Spankey at Eton

Spankey at Eton by Sydney P. Hall. 1870. Wood-engraving, 3 1/8 x 3 1/4 inches. From Recollections of Eton, p.38. Scanned image and text by George P. Landow. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the site and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow ]

Passage illustrated

"I followed to where an old man was dispensing various articles of confectionery from a large hand-barrow, which he had stationed up against the wall. Ices, calces of all sorts, cherries and strawberries, were being distributed, most of them being given "on tick," i.e., on credit, to the boys who crowded around; but none of these delicacies were much in my way. I was more attracted by the display of another of these licensed vendors, who had a very miscellaneous collection spread out on the top of the wall. First came a tin can supported on legs, and filled with tartlets of all sorts; behind this were a quantity of flowers in pots, evidently intended for sale; and not the least striking object was the guardian of them all. Not that he was positively anything extremely out of the way; there were no glaring peculiarities of dress or manner; but still people who gazed at him, even for the first time, could not help feeling that they were in the presence of a character. A stout figure, dressed in a somewhat long coat of dark-blue cloth, with a velvet collar to it, was surmounted by a face whose decidedly rosy hue and small twinkling eyes betokened a good nature and an amount of quiet humour which it was impossible to overlook. There was a calm sedate- ness, too, which seemed as if nothing could disturb it; the crowd of questioners about him appeared not to have the smallest influence, his movements still continued to be gone through leisurely, and his words came out slow and measured, like bubbles rising from a well of oil. This was no less a personage than Spankey, as his name was supposed to be throughout all Eton. Who he was, none could ever tell; no one knew where he came from or any of his relations." — Recollections of Eton, p. 39.


An Etonian [Charles Frederick, d. 1892]. Recollections of Eton. London: Chapman and Hall, 1870.

Last modified 26 July 2006