Alfred Edward Thomas Watson.

The Badminton magazine of sports and pastimes online

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than in occasional ** square meals " or " blow-outs," are ever hungr}-
— ever inclined to feed and " sport." When that which appears to
be esculent comes within their reach, they must, perforce, seize it
promptly, or lose it altogether, whence they have but very brief
opportunity for discrimination.

Between two stools one falls ; but between the two schools of
fly theory there is safety. The one school consists of the imagists
or deceivers, and the other of the iconoclasts or allurers. Taking
this middle course, then, and summing up the position, that seems
to be pretty much as follows : —

Doubtless trout are not such entomologists as to be able to
distinguish every kind of pterous insect — Diptera, Aptera, Lepidop-
tera, Ephemera, etc. — that flutters upon and over the wave; nor
are they such spoons as when feeding upon the luscious may-fly
to take instead a lump of dubbing made up into a humble-bee
bolus. This, then, may well be our practice: always to exhibit
a fly made as nearly as possible in the likeness of current nature;
for, if the fish care not that the fiction be closely resemblant of the
fact, at least they cannot object to such similitude ; and after all,
when we have dubbed and warped, and furred, feathered, and
tinselled to the utmost stretch of human skill and ingenuity, good-
ness knows that the handiwork is unlike enough to the living model.
There are, of course, contributory to success in angling with
the fly, many points to be considered besides the lure — as the pre-
sentation thereof, the attitude and demeanour of the man behind
the rod, and so forth ; but these are beyond the scope and design
of the present article on Flies.

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{Photograph by W, D. Haydon)



For long years one of the best-known maxims of the ordinary
Englishman has been that ** It's impossible to eat your cake and
have it,'* but I think that when the reader has read this article he
will certainly allow that the celebrated proverb is not exactly accu-
rate to-day, whatever it may have been in times past. The maxim
is open to all sorts of explanations and constructions, though every-
one knows what is its meaning in the general sense. But one feature
in the life of our chief schools will show it in a new light of
which its originator never dreamt, and it can be clearly proved that
it is possible to eat one's cake — in a very literal sense — and yet to
have it, or what is quite equal to it in value.

Let me say at once that I am referring to the way in which the
great public schools have dealt with the liking of boys for sweets,
cakes, fruit, and other little luxuries. To meet this craving of the
genus schoolboy nearly every big school has provided a ** tuck-shop "

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of its own, which not only supplies its boys, but often is patronised
by masters and others. Some of the principal shops of this kind
have been more than once described, and so we need not here go
into any details of their appearance and arrangements, beyond
showing more particularly the ingenious way they are managed, and
the excellent results of such management.

It has been made a definite rule at most great schools that the
profits derived from the confectioner's shop — which are often not by
any means small — shall be apportioned annually to something or
other connected with the games and sports of the school, which is

{Photograph by W. D. Haydon)

certainly a worthy way of dealing with them. One of the most suc-
cessful of shops in thus helping athletics has been that at Hailey-
bury. About £200 per annum has long been the amount of profit
available for sport in various ways at this well-known school This
large amount is doubtless due to the fact that masters and others
largely deal at the place, owing to the lack of ordinary shops in the

What has Haileybury done with this large sum each year ? It
can show very practical uses made of the money. One year several
fives-courts were re-floored; another, many cricket pitches were

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returfed ; the next, a goodly sum was contributed towards buying
bats, cricket-balls, footballs, etc. So that, both from the large annual
profits it receives from the shop, and from the splendid use it makes
of them, Haileybury may well be placed very high up on the list of
those schools which have discovered the method of ** eating one's
cake and still having it."

At some schools the boys are not allowed to buy anything in
the nature of confectionery anywhere else except at the appointed
shop. Of course the profits available at those places are more than
those at schools where the shop has not the same monopoly. The
latter is the case obtaining at Marlborough for example. Marl-

(Photograph by Warland Andr§w, Abingdon-on-Thames)

borough boys are not obliged to spend their money at their own
shop. But, though its profits are thereby lessened, the shop con-
tributes some proportion annually towards the games-fund of the
college. It is not easy, however, to get an average of what such
sum amounts to each year, because the money thus supplied is not
kept separate from the general funds available for games. Yet
Marlborough has much to thank the shop for as she looks placidly
over her wide playing-fields, and her Rugby football owes not a little
to this source.

Shrewsbury is one of the finest examples of what good manage-
ment can do in the way we are describing. No school has made

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greater improvements on its playing-fields than Shrewsbury has done
out of this fund. The famous school now located at Kingsland
can boast that the provision of its new cricket-seats, the erection
of its enlarged pavilion and fives-courts, are almost entirely due to
the money thus obtained. Salopians not only patronise their own
establishment for sweets, cakes, etc., but they patronise it well.
Moreover they take a keen interest in the spending of the profits
derived from the daily consumption of its dainties, and they are
well backed up by their masters, who have drawn out some ver}-
salutary rules for conducting the business of the shop. One, to wit,
that the shop is to be closed at least an hour before dinner. Thus is
the greedy boy prevented from spoiling his appetite for that useful

Cheltenham College does not give all the profits of its shop to
the cause of athletics, but the major portion of them are thus allo-
cated nevertheless. No exact account is kept, however, of the
special uses to which that money is put as opposed to the other
money contributed to the same fund from various sources. Yet the
profits materially help forward the cause that all Cheltenham
schoolboys have at heart, viz., the pre-eminence of their particular
school over its chief rivals at cricket, football, racquets, or other

Charterhouse, on the other hand, has pretty substantial results
to show as evidence of how Carthusians spend their money at the
celebrated si^n of** The Crown." There is a very fine racquet-court
at the Godalming school, which is always admired by visitors as well
as by Old Carthusians. This court owes its origin to the funds
provided by the popular establishment. Other equally substantial
features to be seen on the playing-fields of Charterhouse, such as
seats for cricket spectators, pavilion improvements, etc., have all
sprung from the same source. Whilst most school shops are
managed by a joint-committee of masters and upper-form boys, and
others by school-monitors alone, ** The Crown '* has usually been
solely under the direction of masters in the Charterhouse School.
As to whether this system is quite as good as the other the writer does
not care to express an opinion. But undoubtedly much success has
followed the method in vogue at Godalming.

Malvern College might, perhaps, make more of its shop, if^
may be allowed to say so. Neither in external appearance nor m
its position is it singularly attractive, and the profits it derives are
certainly used for the general benefit of the school. But I believe they
are not wholly, nor even to any large extent, devoted to the further-
ance of athletics and games at Malvern. It may be, of course, that
there is no necessity for such procedure at this school — that I cannot

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say. All I have to do here is to put before the reader how the chief
schools are acting in this respect.

Radley College, on the contrary, spends all the money made
out of the love of Radleians for sweets and cakes upon the improve-
ment of the college playgrounds, and upon the aiding in divers
ways of the various clubs for sports connected with the school. So
charming is the park wherein Radley boys find recreation that one
might well be forgiven for imagining that no improvements could be
made there. Yet the college always finds uses for its shop profits in
this way, and good uses too.

Winchester differs from most public schools in many things, so

{Photograph by R. H. N art hall, Winchester)

it will cause little surprise to find that with regard to its shop the
same remark applies. This shop, for instance, stands in a public
street of the old city ; it is under the control of a joint-committee of
masters and boys ; it deals in eatables alone, and sells its goods to
others besides the people connected with the school.

If a Wykehamist wants a toothbrush he cannot, as a Rossall boy
can, buy it at the school shop. If he wants a jersey, the shop does
not sell it. If he wants picture-postcards, stamps, etc., he must not,
like the Christ's Hospital youth, go to the place of fruit, cakes, etc.,
for such things. His shop is managed on commercial principles.

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contending with others in the same street. Part of its pro6ts may
be given to the funds for games at the school, but outsiders help
to provide those profits as well as the Wykehamists themselves.

The 820 boys of the Bluecoat School are proud of their shop,
and of what it has done to help them in their sports. They have
every right to be so, for it is an excellent establishment, well designed
and always well supplied. It has only one noticeable fault, viz., it
is not nearly large enough for the purpose it has to serve, if one may
judge from the crowd of shouting youths who ever seem to be trying
to attract the attention of the folks behind the counter. Its profits
are devoted to the upkeep and help of the twenty-four or more foot-

{Photograph by R. Jebb)

ball clubs, the thirty or so cricket* clubs, and the twenty racquet
courts, etc., that are connected with the immense establishment at
West Horsham.

But the palm for success of its shop, considered from the point
of view we have been discussing, viz., the utilisation of its profits,
must surely be awarded to Bradfield College. Only read what the
line Berkshire school has done, and I do not think there will be much
doubt as to your agreement with me. This shop has been conducted
on co-operative principles since the year 1875, and its committee of
management always includes a master and a prefect, who finance it,
paying a woman a salary to attend to it. The following buildings
and lands have been built or acquired for the use of the boys in sport
solely from the money made out of the tuck-shop : — (i) A fives-

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court, which cost about 3^500 ; (2) a pavilion which represents some
jfgoo, and a cricket field which will when finished have cost over
3^1,100, besides several large donations contributed towards the
support of an extra cricket professional as coach from 1875 to 1905.
Certainly the public school that can claim to equal, let alone surpass,
Bradfield's record must be a marvel in the matter of having learned
to eat its cake and still have it.

Although the famous " Sutcliffe's," of Westminster School,
known and patronised for nearly a century by boys there, has had
its old home destroyed in the march of progress that necessitated



the building of new science rooms for the school, yet it still lives in
the rooms adjoining the ancient porch that leads from Dean's Yard
into Little Dean's Yard, and there it still makes its profit, and con-
tributes a little towards the sports for which Westminster has long
been noted. But it is far more a private affair than almost any
other tuck-shop at a great school, doubtless owing to the long time
that it has been held and managed by *' Mother Sutcliffe" and her

Of all school shops, however, though some may make more profit,
none supports bigger playing-fields and more area than does that of
Wellington College. Here the shop is quite a large building (a great

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contrast to that of Malvern College, stuck in its dark corner, or to
the recently-moved " Sutcliffe's," which now basks in a dull room
under the archway leading into Little Dean's Yard). The Welling-
ton shop is an erection that the school may be legitimately proud of
for its size and beauty, and all its profits go to support the 400 acres
of college estate, which are really playing-fields, though twelve only
are laid out for cricket, and sixteen solely for football.

So, as the reader must surely now acknowledge, we were not
wrong in saying that it is really possible to " eat's one's cake
and have it." These boys at our public schools have truly solved
the problem. They spend their pocket-money in "sock," "tuck,"
" grub," or whatever they may call it ; and they eat the cakes,
fruit, or sweets, etc. Yet, all the same, they again enjoy the money
thus spent in another way, and have the pleasure of spending it once
more. As one famous head master said to me, " When our boys
over-eat themselves at the tuck-shop, they are automatically provid-
ing a remedy for their disease ! " That is a very happy epigrammatic
way of putting the matter.




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For the information of the uninitiated, Bobbery Packs may be
defined as collections of dogs of any description whatever. The
sole quality indispensable for membership is the sporting instinct,
and that is but rarely wanting in the canine species. The word
" Bobbery '* signifies " wild," ** untamed," and the packs to which
it is applied are tireless in their endeavours to live up to their
appellation. They are'to be found in most stations in India, except
in the Punjab, and manage to flourish notwithstanding the counter-
attractions of polo and pigsticking. They may be divided roughly
into two classes : subscription packs and non-subscription packs.

The former are generally maintained, at small expense, by the
officers of a regiment or of a garrison. They are organised on
regular lines, are controlled by a Master and whips, and the hounds
dwell in " kennels." The pack usually consists of underbred grey-
hounds and a couple of terriers. Meets are held once or twice a
week in cold weather, the hour varying with the sunrise. The
authorised quarries are hares and jackals, but the industrious
hounds are by no means inclined to work within such narrow
limits. Buck, pig, cattle, poultry — all is grist that comes to their
mill. It is busy work for the staff, whose time is occupied in
hunting the hounds in more senses than one.

The greyhound hunts entirely by sight. The poorer class he is
the better for this work; for, if speedy, he gives a '* Jack " no chance,
and runs are consequently very short. A hare affords the best
sport. He takes a straighter line in the open Indian plains than in
the more intersected home country, and I have had many a good
forty-minute gallop after him in the early morning.

There used to be an excellent pack at Meerut which met once
a week. Thursday was always the hunting-day, for it is recognised
as a holiday throughout India in memory of the suppression of the
Mutiny. We rarely went out without getting a run, though as
often as not it was a run after the hounds to whip them off buck,
which was sometimes a most exhausting process. They were an

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disorderly crew, but we had great fun with them nevertheless. Asa
rule there was but little jumping — a few ditches and banks only; but
the ground was trappy in places, and the percentage of falls was
sufficient to keep up the necessary excitement. We used to get
back about nine, fully equal to a hearty breakfast after three or four
hours' exercise on a nippy morning.

The non-subscription pack is a more heterogeneous collection,
kept by an individual for his own special amusement. All arrange-
ments connected with it are of an informal nature. The owner is
the Master, but there are no meets, no whips, and often no field.
I was once the fortunate possessor of such a pack. It consisted of
a lurcher, a bull-terrier, several other terriers of sorts, a dachshund,
and a big upstanding cross between a setter and a greyhound. The
last, whose name was Flo, was the pick of the basket ; in fact,
she and the dachshund were the only two who could follow a scent.
At first, however, she would ** set " every conceivable kind of bird,
and it was long before she could be broken of the habit. When the
quarry was started she would go quickly to the front, the rest of the
pack streaming away hundreds of yards behind, the anxious endea-
vour of each being to keep the dog ahead in sight. The dachshund
acted as whipper-in, and as he always kept the line the other
dogs were able to turn to him for guidance, and so were never lost
Hercules was only an honorary member of the pack. He was a
huge, bandy-legged, deep-chested bulldog, with bleary, pink-lidded
eyes. Such a solemn person he was ! Ordinarily we were a most
merry little party, but when Hercules fell in and trotted along six
inches behind my pony's near hind-leg, a gloom seemed to settle
upon us all. It was as if an unpopular schoolmaster had insisted
on walking out with his boys. Somewhere away back in the depths
of his soul was a deep-rooted love of sport ; for though we often
went by devious ways to avoid him, he generally managed to join in,
and then nothing would make him depart. I once brought out the
best part of a leg of mutton in the hope that it would prove a
counter-attraction sufficiently strong to detain him. He carried it
along for some time and then dropped it, and when I next looked
round the rest of the pack was a hundred yards behind worrying
over the bone, but Hercules was steadily trotting along in his old
place. The worst of it was that he was dreadfully slow and had no
wind. He could not even keep up with the dachshund, the result
of which was that, if there was any sort of a run, he was left miles
behind, and I had to spend hours looking for him. Sometimes he
was discovered in a state of complete collapse, and had to be earned
home, but it never affected his keenness in the least. The bleary
old face was certain to meet us next time we went out.

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Sport was by no means good, but occasionally we had very fair
runs. The total bag for the season was two jackals and one hare.
The latter gave us a splendid gallop. Old Flo, working like the
real good sort that she was, got in first, the lurcher had second
worry, and the rest came up as fast as their legs would bring them,
all immensely surprised and overjoyed at the success. Lastly Her-
cules waddled in and sank down quite exhausted by his super-canine

There were many blank days ; but nearly every day, blank or
not, was enhvened by a dog-fight. The hounds, bound by their
common interest, never fonght among themselves, but in every
Indian village there is a contingent of pied-dogs — gaunt, savage,
uncouth creatures, who rightly contested any invasion of their
territories. These were queer battles ; the forces of civilisation
moved in a solid phalanx, for experience had taught them the
danger of straggling. The savage enemy adopted guerrilla tactics,
hung round the flanks and rear, and avoided close quarters.
Yoicks, the bull-terrier, was the acknowledged pack-leader in the
fight, and he marshalled his army like a true general. Nothing
was done except on his initiative. He never attacked unless his
opponents barred the way or were dangerously near his party.
Then his stroke was sudden and decisive, and the order of march
was resumed. In the midst of the riot and commotion Hercules
moved undisturbed. He acted as a sort of central reserve, and as a
rallying-point for the others in moments of danger. At such times
he did his work quickly and quietly without any fuss, and then
passed on. I think that the joy of battle was very dear to him, but he
took his pleasures sadly. Thanks to Yoicks's generalship not a dog
was lost, though all bore on their bodies the honourable scars of war.

The natives used to turn out in force to witness the spectacle,
and seemed to enjoy it immensely. Attacks on their farms did not
annoy them in the least, for they took an infinite pleasure in render-
ing bills as long as my arm for damages done. By the end of the
season, however, the dogs were reduced to such excellent order that
nothing would induce them to follow anything but legitimate game.
It was sad to have to part with them all when I was ordered home,
after the good days we had had together. Pony and dogs and man
had lived their lives very near to each other, and the memory of
those old friends will not easily die.

The pony deserves a special paragraph to himself. He was
stud-bred, stood about fourteen hands, and was a perfect picture of
a miniature hunter. Before buying I tried him most carefully, and
found that he did not pull an ounce ; but a few days afterwards when
I let him out in a game of polo he took me off the ground and for

NO. cxxx. VOL. xxii.^May 1906 Q Q

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about three miles through sugar-cane as high as his withers. The
dealer had dosed him with opium, a common trick with the natives
in disposing of a puller. From that day on I never could hold him,
although I spent hours with the saddler devising strange bits, and
bought every anti-puller in the market. Eventually I gave up all
hope of curing the vice, and let him pull to his heart's content in a
plain snaffle. He was not a comfortable mount, but was a good
jumper, and safe over bad ground. He only gave me two falls, and
they were in very bad places into which he had carried me much
against my will. I called him Placid Joe, after Mr. Goodhearted
Green's re-christened Pull-devil-pull-baker, and, notwithstanding
his eccentricity, got plenty of pleasure and an enormous amount of
work out of him.

I wonder if I have been particularly unfortunate, or if it is one
of the perplexing laws of nature that the soundness of a horse should
be in inverse proportion to his other good qualities. Placid Joe was
as sound as a bell, so was a jibber and so a slug that I possessed,
and yet nearly every really well-mannered hunter or polo pony that
has passed through my hands has grown dotty in the forelegs or
developed some incurable ailment. This speculative mood also
leads me to inquire how insurance is affected by the same laws. I
bought a mare last year at Tattersall's, and insured her against
death and against hunting accidents. Since then she has come un-
scathed through many a hard day with the hounds, but on three
separate occasions has been lamed when out for quiet exercise. But
I am wandering from the subject.

The only further experience with Bobbery Packs that came my
way was at Rawal Pindi, where there are no hares, and jackal only
frequent land that is quite unrideable. As there was a stretch of
possible country some miles to the northward we decided to raise a
pack and try a bagman. Master Jack arrived the night before
the meet in a ventilated box, and it was arranged that one of the

Online LibraryAlfred Edward Thomas WatsonThe Badminton magazine of sports and pastimes → online text (page 43 of 52)