So the table was cleared, the cloth restored, and the three fell to work with Gradus and dictionary upon the morning's vulgus.
Now be it known unto all you boys who are at schools which do not rejoice in the time-honoured institution of the vulgus
The master of the form gave out at fourth lesson on the previous day the subject for next morning's vulgus, and at first lesson each boy had to bring his vulgus ready to be looked over; and with the vulgus, a certain number of lines from one of the Latin or Greek poets then being construed in the form had to be got by heart.
Now in the study that night Tom was the upholder of the traditionary method of vulgus doing.
He considered first what point in the character or event which was the subject could most neatly be brought out within the limits of a vulgus, trying always to get his idea into the eight lines, but not binding himself to ten or even twelve lines if he couldn't do this.
It may be called the vicarious method, obtained amongst big boys of lazy or bullying habits, and consisted simply in making clever boys whom they could thrash do their whole vulgus for them, and construe it to them afterwards; which latter is a method not to be encouraged, and which I strongly advise you all not to practise.
(Bonavia-Hunt xiv) The wordplay depends upon comprehending the line "odi profanum vulgus
, et arceo" ("I hate the impious mob and repel them away") as well as older Italianate pronunciation of Latin in which the soft "c" of "arceo" was pronounced like "see," which reformers in the Victorian period sought to replace with a hard "c" as in "key," which linguistic research demonstrated to be closer to the ancient Roman pronunciation.