Leigh Hunt

Leigh Hunt, a writer of the early Romantic period, was a classmate of Charles Lamb, and later an editor, essayist, and minor philosopher. Like Lamb, he had to leave school at "...fifteen when I put off my band and blue skirts for a coat and neckcloth. I was then first Deputy Grecian, and I had the honour of going out of the school in the same rank, at the same age, and for the same reason, as my friend Charles Lamb. The reason was, that I hesitated in my speech...It was understood that a Grecian was bound to deliver a public speech before he left school, and to go into the Church afterwards; and as I could do neither of these things, a Grecian I could not be. So I put on my coat and waistcoat, and what was stranger, my hat; a very uncomfortable addition to my sensations."

Hunt elsewhere describes an incident of brutality which makes one shudder. The teacher of the upper division, Reverend James Boyer, knocked one of Hunt's teeth out "...with the back of a Homer, in a fit of impatience at my stammering...the blood rushed out...he turned pale, and on my proposing to go out and wash the mouth, he said, "Go, child" in a tone of voice amounting to the paternal..."

added July 3, 1996