The Baldwin Library
Lm B U'ni ersity
WITH AN INTRODUCTION
AUTHOR OF "HARRY LAWTON'S ADVENTURES-"
WITH TWELVE ETCHINGS BY
SEELEY, JACKSON AND HALLIDAY.. FLEET STREET
T was on a dull, cold afternoon, towards the
end of the year, that a fine steam-vessel
cast anchor in Portsmouth Harbour. There were
people on shore with eager, happy faces, who had
long been watching for its coming in, and waiting
to welcome friends from whom they had been
separated, perhaps, for many and many a day.
And there were people, too, with just as eager faces,
standing on the deck of the Minerva, and looking
out among the expectant crowd for those who
they hoped would be waiting for them.
But amongst the passengers there was one
small face which wore anything but an eager or
happy expression. It was that of a little boy of
some nine or ten years old, who, with his father
and mother and two elder sisters, had just returned
2 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
from a twelve-months' tour among the sunny lands
of the South.
'See, Bertie, there is your old nurse!' said his
mother; 'I felt sure she would come over to get
this peep at us. Ah! and there is her sailor hus-
band, too, and their little boy. Well, I wonder
they could all leave Cowes at once. You must
really get some of your old smiles ready, and not
wear such a serious face any longer, or they will
think that Egypt, and Greece, and Italy, have
spoilt my boy, and stolen his heart away from his
dear old English friends.'
I 'm sure I'd rather not have seen them until
spring-time,' returned Bertie, gloomily; 'we
seem now to have had no holiday at all-the
year has gone so quickly; and besides, it is so
horrid coming back just as the winter is here!
Why, we haven't seen such a sky as this all the
while we have been away! Look at it, mamma;
it is just like lead.'
'Yes,' replied his mother, smiling, 'a true
English sky, there is no doubt of that; but skies
are not the only things to think about, nor holi-
INTR OD AUCTION. 3
days either. And though we would not have
returned at this time of the year if we had not
been obliged, I doubt whether we could have spent
as happy a Christmas in any other country in the
world. So brighten up, my child, or I shall be
ashamed of you, and wish that I never had per-
suaded papa to let you go abroad with us.'
But there was no opportunity to see whether or
no Bertie's face really did brighten up, for even as his
mother spoke to him there was a great pushing to
and fro, and ropes were thrown from the vessel to
the shore, or from the shore to the vessel, they
didn't know which, only she was pulled in tight
and firm; and then ladders were set against the
side, and planks were brought, and boxes were
carried away, and men came on board, and
there were great cries of How do you do ?' and
'So here you are again, safe and sound!' and
people were shaking hands and kissing, and
hurrying off to the shore. And amidst it all,
Bertie very nearly forgot his vexation that the
pleasant trip was over, and home, and school, and
lessons, and every-day life, so very near to him
4 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
again. It is a comfort, at any rate, to think that
his nurse, good creature! really had a hearty
shake of the hand, after all, and a kiss, too,
something like what she was used to, and that the
sailor, who had so often, in days of yore, sent
him presents of little toy-boats, cut out and
rigged up all by himself, got so friendly a smile,
that, in compliment to his little brown hands and
sun-burnt cheeks, he remarked that he didn't
much wonder, now he had seen him, that his wife
was so very pertic'lar to that small boy whom
she had reared up her own self.'
Nor was Master Bertie at all sorry to find that
he gave so much satisfaction. So he entered the
hotel where they were to sleep that night in a
somewhat pleasanter temper than he had been in
all day before. There was a capital fire burning
on the hearth in their sitting-room-a real
English fire, such as they had not seen all the
while they had been abroad: and soon in came
the waiter with hot tea and coffee, and fowls, and
ham and eggs, buttered toast and dry toast, and
bread and. butter, tao-in short, everything that
a hungry young gentleman, let him be ever so
dainty, could possibly desire.
And then there was a view of the harbour to
be had by just going to the window; and what
little boy of Bertie's age could help being pleased
with that, if he tried ever so hard, even though
the ships could be seen then only by gaslight?
But tea-time passed, and bed-time too; and
Bertie slept that night under his warm blankets-
a quiet and delicious sleep that many a poor
shivering child, wandering about the streets, with-
out any bed to go to, might well have envied;
and that many a rich sick one, tossing about in
pain and weariness, would give golden guineas to
enjoy. And yet when he got up next morning,
and saw the rain pattering against the window-
panes, and remembered that at ten o'clock they
were to start for London-dull, dirty, disagreeable
London, as he chose to call it-the cloud came
back over his face again, and though I believe he
said his prayers, there was no thankfulness in his
heart for all the comforts of the night, or for the
joys and pleasures of all that past year, much less
6 HOLIDAY Y PLEA SURES.
for that safe voyage home, for which his father
and mother had been so earnestly thanking their
Father in Heaven.
No, all Bertie's thoughts were, 'My holiday
is over. I can't be roaming about any longer
from one beautiful place to another as I like';
but I must go back to books and lessons. It will
be one day after another all just alike; and I
shall have no pleasures at all now, at least none
that will seem like pleasures to me.'
It was sad for Bertie's mamma to have such a
face opposite to her in the train all the way home.
She hadn't expected to see such a one when they
went away; for she thought, Oh! he will be like
other children, as glad to come back as he is to go.'
Now it is not pleasant for any mamma to be
obliged to confess, even to herself, that her little
boy is in any way worse or less agreeable than
other boys. Quite the contrary. Nevertheless, Mrs.
Powell was a wise woman; so, instead of trying
to excuse Bertie, even to herself, she began to
consider what could be the reason why this great
treat and holiday had not agreed with him.
INTR OD AUCTION. 7
It was after the first days of bustle were over
that she went one evening softly into his room
after he had gone to bed, and listening at the
door before she entered heard him humming to
himself, 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull
boy.' The words were just then very favourite
ones of Bertie's, though certainly they did not
seem quite to apply to his case.
'Suppose we were just to change your song a
little, my boy,' said his mamma, 'or add to it
what is quite as true, "And all play and no work
will make him duller still ?" what would you say
to that? Don't you think it would suit you
Bertie stared and thought a moment. He was
a very ingenuous child--by which I mean that he
always spoke the truth, and had very little pre-
tence about him; so at last he said,-
SWell, mamma, perhaps it might; and after
all, do you know sometimes I wish now that
I had stayed at home, and never gone with you at
all. I do feel so lazy and miserable, and I know
I am cross, but I can't help it; so what am I to
8 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
do ? It does seem so horrid to have to go back to
the old hum-drum ways.'
Don't you think that one way of helping it
would be to learn how to make them less hum-
drum?' said his mamma, smiling. 'I have read,
Bertie, of little boys-ah! and of men, too-who
only cared for play when they had done plenty of
work, and looked upon it as a sort of sweetmeat
of which they might have too much. You know
that papa wanted you to be a good deal more
studious while you were away; and perhaps if
you had taken his advice you would not feel so
'Perhaps I mightn't,' said Bertie, with a sigh;
' but can't you tell me any other way of helping
it, mamma ?'
'I was thinking of two other lines when I
came into the room, my boy,' she answered; two
lines which I would rather have heard you singing
than those of which you seem so fond just now.
I dare say you will remember them:-
Not more than others I deserve-
Yet God has given me more."
They have been running in my head many times
when I have seen you look so discontented lately,
and I wish you would think of them; for you
know, when God gives people so many good
things as He has given you, He has a right to
expect the more from them. Your life would
not seem a hum-drum one any longer if you were
always thinking how you could give it up to
Him, and how you could serve Him best. Will
you try, dear Bertie?'
And Bertie murmured something, which
sounded rather like Yes;' on which his mamma
kissed him, and tucked him up tight. Then
she went downstairs and opened a drawer in her
writing-table, and took out a very large, thick
kind of copy-book. It was quite full of very
clear, round writing. Could Bertie read this,
and would it make school-life brighter ?'
Little reader, here is the story written down
in that large copy-book. Would you like to
I0 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
H, you will have a very happy time of
it, Charlie boy!'
It was Charlie's mamma who said this, as
the boy stood by her chair, unwilling to say the
last good night, on that last night in his home.
His fingers were busy with her watch-chain, but
his -eyes were looking very vacantly out into the
darkness, and trying hard not to get dim as they
looked. There was a strong, strangely strong, tie
between Charlie and his young mother. So
young she looked, that people often mistook her
for his elder sister, and for the daughter instead of
the wife of his grave, soldier father.
Nearly nine years ago it had been a pretty sight
to see her, almost a child in years, learning, as she
said, the language of the eyes,' in her sweet, loving
talk with her tiny boy. And it had been the same
3ANUAR Y. i
language still, for few people knew Charlie as his
mother did, as she read the very heart of the boy
in his deep, dark eyes. Folks said that he needed
waking up, and that his father was wise in sending
him to school. And even his mother thought so,
when he came to ask her the meaning of the
words, strange enough in his mouth -- I said of
laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doeth it ?'
He saw her smile as she told him that Solomon
was thinking of the mirth of them that forget
God, not of the happy life of those who love that
Lord who has "given us richly all things to
SI am only going to Dr. Hunter's for one
year, papa says; I suppose it will be gone some
day,' he said, as he turned at last to go to bed.
(Oh, I wouldn't think about the end yet,'
was the cheery answer; 'you will find it ever so
nice when you get there. And besides, we shall
see you every monthly holiday, you know, and
have such a nice day of it. And remember,
Charlie boy, you will have plenty to enjoy if you
look for it in the right way-duty first and plea-
12 HOLIDAY Y PLEAS URES.
sure after. It is the stolen fun and forbidden
pleasure that is mad.'
Charlie hardly understood this now, but before
the year was out I fancy he knew it well enough.
At present it seemed the safest plan to have one
long hug, and then run off and hide himself and
his trouble under the bed-clothes. And before
the next bed-time came Charlie had had his great
heart-break, and after that a long drive through
the wind, which blew away all tear-stains, and
after that a noisy game at snow-ball, and a hearty
supper. So that the end of it all was that he went
to bed thoroughly sleepy, and his eyes had only
time for one merry twinkle at the thought of his
school-fellows' jokes, and one grave shadow at the
remembrance of home, before the lids fell and he
was in the land of dreams.
'Here's a letter from Charlie,' was Mrs.
Hughes' first remark one morning, three weeks
later. About his holiday, of course; it is really
more than one could expect that he should be
home on the 28th, when he only left us on
JANUARY Y. 13
'Dearest mother,' wrote Charlie-he had out-
grown mamma' already-' I don't want to come
home on the 28th. The fellows are going
skating on the river, and it will be so jolly!
You '11 come and see us, won't you?
Your ever-loving, CHARLES HUGHES.'
'The boy is rousing up already,' was his
My boy is slipping away from me !' was his
mother's comment in her own mind, but it was
made with a bright look. And with a cheery
heart she turned to think of watching the little
fellow among his companions instead of having
him all to herself, his arms round her and his
deep eyes telling her his secrets as in old days.
The 28th came in due time, and Nellie,
and Elsie, and little. Frank, were all packed into
the pony-carriage for the six-miles' drive with
mamma to the river. And a very happy time
they all had of it, though Charlie was much too
busy with the other fellows,' to give them more
than a very eager, hasty greeting. Under the
14: HOLIDAY Y PLEA S URES.
brown, leafless trees, stood the Doctor, talking
most blandly to the bright, pretty young mother,
who listened so earnestly to the account of her
boy. It was so pleasant to hear him spoken of
as 'an intelligent, gentlemanly little fellow,' that
it was some minutes before she discovered that
poor Baby was crying with the cold, all muffled
up as he was, and that Elsie had thrown down
her muff to comfort him.
It grew dark and cold so early that day, that
there was but time for a few hurried words with
her rosy-cheeked boy, and the slipping into his
hand of the large silver piece, and they were
parted again. But after this first experience, I
think that mother and son were quite agreed that
these monthly holidays would be nearly the
brightest, happiest times in the year.
After they were gone the skating still went
on, amid plenty of fun and laughter. There
were others on the river besides the merry school-
boys,-ladies and gentlemen from the neighbour-
hood, a- party from the Park, and many others
from the village. One of the young men
yANUAR Y. 15
from the Park, a tall fellow of sixteen or
eighteen, took a great deal of notice of Charlie,
watching his feats of skating and giving him
constant praise. And when, towards the end of
the day, a smash was heard, and a shout that
'the ice was broken and little Hughes was in!'
then it was young Percy whose arm pulled him
out, and whose hand helped to rub him dry.
No harm beyond a wetting had befallen him:
he was soon at home with his companions,
talking over the fun as if nothing had
I say, Hughes,' cried one of his school-fellows
as they scrambled into their beds that night, 'it's
a fine thing to owe one's life to such a fellow
as Harry Percy! And he took a wonderful
fancy to you, by the way. And what's more to
the point, old fellow, he's coming here after
Easter, I understand, to read with the Doctor
for the Indian Civil Service. We shall have
to keep a sharp look-out, or he will be making
a favourite of you, and that'11 never do!'
Charlie made no answer; it wasn't his way
16 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
to chatter. But there was a brighter look in
those large eyes of his, which would have been
thanks enough for Harry Percy had he seen it.
For Harry had a weakness for good looks, and
was at that moment being laughed at, at home,
for his sudden fancy for 'that little fellow with
the dark eyes and wonderful smile.'
FEBR UAR Y. 17
Y this time Charlie had quite settled down
to his school life. Lessons, I am afraid,
did not form the greater part of that life. He
was quick, and had learned to think long ago, so
that he could keep his place in his class without
trouble; but, beyond the first tinkle of the bell
that set him free, his lessons never burdened him.
The master of his form was a very young man,
fresh from a struggling life at college, and laden
with pressing home-care and sorrow. And to
him the little fellow, with his warm smile which so
seldom became a laugh, his round, childish face,
and pretty ways, and the touch of the little soft
hand laid lovingly on his shoulder, became a
daily refreshment, such as he was hardly aware
In his bed-room, too, Charlie prospered-and
18 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
no trifling matter this for the little schoolboy.
He had but two companions,-Wilfred Arnott
and Georgie Berks. Arnott was older than
Charlie, a quiet, sober boy, with very upright
walk, doing work and play alike in serious
earnest; one of those boys who lift their caps to
you with a gravity worthy of their fathers, and
answer your questions with the careful attention
they do not deserve. Little Georgie Berks was
just the opposite; a mischievous little fellow, who
was perpetually choking with his own fun, with a
peculiar knack of getting both into scrapes and
out of them again, equally comfortable whether
standing on his head or his feet, whether in his
bed or under 'it, whether at the top of his class
or at the bottom of it. Yet Georgie could be
grave enough. Sometimes in the early morning,
Wilfred would stand at the window straight and
orderly as ever, his Bible before him, bringing out
his constant remark, I wonder what this means.'
And Charlie, lying among his untidy bed-clothes,
his arms under his head, would answer, his eyes
and mouth all aglow, My mother would say it
FEBR UAR Y. 19
means so and so.' Then Georgie, nursing his toes
on the floor, would listen and look and take in
the new meaning, which, in the light of home-
love, was clearer to Charlie than to either of
them. For Wilfred's home was with a feeble
nervous old grandmother, who got more care from.
the boy than she was able to give him: and
Georgie's parents were in India, With these
little talks for a foundation, it was no wonder that
the boys became firm friends; and a promise was
coaxed out of Mrs. Hunter that they should
never be separated nor have a fourth boy in their
And you will not be surprised to hear that,
towards the end of the month, a letter came from
the school to Mrs. Hughes, to beg leave to bring
home two of 'the fellows' next holiday. And
that same holiday came at last, and off set the
merry trio. What a noisy drive it was for them,
and what an exciting time of waiting it was for
the little girls at home, you can well guess.
They met at last, got over the first few awkward
minutes of shyness, and then to play they went.
20 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
Nothing much could be done until after
dinner, as you will well understand; andi dinner,
you know, is an important business in the eyes
of most little boys. 'Wilfred was so polite, so'.
proper, so gentlemanly, that Georgie- quite won-
dered at him. Where could he have learnt such
wise remarks, such clear, precise answers to the
questions .of that terribly grave major ? And
how was it that he never made the blunders of
which poor Georgie was always guilty, eating
other people's bread, answering the Wrong ques-
tions, &c.' &c. ?
But dinner was -done at last, and then came
the romp. Wilfred went off with the major to
see the dogs and the horses, but the other
children scattered over the house, playing at
hide-and-seek, and finishing with a grand dressing
up in the nursery. Do you think that papa and
mamma had -any idea how the shawls and coats
and hats were used? There were two little folks
from the Rectory with them, and one of them
was discovered once peeping out of the bed with
a mask on his face, and a great broom poked
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FEBR UAR Y. 2r
through the curtain. Baby Frank would have
stood a bad chance if he had not taken refuge
with kind Elsie, who was queen of the day-
her birthday-and wore .a paper crown. Georgie
persisted in dressing poor pussy-cat in nurse's
And after all this came a grand game in the
hall, a regular indoor-game at foot-ball. When
it began to get dark, they went into the large,
comfortable dining-room, :to eat oranges and
roast chestnuts by fire-light, chatting all the while
to Mrs. Hughes and the baby.
And before they had. the smallest idea of it,
it was tea-time, and tea, and toast, and cake,
were to -be thought of. What nonsense they
did talk at tea-time, to be sure! Georgie even.
asked whether baby had got any teeth yet, which
showed first that he had not taken- much notice
of that small gentleman, and next that he was
an ignorant little man himself, and, having seen
nothing but school-boys for ever so long, did not
know that the teething business ought to be over
and done before three years old.
22 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES,
After tea there was snap-dragon; and Wilfred
was detected putting all his plums into Elsie's
mouth, on the sly, to save her fingers.
But when it came at last to be time to put
on great-coats and comforters for the drive back
to 'prison,' as Georgie said, Charlie was missing.
There, in papa's little study, where the gas was
burning very dimly, was Charlie at his mother's
'Charlie boy,' she was saying, 'when am I
to get you all to myself again?' And she was
feasting her eyes, that had been hungry so long,
on his dear little face. She didn't want an
answer, she could see all that he was thinking
about, you know, without that. And when he
said, Oh, mother, thanks for having Wilfred and
Georgie; it is so good having them here,' she
only smiled to think that her boy wasn't a bit
like other boys, but a great deal sweeter and
nicer. They did not do a great deal of talking,
they only seemed to like to be just alone together
again; and Charlie knew that he had nothing to
hide from his mother, but that he would like her
FEBR UAR Y. 23
to see him all through. And when his name
was called from the hall, he got one deep, earnest
'Bless you!' from her, which was worth more
than hundreds of pet names or kisses.
Of course Wilfred and Georgie went off with
more in their pockets than they had brought; and
I have an idea that there was a pleasant sort of
basket carried into the school after them. Per-
haps it was this that caused it to be known
among all the boys that Charlie Hughes was the
boy to know, and his home the house to go to.
Before they were asleep that night, Wilfred
said to him-' I'd like to have a mother like
yours, Charlie; it does one good to look at her!'
And Charlie quite agreed with him.
24 HOLIDAY Y PLEA SURES.
HERE was a great deal of hard work to be
done now before there could be any more
going home. Oh, those terrible examinations-!
If you could have seen Charlie's hands pressing
his head sometimes, and the tears coming most
unpleasantly into his eyes as he toiled over his
books, you would have agreed with him in wish-
ing that he had not let all his work go so easily
before. And there was that heart-breaking sen-
tence in Mamma's letter, 'My Charlie boy will
have a good report to bring home, I know. Papa
will be so pleased.' Was it not enough to make
the poor little chest heave and the eyes fill?
However, I think that sentence did its work, for,
somehow or other, such great efforts were made
that every one was surprised at the place gained at
And now came the going home, not for one
day, but for a whole week of Easter holidays!
Oh, there was something too delicious in seeing
one's clothes, shirts, and socks, best coat and hat,
packed up ready to go away home! Of course no
one thought of coming back again; what could
be the use of facing one's troubles beforehand?
Lessons and books, and masters, and forms and
desks, could just be utterly forgotten. There was,
of course, something a little bit unpleasant in the
parting with Wilfred and Georgie, but that need be
no trouble, since it was only for a week; so they
said good-bye and waved their caps to each other,
and then they went their different ways, and
Charlie soon found himself at home again. It
was so good to sit down to tea with papa and
mamma and the little ones, and have no lessons,
no school to think of, and to wake next morn-
ing and feel that it was Good-Friday, and to feel
that there was before him the going to church
first, to the old place in the old pew; and after-
wards the walk round the grounds; and by the
evening the story from mamma, and the hymns
26 HOLIDAY: PLE:A~SURES.
at the piano. What nice, quiet: days those next
three were:! and :how delightful it -was to have
somebody: to understand him, and explain :things
to :hif, and advise him as mamma could ,-!
-On Easter Monday there was an event. Papa
thought Charlie would find it dull, at home: after
school, so he sent for two little cousins of his to
come and stay with them. Charlie thought he
would much rather have been left alone to play
with. Elsie and Nellie, l and he thought, so still
more when Ralph and Albert came, for the thwo
boys turned out to be both selfish and quarrel-
some. They had inot: been, long in the house
before Charlie found it impossible to please ;them.
It was a warm day for the month,.and after a
game indoors, and much wrangling, Mrs., Hughes
proposed that they should all go: out into: the
back-garden aid. play there. Ralph had made the
two little ones cry, and, to make them happy
again, mamma consented to come and play: too
.under -the old: horse-chestnut tree. At first they
were all to-play at MulberryI-bush together, but this
;the little visitors thought babyish. Then Charlie
1~'''i R \-'-v
~5 ~ L YA
fetched his stilts, but as only one could use them
at one time that did not answer. What was to
be done? Charlie turned out all his pockets
to find stray marbles, and then planting himself
against the high wall on his stilts, contented him-
self with watching them.
There was a great deal of arguing and disput-
ing, and once there was almost a battle, but that
Mrs. Hughes' pleasant words stopped it. Charlie
could see that she was watching even when she
seemed to be most intent on her game with the
little ones, and once or twice he met her eye,
with a wondering, puzzled look, that quite
amused her. He was quite used to rough-and-
ready play at school, plenty of fun, and plenty of
fight, but not to this ill-tempered, worrying kind
'Mamma, what shall we do with them?' he
asked, as he followed with her indoors to tea;
'they will completely spoil my holidays !'
'Oh, no, they won't, Charlie boy !' she said:
'we will contrive to smooth down their ruffled
28 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
He was consoled, but not quite satisfied, and
when next morning came, he got up with rather
an anxious thought of how the days were to be
got over. But, as usual, mamma was wiser than
he. She had soon discovered that the rough,
outspoken, somewhat rude Ralph, would not vex
and wound her merry-hearted boy as he did his
little sickly brother, and that Albert would not be
peevish and always on the watch for affront when
alone with her little girls.
At breakfast Charlie found that the ponies
were ordered for Ralph and him, and that they
were to ride into the next town with his father,
while his mamma and the others met them in the
carriage. And a capital day they had of it! Such
a gallop over the heath! and such merry trotting
along the roads! And Charlie had never heard his
father talk to him so much. A proud flush came
into his face as he thought, perhaps his father was
considering him more than a child now, and
wished to make a companion of him! And the
idea did not leave him, but it made him look up
into that bearded face with quite a' new feeling.
Fear and pride, and intense admiration, had
always been in his mind before, but now there
came into his tell-tale eyes a new light, which
told a different story; and, do you know, I can't
help thinking that his father saw it, and that it
pleased him, too: so you will agree with me, that
that ride, and the daily rides that followed, were
quite worth thinking about. Well, you know,
there are no days that run away so fast as
holidays; and before Charlie was well aware of
it, Thursday evening had come round, and his
things were packed up and waiting in the hall,
and he was clinging to his mother's neck, beg-
ging for long, long letters, and coaxing out
a promise of a visit,-a promise to be fulfilled he
little thought how.
30 HOLIDAY PLEASURES.
NEW face, and yet a familiar one, met
Charlie's eyes at the Doctor's table the
first morning after his return to school. As a
rule, Dr. Hunter did not take any but little boys
into his house,-to prepare them, as he said, for
the public schools. Yet he was known to be such
a clever man, that he was often asked as a favour
to receive older boys, to help them to get ready for
great examinations. In this way it happened that
there were generally two or three tall fellows who
always sat near the Doctor at meals, and who were
very seldom seen by the little boys at any other
time. And this time one of the tall fellows was
Harry Percy. The sight of his friend of the ice
made little Charlie turn very red, and fidget on his
chair; but as Percy did not seem to see him, he
was soon at his ease, and breakfast and lessons
passed off as usual.
He had not been long in the play-ground
before he felt a .heavy hand on his shoulder,
and heard a merry voice say,-
'So this is my little friend of skating renown!
Hasn't he got a word to say to the deliverer of his
In another minute Charlie felt himself caught
up by the belt and flung over Percy's shoulder,
coming down safe enough on his feet, however.
He faced round and gave his friend one of his
brightest smiles; but at the same moment another
of the big boys came by, and putting his hand
through Percy's arm, drew him off for a walk.
He went readily enough, only saying as he did
so,-' What jolly eyes that little fellow has got,
to be sure! He has quite taken my fancy! I
shall have to take him, up a little, I declare.'
And so in the end it proved.
Charlie was what you may often hear
called a' hero worshipper.' Very warm-hearted,
and by nature self-forgetful, he was ready to give
intense admiration to those among his elders
who were kind to him. And thus it came to
32 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
pass that he soon won himself the name of
'Percy's little shadow.' Harry could never drop
a paper, lose a pencil, want a flower for his
button-hole, but it was instantly brought him
by his little bright-faced friend; and the passing
fancy of the youth soon changed into warm love
for the loving little fellow, whose delight it
was to sit on the back of his chair, or perch
himself on the edge of his window as he sat at
work. What a full, earnest, eager life Charlie
had of it now! Working at lessons and play
as hard as he could to win the praise of his
friend; and enjoying, too, with all his heart, his
games and his talks with Arnott and Berks; and
welcoming the dear, long home-letters with
never-failing delight. And then, there were his
Master's praise and surprise at his progress, and
the Doctor's kind pat on the head, and his
pleasant words,--'I have been writing to your
father to tell him how nicely you are getting
on, my boy.' Was it any wonder that he should
write home,-6 Mother, I am sure God does give
me richly all things to enjoy." I do like school
so tremendously !' Would Charlie ever know
anything of the laughter that is 'mad,' as his
mamma had explained it?
It was the day before the monthly holiday,
and a letter was handed to Charlie Hughes. It
was from home, and rather clouded his brow.
Mamma and papa would be away to-morrow,
and he could not go home. So it was settled
that he was to walk by himself to a cottage not
far off, where his old nurse lived with her grand-
child, and where his little sisters and brother
should meet him, and all have a happy day
together. The letter ended with the words-
'I am so much obliged to your tall friend,
Mr. Percy, for taking such notice of my little
'How slow,' thought Charlie, (to have to
spend a whole day like a baby with nurse and the
'I say, Charlie,' cried Percy's voice a minute
after as they left the breakfast-table, 'are you
going home to-morrow, or can you come on the
river with me ? I am going for a quiet paddle,
.34 HODIDA Y PLEASURES.
and only want a little mouse of a fellow like you
-with me.' .
'Oh, yes, I'll .come! cried Charlie,
delighted; 'I I've just heard that' I can't go
home.' And- five minutes later he had dashed
off these words on paper:-- -.
Dear Nursie-I can't come. I so sorry,
but I have got another engagement. Love to the
SYr. affect. C. HUGHES.'
Then he folded up the note and gave it to
the servant for the post, never giving himself time
to think whether what he had done was right or
wrong, wise or unwise.
To-morrow was a bright, soft, April day.
Old nuise Andrews sat in her garden-chair under
the apple-tree, covered with its pretty blossoms,
and the children played about her. Little Frank
and her grandson had fine fun with the dog; and
the elder children played at keeping shop, and
pretended to bring out silks and satins from the
cottage to the kind old woman. Once or twice
r -r iS
Alf ~ -
little tender-hearted Elsie would come to her
knee to find out the meaning of nurse's soft
'Where do you think Charlie is, nursie?'
she would say. Don't you think he ought to
have come when mamma told him to ? But
I'm sure Charlie does love you very much,
nursie; only, perhaps, he couldn't help this other
And then the old woman would put her hand
under her chin, and look tenderly at her, saying
loving words about the little absent boy, till the
child went back to her play contented.
But where was Charlie all this time? Oh,
having such fun on the river! They started early
in the afternoon, and they didn't mean to be
home a minute sooner than necessary. First,
Charlie had to learn to steer, and plenty of
narrow escapes did he have of running the boat
into the bank. Then he must needs learn to
row; and what with ( catching crabs,' and making
puns, and cutting jokes, he grew quite hot with
laughing and exertion. And there was the fun
36 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
of going through the locks, and drinking such
quantities of ginger-beer! And such a glorious
wood as they came to at last, hanging right over
the water! They tied up the boat, and went for
a ramble among the violets and primroses; and
Percy, done up,' as he said, with rowing, fell
asleep under a tree.
When they got into the boat again to row
home it was getting late, and heavy clouds had
hidden the sun. At the first lock they reached,
while Percy was in the cottage drinking lemonade,
the rain came down in torrents. Charlie tried to
cover himself with his light overcoat, but was
soon drenched through and through. He looked
longingly at the little house among the trees, but
Percy thought himself best off under shelter, and
no one appeared. Poor little fellow! the rain
was dropping from his cap and soaking his hair;
the boat was full of little puddles, and he felt cold
and wretched. Would he not have been better
with nurse and the little ones? Was it quite
right for him to be here at all? And yet,
mamma's words about Percy, were they not
enough to satisfy him? But, then, had she not
chosen differently for him, and had he been quite
honest when he told the Doctor that his parents
would like him to go with Percy? Oh, it was a
dreary, dreary feeling, that seemed to weigh down
his mind, just as the rain did the young grass!
But the sun came out at last, and the clouds
cleared, and Harry and the lock-keeper came out
together, and Charlie stood up and shook off the
rain, and tried to feel jolly again.
Off they went, Percy putting out all his
strength to make up for lost time. As he rowed,
he smoked, and paid but little attention to his
small companion, who sat and shivered, his wet
coat thrown off. It was not till the light was fast
fading from the watery, tearful-looking sky, that
his eye was caught by the patient, weary look
about the little quiet mouth and the large eyes,
watching with so little interest the beautiful reeds
and rushes through which they passed.
'I say, my lad, you 're tired,' said Harry,
shipping his oars; and stepping over to the child,
he made him lie down on his own dry coat,
38 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
wishing vainly enough that he had something to
throw over him. Charlie smiled gratefully up
at him, and murmured his thanks; then his heavy
eyelids fell, and he dropped into a doze. Harry
watched him anxiously, and rowed harder and
harder to reach home before the next shower
came, but it was impossible. Down came the
first heavy drops, and in utter perplexity he
looked all round for shelter, but none was to be
found. There was nothing for it but to pull
with might and main, first curling up the child
in the coat as well as possible. When, three-
quarters of an hour later, in a state of intense heat
and fatigue, he half lifted Charlie to land, he
looked earnestly at the child's face. It was
flushed and weary, and his head was throbbing
painfully, while the burning hand that held
Harry's frightened him as much as the shivering
and chattering of the little white teeth. Waiting
not a moment longer than necessary, he hurried
home with him, took him straight to his bed-
room, and himself helped him quickly to bed.
Then running down he found the matron, and
told her that little Hughes had been out in the
rain, and, he feared, had caught a bad cold.
And so ended Charlie's April holiday, and his
first experience of the river.
40 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
0 tell you the honest truth, Hartley, I am
very nearly heart-broken about that little
chap upstairs;' so said poor Percy to one of his
elder school-fellows, a week after the day on the
river, and he flung his book from him, and
began to pace up and down the room.
'Stuff, old fellow!' was the answer; 'just as if
it was any of your doing! Didn't you hear the
Doctor himself declare that the child must have
been ailing before that soaking in the rain? That
was not enough to bring on the fever!'
Ailing! I believe he was, or he would never
have gone with me when he ought to have been
at his nurse's. If I had only known it! Dear old
Charlie boy!' And a hasty hand was rubbed
across his eyes, and through his ruffled hair.
In the darkened room upstairs lay the little
fellow. The days of wild, feverish delirium,
strange fits of laughter, and mingled talk of rain
and river, flowers and oars, loud calling for
mamma, and piteous moaning in pain,-all this
was over now, and the whole household was
hushed in the awful suspense, Will he live or die ?
Beside the little bed sat the poor young
mother, just as an hour ago she had arrived by
the train. A very cruel necessity, as it seemed,
had kept her in London, and even now she must
not stay. And there he lay, his eyelids closed,
his little round face colourless, and hour by hour
he seemed to sink more and more heavily in the
bed, and his breath to become fainter and fainter:
but the evening came, and with it a long visit
from the Doctor; and as he left the house it was
with the joyful decided answer, 'Yes, he is better;
he will get over it yet.'
The night seemed long and anxious, yet
hour by hour the breathing of the little sleeper
grew more easy, the look of utter weakness less
painful, and when, early next morning, his mother
bent over him and kissed him, saying softly
42 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
'Good-bye, Charlie,' his eyes opened, and he gave
her one deep, loving look, and then closed them
'He will have the kindest nursing,' said the
Doctor when -they parted; and had she doubted
it, impossible as it seemed to help it, she could
not have left him. And in a few days we will
send you very bright news,' he added, as, unable
to speak, she stepped into the fly, and was driven
off to the station.
Yes, he had the kindest nursing; for all in
the house, from Mrs. Hunter to the matron and
the maid-servants, loved the little gentle boy.
As he began quickly to recover, Harry Percy
and little Georgie Berks alike would spend all
their spare minutes in his room; but it was
Wilfred whose quiet ways were most resting to
him, and many were the bright May hours that
he would leave the playground or the river-side
to come and stand by Charlie's bed, his grave,
grey eyes fixed upon his face.
Those were happy days of getting well, and
happier still was it when he was lifted from his
MA Y.Y 43
bed to the large arm-chair, and, muffled up in
blankets, could lie back and look out of the
open window, drinking in the sweet spring air,
and watching the beautiful river, with its woody
banks getting more green and pretty every day.
Perhaps Charlie would have gone back to his
old day-dreams had it not been for the merry
frolics of the boys under his window, and the
exciting games that he had to watch, and which
soon began to rouse him up to his usual merry
spirits. Mamma's letters came every day, and
they were bright as if no double trouble had been
weighing upon her all this time. One letter
that Charlie wrote brought an answer from
mamma which was always under his pillow, but
nobody else ever saw it. If it had something
to do with that day on the river I should not
be surprised, but, I am sure, it is none of our
business, and we would be the last to pry into
such a secret as that.
About the end of this same month of May
there was one bright, 'moonlight night, when
two people. in two very different places were
i4 HOLIDAY PLEASURES.
strangely restless. In that -room up at the top
of: the house, kind, motherly Mrs. Hunter was
tucking up a certain little boy in bed, and that
same- little boy ,gave a very-impatient kick, and
everything came undone; and his only excuse
was a .merry laugh and, Oh, Mrs. Hunter, I
can not :go to sleep to-night! I know I never
shall! ;It is so grand to think of it! And just
when I :had been wondering how I should ever
get-into lessons again, and not wanting to a bit!
And mother coming home. just the very day
ready for me, and Dr. Williams taking me home
in.his owni carriage I Oh, it is so jolly !'
;But for all these eager words, Mrs. Hunter
looked at the pale face and sunken eyes, and
felt what: she said when she told the child that
the DHoctor would- never let him go if he did
not get a good night's rest first. Yet I am afraid
Charlie's thoughts and: dreams that night were
very busy indeed.
And :at home the clock struck twelveh---one
--two,.and still brie person in the house was lying
gazing at the moonlight, and thinking, now
._ r; .
M1A Y. 45
smilingly, now anxiously, now almost sadly, of
the meeting with her boy to-morrow. How
must she expect to 'see him? Pale, perhaps, and
thin and spiritless,-so different from her old,
merry, healthy Charlie
Such thoughts as these were chasing each
other through her mind when she stood next
afternoon as you see her in the picture.
SThat is the way he will come : look, baby,
all along that white road down the hill!'
And the little fellow pointed with his chubby
hand, crying, Dere, dere!' and fancying every
cart or waggon must be the Doctor's carriage.
And Dash seemed to be on the look-out, too;
and Elsie's doll was held up high to see. Little
Nellie had taken her place at the nursery-window
that looked over the top of the chestnut-tree, and
every now and then she would cry out that she
could see farther than they, and she was sure she
could see the carriage.
But, you know, people never come when you
watch for them; they always seem to think it
better fun to come just when you are looking the
better fn, o, c me''-,
46 HOLIDAY PLEASURES.
other way. And so it was now; the children had
come down in despair, and were ,playing happily
just outside the window, when they heard
mamma's eager voice,-' There 's the carriage!'
and in a minute they were all at the gate.
The Doctor's eye had been upon Charlie for
some time, though he had not known it; and he
was glad to see the warm flush in his cheek,. and
the eager way in which he flung the rug aside to
spring into his mother's arms.
You need not be frightened at his pale face,'
he said, ten minutes later, as he shook hands and
prepared to drive back; 'he will soon be himself
again now that he is at home : such glee as he is
in at this moment will do more for him than ever
I could. Only I wouldn't let him run about too
much, nor overtire himself. Let him lie in the
open air when it is warm, and by-and-bye you
can take him to the sea.'
Yes, Charlie was in high glee. He chattered
away to his heart's content, and to his mother's,
too, till his early bed-time. And then, as she
bent over him for his good-night kiss, and looked
into his eyes, saying brightly,' I am so thankful
that He gave me back my Charlie boy,' his look
was tearfully happy; and he whispered,' Yes, I am
glad I didn't die; and, 0 mother, this is the
happiest day of all the year, I know !
48 HOLIDAY Y PLEA SURES.
0 Charlie began his long holidays at home!
Very funny it seemed to him when he
thought of it, that he should be lying for long
hours together on the rugs under the trees,
instead of being away at school like the other
boys. And yet it was very pleasant, tired and
weak as he was, just to lie there and listen to
story-books from his mother; tossing about or
lying still as he felt inclined, drinking the soup
that her hand brought him, and taking bitter
medicine to make him strong. Sometimes he
wanted a game, and as the soft winds came and
blew a little colour into his cheeks, he would
often start off on a race round the garden. But
it was generally to come back and lie down at
his mother's side again, better pleased to be still.
Well, with such nursing as this, and with
Y UNE. 49
the bright summer weather, Charlie grew strong
again, and was able to ride with papa and to
drive with mamma, even taking whip and reins
into his own hands, and sometimes to climb the
trees in the garden, and make the little ones
think he would never come down again!
It was two or three days after Midsummer
Day that Charlie was found by his mother
looking dreamily out of the window, as if he
was thinking of nothing at all that he saw there,
but very earnestly indeed of something far away.
'Charlie boy, Charlie boy, what's in the wind?'
asked Mrs. Hughes, looking funnily at him.
'Only this,' said Charlie, showing her an
untidy letter in a large, round hand; 'it's from
Mrs. Hughes read the words,-' I wish you
were here, old fellow, for it's horridly dull; and
the day after to-morrow is the holiday, and I
shall be all alone, and it will be horrid.' She
smiled, and asked Charlie if he had shown it
to his father.
'Yes, and he only looked queer and said,
5o HOLIDAY Y PLEA SURES.
"Charlie that's what I call fishing." I wish
Berks could come here; but it's too late now!'
'Is it, Charlie? Then, of course, papa's letter
to Dr. Hunter needn't go to-night. And we
needn't send the other either up to Sir Richard
Lee, to ask for the use of his wilderness out
in the country, for a pic-nic to-morrow! Of
course both letters can be burnt!'
'Oh, mother, are we going to do that? and is
Georgie coming? and are we going to be out of
doors all day, and have dinner and tea in that wild
place full of roses, and nuts, and blackberries ?
Oh, how tremendously good of papa!' And
Charlie rushed downstairs, never waiting to hear
that all the good things he thought of could not
be found at once, even, in that most wonderful
wilderness of Sir Richard Lee's.
Major Hughes was not a little surprised as
Charlie tumbled up against him at the study
doorway. He turned the boy's eager face up to
look at; and in the midst of all that moustache
and beard Charlie saw the smile he liked to see,
as his father said, 'And how could mother be so
foolish as to fill the small boy's head with all this
just before he goes to bed ? Be off with you, and
sleep it well off!'
And that was just what Charlie did; he was
too sturdy now to be "kept awake by a little
excitement; and Nellie found him fast asleep
when she crept into his room on tip-toe next
morning, and laid a dewy bunch of small white
roses on his face. What a merry burst of laughter
was heard as he chased her out of the room and
what a noisy splashing did he make in his bath
five minutes after!
All in due time little Georgie Berks appeared.
He looked very grave for him, all alone, and
done up in best jacket and straw hat. But
Georgie could not help doing something odd; I
am sure he could not! So to-day, what must he
do but put a small sun-flower into his button-
hole! Did you ever hear of such a thing?
Charlie, who had learnt from Harry Percy all
the secrets of wee rose-buds, and maiden-hair
fern, and bright geraniums in sweet-scented
leaves, in little glass tubes, for the button-hole,
52 HOLIDAY PLEASURES.
laughed until he couldn't laugh any more. Yet
there the sun-flower remained, and looked as fresh
and as bright in the evening as in. the morning
just like its little owner's inerry round face.;
.What a beautiful place that -wilderness: :was!
It wasn't only ,a wwood, it. wasn't only a: rose-
garden, it wasn't only pretty banks to the: merry
brook, but it was all this at once, and a great deal
more. There were great spreading trees for:shelter,
and long grass ready-for hay, orily .ot shut up for
hay; underneath- the trees there was a beautiful
mossy space to spread the cloth, and the dinner on
it; and there. was 'the brook quite handy to wash
the plates in. : There [were winding: paths among
the thick bushes;, with: branches just made to carry
off the children's hats, or catch their jackets';- and
there were rose-bushes, where. once a garden had
been, all growing among the loriggrass and the trees,
and only-'too ready to let their, roses be. gathered.
SGrand fun did- the children have over' their
dinner. Charlie undertook: to: feed little Frank,
while Georgie "waited -on the ladies,' making
blunders -enough .for any :rishinan, and :getting'
..,:.~~~~~~~~ ., .: -, .._-. ... ..-., .- .
...;,-, ..,..-~..... .. ... ;.,. ., ,| ....... -
quite hot with laughing and being laughed at.
And when it was all over came the washing up;
and this, you know, nurse could not possibly do
by herself: so there was a great rubbing and
drying of plates, and mugs, and spoons, and never
did Georgie feel so relieved as when Mrs. Hughes
laughingly told him it didn't much matter,
though he' had dropped a pretty new plate right
into the brook, and watched it settle down
comfortably among the moss and stones at the
bottom. Did she really mean it when she said
that it would be very useful for the froggies next
time they gave a water-party down there?'
After dinner there was a grand game all along
the banks, and many narrow escapes in trying to
catch the round lily-buds on their green plate-
leaves in the water, which could be almost, but
not quite, reached with mamma's new sunshade.
Then rose-wreaths must be made for the little
girls,- and Georgie must hold the sunshade. over
them, lest they should get sun-stroked,' as he
And before the new milk and ripe fruit were
54 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
brought out for tea they all gathered round
mamma, close to the water-side, and listened
while she told them about the good-natured little
brook of olden days, who was running off to see
the mill turn round, but was stopped so often by
the thirsty flowers, that he nearly fainted right
away to nothing before he got there, and yet was
so good and kind that he didn't care if only the
flowers were a little less dried up and drooping.
You know that story, don't you? If not, go and
And then, after tea, they had a merry drive
home, packed very close in the pony-carriage,
all one over the other, anyhow-the more the
muddle the greater the fun! How Georgie got
back to school I really don't know. I am not at
all sure that he did not find a cosy corner some-
where in Charlie's bed-room, and so only turned
up among his school-fellows when to-morrow
JUL Y. 55
M I ever going back to school?' asked little
Charlie one day of his mother. In truth,
I am not sure that he was not half wishing it.
He had had a very happy time of it at home,
though it was not all play; for, for the last week
or two, he had been doing some few lessons with
papa. But then letters came from Burnhampton
which troubled him. Georgie Berks 'wanted
him,' and said the bedroom was not half so nice
without him;' and Wilfred wanted him, and
'hoped he wasn't turning into a molly-coddle
at home, and that he wasn't shamming, as the
fellows said, just to keep at home the longer.'
And Harry Percy wrote to him that he was to
come and see him play in the cricket-match at
the end of the term.
'Am I ever going back to school?'
56 HOLIDAY Y PLEA SURES.
'Why, Charlie, tired of home already?'
asked his mother: but she quickly changed her
tone as she saw the disappointed look in his eyes
at being misunderstood. She had seen all his
letters, and knew as. well as he did what made
him ask the question.
'Papa has been talking about it just now,'
she said. 'He is going to answer Dr. Hunter's
letter directly, and he thought of saying that he
would drive you in when he goes through to take
Uncle Arthur home by that road; only somebody
was greedy, and begged leave to keep her Charlie
boy till after the holidays. Yet, perhaps, it would
be best for you to have just this bit of school
first, and find out how you get on in all that
noise. That little head of yours hasn't ached
so much lately, I think. Indeed I shall go and
tell papa, for I fancy you will like it best.'
The only answer was the throwing of one
little arm round her neck, and a grave look quite
away from her.
'What a funny little man it is, not to say
anything!' thought mamma; yet she-understood
JUL Y. 57
well enough the 'want to' and the 'don't want
to,' that were both together in her boy's mind.
So it was all settled; and settled, moreover,
that to-morrow must be a half-holiday for the
children to spend in the cherry-orchard, that
Charlie might have a good full basket to take
back to school.
Uncle Arthur, just returned from India, was
such a capital play-fellow, he would be a first-
rate helper in the business. And, of course, the
Rectory little ones must come and lend their aid.
Charlie was such a hero in their eyes, that he
really could not go back to school without their
coming to see him, and to wish that they were
So Charlie got up early in the morning, and
ran down to the gardener's cottage to tell him
that the trees must be cleared that evening. And
he had a race home with Dash; and after break-
fast, his last lessons with papa. And at dinner he
looked rather grave, as if he half repented having
chosen to go back to school. And then mamma's
eye following him about everywhere, was she
58 HOLIDAY PLEASURES.
afraid to trust him away from her after that river
affair? Of course he could not find words to
ask her, but the thought made it a much more
serious matter altogether.
In the afternoon, what nfun they had among
the cherry-trees .What did it matter if Charlie
came in with holes under his arms, and holes at
the knees, and his hat left behind all in tatters on
the tree' IIHe must have better clothes to take
to school, of course. And what a good ladder
Uncle Arthur.was You could put your feet first
:in his pockets, and then on his arms, and then on
his shoulders; and even then he would lift you up
:by your feet ever so much higher, till you" could
get right into the middle of the tree. Only, if he
.suspected you of eating instead of gathering, he
would leave you no peace, shaking the bough
[till you almost came down on your head, poking
you with his great, long umbrella; and if that
would- not do, coming up after you, and bringing
you down: neck- 'and heels, the first and the
;roughest way that came! :V-
-. Meanwhile 'the sun was very hot, and -the
wi: illf -1~ '
.," .i ,or
'i:~ " I"r 'T '
i.=]f: ," .;'.,.. ,,,,,r
I.l ' :, '..'
-'-% - ". -: :'n. I
-$ ,~ SfI
"4 i "i,
!iI~ -. 33" eII
'-_ :' d
....' 7.. =i :__. .z-__ -- ; ;._ __ .. ....
gatherers were getting tired and thirsty. So there
was a regular assembling under the trees to rest.
And just at that moment down came a messenger
from the house, bringing Charlie a cap in place
of his ruined straw hat, and calling them all up
to the house to tea under the trees on the lawn.
So they set off in procession, Elsie had her
cherries fastened round little hoops; Nellie's were
in a large cabbage-leaf; one of the Rectory boys
had a great basket, and the other a stick, with
lots of cherries tied to it. Charlie ran by his
uncle's side with his cap full in his hand: the
little ones trotted behind. It was a good walk
from the farther end of the orchard to the lawn
under the drawing-room windows. At a little
raised summer-house, between the orchard and
the garden, was mamma with a little baby-
cousin in her arms, who crowed and reached
down her little fat hand to the basket of fruit
which one of the boys held up to her. And
how she laughed when they showed her the funny
earrings they had made of the pretty red balls!
They had good fun after tea among the
60 HOLIDAY Y PLEA SURES.
flowers on the lawn and in the hay-field.
Charlie thought it all over as he -stood looking
out at the stars all alone in his room. He was
all ready for bed, and his candle was out. He had
said Good night' to mamma, and heard her shut
the door; but he didn't feel sleepy, and the bed
was hot. Didn't the garden look pretty; with the
long shadows of the trees lying on the soft grass ?
How pleasant it had been out there, with Elsie
and Nellie and Frank, and that dear little baby-
cousin! Why had he chosen to go away? Didn't
mamma think he would be sure to do something
wrong at school, as he had before? Yet why
should he ? Wasn't there help to be had to do
right, even for a little school-boy like him-help
that would come down from beyond those stars,
if he only wanted it? And Charlie's eyes looked
up with one of those wistful, asking looks, that
mamma could always understand without words.
Did not One more loving and wise than mamma
understand them, too?
Then the little fellow went to bed, and to
sleep, full of eager thoughts of the hearty school-
3 UL Y. 61
life before him. And a few more hours and
he was in the thick of it again-in all the
eager work-and-play life, with merry comrades
like Wilfred and Georgie, rejoicing all the while
in the quiet, happy spare time, with Harry
62 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
HE end of the term came-' at last,' the
boys said; 'very quickly,' thought Charlie,
and the cricket-match with it. What anxiety there
was all through the school, from Percy, the captain
of the eleven, down to the little curly-headed fellow
in petticoats, who hardly knew the difference be-
tween a long score and a short one!
Well, the day was as bright as you could
wish-very hot, very dusty, very burning! And
there were plenty of carriages on the ground, with
ladies in bright dresses, and gentlemen in white
waistcoats and coloured ties; and there was a
grand luncheon for them, and for the two
'elevens' also; and all about the place ran lots
of little boys, in the whitest of flannel jackets
and trousers, with the very brightest of ribbon-
bindings, and the brightest -of coloured caps.
Somebody said to somebody else that afternoon,
'What a wonderfully bright look there is about
that pretty, young Mrs. Hughes!' I wonder
whether the sight of her boy in the dress -she had
never seen him in before, and which certainly
suited him so well, had anything to do* with it ?
Hot, and flushed, and tired, was that same
Charlie, as the carriage drove off that evening,
Harry Percy stepping back after the last shake of
the hand from Mrs. Hughes, and raising his cap
as they moved away. Yet Charlie was eager and
talkative when the number of runs was discussed;
and Harry's play admired to his heart's content.
Too tired he was, both that night and next morn-
ing, to think much of what was in store. In fact,
breakfast was over, and the farewells taken, and
he was steaming away in the train, almost before
he could think of it all.
It was a long, long journey, and Charlie had
never travelled alone before. So he trusted every-
thing to the guard, and the guard had full
directions from his father. There was a long
time to wait at one of the stations, and there
64 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
Charlie found himself carried off by his protector
to the refreshment-room, and supplied with a very
As the sun began to get low, and the air
came more freshly in at the window, the train
came to a stop at a little tiny station, and the
guard appeared at the door, saying briskly,
' Here we are, sir!' and helping Charlie out. In
another minute, Charlie's trunk was thrown down
beside him, the guard jumped into his place, and
the train, which had just come out of a hill,
vanished in a dark fir-wood. But before he
had time to feel lonely, a man in livery, with
a whip in his hand, touched .his shoulder, with
'Master Hughes, sir?' and, as the little fellow
raised his dark eyes shyly to his face and
answered 'Yes,' himself and his trunk were
speedily conveyed to a carriage close by, and
were soon driving off and away.
It was a funny day of bewildering change!
He had hardly got accustomed to his new style
of travelling, and was beginning to look at the
hills and woods around him, and to count the
A UGUST. 65
chances of rambles and wild strawberries, and to
open his eyes wide to feast on the sight of the
glorious sea, blue and bright, and sparkling up
to the very sky, when the coachman passed in
at a gate. Charlie's heart was going pit-a-pat
as they drew up in the midst of bright flowers,
at an open glass-door; but when he found
himself lifted to the ground, and covered with
kisses by a lady younger indeed, and more girlish,
but withal strangely like his own mother, he
rubbed his eyes, and began to fancy it all a
And so began his life in that beautiful, out-
of-the-way place, With Uncle Arthur, of
course, he was quite at home, and cousin Maudie
and little Hugh were no difficulty. Maudie had
said,' Cousin Charlie, I like you,' before he had
been an hour in the house. But his invalid aunt,
always lying on the sofa and complaining of the
children's noise, or coming out into the garden
and wanting uncle's arm just in the middle of a
game with him;--yes, this was hard to get used
to!. So Charlie took refuge with Aunt Katie
66 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
instead, and had many a: romping game with her.
Aunt Katie was a puzzle .to him. He would
look at her, and' watch "her so, closely, that she
would often say,' Gharlie; what are you making such
eyes, at me for?' to which :he .always. answered,
' You are' so exactly like my mother; and yet
you 're not a bit like her!' At which she would
laugh one. of her:10Ing, merry laughs', that Charlie
thought. would never stop. But when ishe did
stop,p: she would -try and explain, what he could
never understandd: the reasons ofthe difference.
However, they had a very happy time of it,
and' 4oon became fast. friends, w-hat with long
ranibles'thiough the woods, and longer talks in
the garden. Aunt Katie liked to have her little
knight,': as she called him, to help her over the
stiles, and to carry hei- cloak and Charlie 'liked
his young audit's: interest and sympathy in his
school affairs. Aind then the fun on- the beach
among the ;rocks, catching crabs and shrimps,
and, finding stones and shells. It was almost
as .good as' the morning-bathing with Uncle
Arthur, which: he did so delight in,- swimming
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about, when he had learnt the art, in such intense
happiness in the pleasant early sunshine. But
all this could not last for ever. So the time
came at length for one long, long day in the
woods before Charlie went home. He and his
young aunt went off quite early after breakfast,
and Maudie with them. Charlie took his insect-
net, and his box slung over his shoulder; for he
must make the most of his time, and get a good
collection to take home. And so they had quite
a busy morning, and were sitting down to rest
under the shade of some cool osiers that grew
in a damp part of the wood, when the others
came. Poor Uncle Arthur was so hot that he
carried his hat and coat over a stick, and the
aunt looked quite pale as she leant upon his
arm. But they spread plenty of cloaks under
the trees, and got some wine out of the hamper
for her. Of course there was a cottage in the
wood, and the little maid, who lived there with
her grandfather, was very useful, helping to spread
out the dinner, and to get water from the spring.
After dinner Aunt Katie sang a number of pretty
68 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
songs, and some very funny ones that made the
children laugh. And Uncle Arthur told them
stories of his life in India, which, of course, were
very interesting to Charlie, and were stored away
in his mind to tell his friend, the future judge-
Sir Harry Percy.
They went home early because of the damp.
But Charlie did not mind. He sat on a very
soft, beautiful stool by his aunt's sofa, drinking
tea and eating sponge-cake, and watching Aunt
Katie pouring out at the little side-table. And
the cool. shadiness of the room was very pleasant,
and helped him to dream happily of the home-
And yet, though I am ashamed to confess it,
and would not, but that I think you ought to
know, when he did get home they hardly knew
him! One thing was, it was getting rather
dark, and I suppose there might have been some
difference between the little pale-faced boy, with
his thin, white hands, who went away, and the
sunburnt, sturdy, rosy-cheeked fellow, who came
back, clasping his mother's neck with brown
hands covered with scars and marks of the
And is this little brown berry of a child really
my Charlie boy ?' asked mamma, her hands on
both sides of his face. But the warm, loving eyes,
and the smile all over his face, must have con-
vinced her; for the smile was in her eyes, too,
only three or four times as loving.
But papa wasn't to be convinced; for though
there was the queer look about him, he only said,
turning on his heel,-' No, no; depend upon it,
it's a wild boy out of the woods. We will send
him off to Dr. Hunter's next week, and see if
he doesn't say so, too.'
70 HOLIDAY PLEA SURES.
O UT Dr. Hunter did not seem to have any
doubts about Charlie. He received him
just as usual, and left him to settle down into his
own little corner in the merry world around him.
The first evening of his arrival he was greeted
timidly by a small, pale-faced child, a new-
comer in the school, who put a letter into his
hand, turning very red as he did so. The boys
had told him that 'Charlie Hughes' meant
Charlotte the housemaid; but when he had
found her and given her the letter, he thought
she would never stop laughing. Was he right
now? Yes, Charlie read the letter, and then
turned to him with a sigh, and asked him to get
his cap and come for a run in the garden. The
letter was from Harry Percy, telling of an
accident which prevented him from returning to
Moreton Hall, and begging Charlie to look after
little Johnny Marsh, his widowed sister's eldest
child, during his first few weeks at school.
Poor Charlie Percy little knew what he was
giving him to do. In less than a week, everybody
had discovered that Marsh was a great deal too
much of a child for schoolboy life. Baby John,'
and Mother's little jackdaw,' were his common
names among the boys, who soon gave up all attempt
to make him understand that he must answer to
the name of Marsh. Countless were the tricks
played off on him, wonderful the stories that were
told him! Even Charlie, in his anxiety to shield
him, could not resist the gaping, wondering
belief of the child, as some extraordinary ghost-
story was palmed off on him. Yet his shivering
terror frightened him; and when he had twice
been found in such a dead faint from mere fright,
that even the medical man could hardly restore
him, the very boys began to understand that it
was no joking matter. It was openly said among
them that Johnny ought to go home again; but
who would tell? Very little was known beyond
72 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
the schoolroom, for the Doctor's anger was feared
if he should discover that the child had been
It was altogether a heavy burden on Charlie's
mind. It was, therefore, good news when he
and Johnny were told that they were to spend
their holiday together at the park.
What a relief it was to find himself at Percy's
side on the grass under the trees, pouring out all
his troubles to his friend! Harry was not a little
vexed and annoyed, especially for his sister's sake;
but he told the boy shortly that he would settle
it all,' and Charlie never doubted that the whole
thing would come right now. So he began, readily
enough, to talk of other things, as Harry proposed.
The school-news had to be told first: all the feats
at cricket, and all the fears about the next match,
which would certainly be lost for want of Percy's
play. And Charlie's own special feats,, with a full
and particular account of the grand,, first-rate bat
that his father had given him. At that point,
the boy suddenly remembered that his friend
knew nothing of his visit to the sea. Percy made
SEP MEMBER. 73
a good listener, for it was a pleasant change in
his life just then to have such a merry little
visitor. He had been a prisoner now for several
weeks, and had suffered enough to make him look
pale and weary, and to make him feel dull and
down-hearted. The little fellow's laugh, and his
bright, loving ways, his admiring .notice of the
dark hairs on his lip, and his puzzled look at
his heavy eyes,-all this amused and pleased
What a jolly little animal you are, Charlie !'
he said at last. 'I only wish you hadn't got to
go back to that wretched Hall to-night. It's
fearfully slow here, I can tell you, tied by the
leg like this from morning to night. Nugent,
you know, has got his commission, and gone off
to join his regiment, and Edith is at school at
Brighton; so there's not a creature to speak to but
poor Mary, and she is for ever taken up with her
babies. And the worst of it all is, that my work
is at a stand-still, and I shall never pull through
next spring, but have .to grind away for another
year, worse luck !'
74 HOLIDAY Y PLEA SURES.
Charlie tried to sympathise, but the idea of
having Harry at school longer than he had
thought of was too pleasant to be grieved over.
And perhaps, after all, his pleasure was as soothing
to poor Percy as anything.
But it is not in the nature of boys to be long
in the mopes, and very soon the cedars gave out
a great noise of laughter, as they feasted together
on a large basket of peaches sent down from the
house; and by-and-bye there was an outcry
from the other children for a game of croquet.
With the help of Charlie's shoulder and a strong
stick Harry came out from the trees, and settled
himself on the lawn to watch. What a fight
Charlie made of it, taking two balls against
Johnny and Alice I It is true that Johnny was not
much of a player, and, after one or two blunders,
his eyes would often get too dim to see the hoops.
Yet Alice had a wonderful way of getting both
balls on, and was so eager that everybody got excited.
It was settled that no time could be spared
to go in to have tea, so a small table was brought
out and covered with good things under the trees
-good things that vanished very quickly, and
without much thought of anything but the game.
And after tea, what do you think? The
squire and his widowed daughter, and their
visitors, all came out to watch! Can't you fancy
the breathless waiting and watching as Charlie
stood, his foot upon one of his balls, just ready to
put his other out, and then to win the game? Poor
little man, I am afraid the sharp eyes of the squire,
and the kind words of his daughter, and the
eager looks of Harry, as he leaned against the
tree to watch, all made his hand shake. His ball
missed, and in a minute Alice was down upon
him; he was sent off to the end of the lawn, and
very quickly the game was won !
'You must come as soon as ever you can,
and have another game and beat me,-mustn't he,
grandpa?' cried little Alice.
'We 'll see, we'll see!' was the answer.
'Now, boys, on with caps and comforters and
off with you!' And he hurried them away,
hardly giving time for the mother's kisses or little
76 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
What fun there was in Charlie's bed-room
that night! What eager listeners Wilfred and
Georgie were! And what bursts of laughter
were stifled in the pillows as Charlie described
the wonders of the park, the queer figure of
'that funny old man,' the squire, as he stood
behind them on their first entrance, in his most
comical hat, his shooting-clothes, and long foreign
pipe! And what a picture Charlie drew.of
little Johnny in his waterproof-cloak, as he stood
by his mother when she was shaking hands with
himself, taking care to keep out:of the dog's way!
Yet all this fun must be kept for the bedroom.
Upon; no account would Charlie allow one joke
to get about the school that might have vexed
Harry to hear. Indeed, many a. cuff did Georgie
get from: him for mimicking the squire in the.
;. d A
ES, October, that glorious month of bright,
fresh days, hard dry roads, and yellow
woods, and falling leaves; that glorious month
for long, fast walks, over miles and miles of
Mother! I say, mother!' cried a voice under
Mrs. Hughes' window, one afternoon; and then
as Mrs. Hughes looked down, astonished at the
sudden sight of her boy, followed the long story
of a long walk, and a breathless request to spend
next holiday in Farmer Grey's apple-orchard.
And then away went the boy to join his school-
fellows at the gate; and Mrs. Hughes watched
him,-going back to the dream she was dreaming
when he broke in upon her. There she stood,
gazing at the bright autumn foliage before her.
So Dr. Hunter was to keep her boy another year,
78 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
was he? And there was truth in the Major's
answer to her unthinking complaint, that it
would be so long before the boy would be at
At home again! Of course it will. He will
not be at home again for any time together any
more. When he leaves Burnhampton it will
be for Rugby; and when he leaves Rugby it
will be for College, or for a military training ; and
after that, perhaps, India.'
Yes, it must be so, of course. Her nice little
plan of a year's home-work under a tutor before
Rugby could not be-she had never thought
it could; the boy would like it best as it was.
Why was it that loving little Elsie, bright, happy
Nellie, and the small, round-faced Frank, dear
as they all were, could not keep her from
hungering after her absent Charlie boy? 'The
school plan has answered better for him than
for me,' she thought; and then she shook off
the heavy feeling, laughed back the half-rising
tears, and was soon in the midst of a merry
romp on the hearthrug with the little ones-
such a merry romp, that the fun was heard
a long way downstairs, and her hair was all
about her shoulders very soon.
Friday came, and with it a chapter of ac-
cidents. Nurse was away for a holiday; Susan,
the under-nurse, in bed with a bad cold; and
Mrs. Hughes herself on the sofa with a nervous
headache. Of course she roused herself when
Charlie came, and would have had him think
that there was nothing amiss. Eager enough
he was at the thought of the fun down at the
farm, yet by his puzzled, serious look, as he stood
by her, she knew that he saw it all.
Elsie would not hear of going; she must stay
and nurse mamma and play with baby. So they
left her, and off went the other three at their
The way to Windham Farm was through a
nut-wood, and the grave Major was hardly more
ready than his children to leave the tempting
bushes. All about the place they scattered; little
Frank on papa's shoulder, or clinging to the
pocket of his coat; Nellie trying hard to keep
8o HOLIDAY Y PLEA SURES.
up with her eager brother. What shouts went
ringing through the wood, and what bursts of
laughter at the tumbles and scratches everybody
got! And then the blackberries! Oh, I am
sure that Farmer Grey would never have seen his
little visitors at all, had it not been for the Major's
watch, which all of a sudden told a wonderful
fact which nobody could believe,-if they didn't
be quick they should never get any apples at all
before it got dark. So on they trudged in alarm.
And when they got there, what a busy scene
they found on all the great, big Windham Farm!
Such great, huge barns as Farmer Grey had, with
their open doors, and the darkness inside! And
such long fields, with the steady-going horses
ploughing up and down! And then the noise
of the threshing-machine on one side, scattering
the dusty chaff in all directions, and the men hard
at work all the time, threshing away, too, with
their heavy flails! And the cattle in their great
yards full of straw, looking so strong and so
formidable; and the fat, grunting pigs; and the
cackling and crowing, and the clucking and the
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fluttering of geese and ducks, and chickens and
Was there ever such a scene ?
But the apples were the only things to be
thought of to-day,--the great, red, rosy apples,
on the trees, looking all ready to fall into your
very mouth! And there was the broad, brown
farmer tasting his last year's cider, and making
up his mind that this year's must be better. To
work they all went-all the little Greys, and all
the farm-boys that could be spared, and two or
three men as well, to clear the trees. And under
a great, big tree, propped up with strong props,
to keep its branches from touching the ground,
the little visitors found plenty to do. Charlie's
stick knocked down the apples a great deal faster
than Nellie's hands could pick them up. Little
Frank, I fear, was not much help; for whenever
he was wanted he was always found as you see
him. Indeed, no apple seemed too large to get
into his mouth, and when once they got there
there was no more to be done with Frank.
Where papa went to nobody, knew; yet
82 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
before the sun had more than half way vanished
behind the hill, and every one was busy, his voice
was heard calling for them to go home. I
wonder how it was that, just as tea was over, a
little hamper of very, very red-cheeked apples,
was discovered in the hall, directed in large
letters to 'Master Hughes, Moreton Hall, Burn-
Somehow or other, Charlie's mind that
evening went wandering about as he sat by the
coachman, in the cold drive back to school,
from the thought of the basket underneath the
seat, and all the hurrahs it would cause by-and-
bye, to the warm, new winter coat, he had on
for the first time, and from that to the picture
of the dear mother's pale face as she buttoned
that new coat on him; and that last picture
stayed in his mind, and he resolved to write a
very long letter to-morrow, and quite settled all
the loving things that were to be in it.
NO MEMBER. 83
| T was the evening of the 8th of November,
Sand to-morrow was the last monthly
holiday of the school year at Moreton Hall.
Curled up on the hearth-rug, in a cosy little
study in that same Hall, sat Charlie, mending
a kite and chattering away to Harry Percy, in
all the delight of his friend's return, and all the
happiness of the prospect of to-morrow. Were
they not to have a bonfire and fire-works in
the evening? and were not Charlie's own people
coming to see it all? And what fun they would
have in the afternoon! Oh, it would be a jolly
It was a snug room, that study of Percy's,
fitted up as it was with all kinds of comforts
from the Park, and hung all round with photo-
graph pictures and illuminated texts; but Harry's
84 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
eye, as he lounged in a very easy chair, rested
on the bright little face and figure in the fire-
light, and he half wondered to himself that life
went so easily with his small friend. Then he
caught him by. the collar, and lifted him bodily
to the sofa, and flinging himself on it, let the
child sit astride him, and play off his tricks on
him as he liked, till the sound of the tea-bell
startled them both.
To-morrow morning' was such a November
morning as one might have fancied in London
streets, better than in the country. Perhaps the
brownish-yellowish fog thought it would like
a holiday, and so took the early train from Wa-
terloo, and went down to see the fun at Burn-
hampton! If so, the faces it found there were
too bright, and made it feel ashamed of itself,
for it grew paler and paler, until it vanished
There was some doubt in Charlie's mind,
as he stood with the noisy group round the
fire in the gas-lit school, chattering in true
holiday fashion, as to whether any one would
NO VEMBER. 85
come from home to-day. 'Your mother'll be a
brick if she comes out in this choking stuff,'
said some of the boys; and Charlie hoped more
than ever that she would. And he was not dis-
There was a good deal of time to be got
rid of after the early dinner before it would
be time to light the bonfire. What could be
better, thought Charlie and Wilfred and Georgie,
than to go out and fly their kites? and what
could be more exciting than to have the Major
and Mrs. Hughes to watch them? So a hoop
was found for little Frank, and he went too. The
two little sisters preferred to stay at home and
play with Mrs. Hunter's wee, toddling babies.
There was a good wind, and the kites went
well. At first Charlie had some trouble with his
-a great face with eyes, nose, and mouth-for it
got caught in the trees, and he thought he should
never get it free. And there was a flock of geese
in the charge of a little girl, and they took fright at
the strange, new thing. But in spite of the cack-
ling of the geese, and the calling of the child, and
86 HOLIDAY Y PLEASURES.
the teasing questions of his little brother, always at
his heels, Charlie succeeded at last; and his kite
went as high, and flew as well, as either of the
others. It was nice, warming work that cold,
windy day, and the boys vied with each other
who should run the farthest. But the end of it
all was sad for the poor face; for its master, just
as it began to get dark, ran under the windmill
sails, and in- a moment it was caught-!'; There
was a -shout as the string broke, and away went
the .kite; I don't know where it went to, nor
whether it ever came back to tell the tale: I'm
half afraid it never did.
Charlie went back with the: string in his hand,
feeling rather down-cast; but :the stir anid hurry
at the- Halll 'soon:-roused him. It was time to
think of lighting the bonfire, and the last' touches
had to be put:to it.
I mustn't stop to tell you all: about the blaze
it made, and the cheers of the boys, You can
fancy it all, can't you ? And you can imagine
Nellie and Elsie at the nursery-window, with
mamma behind, watching the little black figures
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