The Baldwin Library
CHARLEY THORPE AND GERALD LLOYD.
By L. L. G.
SSAY, Arthur, let's come and see what
those two boys are at down there by
the gate leading into the woods. I
have been watching them this half-hour from the
dormitory window poring over a book together. I
wonder whether it's a crib they have got, that they
have sneaked off that way together?"
"What two boys?"
"The new boy they call Charley Thorpe, with
the band of crape round his hat, and that little prig,
Lloyd. There, don't you see them now? Thorpe
leaning against the gate with the book in his
hand, and Lloyd is listening to him. Let us creep
up behind the thorn-bushes and see what they are
"The dog will sniff us out, let us creep as quiet
as hares. By-the-bye, I wonder old Barnes has
given Thorpe leave to keep that dog, when he does
not allow another boy in the school to have a pet
of any kind. I know I would have given my eyes
to have brought my bull terrier here, and he would
not hear of it."
I'11 tell you how it all happened, for Barton told
me," replied Henry Stack. You see, the young
chap's brother died about a fortnight before he
came to school; and when he was dying he asked
Charley Thorpe to take care of his dog for him, and
never to give it to any one else. So old Thorpe
wrote a letter to the doctor about it, and the doctor
said Charley might keep it, and it came down in
the coach with him last Friday, and is to stay here
till vacation. But I say, Arthur, if you want them
not to hear us, you must not push through the
thorns in that rough way: get down on your hands
and feet, man, and creep underneath the boughs."
Arthur, admonished by his friend, got down upon
his hands and knees, and the two boys crept for
some distance through the briars and underwood,
until suddenly obliged to come to a stand-still by
a thick thorn-bush, which interrupted their progress.
"Let's listen to what they are saying, as we
can't get any farther," whispered Henry. I think
Charley is reading out something to Thorpe; do
you hear his voice? it is just like the whine of a
"I never knew that cats whined," chuckled
Arthur. But I say, Henry, listen: it's poetry they
are reading out."
To judge by the rise and fall of the boy's voice,
it was poetry. But the reading was suddenly inter-
rupted by the dog, which, springing up, barked and
sniffed round the thorn-bush beneath which Arthur
and Henry sat huddled together.
"I hope no one has been listening to us. Do
you think any one can be hiding in that bush?"
asked Charley in a frightened whisper as he drew
near and peered down through the thorns.
"Nonsense, man Who would think it worth
their while to come and listen to us? It's a rabbit,
you may be sure; the place is alive with them, and
you had better call your dog off, for the doctor
does not like them to be killed."
This remark was followed by a whistle, and the
dog, who had just caught sight of the kneeling
figures, unwillingly retired, with his ears and tail
stiff, and his rough coat all on end.
"Go on, Thorpe, that's a good fellow, and don't
shut up your book. I like awfully what you have
just read to me," pleaded Lloyd with enthusiasm
as Charley turned back towards the gate.
"No, I'11 finish it for you some other time ; and
remember, Lloyd, you have promised me faithfully
that you will never tell any one that I have written
this poetry; for I should be miserable if I thought
any one but you knew I had strung such a lot of
rubbish together, as I am sure most of this is."
I can tell you, my dear boy, it's not rubbish at
all. I have read lots of other poetry, and I think
it's awful good stuff; I assure you I think it's very
like Sir Walter Scott's poetry; however, whether it
is good or bad, I promise you no one shall ever
know a word of it from me."
"That's a good fellow! I know I can trust you;
for if that tall boy, Arthur Sankey, were to get
hold of it, I know what a fool he would make of
I should rather think he would," laughed Arthur
to himself, as he winked at his companion; "and
what's more, he will if he can."
"Will you lend me the book, and I'll promise
you to take care of it ? asked Lloyd, as, leaning on
Charley's arm, he passed in front of the thorn-bush.
If you will promise to return it to me to-night,
and keep it meantime under lock and key," urged
"I cannot promise you to keep it under lock
and key," replied Lloyd, truthfully; "but I'll find
a safe hiding-place for it, never fear."
"All square !" And Arthur Sankey saw a red-
edged manuscript book handed from one boy to
the other, as they passed on down the walk towards
Let us go now as quick as we can without being
seen," whispered Arthur Stack; "for I must set a
watch on young Lloyd, and see where he hides the
book : it would be rare sport to get a peep into it."
"Yes, would it not be a joke if we could catch
hold of it, and read out a passage or two in the
school-room, when the doctor is not in the room?
fancy how small young Thorpe would look, for it's
quite clear he thinks himself no end of an author."
As soon as Charley Thorpe and Lloyd had
turned the corner of the walk, the two boys crept
from under the bush, and keeping at an even dis-
tance behind them, followed them almost into the
college; where Charley Thorpe, whistling to his
dog to follow, turned towards the yard, and Gerald
Lloyd, with the red-edged book under his arm,
went up the long flight of stairs which led to the
Arthur Sankey followed him, and, as if anxious to
enjoy a little repose during the half-hour preceding
lessons, threw himself down on his bed and feigned
Gerald Lloyd was not a suspicious boy; he saw
Sankey follow him into the room, but it never oc-
curred to him that he had any sinister design. He
waited, however, to see what Arthur was about
before he opened Charley's manuscript book and
looked into its pages.
"Draw down that blind, if you please, Lloyd,"
said Arthur, yawning lazily; the sun is blazing
into my eyes, so that there is no good shutting
Gerald stood up and drew down the blind which
was immediately above his head, and then seeing
Arthur turn his face towards the wall, he took up
the book and began to read. By degrees, as he
grew interested in its contents, he forgot all sur.
rounding objects, and never observed that Arthur
had again changed his position on the bed, and was
now closely but stealthily watching him.
The bell for lessons sounded while Gerald was
still intent on his book. Arthur had noticed him
wipe a tear from his eye, and then, as if ashamed
of the weakness, close the book for a minute and
gaze out of the dormitory window; but at the sound
of the bell he started to his feet and looked around
him. Again Arthur feigned sleep; and Gerald,
fearful of his awaking, drew the chair on which he
had been seated with a sudden impulse nearer the
bed, and standing up on it thrust the book between
the head of the bed and the wall: one more keen
glance he gave towards the corner where Arthur
lay, then leaping to the floor with a bound, he
moved towards the door.
"You will be late for class, Sankey," he said, as
he passed by the tall boy's bed; "the bell has
Oh has it? You are a good little chap to
have called me, I might have slept on till midnight."
And Gerald having left the room, Arthur with very
little appearance of sleep about him sprang to his
feet, crossed the room, climbed the chair, and in
another moment was the triumphant possessor of
poor Charley's precious book.
When school was over there was no time to look
into it, for there was to be a grand cricket match
down in the park, at which Arthur was to be first
bat; nor could he take the book with him, it was
so large and cumbersome. It was Arthur's turn
now to seek hurriedly for a hiding-place; so drawing
two or three volumes out of the school bookcase in
the library, he stuffed the red-edged book behind
them, and went out, reserving the reading of
Thorpe's secret until night-time.
But the fates seemed combined in favour of little
Charley. When Arthur and Henry returned from
the cricket match triumphant, and longing for fresh
food for excitement, the bookcase was locked, being
Saturday night, and the key was in the doctor's
pocket; nor would it be opened till the following
day, when the boys would require their Bibles and
prayer-books for church; and it was not till they
were actually setting out for church the following
day that Arthur again obtained possession of the
book. The doctor himself preached the sermon in
the college church. It was a beautiful one, and the
words of it went straight home to the hearts of
many of the boys. It was on the text, "And this
-ommandment have we from Him, that He who
loveth God love his brother also."
Charley Thorpe sat close under the pulpit; and
as the doctor spoke of brotherly love, the tears
rained down the boy's cheeks, and dropped upon
his open Bible; but when the doctor spoke of the
love and charity which we must all show to one
another if we would love God and see Him here-
after, the blood came in red patches to Arthur's
cheek, and for the time he wavered in his unkind
But with Arthur these kind of good intentions
were very fleeting; and when the whole school
was assembled in the class-room waiting for supper,
Arthur having conquered all his morning's scruples,
announced to the boys that he had a poetical treat
in store for them, which would give food to their
minds in preparation for the food they were about
to receive for their bodies. He stood up upon a
form, and produced the red-edged book. There
was a slight stir somewhere, and a stifled cry of
"Shame! shame!" but Arthur was not now to be
daunted, and opening at random in the book he
read out the following verse:
"Sir Roland blew his hunting horn
As the deer leapt up from the glen;
He sniffed the breeze of the rising morn,
And summoned his merry men."
"Capital! bravo!" shouted Arthur, waving the
book above his head; "quite in the style of Sir
Walter Scott: only the thing I don't understand is
this: which is it, Sir Roland or the deer, which
sniffs, and afterwards summons his merry men?
Boys, here you have both pathos and grandeur
combined. The feet are so true, the ideas so new!
I declare I shall begin to write poetry myself, eh ? "
The boys tittered and called for more, and again
there came the stifled cry of "Shame! shame!"
Arthur, always opening the book at random, gave a
verse here, and another there-some really good,
some indifferent, some very bad, till at last he fixed
upon one which was marked by a stroke all down
the sides and a cross of black ink, which he thought
promised for these reasons to be more interesting.
The words ran thus:
"It was upon a summer's night,
When all the world seemed still,
That first I heard the news aright,
Our Willy he was ill.
"Upon another summer's night,
When the stars were in the sky,
Again I heard the news aright,
Our Willy he must-"
Arthur stopped without finishing the line, and
looked across the room, for a cry so pitiful and
wild had never been heard in the room before.
Little Charley Thorpe had risen to his feet, and with
a face white as death was holding out his hands.
"Stop-stop him!" he pleaded. "Oh! it is
cruel! it is cruel-I can't-I can't-listen-listen!"
The words begun in such a high pitch, sank to a
kind of gasp, and Charley tottered back against the
wall; a tall boy standing beside him now cried,
"Shame !" in a distinct voice, which was taken up
by another and another, until the word, "Shame !
shame !" rang from one corner of the room to the
other, the window was thrown open, and Charley
was laid upon the bench beside it, while Arthur,
laying the book down on the table before him,
slunk from the room.
Up the stairs the cry followed him of "Shame !
shame!" till he got into his own dormitory, and
closed the door. He felt angry at first: what had
he done, that this cry of shame should have
followed so quickly on the applause of a multitude
of boys? or that Henry Stack, who had urged him
on to the joke in the morning, should have joined
in the cry of disgrace?
But, by-and-bye, Arthur's thoughts went back to
the good doctor's sermon in the morning, and to
the words of the text of which he had so feelingly
and earnestly spoken. How he who loveth God
must love his brother also; and Arthur began to
wish that he had listened to the first voice of con-
science, and not caused by a thoughtless joke so
much unhappiness and pain.
Little Charley's white face, and his wild cry of
distress, rose up as a protest against his cruelty, and
he wished now, when it was too late, that the un-
kind act could be recalled.
Arthur was not a coward, as most bullies are;
he acted more from a false desire for fun than from
deliberate unkindness: he saw now he was wrong,
and he could not be happy until he had acknow-
ledged it. He knelt down by his bed in the
dormitory, and made his first confession of guilt to
his God, then, pale himself as Charley had been
but a minute before, he walked downstairs and
opened the school-room door.
The doctor was there now, and Charley was
seated on his knee, with his head leaning on the
kind man's shoulder. Arthur hesitated a moment
in his purpose, and looked round the room: the
eyes of the whole school were upon him, and again
the muffled cry of Shame !" went round.
"Yes," said Arthur, in a hoarse voice, as if in
answer to them, "it was a shame, and I am awfully
sorry for it. Charley, will you forgive me like a
good fellow? I did not know what I was going to
read, or I could not have done it; but all the same,
it was a horrid cowardly trick."
Charley looked up bewilderedly from the doctor's
shoulder; he could not understand that tall Arthur
Sankey was begging his pardon.
Charley, shake hands with him," said the doctor,
"he is asking you to forgive him."
Then Charley looked up into Arthur's face, and
with a sudden movement threw his arms round the
big boy's neck. There was no lack of brotherly
love in Charley's heart, and Arthur felt the thin
arms straining tightly round him, and words of kind-
ness whispered into his ear.
Arthur would have been ashamed to confess to
ary one how much Charley's generous forgiveness
touched him, and what an effect it produced upon
his heart; but, though Arthur did not speak of
it, the effect was visible to others when tempted
again to joinin a cruel joke, or to take a part in an
act of unkindness; one could almost see the flush
of pain pass on his face as the remembrance of
Charley's trouble came back upon his mind.
All the school remarked this change, and viewed
with wonder Arthur's especial care and protection
for the small boys, whom it had been his province
before to bully and keep down
Even the doctor noticed the happy reaction which
had taken place by God's grace in Arthur's heart
and the constant desire to love his brother as himself
which was shown in all his actions. And when at
the end of the half-year Arthur carried off the prize
for good conduct-a handsome polyglot Bible with
a gilt clasp and his name inscribed on it-the kind
old master wrote on the fly-leaf of the book these
words : He that loveth his brother abideth in the
light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him."