March 12th, 1848 (Sunday)

March 12, 2010

I accordingly sent for Reynolds to my room, and after pointing out to him the necessity for preserving the distinction of ranks in society, and that the consequence of familiarity with those of a lower tone was always that the lower dragged the higher down, instead of the higher raising the lower up, – asked him what his father would say if his younger brother were found taking liberties with stable boys, and that he stood by without saying or doing anything to check it?

“Now I stand in loco parentis, – then am I to do with you? Last Term I had got to love you very much, but I find my affection beginning to wane, now that you don’t seem to care for what I say. I usually can influence boys, but it is, I confess, somewhat humiliating as well as vexatious, that you seem to be so little affected by the College. If then I can not move you to energy and moral courage by either fear or favour, the sooner you make way for someone else the better.” His eyes filled with tears, the first of his I ever saw.

I proceeded to ask him what he would do, when, as he would be soon, into a dreary world, and beset with its temptations, – if he dare not at School, he the biggest boy in it, – raise his voice for truth, and set his face against evil? He then told me that some time ago he had censured this very thing – improper intercourse with the servitors; – and the tears coursed down his cheeks. This quite melted me; so I said I had now hope of his becoming a more active and a firmer character, – assured him of my true affection for him, – and said that all was over.

I then sent for Elliott, and gave him a good rowing, and set before him that thoughtlessness is a sin, and that it seemed to be his main fault. Said that this affair was particularly unfortunate, as I had but just written to his mother to say that he was going on well: however, that I was not disheartened, but that I must punish him by insisting upon his sending his mother a full account of the whole matter. This he promised to do: so making him engage, not to do no more giddy things, but in circumstances, which might be no more than doubtful, to try to remember that thoughtlessness was wrong, – shook hands with him and dismissed him. Took care to write to his mother to feel no alarm, and to be tender to him.

See also Reynolds’ perspective on these events.


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