Author Topic: The Davies at Eton  (Read 3884 times)

Michelle

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The Davies at Eton
« on: January 09, 2016, 11:36:25 PM »
Hello, new here. I was flipping through Cyril Connolly's Enemies of Promise (a book that's 2/3 literary criticism and 1/3 autobiography of Connolly's Eton days) and was surprised to find a passing reference to Nico. Some further digging produced a quote where he refers to Michael as one his heroes. It got me thinking that there's such a huge amount of material available on Eton that some of it must contain some information about the Davies boys.

What I've found that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere:

A collection of letters (http://solo.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/primo_library/libweb/action/display.do?tabs=detailsTab&ct=display&fn=search&doc=oxfaleph011866911&indx=1&recIds=oxfaleph011866911&bt=europeanaapi)  from George, Michael and Nico's housemaster (and Peter's tutor) Hugh Macnaghten. They were written during WWI to cheer up his former students on the front. He mentions Michael a lot.  He refers to a humorous poem that Michael had written for the Eton College Chronicle. All the Chronicles up to 1922 are available online but nowhere does it say who wrote any of the articles or poems so I thought this was an interesting find.

Some videos of the wall game. Peter played in 1913, Michael 1917-1918 and Nico 1920-21.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9Alna0thSE from 1921
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSdlWtk1grI also from 1921.
http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060005443?bt=europeanaapi from 1917 (skip to about 2:20)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYezOJFku40 and from 1910-1919.

Can anyone identify Nico/Michael/Peter in these videos? Being a colleger Peter would be playing in the lighter stripes (purple and white) while oppidans Nico and Michael would be in the darker (orange and purple).

These were all new to me. Anybody have anything else?

Michelle

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Re: The Davies at Eton
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2016, 12:01:25 AM »
The poem.

[Three House-Masters and the Captain of the School have been
summoned by James Pearce to appear before the Justices of the
Peace at Slough, for various offences against the Defence of the
Realm Act. Up to the time of going to press, no news has been
heard. There is much anxiety in the School.]

Say, shall the triple-shining-mail
Of Ancient Learning nought avail ?
Nor purple beauty sink the scale
Of Pearce ?

O ! must thou turn the Slovian key
Upon the academic three—
Incarcerate the Senior Pre,
O! Pearce !

Ye favoured wearers of the gown,
Shall they that bear our classic crown
And he—your leader—knuckle down
To Pearce ?

Nay, lend an ear to their distress
As, with unregulated tress
And palm obverted, they confess
To Pearce.

" James, we repent we kindled night
With illegality of light.
To loose our dogs—it was not right,
Our Pearce!"

Lest on a day, lest on a day
When they return to Henry's sway
They may not thank thee (yet they may),
James Pearce.
from ECC Thursday February 14, 1918

It made me laugh. Macnaghten explains that his dog had gotten loose one night and the others had had chinks of light showing during the blackout.

The quotes from Cyril Connolly about Michael and Nico can be found here: https://books.google.com/books?id=2KdcpKeCQR8C&pg=PT140&lpg=PT140&dq=cyril+connolly+nico+davies&source=bl&ots=yh2Yt35OiD&sig=fRuXhuE88DjTCZL8T_SYiTkr7QM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjLgpz43p3KAhWC6SYKHd5yCdMQ6AEIIzAB#v=onepage&q&f=false

Nicholas

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Re: The Davies at Eton
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2016, 01:18:29 AM »
You will find my transcriptions from the Eton house captains' books on this website.  The librarian at Eton thought there may be a way of identifying work published anonymously in the Chronicle, but I never followed it up; you may wish to do so.  Whatever was said after his death, I felt that, by 1918, Michael was completely bored by Eton and was glad to leave.   

Dani1923

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Re: The Davies at Eton
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2021, 01:03:31 AM »
Through the Eton College Chronicle archives I found an issue from June 6, 1918, that has Michael’s name (well his last name, but I know it’s him) a few times.

First there’s a review of a speech Michael gave and it says he didn’t sound interested in giving the speech, and now we know that it’s probably because he was losing interest with Eton at this time.

But also Michael and I guess the other members of Macnaghten’s House recited poetry and performed excerpts of plays. Michael recited the poem “Amaturus” by William Johnson Cory. He played a character called Mr. Sneer in a scene from the play “The Critic” by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. I found an excerpt online of Hugh Macnaghten’s book “Eton Letters 1915-1918” (I don’t own the book) that mentions this event and Macnaghten wrote, “Michael Davies as Sneer one of the very best performances I have ever seen.” Another play excerpt was performed from Act 2 Scene 4 of  Molière’s play “Le Médecin malgré lui” or “The Doctor In Spite Of Himself” and Michael played Lucinde, daughter of Geronte.

Here is a link to the issue:

https://archives.etoncollege.com/PDFViewer/web/viewer.html?file=%2fFilename.ashx%3ftableName%3dta_chronicles%26columnName%3dfilename%26recordId%3d787%23page%3d1

Dani1923

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Re: The Davies at Eton
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2021, 01:07:26 AM »
In another excerpt from the Eton Letters book, Hugh Macnaghten wrote, “Michael Davies has to leave after St. Andrew’s Day to go to Bushey, so we have no chance of the House cup, unless a plague falls on other Houses and spares us.”