A JESUIT EDUCATION
Letters, poetry, school magazines, certificates and a prize for merit deriving from Conan Doyle's education at Hodder House, Stonyhurst and Feldkirch in Austria, 1868-76:
Autograph manuscript of Conan Doyle's poem, 'The Passage of the Red Sea', 50 lines in rhymed pentameters, signed 'A.C. Doyle' on first leaf and dated 14 November 1873, 4 pages, 4to, with some corrections, repairs to borders, some browning and small tears; also two printed copies of the poem, one inscribed on verso 'For Aunt Annette with Arthur's love', rust damage from paper clip;
Autograph manuscript of a mock heroic poem [by Conan Doyle], entitled 'On a Football Match between the ancient Gods & heroes', watermark of 1872, 2½ pages, 8vo;
Autograph letters signed by schoolmasters at Stonyhurst: Revd E. J. Purbrick, to Mary Doyle, on Conan Doyle's prospects, two 1875, 1876, 6 pages, 8vo; Revd Reginald Colley, to Conan Doyle, expressing his confidence 'you have talents enough & we have every reason to hope that you mean to make the most of them', 1876, 4 pages, 8vo;
Autograph letter signed by Conan Doyle 'Arthur C. Doyle, to his aunt Annette Doyle', Stonyhurst, 4 pages, 8vo.
Autograph letter signed by Conan Doyle ('Arthur C. Doyle') to Dr [Bryan Charles] Waller, Edinburgh, 9 September 1876, 2 pages, 8vo; with two letters by Waller to Conan Doyle, one an autograph homily 'Self-reliance is as different from bumptious and ignorant assumption as gold is from tinsel', 8 pages, 8vo, incomplete; the second, an autograph letter signed by Waller, on Conan Doyle's education, undated, 4 pages, 8vo;
George Craik, The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties, London, 1872, calf, 8°, inscribed in gilt on upper cover 'Merenti Collegium Stonyhurst', a first prize awarded to Conan Doyle, 1873, printed Stonyhurst ticket on front paste-down, with manuscript insertions;
Conan Doyle's Certificate of Matriculation, University of London, engraved with manuscript insertions, signed by William B. Carpenter, 28 July 1875, three small holes in folds, margins holed at four corners, 278 x 388mm;
'The Feldkirchian Gazette', edited by Arthur C. Doyle, two issues for October and November 1875, written entirely in Conan Doyle's hand in violet ink, in two exercise books, original blue covers, right-hand corner of upper cover of November issue torn away, 4to:
October: title page (half cut away) and ten contributions of which seven are signed 'A. D.' including 'Verses Written on the imaginary case of a brilliant defence of the goals by Lomax, parody on McCauley' [sic], 27 pages, plus blanks;
November: title page 'The Feldkirchian Gazette. A scientific and literary monthly magazine. Edited by Arthur C. Doyle. Vol II', with four contributions by Conan Doyle including verses on 'A Football Match', 'Feldkirchian Notes', 'The Song of the Bombardier' and 'The Roundabout Papers' prose unsigned, 15 pages only (remainder removed);
Sketch of the armorial window in the refectory at Stonyhurst.
Arthur Conan Doyle was educated by Jesuits from the age of ten. In 1868 he entered Hodder House, the preparatory school for the great public school, Stonyhurst in Lancashire. He progressed to the upper school in 1870 where he spent five years. In 1875 he matriculated at London University, 'a good all-round test', as he explained in Memories and Adventures, 'which winds up the Stonyhurst curriculum, and I surprised everyone by taking honours'. He then proceeded to a Jesuit school at Feldkirch in Austria for the school year 1875-76. Returning home to Edinburgh he came under the influence of such mentors as Dr B. C. Waller, a significant figure in his intellectual development.
It was Conan Doyle's Stonyhurst contemporaries who first recognised his talent for storytelling. He recalled, 'On a wet half-holiday I have been elevated on to a desk, and ... talked myself husky over the misfortunes of my heroes ... I was bribed with pastry to continue these efforts ... Sometimes, too, I would stop dead in the thrill of a crisis, and could only be set agoing again by apples'. The Idler, January 1893, Vol 2, p. 635.
No other copies of the Feldkirchian Gazette are recorded. (15)