June 29th 1919

Hum Lynam with the first Juniors (1906).

Our junior department was opened in 1906 at 1, Charlbury Road, for children from 4-8 years of age. The aim has been thoroughly to ground the children in reading and writing; the older ones do easy English and Bible History, Geography and Arithmetic, and begin on a little French.

The school (now consisting of 19 boys and 4 girls) has this term had their first ever Sports Day, and what a joyous occasion it was. I am grateful for this account of the occasion for the ‘Draconian.’

“I wasn’t quite up to time (10 minutes late), but it didn’t matter, as owing to the hubbub, the competitors had not realised that it was desirable to start operations some time near the given hour.

When all superfluous energy had been exhausted in cart-wheels and games of ‘he,’ the younger members ran a race, followed by the older ones, and after that came the race for the whole school.

There were various ways of running a race at the Baby School: some flatly refused to remove their hats, others shed them, as well as shoes, while one budding athlete was seen busy rolling up his shirt sleeves and after that his trouser legs. Someone started with his hands in his pockets, but the smallest competitor went one better and waited the signal to start in the most correct position, crouching on one knee and steadying himself with one finger of each hand on the ground…*

There was a long jump. I didn’t attend it properly as two small sisters had to be shown where the river was; but I heard afterwards that he in the white shorts who fell over in the black earth was as big a hero, if not bigger, than he who won the event rather brilliantly…

When these and the [cricket ball] throwing were duly finished, the high jump was prepared. This appeared the most popular event amongst the children; great excitement prevailed, and it didn’t matter if Dick took Tom’s turn, or Douglas got two to everyone else’s one, all were fearfully happy and just lived for the next opportunity of a jump.

After this came greater and more frantic excitement still – the team race, a really wonderful effort, one side only just winning by a yard or so.

This and a rush to the tent for lemonade and buns ended for me one of the most enjoyable afternoons of this term. Let us hope that if these sports are made a yearly institution, they will all be as successful and give as much pleasure as the first Junior School Sports certainly did to onlookers and candidates.”

* Unfortunately, what he gained in style he lost in speed of gaining balance and actually starting!

I also gather Mrs Hum made an appearance with a large box of sweets, which almost stopped the show!

June 21st 1919

‘The Battle of Blenheim’ by Robert Southey has been studied this term and some of the best work resulting from it will be in this term’s ‘Draconian’ magazine.

I hope that in the future my English VIth form will appreciate the English poetry I have given them to learn, its rarity and interest and beauty, and also my efforts to get them to become poets too!

Young James Alford (aged 13) is the author of this poem. It recalls the day the Armistice was declared last November, when James was at home, following our decision to send all our boarders to their families at a time of considerable concern over the influenza epidemic.

Sadly, James leaves us at the end of this term to go to Rugby School.

THE ARMISTICE
(Begging Mr. Southey's pardon).

It was a winter morning,
My French that day was done;
I sauntered down into the town
For exercise and fun.
The board-school children could be seen
A-sporting on the Richmond Green.

Just then a hideous syren
Sent up a frightful sound
The guns at Kew and hooters too
And church-bells all around,
And flags and shouts announced the fact 
The Huns had been severely whacked.

The shops in flags were shrouded
Banners were waved about,
Munition-workers crowded
To drink the publics out,
And all day long the vast mobs swell
From Kensal Rise to Camden Hill.

And when the dark had fallen
And the bright day had gone,
I went to bed with weary head
And slept until the dawn;
And thus if rightly I remember
I spent the 11th of November.

June 11th 1919

We were very pleased that Potter Baldwin, who wrote to us back in October, was able to visit us last month. We have now received this delightful letter from him:

6/6/19. Prisoner of War Escort Co. 271, APO 772, American Expeditionary Force.

I arrived back in camp the night of June 1st after having had of course easily the pleasantest 14 days since I left the States and one of the best two weeks of my life.

You can’t realize how wonderfully fine I felt to be in Oxford again and see the old School and my former teachers to whom I owe a tremendous lot. The preliminary training a boy receives is of course the foundation of his career and therefore the better it is, the easier his future is to be.

After I returned to the States I out-distanced the American boys in many of the subjects I was taught at the Dragon School, and was ready to enter College at 17, although I put if off for a year.

I was lucky to be in Oxford just at the time I was there. It could not have been more beautiful, everything in full bloom, the colours and odour of the flowers in St. John’s were gorgeous, and I am sure could not have been equalled anywhere…”

July 2nd 1919

I thought the parents and friends of OPS pupils might light to try their hand at the examination paper set for the top 3 forms this term. The papers have been marked by Frank Sidgwick and we will publish his report together with the results tomorrow!

1. Write short notes on 'The Nibelungenlied,' 'The Twilight of 
the Gods,' Excalibur, Circe, Mulvaney, the Arethusa, Becky Sharp, 
Mr Pyecroft, Mr Jingle, the Divine Comedy, Kotik, the Tales of a 
Grandfather, Perdita, Ophelia, the Boojum, the Lorelei.

2. Describe and illustrate the character of Shylock.

3. Continue these quotations for not more than 3 lines, say 
from what work each comes, and by what author: 
a) Ah! Love, could thou and I with Fate conspire 
b) Taking one consideration with another - with another 
c) Nay, too steep for hill-mounting; nay, too late for 
   cost-counting 
d) From too much love of living, from hope and fear set free 
e) Yours is the earth - and everything that's in it 
f) And the Man of Blood was there, with his long essenced hair 
g) If you have tears prepare to shed them now 
h) Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history 
i) On the cabin roof I lie 
j) Forty years on when afar and asunder 
k) When shall we three meet again 
l) The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks

4. Describe carefully the story of a book which you used to 
like and now do not care for, and have not read for a long 
time. State your reasons for having ceased to care for it.

5. Supposed you had to live ten years alone on a desert island, 
what five books would you choose from the whole of the world's 
literature to read during that time? Say why you would choose 
them.

6. Write a love song in 12 lines, for Lorenzo to sing to Jessica.

June 8th 1919

On the second anniversary of the death of Humphrey Arden (June 6th 1917) a Calvary has been dedicated in his memory in Yoxall Churchyard in Staffordshire. The Bishop of Stratford carried out the dedication in the presence of many relatives and friends, amongst whom were Hum and me.

The Calvary was erected by Messrs Bridgeman of Lichfield (who are to erect the OPS Memorial Cross). It stands 23 feet high and dominates the village street.

The inscription reads: “In thanksgiving to Almighty God for the beautiful life and glorious death of Humphrey Warwick Arden, BA Cantab. Killed at Messines, June 6th, 1917, aged 25. Laid to rest at Bailleul, France. Sed miles, sed pro patria. RIP.”

The following tribute to Humphrey is from the ‘Church Times’:

“He was one of those whose lives gave promise of a brilliant future. A Cambridge Honours man, a great athlete, a musician of no mean promise, one who exercised extraordinary influence on his fellow men, a lover of all the arts and of everything beautiful, great things were expected of him had he been spared.

A week before his death his fellow officers unanimously decided to recommend him for the MC which had been offered to the battery.

The Calvary was erected by his parents in Yoxall, where his grandfather, Dr Lowe, was rector for many years, and where twelve  generations of Ardens lie buried under the high altar.”