The "Farey" in the Pond

This account of this incident in 1963 was written by Peter Douglas.

Roderick Farey taken in September 1963, two months after the incident described here.At 10:45, Roderick Farey was sitting by me.  As the minutes left of mid-morning break ticked away, the vociferous cries of the school could be heard from the playground. The rumour over the last few days had been that Farey, next year’s Deputy Head Boy, and not a very popular prefect throughout the current year, was going to be thrown into the fishpond. The cries that we could hear were summoning Farey's presence in the playground.  Naturally he was reluctant and declined, despite Ian McIlravie's efforts to pull him out.

I went into the Library where I had a perfect view of the sea of green turmoil which jostled and shouted as it moved from the playground, below the cloakrooms, into the grass quadrangle.  Then, to my right, through the window I saw Farey appear, with several prefects about him, on the top steps leading from the Music Room.  Amid the cries of the tumult beneath, two or three fifth year boys went up towards him.  He was grinning nervously.  They seized him and dragged him down the steps and across the grass towards the fishpond, which was murky and weedy.  He now began to struggle and fight, and his expression was now one of incredulous fear and vain terror.

The Pond (taken in 1993)There was a writhing mass of bodies that surrounded the victim.  There was then a muffled splash, but the crowd hid the incident from me.  The deed accomplished, the crowd quickly dispersed and there emerged from its centre the sorry and bedraggled figure of Farey.  Behind him I saw Adrian Hoffman swinging punches at the fifth formers about him.  Farey, though the centre of attraction still, was now a solitary figure, accompanied only by the amused gazes of the retreating mob.  We did not think that they would really do it – but they did!  He walked sloshingly and clumsily in our direction with an expression of amazed disgust on his face.  His twisted clothes were totally wet through.  He turned and went up the steps towards the Library entrance, and his sloshing footmarks went up the steps and then right towards the Science Block, this side of the lavatories.  It seemed that his quick yet undecided walking was preventing him from losing his temper. 

Pooley went home to fetch some dry clothes for poor old Farey.  Farey showed himself after break, changed and almost proud now, as if some kind of hero, worthy of praise and honour for undergoing what he had. 

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