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Yet did the proud man once renew
" Then let him take the worse,
“ Must bear his father's curse."
(To be continued.)
Letter from Peter Pillbocks to Jack Greasley.
Having promised you an account of our trip, I will for once be as good as my word, if it was only to shew you what you missed by not coming with us. When you left us on Sunday morning, we went straight off to the Paddington Station, and as we were above regarding expense on such an occasion, we took first class places to Slough. Not that I think ill of economy in its proper place, but still there are times and occasions when virtues improperly exercised becomes vices, in short when economy must go to the wall, and the gentleman appear in his proper character. When we had taken our places, we had to wait some time for the start, certainly, but then the carriages was so beautiful it was quite a pleasure to sit in 'em, you could'nt have been more comfortable in your own. We had determined to pass that day at the Castle and see Eton the next day on our way back; so on reaching Slough we lost no time in getting to Windsor, where we arrived just in time for Morning Service with the Queen. Some satisfaction in going to Church there, you see, with Her Majesty and all the Royal Family. None of your vulgar mechanics there I can promise you, nothing but tip-top sawyers and all the helleet of the nobility. When the Queen went away we retired to feed at the principal hotel, the others wanted to go to the “ Heart,” but I preferred the “ Castle,” just for the name of the thing you know. The waiter was evidently very anxious to find out who we were, but as we were only there for a day or two, I thought it better on the whole to remain in cog. In the afternoon we went to the terrace--you should see the terrace-much as I've mixed in the world, I never saw the like of it, never. And then every thing was so select and bo tong that you felt quite at home. The Queen was there, she did'nt come out though; but we could see she was looking at us out of the window, which was very gratifying to our feelings, of course. There was a good number of Etonians there too, and very nice they looked with their white neckcloths, considering all things; just like so many young M. D.'s Really to look in their faces you could'nt have told there was pickled rods and solitary confinement within a mile of 'em. Only think, Jack, of boys as genteel perhaps as
you or me being obliged to black shoes and warm beds, and all them sort of things like common errand boys. I could'nt help pitying 'em, ʼpon my honour,
We were all on the key vive next day when we were to go down to see Eton itself. As soon as we had break. fasted we bought some cigars, and walked down to the school, and I could see we made a considerable sensation. In fact I heard one of the boys say I was Lord Snobham, and you may be sure I did'nt undeceive him. We walked at once into the court-yard in which most of the boys were standing, in the middle of which was a fine statue clearly of great antiquity, and to judge from the attitude, representing one of the first head masters. There was an inscription at the bottom, but it being so long since I left school I could not understand it, so I asked one of the boys, who told me it was erected to the memory of Provost Godolphin by King Henry the Sixth. A pleasing and instructive proof this of the interest that monarch took in the welfare of his subjects! This young gentleman was very obliging and attentive, and offered to shew us the lions if we had not already been introduced to them. We accordingly followed him up some stairs to an odd kind of room which he called the Long Chamber, the use of which I did not quite understand. At one end however there was a remarkable fine picture, which he told us represented Windsor Castle in the year of the great food, when the water rose fourteen feet in the cellars of the College; the consequence of which is I hear that the beer has tasted of it ever since. The castle was entirely sorrounded by water, and a frigate is sailing up to the walls to convey the Royal Family away. He then pointed us out a guide who would shew us the school-rooms, in one of which he told us we should see a representation of the procession of the Eton boys at Montem, He warned me at the same time that I should probably be rather surprised at the dresses, adding, that something was to be allowed for poetic license, which was reasonable enough, you know. Well, up we went, and there sure enough was the whole procession, beautifully sculptured it must be owned, but sach dresses! I could not help remarking to the attendant that they were somewhat extraordinary, and he, thinking perhaps that I was one of the illiterate fellows so often brought down by the railway, wanted to persuade me it was a antick procession (antick it certainly was, to judge by the way they threw their arms and legs about) but thanks to my friend the Etonian, I had been beforehand with him there, as I soon let him know much to his astonishment.
We next made for the Chapel, and by great luck found an old man at the door of a very venerable appearance, who took us in and shewed us all that was to be seen. When we got in what was my surprise and indignation to find, that instead of the regular respectable Church I had expected to see, I had set foot in the most heathenish, uncomfortable looking place I ever saw.
Instead of Christian-like warın pews to induce people of refinement and education to come to church, and by keeping out the vulgar to preserve those salutary distinctions without which the pillows of society would soon be snapped asunder like sticks, there was nothing but bare seats of the most uncomfortable description. In fact there was not a chance of going to sleep for anybody but quite the nobs who have seats round the walls. Then for a pulpit there was a great stone building with saints all over it, which I was afterwards told was little Collegers set up there for public washup, a sort of thing which I certainly should not
have expected to see there. There was less to blame -certainly in the spare pulpit on the other side, which however was large enough to swing a cat in, if it was as big as a Smithfield ox. Altogether I was much disappointed, so we made the best of our way out again. As we were going the old man held out his hand to us, and I being willing to gratify him, shook hands with him most cordially.
As we came down the steps from the Chapel our ears were assailed by the most extraordinary noises I ever heard, coming apparently from the long room I have before mentioned. At one time it was like an old Jew calling Clo' Clo' several times successively, and then it would rise by degrees to something approaching the squeak of an engine when rather at a loss for breath; in short there was no describing or understanding it. And this I was told was a music lesson. I was told too that the weaker members of the school complain that these musicians come up and beat them on the back, or stave in their hats on pretence of beating time; one even told me that his head had been cleft in consequence. The masters too I believe have found the classical compositions of their pupils very scaly of late, the boys attending more to Mr. Hullah's exercises than their own.
It was now getting late, so we went into the street to wait for the bus which was to take us to Slough. A great crowd of boys had assembled to see us off; so not to disappoint their pardonable curiosity we mounted outside ; I had just pulled out my pocket pistol to fortify myself against the cold, when, unfortunately, some one threw a damp upon my spirits by accidentally hitting me with a rotten egg. How it could have happened I cannot imagine, I am quite sure that they cannot have meant it