Letter from Mrs Reynolds

Extracts from the letters incorporated into the text of Singleton’s diary for 19th December 1848

I also received a letter from Mrs Reynolds, dated October 7th, in which she says:

‘You cannot feel as strongly as we do, that if ever our child does well in future life, his success must be attributed (under the blessing of God) to the training he received at Radley. Of one thing I am assured, – that you have complete possession of our dear boy’s affection. I certainly never before heard a pupil speak in similar terms of a master, and when reverential love is the abiding principle, what may we not hope for in the way of benefit?

I must own nothing so cheers me in looking at my boy as the knowledge that he is daily acquiring the love of goodness, and though at present the feeling shows itself most in attachment to an individual, I cannot but look forward to the formation of a principle, which shall prove strong enough to support him in all difficulties, and carry him through all temptations.

I am well aware that dear Harvey will have much to contend with, – his extreme childishness for his age, – his want of moral courage, and is rapid bodily development, subject him to peculiar trials; but all these adverse circumstances, for such in combination they really seem to be, are met, and most judiciously dealt with, where he now is. You know him, feel for him, and will do all in your power to fit him for future life, – what can his Parents say for al you have done? Thanks are poor returns, but a grateful heart must render them, inadequate as they are. Your record and your recompence is above, and He, who has placed His lambs under your special care, will Himself be your exceeding great reward.’

In a letter from Reynolds himself, dated January 5, 1849, he says:

‘I am indeed very much obliged to you for the kind advice contained in your last letter, and for the very great and undeserved care, which you have always taken for my welfare. I do not know how I can repay such kindness as you have shown me. All that I can do at present is, to try and profit by your instructions to the utmost of my power; and this, with God’s Grace, I will endeavour to do.’

I believe all this is perfectly genuine and spontaneous and is a great deal coming as it does, from a cold and reserved boy. I we can manage to keep up such a spirit as this, we are not very likely to be put into such a condition as Dr Moberly was lately at Winchester. I cut this out of a newspaper in the vacation:

Extract from The Globe, November/December 1848

A REVIVAL OF OLD PRACTICES. – An emeuté took place at Winchester College on Monday week among the gentlemen commoners, owing to Dr Moberly, the Headmaster, having forbidden the customary display of fireworks on the evening previous to the holidays (Saturday week). The young gentlemen, however, were determined to have their fireworks, and obtained the usual supply, which was thrown over the wall into the playground during the time of divine service on Saturday. No sooner was the service over than the commoners made to their playground, and speedily kindled a large bonfire, and commenced kicking about fireballs. Dr Moberly, being informed of what was going on, hastened to the spot, when a number of serpents were directed against him, and he was obliged to retire. On Sunday, the Doctor having intimated his intention of severely punishing the ringleaders, the youths refused to attend chapel, and on Monday morning declined making their appearance, and, for protection, barred their master out, who in his turn, barred them in. The besieged stood out for several hours, but before eventide they were starved into a surrender, when some of the most forward were flogged, and one of them, who had rendered himself particularly obnoxious, was expelled the school.