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The Spike or Victoria University College Review Silver Jubilee 1924

12th January, 1924

page 95
12th January, 1924.

....Your letters with their interesting news about old friends and the proposed Silver Jubilee Celebrations at Victoria College brought on one of those attacks of home-sickness which are apt to assail even the hardened middle-aged. An exile from home in a far country greatly appreciates even odds and ends of informal ion, and so I am looking forward to seeing the special number of "The Spike." I feel tempted to send you not news, but a list of questions which I should like answered. Hut perhaps I can trust "The Spike" to contain the answers to all my unasked questions.

A confession, however, I shall make; a New Zealand University Calendar is one of my most treasured possessions, and at intervals I read through the list of names at the end from A to Z. I even keep myself moderately up-to-date by begging or borrowing recent numbers from our good friend Mr. Joynt. Could the devotion of any sentimentalist do more? With great pleasure and satisfaction I own the first thirty numbers of "The Spike" complete. (This statement is in no way to be interpreted as an advertisement, for they are not for sale).

I have changed my mind and shall ask one question, one only—has anyone at Victoria College ever examined the origin of the ways, the habits and customs of its students? Does anyone know how far the New Zealand University outlook is Scottish and Edinburgh Scottish at that, how far it is English, how far it has been Americanised, and what there is in it of pure native natural genius?

I wish that I could be in Wellington at Easter, but it cannot be. Instead I shall be here in an English Midland manufacturing town about the same size as Wellington, which earns its living, or tries to earn it, by making boots. For, since all the world seems too poor in these days to buy boots, things are not going very well at Northampton. My days are spent with the daughters of Northampton between the ages of 8 and 18 in a really beautiful school. Sometimes when I think that they are in danger of being spoiled by too much luxury I tell them about schools as I used to know them at the back of beyond in Taranaki. Taking everything into consideration English folk do not work as hard as New Zealanders.

I am really very sorry that I cannot do as you ask and write something in the way of recollections or reminiscences; it is not through want of gratitude for or forgetfulness of all that I gained at Victoria College from 1902 to 1911, nine years full of interest and experience. It is sheer want of ability, literary or journalistic that prevents me, and I am sorry for the lack. But this I can do and do gladly, I send all my good wishes for a joyful reunion at Easter. I think of you as planning and building and launching a Silver Jubilee and pouring the oil of lubrication on all its parts, and if necessary on the waters, too, on which it sails, and with all my heart I wish success to your labours. May I be numbered among those who remember "the old clay patch" with grateful affection? But perhaps by now the clay is covered over completely with more red bricks and asphalt and green grass and trees, so that no one remembers the mud in all its perfection of 1906, or as it was, for instance, on the day when Lord Plunket laid the Foundation Stone. But if everything is improved beyond all recognition I do hope that there is page 96 still some gorse in bloom on the top of the hill at the back of the gymnasium, for I cannot come back to New Zealand until I know there is. I am trying to save enough to buy a ticket for Canada via New Zealand but it is difficult.

But one last thing I must say. Since I left home I have heard and experienced all kinds of teaching in both schools and universities and I realise now, as I could not in New Zealand, the difficulty of the task that the professors at the beginning undertook. There was teaching at Victoria College from the beginning as good as can be found anywhere, and perhaps heaven made up to us for some of the things we lacked by seeing that there was at least a leavening of inspired loyalty and devotion among the earliest students.

The Northampton School for Girls has a school song which runs thus:

In gratitude for what has been,
In hope for what is yet unseen,
We build to-day
A citadel of memory,
That treasured truth and past won skill
By faithfulness we may keep still,
And guard and hold
What faith and courage won of old.

In quest of what is yet to be,
Truth, freedom, and sweet courtesy,
We plan to-day A journey and a pilgrimage.
With friendship's discipline and peace
In wisdom's search may we not cease
Or be afraid,
But to the end be undismayed.

May I bring one brick to the citadel of affectionate memory that surrounds Victoria College?

Clara Taylor.