The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, October 1909
"Weed your better judgments
Of all opinions that grow rank in them."
—As You Like It.
The Capping Ceremony of 1909 was held in the Concert Chamber of the Town Hall, on Thursday, 24th June. The hall was filled, students in the gallery and the friends of the College on the floor of the Hall.
On the whole the proceedings were far from orderly, some of the students behaving in such a way as to completely alienate public sympathy. No one, we think, can object to witty interjections during speeches or even to undergraduate expressions of hilarity when they do not in any way interfere with the proceedings. But noisy, pointless interjections, which prevent any of the speeches being heard, exhibit, to say the least of it, extremely bad taste.
The Hon. C. C. Bowen was the first to attempt to speak. It was at least expected that he would receive a patient hearing; but even less respect was shown for him than was shown by his interrupters for themselves. Even though he were not given credit for what he has done to further the interest of University education in New Zealand, it would have at least been good manners to have shown him the respect due to a gentleman of his years. To Professor Picken too, as representative of the professorial Board, there was due some respect. And his speech so well worth the hearing, was wasted, not only on the students, but unfortunately upon the public as well. The treatment of these speakers was not consistent with that meted out to the students' representative, J. F. Thompson, who received and attentive hearing. His plea for greater public interest in Victoria College seemed in no way justified by the afternoon's proceedings.
But a feature of the proceedings even more regrettable was the fact that the Graduates of the year were hardly even recognised. The ceremony is essentially in their honour, but this year we failed signally to give them the reception to which their years of successful work had so fully entitled them. They had earned honour, not only for themselves, but for Victoria College.page 21
The whole ceremony is the one occasion when the University in its official capacity, comes into contact with the public. It is unfortunate that the teachings to the University should on this occasion be prejudiced in the eyes of the public by the action of a small band of irresponsible students.
During the proceedings the students' representative, on behalf of the students, presented Mr Allan McDougall, Rhodes Scholar for 1909, with a purse of sovereigns. The recipient who was given a rousing reception when coming forward to respond, spoke feelingly of his happy years spent at Victoria College.
The Capping Carnival which was held in the Concert Chamber of the Town Hall, on the evening of the 24th of June, was from some points of view, one of the most successful that has yet been held.
The Glee Club did not sing about "Sylvia," but "Full Fathom Five" and "The Watchword" were much appreciated. Solos were given by Miss Newman and J. D. Smith. The Sobbing Quartette (Misses Duigan and Fell and Messrs Bogle and Anderson) made a very melancholy and pitiful appearance which did not however, detract from the pleasure with which they were received The Capping songs were well conducted by S. J, Anderson, whilst Miss Clachan played the accompaniments. Both deserve much praise for the manner in which they performed their thankless tasks.
The second part of the programme consisted of a "Classic Sketch" entitled "Shackelton out-Shacked." The work was the result of a collaboration among A. H. Bogle, D. N. Isaacs, G. M. Hogben and J. M. Hogben.
From the point of view of the audience the performance was much more successful than any that had been previously presented at Victoria College Capping Carnival. The jokes and the plot were of such a nature as to be "understanded of the people." Professor H. K. Birk, having heard of Lieutenant Shackelton, determines to emulate the exploits of that celebrated explorer. He sets out for the South pole, taking with him such well-known characters as J. S. Krook, Nry Bodley, Rat O'Pegan, Captain Jones and Joe Carter. Much of the interest of the drama centred round the mishaps of the marvelous motor car, appropriately called "The yellow peril."page 22
L. P. Leary had made a special study of Professor H. K. Birk and acted his part well. G. M. Hogben as J. S. Krook and D. N. Isaacs as Captain Jones, were very successful into performance of their parts. The star of the evening was, however, C. Gamble. Many thought that Gamble was safely at home in bed and that Joe Carter was himself actually on the stage.
During the performance of the last act Misses fell, D. Isaacs and Newman, in the characters of spirits of the ice and snow, sang a very charming song and performed some very graceful actions. The whole scene, though just inclined to seem drawn out, was a pleasing relief to the boisterousness of the farce.
This year an innovation was made with regard tc the supper in honor of the graduates. The Graduates' Association joined with the Students' Association and invited the graduates to a supper, from which undergraduates were excluded. The result was most successful. The proceeding were marked by a dignity which did not characterize them in previous years. It is to be hoped that a like course will be pursued on similar occasions in the future.
After the second night of the Carnival there was a dance.