July 13th 1920

In the recent General Paper set by Mr Vassall, the boys were invited to write a rhymed epitaph on their form-master or mistress. It  produced a number of amusing efforts.

One, by S. Keen, was dedicated to Hon. Captain WJL Wallace, Ox & Bucks Light Infantry:

Here lies a mighty man
Who talked of bombs all day;
He fell out of a window once,
But couldn't die that way.

Another, on Mr & Mrs Hum, entitled ‘In Memoriam, AEL, MAL is by J Betjemann:

Hum and May went out one day
On a motor-bike painted vermillion; 
Hum was the nut of the latest cut
And May was the girl on the pillion.

In the same General Paper, question 9 required candidates to “Explain fully and illustrate by drawings how you would rescue and revive a drowning man.”

This splendid effort was the work of J. Betjemann:

John Betjemann leaves at the end of this term to go to Marlborough College. Although he was not successful in winning a scholarship there, he acquitted himself well enough to be excused taking the entrance examination.

He has again excelled in English and has a number of pieces of work in the next edition of the ‘Draconian’, of which this is one:

A STAINED-GLASS WINDOW. 
The sun was sinking in an almost cloudless sky, as the old man, 
with his head reverently bowed, passed up the sombre nave of 
the lofty cathedral. Before him in all its magnificence stood 
the high altar, the candles already lit for evening service. He 
turned and faced the west window, through which the parting 
rays of the sun were shining. Seen from the choir, the colours 
melted into one another like clouds gathering in the sky. Among 
beautiful foliage and soft green grass sprinkled with daisies, 
stood the figure of Saint Francis with his cowl of poverty. 
There was Saint George with uplifted sword aiming a great blow 
at the dragon, which writhed at his feet spitting fire and 
clouds of inky smoke. Above these two panels were emblazoned 
the coats of arms of rich benefactors, in gold and red, with 
Latin inscriptions and strange proverbs. In the centre, on a 
lonely hill with the turrets of Jerusalem in the distance, the 
Crucifixion... The sun disappeared behind the house-tops and 
the pictures faded. The bells echoed down the aisles, and the 
old man took his accustomed seat. 
                                       J. Betjemann, age 13.6

Meanwhile, we await the results of the English Literature Paper set by Frank Sidgwick, which we hope to publish shortly.

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