THE CHERRY STONES:
'Workt hI ti sanmt Satjr.
THE SHADOW OF THE CROSS. An Allegory. (In
library and in superfine 16mo. Editions.)
THE DISTANT HILLS. An Allegory. (In Editions
uniform with the above.)
IHE OLD MAN'S HOME. A Tale. (In Editions nm-
form with the above.)
THE KING'S MESSENGERS. An Allegorical Tale.
(In Editions uniform with the above.)
A COLLECTED EDITION of these FOUR ALLE-
GORIES, elegantly/ printed in one Volume. (In
Turkey morocco, and in English library binding.)
THE FALL OF CR(ESUS; A Story from Herodotus,
designed to connect the Study of History with the
Doctrine of a superintending Providence.
THE WARNINGS' OF THE HOLY WEEK, &o.;
being a CoURSE of PAROCHIAL LEcOUREa for the
WEEK BEFORE EASTER, and the EASTER FE TIVAIa.
~7j7~:~a~r7ii; 1~;7 .;;I~~a
S dialr fur uiut4.
PARTLY FMOM THE M88. OF THE
REV. WILLIAM ADAMS,
lttorat t ce t dblt M an's sonte," tc.
EDITXD BY THM
REV. H. C. ADAMS.
WITR ENGRAVINGS EXECUTED BY BOBBETT AND EIDONDS,
FROM DESIGNS BY MATTESON.
GENERAL PROT. EPISCOPAL SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION,
DANIEL DANA, JR., AGENT,
DEPOSITORY 20 JOHN STREET.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861,
BY JouH W. MrITCsIL,
(As Treasurer of the General Protetant Episcopal Sunday School Union,)
In the Ofice of the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York.
JOHN W. ADAMS
EMILY E. C. ADAMS
btis little olnnme is Snsttibt
THEIR AFFECTIONATE UNCLE
H. C. A.
MANY years have passed away since my
lamented brother first delighted a party of
children, assembled at a Christmas entertain-
ment, with the simple outline of this Tale.
It was repeated -by him on other occasions
of a similar kind; and he was often urgently
entreated by his youthful audiences to pub-
lish the Story. During the summer of, 1842,
after the first attack of the fatal disorder
which ultimately removed him from us, and
before his departure for Madeira in the au-
tumn of that year, he occupied himself in
committing to writing the larger portion of
the Story, with the view of its ultimate adapt-
ation to the Press. The little Tale was then
laid aside, and the higher and more important
publications, which afterwards occupied his
time, prevented its resumption, although the
idea was never wholly abandoned by him.
After his death, many friends, who remem-
bered the delight with which the Story had
been listened to, were desirous that it should
be given to the world, and it was placed in
my hands with that intention.
I found it could not be published in its
then state. It was little more than a rough
draft, with marginal notes, and some portions
not written at all.
Notwithstanding this difficulty, we were
anxious for its publication. The Story not
only contains a practical and valuable Moral,
but it is calculated to influence that time of
life which it is, in general, peculiarly difficult
to reach by such means. I have, therefore,
ventured to re-write the Book, retaining, as
far as possible, the original MSS., and sup-
plying a continuation and conclusion in keep-
ing with it. That the Story must, under such
circumstances, lose much of the beauty and
interest which it would have possessed if it
had been completed by the mind by which
it was originally conceived, is sufficiently
obvious; but, I trust, enough remains to jus-
tify the Publication, and to render the Work
interesting, as well as valuable, to its youth-
ful Readers, for whose perusal it is princi-
H. C. A.
WINCHESTER, May 1, 1851.
THE SLIGHT ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE.
"How tiresome 1" exclaimed Charles
Warbeck; "how very tiresome, Harry.
This is the third time you have knocked
it over. You must have done it on pur-
"It is too bad 1'" "It is very ill-na-
tured "" It is just like him l" was
echoed from various parts of the play-
"How could I help it?" expostulated
Henry Mertoun, the head boy of the
school, a fine lad in his thirteenth year.
THE CHERRY STONES.
"How could I help it, when he would
give me nothing but full pitches ?"
"Nonsense, Harry; you know very
well you might have blocked them,' if
you had chosen."
"Block them, indeed," rejoined Mer-
toun, indignantly, striking the ground with
his bat as he spoke; "a nice thing, to
be blocking full pitches-a nice way to
be out, I think; and to be blocking, too,
when we have twenty runs to get, and
nobody but'Tommy Brook to go in I"
Well, at any rate, you have taken an
effectual way of preventing yourself or
any one else from being out, by putting
a stop to the game altogether."
Such were the discontented exclama-
tions that proceeded from the playground
of Charlton School, on the afternoon of
the 18th of June, 184-. A few words
THE SLIGHT ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 18
will explain what had caused the tem-
porary unpopularity of Henry Mertoun.
It was a half-holiday, and the boys had
been the whole afternoon engaged in the
grand cricket-match of the half-year. It
had proved a most interesting contest;
Warbeck's side had at one time decid-
edly the advantage; but, in his second
innings, Mertoun had batted with such
spirit and success, as to bid fair to change
the fortune of the day; and as the game
approached its conclusion, its issue ap-
peared so very doubtful, as to excite the
utmost anxiety, both among the specta-
tors and the combatants. Unluckily, how-
ever, there was a drawback peculiar to
the ground on which they played. It
was bounded on one side by a brick
wall, about nine feet high, and it occa-
sionally happened that their matches were
14R CHERRY SONNS.
interrupted by the ball being struck over
this barrier into an adjoining orchid.
Now, whether it was owing to Warbeck's
bad bowling, as Mertoun had affirmed,
or to Mertoun's own impetuosity, as the
popular voice had declared, I cannot take
upon myself to say; but, within one
half-hour, he had three times struck the
ball into the forbidden territory. Dr.
Young, their master, had twice allowed
them to go round to his neighbour, Squire
Ellison, to whom the orchard belonged,
with a request to his gardener to throw
their ball back again into the play-
ground; but he had warned them at the
same time that, if the accident again oc-
curred, he could not permit them t-
trouble Mr. Ellison's servant a third time.
All the boys, young and old, knew that
there was no chance of Dr. Young's de-
THE BLIGHT ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 15
parting- from his word. No one, indeed,
thought it with while to make the at-
tempt, sq that it is not surprising that
'they thought it "too' bad," and "very
ill-natured," and declared that it was
. "done. on purpose," and the like; and
were, withal, very much disposed to be
out of humour, whether reasonably or
unreasonably, with the cause of the dis-
'aster, as it is the wont of boys and men
to be, when anything occurs to mar their
The cricketers wandered listlessly up
and down the playground; for, after the
excitement of the match, it was impos-
sible to take interest in any fresh game.
There was a cloud on every face. Some
argued hotly on the probable result of
the unfinished match; each party main-
taining that there could be no doubt that
THE CHERRY eTONES.
their side had had the advantage, and
must have won, if it had Been concluded.
Others vented their spleen in murmurs
against everything which seemed in any
way connected with the mishap; and
Mertoun's batting; Warbeck's bowling;
Dr. Young; Squire Ellison, his orchard,
his gardener; and, lastly, the wall of the
playground; each came in for its share
of censure. The wall, in particular, was
the object of universal disfavour. Never,
probably, was any composition of brick
and mortar subjected to such severe criti-
cism, as the ill-starred wall in question.
"It ought to have had palings on the
top." "It ought to be nothing but pal-
ings." "It ought to be a great deal low-
er." "It ought not to be there at all."
"It ought to be there, and to be twice
as high;"-were all urged, and all ad-
THE SLIGHT ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 17
mitted: it not making, apparently, the
slightest difference in the unanimity of
the party, that no two. agreed together
in the fault they found. None of the
party was more thoroughly out of tem-
per than Mertoun himself. He was vexed
at the interruption of his innings; he
was vexed because he had ceased to be
the object of general admiration; above
all, he was vexed because he felt that
it was chiefly his carelessness that had
caused the accident. Discontent and idle-
ness generally lead to mischief; and so
it proved on the present occasion.
"What a pity exclaimed Seymour,
one of the first class boys, who had been
very loud in his expressions of disap-
pointment; "what a pity that abomin-
able wall was not built a fo6t or two
higher, or a foot or two lower 1"
"A foot or two higher or lower," Wai
West; "well, I do not see what good
we should get if it were a foot or two
lower. We should only lose our ball
twice as often."
"1If" replied Seymour, "it were a foot
or two higher, there would be much less
chance of the ball being knocked over; and
if it were a foot or two lower, we might
manage to get over, and bring it back."
"And why should we not get over
as it is!" suddenly exclaimed Mertoun,
looking eagerly up at the wall; "it would
not be so very difficult?"
"Oh I dear; no 1" remarked Seymour,
ironically; "particularly easy, I declare;
and I really think, Harry, that as it was
you who lost our ball, that you had bet-
ter perform this particularly easy feat, and
get it back again."
THE SLIGHT ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE.
Tia taunt, and the general laugh that
flowed it, only stimulated Meptoun to
make the attempt. But it was an easier
thing to resolve on than to execute. The
height, to be sure, was not very formi-
dable; and the boy was well known as
a bold and active climber; but his per-
formances had hitherto -been confined to
trees, and how was he to commence ope-
rations on a smooth surface of brickwork,
that offered neither the trunk to swarm,
nor branches to cling to. If the wall had
been decayed ever so little; or if even
a single brick had been removed; the
case would have been different. But our
hero (for such, Harry Mertoun may be
styled) was not in a humour to be easily
discouraged. He took a careful survey
of the whole line of building; and his
eye soon rested on the only point, which
offered a possibility of success. Towards
the further end of the wall, and at a short
distance from the corner, there was a
buttress rising about five feet from the
ground, the top of which had been slightly
worn. away, so as to afford a resting-
place of about half an inch in breadth.
It was a favourite amusement with the
younger boys to pitch their marbles so
as to make them rest on this slight
ledge; but it was so very narrow, that
they but seldom succeeded in their at-
"If," said Mertoun, as standing upon
tip-toe he tried, with a large stone, to
knock away more of the brickwork from
the top of the buttress, to the inexpres-
sible delight of his little brother, Walter,
who had passed a great part of the after-
noon in tain endeavours to make a fa-
THE SLIGHT ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 21
vourite, alley rest on the ledge; "if I
could only get my foot up there, I could
manage the rest easily enough."
"We will give you a lift I" shouted
several voices. "You can stand on me,"
said West, leaning, as he spoke, against
the buttress, so as to offer his shoulder
as a step.
"No, no 1" cried Warbeck, who had
hitherto taken no part in the proceed-
ings, "it is impossible; and he may break
a limb; besides," he continued, in a lower
tone, "what would Dr. Young say ?"
Never mind Dr. Young," replied Mer-
toun, recklessly; "it will be his own fault
for not giving us leave to go round for the
ball;" and without more words, availing
himself of the hands and shoulders of his
companions, he made a vigorous effort to
reach the top of the buttress. Twice the
attempt failed; and the second time he
tote his trowsers against the sharp sur-
face of the buttress; but the third trial
was attended with more success. His
spring succeeded, and for a inoment he
paused, with his foot supported by the
narrow ridge, and the top of the wall
grasped 'with both his hands. Still the
work was only half-accomplished.
"And now you have got your foot
there, what next?" inquired Seymour,
with a provoking laugh. Harry made no
reply, but throwing all his strength into
his arms, he slowly raised his body, until
he was able to get his knee on a level
with his hands, and in an instant after-
wards, waving his cap above his head,
he stood triumphantly on the summit of
Once on the top, all the rest was easy.
THE SLIGHT ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 28
He. walked cautiously along, till he ar-
rived at a point where a large branch" of
one of the trees rested against the brick-
work. Holding fast by this, he gradu-
ally let himself down on the opposite side.
There was a moment of breathless ex-
pectation, while he was hidden from the
Sees of his schoolfellows; and then the
cricket-ball came bounding into the play-
ground, and. announced the successful is-
sue of the expedition.
"Hush, hush 1" cried several voices, as
a general shout was raised; "we shall
have Dr. Young, or one of the ushers,
out directly, to know what is the mat-
ter; and then Harry will get into a nice
scrape. Make haste, Mertoun; there's no
time to lose." Our hero appeared to be
perfectly aware of this fact, without be-
ing reminded of it. To climb the tree.
and regain the top of the wall, was the
work of a moment; and then, without
returning to the point at which he had
ascended, he let himself down as fai as
he could by his hands; and, assisted by
his companions, dropped quietly and safe-
ly to the ground.
It will readily be believed, that this
successful feat produced a complete revo-
lution in the sentiments of the little world
of Charlton School. Mertoun's unpopu-
larity passed away in a moment. He
had achieved what no one hitherto had
even ventured to attempt. There was,
indeed, a legend still extant, of some.dar-
ing adventurer, in the heroic ages, (there
is always an heroic age in the traditions
of every school, in which the boys are
related to have been greater in size, and
more venturous in spirit,) who had scaled
THE SLIGHT ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 25
one of the walls of the playground, and
brought back with him a moss-covered
brick, as a memorial of his expedition,
which might still be seen, half-buried
under the great buttress. But the boys
in general held the tradition to be myth,
ical: nay, to have been altogether devised,
in order to account for the presence of
the aforesaid moss-covered brick; and
Harry was regarded quite as a hero by his
companions. "Bravo I Harry 1" "Well
done, Harry I" "I should not have be-
lieved it possible I" "There is not an-
other boy that would have ventured to
attempt it and the like, was heard on
all sides; whilst others, anxious to claim
any share, however trifling, in so glorious
an undertaking, disputed warmly as to
who it was that guided his foot to the
ledge of the buttress; and who gave him
the last push, which enabled him to get
his hand to the top of the wall.
Poor Harry I he did, indeed, run a
great risk of being spoiled. First, there
had been his unusual success at cricket,
and the proud thoughts to which it had
given rise; then a temporary reverse,
which, instead of subduing him, had only
awakened angry and rebellious feelings;
then these had led him on to commit
an act of disobedience; and lastly, his
disobedience had been attended with suc-
cess, and the admiration of his school-
fellows. He was more than ever full of
proud thoughts. This day might, indeed,
well prove the beginning of trouble.
"Well," at length observed Seymour,
after about half an hour had been wasted
in various expressions of surprise and ad-
miration, I do not precisely see what
THE SLIGHT ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 27
use it is having our ball back again, if
we are not to go on with the match."
Now it would seem not a little strange
that this obvious fact had not occurred
either to Mertoun or his friends. There
was no doubt that the interruption of
the game had been regarded as a great
hardship, and was the cause of Harry's
dangerous exploit. But no sooner had
the difficulty been removed, than they
almost forgot to continue it. So much
has imagination to do with our worst
Seymour's hint, however, was no sooner
heard than it was acted upon; but the
long contested game was not, after all,
destined to be concluded. Too much
time had been lost. The wickets were
scarcely pitched again, before the bell
rang for supper; and the boys left the
playground, conversing, as they straggled
in, upon the various occurrences of the
eventful afternoon, which had just come
to a conclusion.
"Harry, Harry I" said little Walter Mer-
toun, drawing his brother back from the
crowd; "I am so much obliged to you;
only see what you have done for me."
"What are you worrying about?" said
Mertoun, who had received too much
flattery from his older schoolfellows to
wish to be detained by the praises of a
child of six years old.
"Only see how beautifully my alley
balances on the place you made for it."
"I made for it?" said Harry, impa-
tiently; "what are you talking about?"
"Why," said Wl4ter, innocently, "did
not you knock away the bricks with a
stone for me?"
THE SLIGHT ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 29
"Well," replied Harry, after a mo-
ment's reflection, "if I did, you had bet-
ter hold your tongue about it;" and he
turned to follow his companions.
"But Harry, please tell me one thing.
Do you think it will be safe if I leave
it there all night?"
"Leave what?" said Mertoun, again
turning round-" the buttress?"
"No, no! the alley. Now you are
laughing at me, brother Harry."
"Well, Walter, I do not think the al-
ley will walk away of its own accord."
"Then you think it will be safe?"
said Walter, doubtfully.
"Oh, ay! quite safe; don't tease," has-
tily replied Mertoun, as he ran off to
join his companions at the supper-table.
Walter shook his head gravely, as though
he thought a matter of such importance
ought not to be so lightly dealt with;
and then, giving one parting look at his
favourite, he slowly followed his brother's
It would have been well for Mertoun
if the events of the evening had ended
with this conversation; and his exploit
had led to no consequences more serious
than the balancing of his little brother's
marble on the ledge of the buttress. But
another question was asked in the sup-
per-room, by an older boy, the results
of which were very different.
"Mertoun," whispered a voice in his
ear, as he took his seat at the table,
"did the fruit in the orchard look very
Harry started as he heard the words.
He had not observed who his neighbour
on the left hand was; and on turning
THE SLIGHT ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 81
round to reconnoitre him, he was not
particularly pleased to find himself seated
next to Edward Sharpe, a boy in the first
class, not much younger than himself,
but who had only lately come to the
school, where he was already notorious
for suggesting schemes of mischief, which
he had not courage to execute himself.
"Really," replied Harry, "I had no
time to look; but I do remember," he
continued, after a moment's recollection,
"that there was a most splendid cherry-
tree, covered with fruit, at the foot of
which I found the ball."
"Ah! then," said the other, slily, "let
me go halves with you in the cherries
you gathered ?"
"The cherries I gathered!" exclaimed
Harry, in great surprise; "I did not go
into the orchard to gather cherries; I
went to look for the ball."
"But when you were there, you know,
it did not much matter what you went
for. So you were under a ripe cherry-
tree, and let the cherries off! Are you
certain you gathered none?"
"Indeed, I did not; I had something
else to think of. Besides, Edward, surely
it would have been stealing Squire El-
"Stealing, indeed! As if Squire Elli-
son would mind a few cherries out of
that large orchard! And if he did, it
would serve him right for not sending
the boys some fruit."
"But he did send us some last year,
and perhaps he will do so again."
"Perhaps he may," rejoined Sharpe;
"and perhaps he may not; and 'per-
haps's' may be good things as well as
cherries; but if my foot had once got
THE SLIGHT ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 33
into his orchard, there would have been
no 'perhaps's' for me."
The conversation, whi6h had been car-
ried on in a low whisper, was here in-
terrupted by a summons to prayers. But
it had lasted long enough to give a new
turn to the thoughts of Harry Mertoun.
It was perfectly true, as he had said,
that while in the orchard the idea of
taking the 'fruit had never occurred to
him. But he began now more than half
to repent of his own honesty. It was,
he reasoned, overstrained, to call picking
a few cherries off a large tree robbery.
And such splendid cherries, too! Well,
however," thought he, "the opportunity
is gone by; and, after all, I am not sorry
that I did not think of picking them,
while I was there."
Notwithstanding this conclusion, how-
34 THE CHERRY-STONES.
ever, his mind ran upon the subject dur-
ing the whole of prayer-time that eve-
ning; nor did he make any decided ef-
fort to shake it off. There was one very
sad consequence arising from this. 'He
retired to rest without having implored
forgiveness for his fretfulness and diso-
bedience during the day; and without
having asked for protection during the
dangers of the night. No one can tell
how much misery might have been spared
him, if this evening he had but once
thought seriously on the words, "Lead
us not into temptation," which his lips
THE GRAVE ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE.
IT was remarked that evening by the
boys who slept in the same room with
Mertoun, that he was unusually silent.
Though generally disposed to be talk-
ative, especially when anything interest-
ing had occurred; he this evening scarcely
joined in the conversation, notwithstand-
ing that it -turned entirely on the stir-
ring incidents of the day, in which he
had borne so conspicuous a part. The
boys, however, were much tired, and the
conversation soon dropped from its first
animated flow to a few scattered observ-
ations, at longer and longer intervals;
until at last the most profound silence
pervaded the apartment.
But Mertoun could not compose him-
self to rest. We have seen that he had
retired to bed without having really of-
fered a single prayer for protection dur-
ing the dangers of the night. We cannot,
therefore, wonder that the evil thoughts
of the day should continue to haunt him.
Long after the heavy breathing of the
boys around him had announced that he
was the only one awake, he was tossing
restlessly upon his pillow. He thought,
again and again, over the events of the
day: his success at cricket; his clamber
over the wall; the admiration which his
skill and boldness had obtained. Still
he was restless and dissatisfied. The evil
THE GRAVE ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 37
desires, which Sharpe's conversation at
the supper-table, had raised in his mind,
gained strength the more he dwelt on
them. He could not drive the provoking
cherry-tree; with its ripe and beautiful
fruit, from his thoughts; and the more
he indulged his longings, the more clear
and distinct the recollection of all he
had seen grew in his imagination. More
than once, as he was dropping off to
sleep, he was roused by finding himself
stretching out his hand to catch at the
imaginary fruit. Eleven, twelve, one, two
o'clock struck. At length, without any
settled purpose, he stole out of bed, and
crept cautiously to the window.
It was a fine moonlight night; and
every part of the playground, and orch-
ard beyond, was distinctly visible in the
clear, white light. The wall, seen from
the height at which he stood, seemed a
very slight separation between them;-and
there, just where. his imagination had
placed it, stood the tempting cherry-tree.
Up to this night it had never occurred
to Harry, or to any other of the boys,
that the orchard, which they saw from
their bed-room window, was within their
reach; but now that he had actually
surmounted the obstacle that lay between
them, he had exposed himself to a tempt-
ation hitherto unknown to him. As he
looked eagerly on the scene of his after-
noon's adventure, the thought suddenly
rushed into his mind, why should he not
go down stairs now; again climb the
wall of the playground, and possess him-
self of some of the delicious fruit. For
a moment he repelled the thought, but
the next it returned with redoubled force.
THE GRAVE ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 89
The temptation, indeed, assailed him ih
more than one weak point. He was
naturally fond of .sweet things; and if
he had not been carefully brought up,
might have become a greedy boy. And,
on the present occasion, he had thought
upon the cherries for such a length of
time, that he felt an extraordinary desire
to obtain them. But another point in
his character exposed him still more to
danger. He was remarkable for a -strong
love of the romantic and adventurous;
as, indeed, is commonly the case with
boys of a warm and eager temper. Tales
of wild and perilous exploits would at all
times arrest and rivet his attention, often
to the neglect of serious duties; and he
was apt to lose all recollection of the
folly and criminality of some of his he-
roes, in his admiration of their unbounded
and desperate courage. And as he now
thought of the daring and romance of
going alone, at the dead of night, and
scaling a wall, which none of his school-
fellows would venture to attempt in open
day, he felt his heart beat more quickly,
and a thrill of strange, feverish delight
spread through his veins. The temptation
prevailed; and he resolved to make
the attempt. Noiselessly hurrying on his
clothes, he gave an anxious glance at his
unconscious companions, who were sleep-
ing soundly after the labours of the day;
and then, taking his shoes in his hand,
crept softly out of the room.
The staircase which led to the boys'
dining and school-room was nearly dark,
and as he groped his way cautiously
across the passage, and descended, step by
step, it seemed so very long, that he
THE GRIVE ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 41
thought it would never end. He could
scarcely persuade himself it was the same
staircase he was accustomed to bound
so lightly down in the mornings, and which
did not then seem more than a dozen
steps. More than once in his descent he
paused to make sure that he was not
observed, and fancied he heard distant
noises; but when he listened all was quiet
around him, save the slow ticking of the
Arrived at the foot of the stairs, he
had still three rooms to pass through be-
fore he reached the playground; the
dining-room, the school-room itself, and
an outer room, in which the boys' trunks
were kept, and which went commonly by
the name of the marching-room, because
in rainy weather the boys used to have
their drilling-lesson there. The doors of
all these rooms he expected to find un-
fastened; and though the outer door of
the marching-room, which opened into
the playground, would of course be lock-
ed, yet he knew the key was always left
in the lock on the inside. He was not
mistaken. On trying the dining-room and
school-room doors, they opened without
difficulty. He encountered no obstacle,
as he passed stealthily and silently through
them. Grim and ghost-like appeared the
desks and forms as the moonlight stream-
ed in full upon them. As he looked
round, he could hardly realize to himself
that it was the scene of his daily labours,
so different was its unbroken stillness,
and its general aspect, under the cold,
white light of the moon, from the glare,
and noise, and bustle, which enlivened it
by day. Its silence and loneliness made
THE GRAVE ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE.
his heart beat-more quickly, and he was
glad when, unlocking the door of the
marching-room, he found himself clear of
the house, and stepped joyfully out into
the cool night air.
His first impulse was to cast a hasty
glance at the windows of the house, to
make sure that none of the family had
been disturbed. Everything was pro-
foundly still. So far, then, all had gone
well. He moved along under the shad-
ow of the wall, until he came to the
buttress by which he had made his for-
mer ascent; but here an obstacle en-
countered him which he had altogether for-
gotten to provide for. On the previous
afternoon, he had reached the top of the
buttress by the assistance of his school-
fellows. kow, however, he was entirely
alone, and how was he to begin to climb ?
For a few moments he was baffled. "I
will not give it up, though," said he to
himself, as he measured the height of
the wall with his eye; "I will- not give
it up. The greater the difficulty, the
greater the honour; I will manage it
somehow, I am resolved." As he pon-
dered thus, his eye suddenly rested on a
bench which had been brought out of
the marching-room on the afternoon of
the match for the use of the boys dur-
ing the game. "The very thing I" he
exclaimed; "how stupid of us not to
think of this bench yesterday: Ay," he
pursued, as he laid it with its back rest-
ing against the buttress, and its legs pro-
jecting outwards from the wall, "This
will make a famous ladder." Scrambling,
first on to the lower, and then the upper
legs, he speedily contrived to reach the
THE GRAVE ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE.
position from which he had, on the first
occasion, succeeded in raising himself to
the top of the wall; but as he 'rested
on the ledge previously to making the
requisite spring, his left foot suddenly
slipped; and it was only by a vigorous
effort that he saved himself from falling
headlong into the playground. As it
was, he was obliged to step hastily on
to the bench, and from thence to the
ground, before he could recover his
equilibrium. "It is Walter's tiresome
marble," muttered he, as he picked up
the alley, which, it will be remembered,
his little brother had balanced on the
ledge of the buttress the night before;
"what a provoking child he is." Hav-
ing thus vented his anger on the uncon-
scious cause of his misfortune, he put
the marble into his pocket, and recom-
THE CHERRY STONES.
mencing the ascent, soon arrived at the
top of the wall.
As, however, he was in the act of
lowering himself by the branch of the
tree into the orchard, his ear caught a
sound which filled him with dismay. It
was a rapid scuffling of feet in the play-
ground below, as though some one were
running hastily from the house, in the
direction of the buttress. He clung to
the tree in an agony of fear, not daring
either to advance or recede. After re-
maining some minutes in this position,
his anxiety prevailed so far over his fears,
that he cautiously raised himself on the
bough, and peeped over the wall. The
first glance re-assured him. The occu-
pant of the playground, whose footsteps
had caused him so much alarm, was only
a favourite spaniel belonging to Dr.
THE GRAVE ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 47
Young, whose kennel stood in the garden
adjoining the playground, but who was
often left untied at night. The animal
was greatly petted by the boys, and. espe-
cially by Mertoun, with whom it was a
frequent amusement to make his canine
friend jump over sticks, or run races
round the playground. This proved for-
tunate for him on the present occasion.
He had scarcely raised his head from
his lurking-place, before the quick instinct
of the dog had discovered him; and,
doubtless, had he been a stranger, she
would instantly have broken out into a loud
and angry bark. As it was, however, she
contented herself with informing him, by
a low whine, that she was aware of his
presence, and that she wanted him to
come down from the wall, and join her
in some frolic. "Hush, Juno, hush!" ex-
THE CHERRY STONES.
claimed Harry; "hush, good dog;" and,
although puzzled at so unusual a request
from Mertoun, Juno so far complied as
to desist from whining, and deliberately
seating herself opposite to the tree, ap-
peared to be speculating, with much grav-
ity, as to the next step which Harry
Relieved from his immediate embar-
rassment, Mertoun paused. He felt more
than half disposed to return to his bed,
and abandon the adventure altogether;
but the Tempter now awakened his pride,
and so added a fresh motive for persist-
ing. How inglorious, he whispered in his
ear, to go back now, after all your grand
resolutions, and the risks you have run,
and only because you have been fright-
ened by a dog. Above all, to abandon
your enterprise at the very moment when
THE GRAVE ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 49
the prize is within your grasp. Why,
you can all but reach the cherries from
your present resting-place. "No, no,"
said he, yielding to these thoughts, "it
would be cowardly, indeed, to give it up
now;" so, with a parting admonition to
Juno to remain quiet, he descended swiftly
and noiselessly into the orchard, and stood,
for the second time, at the foot of the
But he had reckoned too far on Juno's
obedience. So long as Harry continued
in sight, she considered that she had some
security that he was not going to balk
her of her expected frolic; but, no sooner
had the boy disappeared, than she began
a series of whines, each rising louder
than the last, accompanied by an occa-
sional short, sharp bark. Mertoun saw that
no time must be lost in returning, lest the
house should be disturbed by her in-
creasing clamour. He dared not stop to
eat the fruit he had gathered; but, thrust-
ing a few of the cherries into his pocket,
he hastily reclimbed the wall, and drop-
ped into the playground. The dog greet-
ed his return with unbounded delight,
scuffling round and round him, and mak-
ing frantic attempts to jump up and lick
his face. With difficulty-for he did not
dare to elevate his voice-he succeeded
in moderating his companion's excessive
and most inopportune flow of spirits;
but, at length, the dog was pacified, and
Harry had time to think over what had
happened. The excitement had passed.
The offence was committed; and its full
extent now, for the first time, rushed upon
him. It was not the number of cherries
he had taken; it was the act of taking
THE GRAVE ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 51
them which appalled him. He could
scarcely believe he had really stolen them,
and that he, Henry Mertoun, was actu-
ally a thief! For he was by no means
an unprincipled boy. We have seen that
he had exposed himself by his discontent
and disobedience to temptation; and that
he had yielded to it; but in general his
character stood high, both in the estima-
tion of the masters and the boys, for
honesty and sincerity. It was only a few
days before, that Dr. Young had said
publicly of him, before the whole school,
that he did not believe anything would
induce Henry Mertoun to tell a false-
hood; and his remorse at what he had
now done, made him more miserable than
he had ever felt in his life. How could
he be so wicked! How gladly would
he give up--not merely the few cherries,
THE CHERRY STONES.
which were now valueless to him-but
all he had in the world, if he could only
undo the work of the last quarter of an
hour! But this, he sadly reflected, was
impossible. He might be sorry for it--
he might resolve never to be led into such
guilt again-he might do all in his power
to atone for it; but he could not undo it.
He became painfully conscious of that most
terrible feature in an act of sin, that it is
irrevocable. "Oh !" said he, "if I can
only get back quietly to my room again,
this will be a lesson I shall not soon
But there was much to be done before
he could, with any safety, think of retir-
ing to rest. His first care was to remove
the bench, and place it in its former
position. In the next place the fruit
was to be disposed of; and here, again,
THE GRAVE ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE.
the terrors of an evil conscience haunted
him, and raised doubts and fears in his
mind, which the sense of guilt alone could
have produced. If, reasoned he, the fruit
be found in my possession, suspicion must,
of course, light upon me. If I throw the
cherries over the wall, Mr. Ellison's gar-
dener will find them in the morning
and will make inquiries as to who gath-
ered them. If I leave them in the play-
ground, there will 'be still greater risk
of detection. He did not feel the slight-
est inclination to eat them; indeed, they
had become hateful to him, as evidences
of his guilt. No other mode of dispos-
ing of them, however, occurred to him,
and he accordingly thrust them hastily
into his mouth. But, alas no sooner
was this done, than the same terrors,
created by the same causes, met him in
a new shape. What was to be done
with the stones? There they were-seven
in number; each of them, in his excited
fancy, telling its tale of a cherry that had
been stolen I How must they be dispos-
ed of? He looked at Juno. The dog
was employing herself in scraping a hole
in a corner of the playground. "You
are right, Juno," said Harry, speaking to
her, as though he thought she had seen
the difficulty, and had suggested a way
of removing it, "we must bury them."
And as he spoke he enlarged the hole
with a stick, till he made it sufficiently
deep for his purpose; and then, first
throwing the stones into the hole, he
carefully covered them up with earth,
scattering a little loose dust over the spot,
so as to make it appear as though the
ground had never been disturbed; and
THE GRAVE ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE.
this he managed so successfully, that when
it was done, he could himself scarcely
recognize the spot. "There," said he, as
he sprinkled the last handful of dust,
"there let them lie; they, at least, shall
not betray me."
He then thought that everything was
safe; and that he might return, without
risk of discovery, to his bed-room. He
had scarcely, however, reached the door
of the marching-room, when he remem-
bered that he had his little brother Wal-
ter's alley still in his pocket. This fa-
vourite marble of the little boy's had a
dark red ring round the centre; and
might be recognized amongst a thousand.
That child, reasoned he, in the restless-
ness of his uneasy conscience, will be sure
to make a hue and cry after his mar-
ble to-morrow, when he finds it has been
removed from the buttress; and how am
I to account for having it in my pos-
session. Wearied and sick at heart as
he was, he returned to the buttress, in
order to replace it on the ledge. But
this proved no easy matter. His hand
shook so violently that the marble rolled
off no less than five times from the nar-
row slip of wall, on which he endeavour-
ed to fix it. The poor boy was more
overcome by this little difficulty than he
had been by his greater troubles. He
burst into tears, and was, in his vexation,
on the point of throwing away the alley,
and abandoning the attempt. But if I do,
again the thought occurred to him, Wal-
ter will be searching all over the play-
ground for it, and, perhaps, will light
upon the cherry-stones. He resolved to
make one more attempt, and it proved
THE GRAVE ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE. 51
successful. The marble settled firmly on
the top of the buttress, and Harry, re-
tracing his steps, as quickly as he could,
across the play-ground, and persuading
Juno to go into the garden, closed the
gate upon her, and then re-entered the
We need not follow him through the
remainder of his progress. We may easily
imagine the mingled fretfulness and alarm
with which he drew the noisy bolts, and
turned the creaking key; the fear and
trembling with which he passed through
the three rooms, and up the staircase
now faintly tinged with the morning light;
and the hurried glance he cast round him,
as he re-entered his bed-room, lest any of
his companions should have detected his
absence. But they were all sleeping
soundly and peacefully, just as when
58 THE CHERRY-STONES.
he had left them. It was evident no
one had been disturbed. He hastily slip-
ped off his clothes, and the clock struck
three as he stepped into bed. But a sin-
gle hour had elapsed since he had first
got up to look out of the window; but
it was the longest and most wearisome
hour that Harry Mertoun had ever
WALTER S ALLEY.
IT was nearly half-past six o'clock. The
first bell had rung more than twenty
minutes, and the boys in Mertoun's room
were dressed, and ready to go down stairs.
Harry, however, still continued in bed,
notwithstanding the most strenuous efforts
on the part of his companions to arouse
him. It was in vain that they remind-
ed him that he would forfeit marks;
that he would have a heavy imposition;
that it would not improbably lose him
his prize, and the like. To all these rep-
presentations he returned drowsy and fret-
ful answers. The second bell sounded.
Mertoun still refused to rise; and the
boys hastened down stairs, speculating,
as they went, on the unaccountable con-
duct of their schoolfellow; and whether
Dr. Young would discover his absence.
Upon this latter point they were not
long left in doubt. Prayers were scarcely
over, before Dr. Young's quick eye was
observed glancing around the school-room,
as though he had perceived that some one
was absent. "Where," said he, "is Hen-
ry Mertoun?" There was a short pause;
and then Charles Warbeck replied, "I
believe, Sir, he has overslept himself this
morning. He seemed very tired; and, I
think, must be a little unwell." "Tired,
and unwell," said the Doctor, as he left
the school; and the next instant his
heavy footstep was heard ascending the
staircase that led to Mertoun's room.
Our hero's slumbers were still unbrok-
en .when his master entered the apart-
ment, and stood silently by his bed-side,
watching, for several minutes, with much
interest, the features of the sleeping boy.
It was evident, that though his repose
was deep, it was by no means refresh-
ing. His hands were tightly clenched,
and the muscles of his face worked con-
vulsively, as though he were engaged in
some imaginary struggle; and one foot,
which protruded from the counterpane,
was slightly stained with blood.
Mertoun," said the Doctor, gently lay.
ing his hand on his shoulder; "do you
not know what o'clock it is ?"
"Off, off Juno I" exclaimed Harry, in
"Do you hear me, sir ?"
could not forbear smiling at the dismay ex-
have eaten something that has disagreed
Oh, no, indeed I" exclaimed the con-
science-stricken boy, in alarm; "I am not
in the least ill; indeed, I am not.''
"How then comes it that you are so
late ?" pursued the Doctor. Harry made
"Well, Mertoun," rejoined the other,
after a moment's pause, I am glad, at
least, you do not attempt to deceive me
by, pretending to be ill. I had rather
see you guilty of almost any fault than
deceit. So, as you are usually punctual,
I shall take no further notice of this
irregularity. Dress yourself, and come
down as quickly as you can."
He turned to leave the room, but, as
he did so, his eyes again fell on the foot
which Harry had still left uncovered.
"Why, you have hurt your foot, my
boy," said he, kindly stooping down to
view it more narrowly; and very recently,
too. In what game was this done?"
I-I do not know," replied Mertoun;
"I suppose I must have scratched it
against the bed-post, during the night; it
was not done when I went to bed last
"You must have been indeed restless,
then," said Dr. Young; "are you sure,"
he added, as he paused, with his hand
on the lock of the door, "are you sure
there is nothing the matter with you?"
"Quite sure, Sir; nothing at all," re-
Dr. Young left the room; and no sooner
was he gone, than Harry Mertoun burst
into a flood of tears.
He had, indeed, much to make him
WALTER S ALLEY.
unhappy. It was true he had escaped
detection; but his escape had been dearly
purchased by equivocation and deceit. It
was in vain that he tried to persuade
himself that he had not said anything
untrue. "I did not tell him," said he
to himself, "that I had not eaten any-
thing out of the common way; but only
that I had not eaten anything that had
disagreed with me, and I do not know
that the cherries did disagree with me;
and, as for my foot, I suppose it was hurt
in the night; and I do not know how I
hurt it; so that was true, at all events."
And so, indeed, it was; and evidenced
his strongly excited state during his expe-
dition; for he must, without being aware
of it, have cut his foot in some manner
while climbing the wall. But although all
this was true as regarded the letter, he
felt in his heart that both his answers
were, in spirit, evasions of the truth; and
now, when it was too late, he wished that
he had had courage to make a full con-
fession. "Why," thought he, "when his
hand was on the door, and he spoke to
me in that kind voice, why did I not
obey the impulse that prompted me to
tell him the truth?" Above all, the re-
mission of his punishment by Dr. Young,
because he had not acted deceitfully,
smote upon his conscience. He felt that,
to receive this praise, and avail himself
of the Doctor's indulgence on grounds
so entirely false, was a great aggravation
of his offence.
This inward struggle continued for
some time; but the wish for conceal-
ment at length prevailed. It wanted only
four days to the end of the half-year; and
Henry Mertoun was the favourite, among
his schoolfellows, for the first prize, both
in classics and cyphering. If Dr. Young
should hear of an offence so grave as a
midnight attempt to steal fruit, all chance
of a prize, he well knew, was at an end;
for, however regular or diligent a boy
might be, an act of dishonesty was con-
sidered sufficient to exclude him from
all hope of reward. You have got the
highest marks in your class," he had said,
at Christmas, to a clever boy whom he
had detected in a falsehood; "but I can-
not give you the prize. Diligence and
great talents may be turned to evil as
well as good account; unless they are
accompanied by straightforwardness and
honesty, I will never encourage them."
This was the very reflection that should
have led Mertoun, at all hazards, to tell
the truth; but, unhappily, he thought only
of his prize, and the shame to which
exposure would subject him; so he de-
termined to drown the reproaches of
his conscience by mixing with the boys
again, and, jumping out of bed, he hurried
over his prayers, and hastily dressed him-
self. He had not quite finished, when he
heard a step on the staircase. The least
circumstance was now sufficient to alarm
him. Throwing down his waistcoat, he be-
gan in great haste to pull on his shoes, for
his stockings were so soiled with mud
and sand as to be likely to lead to awk-
ward questions; and there was, moreover,
a hole in the bottom of one of them, and
a slight stain of blood that corresponded
too nearly with the wound on his foot,
not to afford to his disturbed state of mind
a most unpleasant risk of discovery.
The second shoe was not quite on when
the door opened, and Charles Warbeck
presented himself. "Come, Harry," he
said, "what a time you have been. Mr.
Powell sent me up to look for you. He
thought you must have fallen asleep
I am just ready," said Harry; "only
this tiresome 'shoe never will come on. It
feels as if there was a stone sticking in
the toe of it."
Off with it, man, then, and look," said
Charles; "can I help you?"
"No, I thank you," replied Mertoun,
quickly; alarmed at the notion of his
schoolfellow seeing the condition of his
stocking. "I can manage it perfectly,"
and, with a violent effort, he forced his
foot into the shoe. "Now," said he, "it
is all right."
Notwithstanding this assertion, however,
it soon appeared that it was not all right;
for he had scarcely made three steps to-
wards the door, when Warbeck exclaimed,
"Why, Harry, you are walking lame;
your shoe must hurt you."
"It's all right, I tell you," replied Mer-
toun, pettishly; surely I must know best
whether it hurts me or not."
"Certainly, Harry; but, nevertheless,
you walked a little lame; not that that is
any great wonder, considering your climb
over the wall."
"My climb, Charles I what do you
mean?" stammered Mertoun, stopping
short in the middle of the room, and
turning very pale.
"What do I mean?" rejoined Warbeck,
greatly astonished at the tone in which
the question was asked; "your climb
after the cricket-ball, to be sure. You
have not forgotten that already, I suppose."
Harry at once saw how nearly he had
betrayed his own secret. Conscience had
led him to mistake the meaning of a very
simple question, and another falsehood was
the consequence. "Of course, I knew you
meant that, Warbeck; but how could it
possibly lame me?"
"Why, you might have sprained your
foot in getting down."
Harry felt that he was treading on dan-
gerous ground, and that his wisest course
was to take refuge in silence.. Charles
Warbeck, who was a good-natured boy,
and who saw that, for some unexplained
reason, the subject was distasteful to- his
companion, did not pursue it further; and
they descended the stairs together without
continuing the conversation.
School was over, and the boys all as-
sembled at breakfast, when Charles and
Harry entered the room. "How is your
foot, Mertoun?" said the Doctor, as our
hero made his appearance.
"Quite well, Sir, thank you," replied
Harry, colouring up to the eyes.
"I am glass to hear it," was the rejoin-
der; "I was afraid you were walking g
Breakfast went on as usual; but Mer-
toun had scarcely finished his first slice
of bread, before a circumstance occurredl
which, for the moment, quite deprived him
of all appetite for another. Chancing to
put his hand into his pocket, he felt a
round substance in one corner of it, which,
to his extreme astonishment, he discovered
to be little Walter's alley. Yes; there it
was, with the red ring round the centre;
the very identical alley that he fancied he
had left safe on the buttress the night
before. "Was it a dream ?" thought he,
as he turned it round and round in hope-
less perplexity. "Surely, I remember
that it rolled off five times, and that the
sixth time I succeeded in balancing it
there. By what magic can it have got
into my pocket? I suppose I must have
mistaken something else for it. But it is
"Take care, Harry," whispered War-
beck in his ear, as he sat eyeing the mys-
terious alley; take care, Mr. Powell is
looking at you."
"And what if he is?" replied Mertoun.
"Only that he takes away our marbles,
you know, if he sees us playing with
them at breakfast."
The hint was not lost upon Harry; he
THE CHERRY STONES.
hastily thrust the alley into his pocket, in
sudden alarm, lest the mysterious marble
should fall into the master's hands.
Breakfast was by this time concluded,
and the boys received the usual leave to
adjourn to the playground. They were
allowed an hour's play between breakfast
and school; and they were not slow to
avail themselves of it. Out they rushed,
shouting, leaping, racing, and jostling
against one another, as though life and
death depended on being in the play-
Like sportive deer they coursed about,
And shouted as they ran;
Turning to mirth all things of earth,
As only boyhood can.
Mertoun, however, did not share in the
high spirits of his schoolfellows. He fol-
lowed, slowly and thoughtfully, in the
rear; endeavouring to devise some means
of restoring his brother's marble to him
without awakening his suspicions. Mean-
while, Walter himself had run on as fast
as his little legs could carry him. He was
terribly alarmed, lest some evil-disposed
person should get before him, and possess
himself of his favourite alley. His heart
had more than once misgiven him for
separating himself so long from his treas-
ure. He had dreamed of it during the
night; it had distracted his attention all
through the morning-lesson; and he had
grown so anxious during breakfast, that
even the attractions of some orange-mar-
malade, wherewith one of his little friends
had enriched the barrenness of his bread
and butter, failed to occupy his undivided
attention; as, doubtless, under other cir-
cumstances, it would have done. No soon-
er was the signal for -departure given, than
away he scampered, and, in less than two
minutes, had arrived at the spot where he
had left his favourite. He gave one look
at the buttress. His worst fears were real-
ized. His treasure was gone; and, what
was stranger still, its place was occupied,
not indeed by a marble, but by-some other
substance, distantly resembling one. Back
he ran to his brother, his constant counsel-
lor in all his little troubles, "Oh, Harry I
Harry what shall I do? They have
stolen my marble, and-"
Well, Walter," said Mertoun, who had,
of course, anticipated this piece of infor-
mation, "I am sorry your marble is gone;
but I dare say it is not stolen, and that
you will find it again soon; and, until you
do, I will lend you another, as good or
bette? than your own."
WALTER 8 ALLEY.
"Thank you, brother; but I would
rather have my own alley back again than
have a great many niew ones. Thank you
all the same. But that is not all. They
have not only taken my alley away, but
they have put something curious in its
place. Only do come and see, brother,"
continued the little boy, pulling at the
skirt of Harry's jacket. Mertoun went
with him reluctantly enough; but he could
find no reasonable excuse for declining.
He had, however, no sooner cast a glance
in the direction in which Walter was
pointing, than he made a start of extreme
and very disagreeable surprise. If his dis-
may at the disappearance of the alley did
not equal that of his little brother, now, at
all events, he was at least equally amazed
and confounded. Resting on the narrow
ledge of the buttress, on the spot from
78 THE CHERRY STONES.
whence Walter's marble had so unac-
countably disappeared, there lay-what
an extraordinary coincidence I-a cherry-
HARRY MERTOUN gazed in amazement
at this unexpected apparition. Could he
have mistaken a cherry-stone for Walter's
alley? It seemed impossible that he
could have done so. He had only eaten
seven cherries, and he had buried seven
cherry-stones; and yet what other expla-
nation could be given of so strange an
occurrence? One thing only was clear
to him. He must keep Walter's marble
for the present. If he now produced it,
further inquiries, difficult to answer, would
be made. He was sorry to deprive the
little fellow of his pet plaything; but he
could not safely restore it.
"A penny for your thoughts, Harry !"
exclaimed a merry voice close behind him.
"How grave you look. There is nothing
the matter, is there?"
Harry started. "Nothing that I know
of, Frederick;" and as he spoke he turn-
ed, as if to move away from the buttress.
But Seymour was not to be so easily
shaken off. "What, then, were you star-
ing at? A cherry-stone, I protest I Well,
there is nothing that I can see so very
astonishing in a cherry-stone."
"I did not say there was, Seymour;
and why should you suppose there is?"
retorted Mertoun, with an ineffectual at-
tempt to appear unconcerned.
Only because of the manner in which
you were staring at it. What do you
think bf it, Walter?" added Seymour,
observing the perplexity of the little boy's
"Never mind, Walter," interrupted Har-
ry; "we shall lose all the morning if
we wait here. Let us choose sides for
some game;" and, taking Seymour by the
arm, he drew him away from the spot.
"But, Harry," said little Walter, who
was not disposed to let the subject drop
so easily, "do not go away. I want you
to attend to me."
Mertoun hesitated. He was not desir-
ous of protracting the conversation with
Walter; but he was afraid that he would
make some one else his confidant, if he
refused to listen to him. And besides, to
do Harry justice, he was very sorry for
his brother's disappointment, and for the
share he had had in it. "Go on to
Charles," he said to Seymour. "I will
soon join you." And then, taking Wal-
ter on one side, he inquired what he
"Why, Harry, I want you to advise
me how I am to get my alley again. Do
you not think I had better speak to Dr.
Young about it? Perhaps he would be
able to find out the thief."
"Nonsense; ask Dr. Young about a
marble, indeed! No! no hold your
tongue; and, as I told you, I will give
you another instead. It is useless to talk
about it; unless, indeed, you suspect some-
body; which, I suppose, you do not."
"But I do suspect some one," said
Walter, in a low, confidential tone; "and
if you will promise not to laugh at me,
I will tell you."
Yes, that I will," replied hiM brother,
from whose thoughts nothing could be
further than laughter at that moment.
" Who is it?"
"Well, then," said Walter, gravely, "I
think it was Juno."
"Juno 1" exclaimed Mertoun. "You
extraordinary child; who ever hear of
a dog stealing marbles?"
"There, now," said Walter, "you pro-
mised not to laugh at me."
"But you are so droll, child. Who
could help laughing at such a notion?"
"Why, brother, I have heard of a
magpie stealing spoons and forks, and I
do not see why a dog should not steal
"Excellent reasoning I And what makes
you suspect poor Juno ?"
"Why, I thought I heard her barking
in the playground early this morning;
and just now she rushed out before me to
the very place where I had left my alley,
and put up her paws, as though she
wanted to scramble up there. And only
look at her now, with all the boys round
her. Look how she is scratching up the
ground, just as if she had buried some-
thing. Besides, brother," continued Walter,
with a conviction that now, at all events,
he was putting forward an argument
which could not be answered, "if it was
not Juno, who could it have been ?"
The cogency of this logic, however, was
lost upon Mertoun; for no sooner did he
perceive the dog's employment, than sud-
denly breaking off his conference with
Walter, he rushed forward, crying, "Juno I
Juno I good dog high for a race."
And away went Juno, obedient to the
well-known summons, to the great disap-
pointment of the group of boys, who had
been watching her proceedings with the
"Oh, why did you call her away, Har-
ry?" said Warbeck. "We were having
such fun with her. I am sure she smelt
No, no 1" said Walter, who at that
moment came up; "it was not a rat; it
was my alley. Has any one seen an al-
ley anywhere ?"
"Yes, Walter," answered Warbeck,
good-naturedly; "I have seen a great
many alleys in the course of my life;
but what was yours like ?"
Oh, it .was a most beautiful alley !"
said Walter, "with a red ring all round
"Well, then," said Warbeck, I think
I saw it not an hour ago; and, what is
more, I do not think it is so very far oft
but that it may return to you again."
As Charles said this, he pointed shily
at Mertoun's pocket. This again changed
all Harry's plans. To deny his posses-
sion of the alley would now be more un-
safe than to avow it. How crooked and
uncertain are the ways of deceit Truly,
indeed, has the poet written,
"Oh, what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!"
and sadly was Harry beginning to illus-
trate this truth by his rapid progress in
"Is this your marble, Walter?" said
he, taking it from his pocket, and trying
to force a smile, as he held it up to
"Oh, yes, indeed it is; thank you,
Harry; thank you I Where did you
find it ?"
"Ah! where, indeed, Walter? You
had better ask Juno."
"Ay, by all means ask Juno," said
Warbeck; "but not just now, because
we want her to find the rat for us. Come,
then, Juno, where's the rat?"
"This way, Juno !" cried Harry, call-
ing her back.
"No, no! here, Juno! here l" cried
,half-a-dozen voices, as they saw the dog
about to obey Mertoun's summons.
Juno kept running, to and fro; first to
one party, and then to the other.
"Here! here rat, Juno I rat 1" shouted
Seymour, grubbing with a stick in the
hole which the dog had begun to dig,
and which was not above an inch or two
THE CHERRY STONES.
from the spot where the cherry-stones
were buried. Juno immediately thrust
her nose into the hole, and began digging
most vigorously. Mertoun was in de-
spair. Another minute, and his secret
must be discovered. He made a last. ef-
fort, and in a low, reproachful tone called
the dog away. The dog acknowledged
his appeal, and crept, submissively, to his
feet; nor could anything again induce
her to leave him.
His companions in vain endeavoured to
persuade him to give her up. Harry's
fears were too strongly excited to allow
of his complying. "Get her, if you
can," was the only reply he vouchsafed
to all their entreaties, threats and re-
"Never mind," said Warbeck, at last;
"let us leave him and the dog together.
He will soon .be tired of her, and want
to join us."
This, however, did not prove to be the
fact. The whole of that playtime our
hero was constant in his attentions to
Juno. It seemed as if he had become
her slave. He followed her wherever she
went; and was afraid to leave her for a
single moment, lest she should betray the
spot where the cherry-stones were con-
cealed. It was a wearisome and degrad-
ing task; and never had he looked for-
ward so anxiously to the hour of play,
as he now did to the ringing of the
His companions kept to their resolution
of leaving him to Juno's society; and he
had only one interruption during the re-
mainder of the play-hour. Walter had
been for some time amusing himself with
alternately aiming the cherry-stone at the
marble, and the marble at the cherry-
stone. He was a most thoroughly-honest,
simple-hearted,' little boy; and, in the
middle of his solitary game, the thought
suddenly struck him that the cherry-stone
did not belong to him. Instantly, he ran
to his brother, and exclaimed, "Brother,
I have brought you back your cherry-
stone; will you give it to me, if you do
not want it yourself?"
"My cherry-stone! you little plague;
what do you mean by calling it mine?
What have I to do with it?"
"Why, you know, I have got my
alley back again, so it cannot be mine;
but will you give it to me?"
Oh, yes;-or, stay, give it to me, and
I will crack it for you and, as he spoke,
he stamped upon and crushed it. There,
Walter, now you can pick the kernel
out and eat it."
"But I did not want the kernel," said
Walter, the tears rising in his eyes; "I
wanted to play marbles with it."
Foolish boy I play marbles with a
cherry-stone I I will give you one of my
best alleys in its place."
"Will you, indeed?" said Walter.
"Yes; but remember, it is upon one
condition; that you do not say a word
about the cherry-stone until the end of
the half-year ?"
"Not to say the word cherry-stone,"
responded Walter, doubtfully, "until the
end of the half-year."
"Yes; perhaps that will be the safest
way. You are not to say the word
cherry-stone until the end of the half-
"But why not? Is it a naughty word,
brother Harry ?"
"Never mind why not; but if you
will promise, you shall have the sXarble."
"I will promise, then," said Walter.
"Here, then, Walter," said Mertoun,
producing an alley from his bag; "there
it is for you; but' remember, if you say
the word cherry-stone, I shall take it away
Walter scampered off with his newly-
acquired treasure. He did not under-
stand clearly what had occurred; but he
remembered that he was but six years
old, and could not, therefore, be expected
to understand everything; and, moreover,
as he had recovered his own alley, and
gained another besides, he did not see
any great cause for inquiring into the cir-
cumstances. He settled in his own mind,
first, that his brother was very clever to
find his alley; secondly, that he was very
kind to give him another; and thirdly,
that he would have a good game with his
two marbles, now he had got them. This
last resolution, however, was unhappily
cut prematurely short by the sound of
the school-bell; which at once broke off
the boy's game, and relieved Mertoun
from his embarrassing occupation of watch-
ing Juno's movements.
School-time passed away much as usual,,
the only remarkable thing being that Mer-
toun's lessons had never been so ill done
before. This was, in truth, not surpris-
ing. He was wholly unable to fix his at-
tention on his books. The narrow escapes
he had had of detection,-the scratch on
his foot,-the chance question of War-
beck,-his brother's marble,-and Juno's
rat-hunt,-all seem to have conspired to
betray his guilt. Nor were these his most
unpleasant recollections. The various sub-
terfuges and evasions by which he had
contrived, for the time, to divert suspicion,
were yet more distasteful;' and he looked
forward to the three days, which must
yet pass before the end of the half-year,
with a feeling of weariness and disgust he
had never known before.
Meanwhile, his companions began to
wonder at the change which had come
over him. His refusal, in the morning,
to let Juno hunt for the rat had greatly
diminished the favour with which he. was
usually regarded; and his blunders form-
ed the subject of many ill-natured re-
marks. "Such strange mistakes as he
made in construing the passages in Virgil,"
said one. "And two false quantities"
cried another. "And three gross blunders
in his ciphering," added a third. "Mr.
Powell said they would have been dis-
graceful to his brother Walter," said a
fourth. Talk of his getting two prizes,
indeed," said Sharpe; "I shall be very
much surprised if he gets one." War-
beck, alone, remained faithful to his friend.
He maintained that Harry was probably
unwell; and that the exertions he had
undergone on the previous afternoon were
the cause of his depression; besides which,
everybody was liable to do'worse at some
times than at others; and as for the
prizes, it was absurd to suppose that the
marks of two days could change the marks
of a whole half-year.
The prizes at Charlton School, it should
be remarked, were given to the boys who
had been most diligent during the whole
half-year; and the most successful in the
examination at its close. A book was
kept, in which the marks obtained by
each boy, for every lesson, throughout the
half-year, were registered. To these were
added the marks gained in the half-yearly
examination, which always took place on
the day before the boys went home; and
whoever was then found to have the
greatest number, received the prize, un-
less, as has been already remarked, some
great act of disobedience, especially an act
of dishonesty, should deprive him of it;
which it always did, however superior he
might have proved himself in talent or in-
dustry. To prevent constant rivalry, Dr,
Young never permitted the marks to be
added up until the day on which the
prizes were awarded. There were always,
however, conjectures among the boys as