London at the End of the Century:A Book of Gossip
a Beckett, Arthur William
COACHING A CREW A LA BOUCICAULT.
Until the occasion to which I refer I must confess that I had very vague notions about the training of a crew. I think if I had analysed, so to speak, my memory I should have found in the residuum a recollection of at Drury Lane. To my lasting regret I did not see the revival of Boucicault's play a year or two ago at the National Theatre. My friends and colleagues, the dramatic critics of told me at the time that it was old- fashioned, out of date, and the rest of it. My friends and colleagues are rather fond of that sort of sweeping denunciation. It does not mean much. It merely suggests that if they had to write such a play nowadays they would write it very differently.
|And no doubt they would. And the admission is not calculated to lessen the reverence felt for the memory of Dion dramatist. But I saw when it was produced, and distinctly recollect an ex-prize-fighter getting the Oxford crew to sit upon chairs in a line and of rowing. Then the ex-prize-fighter (who was the coach) sang the crew a song, and the nine (for the cox took part in the delightful recreation) joined in the chorus. The daughter of the ex-prize-fighter (if my memory does not play me false) exercised a baleful influence over the stroke of the Dark Blues, and that eminent athlete would have gone completely to the bad had he not been pulled up at the last moment by his the Oxford steerer.|
said the Dark Blue coxswain,
Thus spoke the steerer, or words to the same effect. Jack (I think the stroke was called Jack) became a changed man from that moment. He gave up balls down the river, was rescued by his colleagues from a sponging house, and won the race shoulders square and a straight back in a common paddle!
Such was my preconceived notion of training an
|eight. After my real experience I can confidentially say,|