MY LIFE AND LOVES.
Master. I can't do anything else, unfortunately!" and he sat down, evidently annoyed.
The Doctor got up and made a long hypocritical speech: It was one of those difficult decisions one is forced sometimes to make in life: he was sure that everyone would agree that he had tried to act fairly, and so far as he could make it up to the younger boy, he certainly would: he hoped next year to award him the Scholarship with as good a heart as he now gave him his cheque; and he fluttered it in the air.
The Masters all called me and I went up to the platform and accepted the cheque, smiling with delight, and when the Cambridge Professor shook hands with me and would have further excused himself, I whispered shyly, "it's all right, Sir, I'm glad that you decided as you did". He laughed aloud with pleasure, put his arm round my shoulder and said: "I'm obliged to you, you're certainly a good loser, or winner perhaps I ought to have said, and altogether a remarkable boy. Are you really under sixteen?" I nodded smiling, and the rest of the prize-giving went off without further incident, save that when I appeared on the platform to get the Form prize of books, he smiled pleasantly at me and led the cheering.
I've described the whole incident, for it illustrates to me the English desire to be fair: it is really a guiding impulse in them, on which one may reckon, and so far as my experience goes, it is perhaps stronger in them than in any other race. If it were not for their religious hypocrisies, childish conventions and above all, their incredible snobbishness, their love of fair play alone would make them the worthiest leaders of humanity. All this I felt then as a boy as clearly as I see it to day.
I knew that the way of my desire was open to me.