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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1934

Memories from Abroad

page 20

Memories from Abroad

"I have travelled far neath sun and star, in lands remote,
I have been the mate of potentate and man of note,
Yet whatever gap may sever us by land and sea,
Salamanca is the anchor of my memory!"

—S. Eichelbaum.

Enclosed with letter dated 2nd September, 1933, from Mr. Diamond Jenness, Head of Anthropological Section, Victoria Memorial Museum, Ottawa.

"A new student, timid but amazingly ambitious, once knocked at the door of Professor J. R. Brown's study and requested help in mapping out his course. He had a slight smattering of Latin, and through Emerson he knew the names of two philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, whose works he proposed to master in the original Greek. Could he begin right away?

A characteristic smile lit up the professor's face. He did not say that even he had not completely mastered them, and that I certainly never would. But he laid aside the Pausanias he was reading, lauded my ambition and carefully mapped out the road.

Thirty years have gone by since then, and I can still see him in his class-room, lifting us over some grammatical stumbling block or illustrating Greek and Roman history by parallels from modern times. His scholarship was as deep as his manner was unassuming, and his kindness and patience were inexhaustible. Every student who needed advice or help unconsciously took the road to his study. Sometimes we may not have appreciated his scholarship, or we may have taken too much for granted his kindliness and the unsparing inroads he allowed us to make on his leisure; but what we never failed to perceive was a deep wisdom that made him our infallible guide. Though some of us have travelled far since those years, our happiest memories linger round the days when we sat at his feet."

Redland High School for Girls, Redland Court, Bristol, 6, England, 3rd November, 1933.

Dear Mr. Dixon,—

I hope I am not too late in sending the enclosed contribution to the portrait fund.

I have experienced and seen teaching of all kinds but I have never known better teaching than we were given at Victoria College as I knew it from 1902 to 1911. Those first four members of the Professorial staff set a high standard and gave ungrudgingly of their brilliant best. Professor Easterfield stands out most clearly in my respectful and affectionate remembrance—but I am not thinking of him only.

May I add my grateful thanks to you for your work in organising an expression of gratitude to the early professors.

(Sgd.) Clara M. Taylor

. . . .

Extract from letter dated 31st July, 1934, from Miss Etta Mason, 362 Riverside Drive, Apartment 10A, New York, N.Y., who was a student at V.U.C. in 1907-8-11-12.

"Thank you ever so much for the booklet 'The Foundation Professors.' I shall treasure it.

"The 'Ode' stirred me deeply. It expressed my own halting thoughts in words more fitting than I could find and framed them in verse more beautiful. For this I am deeply grateful. I could almost smell the gorse on the Kelburn hills and hear the music on the old top-floor (the 'hop-floor')—when I read those lines and prowled among the names listed at the back, remembering so many, and wondering about so many more."

. . . .

Extract from letter dated June 6th, 1934 from Mr. W. Gillanders, 1055, Glendora Avenue, Oakland, California:

"The Portrait brochure and the "Evening Post" of 5th May, 1934 are here. I am delighted to have them and want to thank you most warmly. It was tremendously interesting to go over the list of the donors. I have a long-distance memory page 21 and could recall the features of the persons by the names."

. . . .

Copy of cable dated 4th May, 1934, received from Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Pope, North Sydney, N.S.W.:

"Cheerfully acknowledge excellence of early leadership.—The Popes, Sydney."

. . . .

Extract from letter from Dr. Duncan R. Niven, Portland, Victoria, dated 26th April, 1934:

"Thank you very much for the invitation to be present at the ceremony. Were I nearer Wellington I would certainly attend with pleasure. I am very pleased to be associated with the College governing authorities in honouring the Foundation Professors in this way. I am sure they all deserve the honour that will be paid to them for they have served the College and the community faithfully and well during the many years of their association with the College. To those of them who still carry on I desire to convey my best wishes for the future.

I shall be very pleased to receive the booklet you contemplate sending me. It will, I'm sure, interest me very much. The news about former V.U.C. students and their success in their particular spheres makes me think of the influence of the College upon the community."

. . . .

Extract from letter from Major Annie I. Smyth, Salvation Army Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan, dated 30th July, 1934:—

"Many thanks for the booklet containing the portraits of the Professors and the Ode! I think they are all splendid, even if Maclaurin is minus his glorious' moustache, as Annie—described it. Prof. Mackenzie's is most majestic and Prof. Brown looks less formidable than in days of yore! In Tokyo I know John Struthers, M.A., B.Sc., who went to school with Professor Brown.

It was good of Prof. Brown to take us for French the way he did, was it not? On one occasion, do you remember his asking de la Mare how he translated a certain passage? De la Mare was not attending: however, he was equal to the occasion, replying, 'I took it as you did, sir!' at which we all smiled, the Professor as much as any one. Those hardy early days developed our mettle.

. . . .

"Miss Violet Greig, Lady Principal of the Wellington Girls' College, came and saw us. An American warship was in and she even helped me to entertain some of its fine men. She was a good sport.

"Japan, of course, may not need us foreign missionaries any more, but then another pair of hands is always a help, and there is work to do for our nationals, and as long as our ships sail the seas will not that need exist? Therefore, I want someone to come to carry on my work when I retire (D.V.) in October, 1938."