you cannot be friends either with boy or man unless you give yourself away in the process, and Mr. Pembroke did not commend this. He, for “personal intercourse,” substituted the safer “personal influence,” and gave his junior hints on the setting of kindly traps, in which the boy does give himself away and reveals his shy delicate thoughts, while the master, intact, commends or corrects them.
Originally Rickie had meant to help boys in the anxieties that they undergo when changing into men: at Cambridge he had numbered this among life’s duties. But here is a subject in which we must
inevitably speak as one human being to another, not as one who has authority or the shadow of authority, and for this reason the elder school-master could suggest nothing but a few formulae. Formulae, like kindly traps, were not in Rickie’s line, so he abandoned these
subjects altogether and confined himself to working hard at what was easy.
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January 1, 1879
June 7, 1970