31 MAY 1930, Page 19

[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—" Old Etonian's "

article on fagging is puzzling to another (almost contemporaneous) Old Etonian. Having early in the. War been unexpectedly removed on account of air raids from a private school on the East coast I was placed at Eton . a division several removes lower than contemp- oraries at the same private school, who proceeded through the normal entrance examination. This in itself was an un- fortunate start for an anyhow lazy boy, who moreover lacked all athletic proficiency.

Even in so large a community as Eton the most " mobbed " (i.e., ragged or bullied) boys are well known to everyone else in their part of the school. As one who certainly belonged to this marked minority during the beginning of my second year. (1916), I have tried to identify your correspondent as a fellow-sufferer. But I cannot imagine any.. boy who was so unpopular that the whole of his first three years " will always remain amemory of an almost overwhehningly painful period."

Why, Sir, by his third year he must have been in the Upper School and no longer a fag ! Indeed, " Old Etonian " himself admits that fagging" was a very supportable institution," but he complains of " the exercise of authority by the senior boys." In my eXperience sustained bullying of any boy" is never by his seniors but by a mob of his contemporaries ; such bullying (which fagmasters, in fact, tend to restrain), is surely inevitable unless we abandon that freedom which is the whole

beauty of a public school (and make it such a delightful eon- . trust to the more Spartan preparatory school). The recent tragedy of a promising Public School boy's suicide would haye received less publicity abroad, for such suicides are more common among continental schoolboys who live at home. and go to clay' schooli where there is no questiOn of any fagging or caning by older liOys.

May I conclude by saying, as one who gained neither athletic for nor academic. distinctions (except a cup for. shooting, and a prize for an-essay on .1Canhoe—which I had not'and have not yet read !) that I can recall nOmore charnaingly tolerant society than that I enjOyed during my last year or two at Eton ? It was certainly more tOleinnt than OxfOrd—I am, Sir, &c., ARTHUR E. E. WADE. The Royal Automobile Club, LondOn, S.W.1.