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St. Winifred's, or The World of School   By: (1831-1903)

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St Winifred's, or The World of School, by Frederic W. Farrar.

The story is another one about the intimate details of a life in a boys' boarding school in late Victorian England. Farrar, having himself attended such a school, then later been an assistant master at another, Harrow School, then Head Master of Marlborough College, was well placed to write about such a school, and in some ways it is a better book than his much more famous "Eric".

There are a number of very well written and moving episodes in this book, and the only thing that spoils the books is Farrar's habit of putting quotations from Latin and Greek into his books. Because of the problem of rendering Greek script into European script, to no great purpose, we have omitted all the longer Greek quotations at the start of some of the chapters.

We have thoroughly enjoyed creating this e book for you, and we hope that you will enjoy it as much as we have. We made a transcription during March and April 2003, and then made a second transcription using a different edition, in January 2008.

ST. WINIFRED'S, OR, THE WORLD OF SCHOOL, BY FREDERIC W. FARRAR.

CHAPTER ONE.

WALTER'S HOME.

The merry homes of England! Around their hearths by night, What gladsome looks of household love, Meet in the ruddy light!

Mrs Hemans.

"Good bye, Walter; good bye, Walter dear! good bye!" and the last note of this chorus was "Dood bye," from a blue eyed, fair haired girl of two years, as Walter disengaged his arms from his mother's neck, and sprang into the carriage which had already been waiting a quarter of an hour to convey him and his luggage to the station.

It is the old, old story: Mr Evson was taking his son to a large public school, and this was the first time that Walter had left home. Nearly every father who deigns to open this little book has gone through the scene himself; and he and his sons will know from personal experience the thoughts, and sensations, and memories, which occupied the minds of Walter Evson and his father, as the carriage drove through the garden gate and the village street, bearing the eldest boy of the young family from the sacred and quiet shelter of a loving home, to a noisy and independent life among a number of strange and young companions.

If you have ever stood on the hill from which Walter caught a last glimpse of the home he was leaving, and waved his final farewell to his mother, you are not likely to have forgotten the scene which was then spread before your eyes. On the right hand side, the low hills, covered with firs, rise in gentle slopes one over the other, till they reach the huge green shoulder of a mountain, around whose summits the clouds are generally weaving their awful and ever changing diadem. To the left, between the road and a lower range of wooded undulations, is a deep and retired glen, through which a mountain stream babbles along its hurried course, tumbling sometimes in a noisy cataract and rushing wildly through the rough boulder stones which it has carried from the heights, or deepening into some quiet pool, bright and smooth as glass, on the margin of which the great purple loosestrife and the long fern leaves bend down as though to gaze at their own reflected beauty. In front, and at your feet, opens a rich valley, which is almost filled as far as the roots of the mountains by a lovely lake. Beside this lake the white houses of a little village cluster around the elevation on which the church and churchyard stand; while on either shore, rising among the fir groves that overshadow the first swellings of the hills, are a few sequestered villas, commanding a prospect of rare beauty, and giving a last touch of interest to the surrounding view.

In one of these houses that one with the crowded gables not a hundred feet above the lake, opposite to which you see the swans pluming their wings in the sunlight, and the green boat in its little boathouse lived the hero of our story; and no boy could have had a dearer or lovelier home... Continue reading book >>




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