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My First Term – an anonymous extract from the Sandbachian, 1901.

How well I remember that eventful time, almost as if it were only yesterday, though it happened more years ago than I care to remember.  Of course, I had been to school before, but not as a boarder.  I always looked upon this as my first real term and soon thought the life of a day boy only a poor imitation of school life.

Up came the Headmaster’s wife and gave me a chilly welcome, with a temperature well below freezing point.  My fellow sufferers soon arrived, about 40 in number, six or seven of them being new boys, and I found myself the smallest of the lot.   It was not long before I realised what that meant.  I slept in dormitory No 3, and was appointed bottle-washer in chief to the Captain of the dormitory.  My chief duty was to fill his wash basin every night in case he might be in a hurry in the morning, and to see if the adjoining bedroom was occupied by the master in charge.

In the basement of the school was a large swimming bath, which was heated in the cold weather.  The water was generally well over my head, but I took my luck with the others and soon learnt to swim.

We used to be in school till half-past one every day and then we had the afternoon for games.  But they were never properly organised.  Our great match was with a neighbouring school much larger than ours.  It began at half past 11, and I was chosen to field till 1 o’clock for an absent member of our eleven.

Now-a-days, you tell me, schools are very different, and you wouldn’t do such things for the world.  Ah well, we had to take the rough with the smooth and you will have to do the same, you will find.

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