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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1915

The Limit—An Apology

page 106

The Limit—An Apology.

"On Saturday, 24th April, Mr. J. C. McDowall was fare-"welled by a number of students in the Gymnasium. The "gathering took place in the afternoon, and it was followed by "a lecture by Mr. Tennent on Ideals of University Life.' The "lecture ended soon after nine o'clock. The undergraduates "then adjourned to the top floor of the Gymnasium for supper "These festivities ended very shortly after ten o'clock. Fond "parents complained to the members of the Professorial Board "that some of their children did not reach home until nearly mid-"night."

These are the facts, Dear Brethren. We pledge you our word that these are the facts; and that being so, the only course open to us is to offer a profound and very humble apology.

We apologise in the first place to our creator—the General Assembly of New Zealand in Parliament assembled. This august body did its best for us; it duly constituted us under the resplendent title of a University College. Clearly it is not the fault of the New Zealand Parliament that Victoria College has become the proud, fond nurse of babes and sucklings.

We apologise to the public of the Victoria University College District. Be no longer illusioned, Good People. This is no University! Sorrow has brought us humility, and humility has led us to the truth. We can no longer keep the truth from you. In justice, we must make confession:—"Here at Salamanca can we offer ye the very finest kindergarten training. We will take your little children and lead them in the way that they should go. We will wash their little hands; we will brush their little boots and shoes, and darn their little clothes. We will take the very greatest care to see them home by eight. Be reasonable, Good People. If we faithfully perform so much, can you in justice ask for more? We know what a modern University should be and do. Let us have your little child, and we will return him unto you, polished, proud, punctilious, and perfectly polite, the dearest little darling and the sweetest little mite."

We apologise to that uniquely objectionable creation of modern times, to her whom we used to deride under the title of "flapper." Likewise, to be impartial, we apologise to the youth (not yet named) who sports the giddy knickerbockers.

page 107

Upon consideration, we are convinced that they are right, and we are wrong. Their costume, skirts, and hair are a perfect index to their intelligence. The truth always! Not for the world would we have them assume a dress for which they are obviously unfitted.

We apologise most humbly to Dr. C. P. Knight. Years ago, when he told us we were nothing but a glorified night school, our yells of derision awoke the echoes. We know better now. We are a night school, and not a bit glorified.

We apologise to the teaching staff of the College. Its members have our sincerest sympathy, but they will now realise that a radical change in their methods is necessary. They must show more sympathy with the toddlers, more gentle, loving kindness with the wee folk; they must be particularly careful to see that their lectures end at such a time before eight as to allow the children to reach home in good time. It would also be advisable for them, before they dismiss their classes of a night, to deliver a few words of paternal advice and exhortation, such as "Early to bed and early to rise, makes Johnny healthy and wealthy and wise"; and "Little acts of kindness, little words of love, make the earth beneath us like the Heavens above."

We apologise to the Victoria College Council. Some of the rules which the Council has imposed on us for the regulation of internal affairs at the "school" used to seem to us stringent. They do so no longer. In fact, we think more rules are needed. There are at present hanging casually round the walls such notices as the following:—"Smoking not allowed inside the building," "Furniture may not be removed from a classroom without permission of the Board," etc., etc. To these we suggest the following be added:—

(1)Cleanliness is akin to godliness: all students are requested to wash their hands before attending classes.
(2)Students under 14 years of age are warned that smoking is liable to affect their stomachs. All female students are absolutely forbidden to smoke.
(3)Children are warned against the dangerous habit of sitting still with damp shoes and stockings on.
(4)On no 'account may students loiter on the way home after lectures.
(5)The Board deprecates the habit of parting the hair in the middle. In the case of young girls, the plait is preferred.page 108
(6)Young gentlemen are reminded that they are expected to behave as gentlemen. They are requested not to bring squibs or other crackers in the class rooms. White mice are forbidden.
(7)Girls are requested not to giggle while a lecture is proceeding. Chewing gum is vetoed in the case of both sexes.
(8)Nurses who accompany children to and from lectures are requested to remain in the robing room.

We feel that the passing of some such rules as the above will relieve the apprehension of many parents.