A little thing perhaps; but there are not many people in Queen Alexandra’s position who would have taken an eight-mile drive in an open cart on a stormy and rainy April afternoon in order to avoid disappointing a dying child, of whose very existence she had been unaware that morning.
It is the kind heart which inspires acts like these which has drawn the British people so irresistibly to Queen Alexandra.
Chittenden’s—A wonderful teacher—My personal experiences as a schoolmaster—My “boys in blue”—My unfortunate garments—A “brave Belge”—The model boy, and his name—A Spartan regime—“The Three Sundays”—Novel religious observances—Harrow—“John Smith of Harrow”—“Tommy” Steele—“Tosher”—An ingenious punishment—John Farmer—His methods—The birth of a famous song—Harrow school songs—“Ducker”—The “Curse of Versatility”—Advancing old age— The race between three brothers—A family failing—My father’s race at sixty-four—My own—A most acrimonious dispute at Rome— Harrow after fifty years.
I was sent to school as soon as I was nine, to Mr. Chittenden’s, at Hoddesdon, in Hertfordshire. This remarkable man had a very rare gift: he was a born teacher, or, perhaps, more accurately, a born mind-trainer. Of the very small stock of knowledge which I have been able to accumulate during my life, I certainly owe at least one-half to Mr. Chittenden. There is a certain profusely advertised system for acquiring concentration, and for cultivating an artificial memory, the name of which will be familiar to every one. Instead of the title it actually bears, that system should be known as “Chittendism,” for it is precisely the method adopted by him with his pupils fifty-four years ago. Mr. Chittenden, probably recognising that peculiar quality of mental laziness which is such a marked characteristic of the average English man or woman, set himself to combat and conquer it the moment he got a pupil into his hands. Think of the extraordinary number of persons you know who never do more than half-listen, half-understand, half-attend, and who only read with their eyes, not with their brains. The other half of their brain is off wool-gathering somewhere, so naturally they forget everything they read, and the little they do