GREAT DAYS

(1) Confirmation Day.-Confirmation comes as the crown of the spring term, pointing on to Easter. It is a holiday for the candidates, and so often has it been a fine day that it is associated with memories of quiet walks for them in the morning sunshine of the school garden, and of a sunlit Close in the afternoon. Some have parents with them all the day ; others, whose parents arrive later or cannot be with them at all, attend the ten o’clock service in the Cathedral. The rest of the School do their ordinary work, though conscious of being knit together by an underlying emotion, to which School prayers has given some expression.

The Confirmation Service is held early in the afternoon in the choir of the Cathedral, which has become, for the time being, wholly ours. The School is massed far up in the chancel, parents and friends fill the stalls, and between the two groups are the candidates, so placed that the bishop can think of them and speak to them apart. His words are meant for them alone, but the message reaches all and unites all in one desire. The Cathedral gives of its best that day: the soaring height above and the wide spaces around the chancel, the quiet of a building which no traffic ever approaches, the boys’ voices leading the singing, the dignity and yet perfect simplicity of the ceremonial-all is ours for the moment, forming, however unconsciously, an inalienable part of our memories of the day.

Then comes the gathering and tea in the School Hall, where it is enough to meet without much need for talk. There are many good-byes to be said before the evening, but even they have some of the joy of the day in them, if only because they are so soon to be followed by the glad greetings of the holidays. Moreover, many friends are able to stay for evening prayers, one of the special features that mark our Confirmation Day, when all who can reassemble in the Hall at eight o’clock to join in a brief thanksgiving before dispersing in silence for the night.

 C.R. Ash.

 

 (2) Ascension Day. Is it true that, for most people as they look back over the years past, it is the happy and beautiful things in life which stand out most clearly? The sad times and the difficult and disappointing days are never, f think, forgotten, but the very fact that they were cloudy and dark makes the recollection of them dim and shadowy, and we can be thankful that this is so. Anyhow, as I sit here in my little London house and call to mind the annual whole holiday at Godolphin on Ascension Day I find no vivid recollection of a wet day, and abandoned picnic, and damped spirits, though old magazines show that from time to time this did happen: what I see is a glorious early sun­rise, and from my bedroom window a flower border all abloom, and all the birds shouting for joy!

There is quiet in the house, because the holiday is a great holy Day, and from every School House there will soon be troops of children going to St. Martin’s to make their Communion, and to pray that as our Lord ascended into t he heavens, so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with Him continually dwell. The little ones will be running off to the Children’s Service at St. Edmund’s, or, in later years, to the little service at the School.

Back to breakfast! How well I can see them all, and hear l lie chatter. There is always the important question which nobody can answer: “Is it going to keep fine?” and the equally important question, “Need we take coats?” which the House mistress can and does answer with an emphatic “Yes.” Some of us very old Godolphin people recall Mrs. Earle’s sweet-shop on Milford Hill, with a crowd of customers thinking how to combine quality and quantity for threepence! In those days it was by a morning train to Wishford that we went to Groveley Woods, the time ­honoured Ascension Day picnic place. There were other places, I know, and usually a select few went in a brake to Stonehenge, but it is Groveley that I see in all its May-time beauty. It was a long tramp from the station, but you were with your chosen companion for the day and you could either walk fast or dawdle along as you felt most inclined, and how well worth while it was when you got into the shade.

The picnic then was by the cottages under the great spreading trees in the enclosure, and very soon after we got there the brake with the food and the few people who had driven arrived. Mistresses, too, would come along on their bicycles, and then the unpacking of hampers began. Do you remember the year when, by a mistake, all the ginger beer went to Stonehenge? And do you remember the year-but no, that was not at Groveley, but in the New Forest-when the hot tea brought out measles so success­fully, and several trotted off into the San. on our return? But that is a digression. After lunch the little groups of two or three were off into the woods for hours of glorious freedom; some wandering up and down the long rides bordered with bluebells and bracken, some climbing into the old beech trees or lying under them, or resting on the soft down turf at the border of the wood. Some find their way, in good time, to the cowslip bank, and, as we stroll back to the station, we see them coming down with great golden bunches. It is a lovely procession through Salisbury on our return, each child laden with flowers, some of them left at ‘the infirmary on the way home, some of them to be sent off to the Mission.

After tea in the Houses, we assembled once more to end the day by singing the beautiful “Hymn for Spring,” which Godolphin has adopted as her special Ascension Day hymn, written by Bishop Walsham How and his sister, who was our mother. Does it sound to you as perfect a festival as it feels to me? An Old Girl said to me once: “I never knew anything really about Ascension Day till I came to Godolphin, but there it was such a glorious day from morning to night.” I think that that is just what it was and is. For though little alterations may come about, they do not interfere at all with the real spirit of the day, which is just the same. I have been for the Ascension Day picnic since I left, so I know, and I wish I could go every year. And a thing that goes on being beautiful and inspiring must needs get more and more beautiful and inspiring, and there are more and more of us Old Godolphins to thank God that Godolphin taught us a new love for the great festival of Ascension Day. I would like to finish this with the “Spring Hymn,” if the editor can find room for it.

 L. J. DOUGLAS.

Hymn for Spring.

For all Thy love and goodness, so bountiful and free,

Thy Name, Lord, be adored !

On the wings of joyous praise our hearts soar up to Thee,

Glory to the Lord !

The spring-time breaks all round about, waking from winter’s night:

Thy Name, Lord, be adored !

The sunshine, like God’s love, pours down in floods of golden light:

Glory to the Lord !

A voice of joy is in all the earth, a voice is in all the air:

Thy Name, Lord, be adored !

All nature singeth aloud to God, there is gladness everywhere:

Glory to the Lord!

The flowers are strewn in field and copse, on the hill and on the plain:

Thy Name, Lord, be adored!

The soft air stirs in the tender leaves that clothe the trees again:

Glory to the Lord!

The works of Thy Hands are very fair, and for all Thy bounteous love

Thy Name, Lord, be adored!

But what, if this world is so fair, is the better land above?

Glory to the Lord!

Oh, to awake from death’s short sleep, like flowers from their wintry grave!

Thy Name, Lord, be adored!

And to rise all glorious in the day when Christ shall come to save!

Glory to the Lord.

Oh, to dwell in that happy Land, where the heart cannot choose but sing!

Thy Name, Lord, be adored!

And where the life of the blessed ones is a beautiful endless spring!

Glory to the Lord!

Alleluia.-Amen.

W. WALSHAM How, Bishop of Wakefield, and his sister, F. J. Douglas.

DULCIE C. SECRETAN.

(3) Commem. – To no two people does the word conjure up quite the same vision; to the writer it is instantly Miss Lucy and Michaelmas daisies, and to write of Commem. is like pulling out the threads of a brilliant shot silk, it is made up of so many people and so many years. Commem. does stand out, to begin with, as brilliant in colour; gener­ally it is real September weather, in which we see the intensely blue skies, the warm grey of the Cathedral on the bright green sward, the old comfortable red of the city, and on the hill-top everywhere scarlet and white and Virginia creeper, and again Michaelmas daisies.

The anticipation of Commem. begins long before with the arrival of the invitation. Later, we speculate as to our kind hostess, possibly in one of the delectable houses in the Close, or the rare and exalting experience of being at Harford Cottage, from which superior height one answers the question: “Where are you staying?” with swelling pride. Tea at Nelson House is the real plunge into Commem., with Miss Edith looking exactly the same. It can only be a delusion that some of us left School more than a quarter of a century ago, for neither has her welcome altered nor yet the niceness of her teas. Here begins the excitement of seeing who is back, and if many years have passed since we met we have generally got thin or fat, and we may comment on the one but not on the other! Here we meet those we looked forward to seeing and who make Commem. For us. After tea at Nelson House we all flock into the dear familiar Hall and listen, for many years to Miss Douglas, and now in later years to Miss Ash, as the Head Mistress gives her address to Old Girls and makes them feel that they are still and always will be one with the School. It is then specially that memories and thoughts connected with the deepest things in the life of the School are revived and strengthened. The rest of the day is a perfect kaleidoscope of happenings ; seeing, talking, hearing, eating, and more talking, and, in the evening, either a concert or a play given to the O.Gs. and generally given by some of them. Eight o’clock on Saturday morning gathers us all together in St. Martin’s Church as no other service can : so many different lives-gay, or busy, or humdrum-united in the presence of Him who makes these lives worth while.

After breakfast there is a rush to the shops; the florists especially do a roaring trade, where, amidst red hat-bands and Old Girls and flurried shop assistants, we battle for lilies-of-the-valley or carnations for the choicest friend, for what sentiment could attach to a proffered dahlia while earwigs might! After School service in the Hall, the rest of Saturday morning is given over to meetings, where the great ones speak and the lesser fry listen, marvelling that those who but yesterday (or what seems so) were very young, now speak as revered matrons or even Head Mistresses!

After lunch the programme varies with the individual­ rumour even credits some of the old Old Girls as indulging in sleep to recruit their energies for yet greater excitements to come. Matches, the exhibition, and tea at St. Mar­garet’s follow hard on each other, after which all disperse, to reappear in varying degrees of splendour (most noticeable in the newest O.Gs.) for the great Commem. tea. The very possibility of being late is too awful even to contem­plate, so we all arrive very early to find our allotted seats, and see the arrival on the platform of the powers that be. How, as years go on and numbers increase, and the Hall remains the same size, we still manage to get in, is a problem far beyond the present writer’s power to solve. To an outsider, surely, the astounding noise, or should we say the melodious sound of four hundred or more people talking at once, would be an amazing experience.

The speeches, the clapping, the masterly clearing of the tables, the excitement of finding one’s partner at least one minute before the music stops, bring the evening all too soon to the singing of the School Song and “Auld Lang Syne,” and how we do sing them none but ourselves will ever know. “Good night,” renews the marvel that neither Miss Ash nor Miss Douglas ever forget our names or faces. Commem. Sunday is more tranquil. Early we greet an old friend and time-honoured custom-the Sunday sausage-presided over by many a kind hostess. There must have been wet Commem. Sundays, but, looking back, it seems always to have been sunny, and all the time sight and sounds mingled, much talking, the sonorous Cathedral bell, the soaring spire, sun on the flowers in all the familiar gardens and sun on the river at tea, and its warmth on the sleek coat of the Harford tabby. The warmth of the welcome at tea, so warming to that portion of us known as our cockles, leaves the comfort­able feeling that we really are such extraordinarily nice people!

Too soon comes Monday morning, and the bustle of departure by rail or car, but not before School prayers. As we stand there waiting for the present School we realise two prominent feelings that sum up Commem. First, pride: pride in the present School as we watch line upon line of blue upright figures marching to their places, pride that we belong to such a gallant company, pride in our history of two hundred years. Then secondly, but certainly not less, the other feeling gratitude for all the School has given us; for memories of grave and gay, friendships and inspiration, and none of this separable from the mistresses, beginning with Miss Douglas to those of the present day. We arc grateful for their forbearance and even for the awful moments when they laughed at us ! We are grateful that even now we have their friendship, their gibes sometimes, their sympathy always. Though we lament the fact that there cannot be a Salisbury Commem. every year, we can rejoice that the London afternoon does bring a great deal of the Commem. feeling to many who could not get to Salisbury, and strengthens our link with, and our remem­brance of, Elizabeth Godolphin.

School Song

What is the loyalty deep in our hearts,

That bursts into song in September?

All hail to Godolphin, set high on the hill,

” Franc ha leal eto ge ‘ we remember.

We remember the colour of bricks and of leaves,

Now red in the rich Autumn weather,

We remember the Dolphin, the weathercock gold,

And the look of the place altogether.

We remember the grounds, the gardens and flowers,

The sweep of the downs and their shadow,

The ride of the clouds, and the singing of birds,

The sunset on stream and on meadow.

We remember the cricket and tennis and ” lax,”

The captains who always were saying;

“Now pull up the standard, and don’t think of self,

But of House and of School and good playing.”

We remember who taught us and gave us their time,

Their friendship and hearty endeavour,

To give us a drink of the well of good things

And keep us all going together.

The band and the sketching, the match and the dance,

The Saturday freedom and pleasure,

Our Form-rooms and “Houses,” our Sundays and friends,

And every glad moment of leisure.

We remember the Will on the West Cloister wall

In the Abbey; it never can perish;

For it’s cut deep in stone, that most gracious bequest

Of our Foundress, whose name we all cherish.

But dearest of mem’ries in oak-panelled Hall,

High hopes, and ideals and prayers:

So let us be true to the call which we knew,

To serve God and mankind through the years.

Words by M. A. Douglas.

Tune by Dr. Alcock, M.V.O.

(4) Speech Day.- Speech Day (or, as it used to be called, “Governors’ Meeting”) in 1902, 1907, and 1927, from the viewpoint of present girl, temporary staff, and parent, provide three separate mental pictures, identical in setting, varying but little in incident ; but 1927 entirely different in dramatis personce from 1907.

On the platform sits authority, led by the veteran chair­man (Lord Nelson, chairman of the Governors for over fifty years, or his successor, Lord Methuen), changing faces, perhaps, but the same kindly interest in the Godolphin School illuminates them all. Miss Douglas takes her place in all these pictures, though she no longer wears the mantle of responsibility. In the front rows of the Hall below are the winners of certificates, once in their “Sunday best,” now in the white school dresses. But where, oh! where are the pigtails?

The rest of the School overflows to the gallery, and their ranks cannot be more serried in spite of their doubled numbers than are those of the many parents and friends who crowd into the Hall below to show their never-ceasing interest in the beloved School.

The Head Mistress’ report of the year’s work always bears the same note of progress and uplift-new buildings, new grounds, new departments of work and recreation, new honours, renewing of the cords which bind all members of the School together, in however distant paths their feet may be set, reminding us that all this can only be achieved by the loyalty and help of each one from Governor to First Form. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”

It is now the custom for a distinguished visitor to bring us fresh words of inspiration, whereas the chief remembrance of 1907 and earlier years is the humorous, courtly advice of Canon Bankes, who used to exhort us year by year to the unselfish usefulness which he said we could not fail to learn in such surroundings.

There follows a line of white frocks up the platform steps on the left, down on the right, to receive certificates, and now in these latter years, a concert given by the present School, Miss Harding always wielding the baton for the orchestras, and adding to the illusion that one is back again in 1902 and should really be sitting in the gallery or opening and shutting the piano.

The concert ended, parents and friends and School disperse for tea and to see new buildings, the studio and Form rooms, or a gym. display. An air of excitement and unusualness prevails over the whole week-end. No such thing in the good old days! A bald account in a letter (1902) says: “We had tea when it was over and did prep. till seven-fifteen.”

The “Governors’ Meeting” or Speech Day, past or present, is stocktaking day. We review our assets and liabilities, and can but feel a thrill of pride at belonging to a School whose far-flung lines reach every continent, whose name is known and whose influence is felt far and wide.

Franc ha leal eto ge.

MILDRED PARNELL (Bevir)

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