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The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review, June 1924

Capping Day

page 36

Capping Day

Group of academics pulling a cart

Capping has become very attenuated nowadays; it may, indeed, be made a mere note. Capping in 1924 may be divided into four paragraphs: (1) The Capping Ceremony, (2) The Capping Ball, (3) The Grads.' Reception, (4) The Undergrads' Supper. The Extravaganza having ceased to have anything to do with Capping will be found under a heading of its own, in glory, keeping to itself.

I. The Capping Ceremony.

This interesting survival of the prehistoric past took place in the Town Hall on Friday, May 9, at (approx.) 3.30 p.m. The graduates this year were placed in the choir seats with the object of getting the rowdy element of the audience under the eye of Authority. Mr. Clement "Watson, acting for the Chairman of the College Council, made the usual inaudible speech, being cut off promptly after five minutes by the aforesaid rowdy element. Professor Brown got well on his way in an excellent speech, but defeated the a. r. e. by stopping at 4 mins. 55 secs. The graduates then filed past and shook hands with Professor Brown, who as Vice-Chancellor conferred the degrees. The function then ceased. We do not know who was responsible for the shame and scandal of totally ignoring the College Songs, which were printed on the programme—what might have been done was shown by the way in which "Just One Stave More" was sung by the students after the ceremony was over. There was absolutely no excuse for closing down the proceedings in the abrupt, bad-tempered way that was done; it was an exceptionally orderly Capping—there was noise, but it was well organised, and both speeches were given a fair run and dead silence. Authority threatened to throw up the ceremony during the reading of the graduates' names, and for this likewise there was no excuse. The only explanation seems to be that Authority had a very bad fit of panic at a peculiarly inopportune time.

II. The Ball.

This was held in the Town Hall the same night, very well organised by a committee under Mr. H. L. Richardson. The decorations were those used for the Fleet Ball previously in the same week. Supper excellent. Partners ideal. Walk home afterwards divine. A great night.

page 37

III. Graduates' Reception.

The graduates of the year were entertained to a very cheerful social evening by the Graduates and Past Students' Association in the Pioneer Club rooms on the evening of May 8—an excellent variant on the customary luncheon, leaving as it did sufficient time on the Great Day to get oneself sufficiently well-groomed and be-gowned with an absence of that breathless rush generally so characteristic of the occasion. Miss Pigou sang very well, Miss Thyra Baldwin recited, Miss Frances and Miss Eudora Henry played the violin and piano, and Miss Clachan accompanied the singers. Professor Kirk, in hailing the new graduates, dispensed some characteristic words of wisdom and of cheer; and Mr. D. S. Smith, as President of the Graduates and Past Students' Association, invited them all very seductively into the fold. Supper and the Final Chorus concluded the evening's work.

IV. Undergrads.' Supper.

The undergrads.' supper straggled in in the rear of a scattered bunch of Capping festivities—"last, loneliest, exquisite, apart," as Rudyard Kipling lied generously in another connection. The lions of the evening ranged themselves at the long table that Messrs. Gamble and Creed had thoughtfully provided. We others disposed ourselves variously about the room. Jules Malfroy fell upon the floor, the rest of us upon the salad and cakes. The King was drunk. So was the College. But before the latter toast could be honoured Mr. J. Nicholls vented a grievance. He had entered Victoria College in all innocence. He had found the place given up to learning. He felt like John Bunyan's Christian in Doubting Castle (if they knew what he meant) with Professor Despair for overlord. Could not something be done about it? Had his audience read Tennyson's "Princess"? There was an education now. What? They had not read it! Very well, had they been to Miss Baber's? There should be more social intercourse, amicitia magis sapientia, a Chair of Social Intercourse. Mr. Nicholl's vision of the future faded. Mr. Yaldwyn took up the cudgels, and proposed the Profs. What would the College be without them? Utopia. Eden, yes Eden. Personally, he liked them very well privately, but publicly—no. They were one of the afflictions due to the Pall. Professor Boyd-Wilson defended the Profs. Without them there would be no students, none at all. He had degrees of affection for students. Footballers and trampers lay nearest his heart. He proceeded to draw a ground plan of his heart. Mr. Lockie rose to propose the toast of the graduates. He also had a heart. Those who scraped through degrees were nearest his. Mr. Byrne thanked the under-graduates on behalf of the graduates. He exhorted his fellow-graduates to join the Graduates' Association. Yes, he had joined himself. Mr. Baume Avound up the proceedings Avith an announcement that the lower room would be available for dancing until 11.30 p.m. The usual solicitude for the King's salvation was expressed feelingly, and the assembly dispersed to the shrines of Morpheus and Terpichore variously. Mr. Baume and an efficient committee saw that the proceedings ran smoothly, and Mr. L. Daniells and Miss Pigou enlivened the tedium tunefully.