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but our dinner consisted of only these dishes. At a later period in the history of the school it was the custom to give two courses. The food was good and wholesome, and, as a rule, was well cooked. There were, however, exceptions to this.
Every old scholar who alludes to the question of food refers to the unfortunate method of cooking the rice, which at one time was supplied at dinner.
The Rev. Dr. Moulton says of the food supplied in his time (1846 to 1850), during the governorship of Mr. Lord: “Our fare was homely, but generally wholesome. Our greatest hardship was being compelled to eat puddings which had been “turned' during thundery weather. The badly cooked rice, which was our substitute for potatoes during the Irish potato famine of '48, was another grievance.”
An old scholar, who was at the Grove in 1849, says that in that year, “when agitation was abroad, our meals, if not scanty, were subject to attenuation. I well remember that the governor used to tell us when at meals occasionally that something must be done to curtail expenses, and asked where we should begin in the commissariat department.
This would invariably draw forth the stereotyped reply, which never failed to give the old gentleman immense satisfaction: 'The masters' supper, sir; the masters’ supper, sir.' We thought that as we had nothing to eat after six o'clock in the evening, it would not be bad policy to try abstinence on the part of the masters."
Another old Grove boy, who was there towards the latter part of Mr. Lord's and the beginning of Mr. Farrar's governorship, says: “Breakfast consisted of a thick slice of dry bread and about half a pint of skimmed milk, occasionally sour, and sometimes slightly warmed in winter. At dinner we generally had two courses; and supper, at six o'clock, was an exact repetition of breakfast. Butter, tea, and coffee we never saw. The tin cups which we had when I first entered were afterwards abolished, and their places supplied by crockery, each mug having on a picture of the Grove. We had no plates, of course, either at breakfast or supper. At dinner the same plate did duty for both courses, the pudding being served first Yorkshire pudding, fruit pies in summer, and jam tart on Sundays, were supplied and were enjoyable. But my stomach rebels at this moment at the thought of the rice, which was either boiled very dry (into 'snowballs') and then anointed with a thin unguent composed of treacle and warm water, or else baked in huge black tins, in which it looked as if it had been trodden under foot of men. You had to eat it all up, or Mrs. Farrar would probably give you a box on the ear, and stand over you till you did. I have many a time gone away from the table with food in my handkerchief to throw away, because, had I been forced to eat it, I should have been ill.” The Rev. E. H. Sugden, speaking of a later period (1863 to 1870), says: “Everything was scrupulously clean, though things were often managed in a rough-and-ready manner. The bill of fare was plain, but fairly plentiful. Breakfast consisted of dry bread and milk, and supper the same, except on Sundays, when we had weak tea and a scraping of butter on the bread. The dinner fare was as follows:
Sunday: Cold beef and tarts or pies.
There was no fourth meal, except on Sunday, when we had a piece of bread and a drink of water after chapel in the evening."
Mr. J. S. Randles (1869 to 1873) gives a similar account, and says : “We had three meals a day; breakfast consisting of dry bread and from a quarter to three-quarters of a mug of milk, the quantity being sometimes very small.” The other two meals were the same as described by Mr. Sugden.
Mr. Strachan, who was at the Grove during 1845 to 1850, says that “the 5th of November was the only occasion on which the boys tasted tea during the year at school. On that day they had tea and parkin.” He also says that one winter the school was visited by a Miss Garrett, the daughter of one of our ministers. The weather being very cold at the time when she saw the lads drinking their cold milk, she took pity on them, and suggested that they ought to have warm milk in such weather. Her wish was granted, and the milk was warmed by the addition of so many gallons of boiling water, and the boys had “warm wash," instead of pure milk, which they would have much preferred.
Although one old Grove boy speaks rather disparagingly of the food supplied, taking the opinions of boys who have been at the Grove from the beginning, there
is no question, looking at the general consensus of opinion, as well as to the general healthy condition of the school, and of the longevity of many of its scholars, that notwithstanding a complaint here and there the food on the whole was good, wholesome, and plentiful. Nothing is better than dry bread and milk for healthy lads, and with meat, vegetables, and pudding in the middle of the day, and plenty of exercise, such a diet is calculated to keep growing lads in good health. With several wise improvements, which took place during the governorship of the Rev. George Fletcher, the last governor, a needless change was made in the diet, general prejudice making the change desirable, to the extent of substituting coffee and tea with bread and butter for dry bread and milk. The dinners were improved at the same time.
There existed two evils at the school from the first in connection with the feeding of the boys. One of them was the fact that the last meal of one day was given about six o'clock in the evening, and the next meal was not given till after eight o'clock in the morning of the following day, there being an interval between the two meals of from fourteen to fifteen hours—a period certainly too long for growing lads, and especially for the bigger boys. These latter had only the same quantity of food as the smaller boys. This evil was pointed out by the commissioners appointed by the Conference to enquire into the state of the schools in 1871, who say that such regimen is toq severe, and that it would be well to temper it with a little supper. With this it is only fair to point to the general health which prevailed for so many years. The commissioners also mention with
disapprobation the monastic silence of the dinner time, and they say truly, “The best sauce at meal times is cheerful talk, and we strongly deprecate the rule which, forbidding conversation at the table, permits reading - a practice equally bad for digestion and manners.”
From the commencement this had been the rule, and, during my time at school, a boy could not even ask his neighbour for the loan of his knife without exposing himself to a penalty. For, in the absence of any plate, knife, or spoon at breakfast and supper, most of the boys possessed what they called a "stick knife,” which they used for cutting the bread. Occasionally, if a boy wished to borrow a neighbour's knife, he would ask for it by a sign, by crossing his two forefingers and moving one rapidly across the other. We were also in the habit of using what is known as the deaf and dumb alphabet at table, to avoid incurring a penalty.
The suggestions of the committee were adopted, and during Mr. Fletcher's governorship a bun was provided for the last meal before going to bed. The boys also were allowed to talk at table in moderation.
CLOTHING.— It is only reasonable to expect that a number of gentlemen without experience founding a large scholastic establishment with eighty pupils, gentlemen who were quite strangers to the requirements and practical working of any similar undertaking, would not at first find that everything fitted into its place, and that the whole of the machinery worked very smoothly and without any hitch. The working of the arrangements at the commencement of