1923

[The following entries have been transcribed from the minute books kept in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.]


By kind permission of the Socius Honorabilis, the Society held its 79th meeting in his rooms on Monday, January 29th, 1923. After the opening ceremonies, the Dean was inducted into the dignity of ‘Frater Honorabilis’ and took the oath in a ‘still, small voice’. Messrs. Humphries and J. W. Welch were nominated for membership; and then the Princeps expressed the satisfaction of the society at the return of Frs. Hind and Kerr. The Budget did not meet with the approval of the society and was referred back so that the Comes might present it in person. Then Fr. Hind recalled to our minds the halcyon days of yore by making a violent attack on the Princeps for wearing his sash the wrong way. His violence was only rivalled by that constant fisher in troubled waters, the Pontifex. The noble Princeps seemed to pay much attention to such base intrigue, but condescended to draw the attention of the said unruly members to the rule which says that

‘The Princeps and Magister Rotulorum
In the question of sashes
Do form a quorum.’

The Magister also quoted the rule on the point, but, in spite of this unanswerable defence, a vote of censure was passed by 5 votes to 4.

After this exhibition of mob violence, Fr. Kerr, gave a most interesting account of his ‘Adventures in the Basque Country’. His fine collection of photos and pictures gave point to his descriptions. Many members seemed more interested in his description of a bullfight than in his incursion into modern history. The society is indebted to Fr. Kerr for one of the brightest and most interesting papers we have heard.

The even tenor of the meeting was rudely shattered by the awful discovery that the new member, careless of the old traditions and solemn observances of our venerable confraternity, had been using the receptacle for the sacred gold coin as an ashtray! Confusion reigned supreme: the Pontiff could only find vent for his pent up emotions in shrieks of hysterical laughter. The vandal stood unrepentant; the Fratres awaited in fear and trembling of the wrath to come… Nothing happened!

Signed:
D. C. Temple (Prin. Sen.)
L. Hill (Mag. Rot.)


On the kind invitation of the Peterhouse Historical Society, the Society held a joint meeting at Peterhouse on Friday, Feb 16th, 1923. The noble Pontiff, dragged from his eremitical seclusion, dazzled the members present by a brilliant disquisition on ‘Psychology and Politics’. He cleared our ideas with his lucidity of treatment and drove us to despair with his wonderful (and interminable) periods. A brisk discussion followed, a little light humour being provided by a gentleman who did not seem to know whether he was on this planet or had slipped off into the fourth dimension; and a very successful meeting was brought to a close by votes of thanks to the reader of the paper and to the Peterhouse Historical Society.

Signed:
D. C. Temple (Prin. Sen.)
L. Hill (Mag. Rot.)


So many things happened at the Society’s 81st meeting on Monday, Feb 26th, 1923 that a detailed account would fill the minute book. First, the members assembled in Fr. Berwick’s rooms, and, finding that a room intended for one becomes rather crowded with 17, decided to remove their tent to the rooms of the Socius.

After Fr. Forbes had been admitted to membership by the Pontiff, Fr. Rice, and the minutes of the last two meetings signed, the ill-fated Budget was again referred back thanks to a legal quibble discovered by the ex-Pontiff. Attention was drawn to the rule as to attendance at meetings and to the changed date of the Visitor’s Meeting.

The society then proceeded to the election of new officers, Fr. Thorman being elected to the Senate and Frs. Smith and Berwick as Tribunes. Fr. Hind thought it his duty to introduce a leitmotif into the harmony of the proceedings by constant interruptions and references to rules which never existed in fact. In our humble opinion, Fr. Hind is wasting his talents on teaching; as a Hyde Park orange-box rhetorician and philosopher his success would be assured.

It was decided to change the procedure for the discussion. Members should remain seated and questions should be answered in turn instead of at the end; the usual address ‘Patres, conscripti fratres’ was retained. At the first meeting next year, members will be asked to vote in the continuation or abolition of this scheme.

After the names of Messrs Gelardi, Hindley, Welch, Cuckow, Reeves and Humphries had been submitted for the consideration of the Senate, the society proceeded to enjoy the reading of three excellent papers on ‘Capital Punishment’ by Fratres Thorman, Milner and Rice. Brief, clear and to the point, these papers were very illuminating, Fr. Rice causing great amusement by his ingenious alternatives to the death sentence. After a capital discussion, the meeting was closed with the usual rites.

Signed:
D. C. Temple (Prin. Sen.)
L. Hill (Mag. Rot.)


After the opening ceremonies of the 82nd meeting, held on Tuesday, March 6th, 1923, Fr. Gelardi was admitted to membership.

The society then adjourned to the lecture room, Hall Court, where a photograph was taken, and then the Banquet was served. On the model of a dinner of 1720, the Banquet was voted a great success. After the toast of ‘the King’, given by the Princeps, the members mounted to Fr. Passant’s rooms. The minutes of the last meeting were read and passed, and then Fr. Thorman gave his revised Budget, which was at last carried after much tribulation. The meeting was formally closed and the proceedings became social.

In spite of the lack of a prepared programme, things went off very well. Fr. Passant gave us a rendering of THE song [Sentry’s song in Iolanthe], Fr. Kerr an amusing monologue, and then the Princeps dared us to deny that we ‘kenn’d’ John Peel. Fr. Simpson was a great asset, singing several lively ditties with great gusto. Just before 12, Fr. Milner sang the Mikado’s song in a most bloodcurdling voice (sic), and then the meeting broke up.

The chef d’oeuvre of the evening, however, was reserved for two or three lucky members who were privileged to see Fr. Passant and the Dean attempting to restore the piano to Mr Taylor’s rooms above. Punctuated with many groans, the struggle waxed fierce until, with a loud battle cry and a final heave, the deed was done! Two solid hours in a comfortable chair were necessary to enable Fr. Passant to recuperate!

Signed:
D. C. Temple (Prin. Sen.)
L. Hill (Mag. Rot.)


The 83rd meeting of the Society, which was the postponed Visitor’s Meeting, was held in Fr. Passant’s rooms, on Tuesday March 13th, 1923. In the unavoidable absence of the Pontifex, the opening ceremonies were dispensed with.

When all the guests had arrived, the Master read a most learned and interesting paper on the ‘Franciscans in Cambridge’. He dealt with his subject in a lively fashion, and his paper created much discussion, in which the Dean took a very prominent part, giving many curious details of the early history of the college. After very hearty votes of thanks, a most successful meeting broke up.

Signed:
L. Hill (Mag. Rot.)
D. C. Temple (Prin. Sen.)


The 84th meeting of the Society was in Fr. Passant’s rooms on Monday Oct 29th, 1923. The society quickly settled down to hear the Princeps deliver his charge. After a few words as to his unworthiness and the historical brilliance of the Pontifex whom he envied, the Princeps vividly brought before the eyes of the society its lately separated members. He praised Fr. Hind for his wise choice in setting the scene of his future work in the capital of England’s greatest county, while he condoled with Fr. Kerr on the unappreciative career he had chosen. The Princeps confessed he had no news to bring us of the doings of the ‘XXX’ Fr. XXX and the ascetic Fr. Finch and he then went on to refer rather maliciously to Olympians composure of the XXX Fr. Milner.

He then delivered a very able and true panegyric on the merits and likeable XXX of the late Princeps. The society heartily endorses his wish that his example be not forgotten by the Confraternity. Turning to the remaining members whom he collectively dubbed as ‘stalwarts’ – he passed lightly yet XXX over their merits and in some cases was limited at the existence of demerits. He then ended with an exhortation to the society, bidding its members uphold even more strongly the cause of Lady Clio.

The Magister was so overcome by the mingled flow of wit and wisdom that he was completely unable to frame a suitable reply. He was left, for several minutes filled with ominous and ever more noticeable silence looking very unlike the debonair and cool portrait which the Princeps had drawn of him. He proposed a motion in a few mumbled words (the exact utterance of which no one gathered) and was ably seconded by Fr. Smith. The Princeps then said how pleased the Confraternity was to see Fr. Thatcher back again.

Fr. Thatcher, thanking the society, drew it into a long discussion of absentees and their exams. No decision was made except that Fr. Passant made himself responsible for the excuses of honorary members. Fr. Berwick and Fr. Wood were elected to the Senate and Fr. Smith and Fr. Simpson to the Tribunes.

While Messrs Howard, Humphries, Hindley, Reeves and Bailey were proposed to the Senate as members.

A resolution was passed after much discussion, authorising the Comes and the Magister to haggle with XXX about the prices for printing cards.

Fr. Passant also proposed a return meeting with the Peterhouse Historical Society.

The Pontifex then robed himself and delivered his charge. In his own witty and delicate way he related his anguish and fears during his initiation. And he, like the Princeps, bade the society falter not in following the footsteps of the Goddess Clio.

After the usual ceremonies a very long meeting came to an end.

Signed:
J. C. Gelardi (Mag. Rot.)
L. Hill (Prin. Sen.)


At the 85th meeting held on Monday Nov 19th [1923] after the initial ceremonies, Fr. Bailey was admitted to membership. The Society then endeavoured to follow Fr. Wood through the ingenious maze of high finance which he had designed for payment of the debts of the Confraternitas. After a long discussion an equally, but much more practical, rate of subscriptions as suggested by Fr. Passant, was adopted.

The date of banquet was next discussed and owing to numerous engagements of most of the members this term it was finally decided, again in the suggestion of the resourceful Fr. Passant that if be postponed until next term.

Having skilfully disposed of two very complicated problems, Fr. Passant then, aided and abetted by the Comes, launched an attack on the Magister – his natural inclination to inefficiency and his habit of putting business off till the morrow (from which apparently Fr. Passant had suffered officially) were censured. Having broken the spirit of the Magister, the Confraternitas proceeded to propose Messrs. Hackforth, Humphries, Perrycoste, Beesetrop and Lavand to the Senate for membership.

Fr. Hill then delivered an exceedingly learned and lengthy paper on ‘Machiavelli’.

This caused a certain amount of spirited discussion which Fr. Simpson initiated, presumably that he might once again light his beloved Panatela.

A very interesting discussion (sic) broke with the usual ceremonies at a late hour.

Signed:
J. C. Gelardi (Mag. Rot.)
L. Hill (Prin. Sen.)


At the 86th meeting held on Dec 3rd [1923], Fratres Howard, Brereton and Perrycoste were admitted to the society. The society was disappointed at not being able to welcome Mr. Hackforth whom the Magister had failed to warn in time at this meeting. Fr. Passant urging the need of fresh members used the Confraternitas Messrs. Ede and Youngman to the Senate for election. The Princeps then announced that the meeting with the Peterhouse Historical Society had been arranged for Feb 18th and that Mr. Temperly had at last yielded to his blandishments and had promised to read a paper to the meeting.

After some more business which the Magister, owing to interposition of the Christmas vacation between the meeting and the writing of the minutes, regrets to have forgotten, the Confraternitas were amused and interested by Fr. Simpson’s XXX of the ‘Life and Works of Benvenuto Cellini’.

The ensuing discussion seemed to turn on two points; one, whether Cellini really hit the Prince of Orange and secondly whether he was to be considered an artist or a craftsman. Unfortunately, owing to an entire lack of knowledge of the subject on the part of the protagonists in these arguments, no satisfactory answer was found to either question. After Fr. Passant had reassured the more nervous and suspicious members of the society by promising to sleep with the golden rose bowl and vase under his bed and to lock and bar every door and window in his room, the meeting broke up with the usual ceremonies.

Signed:
J. C. Gelardi (Mag. Rot.)
L. Hill (Prin. Sen.)

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