Monað modes lust mæla gehƿylce ferð to feran.

Chums of St. Olaf's and other stories of School Life and Adventure - A.K. Parkes,  Eric Wood,  A.C. Booth,  Edward Leslie,  John Andrews This is one of those brilliant classic-era school stories where people say things like ‘Rather!’ and ‘Run like a hind, Blodger!’. In this case the plot revolves around lost Latin essays and a smuggler with the upsettingly venereal name of Fiery Dick. To give you a flavour, here's the opening:

‘Hullo, Jackson! Have you heard the news?’ was the greeting Jackson received when, having left his luggage at the bustling, confused station, in the hope that some one would deliver it some time, he sauntered in at the gate of St. Olaf's on the first day after the Easter holidays.

‘Yes, of course I have. Queen Anne's dead!’ answered Jackson with a grin.

What the fuck? I know schoolchildren aren't renowned for their sentimentality, but this seems a bit blasé all the same. ‘The queen's dead, and the prince regent's got terminal cancer! A-ha-ha-ha!’

Of course thinking about the chronology for a second I realise that Queen Anne must have died some time around seventeen-*coughcough* so this probably isn't as callous as it looks – the little scamp is just anticipating a prank from his chums. But they soon put him at his ease:

‘Rot!’ answered Perkins, his bosom friend. ‘It's something much more exciting. Old Bumble's gone.’

A teacher's dead! And the headmaster's wife has left him and taken the kids! What larks! A-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Things have certainly changed a lot in the schoolroom since these halcyon pre-war days. If you need a favour from a classmate at St Olaf's, it's the simplest thing in the world to ask a chum to help you out.

‘Oh, Perkins!’ he cried, ‘I have forgotten to send in my essay. Will you be a brick, and go up to the house, and send it off for me?’

‘You are an ass!’ grumbled Perkins.

I wonder how this would have played out when I was at school.

‘Er, Perkins, I've um…forgotten my essay. Any chance you could…be a brick, or whatever, and get it for me?’

‘Fuck off you spanner.’

Not only did I go to a school of the same (or very similar) name myself, but one of the stories in this volume is titled ‘Whirlwind Warwick's Commission’, so naturally when I saw it at some old book stall I had to get it. I don't collect this sort of thing, but I do quite like having a few around the house. (I've quietly mooted the prospect of ‘Whirlwind Warwick’ as a dashing new sobriquet for myself, but so far no one seems to be terribly convinced.)

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