Frank Leward: Memorials
Mr. Saunders to Mrs. Leward
Mr. Saunders to Mrs. Leward.
My dear Madam,—I hasten at once to inform you that all is cleared up. But first let me assure you there is no master or boy in the school who ever felt the slightest suspicion about your son; and though the head-master's sense of justice is exceedingly nice, he was soon convinced that he had fallen into an error. A little extravagance in the management of the cricket club funds, and some indolence in balancing accounts on Frank's part, made them appear apparently incorrect and a large sum to be deficient. Your son's high sense of honour and a too great sensitiveness made him dread the result, and it seems in a foolish moment he and his friend Jones agreed to run away rather than meet the necessary annoyance of an inquiry.
Now, however, on a further and more full audit of the accounts, though much laxness in the management is seen, it is proved that every penny that came into their hands has been expended on the club. The shock which ran through the school when it was discovered that Frank and Jones had run away was electric. Frank was certainly the most popular boy in the school, and boys are good page 27judges of one another's character. I saw many a young face trying hard to prevent tears betraying its emotion; and for myself I can say, if God had given me sons of my own, I could hardly have felt more sorely tried if it had been one of them that was lost to me.
How often have I had occasion to appeal to him to assist in raising the moral tone of the boys and to check the secret source of vice, and I know I never appealed in vain. Fine, manly, upright, he hated all iniquity, and his way of stopping it was often original but most effective. He had only to declare himself strongly against anything and it soon went out of fashion. His character had come on wonderfully during the last twelve months, and his taste for classical studies had increased. Though long since out of my form I always felt a peculiar affection for him, and I believe this feeling was reciprocated. He would often come to my rooms, especially on Sunday evenings, and we used to talk on various matters, and I could see beneath a careless exterior there lay a depth of feeling unusual in boys of his age. All this you can imagine makes the trial peculiarly hard for me to bear, and my heart feels as sad as the hushed voices in the playground on the morning when it was known that he had gone.
Apologising for this long letter, I am, dear Madam, yours very sincerely,,
A. M. Saunders.
Mrs. Leward,The Shrubbery, Southampton.