on the Great Plains and a myriad entrancing romantic pictures opened to my boyish imagining. I wanted to see the world and I had grown to dislike England; its snobbery, though I had caught the disease, was loathsome and worse still, its spirit of sordid self-interest. The rich boys were favored by all the Masters, even by Stackpole; I was disgusted with English life as I saw it. Yet there were good elements in it which I could not but see, which I shall try to indicate later.
Towards the middle of this winter term it was announced that at Midsummer, besides a scene from a play of Plautus to be given in Latin, the trial-scene of "The Merchant of Venice" would also be played—of course, by boys of the Fifth and Sixth form only, and rehearsals immediately began. Naturally I took out "The Merchant of Venice" from the school library and in one day knew it by heart. I could learn good poetry by a single careful reading: bad poetry or prose was much harder.
Nothing in the play appealed to me except Shylock and the first time I heard Fawcett of the Sixth recite the part, I couldn't help grinning: he repeated the most passionate speeches like a lesson in a singsong, monotonous voice. For days I went about spouting Shylock's defiance and one day, as luck would have it, Stackpole heard me. We had become great friends: I had done all Algebra with him and was now devouring trigonometry, resolved to do Conic Sections afterwards, and then the Calculus. Already there was only one boy who was my superior and he was Captain of the Sixth, Gordon, a big fellow of over seventeen, who intended to go to Cambridge with the eighty Pound Mathematical Scholarship that summer.
Stackpole told the Head that I would be a good Shylock: Fawcett to my amazement didn't want to