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The Baldwin LibrarySUnivers;ity
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" X\ i
LESLIE ROSS:OR,90n1 of a iar.BYCHARLES BRUCE,AUTHOR OF "MY BEAUTIFUL HOME," ETO.EDINBURGH:WILLIAM P. NIMMO.1871.
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CONTENTS.PAGnCHAPTER 1.WHY LESLIE ROSS WAS SENT TO SCHOOL, 5CHAPTER II.LESLIE'S INTRODUCTION TO ASCOTHOUSE, 17CHAPTER III.PEA-SHOOTING, AND WHAT CAME OF IT, 29CHAPTER IV.THE LINCHPIN, 40CHAPTER V.A MEMORABLE HOLIDAY, 55CHAPTER VIOUR NED, 72CHAPTER VILTHE FLOOD, 91
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CHAPTER I.WHY LESLIE ROSS WAS SENT TO SCHOOLF ever a boy had kind parents and ahappy home, that boy was LeslieRoss. He was an only child, andas such the love and care of bothfather and mother centered upon and sur-rounded him. He had once had a baby sister,whom he recollected to have -kissed severaltimes-and once when her cheeks were very,very cold and pale-but in a few days she hadfaded away; and now the love which she wouldhave shared was all his, and the care which shewould have demanded was expended upon him.Never were parents so careful that the child-hood of a son should be surrounded by pleasantassoc tions and memories, as were Mr and MrsRog They would whisper to each other,wlA? labouring to procure some fresh pleasurefor Leslie, "We do not know what his future
6 How to Make a Pleasant Childhood.life may be ; it may be a rough and ruggedone; it may not be a very happy one; we shallbe unable to smooth his path then; so let usmake his childhood and boyhood as happy aspossible, that he may always look back upon itas the freshest and greenest spot in his life,and carry the recollection of our love in hisheart all his days."With parents labouring to carry out such anidea, it need scarcely be added that Leslie wasa happy boy; such, indeed, he was. One cir-cumstance, which formed a large item in hissum of happiness, consisted in the fact that hishome was close to the sea shore. The rest-less sea could.be seen from the windows of thehouse; and the sound of its waves, as they fellgently or dashed violently on to the shinglybeach, could be heard in the warm, cosy parlour,or the silent bedrooms.As soon as he could walk, Leslie manifesteda decided preference for the beach as his play-ground, and aquatic pursuits as his pleasures;and his daily explorations among the boats andfishing-smacks soon procured for him the noticeand friendship of several of the boatmen andfishermen, who almost always take a liking to
Aquatic Pursuits. 7those who interest themselves in their pursuits;and Leslie did this, for he loved to watch themen, as, waist deep in the sea, they dredgedfor shrimps ; to catch hold of one end of a netand help haul it ashore; to carry the oars of aboat which was about to be launched, and evento add his tiny strength to that of the sturdymen in the attempt to float a fishing smack,while his shrill " heave ho!" could be distinctlyheard mingling with the gruff tones of thefishers.With the sanction of Mr Ross, one of theboatmen taught him to swim at a very earlyage; while a second manufactured and taughthim how to handle a pair of oars; so that bythe time Leslie was ten years of age, he couldboth row and swim very creditably, much to hisown satisfaction and delight, and to the con-tentment of his parents who were happy intheir son's happiness; they were, however, toomindful of the risk he ran to allow him to ven-ture on the water unattended, and had strictlyenjoined him to observe this rule, and althoughat times strongly tempted to disobey, Leslienever violated the command.There was but one trait in the character of
8 Leslie's Tricks.their son which gave Mr and Mrs Ross anyconcern; he was truthful, honest, and brave,but he was fond of what he called "a lark!"which was the name Leslie gave to the success-ful accomplishment of a piece of mischief. Hedid not actually intend mischief, or intend doingany harm, but his love for "a lark " led himfarther than at the time he had any idea, andthe expression "what a lark !" seemed in hiseyes an ample compensation for all the discom-forts he inflicted upon others.Thus he thought it no end of "a lark"when, one Sunday morning, he put the long handof all the clocks in the house back, so that hisfather, who was a clergyman, and very punctualin the performance of his duties, was ten minutesbehind time, and found all the assembled con-gregation anxiously waiting his arrival. Andone night when he could not sleep, he stolesoftly to the door of the servants' bedroom,where he shouted, "Murder! Thieves! Fire!"frightening the poor women out of their firstsleep and half out of their senses.When, however, his father pointed out theconsequences of indulging in such a course ofaction, Leslie would express, and for the mo-
Shall he go to School? 9ment feel, penitence; but an hour after hewould be as ripe for mischief as ever, did anyopportunity offer.How to destroy this fault in their son gaveMr and Mrs Ross many hours of thought. Ifchildren did but consider how much pain andtrouble their thoughtless and wilful conductgave to their parents, they would surely thinktwice before they performed any action theyknew would grieve them."I think, my dear," said Mr Ross one dayto his wife, "I think the only way we can cureLeslie of his fault will be by sending him toschool.""But do you not think," replied Mrs Ross,"that associating with other boys will be morelikely to foster it?""No, I think not, for among a number ofboys there must be many who would view theconsequences likely to arise from indulgingin a senseless piece of mischief; these wouldcontrol the more thoughtless and reckless oftheir number. Besides, in a good school, andsubject to wholesome school rules and discipline,there would be less time and fewer opportunitiesfor gratifying any particular propensity."A2
10 Of for a Row."I wish," said Mrs Ross, with a sigh,"some other plan could be adopted. I do notlike the idea of his going away from home andhome influences, and being subject to others ofwhich we know nothing.""I can think of no other," said Mr Ross;"school life will do Leslie a world of good;he is too much alone now, and mixes so littlewith companions of his own age, that he en-tertains too great an idea of his own powersand capacities; school life will teach him tomoderate this. I think he will have to go, mydear."At that moment Leslie burst into the room,full of life and spirits, shouting, "Good-bye,ma, good-bye papa, I'm off for a row with oldCrusoe.""Well, be careful, Leslie; and mind, nolarks," said Mr Ross, holding up a finger." Careful, papa Oh, you can't think howcareful I am; and as for rowing, why, I shallbeat Crusoe soon," replied Leslie, as, with amerry laugh, he left the room." How bright," said Mrs Ross; " no care setson his heart.""No, and his one great fault arises from
The " Lively Nancy." 11thoughtlessness; how true are the poet'swords :-' Evil is wrought by want of thoughtAs well as want of heart.'"Meanwhile Leslie had made his way to thebeach, where he was saluted by a weather-beaten old sailor, who, in his old age, hadturned boatman; this was Crusoe, a nameLeslie had bestowed upon him because he hadvisited so many parts of the globe."Good morning, sir; are you going to havea row this morning, Master Leslie ?""Yes, Crusoe, I came on purpose-a goodlong row, for I feel as strong as a lion," repliedLeslie, taking off his jacket and turning uphis shirt sleeves."Shall it be the 'Lively Nancy,' or 'MyMary?'"" Oh, the 'Lively Nancy,' she's as light asa feather."The light and gaily-painted boat was soonskimming over the sparkling waves, whichwere laughing in the sunshine, and Leslierowed with a will, the cool breeze fanning hischeeks and lifting the masses of curly blackhair. Old Crusoe steered. For more than an
12 Out with the Plug.hour Leslie kept his place at the oars; butwhen the boat's head was turned homeward,he resigned it to Crusoe and took his place atthe tiller.All would have gone well, and the boatwould have reached the shore, if Leslie's eyeshad not chanced to alight upon the plug usedby Crusoe to let the water free after cleaningthe boat. " What a lark it would be to frightenCrusoe," he thought; and no sooner had thethought flashed across his mind than he drewthe plug, and quietly dropped it into the water.All unconscious of the invading sea, Crusoecontinued to row in silence, until he felt some-thing cool creeping round his boots, and look-ing down he perceived he was ankle deep inwater. "Hallo," he shouted, " What's this ?Why, the boat hasnet started a plank, has she ?Why, we shall sink!""No fear of that," said Leslie." No fear why, it will take us very nearlyan hour to get to shore, and she'll sink in lessthan ten minutes."" You don't mean it, Crusoe? " cried Leslie,in a startled voice; "why, I've pulled out theplug."
Swimming for Dear Life. 13"What?" cried the horrified boatman;" here, take this boat-hook and hoist your haton it as a signal to those ashore, it's our onlyhope."Leslie did as he was desired, and both heand Crusoe shouted with all the power of theirlungs, but apparently in vain, for no boat wasseen to put off from the beach." We must swim for this," said Crusoe,"although I much doubt if we shall ever beable to reach dry land again. Pull off yourboots and your jacket, and put one of theseoars under your arms, it will help to keep youup."Leslie mechanically followed Crusoe's direc-tions. He was too frightened at the result of histhoughtless folly to have the presence of mindto think for himself. The boat soon sank fromunder them, leaving them to buffet alone andunaided with the waves.Never before had Leslie attempted, or even"dreamt of swimming the distance which nowintervened between him and the shore; he felthe should never be able to accomplish it.However, he struggled bravely, occasionallycheered by an encouraging word from Crusoe.
14 Sinking in Despair.How bitterly he repented his foolish act; andas he felt his strength diminishing, his thoughtsrapidly travelled to his home and his parents,and in imagination he saw their sorrowfulfaces, as they bent over his lifeless body as thewaves washed it ashore. What would he nothave given for the power to undo his folly.But an action once done, however good orhowever bad it may be, can never be undone.This should make us thoughtful." I can't struggle any longer, Crusoe," saidLeslie, in a faint voice." Throw one arm on my back, don't clutch,"said Crusoe.Leslie felt himself growing fainter and fainter;the sea and sky seem to mingle and go rapidlyround and round; he relinquished his hold ofthe oar, which floated away, and he graduallysank deeper and deeper into the water; andjust as he heard a confused sound as of voicesshouting, he relaxed his hold of Crusoe andsank into total unconsciousness.When Leslie again returned to consciousness,he found himself lying in his own bed, withhis father and mother seated by its side."Where am I?" he murmured.
Saved from Death. 15" Thank God, he is safe," said Mrs Ross,turning away to hide her tears." Oh, father, I'm so sorry," cried Leslie, asthe recollection of what he had done flashedacross his mind."There, there, you must not talk now, youmust try and go to sleep; " and, silently kissinghim, both Mr and Mrs Ross left the room.The next morning Leslie felt no ill effectsfrom his long immersion in the water,-youth,a good constitution, and a sound sleep soonrestored him to his wonted state of health.He learnt at the breakfast table, that just as helet go his hold of Crusoe and sank, a boat hovein sight, which had put off from the shore totheir rescue, the accident having been wit-nessed. Crusoe immediately dived, and broughthim again to the surface, when they were bothhauled into the boat and safely conveyed toshore." And now, Leslie," said Mr Ross, after de-tailing the above events, "I have some newsto tell you. I am going to send you to school.""To school, papa! " said Leslie, in sur-prise."Yes, I have thought of doing so for some
16 Punishment follows Wrong.time past, and the events of yesterday havequite decided me. Not all mine, or yourmamma's counsels and warnings can cureyou of a very foolish yet dangerous practice.I am going, to try if school discipline will.""And when am I to go, papa," said Leslie,ready to cry."As soon as I can find a school suitable.""But, papa, I don't want to go."" Perhaps not, but I cannot afford to pay forall the consequences of your love for 'a lark ;'neither can I or your mamma bear to see ourson brought lifeless to the door every day.""Oh, papa, I'm so sorry.""Yes, I do not doubt it, but your sorrowwill not bring Crusoe's boat up from the bottomof the sea. Recollect, my boy, that if you dowrong, punishment will always follow; and Iwant to teach you this before you go out intothe world, for your punishment there will notbe so merciful as I or your mamma would in-flict."And this is why Leslie Ross was sent toschool.
SCHAPTER II.LESLIE'S INTRODUCTION TO ASCOT HOUSE.FEW days after his adventure withS old Crusoe, Leslie bade farewell tohome and all its delights. Hetried to be brave and not cry, butin spite of all his efforts he continually felt akind of choking sensation in the throat, andwhen he kissed his mother for the last time,he fairly burst into tears, and did not againrecover his calmness until he found himselfseated by his papa in a first-class carriage, andbeing whirled to London as fast as an expresstrain could whirl him." Come, Leslie," said Mr Ross, "dry upyour tears and be a man, you will not findschool life so unpleasant as you imagine; afterthe first few days, you will settle down and soonmake friends."The school to which Mr Ross was convey-
J 8 Ascot House.ing Leslie was situated about fifty miles theopposite side of London to that of his ownhome, and was known by the name of AscotHouse, and had the reputation of being one ofthe best private schools in its county; MrRoss, however, had chiefly selected it from thefact that its principal, Dr Price, had beenan old college companion and friend, and heknew him to be a man of probity andhonour, and one to whom he could safelyintrust both the moral and mental educationof his son.The school-house was a large building, andcontained ample accommodation for many morethan the number of scholars the doctor under-took to educate, and was situated a few hundredyards from the banks of a broad, but somewhatsluggish stream; in fact, the school-houseseemed much too near to the river to bepleasant, especially when it was known thatthe building itself was below its level; but asno inundations had ever been known, and alldangerous parts had been well dammed up, andevery precaution taken against its overflow, nodanger was apprehended. On this river theboys were allowed to row, and in it they were
Home and School. 19allowed to bathe. To the scholars generally itformed a great feature of attraction." See, Leslie," said Mr Ross, as they nearedthe school, "you will still have your favouriteelement on which to exhibit your prowess.""Yes, I see, papa, but it is nothing com-pared to the sea."It was near noon of a beautiful summer daythat they drove up to the private entrance ofthe school-house; the sun was shining brightly,and every flower in the garden was alive withbeauty and colour."If your school career is as bright as thisday is, Leslie, it will do."" I will try and make it so, papa.""Do, my son; mine and your mamma'sthoughts will be constantly travelling to AscotHouse.""And mine travelling home, papa.""So I believe, my dear boy; but life isalways full of partings, and absence from thosewe love."Mr Ross and his son were ushered into thedoctor's library, where they found the doctorhimself ready to receive them, who, after shak-ing hands with his old college friend, placed
20 Doctor Price.one on Leslie's head, saying, " This, then, is theyoung gentleman concerning whom you wrote.""Yes, doctor, he is my only son.""Well, I trust we shall work well andpleasantly together, and that I may alwayshave a good account to transmit to you con-cerning him."Leslie murmured something in reply, butwhat, he scarcely knew. He was glancing roundthe doctor's library, to ascertain if there wereany instruments of punishment to be seen, hisideas of school discipline and punishment beingalmost one and the same." You will, of course, stop and dine with me,Ross, and be introduced to my wife and child;your son also, will like to have one more mealwith you; meanwhile I will introduce him tohis future companions, with whom he has bothto work and play.""Then I will bid you farewell till dinnertime, Leslie," said Mr Ross, as the doctor tookhis son by the hand to lead him away.As they approached the school-room doora confused buz of many voices fell upon Leslie'sear, which was hushed, complete silence reign-ing, as they entered. It was a long and lofty
"Hurrah I" for the New Boy. 21room, containing as many as eighty or ninetyboys of various size and age, from the littleurchin of nine years in knickerbockers, to theyouth of eighteen sporting his first tailed-coat.Leslie gave one hasty look round the room andthen lowered his glance, fixing it upon the floor,being unable to withstand the battery of somany eyes, all of which were fixed scrutinis-ingly upon himself."Boys," said the doctor, "I introduce toyou a new companion, who, being a stranger, Ihope you will treat with all kindness andcourtesy. Hall, I place him beneath yourcare and protection, make him familiar withthe ways of the school. It is my custom, youknow, boys," continued the doctor, " to indulgeyou with a half-holiday whenever a new boyenters the school; we will therefore resumeour studies at half-past eight to-morrow morn-ing.""Hurrah one cheer for the doctor," cried aboy, jumping on a form and waving a largedictionary in the air. "Hip! hip! hip!hurrah!" was the deafening response. "Nowthen, one more for the new boy.""Hip! hip! hip! hurrah!" was again
22 Mr Sharp-tongue.heartily shouted, in the middle of which thelarge dictionary slipped from the hand whichheld it, falling with a crash upon the head of aboy who was just rising to leave his desk."You, Johnnie Lynch," cried the boy, rub-bing his head, "just be careful where youthrow your books.""I beg pardon," replied Lynch, laughing;"it was quite an accident, I assure you."" It is all very well saying so now it is done;I never had so many words thrown at mebefore.""Well, never mind, words are but wind.""Wind, I found them anything but wind."" Besides, Lynch," chimed in another boy,"your dictionary struck him in his weakestpart.""Come, Mr Sharp-tongue, you had bettermake yourself scarce," said the boy, making agrab at the last speaker, who, however, was toonimble, for, eluding his grasp, he made his wayto where Leslie was standing, and introducedhimself as Arthur Hall, to whose protectionthe doctor had confided him. Hall was abright, merry-looking boy, about fourteen yearsof age.
First Questions. 23"Well, youngster, what is you name?"commenced Hall." Ross, Leslie Ross."" Is this your first school ?"" Yes, my father has educated me untilnow."" Why does he send you to school?""Because I nearly drowned myself and oldCrusoe."" Oh, I say, you're a lively fellow, I hopeyou won't try it on any of us. I for one don'twant my friends to go into mourning on myaccount," said one boy from the group whichhad clustered round Leslie."Oh, no fear," replied Leslie, who loved ajoke, " I won't try it until I'm perfectly sureof success, and will then take the whole schoolin hand.""Ah, but unless you can swim, my boy,you will have to keep on dry land; the doctordon't like more than one pupil drowned aterm, and Jones, here, was very near it theother day," slapping a quiet-looking boy onthe back. "If Hall and I had not stood himon his head, to let the water run out of hismouth, and rolled him over and over on the
24 Boiled Beef Days.bank, his place in the class would have beenvacant, and you would have seen all our eyesred with weeping; eh, Jones ?"" That will do Moore," replied Jones; "youmust not believe him, you new boy, or he'llcram you with no end of nonsense.""Nonsense, Jones, nonsense! why, am Inot the most sensible boy in the school ?"" Yes, when all the rest of us are away."" Come, Moore, say no more," broke inHall, " I have not ended my questioning yet."Then turning to Leslie he said, " Can youswim ?"" Yes, and row too?"" Where did you learn ?"" Oh, my home is by the sea-shore,-an oldsailor taught me."" Well, come and have a row now, and let'ssee who's the best man. I never have rowedon salt water.""You are sure to beat me," said Leslie," you are so much older than I am. But willthere be time before dinner ?""Plenty; besides, the exercise will sharpenyour teeth, and they'll need it to-day, forFridays are boiled beef days."
A Boat Race. 25"But I am to dine with my father at thedoctor's table."" Oh, then, you are all right, come along."Away the boys bounded, as only school-boyscan, shouting and laughing, and playing offharmless practical jokes upon each other.They soon reached that part of the river wherethe boats were hauled up on the bank."Who will lend Ross a boat?" inquiredHall, as he stepped into his, and began pre-paring for the race."I will," said Moore; "here, jump in,youngster, and let's see what you're made of."Leslie seated himself in the boat whichMoore pushed into the stream. " You seethat solitary tree about a quarter of a milefarther on? well, that's the winning post,"said Moore; " now then, all ready ? one, two,three, off."Away the boats flew. Leslie found he hadall his work cut out to beat Hall, who, if notso skilful as himself in the use of the oars,was much older and stronger. The other boysran along the bank shouting and waving theircaps by way of encouragement. The two boatsfor a third of the way kept even pace, thenB
26 Beaten.Hall's gradually forged a-head, and, try all hecould, Leslie was unable to regain the lostspace, so that, when the winning post wasreached, Hall won by quite a boat's length." Come," said Hall, as he stepped out of hisboat on their return, and gently patted Leslieon the shoulder, " come, I think you and Iare likely to be good friends."Leslie thought so too, although he felt alittle hurt at having been beaten.In the doctor's dining-room Leslie was in-troduced to Mrs Price, who gave him a verykindly welcome, and when he looked up intoher pleasant face, he thought he should be sureto like her, and hoped that he would have manyopportunities of being in her company; butwhen Leslie was introduced to the doctor'slittle daughter, a year younger than himself,he was quite charmed, and decided in his ownmind that the world could not possess a prettiercreature than Maud Price.Leslie had not been much accustomed tothe society of girls, and in consequence feltquite bashful when he found himself seatednext to her at table; but her quiet, easy, andgraceful manner speedily put him at his ease;
Maud Price. 27and during the progress of dinner he could notrefrain from stealing a few glances at her faceand eyes. The little lady, however, was veryquiet, and, until dessert was placed on thetable, said not a word, when, lifting up hereyes to his face, she said,-"Have you come to be a school-boy?"" Yes, and this is my first school.""I'm so sorry, because school-boys are sonoisy and troublesome; I can't bear school-boys.""But perhaps I may turn out different,"said Leslie, scarcely knowing what to say inreply to the decided expression of the younglady."Well, perhaps so, but I have not muchhope."" Suppose I try to keep as I am now foryour sake ?""Ah, that would be nice, then I would askmamma to invite you into the parlour some-times."" An inducement," said Leslie, with a smile.The time sped rapidly on, and the hourapproached when Mr Ross was compelled toleave, and, taking his son into the garden, he
28 Parting.there bade him farewell, saying, " Good-bye, myboy, mind and write home to let us know howyou get on; if I may judge from what I haveseen of the school, you will be comfortablehere.""Yes, papa, as comfortable as I can beaway from home."And Leslie thought so again, as at night heknelt down by his bedside, to repeat his even-ing prayer.
CHAPTER III.PEA-SHOOTING AND WHAT CAME OF IT.ESLIE soon made himself at homewith the boys, more especially thoseof his own age or two or three yearshis senior; the elders of the school,those who had discarded jackets and sportedtailed-coats, he looked at from a distance, andviewed with a certain amount of awe, thinkinghe should never attain to their size or standingin the school; and although these superfinegentlemen always gave him a friendly nodwhen they chanced to meet, or employed himin running an errand, he never presumed to befamiliar with one of them. There were alsoseveral boys in the school about Leslie's ownage, with whom he did not care to associate,whose dispositions, ways of thinking, and ordi-nary pursuits, were quite opposed to his own.But with Arthur Hall, Johnnie Lynch, Jones,
30 Glowing Accounts.and Moore, he was soon a close and firm friend.He was very pleased to find that he was tooccupy the same bedroom as that of his friends.The doctor, Leslie found to be a very kindbut very firm master; while he made everyallowance for a boy's incapacity or sheer in-ability to learn a particular task, he showed nomercy to those who could learn and would not,either from idleness or inattention. Therewere three other masters beside the doctor,who followed in the steps of their principal.Mrs Price extended many acts of kindnesstowards Leslie, for his father's sake at first, butafter she knew him better, for his own, so thatLeslie wrote home glowing accounts of thepleasures of school life; his races on the river,the long country walks with the doctor, andthe tales told in bed.During his first month, everything was toofresh, pleasant, and exciting, for Leslie even tothink about having " a lark; " but in the firstweek of his second month he gave evidentproof that this fault had not disappeared from,or been overcome in his character. He forgotthe promise he had made to his papa, or thenearly fatal results of his last "lark;" he for-
The Market-Town. 31got all about the many good resolutions he hadmade in his own heart; all which led him intofresh trouble.Near to Ascot House was a small market-town, which the boys were allowed to visitduring play hours and on half-holidays; butafter dusk no one was permitted to be absentfrom the play-ground, and after the names wereread over for the evening, without special leave,no one could absent himself from the school-house; this rule was rigorously enforced bythe doctor.The market-town consisted mainly of threestreets in the form of a triangle; but on theoutskirts of the town were long rows of cot-tages, principally tenanted by farmn-labourersand working-men. The outer door of eachof these cottages opened into the sitting-roomwithout any passage intervening, so that anyboy so disposed, by placing one eye at the key-hole, could see all the inmates of the room.Leslie had observed this during his variousvisits to the town.One evening, after each name had been calledover and answered to, and the boys were pre-paring lessons for the next day, Leslie shut up
32 Out for a " Lark."his books with a bang, saying to JohnnieLynch, who sat next to him, "There, thoseare done; now, what shall I do ? "" One moment, Ross, and I shall be finished,then we'll both do something."A minute or two after, Lynch put his booksinto the desk, saying, "Now, Ross, what is itto be?"" Follow me, Lynch, and I will show you;mind Wilson don't see you, or he'll want toknow where we are going."The two boys watched for an opportunity,and when the master's head was turned on oneside, slipped silently and unobserved from theroom, and without detection made their way tothe playground."Where are you going?" inquired Lynch." Into the town," replied Ross." But that is against rules, and if discoveredwe shall be punished."" Oh, we shan't be found out; but don'tcome if you are afraid.""I am not afraid, but I don't see we aredoing exactly right.""But it will be no end of a lark."" Then I'm all with you."
Firing at Eight-day Clocks. 33" Run beneath the shadow of the hedge, sothat we are not seen," said Leslie."All right; go a-head."Away the boys ran, Leslie informing Lynchof his plan as they went, which seemed tomeet with Lynch's entire approbation. Theoutskirts of the town were speedily reached,when, stopping before the first cottage wasgained, Leslie pulled two long pieces of roundhollow tin from his pocket,-which are knownby the name of pea-shooters,-and a handfulof peas.Giving one of the pea-shooters and some ofthe peas to Lynch, Leslie whispered, " Doyou take the right hand side, and I the left;mind and aim straight at the face of theclocks: don't laugh, or the peas will get intoyour throat and choke you."" We had better begin a little higher up, sothat the road may be clear for a run," saidLynch.Very silently the boys each approached acottage, and inserting their pea-shooter in thekeyhole, fired a whole mouthful of peas at theglass face of the old-fashioned eight-day clock,with which each cottage was furnished.B2
34 Eluding Pursuit.There was a start, and a sudden cry oa,"Lor-a-mercy, what's that?" from the cot-tage, which highly amused the boys, who glidedon to the next, and then to the next, producinga similar sensation and exclamation in each,until they reached the last on their list, whichthey favoured with an extra number of shot." Run for it, Leslie," said Lynch, "I hearsome one coming."Neither of them could run with their usualspeed, their suppressed laughter was so great;but this soon gave way to alarm as they heardthe steps of their pursuer drawing nearer andnearer." We shall be caught, Leslie, let us turninto the field and cut straight across to theschool."They soon clambered through the hedge;Leslie catching his foot in a bramble, pitchedhead foremost into the grass, but before hecould recover himself Lynch was lying by hisside whispering, "Lie still, he's now passing."As soon as they thought their pursuer hadgot to a safe distance, they scrambled on totheir feet and darted across the meadow,straight as the crow flies, and in a few minutes
A Safe Return. 35gained the school-house without any fartheradventure."I fancy I must have broken some of thoseglasses," said Leslie, " I fired so hard; butwhat a lark! how they all cried 'Lor-a-mercy! '" and the two boys burst into uncon-trollable fits of laughter."Come, Leslie," said Lynch, who was thefirst to recover himself, " let us go in, or Wilsonwill find we are absent."No one, however, appeared to have noticedtheir absence, and the two adventurers gainedthe school-room and resumed their seats un-observed.The next morning, as Dr Price was in theact of seating himself at his desk, preparatoryto the commencement of school work, a servantentered and informed him that he was wantedon particular business for a few minutes. Thedoctor was absent for a short time, and thenreturned accompanied by a man and a boydressed in the smock-frock of farm labourers.The doctor commanded silence. Leslie's heartgave a quick throb, and he felt a tremor runthrough his whole frame as his eye alightedupon the group at the principal's desk.
36 Who Played the Trick?"Boys," began the doctor, in a clear butstern voice, looking round upon his scholars,"boys, I have been informed that some twoor three of my pupils perpetrated a veryannoying trick at several of the cottagesat the entrance of the town last evening.I am unwilling to believe that any of myscholars are guilty, as the hour when the trickwas accomplished, was one when no boy hasleave to absent himself from the school grounds,or even house; but my informant is so con-fident it was some of you, that I am compelledfor the sake of arriving at the truth to askwhether it is so; are any of you boys guiltyof this trick ?"There was a dead silence.Leslie whispered to Lynch, "I think we hadbetter tell.""You are sure the boys ran in the directionof the school ?" inquired the doctor, turning tothe man and boy." Ees, I'm sure and certain," replied theboy, " for I chased 'em, I did, most 'alf theway; so I bee's sure like."" You hear, boys," said the doctor; " if any ofyou are guilty you had better confess it at once."
Confession. 37For a minute or two a complete silence againreigned, at the end of which Leslie rose fromhis seat, and with a face quite scarlet in colour,said, " If you please, I am the guilty one !" andthen sat down again."And who was your companion, Ross ?"" If you please, sir, I would rather not tell.""I was, sir! " said Lynch."Lynch; and who else ? "" There was no one else, sir.""And may I ask what motive induced youto play such a trick, as shooting peas at eight-day clocks."" It was only a lark, sir," said Leslie."A lark! and do you know what your'lark' has done ?"" No, sir.""Besides the annoyance you have causedthese good people and their families, you havebroken three of the clock-glasses.""Aye, and cracked neighbour Hodge's, andneighbour Smith's as well, 'ee have," interruptedthe man, "besides frightening Master Sparrow'sgood 'ooman, who has been that ill for a monthas nothing was like afore."" I am sorry, sir," said the doctor, address-
38 Why are Rules Made?ing the man, "that any of my pupils shouldhave been guilty of such a thoughtless action;tell your friends from me that they shall beamply compensated, while the boys themselvesshall be duly punished."When the visitors had departed, the doctorsaid, "Ross, and Lynch, do you know whyrules are made ? Do you think they are madeto be broken or kept? Your conduct lastevening fully answers the question; and as youhave thought proper to break one, that of beingabsent from school after the proper hours, youmust also bear the consequences; recollect nowrong can be done without punishment follow-ing it; you will, therefore, each of you confineyourself to the school grounds for one month,and bring me twenty lines each day; besideswhich, you will have to make good the damageyou committed. Boys, to your lessons.""This is more than I bargained for," saidLynch, making a wry face to Leslie." Or I either," replied Leslie, returning thegrimace." Fancy a whole month!"" Bad as being in prison."" I wish we had kept in, now," sighed Lynch.
In the Doctor's Study. 39"Yes, so do I, but it can't be helped.""No, we'v" had the 'lark,' and must nowbe physicked."When morning school was over the doctortook Leslie into his study, and seating himself,laid one hand upon his shoulder, and in a kindbut grave voice said, " Ross, I am sorry, moreso than I can express, that you should havebeen guilty of so thoughtless an action as thatof last night; what do you think your fatherwill say ? If you do not overcome this weak-ness of yours it will lead you into many moretroubles. You must keep watch and guardupon yourself. When tempted you must askyourself whether the action is right, and whatare likaly to be its results. He that over-cometh himself, is stronger than a man whotaketh a walled city."When Leslie left the doctor's study it waswith the full determination never to indulge inanother "lark."
CHAPTER IV.THE LINCHPIN."s BAIN, rain, rain, I think we aregoing to have a second deluge,"said Arthur Hall, looking discon-solately out of one of the school-room windows." Yes, I think so, too," said Fred Moore,joining him." This makes the second week it has poureddown, with not a single bright day all thetime."" It would not be a bad plan if it only rainedat night, and not during the day, for play andSwork could go on quite nicely then," remarkedLynch, who was copying out his twenty lines."It is rather fortunate for you and Ross,that all this rain has come during your punish-ment month.""Yes," chimed in Leslie, "with the excep-
Rainy Weather. 41tion of the daily task of twenty lines, our lastfortnight has not been much of a punishment,for I assure you I have had no desire to go out."" Always your fortune," said Hall, who wasmanifestly in an ill humour; "now, if I hadbeen punished instead of you, the weatherwould have been a marvel of fineness, sunnyall day and starry all night.""Well, don't get cross, Hall, the holidayswill soon be here; another ten days, and good-bye books, slates, and masters.""Yes, there is some consolation in that,"said Hall; "but you two, Ross and Lynch,just step here and see how it comes down.""One moment," said Lynch, "I am finish-ing my last line; there, the doctor ought togive me three good marks, and set me up as anexample of clever penmanship before the wholeschool."" How quick you write, Johnnie," said Les-lie, looking up from his task, as his friendwaved his paper round his head, "here I havesix more lines to copy."" Courage, my dear fellow, courage; remem-ber this is our last day, our punishment is nowended."
42 Physic all Taken."Yes, I am happy to say.""I already feel a new man," said Lynch,stretching himself; " no longer a slave, boundhand and foot in fetters, I am free as thewinds."" True," said Leslie, a minute after layingdown his pen, "my punishment is over, I amhappy."" Yes, we have taken all our physic, and arenow free from the doctor's rule. When willyou have another lark, Leslie ?""Never again," said Leslie, folding up hispaper.How confidently he spoke."Now, then, what is there to be seen,"exclaimed Lynch, approaching the group atthe window." Why, come and inform us what prospectwe have of playing our game of cricket to-morrow," said Hall." Oh, my! how it rains !""Yes, it does come down," said Leslie." You will have to play out your game underumbrellas, I fear," said Lynch." Yes, and with pattens on the feet.""Why, if it keeps on much longer, we shall
Is Ascot House in Danger ? 43be able to bathe in the play-ground; just lookat the pools," said one boy." Look at the river; how it has risen," saidLeslie." It has, indeed," said Hall, " and the wateris speeding along pretty fast, too.""I say," exclaimed a boy, " you don't thinkthere's any danger, do you ?"" Danger of what ?" inquired Hall." Why, of Ascot House taking a fancy to saildown the stream."" I should imagine not," said Hall, lookingout at the waters." Here comes Arnold, I will ask him whathe thinks," said Lynch, as he saw one of theelder boys approaching." Arnold, will you look here a minute.""What is it you want?" said Arnold,stepping up to the window." Do you think there is any danger of theriver overflowing.?"Arnold watched the turbulent flow of thewaters for a few minutes in complete silence;the conversation we have reported had attractedseveral more of the boys to the window, so thatquite a circle surrounded him, waiting anxiously
44 Old Badger's Flood.for his verdict. Arnold knew not what to think;he had never before seen the river in such astate as he now beheld it, so full or so rapid;he was half afraid there was danger, but didnot care to give his fears expression, for fearof frightening the boys, but in his secret hearthe determined to call the doctor's attention toits condition, and ask his opinion.Turning to the group, he said, "Well, boys,I am not competent to give an opinion, butsuch a thing has never before occurred, to myrecollection."" But old Badger, up in the town, says herecollects a flood when he was a boy, whichcarried away a few cottages," said one of thegroup."Pooh old Badger is in his second child-hood," said Arnold, trying to make light of theaffair; "he must mean the great deluge."" Well, I only know what he told me," saidthe boy." Yes, but if you believe all you hear, youwill gain some extraordinary knowledge in thecourse of your life," said Arnold, walking awayin search of the doctor.The doctor gave it as his opinion that there
The Doctor's Opinion. 45was no possible danger of a flood; but, that allfears might be set at rest, he would give ordersfor a thorough examination of the banks of theriver, so that whatever damage the continuousrains had done might at once be rectified, andall possible danger averted. But at night time,as the doctor gazed from his bedroom windowat the turbulent stream, he could not but thinkthat he had been somewhat too hasty in hisconclusion regarding the possibility of a flood;but with the mental determination to order theexamination the first thing in the morning, heclosed his window and retired to bed.The following morning, however, was brightand clear, the rain-clouds had all vanishedaway, while the glorious sun was flooding theearth with warmth and light. The doctorthought there was no immediate necessity toorder the examination, and, receiving somerather important letters, the subject droppedfrom his mind.Meanwhile, Leslie's month of punishmenthad passed away, and with the returning sun-light, returned his liberty. He awoke early onthis bright morning, and lay awake for sometime before either of the other inmates of the
46 Leslie's Good Resolutions.room had unclosed their eyes. He lay think-ing how he could best prevent himself fallingagain into that weakness which had alreadycost him so much sorrow and punishment.How ardently he wished he could always keepa strict guard and watch on his wayward fancy;he recollected reading of some prisoner whoalways had an eye watching him; throughevery hour of the day and night, that eye wasever watching his slightest movement, andnoting his every gesture; Leslie wished thatsome such an eye could watch the secretpromptings of his mind." Come what will," he murmured to himself," I will try and cure myself of this fault," andthen he lifted up his heart in prayer forstrength to accomplish what he had determinedin his own mind. There is always, a refugeopen from whence strength can be received.It was market-day in the little town close toAscot House, and half-holiday with the boys,many of whom took pleasure in sauntering intothe market place to view the noisy and excitingscenes; to pull the ears of the pigs, and feelthe wool of the sheep; to watch the farmersand higglers making their bargains, or to join
In the Market. 47in the chase after a refractory bullock, whichwould run pell-mell through the busy throng,scattering both buyer and seller, master andman.Leslie found great pleasure in all this; athis home by the sea-side he had seen nothingof the kind, it was all fresh and novel, andhighly exciting as well as amusing. He neverlost an opportunity of enjoying this pleasure.He had wandered about the market all theafternoon; visited every sheep-pen, pig-pen,and cattle-stall; watched the racing up anddown of sundry horses; seen the transfer ofseveral baskets of fowl, and peeped into thecorn exchange, when he thought it was abouttime to return home; but as he passed an inn-yard he lingered to see a farmer commence hishomeward journey. He was making prepara-tions to start, at the same time boasting howfar his horse could trot.While the man was in the act of mounting,Leslie stood close to one of the wheels of thecart; he noticed the linchpin was nearly halfout; "What a lark," he thought, " if I wereto take the pin wholly out, the farmer's horsewould not trot so very far to-day."
48 Taking out the Linchpin.Without another moment's considerationLeslie extracted the pin; but no sooner wasit safe in his hand than he repented the action.Was this following out his morning's resolu-tion ? Was this turning over a new leaf ? Heattempted to replace the pin again in its properposition; the farmer, however, had now gatheredthe reins into his hand, and shouted to him tostand clear."You young monkey," he cried, "do youwish to be run over," and with that the horsestarted. Leslie set off in chase, shouting forthe man to stop; but the farmer, paying noheed to his cries, soon left him far behind withthe abstracted linchpin in his hand. He satdown on a bank by the road side and burst intotears. What should he do? How could heremedy what he had done ? What would theconsequences be ? The wheel might come off,the farmer be thrown out and seriously hurt,or perhaps killed, and he, Leslie, would then bea murderer.It was some time before Leslie could makeup his mind to return back to school, hethought it would be best to run away and hidehimself somewhere, in some secret ulace where
Thrown from the Cart. 49no one could find him, or would ever dreamof searching for him. Then he thought hehad better go directly to the doctor and con-fess what he had done; but this, his wisestplan, was overruled by the lingering hope inhis heart that perhaps after all the farmermight reach home in safety.When any one does wrong, it is always bestto confess it at once; concealing the wrongmakes it more, adds to the offence, and to therestless unhappiness of him who committed it.If Leslie had done this,-fully and frankly con-fessed his fault-perhaps the result of his mis-chief might not have fallen so heavily uponhimself.Two days of wretched anxiety passed.Leslie heard that a farmer returning homefrom market had been thrown from his cartand severely injured, but he could gain noparticulars of the accident, how it had occurred,or who had been the victim. He most fer-vently trusted that it was not the consequencesof his thoughtlessness; but it was almost likehoping against hope to believe this.On the third day, as he was leaving theschool grounds in company with Lynch, Hall,C
50 Ho I to the Rescue Iand Moore, he felt a rough hand laid on thecollar of his jacket, while a harsh voice fellupon his ear, exclaiming,"You be the young dog that took out mylinchpin.""Hallo what's this ?" shouted Hall, tryingto pull Leslie free from the man's grasp.The man carried one arm in a sling." Just you leave him alone, young sir," saidthe man, "I have nothing to say to you, butto this young dog I have.""But what is it all about, man?" enquiredHall; "you must not seize the pupils of AscotHouse in this way."" Pupil or no pupil," said the man, doggedly,"this 'ere one goes along with me to thedoctor.""Don't parley, Hall," said Lynch; "can'tyou see the man's mad; waste no words, butrescue Ross.""Yes, come on," cried Moore, seizing onearm, while Lynch hauled at the man's coatbehind."Hear me a minute," said Leslie, as hisfriends thus proceeded to active measures;"I had better go with this man to the
The Broken Arm. 5doctor, for I fear I am only too much in thewrong.""Ah now you speak sensible; so comealong," and without removing his hand fromhis collar he led Leslie up to the doctor's pri-vate door, and asked permission to speak withhim for a few minutes. They were shown intothe library, where the doctor soon made hisappearance." Good morning, Farmer West, what has thisyoung gentleman done that you should holdhim by the collar like a prisoner ?"" Why, sir, I can't positively say this younggentleman did it, but I strongly suspect he tookone of the linchpins out of my cart last marketday, so that a wheel came off and I was thrownout and broke an arm."The doctor looked earnestly at Leslie, whohad fixed his eyes upon the carpet, too muchashamed to raise them to his master's face." Is this true, Ross?""Yes, sir, but I did not mean to do it."" Mean to!" broke in the farmer, " but youdid it; look at my arm !""I assure you, sir," said Leslie, earnestly,"that I repented the action the moment I had
52 Contrition.done it, and tried to replace the pin, but thehorse started before I was able."" Your repentance will not mend this gentle-man's arm," said the doctor." I know it will not, sir, but believe me Iam sorry," said Leslie, with tears rolling downhis cheeks." How can I place confidence in what yousay," said the doctor, " when the very day afteryour punishment had expired for your formeract of folly, you commit a far more seriousone?"Leslie could make no reply, his tears showedhis distress."Leave me for the present, while I say afew words to Mr West; I must write to yourfather and consult with him as to what courseI shall pursue."Leslie left the library with a very heavyheart.Two days after, the doctor sent for him, andinformed him that he had written to his father,and that in his reply his father had desiredhim to keep his son at school during the holi-days as a punishment for his fault; at thesame time Leslie received this unwelcome in-
The Arrow of Love. 53telligence, the doctor handed him a note whichhad been enclosed in that he himself received.Leslie found the note was from his mother;he could scarcely read it, tears blinded hiseyes. "Do not think," ran the words of thenote, "that we at home are not grieved andsorry because our son is not to be with us; wewere looking forward to the pleasure of seeingyou and clasping you once again in our arms;but we think it our duty to forego all this foryour sake. We want our little boy to growup into a brave and good man, and this he willnever do unless he learns to govern well hisown nature, repress with a strong hand thatwhich is evil, and foster that which is good.You often used to wonder, when we read thePilgrim's Progress together, what could bemeant by the arrow sharpened by love;' nowyou will learn it by experience, your punish-ment is an 'arrow sharpened by love.'"All Leslie's companions were sorry whenthey heard what his punishment was to be, andmanifested their sympathy in various ways, andby many words of condolence." I pity you, old boy," said Hall, one nightwhen they were all in bed, " I pity you, for I
54 Story-telling in Bed.know what it is to be at school during the holi-days; I must not grumble, however, for thelatter part of the time was passed pleasantlyenough."" What, were you ever at school during holi-day time ?" inquired Leslie."Yes, and at Ascot House, too."" Tell us all about it, Hall," said Lynch,sitting up in bed."Yes, do, Hall!" said the rest of theboys." All right, I'm agreeable; so here goes:"and Hall told the story of his holiday passed atschool.
CHAPTER V.A MEMORABLE HOLIDAY." ROVIDED a school-boy is blessedwith a happy home and kindfriends," commenced Hall, "thereis no one in the world who looksforward to a holiday with so much pleasure, orenjoys it so thoroughly. When the time drawsnear that he is to leave school-life for a season,how old Father Time seems to lag on hisjourney, as if he had grown tired, or lame, orhad met with an accident and was delayed onthe way, so slowly does the wished-for daycome. And when at length the happy mornarrives, who so joyous as the school-boy as hejumps out of bed and wakes his next bedfellowby throwing his pillow at him, or by the sum-mary process of stripping the clothes from thesleeping form ? Too happy and excited to eathis last breakfast in the old dining-hall, what*
56 Home for the Holidays.tricks he plays with his schoolmates, who areequally excited as himself! Now he boastswhat he will do during the holidays, where hewill go, whom he shall see, and what thingshe will eat. And with what a shout he wavesa farewell, as the carriage, or the coach, or thedog-cart rolls out of the school-grounds, andconveys him away out of sight of the old school-house and its master, sounding as he goes, itmay be, a tin horn or a brass bugle he hadbought for the occasion."Imagination follows the boy to his happyhome, where his father welcomes him with ahearty shake of the hand, his mother with afond clinging embrace, and his sisters withsmiles and kisses; while his younger brothers,who have been on the watch for hours, greethim with shouts of delight, and hurry him awayto see their favourite rabbits, and pet guinea-pigs, and mice. Who so happy as a school-boyhome for the holidays !"But amid all the excitement, and hurry,and joy, and noise, and confusion, how unutter-ably miserable is that boy who has no home togo to, and is to remain at school during theholidays; his face is like a cloud amid the
The most Unfortunate Boy. 57sunshine, a frown amid smiles; he views thepreparations of each departing boy with envy,and, try all he can, he cannot assume a non-chalant or I-don't-care kind of air, nor preventa lump rising in his throat, and an occasionaldimness gathering over his eyes. May be hehides himself away that he may not see thegeneral departure of all his school-fellows, andas their joyous shouts reach him in his hiding-place, he puts his fingers in his ears to shutout the noise which means such loneliness forhimself." It so chanced that one Michaelmas I wasthe one unfortunate boy who was left solemonarch of all I surveyed.' My parents wereaway on the Continent, and, unable to reachhome in time, had requested the master, as afavour, to allow me to remain at Ascot Houseduring the holidays. I was anything but pleasedmyself at the arrangement, but was compelledto grin and bear it." I will not be too sure, but I think I hidmyself and cried, after Willie Wilcox, the lastboy to leave, had shaken me by the hand,saying, Cheer up, old fellow; I'm sorry foryou, but I suppose it can't be helped. I'llc2
58 " Cheer up, Old Fellow."write you a line while I am away.' It was allvery well to say Cheer up,' but my spiritshad gradually sunk at each boy's departure,until they were far below zero when I foundmyself alone. I wandered aimlessly about theplayground, which had never before appearedso deserted or silent, kicking stones about withmy feet, and making holes in the ground withthe heels of my boots. I sauntered up to theschool-room windows, and stared in at theempty room, and at the long desks, whichlooked strange and unfamiliar. Even thedoctor's wife did not raise my spirits when shekindly said, 'You may go into the garden,Hall, whenever you like, and pick some fruit,but be sure you do not eat too much, so as tomake yourself unwell.' I availed myself ofthe privilege, and ate more fruit than I haveever done since. No, nothing could banishthe cloud from my face, nor the gloom frommy heart. I never knew what loneliness wasbefore. Even night did not wrap me in for-getfulness, for although by way of variety I layin a different bed each night, sleep seemed tohave gone home for a holiday as well as theboys, for it would seldom visit my couch.
The cry of Terror. 59" This state of things went on for a week.I took long walks, but the zest seemed to havegone out of them since I was alone, for theywere nothing like so pleasant as when my com-panions were with me. A change came, how-ever, which made the remaining days a littlemore bright and cheery."On the first day of the second week of theholidays, I had sauntered away from the house,and was hunting for nuts in a little wood orplantation, not far from the grounds of SquireAveling. I was absorbed in my occupationuntil I heard a scream in the adjoining lane,and the terrified voice of a girl exclaim, Oh !papa! papa do come!' and then anotherscream, followed by the deep bay of a dog. Ibounded from the wood, cleared the old palingswhich separated it from the lane with onejump, and was just in time to throttle a bigbrute of a dog round the neck, as it was inthe very act of springing upon a little girl,who, in terror, was crouching down in theroad."The dog was strong, and I found it noeasy matter to hold the brute, and restrain itssavage attempts to catch some part of my person
60 Battling with a Dog.between its jaws. Butjust at the moment whenI thought I could hold on no longer, and shouldbe'compelled to relinquish my grasp, and whiletumbling over and over in the dust, a voicecried out-while I could hear rapid steps ap-proaching,-' Hold on; I'11 be with you in aminute;' and almost at the same instant thedog was pulled from my grasp, and a heavywhip descended upon its back and flanks, caus-ing it to yell out so lustily that the wood echoedagain."By the time I had risen to my feet, andshaken some of the dust from my clothes, thedog had run howling away, while as pretty alooking little girl as ever I saw was clinginground the neck of a tall gentleman, who wasendeavouring to hush her terrified sobs. Thiswas soon accomplished, for what child does notfeel safe in its father's arms? and the gentle.man, turning to me, held out his hand, and,with a smile, said,-"'Let me thank you heartily and warmlyfor saving my little girl from that savagedog.'"'Oh, sir,' I replied, blushing up to theroots of my hair, 'it was not much; I should
" Can't know much about Boys." 61have been a coward had I not done as Idid.'" My little maid here does not think it wasa mere nothing, neither do I. I don't thinkmany boys would have had the courage to dowhat you did.'" I think, sir, that you can't know muchabout boys to say that, for I could bring no endof a number who would have done the samething; aye, and better than I did.'" Well, I won't contradict you; but whatis your name ? and where do you come from ?'" My name, sir,' I replied, 'is Hall-ArthurHall, and I am one of the boys from AscAtHouse.'" But how is it you are here-I thought itwas holiday-time ?'" So it is, sir; but my friends are away onthe Continent, and I am staying at the schoolthrough the holidays.'" How do you like it ?'" Not at all; I am as lonely and miserableas a rat that has lost its hole.'" 'Well, come up to the house and giveyour clothes a brush. I suppose you know whoI am?'
62 Preparations for a Birthday Party." 'Yes, sir; you are Squire Aveling.'"When we arrived at the house, SquireAveling introduced me to his wife, as beautifuland kind a lady as I have ever known, who,when she heard what I had done, fairly kissedme as if I had been her own son. Both thesquire and his wife would not hear of my goingaway until evening; so I stayed and had dinnerwith them, while their little girl-Alice, theycalled her-took me round the gardens andgrounds to show me all the beauties of theplace. Some preparations were going on atthe end of the lawn, which was opposite thefront of the house; a marquee was beingerected, several swings were being put up,while the lawn itself was being mowed. Myconductress informed me these preparationswere to celebrate her birthday, which was theday after."In the evening, the squire himself walkedto Ascot House with me, where he saw thedoctor's wife, and asked her to allow me tovisit them on the morrow, as his little girl wasgoing to entertain a host of young friends, thenumber of which would not be complete unlessI made one of them. Permission was given,
An Elaborate Toilet. 63and I went to bed to dream of the pleasuresthe morrow was to bring."I was up early enough on the followingmorning, no such thing as oversleeping one's-self when there was a prospect of pleasure inview. (How well it would be if we-you andI, young reader-could be as active when dutyand not pleasure calls !) I oiled and scentedmy hair to perfection, put on my best frilledshirt, made Jim, our odd boy, polish my bootsuntil he could see his face in them; discardedmy straw hat and took to the chimney-pot (i.e.my best beaver), saw that there was not aspeck of dirt on my clothes, viewed myself allover in the glass, nearly dislocated my neck intrying to get a glimpse of my back, but foundmy efforts fruitless; and finally put on my bestkid gloves, after which I found I had still twohoursto spare, and dinner to eat in the meantime."The time went by, and at length I set outfor my destination, with both a bounding heartand a bounding step, the one keeping pace withthe other, as though there existed some privateagreement by which they acted in unison, andfulfilled the requirements of the old proverb,' A light heart, a light step.'
64 All Sorts of Boys." I was kindly welcomed by the squire andhis lady, and by them introduced to their twosons, who had returned the same day fromvisiting friends; they both thanked me heartilyfor the service I had rendered to their sister,whom, they said, they 'would not have hadhurt for the world.' This I could well believe,as I watched her darting hither and thither,like a good little fairy, in and out among herfriends, with a word for one, a kiss for another,and a caress for a third."'I am so glad you are come,' said the fairyAllie, taking me by the hand; 'come and beintroduced to all my friends.'"I thought the indroducing would nevercome to an end, so many were the friends withwhom I had to shake hands; there were boysfrom school, and boys who never had been toschool; there were short boys and tall boys, fatboys and lean boys; square boys and roundboys; in fact, there were boys of all sorts andsizes; some who said very languidly, 'Ah howd'ye doo?' and others who seized me by thehand and vowed I was a 'brick.'" But the girls !-I beg their pardon, I meanyoung ladies !-how shall I describe them in
Lovely Eyes. 65all their loveliness and witchery! I never sawany like them before, with their long golden,or black, or silken curls, their white dressesand blue sashes, their bright faces and rosylips and their eyes how can I describe them ?I have seen a few diamonds in my time, butnever any that sparkled so brightly as the eyesthat flashed on me on this memorable day;indeed to compare them to diamonds was tooffer them an insult. On early summer morn-ings, when the sun was shining over land andsea, I have seen the dew sparkling on everyblade of grass, or in the cup or bell of everyflower, with a whole rainbow of colours mirroredin their tiny globes, and such were the eyesthat beamed on me each time that Allie said,'Flo,' or 'Clara,' or 'Kate,' as the name chancedto be, 'this is the gentleman who saved mefrom the dog.'"I may say I felt extremely uncomfortableduring the process of introduction, and was gladwhen it all ended; for what with eyes, and thebeing called quite a hero,' and 'a darling braveboy,' and so on ad infinitum, I experienced asqueer sensations, as if I had been birched byPrice, or one of the under-masters.
66 Swinging the Girls." But it came to an end at last, and the eld-est young Aveling invited me to see his livecreatures. I never knew a boy so well off forpets as I found him to be; fine lop-earedrabbits that nibbled out of the palm of his hand,guinea-pigs, white mice, a large NeWfoundlanddog, which would carry anything he wantedit to carry, or go any where, or fetch any-thing from a distance; a pony came trottingout of the stable, as soon as it heard his voice,neighing with pleasure. There were plenty ofpigeons flying about, and I inquired whether healso claimed them, in reply to which he said,-" No, they are my sister Allie's; you shouldsee her come into the yard; they fly round her,perch on her shoulders, pick food from betweenher lips, and coo with delight. Indeed, everylive thing about the place knows and lovesAllie. But come, let us be off, and give someof the girls a swing.'"It was rare fun swinging the girls; thehesitation with which each one seated herself,the injunction not to be sent 'too high;' theterrified scream given when sent off, the flutterof the light dress and the streaming of thecurls in the wind, were things worth remember-
Revelling in Marmalade. 67ing. When tired with swinging, we started agame of kiss-in-the-ring, in which all heartilyjoined, except a few languid, swellish-lookingfellows who thought it beneath their dignity,and begged to be excused, saying the gamewas too vulgar.'"' Don't think of those noodles,' said theelder Aveling; 'it is not because the game is"too vulgar," but because they have tight boots,and can't run. Come along, it's rare fun!'"We had tea in the marquee; no end ofcake and fruit, and jam and preserves. Itlooked, and was, a little different to school-fare:no one was stinted, and the good things dis-appeared like magic; indeed he must havebeen a clever magician who could have madethem vanish as quickly. Two or three of theyoungsters had smothered their faces all overwith marmalade and jam, and were sights tobehold. One cried because he could not eatany more of the nice things."'It strikes me very forcibly,' whispered theyounger Aveling, 'that that youngster overthere will find himself under the necessity ofhaving an additional spoonful of jam with apowder in it to-morrow.'
68 Dancing by Torchlight." After tea, when it was dark, there was adance on the lawn by torchlight, the torchesbeing held by the servants; the music consistedof a flute, cornet, and violin, but the cornetproved of no use, as some urchin had bungedit up with a cork before the dance commenced.No particular dances were called for; themusicians played just what they chose, thedancers danced whatever they knew best.Some, and these were the majority, knewnothing of dancing whatever, but threw theirlegs about just as fancy suggested; neverthe-less the pleasure derived from this singular andaltogether unique method of performing, wasas intense as if done in the most scientific andapproved manner."We had supper in the large dining-hall.Such a spread It did one's heart good merelyto see it. The pyramids of tarts the moun-tains of jelly, shaking their sides like so manyjolly, fat old men! the chickens, and ducks,and game, each one of which appeared to besaying, 'Yes, come and eat me, I am willingto sacrifice myself for your pleasure !' I neednot say what terrific inroads we made into sucheatables, how we piled our fair partners' plates
Mr Aveling's Speech. 69with the good things, until we were obliged tohelp eat them (the good things I mean, notthe partners, although some of them lookedgood enough to eat)." Squire Aveling sat at the head of the longdining-table, and his fair lady at the bottom,each pressing their guests to make a goodsupper. No pressing was needed. When allhad eaten as much as was possible, and nuts,oranges, and grapes and bon-bons took theplaces of the already vanished delicacies, SquireAveling rose from his chair, and with the rapof a knife upon a plate commanded silence. Hethen, much to my discomfiture, spoke as fol-lows:-" With the exception of one, all now pre-sent are old friends of my darling Allie, andthis is not the first time I have seen you seatedat this table, and I hope it will not be the last.('Hear, hear! ') I hope you have all enjoyedyourselves. (' We have !' from all assembled.)I am glad to think so, and so is Mrs Aveling.But there is one here to-day whom most of youhave never seen before-Arthur Hall. (Hereall eyes were directed to me.) Yesterday, byhis bravery and courage, he saved my darling
70 "With a Three 7imes Three."Allie from a great danger, of which you haveall heard. I cannot thank him sufficiently forwhat he has done. I want you all to help me.Now, each of you fill your glass. Now standup. Let us drink to Arthur Hall with a threetimes three!'"I did not know whether I was on my heador my heels; I am sure I blushed, and musthave looked anything but heroic. When thecheers were ended, the elder Herbert Avelingwhispered that I must make a speech. Istood on my feet, and tried to say somethingin reply, but what I said I never could remem-ber; all I know is that my health was againdrunk in lemonade, which some imbibed sohurriedly that it went down the wrong way,and a chorus of coughing followed, under coverof which I resumed my seat." And so the party ended. I assisted severalfair ladies to their hats and shawls, and thenwent back to Ascot House to enact all thescenes over again in my dreams."As Hall finished his story, the room dooropened and one of the under-masters enteredto ascertain if the boys were in bed and thelights out. " What not asleep yet, boys?" he
Story-Telling. 71exclaimed, as he heard some one commentingon the story."No, sir," one replied, "we are story-telling, and don't feel much inclined for sleep."" Story-telling, eh! " said the master, whowas a general favourite with the boys; " sup-pose I were to tell you a story, what wouldyou say ?""Say? why, say it would be first-class,"exclaimed Hall, jumping out of bed."Yes, yes, do Mr Arnold," echoed the rest.Mr Arnold entered, and, closing the door,seated himself on Leslie's bed, while all theboys crowded round him, dressed in nothingbut their night-shirts."Well, now for a start," said Mr Arnold;" you may call it, Our Ned.' ""All right, sir, go a-head," was the generalcry.
CHAPTER VI.OUR NED."cc ALWAYS feel inclined," beganMr Ainold, "to pity a boy whohas no friend or companion towhom he can look up with ad-miration and love, and whom he regards asquite a hero. It is a good thing ever to havesomething or some one above us, at whom wecan gaze, and after whom we can strive. Itshould be our aim through life to look up, andnot down; men do not climb to great heightsby keeping their eyes intently fixed on theground, but, on the contrary, by looking for-ward and upward. And no one can say he isin want of a hero to imitate and love, whenthe greatest hero of all the world is perpetuallybefore him."' Our Ned' was my hero, and though somepeople would have it he was a trifle wild, I
True Manliness. 73never found him so, and certainly, after allthese years, cannot bring my mind to think sonow. He was the boldest, bravest, kindest,most true-hearted and generous boy, that man,woman, or child ever set eyes on. True, heloved a bit of harmless mischief for the fun ofthe thing, but was far too noble-spirited to doa mean or cowardly action, and would scorn totake an unjust and bullying advantage over aboy who was weaker or younger than himself.Some boys think they are exhibiting a manli-ness of character if they tease and tormentthose who are unable to protect themselves,instead of which they are doing just about asmean a thing as boys can do. What is the useof possessing strength if we exercise it in op-pressing others ? A true boy, or man, shouldreserve his strength to protect those who areunable to take care of themselves; and as yougo through the world, you will find plenty ofthat sort." I loved our Ned second only to my mother,and I know he loved me in return. We didnot express the love we cherished for eachother like girls at a boarding-school, by hugg-ing and kissing, and dearing' and 'ducking'D
74 Not Deat yet, Archie.at every spare moment; no, boys show theirlove after a different fashion, and kisses withthem go for very little, and are consideredrather a nuisance than otherwise. If he hada shilling, half of it was mine; I might use hisbooks, pencils, marbles, bat, ball, or, for thatmatter, anything that was his, and he in histurn was welcome to anything I possessed. Ifhe saw a big boy bullying me, he wasted nowords in useless remonstrances, but instead,off with his jacket and fought him at once.You must not think him a quarrelsome boy,who always wanted to be fighting:; nothing ofthe sort, but he cherished a firm conviction-and I don't think he was far wrong-that big,hulking bullies deserved no better treatmentthan that contained in good, hard, knockdownblows, and these he never hesitated to give, did*the occasion twarrant it. Of course, he some-times got the worst of it, but he never mindedan atom, not he:; he would pick himself up onsuch occasions, spitting the :blood and dirtfrom his mouth, and cheerily say, as he saw mylook of concern:: All right, Archie, not dead,yet.; :better luck next timei!' And his jacketseould be +on, and he walking by my side as
A Toung Hero. 75calmly as possible, without once alluding to hiswounds and bruises."Yes, Ned was a brave fellow. I remem-ber his coming home one afternoon with afearfully nasty bite in his left arm, some stingy,big brute of a cur had given him, because hewould not let it worry a little girl carrying abig basket, whom it was terrifying into convul-sions with yelping and snarling, and makingsudden and ferocious grabs at her bare littlelegs. He gave the beast a kick, and it turnedand fastened its long yellow-looking teeth inhis arm, and almost bit it through. Ourmother was in a terrible way, and wanted tohave the dog killed, but nobody knew whoseit was, or where it had gone. The doctorburned the wound; and although he turnedpale, our Ned did not cry out, but stood it, asthe doctor admiringly said, like a hero.'When it was bandaged up he put on hisjacket, saying, 'Well, that's over.' Motherdid not appear to think so; she looked troubledand anxious, shook her head doubtfully, andsaid, I am afraid not.' Then brushing backhis hair caressingly with her hand, kissing hisforehead, and looking into his dark brown,
76 Dogs Respect the Sex.honest, and fearless eyes, added, half chidingly,half admiringly, 'Ned, my boy, though I wouldnot for the world that you should be differentfrom what you are, a brave, true-hearted lad,yet I sadly fear your high spirit will get youinto many a trouble.'"' Never mind the trouble, mamma,' repliedour Ned, 'so long as it keeps me from doing amean or cowardly action.'"He was very nearly getting into troubleonce, however, for interfering between a brutaltramp and his wife. There was no principleour Ned adhered to so firmly, as that no pro-vocation, however great, justified a boy instriking a girl, or a man a woman; he held tothis as staunchly as kings to the doctrine ofdivine right. 'Depend upon it, Archie,' hewould say, 'a boy who would strike a girl is amean-spirited puppy, and a man who wouldstrike a woman is a cowardly cur, and onedeserves drowning, and the other hanging!Why, I read that even dogs respect the sex,and no respectable dog would so far forget him-self as to attack his female companion. Ican't say whether the feminines are quite soparticular; I am not so certain on that point,
The Toung Don Quixote. 77but then you must make every allowance,they have a deal to put up with. No,no, Archie; rest assured there is nothingso mean and cowardly as striking womenand girls.'"Thinking thus, boys, it will not surpriseyou to learn that our Ned' was in continualhot water by making himself the champion ofevery girl he saw ill-treated. Was some littlegirl having her hair pulled, or her armspinched, by a thoughtless or cruel urchin,directly she caught sight of my brother, sheran to him for protection, while her tormentorscuttled away equally fast in an opposite direc-tion, his ears tingling in anticipation of thecoming correction. Was a larger and oldergirl threatened by some ill-natured brother, orbrother's chum, she felt herself safe if our Nedmade his appearance. In short, he was alwaysready, at whatever odds, to do battle for the'weaker sex,' as he jestingly called them.This trait in his character procured for himthe name of the 'Young Don Quixote,' and hewas as frequently called the 'young Don' ashe was by his baptismal name."But to return to the tramp. We were
78 The Tramp and his Wife.walking home one afternoon from school, when,just as we turned a bend in the road, we cameclose upon a man and woman quarrelling; theman was in the act of striking the woman witha stick as we hove in sight. Our Ned's faceflushed up as he saw the man's action, andclenching his hands, he was rushing forward,when I caught him by the jacket, imploringhim to stay. .He flashed a look, half indignant,half surprised, back at me, exclaiming, What,Archie?' and was off. The stick had de-scended before he reached the scene of conten-tion, but he thrust himself between the victimand her tyrant, who was preparing for a repeti.tion of the blow. 'You big, cowardly brute !'he cried; haven't you manhood enough leftin you not to strike a woman ?'"The fellow seemed actually paralysedwith surprise at Ned's audacity; he gazed athim for a moment or two with amazement,while the stick which had been in the act ofdescending remained suspended in the air.The man, however, soon recovered himself,and looked so fierce and brutal that I trembledwith apprehension for Ned's safety."'Get out of the way, you young fool, or
"Hush, Laddie, he's not Killed." 79I'll be the death of you,' said the man, tryingto thrust him on one side." Not unless you promise not to strike thewoman,' replied Ned, undauntedly."'What?' roared the infuriated fellow;'why, she's my own wife!'" More shame, then, for you to touch her.'" The man swore a terrible oath, seized Nedby the throat, struck fiercly at him with thestick, and finally threw him to the other sideof the road, where he fell all in a heap, afterwhich the fellow walked off in the direction ofthe town we had just left. I hastened tomy brother, and seeing him lie there so still,and with his face discoloured, I concluded hewas dead, and cried out with a great burst ofgrief, 'He's killed, he's killed!'"'Hush! laddie, he's not done for,' said arough but kindly voice, and looking up I sawthe voman, on whose behalf he had donebattle, bending over him. 'He's not dead;untie his neckerchief, and give him some air;he's only dazed a bit; he's a brave laddiethough. There, see, he's coming round! ButI must be off. A brave laddie that!'"Ned was soon able to rise to his feet and
80 All Grip and Tumble.resume his walk homeward; he was a littleshaky on the legs, and was compelled to leanheavily on my shoulder as he limped along." You see, Archie,' he said, 'it was such achoker; the beast griped so hard, I couldn'tget a chance to kick his shins; it was all gripand tumble. I think he must have hit me onthe head, it feels rather sore.' Brave old Ned,throat and head both bore marks of the fel-low's violence for more than a week after." Such was 'our Ned.' He was always do-ing something to make my heart throb withpride, and a look of pleasure kindled in ourmother's eyes. He was a brother to be proudof, I can tell you." Once every year we shut up house and paida visit to a brother of my father's, who residedby the sea shore, on the eastern coast of ourisland. This visit was always a source ofpleasure to Ned and myself. Living inland,the sight of Old Father Ocean, in calm or instorm, was like the face of a dear. old friendwhich we hail with delight. We usually con-trived to make the best of our six weeks' stay,and would crowd as much pleasure as it waspossible into every day; no moment hung
Something like an Uncle. 81heavily on our hands, the time passed only toorapidly, so that at the end of each visit weappeared to have been there but three, insteadof six weeks." Our Uncle was an uncle that would glad-den any boy's heart; he delighted to have usstaying in the house; he said it made the oldplace cheery and pleasant, for he had the mis-fortune to be a bachelor; and with the excep-tion of his old housekeeper-whom we boyshalf worried to death-and his female servants,he saw no 'women folk,' all the year round,but our mother. He was one of the right sort,always planning pic-nics, fishing and rowingexcursions; and kept his purse continually inhis hand, ready to tip us handsomely, for heappeared to have an instinct that money burnta hole in our pockets." But it was seldom we were in the house,exdept at meals and to sleep; the cliffs andbeach proved too attractive, and we were soon' hail well met !' with all the fishermen, andspeedily became acquainted with the inside ofeach cottage, and the respective qualities ofeach boat, as we were with the humours and dis-positions of their several owners. Many wereD2
82 Happy Mornings.the rows.and sails the fishermen gave us; morn-ing, noon, and night, we were ever welcome." One of our chief pleasures was to go outfishing with them in the early mornings. Pro-vided the weather was fine, we would be up,and out, and down on the beach long beforeany of our uncle's domestics were astir, and assoon as the boatmen appeared with whom wewere going, it was in boat, out oars, and awaywe went, skimming joyously over the waters,which already sparkled with the beams of therising sun."Ah, what happy mornings those were.How joyously we laughed, and joked, andshouted; how full of life and health we were;no sorrow as yet had chilled our hearts,wrinkled our brows, or made our spirits looksadly from out our eyes; no, everything wasbright, and tipped with the golden light of themorning of life. All the world lay before us,and the unknown and untried future seemed tobeckon us onward, and we were only too eagerto follow and see what it had in store." It was during one of these visits paid toour uncle, and near to its close, that we lost'our Ned.' The weather had been unusually
A Storm in Summer. 83fine for September, the sun had been hot andbright, and the sky cloudless. Week afterweek had glided by, and there had been norain, or cloud; things inland began to lookbrown and scorched, while the ground showedgreat gaps and fissures, as though the earthwere thirsty, and was opening its mouth forwater. But for a visit to the sea coast theweather could not have been more suitable, atleast so Ned and I thought. We had but aweek longer to stay, when, one evening, theweather gave unmistakable signs of a change.'There will be a storm to-night,' said thefishermen, as they hauled their boats up highand dry upon the beach beyond reach of thesea. The sea-gulls flew screaming hither andthither; the wind began a low moaning wail,as of pain, because of the fury gathering withinits bosom, and the sea fell with a sullen kindof roar upon the sands, while the cloudsgathered darker and blacker along the hori-zon, presently spreading in thick heavy massesover the face of the sky." About six the storm burst in all its fury.I had never witnessed such an one before, andtrembled with apprehension as I heard the
84 A Wreck! a Wreck /frantic howling of the wind, and the fearful roar-ing of the sea, which gathered itself up in mightywaves and dashed against the tall cliffs as if withthe intention of washing the whole earth away,added to which the thunder pealed over head,and the livid lightning gleamed and flashed roundthe sky. 'What a night!' cried our mother.'God have mercy on our poor men at sea !'" Ned and myself could not rest in the house;we felt we must be out battling with the storm,and out we accordingly went. It was hardwork to keep our feet, the force of the windwas such that, two or three times we werecompelled to hold by each other to prevent our-selves from being blown down. As we madeour way slowly to the beach, we became awarethat something of interest was occurring, forwe noticed a cluster of men making franticgestures, and pointing eagerly seaward. Fol-lowing with our eyes the direction their handsindicated, we were startled by seeing a largevessel driving rapidly on shore. She was inevident and imminent peril, the wind had tornwhat canvass she carried into ribbons, whilethe crew appeared to have lost all control overher movements, the vessel not answering to
Follow me Follow me! 85her helm. We could see some of them cuttingaway at one of the masts, and others employedin loading a gun, which was presently fired asa signal of distress. We took all this in at aglance, yet not very distinctly, as darkness wassettling down over sea and land; but the vividflashing of the lightning enabled us to obtainglimpses of the state of affairs on board thedoomed ship." We soon joined the group of fishermen onthe beach-among whom were several womenwith cheeks blanched to a deadly whiteness,and a kind of wild light glowing in their eyes-who were discussing the propriety of launch-ing a boat to aid in rescuing those who, if nohelp speedily reached them, would in all cer-tainty find a watery grave. The men weredivided among themselves, some being for, andsome against making the attempt; and wordsran high, while gun after gun came boomingacross the water, each sounding nearer than itspredecessor. At length one old boatmanshouted: 'It shall never be said I stood byand saw my fellow-creatures drown before myeyes without making an effort to save them.Those who are for trying, follow me!' And
86 Ned in the Boat.away he ran, followed by some three or fourothers, who with much difficulty launched aboat on the troubled waters, into which theysprang; and seating themselves, each manseized his oar, while the old boatman took thehelm, and with a shout from those on thebeach, they commenced their dangerous task." In the excitement of the moment I hadforgotten Ned, and was greatly terrified byseeing him jump into the boat after the men.I shouted to him to come back, but I doubtwhether he heard my voice, so fearfully loudroared both wind and sea. Just at that mo-ment my uncle came up and inquired for Ned.I could make no answer, but pointed to thefast receding boat, which at one moment couldbe discerned riding on the top of a huge wave,and the next hid from sight in its hollow." You don't mean to say,' shouted my uncle,frantically, 'that Ned's in that boat? '" What's that you say? screamed a voicebehind us." We turned hastily round, and there stoodmy mother, without bonnet or shawl, her longhair loose, and streaming in the wind, andboth hands clasped tightly over her bosom.
The Boat Upset. 87Boys, I shall never forget that face. Yearsand years have gone by since then, but thatwhite face, so full of horror, haunts me still.We tried to get her to go back home, butwe might as well have tried to move a moun-tain; she would not stir from the beach, andall we could do was to try and infuse into herhope which, alas we did not ourselves possess." Meanwhile the boat was steadily approach-ing the doomed vessel, which had struck, andover which the waves dashed; a flash of light-ning for an instant revealed one of the menstanding in the bows of the boat in the act ofthrowing a rope to those on board, and anothershowed that some were being transported fromthe vessel into the boat; then the rope wasseen to be cast off and the men commencedrowing back to shore. Would they ever reachit in safety? How long the time appeared.At length the boat was discerned near-ing the beach, and men had already rushedbreast high into the sea in readiness to seize itand aid in drawing it safely to shore, when ahuge wave was seen to overwhelm and swampit in an instant." A cry of horror rose high above the noise
88 Death of Ned.of the tempest; and men and women ranfrantically hither and thither, unable to lend ahelping hand to those drowning close to land.A rope was tied round the body of one, who,rushing into the boiling surf, firmly claspedone poor wretch in his arms, and both weredrawn safely to shore. Again, and yet again,did the noble fellow rush into the angry sea,each time rescuing one from death. Howeagerly we bent over each, as they werebrought to shore, to see if our Ned was thefortunate one, and how heavy grew our heartsas each inspection proved fruitless. Seven hadbeen thus rescued from a watery grave-awoman among the number-ere our Ned wasbrought to shore, and then the sea had beatenthe brave life out of him, and it was only thesenseless body we received, while in his arms,and held so tightly in his death grip, that shecould not be removed, was a little three-year-old girl. We afterwards learnt that when theheavy sea struck the boat, Ned was seen tosnatch up the child and clasp it firmly in hisarms. And now both were dead. Ours wasa sorrowful home that night; my mother'sgrief was something awful to see, and such as
Burial of Ned. 89I never wish to witness again, -and over whichI will draw a veil of silence." Our'Ned was buried in a little churchyardnot far from the sea, and all the fishermenalong the coast turned out and followed thecoffin to the grave, and stood reverently round,with their caps in their hand, and their weather-beaten features working convulsively, while theclergyman read the burial service. The littlechild was laid in the same grave; she wasthe daughter of the rescued woman, and themaster of the ill-fated ship-who with many an-other went to his long home on that awful night."My mother, boys, never recovered fromthe shock poor Ned's death gave her: shedrooped and drooped, until God's messengercame to lead her to her lost son."One of my companions, who had a turn forverse-making, put into my hand a few lineswhich he said were suggested by poor Ned'sdeath. They were not of much account, but Ilearnt them, and sometimes even now repeatthem as a trifling memento of a lost brother:Autumn winds are in the sky;Autumn leaves are whirling by;Autumn rain falls pattering;Autumn time goes clattering
90 In Memory of Ned.On in storm,While onward borneTo desolate shore,Billows rage and roar:On dark waters tost,A plaything lost,The big ship creaks and groans,Starts and moans.And sailors' oaths, and sailors' prayers,To wild night cast,With sea-bird's screams,Are carried by the blast,To happy home, whereA mother dreams ;While the son she bore,Lies still on the shore.At break of day,The salt sea sprayIs washing the sandFrom the clenched hand;And the breezes twirlThe glossy curl ;And the silent face,Without a traceOf life, liesUpturned to the skies.And the sightless eyes,Their last work done,Stare up at the sun."That, boys, was the end of poor Ned.Those who die young escape much sorrow,says the proverb; and the old heathens used tosay that those who died young the gods loved ;but we hear a more sure voice saying, Blessedare the dead that die in the Lord.'"
CHAPTER VII.THE FLOOD.VERY boy had gone home with theexception of Leslie, their farewellshouts still echoed in his ears as helooked gloomily from one of thedeserted school-room windows out into theequally deserted playground; how silent andlonely everything seemed, and to make mattersworse, the rain had re-commenced to fall. Howsad Leslie felt; he pictured to himself thewarm and loving reception each of his departedschool-boy friends would receive on reachinghome. Yes, he pictured it all to himself as hestood watching the falling rain, and the hottears gushed from his eyes, and, laying hishead upon the window sill, he burst into un-controllable sobs.How long he remained thus he knew not,but he was roused from his painful sense of
92 A Brave Heart Needed.desolation by a gentle hand being laid upon hisbowed head, and a kind voice saying, "Mypoor boy I am very sorry you are left behind ;there, there, do not cry, brighten up, and comeinto the parlour with Maud and me," and MrsPrice wiped the tears from his face, and brush-ing back his hair, imprinted a kiss upon hisforehead.This kindness only made Leslie feel moreinclined to cry, but repressing his tears, andplacing one hand in Mrs Price's, he said, asthey walked to the parlour, " You are verykind, ma'am, and your voice is as soft as myown mamma's; thank you very much."" There, that is a brave boy; you must notlet Maud see you cry.""No, but I could not help it, I did so longto go home, and it is such a disappointment tobe kept at school."" My dear child, the world and life are fullof disappointments."" Are they, ma'am?"" Yes, and we must all try to meet our sharewith a brave heart.""Are they all as bitter as mine?"" Some are much worse, my boy."
Excursions Planned. 93" Iwill try to be brave, ma'am; but I reallydid try to put the linchpin back."Maud was delighted to have a companion andplayfellow who could be with her all day, andwas soon engaged in planning various excur-sions to different, but favourite scenes in theneighbourhood."We will spend one long day," she said,"all by ourselves; we will get up very early inthe morning, and cook shall fill a basket withnice things to eat; then we will row down theriver until we reach the wood, in which we willroam about all day, having our dinner underthe boughs qf some large tree, and be for allthe world like gipsies; will that not becapital? " and Maud clapped her hands withglee." Yes," said Leslie, " and I will take a longstick, which shall be my lance, and I will pre-tend to be a knight who has rescued a beauti-ful lady from a cruel band of robbers.""But who is to be the beautiful lady ? "inquired Maud."Why, you, of course, for I think you verybeautiful.""Suppose real robbers do come," said
94 Rainy Days.Maud, opening her large eyes to the full ex-tent at the bare supposition."Oh, I would protect you," said Leslie,with fervour."Should you be really strong enough ?"" I think I should, if danger threatened you,Maud."" Is not Leslie brave, mamma ?" said Maud,turning to Mrs Price." Yes, my dear," was the answer."I don't know ma'am," said Leslie blush-ing, "but I think every one is brave whenthose they love are in danger."" But, my dear children, if the rain keepsfalling as it has done to-day, your excursionwill have to be postponed for some days."There seemed every prospect that Mrs.Price's prophecy would be fulfilled ; the rainfell incessantly, day after day; men shooktheir head, saying, " It will be a bad seasonfor farmers, and the poor, if no break come inthe clouds." But day after day passed away,and no bright sun broke through and dispersedthe rain clouds; for miles round, the fields ap-peared nothing but lakes of water, and someparts of the road were in the same condition.