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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review 1912

Dear Mrs. Spike,—

For some considerable time 1 have been climbing the hill that leads to Victoria College and to learning. During that time I have attended the statutory number of dances, attended two tournaments, played football, cricket and tennis at and around the Old Clay Patch, and now in the fullness of time I have decided that I shall swot.

First let me explain my position. To begin with, as a simple freshman, imbued with enthusiasm and full of knowledge gained at a Secondary College, I succeeded in keeping first year's terms. During the second year, having become better acquainted with College, 1 joined more gaily in the social life (Cherchez la femme). As a result 1 lost much of the enthusiasm and all of the knowledge previously acquired, and had perforce to face the dread ordeal of November with nothing but the Goddess Luck to help me. Result : English, third;class Rest, failed.

The third year I lived with a genius. He was the sort of man who could go to balls, come home in the milk-cart, read twenty pages of Anson, of Salmond, even of Garrow, and remember them afterwards. 1 attempted to imitate him, with the result that in November my two guineas went to swell the revenue of the University.

This year I decided that things must change. I therefore cultivated the acquaintance of a student—a studious student. I enquired of him his method of work. He immediately invited me to stay the night with him and receive a practical demonstration, and, made rash by my new-born enthusiasm, I accepted. Armed with a hand-bag full of copyrighted notebooks, I proceeded to the sanctum of this student—this studious student. Allow me to digress a minute while I explain that his parents had made a mistake in his early youth, and named him Arthur— page 58 he should haw been called "The Spartan." I entered the sanctum, the student pointed to a chair, stated that we had just two and a-quarter more hours to work, and went on with his swotting. By nature 1 am conversational; my friends have even termed me garrulous, but beneath the stern silence of that Spartan my loquastic powers were completely overawed. At II p.m. the Spartan announced that we might stop, and spoke of bed. I grew enthusiastic, but before being allowed to retire it appeared that I must take a vigorous course of exercise similar to that indulged in by Hackenschmidt, Sandow and other Then I was allowed to go to bed. Previous to this night my experience of beds had been limited to iron bedsteads, spring mattresses, and the like, but the bed provided by the Spartan reminded me of the sort of sleeping couch the Roman soldier was in the habit of using when on the march. After spending some two hours bruising myself in attempting to find a soft place, I slept.

During the night the alarm went off. I did not mind, as I had often heard alarms go off before; but imagine my disgust when 1 found the Spartan standing over me with a candle, telling me I had to get up and swot. Naturally I protested, but he was adamant. I next attempted to wheedle him into allowing me to read in bed, but he stated that 1 would only go to sleep again. I replied that that was the height of my ambition, but it was no go. I had to submit to another vigorous course of Sandow to get my circulation up, and was then told to swot again. Whenever my feet got too cold to be felt I was given a skipping-rope, and told to warm myself up. As there were same twenty degrees of frost outside, the rope was in frequent requisition. Romeo's anxiety to leave Juliet when day was lighting up the home of the Capulet's was as nothing compared with mine to leave the Spartan's home, when the pearly dawn began to show up the dirty smoke of the destructor chimney. However, for two more hours we kept on, and then at last, in the fulness of time, when the hour of breakfast seemed long past, I was allowed to go to my bath and home. Such was my only experience of a night with a studious student. Like Coleridge's wedding guest, "A sadder and a wiser man he rose the morrow morn." I am at present looking for a job in the Government this apparently being the nearest approach to Mr. Euclid's royal road to learning.

—Yours mournfully,

Here Taniera.