Autobiography, with Letters

By William Lyon Phelps | Go to book overview

18
CLYDE FITCH

ONE person who unites in my memories schooldays and the theatre was Clyde Fitch, a classmate in the High School, who appeared on the monthly reports as William C. Fitch. He was even at the age of fourteen a complete individualist; he was unlike any other boy I had ever seen. He hated outdoor games and would have nothing to do with them; instead of speaking our dialect, he spoke English accurately and even with elegance; he was immaculately, even exquisitely clothed; he made no friendships among the boys and it was evident that he regarded us as barbarians, which we were; we showed it in many ways and particularly in our treatment of him. He seemed to be an impossible person. We treated him exactly as the undergraduates at Oxford ten years earlier had treated Oscar Wilde; they threw him in the Cherwell and wrecked the beautiful decorations of his rooms in Magdalen.

Every morning at 'long recess' we ran out into the school yard and played football furiously for twenty minutes; Fitch remained in the schoolroom, writing notes on perfumed paper and tossing them to the girls; he seemed to be deep in correspondence during most of the school hours. I remember sitting next to him in the class in Caesar, and despite the ever imminent danger of being suddenly called upon to recite--which he did easily and well--I observed he was engaged in the rapid composition of a letter on light blue paper; when he had finished it to his satisfaction he tossed it with surprising accuracy to a

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