July 3rd 1919

REPORT ON ENGLISH LITERATURE PAPER

As promised, here are the findings of Frank Sidgwick, who kindly marked the English Literature paper set for the top forms.

Marks were out of 150 and ranged from 124 down to 11. The top four were:

  1. Ellie Frere (124)
  2. Laurie Salkeld (100)
  3. Stella Joy (98)
  4. Hugh Gaitskell (91)

I note that George Hardman (44) would have been 5th, but his marks were halved for writing a silly poem.

In addition, Frank Sidgwick supplies the following observations:

“This paper was set by the Skipper, and I consider it fairly difficult.

Question 1 was well done except for the Lorelei and Kotik

Question 2 unfortunately contained the word ‘illustrate,’ which two or three took to mean that a pen-and-ink sketch was required. Shylock is very unpopular; he was ‘a wolf in carnation,’ and ‘Shylock was medium in height… he was a very bloody man.’

Question 3. The quotations were fairly well known, except the last, which no-one got quite right, and the Swinburne one. It is news to me the ‘When shall we three meet again?’ was said by Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer, as they were being bound to the stake in Broad Street!

Question 4 was as interesting as it has been In former years. I congratulate Stella Joy on having grown out of a liking for ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel.’ F. Childe apparently dislikes Hans Andersen because he thinks he was a German. He ought to be made to apologise in public for this error and for the prejudice. Somebody else dislikes another book because the characters in it ‘always make Fo-pahs.’

Question 5. As before, Shakespeare (27) leads the way with the Bible (23), followed by Tennyson and Kipling (15 each), useful books (natural history, botany, cooking, etc), Dickens and volumes of ‘Punch.’ One precocious youth demands Boccaccio! Two really sensible boys put an Atlas on the list.

The poems [a love song for The Merchant of Venice’s Lorenzo to sing to Jessica] were most depressingly bad – except the six best, which were not nearly as good as I expected. There was this however:

The moon is bright - come, a little kiss! -
There's no one near - let me bend, so! -
It would be an eternal bliss
To your own dear loving Lorenzo.

Our marker concluded that the handwriting was generally bad (and Brunyate’s disgraceful!)