The Asparagus Trench

I'd never heard of John Lodwick, but this memoir of his Edwardian childhood under the aegis of his formidable Victorian grandfather is a delight. Here's a passage that made me laugh out loud. Somehow I'm picturing Stephen Fry.

[O]nce or twice, if I was bottom in Geometry or Algebra - both subjects which he despised - he would deign to accompany me himself, back to school, on a Sunday evening, and observing the crowd of jeering boys who greeted our arrival, would say: “Ha! I am glad to see you are popular.”
After which, dismounting, he would wave the starting handle: “Back, you young curs, back.”

An interview with Basil Bowers, the Headmaster, followed; always very much to my advantage, since the latter had been at school with my father: “Well, Basil. I said you'd never grow much. Still fond of liquorice, I dare say...What's that? Don't mumble.”
Then, with a wink at me: “Caned his bottom many a time for stealing apples. Suppose he now thinks he can cane yours.”

“Won't you put that thing down, sir, and have a glass of sherry?” Bowers pointed to the starting handle.

“All in good time. What's this about your father being made a bishop? I see the hand of Rome behind it. Why, I remember taking a catapult away from him in church once.”