Stories and Traveltips

ID #1218

Frank Rumboll’s Desperate Question, Graeme College, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.

Frank Rumboll was a young, inexperienced teacher at Graeme College in the mid-60’s and hostel master at Grant House. English was his passion which, unfortunately, was not shared by the majority of boarders. His knowledge of the subject was above the likes of us philistines and he eventually went on to become a Professor of English in Bloemfontein. Yet he was always keen to find ways of stimulating our interest in the subject.

One evening he decided to hold a quiz in the prep room.  While some questions related to subjects other than English, most involved English literature, the nuances of which were lost on the likes of us heathens. To his increasing frustration, we were unable to answer many. However, I remember one question clearly: “Who wrote Wuthering Heights?”  The perplexed look on the faces of my fellow boarders said it all --- none of us had heard of the book, let alone read it (or any other book for that matter). Then I had an inspiration. I had seen an Illustrated Classics comic called Wuthering Heights lying in the dorm that afternoon. I had not read it – the picture on the cover, all dark and gloomy, put me off. However, for some reason I remembered the name of the author. So I stuck up my hand to answer. “Emily Bronte” I replied.

Frank got a silly smile on his face. He never asked me how I knew the answer and I did not volunteer. I suspect he preferred instead to believe that his efforts were not entirely wasted on us.

Grahamstown is on the N2 west of East London, which is at the intersection of the N2 with the N6. Alan McIver NFFrank


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Last update: 2014-02-28 22:25
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.4

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