Page:Colymbia (1873).djvu/8

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
2
COLYMBIA.

but it was never supposed that I should one day become an author, nor should I have ever thought of writing a book, had it not been that I am in a manner forced to do so by the strangeness of the adventures that have fallen to my lot. This digression was required to justify my appearance as an author and to excuse my unpolished style. The truthfulness of my narrative will, I hope, compensate for the absence of the graces of composition.

The boys of our school supplemented their mental education by a physical one, in which they learned thoroughly the games of cricket, racquets, football, and became adepts in running, leaping, rowing, swimming, and all other manly and athletic exercises. The vicinity of the sea and a long reef of rocks extending far out from the shore beyond low water, which enabled us to get readily into deep water at every state of the tide, gave us opportunities for practising swimming which were taken advantage of by the boys, so that our school was renowned for its excellent swimmers and Carried off all the first prizes at the swimming competitions with other schools.

I was the elder of the two children of my father by about two years, and I excelled my less robust brother as much in athletic sports as he surpassed me in a knowledge of Greek and Latin. However, my progress in my intellectual studies was not conspicuously bad, only I greatly preferred perfecting my bodily frame to cultivating my mental faculties. My brother, on the other hand, though much inferior to me in muscular strength, was a diligent student and cut a very good figure at the annual examinations.

My father was a man of cultivated tastes, a good classical scholar, and a strict disciplinarian. He took