21 MARCH 1969, Page 8

A hundred years ago From the 'Spectator.' 20 March 1869—The

Uni- versity boat race ended, as usual, in the victory of Oxford, and London was quite melancholy, fearing that Cambridge would give up the contest, or would insist on transferring it to some pleasanter scene. Of the first change we have little fear, or we may say none. It is always safe to trust the pluck of Englishmen when beaten; but of the second, we have a good deal. Windermere appeals to the sentimental side of the students. But the oarsmen might, and we think should, offer London the distinctive alternative of accept- ing certain rules or losing its March holiday. The interference of the little steamers ought to be pre- vented by force, and Princes who stop the umpire from seeing the race should be just ducked in the river, as tailors would infallibly be. If the race is to be a national event,—and it is becoming one, —let it be prepared for with fitting regularity. A man who got in the way of the Derby horses would be killed, and nobody would cry over him.