Oxford man who professed to be astonished at my knowledge of literature and one day he came to me with the news that Grant Allen, the writer, had thrown up his job as Professor of Literature at Brighton College: "why should you not apply for it: it's about two hundred pounds a year and they can do no worse than refuse you."
I wrote to Taine at once, telling him of the position and my illness and asking him to send me a letter of recommendation if he thought I was fit. By return of post I got a letter from him recommending me in the warmest way. This letter I sent on to Dr. Bigge, the Headmaster, together with one from Professor Smith of Lawrence and Dr. Bigge answered by asking me to come to Brighton to see him. Within twenty-four hours I went and was accepted forthwith, though he thought I looked too young to keep discipline. He soon realised that his fears were merely imaginary: I could have kept order in a cage of hyenas.
A long book would not exhaust my year as a Master in Brighton College; but only two or three happenings require notice here as affecting my character and its growth. First of all, I found in every class of thirty lads, five or six of real ability, and in the whole school three or four of astonishing minds, well graced, too in manners and spirit. But six out of ten were both stupid and obstinate and these I left wholly to their own devices.
Dr. Bigge warned me by a report of my work exhibited on the notice-board of the Sixth Form that while some of my scholars displayed great improvement, the vast majority showed none at all. I went to see him immediately and handed him my written resignation to take place at any moment he pleased. "I cannot bother with the fools who don't even wish to learn", I said, "but I'll do anything for the others."