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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 83

Correspondence. — [The Editor is not Responsible for the Opinions of Coree8Pondents.] — Entertainments


[The Editor is not Responsible for the Opinions of Coree8Pondents.]


To the Editor of the "Reformatory and Refuge Journal,"


A few weeks ago I was forcibly reminded of the necessity of providing amusement for my boys, now the days are short, and cricket or other out-door games can no longer he enjoyed. One of my officers came to me during the hour set apart for recreation before evening prayers, and said I had better go into such a corridor and see what some of the boys were doing; accordingly I went, and found a group of about twenty boys, in the centre of which two or three others were doing the comic business, having turned their jackets inside out, tied their scarves round their waists, and otherwise made themselves look as grotesque as possible. Of course when I came upon the scene there was an attempt to dissolve the audience, but I gravely insisted upon everyone remaining, and the performance going on as intended, saying that "I had come to see the fun." It was five or ten minutes before the performers could resume their gravity and proceed to business, which they did by one first singing a very harmless song, which was rewarded by loud applause. Then three attempted a dance after the style of "The Perfect Cure," then a recitation and another song, all of which were laughed at and loudly cheered. Without saying a word either of approval or disapproval, I dismissed both performers and audience. Of course the event was "all the talk" among the boys the next day, they wanted to know what the Governor thought about it. Well, they had not to wait long, for after evening prayers I had a familiar chat with them on the subject. I told them I was pleased to see them try to amuse each other, that it was a proper thing to laugh and have amusement, and if they liked to be at the trouble to "get up" a lot of things, they should have a night all to themselves, no visitors being allowed. The only thing I stipulated was that I should know beforehand what they were going to do. Accordingly in about three weeks a programme was handed to me, which had been entirely made up by themselves, consisting of songs, duets, recitations, and a dialogue for eight individuals, comet solo, a duet for two comets, and a short selection by ten of the principal band boys, without the bandmaster. Suffice it to say that the other evening saw them all assembled in the school room, and for an hour and a half there was nothing but healthy amusement, the blunders that were made causing a lot of fun, while the best executed part of the programme was attentively listened to, and rapturously applauded by over 200 boys, although nothing had been done in the shape of dress to add to the grotesque appearance of the performers. I expressed my very great pleasure at the way they had gone through their various parts, and announced that we would have a similar entertainment once a month, which announcement was received with great cheering.

We have in former years had a monthly entertainment given by ladies and gentlemen, friends of the School, but we believe the boys will enjoy what is done by their schoolfellows, and that those taking part in it will be none the worse for the labour involved in preparing for the entertainments.