The Annual Meeting of the Governors of the School, followed by the presentation of certificates for scholastic, successes, was held on Tuesday, February 29th, when Lord Methuen was re-elected Chairman of the Governors. The Hon. Lady Hulse presented the certificates in the presence of a large gathering in the Hall of the School. Canon Morrice presided, and was supported; in addition to Lady Hulse, by Miss Douglas, Miss Style, the Mayor of Salisbury (Mr. James Macklin); Canon Myers, Mr. S. R. Atkins, and Mr. Ralph Paget.
Miss DOUGLAS, in presenting the report of the School, said:
May I say how greatly I regretted my absence for a few weeks from the School, and how, full of gratitude I felt for the kind messages from my many friends, and how truly thankful I am to get my harness on again after my long holiday, and to use my eyes freely again. I should like to say first how much we miss our Chief, Lord Methuen, and I think perhaps he would be cheered by receiving a telegram from us to-day, telling him that we remember him, and that we send him our very best wishes. We know that as Governor of Malta he must have his hands very full, and that the strain of endeavouring to meet the demands on his time and thoughts and feelings must be very great with the constant arrival of hundreds of gallant men who have been wounded. (The telegram received a most kind reply from Lord Methuen.)
Next, may I say on behalf of the whole School how very grateful we are to Lady Hulse for consenting, to be a Governor, and for coming here to-day to give away the certificates, and to speak to us, and for all the sympathy and help that must come to the School from her connection with it.
Another pleasure is the welcoming here as Governor our very kind friend of so many years’ standing, Canon Myers. Many of us did not quite like his migrating, from this part of Salisbury to the Close, but at least the Godolphin School may now congratulate itself on the fact that he is willing to consider it his duty to be here perhaps even more than when he was Rector of St. Martin’s. With his becoming a Governor is linked the fact that our kind friend the Dean felt that he must resign his place on the Governing Body. We are very grateful to him for his kindness to the School, and his interest in it, and we shall not forget his way of making each girl here feel that it was a pleasure to him to meet the red hat-bands in the City or in the Close.
MESSAGE TO ENGLISH GIRLHOOD
Lady HULSE prefaced all inspiriting address to the girls by expressing the hope that she might be able to fulfil Miss Douglas’ hopes in the capacity of a Governor of the School. It was with great pride and pleasure that she learned of her election as one of the Governors. Those who elected her did her a greater kindness than they knew in linking her with the school’s life of industry and high ideals. She came among them at a time of unprecedented gravity. Our great Empire, that sacred trust committed to our care, had never stood in the danger in which it stands today; our country had never been in such peril, not even in the days when our gallant Elizabethan seamen smashed the power of Philip of Spain. Things are very different now. To hold our Empire, and to take our place when the time comes, as it would come, in the re-civilisation of the world, we have to win on land and in the air, as well as on sea. To crush, or to help to crush, with the help of our Allies, the mighty military and scientific organisation of Germany, and her servile friends, was a stupendous task, and one which, before it was over, would tax all the fortitude and all the courage of our race to the uttermost. She was in profound sympathy with the view Miss Douglas took as to the aspects of the war which the School should assist in. There were plenty of older people to dwell upon the horrors of the war, and upon the countless sinful acts committed by our enemies; but it was for the girls on the threshold of life, with their characters yet unformed, to dwell upon the great deeds of the war` and upon the splendid qualities it had called forth in our race. It was for them to fix their minds upon the glorious courage of our men in battle, upon their cheerful endurance of unde5cribable hardships, their wonderful patience under every form of suffering. They could also look up to and revere the many acts of heroic self-sacrifice performed in the war – not all of them successful, it was true. Some had been attempts which failed, but in battle, as in quiet every-day life, there were some attempts which, though then failed to achieve, were yet so glorious that they almost ranked as victories. (Applause.) With their hearts and minds filled with these great things, they would come to the highest duty of all which lay before them; that of taking their part in what was called the re-building of England.
NATIONAL DUTY OF THE FUTURE
In Speaking to the girls of the grave things, let them not think she meant they were not to enjoy life. Quite otherwise. Enjoy life to the full, for those who did not enjoy life could not help others to enjoy life. She meant that always before them they were to keep the thought of the great national duty, of taking their part in the reconstruction of national life. Never let anyone shake their faith and conviction that good would and must come out of the ashes of this terrible war. Their part would be clear enough, the force of example, the formation of character, when they were old enough to work for the public good. But this building of which she spoke would not be an easy task. The forces that would hinder this re-building of the England they believed in, a stronger, better England, would be very fierce and very many. There would come, for one thing, an end of the false prosperity caused by the war. That would mean, sooner or later, probably sooner, labour troubles; possibly grave labour troubles, unemployment, poverty and discontent, not unreasonable discontent. Besides all these difficulties, there would always be the half-hearted people and the slackers, who always stand in the path of progress, and would always be telling them that things would have to go on as they had been, and that they could not change human nature. But it, was not in the Godolphin School that they learned to tolerate half-hearted people and slackers. She, wanted them to let nothing deter them from the work which would be before them when they looked for it. Let neither delays, difficulties nor disappointments, not even defeats, deter them. Defeats, as they know, when taken at their real value, were an incentive to further effort. Believe in their work; believe in it always with their heart and soul, and others would believe, and others would follow.
WHY HEROES DIED
They would require two qualities which were somewhat rare in youth, patience and perseverance. Things would move slowly in this work of which she had spoken, and before the foundations of this better, stronger England are “well and truly laid,” many who were present that day would have joined the heroes who had died fighting for the country, while, the younger generations were still fighting for the cause for which those heroes died. She begged them not to forget, and never to let their children forget, that those men did not die only to defeat Germany; not even, she thought, to uphold our Empire. They died for all the eternal truths, for all that is most honoured and most honorable in life; for all that Germany has cast aside and trampled under foot in her ignoble craving for what she called world-power and world-domination. It would be for the youth of England to see that these men did not die in vain. It might seem to them she was speaking to them more as if they were the future men of England than the future women of England: but in this great work of re-construction which lay before them there would, she thought, be few distinctions drawn, for if the war has taught us anything it has taught us that the power for good wielded by women in the future is great and unbounded. (Hear, hear.) And so through these dark days of suffering they must go forward, strong in their faith in the certain triumph of God’s mercy and God’s truth; strong in their determination to do their duty to this country with all their heart in this great work before then. They would be able to do their part most loyally in this war if through all the doubts and difficulties they would “in courage, keep their hearts; in strength lift up their hands.” (Applause.)
Upon the notion of Mr. Atkins, seconded by the MAYOR, cordial thanks were voted to Lady Hulse for her address, and Canon Morrice was thanked for presiding, on the proposition of Canon Myers, seconded by Mr. Paget.
The proceeding, concluded by the girls leading the singing of the National Anthem.