In 1903 several students in their final year at Somerville got together to entertain their colleagues in College with a ‘Going-Down Play’. Dressed as an animal that they considered most closely resembled their nature, they appeared on stage whilst a master of ceremonies read out a verse or two describing the manner and customs of the creature. Happily for posterity, an enterprising and artistic student captured the proceedings in watercolour and pen sketches which were pasted into a scrap book along with the appropriate verses. The writer Rose Macaulay protrayed herself as a caterpillar and pictured here are the sketches and verses that capture her at that time.
The caterpillar is a long and wriggly creature often found in the garden. It has been conjectured that this animal feeds upon leaves and grass but the shyness of its habits in this matter have hitherto defeated the attempts of the most scientific enquirers to discover the kind and quantity of its food. One fact alone is certain ; the caterpillar is not carnivorous. It has been known upon one occasion to consume a whole banana but this can only be taken as an exceptional case for the animal eat (sic) nothing during the 24 hours preceding and following this phenomenal meal.