The Last Term

These notes are based on those written by Isabel Quigly for the OXFORD WORLD’S CLASSICS edition of The Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) with the kind permission of Oxford University Press. The page numbers below refer to the Macmillan Uniform Edition of Stalky & Co. (1899), the collection in which this story first appeared.

Publication history

The story was first published in The Windsor Magazine in May 1899, and subsequently collected in Stalky & Co. (1899) It was later included in The Complete Stalky & Co. (1929)

The story

It is Stalky & Co.’s last term. Stalky is off to Sandhurst, Turkey to Cooper’s Hill (the Engineering College) and Beetle to journalism in India. They have not been made prefects, and they think little of the ‘Sixth’, which is full of clever academic boys of little character.

The three go down to town to say farewell to Mother Yeo in the dairy, and her pretty daughter Mary, and on the way are challenged by Tulke, a sixth-former, for being out of bounds. They ignore him, and when – from the dairy – they see him passing in the street, they persuade Mary to go out and give him a kiss.

She does so, and Tulke flees in embarrassment. On their return they are summoned by the prefects, but make fools of them with the help of the story of Tulke’s ‘amours’. Meanwhile Beetle has made a nonsense of King’s Latin exam paper by altering the type at the printers. They [are leaving the Coll. on a high note.