Miss Jones’ Letter – Christmas 1916

Nelson House, November 19th, 1916.

 DEAR OLD SCHOOL,­
Here I am in it once more. It really feels as if all the three years had slipped out and faded away. I am even head of Nelson House once more. It was just right that Miss Hancock should have chickenpox (though she may not have thought so), and I should step into her shoes, as she had done all my work for a month when I returned from Africa eight years ago, and went straight to bed with bronchitis. And it was very odd that Miss Steer should be away too, and give me Upper VI. and Special VI. History to teach. I even had my own old Algebra book and taught exactly the same old things, and all the children who used to be IV.b when I left and are now Lower VI., make precisely the same mistakes that the Lower VI. of that day used to make, but they make far less, and oh they are so good at Riders ! I was rather taken aback, when on my second day I was requested to correct an essay on Buddhism (that’s Miss Steer). I never knew enough to teach Buddhism, so guessing they must be doing Eastern Religions, I found a lecture of Canon Bernard’s on Confucius, and we did that.
It is sheer joy to be here, children, to be in the Hall for prayer s­how beautiful and quiet and dignified it is ; to see the portraits-such a very life-like one of Lord Nelson ; to see the Carpentry shed, and the marvelous splints and crutches, and cupboards, made by the girls, and their tools and benches, and the beautiful toy furniture bliss Pinckney has made out of an orange box. My beloved Museum seems to be a regular class room now-I wonder if; anyone ever “does” Museum. Miss Hymans de Tiel has left it so beautifully labelled too. Then the little quiet Oratory is such a beautiful addition to the School, and the libraries and studio properties all seem to have grown; and so has the number of forms. But do you all realise how marvelously blessed you are? If you did you would give thanks every day of your lives. Well, I expect you do.
I have come back from such a thirsty land, not only thirsty for rain, but for all your advantages, for your books and pictures, and old buildings, and music, and Cathedrals, for all that makes tradition, for all you so carelessly inherit, for history of ancient days and deeds of chivalry, for long rolls of saints and patriots and heroes.
It is true I have a country where the enormous possibilities and opportunities nearly make your heart burst, where your own history stretches only a hundred years behind you, and all the boundless future is before you, where the great spaces, and the light, and sun, and the far horizon and the stillness seem to have room for God to come close to the earth, and you throb with all the vastness and greatness of it, and long and ache to use every power in you to make some little bit of goodness for the future. But oh ! it is so difficult, and therefore so inspiring. We want every bit of help you can give us. We are young and strong, and tingling with life, but we want your very best to come out and help to bring traditions, and to bring all your experience and training, and your love and knowledge of beautiful works of man. The works of God there are so beautiful, oh so glorious-Rudyard Kipling’s
“great spaces washed with sun
Opal, and ash of roses, Cinnamon, amber, and dun”­
and the mountains, blue table mountains, or great and huge and rugged, as in the Hex River Pass, or covered with every variety of heath and gladiolus, and lilies, and orchids, besides the great South African flowers.
It is such an inspiring land because of the number of great things to be done. It is such a friendly land, where we are all one big family, we all write home every Thursday, and we all compare notes when mail comes in on Friday, and we all share joys and sorrows, because you are all so far away.
I have not touched on the war-it is too big and too full of horror. I daren’t say what it feels to be plunged into this atmosphere when every­one here has been in it three years. But it makes me glow with pride and gladness that Godolphin has been, in this tumult of grief and sacrifice, true to its high ideals, generous in giving all, and has shown to the country what it holds high as its motto:”Franac ha leal eto ge.”

ETHEL E. JONES.

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Pageant of Empire – Christmas 1916

A Pageant at the Godolphin! That was, indeed, a new idea to most of us, and it was with feelings of eager expectancy that we thronged into the Hall on that memorable evening. Here we found many changes, for the windows were covered by three great Union Jacks, and the platform was decorated with flags of every variety, making it very gay and festive. Many hands had been at work, and before we left the Hall we realised that much thought and much energy had combined to make an impression which should not quickly fade. We felt that this could not have been brought about without the infinite pains bestowed by Miss Prosser on the designing and grouping, by Miss Atkinson and Miss Lavender on the music, by Miss Eastgate, Miss Lucy, Miss Westlake, and Miss Bagnall on the training and coaching of the girls who took part.
At the opening of the Pageant we sang “0 God, our help in ages past,” immediately followed by the National Anthem. A passage had been made down the centre of the Hall, and up this a procession now slowly made its way, and thence on to the platform.
It was Britannia who passed us first, in white robe, and mantle of imperial purple, her helmet glittering as she passed into the brilliant light. As she seated herself in the midst, the rest of the procession grouped themselves near by. England and Scotland were on the one side of her throne, Wales and Ireland on the other, whilst their respective standard-bearers took up their positions immediately behind. The Chorus, in long flowing robes of deep blue or violet over brilliant rose, formed a striking background of vivid colour.
And now came the Colonies, one by one, with appropriate and sug­gestive music, to greet Britannia and to declare their loyalty, and as each made an end of speaking one of the Chorus came forward and answered with a poem of greeting. Each Colony was followed by four little attendants bearing gifts, beautiful little figures forming a very attractive part of the Pageant.
We saw Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, in white robes and golden coronets, India and the Malay States in native dress, and South Africa, land of brilliant sunshine, in the brightness of her golden robe. . . . And so we watched them pass, imperial and stately until, last of all, came the West Indies, completing the world-wide embrace of Motherland and Colonies.
Up to this time the atmosphere had been one of peace and prosperity, with only a vague threatening of future trouble. But now we heard the Serbian National Anthem, and in a moment we were caught up into the tumult of war. Out of the gloom carne the sad figure of Serbia, who, advancing slowly, knelt before Britannia with bowed head and unsheathed sword.
Then followed broken-hearted Belgium, shrouded completely in black-fit emblem of a mourning nation. Kneeling before us, she made an impassioned appeal for help. “I cry for succor! Will you heed it not?” Then, rising, she flung back her gloomy cloak, and the red and yellow of the Belgian colours flashed suddenly upon us in all the brilliance of their glowing contrast.
Suddenly we heard the familiar battle-cry, “Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!” Whose voice could it be but that of France, echoing to-day the three-fold watchword of the First Republic?
Whilst the choir sang the most beautiful of all National Anthems, came stately Russia, full of courage. and hope. Then Italy and Japan brought up the rear, and completed the dazzling scene. It was a harmonious blending of vivid colour, pink and gold, green and purple, crimson and black, with a, background In which were mingled red and white and blue.
And while our eyes were enchanted our hearts were thrilled by words of dignity and impressive stateliness. The speeches did much to create the atmosphere of solemnity and true patriotism which characterised the Pageant throughout, and we were all very grateful to Miss Eastgate, who wrote them.
But now the Pageant was drawing to a close. We rose to sing Kipling’s Recessional, after which a procession was formed once more. Slowly, slowly, it passed down the brilliantly lighted Hall, a blaze of colour, fading gradually into the sombre shadows, and thence moved into the sunset light of the garden, where another Pageant unfolded itself, making a very beautiful and impressive ending.

P. GEORGE.

PROGRAMME

HYMN
National Anthem

Enter
BRITANNIA AND PROCESSION
PROLOGUE: “Pro Patria” Owen Seaman.

Enter CANADA.
POEM “A Song of Canada” Robert Reid

Enter AUSTRALIA
POEM “Advance Australia” Andrew Lang

Enter INDIA
POEM Indian poem written two centuries ago Fakiri

Enter SOUTH AFRICA
Enter NEW ZEALAND AND MALAY STATES
POEM (S.A.) “South Africa” Kipling
POEM (N.Z.) “Battle of the Free” Bowen
POEM (M.S.)The Children’s Gift ” Noyes

Enter WEST INDIES
POEM “The Flag of England” Kipling
BRITANNIA

SERBIAN ANTHEM Enter SERBIA
RECITATION “Kossovo Day” (taken from the Serbian Liturgy)

BELGIAN ANTHEM Enter BELGIUM

MARSEILLAISE Enter FRANCE

RUSSIAN ANTHEM Enter Russia

Enter ITALY and JAPAN

BRITANNIA

RECESSIONAL Kipling

PROCESSION

Extracts from a letter from Miss Jones – Christmas 1915

DIOCESAN SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, GRAHAMSTOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, November 4th, 1915,

To-day it is 101 on the front stoep in the shade, so you must make one letter do.

We have had our Synod of Bishops here in Grahamstown. There is an annual meeting of all the S.A. Bishops, and as we had a new Bishop to be consecrated they all came here this year. The Consecration was last Sunday. It was a wonderful service, and all the arrangements were excellent. Of course in a Cathedral everyone can’t see everything. This choir is long and narrow, and the choir screen is high. The D.S.G. were given seats in the gallery, and I never saw a thing except the tips of one or two pastoral staffs and mitres in the procession. Fifteen Bishops were there, and I have seen them since in all their gorgeous copes and mitres and all with their Chaplains. Clergy were there too from all over Africa, but of course many could not come because only few clergy out here have curates. The music was quite good-the service most impressive. The Cathedral was crowded; everyone loves the new Bishop. He came out six years ago to be Warden of a Community of Sisters. Here is one instance of his ready sympathy. The night before his Consecration was our little D.S.G.’s annual festal evensong, and clergy from the town generally come, and he actually came, though the Archbishop and another Bishop were staying with him. On Monday he was enthroned, another beautiful service. I saw the procession of that; the Bishops do look fine, and are a peculiarly big set of men, especially Bishop Purse, who is 6ft. 4in. Bishop Gaul is a little wee man; he led the procession and went gaily marching out of the west door! A layman went after him and headed him off to the north aisle. Out he rushed to the north door! “Where is the aisle?” It was full of chairs, but they did proceed down it and everybody had a good look at them.

In the evening we had an At Home at the D.S.G. I marvel at my own temerity, but I thought it would do the school good, so I asked Bishops and clergy, parents and Council and wives, hosts and hostesses, and Old Girls. I simply loved it, and so did everybody. I went to the steps to welcome our new Bishop, and the girls lined up and cheered. Crowds came. I shook hands and they all talked, and there were not too many, and everybody knew everybody, and they were all greeting one another. The Archbishop asked to speak to me, and said’ he felt he could do something about getting us money to build, and would talk it over with the other Bishops.

There was a Special Service at St. Andrew’s on Sunday, and I went to hear Bishop Purse. He was wonderful on the War. All the boys, about, 160 or 170, sat as still as mice drinking it in. He spoke of the absolute worth of the war to uphold truth on the earth; that we were fighting for a right set of values, a right idea against a wrong idea; he told of the true happiness at the front, because every man there had made the supreme sacrifice and had given his all unreservedly, and that that was the only security of happinese. Then he told the boys to pray, and he said, “Don’t you know that prayer sends a reinforcement of strength into them there? If they are braver and more courageous and enduring it is our prayers that make them so.” He came to-day to our school prayers, and was just as wonderful as at S. Andrew’s. He left behind with us four counsels: (1 ) Economise, and give what money you can to the war. (2) Pray. (3) Work hard at all your school work. (4) Never grumble, and give, give, give yourself for other people always and never think of yourself. It has all been very inspiring.

E.E. JONES.