Obituary: Frederick Courteney Selous

Published on 01 March 1916 in Obituaries

exactly fifty-one years ago, the recollection of my first sight of Selous remains as fresh and as striking as though of yesterday. I t was at Rugby, in January 1866–a big boy, looking twice as big as his fellow-boys, with a big round face, already slightly hirsute. And Selous was big, even then; big not only in physique but in mentality, energy and strength of individual character. It was not long before everyone in the kosmos which a great Public School represents–from Headmaster down to tiniest imps in ” Lower School”– recognised that something exceptional, something phenomenal, had appeared on our stage. Soon rumours of Selous’s daring exploits awed the boldest–the classic feats of Tom Brown and ” Scud E a s t ” by comparison seemed child’s play. It would be strictly inaccurate to regard these wild ventures as breaches of school rules ; since no rules that ever were framed quite contemplated the contingency of such heroic deeds. Long years later I was present at an Old Rugbeian dinner in London, when the honoured guests of the evening were our former Headmaster, Dr. Temple (then, I think, Bishop of London) and Selous. In his speech, the latter referred to one of his raids on the heronry at Combe Abbey –a place which, if I remember aright, was quite ten or a dozen miles distant from Rugby and therefore quite outside all conceivable schoolboy range. Then he told how, on the way home (his pockets bulging with Herons’

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