The temples of the faith
‘The best school of all’
in 'At duty’s call'
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The public schools were at the height of their prestige and influence during the forty years or so before the Great War. The influence of the Victorian public schools spread widely and deeply in English society, but the number of boys, who went to them, in proportion to the population as a whole, was tiny. The Victorian public schools fastened themselves into the mind of the mass of the nation far less through their existence in fact than through the stories told about them in fiction. As the army tradition spread to the middle-class schools of Victorian foundation, it took on a much more professional tinge, which it always had for the numerous officers recruited from the relatively impoverished Irish gentry. The most important function of the public schools, in Bishop Welldon's view, was the formation of the character of English gentlemen.

'At duty’s call'

A study in obsolete patriotism

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