The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,123 pages of information about The Spectator, Volume 2..
in the School.
I shall conclude this Discourse with an Advantage mentioned by Quintilian, as accompanying a Publick way of Education, which I have not yet taken notice of; namely, That we very often contract such Friendships at School, as are a Service to us all the following Part of our Lives.

  I shall give you, under this Head, a Story very well known to several
  Persons, and which you may depend upon as a real Truth.

Every one, who is acquainted with Westminster-School, knows that there is a Curtain which used to be drawn a-cross the Room, to separate the upper School from the lower.  A Youth happened, by some Mischance, to tear the above-mentioned Curtain:  The Severity of the Master [2] was too well known for the Criminal to expect any Pardon for such a Fault; so that the Boy, who was of a meek Temper, was terrified to Death at the Thoughts of his Appearance, when his Friend, who sat next to him, bad him be of good Cheer, for that he would take the Fault on himself.  He kept his word accordingly.  As soon as they were grown up to be Men the Civil War broke out, in which our two Friends took the opposite Sides, one of them followed the Parliament, the other the Royal Party.
As their Tempers were different, the Youth, who had torn the Curtain, endeavoured to raise himself on the Civil List, and the other, who had born the Blame of it, on the Military:  The first succeeded so well, that he was in a short time made a Judge under the Protector.  The other was engaged in the unhappy Enterprize of Penruddock and Groves in the West.  I suppose, Sir, I need not acquaint you with the Event of that Undertaking.  Every one knows that the Royal Party was routed, and all the Heads of them, among whom was the Curtain Champion, imprisoned at Exeter.  It happened to be his Friends Lot at that time to go to the Western Circuit:  The Tryal of the Rebels, as they were then called, was very short, and nothing now remained but to pass Sentence on them; when the Judge hearing the Name of his old Friend, and observing his Face more attentively, which he had not seen for many Years, asked him, if he was not formerly a Westminster-Scholar; by the Answer, he was soon convinced that it was his former generous Friend; and, without saying any thing more at that time, made the best of his Way to London, where employing all his Power and Interest with the Protector, he saved his Friend from the Fate of his unhappy Associates.
The Gentleman, whose Life was thus preserv’d by the Gratitude of his School-Fellow, was afterwards the Father of a Son, whom he lived to see promoted in the Church, and who still deservedly fills one of the highest Stations in it. [3]


[Footnote 1:  Some Thoughts concerning Education, Sec. 70.  The references to Suetonius and Plutarch’s Life of Cato are from the preceding section.]

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The Spectator, Volume 2. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.