Thursday, June 16, 2005

Prep School

"Next week would be no good", said the boy. "I'm going back to school on Friday." "Bad luck", said I. "Oh, I don't know", said the boy. And stealing a look at this face I saw that this was not stoicism. He really didn't mind going back to school; possibly he even liked it.

Was it merely envy of a generation happier than my own which filled me with a vague distaste at this discovery? One must not dismiss the possiblity too lightly. The spirit that says"I went through it, why shouldn't they?" is a strong one and clever at disguises. But I believe I can, on this occasion, acquit myself. I was feeling, in a confused way, how much good the happy schoolboys of our own day miss in escaping the miseries their elders underwent. I do not want those miseries to return. That is just where the complexity of things comes in.

My first preparatory school was one of the last survivals of the kind depicted in Vice Versa, except for one detail. There were no informers. Whether the hirsute old humbug who owned it would have run the place by espionage if the boys had given him the chance, I do not know. The treacle-like sycophany of his letters to my father, which shocked me when they came into my hands years afterwards, does not make it improbable. But he was given no chance. We had no sneaks among us. The Head had, indeed, a grown-up son, a smooth-faced carpet-slipper sort of creature apt for the sport; a privileged demi-god who ate the same food as the father, although his sisters shared the food of the boys.
~C.S. Lewis, Present Concerns, "My First School" (1st published in Time and Tide 4 Sept 1943)

On this day:

1895 Warren Hamilton Lewis, C.S. Lewis's older brother, is born in Dundella Villa, on the outskirts of Belfast.

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