The Jesuits claimed that provided they started early enough they were certain to recruit the child to their cause. This seems to be the case with our elder daughter Lucy’s elder boy, Flash (yes, that really is the name appearing on his birth certificate – it’s really cool and inspired by Tom Brown’s Schooldays and George McDonald Fraser’s character Flashman), who is on his way this Saturday morning to tour Liverpool’s football ground, Anfield. He is only just 8 years old. Liverpool like to recruit fans this way since they are in effect recruiting a customer for life. Positively Jesuitical.
As it happens I write this on the following Sunday and have just tuned in to the BBC’s early Sunday morning church service which on this occasion came from Rugby School’s chapel. I was reminded that, when I and my wife booked our daughter Lucy in as a pupil in 1990, her housemaster-to-be had walked us down to the chapel to cement the deal. Cementing was not necessary but on returning for tea I wept like a baby. Yes, the Jesuits had it right: the recollection of temps perdus was too much.
WORLD WAR II
Some years ago my father recorded various events in his life for the New Zealand Rhodes Scholars Association, a small if select group. He recounted that the British Army’s practice was to enter the jungle to take ground and on one occasion he and his men, perhaps 30 or so, came across a ridge which my father reckoned they could hold if attacked. They dug a trench and settled in. Since my father judged that they were all alone he let his men do some singing. Things got bawdier and he rendered:
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There was a young man called Skinner
Who took a young lady to dinner
At a quarter past nine they sat down to dine
By half past nine, it was in her, the dinner not Skinner.
A few drinks were then taken and one soldier offered:
There was a young fellow called Dobson
Who took a young lady to supper
By half past nine as they started to dine
It was up her. Skinner not Dobson.
A few days later the patrol passed along the same route and decided to look on the other side of the ridge. Here they found a series of fox holes where the Japanese had been waiting for my father’s men to come over the top. They never came. The Japanese had been only five yards away. War is uncertain.