"The desperate attempt," says Talfourd, "to compel the gentle optimist to speak ill of a mortal creature produced no happier success than the answer, 'Why, I should think, Mr. Lamb, he must have been rather an eccentric character." Whalley and Boyer were masters at Christ's Hospital. "Deputy-Grecian," "Grecian," etc., were of course forms, or grades, at Christ's Hospital. February, 1832.
Mine is a sort of Deputy-Grecian's hand, a little better, and more of a worldly hand, than a Grecian's, but still remote from the mercantile. I don't know how it is, but I keep my rank in fancy still since school-days; I can never forget I was a Deputy-Grecian.
And writing to you, or to Coleridge, besides affection, I feel a reverential deference as to Grecians still . I keep my soaring way above the Great Erasmians, yet far beneath the other. Alas! what am I now? What is a Leadenhall clerk or India pensioner to a Deputy-Grecian? How art thou fallen, O Lucifer! Just room for our loves to Mrs. D., etc.
On finding out how matters really stood, however, this stranger genial, nameless soul immediately gave to the strange boy the advantage of a subscription to a library close by, thus setting him up, as it were, in life. On another occasion, one of the higher boys, a "deputy-Grecian," found him seated in a corner reading Virgil. "Are you studying your lesson?" he asked.