then took the boy into the library and flogged him; and, on issuing forth again, had the face to say, with an air of indifference, “I have
not time, after all, to punish these two other boys: let them take care how they provoke me another time.”

Often did I wish that I was a fairy, in order to play him tricks like a Caliban. We used to sit and fancy what we should do with his wig; how we would hamper and vex him; “put knives in his pillow, and halters in his pew.” To venture on a joke in our own mortal persons, was like playing with Polyphemus. One afternoon, when he was nodding with sleep over a lesson, a boy of the name of M——, who stood behind him, ventured to take a pin, and begin advancing with it up his wig. The hollow, exhibited between the wig and the nape of the neck, invited him. The boys encouraged this daring act of gallantry. Nods, and becks, and then whispers of “Do it, M.!” gave more and more valour to his hand. On a sudden, the master’s head falls back; he starts, with eyes like a shark; and seizing the unfortunate culprit, who stood helpless in the attitude of holding the pin, caught hold of him, fiery with passion. A “swinging task” ensued, which kept him at home all the holidays. One of these tasks would consist of an impossible quantity of Virgil, which the learner, unable to retain it at once, wasted his heart and soul out to “get up,” till it was too late.

Sometimes, however, our despot got into a dilemma, and then he did not know how to get out of it. A boy, now and then, would be roused into open and fierce remonstrance. I recollect S., now one of the mildest of preachers, starting up in his place, and pouring forth on his astonished hearer a torrent of invectives and threats, which the other could only answer by looking pale, and uttering a few threats in return. Nothing came of it. He did not like such matters to go before the governors. Another time, Favell, a Grecian, a youth of high spirit, whom he had struck, went to the school-door, opened it, and turning
round with the handle in his grasp, told him he would never set foot again in the place, unless he promised to treat him with more delicacy. “Come back, child; come back!” said the other, pale, and in a faint voice. There was a dead silence. Favell came back, and nothing more was done.

A sentiment, unaccompanied with something practical, would have been lost upon him. D——, who went afterwards to the Military College at Woolwich, played him a trick, apparently between jest and earnest, which amused us exceedingly. He was to be flogged; and the dreadful door of the library was approached. (They did not invest the books with flowers, as Montaigne recommends.) Down falls the criminal, and twisting himself about the master’s legs, which he does the more when the other attempts to move, repeats without ceasing, “Oh. good God, Sir; consider my father, Sir; my father, Sir; you know my father.” The point was felt to be getting ludicrous, and was given up. P——, now a popular preacher, was in the habit of entertaining the boys that way. He was a regular wag; and would snatch his jokes out of the very flame and fury of the master, like snap-dragon. Whenever the other struck him, he would get up; and half to avoid the blows, and half render them ridiculous, begin moving about the school-room, making all sorts of antics. When he was struck in the face, he would clap his hand with affected vehemence to the place, and cry as rapidly, “Oh Lord!” If the blow came on the arm, he would grasp his arm, with a similar exclamation. The master would then go, driving and kicking him, while the patient accompanied every blow with the same comments and illustrations, making faces to us by way of index.

What a bit of the golden age was it, when the Reverend Mr. Steevens, one of the under grammar-masters, took his place, on some oc-
casion, for a short time! Mr. Steevens was short and fat, with a handsome, cordial face. You loved him as you looked at him; and seemed as if you should love him the more, the fatter he became. I stammered when I was at that time of life; which was an infirmity, that used to get me into terrible trouble with the master. Mr. Steevens used to say, on the other hand, “Here comes our little black-haired friend, who stammers so. Now let us see what we can do for him.” The consequence was, I did not hesitate half so much as with the other. When I did, it was out of impatience to please him.

Such of us were not liked the better by the master, as were in favour with his wife. She was a sprightly good-looking woman, with black eyes; and was beheld with transport by the boys, whenever she appeared at the school-door. Her husband’s name, uttered in a mingled tone of good-nature and imperativeness. brought him down from his seat with smiling haste. Sometimes he did not return. On entering the school one day, he found a boy eating cherries. “Where did you get those cherries?” exclaimed he, thinking the boy had nothing to say for himself. “Mrs. —— gave them me, Sir.” He turned away, scowling with disappointment. Speaking of fruit, reminds me of a pleasant trait on the part of a Grecian of the name of Le Grice. He was the maddest of all the great boys in my time; clever, full of address, and not hampered with modesty. Remote rumours, not lightly to be heard, fell on our ears, respecting pranks of his amongst the nurse’s daughters. He was our Lord Rochester. He had a fair handsome face, with delicate aquiline nose, and twinkling eyes. I remember his astonishing me, when I was “a new boy,” with sending me for a bottle of water, which he proceeded to pour down the back of G. a grave Deputy Grecian. On the master’s asking him one day, why he, of all the boys, had given up no
exercise, (it was a particular exercise that they were bound to do in the course of a long set of holidays,) he said he had had “a lethargy.” The extreme impudence of this puzzled the master; and I believe nothing came of it. But what I alluded to about the fruit, was this. Le Grice was in the habit of eating apples in school-time, for which he had been often rebuked. One day, having particularly pleased the master, the latter, who was eating apples himself, and who would now and then with great ostentation present a boy with some half-penny token of his mansuetude, called out to his favourite of the moment;—“Le Grice, here is an apple for you.” Le Grice, who felt his dignity hurt as a Grecian, but was more pleased at having this opportunity of mortifying his reprover, replied, with an exquisite tranquillity of assurance, “Sir, I never eat apples.” For this, among other things, the boys adored him. Poor fellow! He and
Favell (who, though very generous, was said to be a little too sensible of an humble origin,) wrote to the Duke of York when they were at College, for commissions in the army. The Duke good-naturedly sent them. Le Grice died a rake in the West Indies. Favell was killed in one of the battles in Spain, but not before he had distinguished himself as an officer and a gentleman.

The Upper Grammar School was divided into four classes, or forms. The two under ones were called Little and Great Erasmus; the two upper were occupied by the Grecians and Deputy Grecians. We used to think the title of Erasmus taken from the great scholar of that name; but the sudden appearance of a portrait among us, bearing to be the likeness of a certain Erasmus Smith, Esquire, shook us terribly in this opinion, and was a hard trial of our gratitude. We scarcely relished this perpetual company of our benefactor watching us, as he seemed to do, with his omnipresent eyes. I believe he was a rich merchant, and that
the forms of Little and Great Erasmus were really named after him. It was but a poor consolation to think that he himself, or his great-uncle, might have been named after Erasmus. Little Erasmus learnt
Ovid; Great Erasmus, Virgil, Terence, and the Greek Testament. The Deputy Grecians were in Homer, Cicero, and Demosthenes; the Grecians in the Greek plays and the mathematics. When a boy entered the Upper School, he was understood to be in the road to the University, provided he had inclination and talents for it; but as only one Grecian a-year went to College, the drafts out of Great and Little Erasmus into the writing-school were numerous. A few also became Deputy Grecians without going farther, and entered the world from that form. Those who became Grecians, always went to the University, though not always into the Church; which was reckoned a departure from the contract. When I first came to school, at seven years old, the names of the Grecians were Allen, Favell, Thomson, and Le Grice, brother of the Le Grice above-mentioned, and now a clergyman in Cornwall. Charles Lamb had lately been Deputy Grecian; and Coleridge had left for the University. The master, inspired by his subject with an eloquence beyond himself, once called him, “that sensible fool, Cōlĕrĭdge;” pronouncing the word like a dactyl. Coleridge must have alternately delighted and bewildered him. The compliment, as to the bewildering, was returned; if not the delight. The pupil, I am told, says he dreams of the master to this day, and that his dreams are horrible. A bon-mot of his is recorded, very characteristic both of pupil and master. Coleridge, when he heard of his death, said, “It was lucky that the cherubim who took him to heaven were nothing but faces and wings, or he would infallibly have flogged them by the way.” This is his esoterical opinion of him. His outward and subtler opinion, or opinion exoterical, he has favoured the
public with in his Literary Life. He praises him, among other things, for his good taste in poetry, and his not suffering the boys to get into the commonplaces of Castalian streams, Invocations to the Muses, &c. Certainly there were no such things in our days,—at least, to the best of my remembrance. But I do not think the master saw through them, out of a perception of any thing farther. His objection to a commonplace must have been itself commonplace. I do not remember seeing Coleridge when I was a child. Lamb’s visits to the school, after he left it, I remember well, with his fine intelligent face. Little did I think I should have the pleasure of sitting with it in after-times as an old friend, and seeing it careworn and still finer.
Allen, the Grecian, was so handsome, though in another and more obvious way, that running one day against a barrow-woman in the street, and turning round to appease her in the midst of her abuse, she said, “Where are you driving to, you great hulking, good-for-nothing,—beautiful fellow, God bless you!” Le Grice the elder was a wag, like his brother, but more staid. He went into the Church as he ought to do, and married a rich widow. He published a translation, abridged, of the celebrated pastoral of Longus; and report at school made him the author of a little anonymous tract on the Art of Poking the Fire.

Few of us cared for any of the books that were taught; and no pains were taken to make us do so. The boys had no helps to information, bad or good, except what the master afforded them respecting manufactures;—a branch of knowledge, to which, as I have before observed, he had a great tendency, and which was the only point on which he was enthusiastic and gratuitous. I do not blame him for what he taught us of this kind; there was a use in it, beyond what he was aware of: but it was the only one on which he volunteered any assistance. In
this he took evident delight. I remember, in explaining pigs of iron or lead to us, he made a point of crossing one of his legs with the other, and, cherishing it up and down with great satisfaction, and saying, “A pig, children, is about the thickness of my leg.” Upon which, with a slavish pretence of novelty, we all looked at it, as if he had not told us so a hundred times. In every thing else, we had to hunt out our own knowledge. He would not help us with a word, till he had ascertained that we had done all we could to learn the meaning of it ourselves. This discipline was useful; and, in this and every other respect, we had all the advantages which a mechanical sense of right, and a rigid exaction of duty, could afford us; but no farther. The only superfluous grace that he was guilty of, was the keeping a manuscript book, in which, by a rare luck, the best exercise in English verse was occasionally copied out for immortality! To have verses in “the Book” was the rarest and highest honour conceivable to our imaginations. I did not care for
Ovid at that time. I read and knew nothing of Horace; though I had got somehow a liking for his character. Cicero I disliked, as I cannot help doing still. Demosthenes I was inclined to admire, but did not know why, and would very willingly have given up him and his difficulties together. Homer I regarded with horror, as a series of lessons, which I had to learn by heart before I understood him. When I had to conquer, in this way, lines which I had not construed, I had recourse to a sort of artificial memory, by which I associated the Greek words with sounds that had a meaning in English. Thus, a passage about Thetis I made to bear on some circumstance that had taken place in the school. An account of a battle was converted into a series of jokes; and the master, while I was saying my lesson to him in trepidation, little suspected what a figure he was often cutting in the text.
The only classic I remember having any love for, was Virgil; and that was for the episode of Nisus and Euryalus. But there were three books I read in whenever I could, and that have often got me into trouble. These were
Tooke’sPantheon,” Lempriere’s “Classical Dictionary,” and Spence’sPolymetis,” the great folio edition with plates. Tooke was a prodigious favourite with us. I see before me, as vividly now as ever, his Mars and Apollo, his Venus and Aurora, which I was continually trying to copy; the Mars, coming on furiously in his car; Apollo, with his radiant head, in the midst of shades and fountains; Aurora with her’s, a golden dawn; and Venus, very handsome, we thought, and not looking too modest, in “a slight cymar.” It is curious how completely the graces of the Pagan theology overcame with us the wise cautions and reproofs that were set against it in the pages of Mr. Tooke. Some years after my departure from school, happening to look at the work in question, I was surprised to find so much of that matter in him. When I came to reflect, I had a sort of recollection that we used occasionally to notice it, as something inconsistent with the rest of the text,—strange, and odd, and like the interference of some pedantic old gentleman. This, indeed, is pretty nearly the case. The author has also made a strange mistake about Bacchus, whom he represents, both in his text and his print, as a mere belly-god; a corpulent child, like the Bacchus bestriding a tun. This is any thing but classical. The truth is, it was a sort of pious fraud, like many other things palmed upon antiquity. Tooke’s “Pantheon” was written originally in Latin by the Jesuits. Our Lempriere was a fund of entertainment. Spence’s “Polymetis” was not so easily got at. There was also something in the text that did not invite us; but we admired the fine large prints. However, Tooke was the favourite. I cannot divest myself of a notion, to this
day, that there is something really clever in the picture of Apollo. The Minerva we “could not abide;” Juno was no favourite, for all her throne and her peacock; and we thought Diana too pretty. The instinct against these three goddesses begins early. I used to wonder how Juno and Minerva could have the insolence to dispute the apple with Venus.

In those times, Cooke’s edition of the British Poets came up. I had got an odd volume of Spenser; and I fell passionately in love with Collins and Grey. How I loved those little sixpenny numbers containing whole poets! I doated on their size; I doated on their type, on their ornaments, on their wrappers containing lists of other poets, and on the engravings from Kirk. I bought them over and over again, and used to get up select sets, which disappeared like buttered crumpets; for I could resist neither giving them away, nor possessing them. When the master tormented me, when I used to hate and loathe the sight of Homer, and Demosthenes, and Cicero, I would comfort myself with thinking of the sixpence in my pocket, with which I should go out to Paternoster-row, when school was over, and buy another number of an English poet. I was already fond of verses. The first I remember writing were in honour of the Duke of York’sVictory at Dunkirk;” which victory, to my great mortification, turned out to be a defeat. I compared him with Achilles and Alexander; or should rather say, trampled upon those heroes in the comparison. I fancied him riding through the field, and shooting right and left of him! Afterwards, when in Great Erasmus, I wrote a poem called “Winter,” in consequence of reading Thomson; and when Deputy Grecian, I completed some hundred stanzas of another, called the “Fairy King,” which was to be in emulation of Spenser! I also wrote a long poem in irregular Latin
verses, (such as they were,) entitled “
Thor;” the consequence of reading Gray’s Odes, and Mallett’s Northern Antiquities. English verses were the only exercise I performed with satisfaction. Themes, or prose essays, I wrote so badly, that the master was in the habit of contemptuously crumpling them up in his hand, and calling out, “Here, children, there is something to amuse you.” Upon which the servile part of the boys would jump up, and seize the paper;. and be amused accordingly. The essays must have been very absurd, no doubt; but those who would have tasted the ridicule best, were the last to move. There was an absurdity in giving us such essays to write. They were upon a given subject, generally a moral one, such as ambition, or the love of money: and the regular process in the manufacture was this. You wrote out the subject very fairly at top, Quid non mortalia, &c. or Crescit amor nummi. Then the ingenious thing was to repeat this apothegm in as many words and round-about phrases, as possible; which took up a good bit of the paper. Then you attempted to give a reason or two, whyamor nummi” was bad; or on what accounts heroes ought to eschew ambition;—after which naturally came a few examples, got out of “Plutarch,” or the “Selectæ e Profanis;” and the happy moralist concluded with signing his name. Somebody speaks of schoolboys going about to one another on these occasions, and asking for “a little sense.” That was not the phrase with us: it was “a thought P——, can you give me a thought?”—“C——, for God’s sake, help me to a thought, for it only wants ten minutes to eleven.” It was a joke with P——, who knew my hatred of themes, and how I used to hurry over them, to come to me at a quarter to eleven, and say, “Hunt, have you begun your theme?”—“Yes, P——.” He then, when the quarter of an hour had expired and the bell tolled, came again, and, with a sort of rhyming formula to
the other question, said, “Hunt, have you done your theme?”—“Yes, P——,” How I dared to trespass in this way upon the patience of the master, I cannot conceive. I suspect, that the themes appeared to him more absurd than careless. Perhaps another thing perplexed him. The master was rigidly orthodox; the school-establishment also was orthodox and high tory; and there was just then a little perplexity, arising from the free doctrines inculcated by the books we learnt, and the new and alarming echo of them struck on the ears of power by the French Revolution. My father was in the habit of expressing his opinions. He did not conceal the new tendency which he felt to modify those which he entertained respecting both Church and State. His unconscious son at school, nothing doubting or suspecting, repeated his eulogies of
Timoleon and the Gracchi, with all a schoolboy’s enthusiasm; and the master’s mind was not of a pitch to be superior to this unwitting annoyance. It was on these occasions, I suspect, that he crumpled up my themes with a double contempt, and an equal degree of perplexity. There was a better exercise, consisting of an abridgement of some paper in the “Spectator.” We made, however, little of it, and thought it very difficult and perplexing. In fact, it was a hard task for boys, utterly unacquainted with the world, to seize the best points out of the writings of masters in experience. It only gave the “Spectator” an unnatural gravity in our eyes. A common paper for selection, because reckoned one of the easiest, was the one beginning, “I have always preferred cheerfulness to mirth.” I had heard this paper so often, and was so tired with it, that it gave me a great inclination to prefer mirth to cheerfulness.

My books were a never-ceasing consolation to me, and such they have never ceased to be. My favourites, out of school, were Spenser,
Collins, Gray, and the “Arabian Nights.” Pope I admired more than loved; Milton was above me; and the only play of Shakspeare’s with which I was conversant was Hamlet, of which I had a delighted awe. Neither then, however, nor at any time, have I been as fond of the drama as of any other species of writing, though I have privately tried my hand several times—farce, comedy, and tragedy; and egregiously failed in all. Chaucer, one of my best friends, I was not acquainted with till long afterwards. Hudibras I remember reading through at one desperate plunge, while I lay incapable of moving, with two scalded legs. I did it as a sort of achievement, driving on through the verses without understanding a twentieth part of them, but now and then laughing immoderately at the rhymes and similes, and catching a bit of knowledge unawares. I had a schoolfellow of the name of Brooke, afterwards an officer in the East India service,—a grave, quiet boy, with a fund of manliness and good-humour at bottom. He would pick out the ludicrous couplets, like plums;—such as those on the astrologer,
Who deals in destiny’s dark counsels,
And sage opinions of the moon sells;
And on the apothecary’s shop—
With stores of deleterious med’cines,
Which whosoever took is dead since.
He had the little thick duodecimo edition, with
Hogarth’s plates,—dirty, and well read, looking like Hudibras himself. I read through, at the same time, and with little less sense of it as a task, Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” The divinity of it was so much “Heathen Greek” to us. Unluckily, I could not taste the beautiful “Heathen Greek” of the style.
Milton’s heaven made no impression; nor could I enter even into the earthly catastrophe of his man and woman. The only two things I thought of were their happiness in Paradise, where (to me) they eternally remained; and the strange malignity of the devil, who instead of getting them out of it, as the poet represents, only served to bind them closer. He seemed an odd shade to the picture. The figure he cut in the engravings was more in my thoughts, than any thing said of him in the poem. He was a sort of human wild beast, lurking about the garden in which they lived; though, in consequence of the dress given him in some of the plates, this man with a tail occasionally confused himself in my imagination with a Roman general. I could make little of it. I believe the plates impressed me altogether much more than the poem. Perhaps they were the reason why I thought of Adam and Eve as I did, the pictures of them in their paradisaical state being more numerous than those in which they appear exiled: besides, in their exile they were together; and this constituting the best thing in their paradise, I suppose I could not so easily get miserable with them when out of it.

The scald that I speak of, as confining me to bed, was a bad one. I will give an account of it, because it furthers the elucidation of our school manners. I had then become a monitor, or one of the chiefs of a ward, and was sitting before the fire one evening, after the boys had gone to bed, wrapped up in the perusal of the “Wonderful Magazine,” and having in my ear at the same time the bubbling of a great pot, or rather cauldron, of water, containing what was by courtesy called a bread-pudding; being neither more nor less than a loaf or two of our bread, which, with a little sugar mashed up with it, was to serve for my supper. And there were eyes, not yet asleep, which would look
at it out of their beds, and regard it as a very lordly dish. From this dream of bliss I was roused up on the sudden by a great cry, and a horrible agony in my legs. A “boy,” as a fag was called, wishing to get something from the other side of the fire-place, and not choosing either to go round behind the table, or to disturb the illustrious legs of the monitor, had endeavoured to get under them or between, and so pulled the great handle of the pot after him. It was a frightful sensation. The whole of my being seemed collected in one fiery torment into my legs.
Wood, the Grecian, (now Fellow of Pembroke, at Cambridge,) who was in our ward, and who was always very kind to me, (led, I believe, by my inclination for verses, in which he had a great name,) came out of his study, and after helping me off with my stockings, which was a horrid operation, the stockings being very coarse, took me in his arms to the sick ward. I shall never forget the enchanting relief occasioned by the cold air, as it blew across the square of the sick ward. I lay there for several weeks, not allowed to move for some time; and caustics became necessary before I got well. The getting well was delicious. I had no tasks—no master; plenty of books to read; and the nurse’s daughter (absit calumnia) brought me tea and buttered toast, and encouraged me to play on the flute. My playing consisted of a few tunes by rote; my fellow-invalids (none of them in very desperate case) would have it rather than no playing at all; so we used to play, and tell stories, and go to sleep, thinking of the blessed sick holiday we should have next day, and of the bowl of milk and bread for breakfast, which was alone worth being sick for. The sight of Mr. Long’s probe was not so pleasant. We preferred seeing it in the hands of his pupil, Mr. Vincent, whose manners, quiet and mild, had double effect on a set of boys
more or less jealous of the mixed humbleness and importance of their school. This is most likely the same Mr. Vincent who now lectures at St. Bartholomew’s. He was dark, like a West Indian, and I used to think him handsome. Perhaps the nurse’s daughter taught me to think so, for she was a considerable observer.

I was fifteen when I put off my band and blue skirts for a coat and neckcloth. I was then first Deputy Grecian; and had the honour of going out of the school in the same rank, at the same age, and for the same reason, as my friend Charles Lamb. The reason was, that I hesitated in my speech. I did not stammer half so badly as I used; and it is very seldom that I halt at a syllable now; but it was understood that a Grecian was bound to deliver a public speech before he left school, and to go into the Church afterwards; and as I could do neither of these things, a Grecian I could not be. So I put on my coat and waistcoat, and, what was stranger, my hat; a very uncomfortable addition to my sensations. For eight years I had gone bareheaded; save, now and then, a few inches of pericranium, when the little cap, no larger than a crumpet, was stuck on one side, to the mystification of the old ladies in the streets. I then cared as little for the rains as I did for any thing else. I had now a vague sense of worldly trouble, and of a great and serious change in my condition; besides which, I had to quit my old cloisters, and my playmates, and long habits of all sorts; so that, what was a very happy moment to schoolboys in general, was to me one of the most painful of my life. I surprised my schoolfellows and the master with the melancholy of my tears. I took leave of my books, of my friends, of my seat in the Grammar School, of my good-hearted
nurse and her daughter, of my bed, of the cloisters, and of the very pump out of which I had taken so many delicious draughts, as if I should never see them again, though I meant to come every day. The fatal hat was put on; my father was come to fetch me:
We, hand in hand, with strange new steps and slow,
Through Holborn took our meditative way.