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a gesture or a look more expressive than words, and in this
way would stamp upon the offender's mind the feeling, that a particular action was not worthy of an Eton boy, that it was (if I may use a colloquialism) not good form.' It is difficult to over-estimate the elevating power of an example such as his reinforced by such means. Many Etonians of Dr. Hornby's time, and those especially who came under his immediate personal influence, were moved to seek the things which are pure and honest and lovely and of good report, because they knew that in seeking them they would fulfil his wish and because in their hearts they desired to be like him.
Dr. Hornby was probably too modest ever to ask himself what was the secret of his influence upon the school, or, indeed, whether he exercised any great influence. The most potent influence is almost necessarily unconscious. It issues not from calculation, but from personality. Yet it inspires faith, affection, hero-worship, even religion. For such influence is highest in the highest sphere. “Religionis summa est,' says Augustine, 'imitari quem colis. '
Dr. Hornby gained a certain strength from his moderation. It may be that he carried his hatred of extremes itself to an extreme point. The spirit of unfairness, of exaggeration, of partisanship, was altogether alien from his mind. Over the gateway of his life might have been inscribed the suggestive adage of Greek philosophy, Mndèv åyav. If ever any Christian believed, or showed himself
. to believe, that a virtue is according to Aristotle's definition the mean between two vices, it was he. His scholarship was in a sense the reflection of his character. There was in him an instinctive dislike of all that was tawdry or vulgar. A pretentious piece of translation or composition was sure to incur his quiet rebuke. He shrank with an almost morbid aversion from any noisy display of emotion. His own mental and spiritual equilibrium was never disturbed. In the face of misunderstanding and misrepresentation he maintained the appearance of an unruffled calm, His self-possession, his self-restraint were never violated.
There comes back to me the memory of a scene which would have been trying, I think, to anybody's composure but his. It happened once that Mr. Gladstone was lecturing in the school library at Eton upon Homer before an audience principally composed of Eton boys. In the course of his lecture he took occasion to quote a passage of Virgil ; but his memory failed him when he had quoted only a line or two, and after vainly trying to regain the thread of the quotation he suddenly exclaimed, ‘ How does it
go on, Dr. Hornby?' There was an awkward pause, for the head-master no less than the orator was at fault. Then the somewhat metallic voice of a well-known assistant-master was heard from the back of the room, supplying the quotation. It is possible that the boys might have been a little pleased at the head-master's discomfiture, if he had allowed himself to look at all discomfited; but Dr. Hornby disarmed them by bowing his thanks with a smile to his zealous assistant, and Mr. Gladstone continued his lecture.
The quiet humour which was one of his characteristic endowments was a great help to him in dealing with boys ; it made them feel foolish at times, but never, I think, angry. I remember the case of a boy who in writing a Latin declamation had saved himself trouble by incorporating in his exercise a long passage of one of Cicero's speeches in the hope that his plagiarism might escape the head-master's vigilant eye. Dr. Hornby did not punish or censure him, but when the award of the prize was announced, he simply remarked, F.'s declamation was an excellent specimen of Latinity, and he would probably have won the prize, if he had not unfortunately been anticipated in a whole page, not only in his ideas but
very words, by a distinguished Latin writer named Cicero.' It was by the same quiet humour that he once put to shame or to ridicule the fashion of wearing trousers of loud patterns which were rapidly coming into vogue among Eton boys. When he wished to address the boys collectively, he was in the habit of summoning them by special notice into Upper School. Nobody knew what he would say at such a meeting, or even what was his object in calling it. The whole scene is still vividly depicted before my mind. Some of the chief offenders, being rather prominent boys, without the slightest suspicion of the head-master's object, had taken up coigns of vantage on the window-sills of Upper School, their legs gaily habited in the loud checks dangling before the
eyes of the whole assembly. As Dr. Hornby spoke his few quiet words upon the need of cultivating good taste in dress, he gently indicated by a wave of his hand the conspicuous illustration of the impropriety against which he protested. 'Solvuntur risu tabulae. The rebuke of the offending boys was complete. The head-master had won the day.
He was always fond, when I was at Harrow, of quizzing me about my Harrovian associations. Many a time have we sat together during the Eton and Harrow match at Lord's in the Grand Stand or at the top of the Pavilion. Sometimes, if the
match was going against Eton, he would retire, or pretend that he must retire, to the Zoological Gardens; and I recollect how once he turned to me in the hour of Harrow's victory and said laughingly, with reference to the eleven, 'I suppose these boys are all very low down in the school.' It may be permitted me in this connexion to observe that he once laid himself open to an easy retort. We were looking on at a match, not the Eton and Harrow match, when the Hon. F. S. Jackson and Mr. A. C. MacLaren were at the wickets together; the Provost remarked to me that he thought they were the two finest bats in England, and I could not help making the rejoinder ‘Yes, sir ; and they were both my pupils at Harrow.'
It was after Dr. Hornby became Provost that he first revealed to the world, and perhaps he first realised himself, his singular gift of light, felicitous oratory. In my judgment, there was no afterdinner speaker to a cultivated audience who could be compared with him, except the Master of Trinity; and although the Master has made many more successful speeches than the Provost, I do not know that even he has attained that curiously exquisite négligé air which gave the Provost's speeches, witty and delightful as they were, the appearance of bubbling up by the spontaneous impulse of the moment like springs of pure water from the depth of a wonderfully rich and happy spirit.
Yet with all his grace and cheerfulness and humour, the foundation of the Provost's nature was a deep religious sincerity. His thoughtful and earnest sermons and the addresses which he often gave in Lent before the annual Confirmation were heard with attention by the Eton boys-one of the most critical congregations in the world. Anybody whose privilege it was in the hour of afliction or desolation to receive a sympathetic letter from him learnt to appreciate what a wealth of pious feeling lay hidden in his heart. He was a devoted believer in the Church of England; he rejoiced in the contribution of saintly lives which Eton had made and is still making to the Church. To him the Christianisation of the Empire was a vital interest, and he would speak with admiring pride of the three Etonian bishops-Selwyn, Abraham and Hobhouse --who founded the Church of New Zealand. Once at least when he was walking down Keate's Lane with a friend he pointed out the window of the room in which he used to 'mess John Coleridge Patteson, and he added in earnest tones that he had never had the heart to enter that room of sacred memories since.
as a boy with
No account of the late Provost's life would be complete without some reference to his domestic life; but that is holy ground. It must be enough to tell that his life was intensely happy-too happy, I had almost said, in the estimate of some of his friends, who were tempted to feel that he would have played a greater or a more imposing part in public life if he had not been so fond of retiring from the dust and stress of the world to the calm serenity of the home, where he loved to spend his holidays with his family in the Lake country. Yet his happiness was not unclouded. It was solemnised and sanctified by bereavement. His wife, who had given him, as he wrote to me after her death, greater joy than he had ever deserved, was taken from him in 1891. He lost his eldest son soon afterwards. Other sorrows too fell
year by year ; it was seldom that he could bring himself to speak of them; they evoked the beauty of his Christian spirit, but they did not embitter-they did not apparently even sadden-his nature. Only he drew the remaining members of his family and his friends a little closer to his heart.
All classes of society within and without Eton were present at his funeral. The representative of the King followed his coffin to the grave. The Eton watermen lined the pathway of the cemetery where he was laid to rest. He sleeps under the shadow of the famous school which he loved so well and served so faithfully. There may have been greater head-masters of Eton, but there can be none who was more deeply or widely beloved. He was in the eyes of all Etonians, and he will long remain in their memories, the ideal Provost. And they who knew him in the two offices which filled more than forty years of his long life may well have felt, as they turned their steps slowly and sadly away from his grave on the clear, sunny November afternoon of his funeral, that they could scarcely hope to meet again among their friends, while life should last, so true and perfect a Christian gentleman as James
J. E. C. WELLDON.
VOL. XXVIII.-NO. 164, N.S.
THE HOWE O' THE MEARNS.
LADDIE, my lad, as ye gang at the tail o'the plough
And the days draw in;
On the braes of whin,
While the rowan turns,
In the Howe o' the Mearns ?
There was nae twa' lads frae the Grampians doun to the Tay
That could best us twa';
We could sort them a'.
Through a theek of ferns,
In the Howe o' the Mearns.
London is fine, an' for ilk o' the lasses at hame
There'll be saxty here,
the same Through the changefu' year ; And the wheels ding on a' day when I'm wearying still
For the sound o' burns; And they're thrashing now at the white farm up on the hill
In the Howe o' the Mearns.
If I mind mysel' and deave for the best o' my days
While I've e'en to see,
I'll come hame to dee;
But he lives and learns,
To the Howe o' the Mearns.