• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Preface
 Miss Martineau
 Table of Contents
 All the Proctors but Phil
 Why Mr. Tooke came
 Michaelmas Day come
 Michaelmas Day over
 Crofton play
 First ramble
 What is only to be had at home
 A long day
 Crofton quiet
 Little victories
 Domestic manners
 Holt and his dignity
 Tripping
 Holt and his help
 Conclusion
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: The Crofton boys : : a tale
Title: The Crofton boys
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084126/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Crofton boys a tale
Physical Description: 168 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Martineau, Harriet, 1802-1876
Gardiner, Alfonzo ( Publisher )
Heywood, John ( Printer )
Excelsior Works (Firm) ( Printer )
Publisher: Alfonzo Gardiner
Place of Publication: Manchester ;
London ;
Liverpool ;
Bristol ;
Leeds
Manufacturer: John Heywood ; Excelsior Printing and Bookbinding Works
Publication Date: [1896?]
 Subjects
Subject: Boys -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
School children -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Dignity -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Students -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Civilization -- British influences -- Juvenile fiction -- India   ( lcsh )
Social life and customs -- Juvenile fiction -- England -- 19th century   ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1896   ( local )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1896   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1896
Genre: Family stories   ( local )
Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- Manchester
England -- London
England -- Liverpool
England -- Bristol
England -- Leeds
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Harriet Martineau.
General Note: Date of publication from prize inscription.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00084126
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002233914
notis - ALH4331
oclc - 232624801

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Preface
        Page iii
    Miss Martineau
        Page iv
        Page v
    Table of Contents
        Page vi
    All the Proctors but Phil
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Why Mr. Tooke came
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Michaelmas Day come
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Michaelmas Day over
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
    Crofton play
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    First ramble
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
    What is only to be had at home
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
    A long day
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
    Crofton quiet
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
    Little victories
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
    Domestic manners
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
    Holt and his dignity
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
    Tripping
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
    Holt and his help
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
    Conclusion
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text






















Mi






ST. AUSTELL


SCOO 1 BOA89 RD'


1896







AWARDED TO




FOR
REGULAR ATTENDANCE,
GOOD CONDUCT,
AND GENERAL PROGRESS
AT THE

CARTHEW SCHOOL.

WARNE, WP.


; ___1


















































NISNG THEIR SNOW AN.- page 90.


"FINsBxSNa THEIR SNOW MAN."-e e page 90.







THE


G of on Boy

BY
HARRIET MARTINEAU.

WITH NUMEROUS: ILLUSTRATIONS.
















EDITED BY
ALFONZO GARDINER.

JOHN HEYWOOD,
DEANSGATE AND RIDGEFIELD, MANCHESTER,
29 & 30, SHOE LANE, LONDON, E.C.
22, PARADISE STREET, LIVERPOOL.
33, BRIDGE STREET, BRISTOL.
15, BRIGGATE, LEEDS.








PREFACE.


THIS pleasing tale, of how a brave boy had to
fight his way at a boarding-school, and how he
battled with his own faults of temper and dis-
position, requires no words to commend it to
our young readers.
There is no need, in order to prove we can
be brave, that any of us should be placed in
special difficulties. The circumstances of our
daily life give to us all opportunities of showing
what we are made of. As Browning says-
I count life just the stuff
To try the soul's strength on."
And he who can overcome the infirmities of his
own nature, think no evil of his friends, and
put the best construction on the actions of his
enemies, whilst he keeps a strict guard upon
all he does and says, has accomplished no mean
thing.
The time when the incidents happened that
are here narrated is the early part of the nine-
teenth century. Railways, telegraphs, chloroform,
penny postage, gas, and numberless other com-
forts and conveniences of our daily life, were yet
in the future, but the troubles and trials of
a child were the same then as now, and a
mother's love for her careless and erring boy has
suffered no change with the lapse of time.
ALFONZO GARDINER.
LEEDS, OCTOBER, 1895.









MISS MARTINEAU.


FEW women have -enjoyed more fame from their
writings than has Miss Harriet Martineau. She
was born at Norwich in 1802, her father, Thomas
Martineau, being a manufacturer of worsted goods,
for which the city was then very noted. Mr.
Martineau died while Harriet was young, the
business was broken up, and the young girl had
to find some means to earn bread for herself
and to assist in keeping her mother and sisters.
She was never very strong, and while quite a
child a serious illness which she passed through
left her with a partial deafness, which lasted all
her life.
She commenced writing short tales when she
was only nineteen years old, and soon after gained
a prize, offered by the religious body to which she
belonged, for three essays. A list of all the books
that Miss Martineau wrote would be a very long
one, but amongst the most noted are a series
of stories as Illustrations of Political Economy,
Forest and Game Law Tales, and A History of the
Thirty Years' Peace. She wrote for several papers
and magazines, especially The Daily News, House-
hold Words, and Once a Week. In 1839 she went
abroad, but returned very ill, and went to live at
Tynemouth, where she remained, a complete in-






MISS MARTINEAU.


valid, until 1844. During her illness she wrote a
long tale, called The Hour and the Man, and four
volumes of children's tales, of which The Crofton
Boys is one.
On her recovery, she went and settled near
Lake Windermere, and built herself a house at
Ambleside, in which she lived until her death, in
1876. She was buried in the family burying-
place at Birmingham.
In spite of ill-health, Miss Martineau did much
for the improvement of the condition of her poorer
friends. Her kindness of heart, honesty of purpose,
and straightforwardness, won for her the love and
esteem of everyone with. whom she came in
contact. She was an earnest advocate for the
abolition of slavery in America; she aided
Florence Nightingale in her schemes for im-
proving the condition of our soldiers, especially
in sickness; and she took. an active part in
relieving the wants of the spinners and weavers
of Lancashire during the Cotton Famine of 1861.

















CONTENTS.


PREFACE ...
MISS MARTINEAU ..
CHAP.


Page.
. ... ... 111.
iv.


ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL ...
WHY MR. TOOK CAME ...
MICHAELMAS DAY COME... .
MICHAELMAS DAY OVER ... ...
CROFTON PLAY ......
FIRST RAMBLE ......
WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME.


A LONG DAY ... .
CROFTON QUIET ...
LITTLE VICTORIES ...
DOMESTIC MANNERS
HOLT AND HIS DIGNITY
TRIPPING ... ...
HOIT AND HIS HELP...
CONCLUSION


1
18
.. 24
34
.. 44
57
78


... 89
... 101
... ... 109
... 117
... ... 125
...... 139
159
... ... 159
... ... 163


I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.











THE CROFTON BOYS.


CHAPTER I.
ALL THE PROCTORS BUT PHIL.
MR. PROCTOR, the chemist and druggist,
kept his shop and lived in the Strand,
London. His children thought that there
was never anything pleasanter than the way they
lived. Their house was warm in winter, and such
a little distance from the church, that they had
no difficulty in getting to church2 and back again,
in the worst weather, before their shoes were wet.
They were also conveniently near to Covent Gar-
den Market;3 so that, if any friend dropped in to
dinner unexpectedly, Jane and Agnes could be off
to the market, and buy a fowl, or some vegetables
or fruit, and& be back again before they were
missed. It was not even too far for little Harry
to trot with one of his sisters, early on a summer's
morning, to spend his penny (when he happened
to have one) on a bunch of flowers, to lay on papa's
plate, to surprise him when he came in to.break-
fast. Not much further off was the Temple
Garden,4 where Mrs. Proctor took her children
every fine summer evening to walk and breathe
the air from the river Thames; and when Mr.






THE OROFTON BOYS.


Proctor could find time to come to them before
the younger ones must go home to bed, it seemed
to the whole party the happiest and most beautiful
place in the whole world-except one. They had
once been to Broadstairs,' when the children were
in poor health after the measles; and for ever
after, when they thought of the waves beating on
the shore, and of the pleasures of growing strong
and well among the sea-breezes, they felt that there
might be places more delightful than the Temple
Garden.
The greatest privilege of all, however, was that
they could see the river without going out of their
own house. There were three back windows to
the house, one above another; and from the two
uppermost of these windows there was, what the
children called, a view of the Thames,with vessels of
every kind passing up or down. Outside the
second window were some leads, affording space
for three or four chairs; and here it was that Jane
and Agnes liked to sit at work on certain hours of
fine days. There were times when these leads
were too hot, the heat of the sun being reflected
from the surrounding brick walls; but at an
earlier hour before the shadows were gone, and
when the air blew in from the river the place was
cool, and the little girls delighted to carry their
stools to the leads, and do their sewing there.
There Philip, their eldest brother, would conde-
scend to spend a part of his mornings, in his
Midsummer holidays, frightening his sisters with





THE CROFTON BOYS.


climbing about in dangerous places, or amusing
them with stories of school pranks, or raising his
younger brother Hugh's envy of the boys who
were so happy-as to be old enough to go to Mr.
Tooke's boarding-school6 at Crofton.
The girls had no peace from their brothers
climbing about in dangerous places. Hugh was,
if possible, worse than Philip for this. He imitated
all Philip's feats, and had some of his own besides.
In answer to Jane's lectures, and the entreaties of
Agnes, Hugh always declared that he had a right
to do such things, as he meant to be a soldier or a
sailor; and how should he be able. to climb the
mast of a ship, or the walls of a city, if he did not
begin to practise now? So Agnes only sighed,
and bent her head closer over her work, as she
heard Hugh talk about the adventures he meant
to have when he should be old enough to get away
from old England.
There was one person who laughed at Hugh for
this fancy of his-Miss Harold, the daily governess,
who came to keep school for three hours every
morning. When Hugh forgot his lesson, and sat
staring at the upper panes of the window, in a
reverie about his future travels; or when he was
found to have been drawing a soldier on his slate
instead of doing his sum, Miss Harold reminded
him what a pretty figure a soldier would cut who
knew no geography, or a sailor who could not make
his reckonings for want of attending early to his
arithmetic. Hugh could not deny this; but he






THE CROFTON BOYS&


was always wishing that school hours were over,
that he might get under the great dining-table to
read Robinson Crusoe," or might play at ship-
wreck, under pretence of amusing his little brother
Harry.
It did not make him ashamed to see how his
two sisterss got on, from the mere pleasure of learn-
ing, and without any idea of ever living anywhere
but in London, while he, who seemed to have so
much more reason for wanting the very knowledge
that they were obtaining, could not settle his mind
to his lessons. Jane was beginning to read-French
books for her amusement in leisure hours, and
Agnes was often found to have covered two slates
with sums in Practice, just for pleasure, while he
could not master the very moderate lessons Miss
Harold set him. It is true, he was two years
younger than Agnes; but she had known more of
everything that he had learned at seven years old
than he now did at eight.
Hugh began to feel very unhappy. He saw
that Miss Harold was dissatisfied, and was pretty
sure that she had spoken to his mother about him,
and he felt that his mother became more strict in
making him sit down beside her in the afternoon
to learn his lessons for the next day; and he. was
pretty sure that Agnes went out of the room
because she could not help crying when his sum
was found to be all wrong, or when he made
mistakes in his grammar, or when he said (as he
did every day,-though regularly warned to mind





THE OROFTON BOYS.


what he was about) that "four times seven are
fifty-six."
Every day these things weighed more on Hugh's
spirits; every day he felt more and more like a
dunce; and when Philip came home for the Mid-
summer holidays, and told all manner of stories
about all sorts of boys at school, without describing
anything like Hugh's troubles with Miss Harold;
Hugh was seized with a longing to go to Crofton
at once, as he was certainly too young to go at
present into the way of a shipwreck or a battle.
The worst of it was, there was no prospect of his
going yet to Crofton. In Mr. Tooke's large school
there, was not one boy younger than ten; and
Philip believed that Mr. Tooke did not like to take
little boys. Hugh was aware that his father and
mother meant to send him to school with Philip
by-and-bye; but the idea of having to wait-to do
his lessons with Miss 'Harold every day till he
should be ten years old-made him full of despair.
Philip was betiveen eleven and twelve. He was
happy at school; and- heliked to talk all about it
at home. These holidays,. Hugh made a better
listener than even his sisters; and he was a more
amusing one--he knew so little about the country.
He had not learned half that he wanted to know,
and his little head was full of wonder and mysterious
notions when the holidays came to an end, and
Philip had to go away. From that day Hugh was
heard to talk less of Spain, and the sea, and desert
islands, and more of the Crofton. boys; and his






THE CROFTON BOYS.


play with little Harry was all of being at school.
At his lessons, meantime, he did not improve
at all.


"FOUR TIMES SEVEN ARE 'FIFTY-SIX."'
One very warm day at the end of August, five
weeks after Philip had returned to school, Miss
Harold had stayed, full ten minutes after twelve






THE CROFTON BOYS.


o'clock to hear Hugh say one line of the multi-
plication-table over and over again, to cure him of
saying that "four times seven are fifty-six;" but
all in vain, and Mrs. Proctor had begged her not
to spend any more time that day upon it.
When Miss Harold went away, the girls took their
sewing, and sat down at their mother's work-table,
while Hugh was placed before her, with his hands
behind his back, and desired to look his mother
full in the face, to begin again with "four times
one are four," and go through the line, taking care
what he was about. He did so; but before he
came to "four times seven" he sighed, fidgeted,
looked up at the corners of the room, off into the
work-basket, out into the street, and always, as if
by a spell, finished with "four times seven are
fifty-six."
His mother looked with severity in his face; he
began the table a fourth time, when, at the third
figure, he started as if he had been shot. It was
only a. knock at the door he had heard-a treble
knock, which startled nobody else, though, from
the parlour door being open, it sounded pretty
loud. Hugh gazed into the passage through the
open door, when he heard a man's step there.
The maid announced Mr. Tooke, of Crofton." Mr.
Tooke walked in and shook hands with Mrs.
Proctor, and, as he agreed to stay to dinner, Hugh's
sisters were desired to carry their work elsewhere-
Sto the leads, if they liked-and he was told that
he might go to play..






THE OROFTON BOYS.


They had played some time, Hugh acting a
naughty boy who could not say his Latin lesson
to the usher,'and little Harry punishing him with
far more words than a real usher uses on such an
occasion, when they heard Agnes calling them
from above their heads. She was leaning over
from the leads, begging Hugh to come up to her
that very moment. Harry must be left below, as
the leads were a forbidden place for him. So
Harry went to Jane, to see her dish up greengage
plums, which he must not touch; and Hugh ran
up the stairs. As he passed through the passage
his mother called him. Full of some kind of hope
(he did not himself know what), he entered the
parlour, and saw Mr. Tooke's eyes fixed on him.
But his mother only wanted him to shut the door
as he passed-that -was all. It had stood open, as
it usually did on warm days. Could his mother
wish it shut on account of anything she was
saying ? It wag possible.
"Oh, Hugh!" exclaimed Agnes, as soon as he
set foot on the leads. "What do you think ?-But
is the parlour door shut ? Who shut it ?"
"Mother bade me shut it as I passed."
"Oh, dear!" said Agnes, in a tone of disap-
pointment; "then she did not mean us to.hear
what they were talking about."
"What was it? Anything about the Crofton
boys? Anything about Phil ?"
"I cannot tell you a word about it. Mamma
did not know I heard them. How plain one can






THE OROFTON BOYS.


hear what they say in that parlour, Hugh, when
the door is open! What do you tiink I heard
mamma tell Mrs. Bicknor last week, when I was
jumping Harry ii the third stair? "
"Never mind that. Tell me what they are
talking about now. Do, Agnes."
ATies shook her head.
Nw do, dear."
It was hard for Agnes to refuse Hugh anything,
at any time, more still when he called her dear,"
which he seldom did; and most of all when he
put his arm round her neck, as he did now. But
she answered-
"I should like to tell you every word, but I
cannot now. Mamma has made you shut the door.
She does not wish you to hear it."
"Me! Then will you tell Jane ?"
"Yes. I shall tell Jane, when we are with
mamma at work."
"That is too bad!" exclaimed Hugh. "What
does Jane care about Crofton and the boys to what
I do?"
There is one boy there that Jane cares about
more than you do, or I, or anybody, except papa
and mamma. Jane loves Phil."
"Oh, then, what they are saying in the parlour
is about Phil."
I did not say that."
"You pretend you love me as Jane loves Phil!
and now you are going to tell her what you won't
tell me Agnes, I will tell you everything I know
c






THE OROFTON BOYS.


all my whole life, if you will just whisper this now.
Only just whisper-or, I will tell you what I will
guess and guess; and you can nod or shake you
head. That won't be telling."'
"For shame, Hugh! Phil would laugh at you
for being a girl, if you are so curious. What
mamma told Mrs. Bicknor was that Jane was her
right hand. What do you think that meant
exactly ?"
"That Jane might give you a good slap when
you are so provoking," said Hugh, rolling over and
over, till his clothes were covered with dust; and
Agnes really thought once that he was fairly
going over the edge into the yard.
"There is something that I can tell you, Hugh;
something that I want to tell you, and nobody
else," said Agnes, glad to see him stop rolling
about, and raise himself on his dusty elbow to look
at her.
"Well, come, what is it?"
You must promise beforehand not to be angry."
"Angry! when am I angry, pray? Come, tell
me."
"You must-you really must-I have a par-
ticular reason for saying so-you must learn how
much four times seven are. Now, remember, you
promised not to be angry."
Hugh carried off his anger by balancing himself
on his head, as if he meant to send his heels over,
but that there was no room. From upside down,
his voice was heard saying that he knew that as
well as Agnes..






THE OROFTON BOYS.


"Well, then, how much is it ?"
"Twenty-eight, to be sure. Who does not know
that ? "
."Then pray do not call it fifty-six any more.
Miss Harold- ."
There's the thing," said Hugh. When Miss
Harold is here, I can think of nothing but fifty-six.
It seems to sound in my ears, as if somebody spoke
it, 'four times seven is fifty-six.' "
"You will make me get the mistake by heart
too, if you say it so often," said Agnes. "You had
better say 'twenty-eight' over to yourself all day
long. You may say it to me as often as you like.
I shall not get tired. Come, begin now-' four
times seven- '"
"I have had enough of that for to-day-tiresome
stuff Now I shall go and play with Harry again."
But wait-just say that line once over, Hugh.
I have a reason for wishing it. I have, indeed."
"Mother has been telling Mr. Tooke that I
cannot say my multiplication table! Now, that-is
too bad! exclaimed Hugh. "And they will make
me say it after dinner What a shame!"
Why, Hugh! you know mamma does not like-
you know mamma would not-you know mamma
never does anything unkind. You should not say
such things, Hugh."
"Ay, there! you cannot say that she has not
told Mr. Tooke that I say my tables wrong."
Well, you know you always do say it wrong to
her."






THE OROFTON BOYS.


"I will go somewhere. I will hide myself. I
will run to the market while the cloth is laying.
I will get away, and not come back till Mr. Tooke
is gone. I will never say my multiplication-table
to him!"
Never ?" said Agnes, with an odd smile and a
sigh. "However, do not talk of running away, or
hiding yourself. You will not have to say any-
thing to Mr. Tooke to-day."
"How do you know ?"
"I feel sure you will not. I do not believe Mr.
Tooke will talk to you, or to any of us. There you
go You will be in the water-butt8 in a minute,
if you tumble so."
I don't care if I am. Mr. Tooke will not come
there to hear me say my tables.. Let me go he
cried, struggling, for now Agnes had caught him
by the ankle. "If I do tumble in, the water is
not up to my chin, and it will be a cool hiding-
place this hot day."
"But there is Susan gone to lay the cloth for
dinner, and you must be brushed, for you are all
over dust. Come up, and I will brush you."
Hugh was determined to have a little more dust
first. He rolled once more the whole length of
the leads, turned over Jane's stool, and upset her
work-basket, so that her thimble bounded off to a
far corner, and the shirt-collar she was stitching
fell over into the water-butt below.
"There! what will Jane say?" cried Agnes,
picking up the basket, and peeping over into the






THE OROFTON BOYS.


small part of the top of the water-butt which was
not covered.
"There never was anything like boys for mis-
chief," said the maid Susan, who now appeared to
pull Hugh in, and make him neat. Susan always
found time, between laying the cloth and bringing
up dinner, to smooth Hugh's hair, and give a par-
ticular lock a particular turn on his forehead with
a wet comb.
"Let that alone," said Hugh, as Agnes peeped
into the butt after the drowning collar. "I will
have the top off this afternoon, and it will make
good fishing for Harry and me."
Agnes had to let the matter alone, for Hugh was
so dusty that she had to brush one side of him
while Susan did the other. Susan gave him some
hard knocks while she assured him that he was not
going to have Harry up on the leads to learn his
tricks, or to be drowned. She hardly knew which
of the two would be the worst for Harry. It was
lucky for Hugh that Susan was wanted below
directly, for she scolded him the whole time she
was parting and smoothing his hair. When it was
done, however, and the wet lock on his forehead
took the right turn at once, she gave him a kiss in
the very middle of it, and she knew he would be a
good boy.
Hugh would not go in with Agnes, because he
knew Mr. Tooke would shake hands with her, and
take notice of any one who was with her. He
waited in the passage till Susan carried in the fish,






THE OROFTON BOYS.


when he entered behind her, and slipped to the
window till the party took their seats,-when he
hoped Mr. Tooke would not observe who sat
between Agnes and his father. But the very.first
thing his father did was to ask him whether he
had persuaded Mr. Tooke to tell him all about the
Crofton boys.
Hugh did not wish to make any answer; but
his father said "Eh?" and he knew he must speak;
so he said that Phil had told him all he wanted to
know about the Crofton boys.
"Then you can get Mr. Tooke to tell you about
Phil, if you want nothing else," said Mr. Proctor.
Mr. Tooke nodded and smiled.; but Hugh began
to hand plates with all his might, he was so afraid
that the next thing would be a question how much
four times seven are.
The dinner went on, however, and the fish was
eaten; and the meat, and the pudding; and the
dessert was on the table, without any one having
even alluded to the multiplication-table. Before
this time, Hugh had become quite at his .ease, and
had looked at Mr. Tooke till he knew his face quite
well.
Soon after dinner Mr. Proctor was called away
on'business; and Hugh slipped into his father's
arm-chair, and crossed one leg over the other knee,
as he leaned back at his leisure, listening to Mr.
Tooke's conversation with his mother about the
sort of education that he considered most fit for
some boys from India, who had only a certain time






THE OROFTON BOYS.


to devote to school learning. In the course of this
conversation some curious things dropped about
the -curiosity of children from India about some
things very common here-their wonder at snow
and ice, their delight at being able to slide in
the winter, and their curiosity about the harvest
and gleaning, now approaching. Mr. Proctor came
back just as Mr. Tooke was telling of the annual
holiday of the boys at harvest-time, when they
gleaned for the poor of the village. As Hugh had
never seen a cornfield, he had no very clear idea
of harvest and gleaning, and he wanted to hear all
he could. When obliged to turn out of the arm-
chair, he drew a stool between his mother and Mr.
Tooke, and presently he was leaning on his arms
on the table, with his face close to Mr. Tooke's, as
if swallowing the gentleman's words as they fell.
'This was inconvenient, and his mother made him
draw back his stool a good way. Though he could
hear very well, Hugh did not like this, and he
:slipped off his stool and came closer and closer.
"And did you say," asked Mr. Proctor, who had
returned, "that your youngest pupil is nine ?"
"Just nine-the age of my own boy. I could
have wished to have none under ten, for the reason
you know of. But- "
"I wish," cried Hugh, thrusting himself in so
that Mr. Tooke saw the boy had a mind to sit on
his knee-" I wish you would take boys at eight
and a quarter."
That is your age," said Mr. Tooke, smiling, and
-making room between his knees.






THE OROFTON BOYS.


"How did you know? Mother told you."
No; indeed she did not-not exactly. My boy
was eight and a quarter not very long ago; and
he-"








T--J













I





"MR. TOOK SHOOK HANDS WITH HIM.
"Did he like being in your school?"
He always seemed very happy there, though he
was so much the youngest. And they teased him
sometimes for being the youngest. Nowiyou know,






THE CROFTON BOYS.


if you came you would be the youngest, and they
might tease you for it."
"I don't think I should mind that. But do not
you really take boys as young as I am ?"
"Such is really my rule."
It was very provoking, but Hugh was here called
away to fish up Jane's work out of the water-butt.
As he had put it in, he was the proper person to
get it out. He thought he should have liked the
fun of it; but now he was in a great hurry to get
back, to hear Mr. Tooke talk. It really seemed as
if the shirt-collar was alive, it always slipped away
so when he thought he had it. At last he brought
up the work, dripping and soiled. By that time
tea was ready-an early tea, because Mr. Tooke
had to go away directly after.
He turned round full upon Hugh, just as he was
going. Hugh stepped back, for it flashed upon
him that he was to be asked how much four times
seven were. But Mr. Tooke only shook hands with
him, and bade him grow older as fast as he could.


1. One of the main streets in
London, parallel with the north
bank of the Thames. It was for-
merly the water-side road be-
tween the City of London and
Westminster. Between it and
the river were the great palaces
of the nobles, and, on the other
side, green fields and gardens
stretched away to the north.
2. The Church of St. Mary-le-
Strand, at the east end of the
Strand.
3. The great fruit and flower
market of London. It was for-
merly the Convent garden of
Westminster, and occupied a
large area. The present building
was erected in 1795.
4. Beautiful gardens in connec-
tion with The Temple, a pile of
D


buildings and a church between
FleetStreet and the Thames. The
Temple was the home of the
Knights' Templars, who built
there a church in imitation of the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre at
Jerusalem. The buildings were
Afterwards let to "Professors of
the Law," about the reign of
Richard II. (1377 to 1399), and
have remained in their hands
,ever since.
5. A watering-place a little to
the south of the North Foreland.
6, School where pupils receive
board (food), lodging, and instruct
tion, only coming home at week-
ends or holidays.
7. An assistant-master.
8. A large barrel for collection
rain water.









CHAPTER II.
WHY MR. TOOKE CAME.
AFTER tea the young people had to learn their
lessons for the next day. They always tried to get
these done, and the books put away, before Mr.
Proctor came in on his shop being shut, and the
business 4f the day being finished. He liked to
find his children at liberty for a little play, or half
an. hour of pleasant reading; or, in the winter
evenings, for a dance to the music of his violin.
Little Harry had been known to be kept up far
too late, that he might hear the violin, and that
his papa might enjoy the fun of seeing him run
about among the rest, putting them all out, and
fancying he was dancing. All believed there
would be time for play with papa to-night, tea had
been so much earlier than usual. But Agnes soon
feared there would be no play for Hugh. Though
Jane pored over her German, twisting her forefinger
in the particular curl which she always twisted
when she was deep in her lessons; though Agnes
rocked herself on her chair, as she always did when
she was learning by heart; and though Mrs.
Proctor kept Harry quiet at the other end of the
Room with telling him long stories, in a very low
voice, about the elephant and Brighton pier, in the
picture-book, Hugh could not learn the names of
the capital cities of Europe. He even spoke o'ut
twice, and stopped himself when he saw all the






THE OROFTON BOYS.


heads in the room raised in surprise. Then he set
himself to work again, and he said Copenhagen "
so often over that he was not likely to forget the
word; but what country it belonged to he could
not fix in his mind, though Agnes wrote it down
large on the slate, in hopes that the sight of the
letters would help him to remember.. Before he
had got on to "Constantinople," the well-known
sound was heard of the shop-boy putting up the
shutters, and presently papa came bustling in, and
gave Harry a long toss, and several topplings over
his shoulder, and yet Hugh was not ready.
Come, children," said Mr. Proctor to Agnes and
Hugh, "we have all done enough for to-day.
Away with books and slates!"
Merry was Hugh's play this evening. He stood
so perfectly upright on his father's shoulders that
he could reach the top of his grandmamma's
picture, and show, by his finger-ends, how thick
the dust lay upon the frame; and neither he nor
his father minded being told that he was far too
old for such play.
In the midst of the fun, Hugh had a misgiving,
more than once, of his mother having- something
severe to say to him when she should come up to
his room, to hear him say his prayers, and to look
back a little with him upon the events of the day.
Besides his consciousness that he had done nothing
well this day, there were grave looks from his
mother which made him think that she was not
pleased with him. When he was undressing,






THE OROFTON BOYS.


therefore, he listened with some anxiety for her
footsteps, and, when she appeared, he was ready
with his confession of idleness. She stopped him
in the beginning, saying that she had rather not
hear any more such confessions. She had listened
to too many, and had allowed him to spend in
confessions some of the strength which should
have been applied to mending his faults For the
present, while she was preparing a way to help
him to conquer his inattention, she advised him to
say nothing to her, or to anyone else, on the
-subject; but this need not prevent him from.
praying to God to give him strength to overcome
his great fault.
"Oh, mother, mother!" cried Hugh, in an
agony, "you give me up! What shall I do if you
will not help me any more ?"
His mother smiled, and told him he need not
fear any such thing. It would be very cruel to
leave off providing him with food and clothes,
because it gave trouble to do so; and it would be
far more cruel to abandon him to his faults for
such a reason. She would never cease to help him
till they were cured; but, as all means yet tried
had failed, she must plan some others; and mean-
time, she did not wish him to become hardened to
his faults by talking about them every night, when
there was no amendment during he day.
Though she spoke very kindly, and kissed him
before she went away, Hugh felt that he was
punished. He felt more unhappy than if his






THE OROFTON BOYS.


mother had told him all she thought. of his
idleness. Though his mother had told him to go to
sleep, and blessed him, he could not help crying a
little, and wishing that he was a Crofton boy. He
supposed the Crofton boys all got their lessons
done somehow, as a matter of course; and then
they could go to sleep without any uncomfortable
feelings, or any tears.
In the morning Hugh fell into a reverie at the
breakfast-table, keeping his spoon suspended in
his hand as he looked up at the windows, without
seeing anything. Jane asked him twice to hand
the butter before he heard.
He is thinking how much four times seven are,"
observed Mr. Proctor; and Hugh started at the words
"I tell you what, Hugh," continued his father;
"if the Crofton people do not teach you how much
four times seven are when you come within four
weeks of next Christmas Day, I shall give you up,
and them too, for dunces all."
All the eyes round the table were fixed on Mr.
Proctor in an instant.
There, now said he, I have let the cat out
of the bag.' The secret is, that Hugh is going to
Crofton next month."
"Am I ten, then ?" asked Hugh in his hurry
and surprise.
"Scarcely, since you were only eight and a
quarter yesterday afternoon,".replied his father.
"I will tell you all about it by-and-bye, my
dear," said his mother. So Mr. Proctor beckoned





THE CROFTON BOYS.


Harry to come and see whether the cat had not
got into the bag again, as she was not to be seen
anywhere else. It is true, the bag was not much
bigger than a cat's head; but that did not matter
to Harry, who never cared for that sort of considera-
tion, and had been busy for half an hour, the day
before, in trying to put the key of the house door
into the keyhole of the tea-caddy.
By the time the table was cleared, Miss Harold
had arrived. Hugh brought his books with the
rest, but, instead of opening them, rested his
elbow on the uppermost, and stared full at Miss
Harold.
"Well, Hugh!" said she, smiling.
"I have not learned quite down to 'Constan-
tinople,' said he. "Papa told me I need not."
"Why, Hugh! hush!" cried Jane.
He did-he said exactly that. But he meant,
Miss Harold, that I am to be a Ciofton boy-
directly, next month."
"Then have we done with one another, Hugh ?"
asked Miss Harold, gently. "Will you not learn
any more from me "
That is for your choice, Miss Harold," observed
Mrs. Proctor. "Hugh has not deserved the pains
you have taken with him; and if you decline
more trouble with him now he is going into other
hands, no one can wonder."
Miss Harold feared that he was but poorly
prepared for school, and was quite ready to help
him if he would give his mind to the effort. She'






THE OROFTON BOYS. 23

thought that play, or reading books that he liked,
was less waste of time than his common way of
doing his lessons; but if he was disposed really to
work, with the expectation of Crofton before him,
'she was ready to do her best to prepare him for the
real hard work he would have to do there.
His mother proposed, that as she had to go out.
this morning, Hugh might go with her, if he liked';
and, as they returned, they would sit down in the
Temple Garden, and she would tell him all about
the plan.

1. To disclose a secret is called "letting the cat out of the bag."









CHAPTER III.
MICHAELMAS DAY COME.
HUGH was about to ask his mother again and
again during their walk why Mr. Tooke let him go
to Crofton before he was ten, but Mrs. Proctor
was grave and silent; and though she spoke
kindly to him now and then, she did not seem
disposed to talk. At last they reached the Temple
Garden, and sat down where there was no one to
overhear them. Then Hugh looked up at his
mother. She saw and told him what it was that
he wanted to ask.
"It is on account of the little-boys themselves,"
said she, "that Mr. Tooke does not wish to have
them very young, now that there is no kind lady
in the -house who could be like a mother to them."
"But there is Mrs. Watson.- Phil has told me a
hundred things about Mrs. Watson."
Mrs. Watson is the housekeeper. She is care-
ful, I know, about the boys' health and comfort;
but she has no time to attend to the younger ones,
as Mrs. Tooke did-hearing their little troubles,
and being a friend to them like their mothers at
home."
"There is Phil- "
"Yes, you will have Phil to look to. But neither
Phil nor any one else can save you from some
troubles you are likely to have from being the
youngest."






THE COOFTON BOYS.


Such as Mr. Tooke told me his boy had-being
put on the top of a high wall, and plagued when
he was tired, and all that ? I don't think I should
much mind those things."
"So we hope-and so we believe. Your fault
is not cowardice- "
Hugh first looked up at his mother, and then
down on the grass-his cheeks glowed so. She
went on-
You have faults-faults which give your father
and me great pain; and though you are not
cowardly about being hurt in your body, you sadly
want courage of a better kind-courage to mend
the weakness of your mind. You are so young
that we are sorry for you, and mean to send you
where the example of other boys may give you
the resolution you want so much."
"All the boys learn their lessons at Crofton,"
observed Hugh.
"Yes; but not by magic. They have to give
their minds to their work. You will find it pain-
ful and difficult to learn this, after your idle habits
at home. I give you warning that you will find
it much more difficult than you suppose; and I
should not wonder if you wish yourself at home
with Miss Harold many times before Christmas."
Mrs. Proctor was not unkind in saying this.
She saw that Hugh was so delighted about going
that nothing would depress his spirits, and that
the chief fear was his being disappointed and un-
happy when she should be far away. It might






THE CROFTON BOYS.


then be some consolation to him to remember that
she was aware of what he would have to go
through.
If you can bring yourself to learn your lessons
well," said his mother, "you need not fear the
usher. But remember; it depends upon that.
You will do well enough in the playground, I have
no doubt."
After this, there was only to settle the time that
was to pass-the weeks, days, and hours before
Michaelmas Day;1 and whether these weeks and
days should be employed in preparing for Crofton
under Miss Harold, or whether he should take his
chance there unprepared as he was. Mrs. Proctor
saw that his habits of inattention were so fixed, and
his disgust at lessons in the parlour so strong, that
she encouraged his doing no lessons in the inter-
val. Hugh would have said beforehand that three
weeks' liberty to read voyages and travels, and
play with Harry, would have made him perfectly
happy; but he felt that there was some disgrace
mixed up with his holiday, and that everybody
would look upon him with a sort of pity, instead
of wishing him joy; and this spoiled his pleasure
a good deal.
His spirits were up and down many times
during the next three weeks. He thought these
weeks would never be over. Every day dragged
on more slowly than the last; at every meal he
was less inclined to eat, and his happiest time was
when.going to bed, because he was a day nearer
Crofton.






THE CROFTON BOYS.


At last the day came-a warm, sunny, autumn
day, on -which anyone might have enjoyed the
prospect of a drive into the country. The coach'
was to set off from an inn in Fleet Street at noon,
and would set Hugh down at his uncle Shaw's
door in time for dinner, the distance being twenty-
eight miles. His uncle's house was just two miles
-from the s6ho'ol. Phil would probably be there to
meet his brother, and take him to Crofton in the'
afternoon.
How to get rid of the hours till noon was the
question. Hugh had had everything packed up,
over which he had any control, for some days.
He had not left himself a plaything of tlose
which he- might carry; and it frightened him
that his mother did not seem to think of packing
his clothes till after breakfast this very morning.
When she entered his room for the purpose, he
was fidgeting about, saying to himself that he
should never be ready. Agnes came with her
mother, to help; but before the second shirt was
laid in the box, she was in tears, and had to go
away.
As Hugh stood beside her, handing stockings
and handkerchiefs to fill up the corners of the
box, she said but a few words; but Hugh never'
forgot them.
You know, my dear, that I do not approve of
dwelling upon troubles. And yet I tell you," she
continued, "that you will not be nearly so happy
at Crofton as you expect-at least, at first. It
grieves me to see you so full of expectation- "






THE OBOFTON BOYS.


Does it indeed, mother ?"
It does indeed. But my comfort is--"
"You think I can bear it," cried Hugh, holding
up his head. You think I can bear anything.)'
I think you are a brave boy, on the whole.
But that is not the comfort I was speaking of, for
there is a world of troubles too heavy for the
bravery of a thoughtless child like you. My
comfort is, my dear, that you know where to
go to for strength when your heart fails you.
You will be away from your father and me;
but a far wiser and kinder Parent will be always
with you. If I were not sure that you would
continually open your heart to Him, I could not
let you go from me."
"I will-I always do," said Hugh, in a low
voice.
"Then remember this, my boy. If you have
that help, you must not fail. Knowing that you
have that help, I expect that you will do your own
duty, and bear your own troubles like a man. If
you were to'be all alone in the new world you are
going to, you would be but a helpless child; but
remember, when a child makes God his friend,
God puts into the youngest and weakest the spirit
of a man."
"You will ask Him too, mother; you will pray
Him to make me brave, and-and- "
And what else ?" she inquired, fixing her eyes
upon him.
"And steady," replied Hugh, casting down his
eyes; "for that is what I want most of all."






THE CROFTON BOYS.


"It is," replied his mother. "I do, and always
will, pray for you."
There were just two minutes to spare when
Hugh, with his father, mother, Jane, and Agnes,
reached the inn yard. The horses were pawing
and fidgeting, and some of the passengers had
mounted. Mr. Proctor spoke to two men who
were on the roof, just behind the coachman, and









--- W,..-.- ."l '

.f, t, J .j' "' -



OFF TO OROFTON ON THE COACH.
they agreed to let Hugh sit between them, on the
assurance that the driver would look to his con-
cerns, and see that he was set down at the right
place.
"Now, my boy, up with you! said his father,
as he turned from speaking to these men. Hugh
was so eager that he put up his foot .to mount,
without remembering to bid his mother and.sisters
good-bye. Mr. Proctor laughed at this, and






THE CROFTON BOYS.


nobody wondered; but Agnes cried bitterly, and
she could not forget it from that time till she saw
her brother again. When they had all kissed
him, and his mother's earnest look had bidden
him remember what had passed between them
that morning, he was lifted up by his father, and'
received by the two men, between whom he found
a safe seat.
Then he wished they were off. It was uncom-
fortable to see his sisters crying there, and not to
be able to cry too, or to speak to them. When the
coachman was drawing on his second glove, and
the ostlers held each a hand to pull off the horse-
cloths, and the last moment was come, Mr. Proctor
swung himself up by the step to say' one thing
more. It was-
"I say, Hugh, can you tell me 'how much are
four times seven ?'"
Mrs. Proctor pulled her husband's coat-tail, and
he leaped down; the horses' feet scrambled, their
heads issued from the gateway of the inn yard,
and Hugh's family were left behind.
In the midst of the noise, the man on Hugh's
right hand said, There was some joke, I fancy, in
that last remark of your father's."
Yes," said Hugh.
Are you in the habit of saying the multiplica-
tion-table when you travel ?" said the other. If
so, we shall be happy to hear it."
"I never say it when I can help it," said Hugh;
"and I see no occasion now."






THE COOFTON BOYS.


The men laughed, and then asked him if he was
going far.
"To Crofton, I am going to be a Crofton boy,"
said Hugh.
"A what? Where is he going?" his companions
asked one another over his head. They were no
wiser when Hugh repeated what he had said, nor
could the coachman enlighten them. He only
knew that he was to put the boy down at Shaw's,
the great miller's, near thirty miles along the road.
"Eight-and-twenty," said Hugh, in correction;
"and Crofton is two miles from my uncle's."
Eight-and-twenty. The father'sjoke lies there,"
observed the right-hand, man.
"No, it does not," said Hugh. He thought he
was among a set of very odd people-none of them
knowing what a Crofton boy was. One of the men
asked him if he was sure he was going for the first
time-he seemed so thoroughly informed of every-
thing about Crofton. Hugh replied that it was a
good thing to have an elder brother like Phil.
Phil had told him just what to take to Crofton, and
how to take care of his money, and everything.
"Ay! and how do the Crofton boys take care of
their money ?"
Hugh showed a curious little inner pocket in his
jacket, which nobody would dream of that did not
know. His mother had let him have such a pocket
in both his jackets; and he had wanted to have all
his money in this one now to show how safely he
could carry it. But Mrs. Proctor had chosen to






THE GROFTON BOYS.


pack up all his shillings in his box. In this
pocket there was only sixpence now-the sixpence
he was to give the coachman when he was set
down.
Then he went on to explain that this sixpence
was not out of his own money, but given him by
his father, expressly for the coachman. Then his
right-hand companion congratulated him upon his
spirits, and began to punch and tickle him; and
when Hugh writhed himself about, because he
could not bear tickling, the coachman said he
would have no such doings, and bade them be
quiet. Then the passengers seemed to forget
Hugh, and talked to one another of the harvest in
the north, and the hopping in Kent.
Hugh was not thinking of time or distance when
he saw the coachman glance round at him, and felt
that the speed of the horses was slackening. Still
he had no idea that this was any concern of his,
till he saw something that made him start.
Why, there's Phil! he exclaimed, jumping to
his feet.
"This is Shaw's mill, and there is Shaw; which
is all I have to do with," said the coachman, as he
pulled up.
Hugh was soon down, with his uncle and Phil,
and one of the men from the mill to help. His
aunt was at the window, too; so that altogether
Hugh forgot to thank his companions for his safe
seat. He would have forgotten his box, but for the
coachman. One thing more he also forgot.






THE CROFTON BOYS.


"I say, young master," said the driver; remem-
ber the coachman. Where's your sixpence ?"
"Oh, my sixpence!" cried Hugh, throwing down
what he held, to feel in his curious inner pocket,
which was empty.
"Lest you find a hole in your pocket, here is a
sixpence for you," cried the right-hand passenger,
tossing him his own sixpence. "Thank you for
teaching us the secret of such a curious pocket."
The coachman was impatient, got his money,
and drove off, leaving Hugh to make out why he
had been tickled, and how his money had changed
hands. With a very red face, he declared it was
too bad of the man; but the man was out of his
hearing, and could never know how angry he was.
"A pretty story this is for our usher to have
against you, to begin with," was Phil's consolation.
"Every boy will know it before you show yourself;
and you will never hear the last of it, I can tell you."
Your usher! exclaimed Hugh, bewildered.
"Yes, our usher.' That was he on the box,
beside the coachman. Did not you find out that
much in all these eight-and-twenty miles ?"
How should I? He never told me."
Hugh could hardly speak to his uncle and aunt,
he was so taken up with trying to remember what
he had said, in the usher's hearing, of the usher
himself, and of everybody at Crofton.
1. The 29th September. It used 2. At the time of this tale there
to be a great feast day in memory were no railways. The chief way
of St. Michael the Archangel. In. of travelling from one town to
England, Michaelmas is one of another was by means of the
the regular days for paying rents. stage-coach.
F











CHAPTER IV.


MICHAELMAS DAY OVER.

MRS. SH-Aw ordered dinner presently; and while
it was being served, she desired Phil to brush his
brother's clothes, as they were dusty from his ride.
All the while he was brushing (which he did very
roughly), and all the first part of dinner-time,
Phil continued to tease Hugh about what he had
said on the top of the coach. Mrs. Shaw spoke' of
the imprudence of talking freely before strangers;
and Hugh could have told her that he did not
need such a lecture at the very time that he found
the same thing by his experience. He did wish
Phil would stop.
After dinner, Phil thought it time to be off to
Crofton. He had missed something by coming away
at all to-day, and he was not going to run the
chance of losing the top of the class by not having
time to do his lessons properly. Mrs. Shaw said
they must have some of her plums before they
went, and Mr. Shaw ordered the gig, saying he
would drive them, and thus no time would be lost,
though he hoped that Phil would not mind being
at the bottom of every class for once to help his
brother, seeing how soon a diligent boy might work
his way up again. Phil replied that that was not
so easy as people might think, when there was one






THE CROFTON BOYS.


like Joe Cape determined to keep him down, if he
could once get him down.
"I hope you will find time to help Hugh up
from the bottom, in a class or two," said Mr. Shaw.
"You will not be too busy about your own affairs
to look to his, I suppose."
"Where is the use of my meddling ?" said Phil.
"He can't rise for years to come. Besides-- "
"Why can't I rise?" exclaimed Hugh, with
glowing cheeks.
"That is right, Hugh," said his uncle. "Let
nobody prophesy for you till you show what you
can do."
"Why, uncle, he is nearly two years younger
than any boy in the school; and--"
"And there is little Page above you in algebra.
He is about two years younger than you, Phil, if I
remember right."
Hugh could not help clapping his hands at the
prospect this held out to him. Phil took the act
for triumphing over him, and went on to, say, very
insultingly, that a little fellow who had been
brought up among the girls all his life, and had
learned of nobody but Miss Harold, could not be
expected to cut any figure among boys. Hugh
looked so grieved for a moment, and then suddenly
so relieved, that his kind uncle wondered what was
in his mind. He took the boy between his knees
and asked him.
Hugh loved his uncle already, as if he had
always known him. He put his arms round his







THE OROFTON BOYS.


neck, and whispered in his ear what he was think-
ing of-his mother's saying that God could and
would, if He was sought, put the spirit of a man
into the feeblest child.
"True-quite true! I am glad you know that,
my boy. That will help you to learn at Crofton,
though it -is better than anything they can teach
you in their school-room."
The sun was near its setting when they came in
sight of Crofton House. A long range of windows
glittered in the yellow light, and Phil said that the
lower row all belonged to the school-room-that
whole row.
In the midst of his explanations Phil stopped,
and his manner grew more rough than ever-with
a sort of shyness in it too. It was because some
of the boys were within hearing,. leaning over the
pales which separated the playground from the
road.
"I say! hallo, there!" cried one. "Is that
Prater you have got with you?"
"Prater the Second!" cried another. "He could
not have had his name if there had not been Prater
the First."
There-there's a scrape you have got me into
already! muttered Phil.
"Be a man, Phil, and bear your own share,"
said Mr. Shaw; and no spite, because your words
come back to you."
The talk at the palings still went on, as the gig
rolled quietly in the sandy by-road.






THE CROFTON BOYS.


"Prater!" poor Hugh exclaimed. "What a
name! "
"Yes; that is you,!" said his uncle. "You
know now what your nickname will be. Every
boy has one or another; and your's might have
been worse, because you might have done many a
worse thing to earn it."
But the usher, uncle!"
"What of him ? "
"He should not have told about me."
Mr. Tooke was out taking his evening ride; but
Mr. Shaw would not drive off till he had seen Mrs.
Watson, the housekeeper, and introduced his
younger nephew to her, observing to her that he
was but a little fellow to come among such a
number of rough boys. Mrs. Watson smiled kindly
at Hugh, and said she was glad he had a brother
in the school to prevent his feeling lonely at first.
It would not take many days, she hoped, to make
him feel quite at home. Mr. Shaw slipped half-a-
crown into Hugh's hand, and whispered to him to
try to keep it safe in his inner pocket. Hugh ran
after him to the door, to tell him that he had five
shillings already, safe in his box; but his uncle
would not take back the half-crown. He thought
that, in course of time, Hugh would want all the
money he had.
Mrs. Watson desired Phil to show his brother
where he was to sleep, and to help him to put
by his clothes. Phil was in a hurry to get to
his lessons; so that he was not sorry when Mrs.






THE CROFTON BOYS.


Watson herself came up to see that the boy's
clothes were laid properly in the deep drawer in
which Hugh was to keep his things. Phil then
slipped away.




1/~7jl


MRS. WATSON SAW BIS CLOTHES LAID IN THE DEEP DRAPER."
When his box was emptied, and his drawer
filled, Mrs. Watson took him into the school-room,
where the boys were at supper. Outside the door
the buzz seemed prodigious, and Hugh hoped






THE GROFTON BOYS.'


that in such a bustle nobody would notice him.
Here he was quite mistaken. The moment he
entered there was a hush, and all eyes were
turned upon him, except his brother's. Phil
hardly looked up from his book; but he made
room for Hugh between himself and another boy,
and drew the great plate of bread within reach.
Mrs. Watson saw that Hugh had his basin of
milk; and he found it a good thing to have
something to do while so many eyes were upon
him. He felt that he might have cried if he had
not had his supper to eat.
The usher sat at the top of the table, reading.
"Perhaps, Mr. Carnaby," said Mrs. Watson, "you
will find something for this young gentleman to
do, when he has had his supper, while the rest are
learning their lessons. To-morrow he will have
his own lessons; but to-night- "
"There is always the multiplication-table,"
replied Mr. Carnaby. The young gentleman
is partial to that, I fancy."
Hugh reddened, and applied himself to his
bread and milk.
"Never mind a joke," whispered Mrs. Watson.
" We won't plague you with the multiplication-
table the first evening. I will find you a book or
something. Meantime, there is a companion for
you-I forgot that."
, The good lady went down the room, and
brought back a boy who seemed to be doing
all he could to stop crying. He dashed his hand






THE OROFTON BOYS.


over his eyes every minute, and could not look
anybody in the face. He had finished his supper,
and was at a loss what to do next, as he had only
arrived that morning, and did not know anybody
at Crofton. His name was Tom Holt, and he was
ten years old.
When they had told their names and ages, and
where they came from, the boys did not know
what to say next, but Mrs. Watson did not forget
the strangers. She brought them Cook's Voy-
ages1 out of the library to amuse themselves with,
on condition of their delivering the book to Mr.
Carnaby at bed-time.
The rest of the evening passed away very
pleasantly. Hugh told Holt a great deal about
Broadstairs and the South Sea Islands, and con-
fided to him his own hopes of being a sailor, and
going round the. world, and, if possible, making
his way straight through China, the most difficult
country left to travel in, he believed, except some
parts of Africa. He did not want to cross the
Great Desert, on account of the heat. He knew
something of what that was by the leads at home,
when the sun was on them. What was the
greatest heat Holt had ever felt? Then came
the surprise. Holt had last come from his uncle's
farm; but he was born in India, and had lived
there till eighteen months ago. So, while Hugh
had chattered away about the sea at Broadstairs,
and the heat on the leads at home, his companion
had come fourteen thousand miles over the ocean,






THE OROFTON BOYS.


and had felt a heat nearly as extreme as that
of the Great Desert. Holt was very unassuming
too. He talked of the heat of gleaning in his
uncle's harvest fields, and of the kitchen when
the harvest supper was cooking; owning that
he remembered he had felt hotter in India.
Hugh heaped questions upon him about his
native country and. the voyage, and Holt liked
to be asked; so that the boys were not at all
like strangers just met for the first time. At
length Mr. Carnaby declared it high time that
the youngsters should go to bed. Hugh delivered
Cook's Voyages into his hands, and then bade
Phil good night. He was just going to put his
face up to be kissed, but recollected in time that
he was to leave off kissing when he went to
school. He held out his hand, but Phil seemed
not to see it, and only told him to be sure to
lie enough on one side, so as to leave him room,
and that he was to take the side of the bed next
the window. Hugh nodded, and went off, with
Holt and two more who slept in the same room.
The two who were not new boys were in bed in
a minute, and when they saw Hugh wash his face
and hands, they sat up in bed to stare. One of
them told him that he had better not do that, as
the maid would be coming for the light, and would
leave him in the dark, and report of him if he was
not in bed. So Hugh made a great splutter, and
did not half dry his face, and left the water in the
basin-a thing which they told him was not
G






THE CROFTON BOYS.


allowed. He saw that the others had not kneeled
down to say their prayers-a practice which he
had never omitted since he could say a prayer.
He knew the boys were watching him, but he
thought of his mother, and how she had taught
him to pray at her knee. He hid himself as well
as he could with the scanty bed-curtains, and
kneeled. He could not attend to -the words he
said while feeling that eyes were upon him, and,
before he had done, the maid came in for the
candle.
Hugh was more tired than he had ever been in
his life. This had been the longest day he had
ever known. It seemed more like a week than a
day. Yet he could not go to sleep. He had for-
gotten to ask Phil to be sure and wake him in time
in the morning, and now he must keep awake till
Phil came, to say this. Then, he could not but
ask himself whether he liked, and should like,
being at school as much as he expected; and when
he felt how very unlike home it was, and how
rough everybody seemed, and how Phil appeared
almost as if he was ashamed of him, instead of
helping him, he was so miserable he did not know
what to do.
He cried bitterly, cried till his pillow was quite
wet, and he was almost choked with his grief; for
he tried hard not to let his sobs be heard. After
a while, he felt what he might do. Though he had
kneeled he had not really prayed; and if he had,
God is never weary of prayers. It was a happy







THE CROFTON BOYS.


thought to Hugh that his very best Friend was
with him still, and that he might speak to Him at
any time. He again said his prayers, and dropped
to sleep with the feeling that God was listening to
him.
After a long while, as it seemed to him, though
it was only an hour, there was a light and some
bustle in the room. It was Phil and two others
coming to bed.
"Oh, Phil!" cried Hugh, starting bolt upright
and winking with sleep, "I meant to keep awake,
to ask you to be sure and call me in the morning,
time enough-quite time enough, please."
The others laughed; and Phil asked whether he
had not seen tie bell as he came, and what it
should be for but to ring everybody up in the
morning.
"But I might not hear it," pleaded Hugh.
"Not hear it! You'll soon see that."
"Well, but you will see that I really do wake,
won't you ?"
"The bell will take care of that, I tell.you;"
was all he could get from Phil.

1. The voyages of Captain James Cook, the celebrated English
navigator; born 1728, died 1779. He sailed on three voyages round the
world made many discoveries in Australia, or, as it was then called,
New~.olland; New Zealand; and on the coast of North America. Be
was killed by the natives of the island of Owhyhee, in the Sandwich
group, in the Paciic.









CHAPTER V.
CROFTON PLAY.
HUGH found, in the morning, that there was no
danger of his not hearing the bell. Its clang-clang
startled him out of a sound sleep; and he was
on his feet on the floor almost before his eyes were
open. The boys who were more used to the bell
did not make quite so much haste. They yawned
a few times, and turned out more slowly; so that
Hugh had the great tin wash-basin to himself longer
than the rest. There was a basin to every three
boys; and, early as Hugh began, his companions
were impatient long before he had done. At first
they waited in curiosity to see what he was going
to do after washing his face; when he went further,
they began to quiz; but when they found that he
actually thought of washing his feet, they hooted
and groaned at him for a dirty brat.
"Dirty!" cried Hugh, facing them, amazed-
"dirty for washing my feet! Mother says it is a
dirty trick not to wash all over every day."
Phil told him that was stuff and nonsense here.
There was no room and no time for such home
doings. The boys all washed their heads and feet
on Saturday, He would soon find that he might
be glad to get his face and hands done in the
mornings.
The other boys in the room were, or pretended
to be, so disgusted with the very idea of washing







THE OROFTON BOYS.


feet in a basin, that they made Hugh rinse and
rub out the tin basin several times before they
would use it, and then there was a great bustle to
get downstairs at the second bell. Hugh pulled
his brother's arm, as Phil was brushing out of the
room, and asked in a whisper whether there
would be time to say his prayers.
"There will be prayers in the school-room. You
must be in time for them," said Phil. "You had
better come with me."
"Do wait one moment, while I just comb my
hair."
Phil fidgeted, and others giggled, while Hugh
" tried to part his hair, as Susan had taught him.
He gave it up, and left it rough, thinking he would
come up and do it when there was nobody there
to laugh at him.
The school-room looked chilly and dull, as there
was no sunshine in it till the afternoon; and still Mr.
Tooke was not there, as Hugh had hoped he would
be. Mrs. Watson and the servants came in for
prayers, which were well read by the usher; and
then everybody went to business-everybody but
Hugh and Holt, who had nothing to do. Class
after class came up for repetition; and this repe-
tition seemed to the new boys an accomplishment
they'should never acquire.
Perhaps the usher saw this, for when he called
rugh up he was very kind. He looked at the
Latin grammar he had used with Miss Harold, and
saw by the dogs'-ears exactly how far Hugh had







THE OROFTON BOYS.


gone in it, and asked him only what he could
answer very well. Then he was shown the part
that he was to say to-morrow morning; and Hugh
walked away, all'the happier for having something
to do, like everybody else. He was so little afraid
of the usher that he went back to him to ask where
he had better sit.
"Sit! Oh, I suppose you must have a desk,
though you have nothing to put in it. If there is
a spare desk you shall have it; if not we will find
a corner for you somewhere."
Some of the boys whispered that Mrs. Watson's
footstool, under her apron, would do; but the
usher overheard this, and observed that it took
some people a good while to know a new boy, and
that they might find that a little fellow might be as
much of a man as a big one. And the usher called
the oldest boy in the school, and asked him to see
if there was a desk for little Proctor. There was;
and Hugh put into it his two or three school-books
and his slate, and felt that he was now indeed a
Crofton boy. Then, the usher was kinder than he
had expected; and he had still to see Mr. Tooke,
of whom he was not afraid at all. So Hugh's
spirits rose, and he. liked the prospect of breakfast
as well as any boy in the school.
There was one more rebuff for him first, however:
He ran up to his room to finish combing his hair,'
while the other boys were thronging into the long-
room to breakfast. He found the housemaids
there, making the beds; and they both cried






THE OROFTON BOYS.


"Out! out! and clapped their hands at him, and
threatened to tell Mrs. Watson of his having
broken rules, if he did not go this moment. Hugh
asked what Mrs. Watson would say to his hair if he
went to breakfast with it as it was. One of the maids
was good-natured enough to comb it forhim for once,
but she said he must carry a comb in his pocket,
as the boys were not allowed to go to their rooms,
except at stated hours.
At last Hugh saw Mr. Tooke. When the boys
entered school at nine o'clock the master was at
his desk. Hugh went up to his end of the room
with a smiling face, while Tom Holt hung back;
t and he kept beckoning Tom Holt on, having told
him there was nothing to be afraid of. But when
at last Mr. Tooke saw them, he made no difference
between the two, and seemed to forget having ever
seen Hugh. He told them he hoped they would
be good boys, and would do credit to Crofton; and
he asked Mr. Carnaby to get them something to
learn. And this was all they had to do with Mr.
Tooke for a long while.
This morning in school, from nine till twelve,
seemed the longest these little boys had ever
known. When they remembered that the after-
tnoon would be as long, and every morning and
afternoon for three months, their hearts sank.
Perhaps, if any one had told them that the time
wouldd grow shorter and shorter by use, and at last,
when they had plenty to do, almost too short, they
would not have believed it, because they could not






THE CROFTON BOYS.


yet feel it. But what they now found was only
what every boy and girl finds on beginning school,
or entering upon any new way of life. At length
the clock struck twelve; school was up, and there
was a general rush to the playground.
Now Hugh was really to see the country.
Except that the sun shone pleasantly into his
room in the morning, through waving trees, nothing
had yet occurred to make him feel that he was in
the country. Now, however, he was in the open
air, with trees sprinkled all over the landscape, and
green fields stretching away, and the old church-
tower half covered with ivy. Hugh screamed with
pleasure; and nobody thought it odd, for almost
every boy was shouting. Hugh longed to pick up .
some of the shining brown chestnuts which he had
seen yesterday in the road, under the trees; and
he was now cantering away to the spot, when Phil
ran after him, and roughly stopped him, saying he
would get into a fine scrape for the first day if he
went out of bounds.
Hugh had forgotten there were such things as
bounds, and was not at all glad to be reminded of
them now. He sighed, as he begged Phil to show
him exactly where hemight go, and where he might*
not. Phil did so in an impatient way, and then
was off to trap-ball, because his party were waiting
for him.
At the opposite corner of the playground, a goo
number of his schoolfellows were' playing bal
under the orchard wall. Hugh ran to them, and






THE CROFTON BOYS. 49

rushed hither and thither, like the rest, trying to
catch the ball, but he never could do it; and he
was jostled, and thrown down, and another boy fell
over him; and he was told that he knew nothing
about play, and had better move off.
He did so with a heavy heart, wondering how he
was ever to be hke the other boys, if nobody would
take him in hand and teach him to play, or even
let him learn. Remembering what his mother
expected of him, he tried to sing to prevent crying,
and began to count the palings round the play-
ground for something to do. This presently
brought him to a tree which stood on the very
boundary, its trunk serving instead of two or three
rails. It was only a twisted old apple-tree, but the
more twisted and gnarled it was, the more it looked
like a tree that Hugh could climb; and he had
always longed to climb a tree. Glancing up, he
saw a boy already there, sitting on the fork of two
branches, reading.
Have you a mind to come up ?" asked the boy.
Yes, I should like to try to climb a tree. I
never did."
"Well, this is a good one to begin with. I'll
lend you a hand; shall I ?"
"Thank you, sir."
"Don't call me 'sir.' I'm only a schoolboy, like
you. I am Dan Firth. Call me Firth, as I am the
only one of the name here. You are little Proctor,
I think-Proctor's brother."
"Yes; but, Firth, I shall pull you down if I
slip."
H






THE CROFTON BOYS.


"Not you; but I'll come down, and so help you
up to my seat, which is the safest to begin with.
Stand off,"
Firth swung himself down, and then, showing
Hugh where to plant his feet, and propping him
when he wanted it. he soon seated him on the fork
and laughed good naturedly when Hugh waved his
cap over his head, on occasion of being up in a tree.
He let him get down and up again several times,
till he could do it quite alone, and felt that he
might have a seat here whenever it was not occu-
pied by any one else.
While Hugh sat in the branches, venturing to
leave hold with one hand, that he might fan his
hot face with his cap, Firth stood on the rail of the
palings, holding by the tree, and talking to him.
Firth told him that this was the only tree the boys
were allowed to climb, since Ned Reeve had fallen
from the great ash and hurt his spine. He showed
what trees he had himself climbed before that
accident, and it made Hugh giddy to think of
being within eight feet of the top of the lofty elm
in the churchyard, which Firth had thought
nothing of mounting.
"Did anybody teach you ?" asked Hugh.
"Yes; my father taught me to climb when I
was younger than you."
"And had you anybody to teach you games and
things, when you came here ?"
"No; but I had learned a good deal of that
before I came, and so I soon fell into the ways
here. Have you anybody to teach you ? "







THE OROFTON BOYS.


"No-yes-why, no. I thought Phil would
have showed me things; but he does not seem to
mind me at all." And Hugh bit his lip, and
fanned himself faster.
"Ah! he attends to you more than you think."
"Does he? Then why-but what good does it
do me ?"
"What good? His holding off makes you push
your own way. It lets you make friends for your-.
self."
"I have no friends here," said Hugh.
"Yes, you have. Here am I. You would not
have had me if you had been at Proctor's heels at
this moment."
"Will you be my friend, then ?"
"That I will."
"What, a great boy like you that sits reading
in a tree! But I may read here beside you. You
said there was room for two."
"Ay; but you must not use it yet- at least not
often, if you wish to do well here. Everybody
knows I can play at anything. From the time I
became captain of the wall at fives,' I have. had
liberty to do what I like, without question. But
you must show that you are up to play before they
will let you read in peace and quiet."
"But how can I, if-if----"
"Once show your spirit-prove that you can
shift for yourself, and you will find Phil open out
wonderfully. He and you will forget all his shy-
ness then. Once show him that he need not be
ashamed of you- "


_






THE OROFTON BOYS.


"Ashamed of me! cried Hugh, firing up.
"Yes. Little boys are looked upon as girls in a
school till they show that they are little men.
And then again, you have been brought up with
girls-have you not ?"
"To be sure; and so was he."
"And half the boys here, I dare say. Well,
they are called Bettys till- "
"1 am not a Betty! cried Hugh, flashing again.
They suppose you are, because you part your
hair, and do as you have been used to do at
home."
What business have they with my hair ? I
might as well call them Bruins for wearing theirs
shaggy."
"Very true. They will let you and your hair
alone when they see what you are made of; and
then Phil will- "
He will own me when 1 don't want it; and
now, when he might help me there he is, far off,
never caring about what becomes of me."
"Oh, yes, he does. He is watching you all the
time. You and he will have it all out some day
before Christmas, and then you will see how he
really cares about you.
"What a nice place this is, to be sure!" cried
Hugh, as the feeling of loneliness went off. "But
the rooks do not make so much noise as I
expected."
"You will find what they can do in that way
when spring comes-when they are building."







THE CROFTON BOYS.


And when may we go out upon the heath, and
into the fields where the lambs are?"
We go long walks on Saturday afternoons; but
you do not expect to see young lambs in October,
do you ?"
"Oh, I forgot. I never can remember the
seasons for things."
"That shows you are a Londoner. You will
learn all those things here. If you look for hares
in our walks you may chance to see one; or you
may start a pheasant; but take care you don't
mention lambs, or goslings, or cowslips, or any
spring things, or you will never hear the last of it:"
Thank you; but what will poor Holt do ? He
is from India, and he knows very little about our
ways."
"They may laugh at him; but they will not
despise him, as they might a Londoner. Being an
Indian, and being a Londoner, are very different
things."
"And yet how proud the Londoners are over
the country. It is very odd."
"People are proud of their own ways all the
world over. You will be proud of being a Crofton
boy by-and-bye."
"Perhaps I am now, a little," said Hugh,
blushing.
"What, already ? Ah! you will do, I see. You
have boasted of being a Londoner up to this time,
and from this time you will hold your head high
as a Crofton boy."







THE CROFTON BOYS.


"How long? Till when?"
"Ah! till when? What next? What do you
mean to be afterwards?"
"A soldier, or a sailor, or a great traveller, or
something of that kind. I mean to go quite round
the world, like Captain Cook."
"Then you will come home, proud of having been
round the world; and you will meet with some old
neighbour who boasts of having spent all his life
in the house he was born in."
"What is the matter there?" cried Hugh. "Oh,
dear! something very terrible must have happened.
How that boy is screaming!"
"It is only Lamb again," replied Firth. "You
will soon get used to his screaming."
"What are they doing to him ?"
"Somebody is putting him into a passion, I
suppose. There is always somebody to do that."
What a shame! cried Hugh.
Yes; I see no fun in it," replied Firth. Any-
body can do it. You have only to hold your little
finger up to put him in a rage."
Hugh thought Firth was rather cool about the
matter. But Firth was not so cool when the
throng opened for a moment, and showed what
was really done to the angry boy. Only his head
appeared above ground. His schoolfellows had
put him into a hole they had dug, and had filled
it up to his chin, stamping down the earth, so that
the boy was perfectly helpless, while wild with
rage.







THE ROOFTON BOYS.


"That is too bad!" cried Firth. "That would
madden a saint."
And he jumped down from the paling, and ran
towards the crowd. Hugh saw him snatch a spade
from a boy who was flourishing it in Lamb's face.
He saw that Firth was digging, though half a
dozen boys had thrown themselves on his back,
and hung on his arms; but he persevered, till Lamb
had got his right arm out of the ground, and was
striking everything within reach. Then he saw
Firth dragged down and away, while the boys
made a circle round Lamb, putting a foot or hand
within his reach, and then snatching it away again,
till the boy yelled with rage at the mockery.
Hugh could look on no longer. He scrambled
down from the tree, scampered to the spot, burst
through the throng, and seized Lamb's hand.
Lamb struck him a heavy blow, taking him for an.
enemy; but Hugh cried I am your friend," seized
his hand again, and tugged till he was first red
and then black in the face.
Lamb's tormentors at first let Hugh alone in
amazement; but they were not long in growing
angry with him too. They hustled him-they pulled
him all ways-they tripped him up; but Hugh's
spirit was roused, and that brought his body up to
the struggle again and again. He wrenched him-
self free, he scrambled to his feet again, as often as
he was thrown down; and in a few minutes he had
plenty of support. Phil was taking his part, and
shielding him from many blows. Firth had got






THE OROFTQN BOYS.


Lamb out of the hole; and the party against the
tormentors was now so strong that they began to
part off till the struggle ceased.
There stands your defender, Lamb," said Firth.
"Come, be a man, as he is. Here, help me to fill
up this hole-both of you. Stamp down the earth,
Lamb. Tread it well-tread your anger well down
into it. Think of this little friend of yours here-
a Crofton boy only yesterday! "
Lamb did help to fill the hole, but he did not
say a word-not one word to anybody, till the
dinner-bell rang. Then, at the pump, where the
party were washing their hot and dirty and bruised
hands, he held out his hand to Hugh, muttering,
with no very good grace.
"I don't know what made you help me, but I
will never be in a passion with you-unless you
put me out, that is."
Hugh replied that he had come to help because
he never could bear to see anybody made worse.
It was such a shame to make anybody worse!
Lamb looked as if he was going to fly at Hugh
now; but Firth put his arm round Hugh's neck,
and drew him into the house, saying in his ear-
"Don't say any more that you have no friends
here. You will do, my boy-when you have got
through a few scrapes. I'm your friend, at any
rate."
1. A game of ball, sometimes called hand-tennis. Said to be so
named because usually played with five on each side; or because three
fives, or fifteen, are counted on each side. The place where the game
is played is called afives court.










CHAPTER VI.
FIRST RAMBLE.
HUGH'S afternoon lessons were harder than those
of the morning; and in the evening he found he
had so much to do, that there was very little time
left for writing his letter home. Some time there
was, however; and. Firth did not forget to rule his
paper, and let Hugh use his ink. He now thought
that it would save a great deal of description if he
sent a picture or two in his letter; so he flourished
off, on the first page, a sketch of Mr. Tooke sitting
at his desk at the top of the school, and of Mr.
Carnaby standing at his desk at the bottom of the
school.
The next evening he made haste to fill up the
sheet, for he found his business increasing upon
his hands so fast that he did not know when he
should get his letter off, if he did not dispatch it
at once. He was just folding it up, when Tom
Holt observed that it was a pity not to put some
words into the mouths of the figures, and he
showed Hugh how to do it. Hugh seized on the
idea. He put into Mr. Tooke's mouth the words
which were oftenest heard from him, "Proceed,
gentlemen;" and into Mr. Carnaby's, "Hold your
din."
Firth was too busy to mind the little boys, as
they giggled, with their heads close together, over
Hugh's sheet of paper; but the usher was never
too busy to be aware of any fun which might pos-
I







THE OROFTON BOYS.


sibly concern his dignity. He had his eye on the
new boys the whole while. He let Hugh direct
his letter, and paint up a stroke or two which did
not look so well as the rest; and it was not till
Hugh was rolling the wafer1 about on his tongue
that he interfered. Mr. Carnaby then came up,
tapped Hugh's head, told him not to get on so fast,
for that every letter must be looked over before it
went to the post. While saying this he took the
letter, and put it into his waistcoat pocket. In
vain Hugh begged to have it again, saying he
would write another. The more he begged, the
more dismayed Tom Holt looked, the less Mr.
Carnaby would attend to either. Firth let himself
be interrupted to hear the case; but he could do
nothing in it. It was a general rule, which he
thought every boy had known; and it was too late
now to prevent the letter being looked over.
Mr. Carnaby was so angry at the liberty Hugh
had taken with his face and figure, that, in spite
of all prayers and a good many tears, he walked up
the school'with the letter, followed by poor Hugh,
as soon as Mr. Tooke had taken his seat next
morning. Hugh thought that Holt, who had put
him up to the most offensive part of the pictures,
might have borne him company; but Holt was a
timid boy, and he really had not courage to leave
his seat. So Hugh stood alone, awaiting Mr.
Tooke's awful words, while the whole of the first-
class looked up from their books, in expectation of
what was to happen. They waited some time for







THE OROFTON BOYS.


the master's words, for he was trying to help
laughing. He and Mr. Carnaby were so much


"MR. CARNABY TOOK THE LETTER."
alike in the pictures, and both so like South Sea
Islanders, that it was impossible to help laughing






THE OROFTON BOYS.


at the thought of this sketch going abroad as a
representation of the Crofton masters. At last, all
parties laughed aloud, and Mr. Tooke handed
Hugh his wafer-glass,2 and bade him wafer up8 his
letter, and by all means send it. Mr. Carnaby
could not remain offended, if his principal was not
angry; so here the matter ended.
This incident, and everything which haunted
Hugh's mind and engrossed his attention, was a
serious evil to him; for his business soon grew to
be more than his habit of mind was equal to. In
a few days, he learned to envy the boys (and they
were almost the whole school) who could fix their
attention completely and immediately on the work
before them, and relax as completely when it was
accomplished. Hugh tried to get the meaning of
his lesson into his head-going over the same
words a dozen times, without gaining any notion.
of their meaning-suffering, in short, from his long
habit of inattention at home; but he seemed to
get only headaches for his pains. Phil saw enough
to make him very sorry for Hugh before ten days
were over, and his observation of his,brother's toil
and trouble led him to give him some help.
Almost every day he would hear Hugh say his
lesson-or try to say it; for the poor boy seldom
succeeded. Phil sometimes called him stupid, but
there really was very little difference in the result,
whether Phil heard the lessons beforehand or not.
Considering how selfish rivalship is apt to make
boys (and even men), it was perhaps no wonder






THE OROFTON BOYS.


that Phil sometimes kept out of Hugh's way at
the right hour, saying to himself that his proper
business was to do his own lessons, and that Hugh
must take his chance, and work his own way, as
other boys had to do.
Boys who find difficulty in attending to their
lessons are sure to be more teased with inter-
ruptions than any others. Holt had not the habit
of learning; and he and Hugh were continually
annoyed by the boys who sat near them watching
how they got on, and making remarks upon them.
One day Mr. Tooke was called out of the school-
room to a visitor, and Mr. Carnaby went up to take
the master's place and hear his class. This was
too good an opportunity for the boys below to let
slip; and they began to play tricks-most of them
directed against Hugh and Tom Holt.
"I declare I can't learn my lesson-'tis too
bad!" cried Hugh.
"'Tis a shame! said Tom Holt, sighing for
breath after his struggle not to laugh, We shall
never be ready."
We won't look at them," proposed Holt. "Let
us cover our eyes, and not look up at all."
Hugh put his hands before his eyes, but still his
lesson did not get on. Besides, a piece of wet
sponge lighted on the very page he was learning
from. He looked up fiercely, to see who had
thrown it. It was no other than Tooke, who
belonged to that class-it was Tooke, to judge by
his giggle, and his pretending to hide his face as






THE GROFTON BOYS.


if ashamed. Hugh tossed back the sponge, so as
to hit Tooke on the nose. Then Tooke was angry,
and threw it again, and the sponge passed back-
wards and forwards several times, for Hugh was.
by this time very angry-boiling with indignation
at the hardship of not being able to learn his
lesson, when he really would if he could. While
the sponge was still passing to and fro, Mr.
Carnaby's voice was heard from the far end of the
room, desiring Warner, Page, Davison, and Tooke
to be quiet, and let the boys alone till Mr. Tooke
came in, when Mr. Tooke would take his own
measures.
Hugh, wondering how Mr. Carnaby knew, at
that distance, what was going on, found that Holt
was no longer by his side. In a moment, Holt
returned to his seat, flushed and out of breath. A
very slight hiss was heard from every form near,
as he came down the room.
"Oh, Holt! you have been telling tales !" cried
Hugh.
"Telling tales!" exclaimed Holt in consternation,
for he knew nothing of school ways. "I never
thought of that. They asked me to tell Mr.
Carnaby that we could not learn our lessons."
"They! Who ? I am sure I never asked you."
No, you did not; but Harvey and Prince did-
and Gillingham. They said Mr. Carnaby would
soon make those fellows quiet, and they told me to
go.
You hear! They are calling you 'tell-tale.'
That will be your name now. Oh, Holt, you





THE GROFTON BOYS.


should not have told tales. However, I will stand
by you,' Hugh continued, seeing the terror that
Holt was in.
I meant no harm," said Holt, trembling. "Was
not it a shame that they would not let us learn our
lessons ?"
"Yes, it was-but- "
At this moment Mr. Tooke entered the room.
As he passed the forms the boys were all bent over
their books as if they could think of nothing else.
Mr. Tooke walked up the room to his desk, and
Mr. Carnaby walked down the room to his desk;
and then Mr. Carnaby said, quite aloud-
"Mr. Tooke, sir."
"Well."
Here Holt sprang from his desk, and ran to the
usher and besought him not to say a word about
what Warner's class had been doing. He even
hung on Mr. Carnaby's arm in entreaty; but Mr.
Carnaby shook him off, and commanded him back
to his seat. Then the whole school heard Mr.
Tooke told about the disorder, and the trouble of
the little boys. Mr. Tooke was not often angry,
but he now stood up, and called before him the
little boy who had informed. Hugh chose to go
with Holt, though Holt had not gone up with him
about the letter the other day; and Holt felt how
kind this was. Mr. Tooke desired to know who
the offenders were; and as they were named, he
called to them to stand up in their places. Then
came the sentence. Mr. Tooke would never forgive
advantage being taken of his absence. If there






THE OROFTON BOYS.


were boys who could not be trusted while his back
was turned, they must be made to remember him
when he was out of sight, by punishment. Page
must remain in school after hours, to learn twenty
lines of poetry; Davison twenty; Tooke forty-"
Here everybody looked round to see how Tooke
bore his father being so angry with him.
Please, sir," cried one boy, I saw little Proctor
throw a sponge at Tooke. He did it twice."
Never mind," answered Tooke. .' I threw it at
him first. It is my sponge."
"And Warner," continued the master, as if he
had not heard the interruption, "considering that
Warner has got off too easily for many pranks of
late-Warner seventy."
Seventy! The idea of having anybody con-
demned, through him, to learn seventy lines of
poetry by heart, made Holt so miserable, that the
word seventy seemed really to prick his very ears.
Though Mr. Tooke's face still showed anger, Holt
ventured up to him.
"Pray, sir-"
Not a word of intercession for those boys!" said
the master. "I will not hear a word in their favour."
"Then, sir- "
Well ?"
I only want to say, then, that Proctor told no
tales, sir. I did not mean any harm, sir, but I told
because-"
"Never mind that," cried Hugh, afraid that he
would now be telling of Harvey, Prince, and
Gillingham, who had persuaded him to go up.





THE CROFTON BOYS.


"I have nothing to do with that. That is your
affair," said the master, sending the boys back to
their seats.
Poor Holt had cause to rue this morning for long
after. He was weary of the sound of hissing, and
of the name tell-tale," and the very boys who had
prompted him to go up were at first silent, and
then joined against him. He complained to Hugh
of the difficulty of knowing what it was right to
do. He had been angry on Hugh's account chiefly;
and he still thought it was very unjust to hinder
their lessons, when they wished not to be idle; and
yet they were all treating him as if he had done
something worse than the other boys. Hugh
thought all this was true; but he believed it was
settled among schoolboys (though Holt had never
had the opportunity of knowing it) that it was a
brave thing for boys to bear any teasing from one
another than to call in the power of the master to
help. A boy who did that was supposed not to be
able to take care of himself; and for this he was
despised, besides being disliked, for having brought
punishment upon his companions.
Holt wished Hugh had not been throwing
sponges at the time-he wished Hugh had pre-
vented his going up. He would take good care
how he told tales again.
"You had better say so," advised Hugh, "and
then they will see that you had never been at
school, and did not know how to manage."
The first Saturday had been partly dreaded, and
partly longed for, by Hugh. He had longed for






THE OROFTON BOYS.


the afternoon's ramble, but Saturday morning was
the time for saying tables, among other things.
Nothing happened as he had expected. The after-
noon was so rainy that there was no going out;
and, as for the tables, he was in a class of five, and
" four times seven" did not come to him in regular
course.. Eight times seven did, and he said
"fifty-six" with great satisfaction. Mr. Carnaby
asked him afterwards the dreaded question, but
he was on his guard; and as he answered it
right, and the usher had not found out the
joke, he hoped he should hear no more of the
matter.
The next Saturday was fine, and at last he was
to have the walk he longed for. The weekly repe-
titions were over, dinner was done, Mr. Carnaby
appeared with his hat on, the whole throng burst
into the open air and out of bounds, and the new
boys were wild with expectation and delight.
Firth saw Hugh running and leaping hither and
thither, not knowing what to do with his spirits;
he called him, and putting his arm round Hugh's
neck, so as to keep him prisoner, said he did not
know how he might want his strength before he
got home, and he had better not spend it on a bit
of sandy road. So Hugh was made to walk quietly,
and gained his breath before the breezy heath
was reached.
On the way, he saw that a boy of the name of
Dale, whom he had never particularly observed
before, was a good deal teased by some boys who
kept calling one another Amelia, with great affec-






THE CROFTON BOYS.


station. Dale tried to get away, but he was
followed whichever way he turned.
"What do they mean by that ?" inquired Hugh
of Firth.
"Dale has a sister at a school not far off, and
her name is Amelia; and she came to see him to-
day. Ah! you have not found out yet that boys
are laughed at about their sisters, particularly if
the girls have fine names."
What a shame cried Hugh; words which he
had used very often already since he came to
Crofton.
He broke from Firth, ran up to Dale, and said
to him, in a low voice, I have two sisters, and one
of them is called Agnes."
"Don't let them come to see you, then, or these
fellows will quiz you as they do me. As if I could
help having a sister Amelia! "
Then the two boys wandered off among the
furze-bushes, talking about their homes; and in
a little while they had so opened their hearts to
each other, that they felt as if they had always
been friends. Nobody thought any more about
them when once the whole school was dispersed
over the heath. Some boys made for a hazel
copse, some way beyond the heath, in hopes of
finding a few nuts already ripe. Others had boats
to float on the pond. A large number played
leap-frog, and some ran races. Mr. Carnaby threw
himself down on a soft couch of wild thyme, on a
rising ground, and took out his book. So Dale
and Hugh felt themselves unobserved, and they






THE OROFTON BOYS.


chatted away at a great rate. Not but that an
interruption or two did occur. They fell in with
a flock of geese, and Hugh did not much like their
appearance, never having heard a goose make a
noise before. He had eaten roast goose, and he
had seen geese in the feathers at the poulterers';
but he had never seen them alive, and stretching
their necks at passers by. He flinched at the first
moment. Dale, who never imagined that a boy
who was not afraid of his schoolfellows could be
afraid of geese, luckily mistook the movement,
and said, "Ay, get a switch,-a bunch of furze
will do, and we will be rid of the noisy things."
He drove them away, and Hugh had now
learned,- for ever, how much noise geese can make,
and how little they are to be feared.
They soon came upon some creatures which
were larger and stronger, and with which Hugh
was no better acquainted. Some cows were
grazing, or had been grazing, till a party
of boys came up. They were now restless,
moving uneasily about, so that Dale him-
self hesitated for a moment which way to go.
Lamb was near-the passionate boy, who was
nobody's friend, and who was therefore seldom at
play with others. He was also something of a
coward, as anyone might know from his frequent
bullying. He and How happened to be together
at this time; and it was their appearance of fright
at the restless cows which frightened Hugh. One
cow at last began to trot towards them at a pretty
good rate. Lamb ran off to the right, and the two





THE OROFTON BOYS.


little boys after him, though Dale pulled at Hugh's
hand to make him stand still, as Dale choose to do
himself. He pulled in vain-Hugh burst away,
and off went the three boys, over the hillocks and
through the furze, the cow trotting at some dis-
tance behind. They did not pause till Lamb had
led them off the heath into a deep lane, different
from the one by. which they had come. The cow
stopped at a patch of green grass, just at the
entrance of the hollow way, and the runners
therefore could take breath.
"Now we are here," said Lamb, "I will show
you a nice place-a place where we can get some-
thing nice. How thirsty I am!"
"And so am I," declared Holt, smacking his dry
tongue. Hugh's mouth was very dry too, between
the run and the fright.
Well, then, come along with me, and I will
show you," said Lamb.
He walked briskly on till they came to a cottage,
over whose door swung a sign; and on the sign
was a painting of a bottle and a glass, and a heap
of things which were probably meant for cakes, as
there were cakes in the window. Here Lamb
turned in, and the woman seemed to know him
well. She smiled, and closed the door behind the
three boys, and asked them to sit down; but Lamb
said there was no time for that to-day-she must
be quick. He then told the boys that they should
have some ginger-beer.
But may we ?" asked the little boys.
To be sure; who is to prevent us ? You shall






70 THE CROFTON BOYS.

see .how you like ginger-beer when you are
thirsty."
The woman declared that it was the most whole-
some thing in the world; and if the young gentle-
man did not find it so, she would never ask him to
taste her ginger-beer again. Hugh thanked them
both, but he did not feel quite comfortable. He
looked at Holt, to find out what he thought; but
Holt was quite engrossed with watching the woman
untwisting the wire of the first bottle. The cork
did not fly; indeed, there was some difficulty in
getting it out; so Lamb waived his right, as the
eldest, to drink first. Hugh took a drink, but he
did not find ginger-beer such particularly good stuff
as Lamb had said. He would have liked a drink
of water better. The next bottle was very brisk,
so Lamb seized upon it, and the froth hung round
his mouth when he had done. Then the woman
offered them some cakes upon a plate, and the little
boys thanked her, and took each one. Lamb put
some in his pocket, and advised the others to do
the same, as they had no time to spare. He kept
some room in his pocket, however, for some plums,
and told the boys that they might carry theirs in
.their handkerchiefs, or in their caps, if they would
take care to have finished before they came within
sight of the usher. He then asked the woman to
let them out upon the heath through her garden
gate, and she said she certainly would when they
had paid. She then stood, drumming with her
fingers upon the table, and looking through the
window, as if waiting.





THE OROFTON BOYS.


"Come, Proctor, you have half-a-crown," said
Lamb. "Out with it!"
My half-crown!" exclaimed Proctor. "You
did not say I had anything to pay."
"As if you did not know that, without my telling
you! You don't think people give away their
good things, I suppose! Come-where's your
half-crown ? My money is all at home."
Holt had nothing with him either. Lamb asked
the woman what there was to pay. She seemed to
count and consider; and then said that the younger
gentlemen had had the most plums and cakes.
The charge was a shilling apiece for them, and
sixpence for Master Lamb-half-a-crown exactly.
Hugh protested he never meant anything like this,
and that he wanted part of his half-crown for
another purpose; and he would have emptied out
the cakes and fruit he had left, but the woman
stopped him, saying that she never took back
what she had sold. Lamb hurried him too,
declaring that their time was up; and he even
thrust his finger and thumb into Hugh's inner
pocket, and took out the half-crown, which he gave
to the woman. She then showed them through
the garden, and gave them each a marigold (full
blown), unlocked her gate, pushed them through,
locked it behind them, and left them to hide their
purchases as well as they could. Though the
little boys stuffed their pockets till the ripest
plums burst, and wetted the linings, they could
not dispose of them all, and they were obliged to
give away a good many.






THE OROFTON BOYS.


Hugh went in search of his new friend, and
drew him aside from the rest to relate his troubles.
Dale wondered he had not found out Lamb before
this, enough to refuse to, follow his lead. Lamb
would never pay a penny. He always spent the
little money he had upon good things the first day
or two; and then he got what he could out of any
one who was silly enough to trust him.
"But," said Hugh, "the only thing we had to
do with each other before was by my being kind
to him."
"That makes no difference," said Dale.
"But what a bad boy he must be! To be sure
he will pay me when he knows how much I want
it."
He will tell you to buy what you want out of
your five shillings. You let him know you had
five shillings in Mrs. Watson's hands."
"Yes; but he knows how I mean to spend that,
for presents to carry home at Christmas. But I'll
never tell him anything again. Oh, Dale! do you
really think he will never pay me ?"
"He never pays anybody; that I know. Come,
forget it all as fast as you can. Let us go and see
if we can get any nuts."
Hugh did not at all succeed in his endeavours
to forget his adventure, and, he told Dale on the
way home, that he did not believe he should ever
see any part of his half-crown again. Dale thought
so too; but he advised him to do nothing more
than keep the two debtors up to the remembrance





THE OROFTON BOYS.


of their debt. If he told so powerful a person as
Firth, it would be almost as much tale-telling as if
he went to the master at once; and Hugh himself
had no inclination to expose his folly to Phil, who
was already quite sufficiently ashamed of his
inexperience. So poor Hugh threw the last of
his plums to some cottager's children on the
green on his way home; and when he set foot
within bounds again, he heartily wished that this
Saturday afternoon had been rainy too, for any
disappointment would have been better than this
scrape.
While learning his lessons for Monday he forgot
the whole matter; and then he grew merry over
the great Saturday night's washing; but after he
was in bed it flashed upon him that he should
meet Uncle and Aunt Shaw in church to-morrow,
and they would speak to Phil and him after
church, and his uncle might ask him after the
half-crown.- He determined not to expose his
companions, at any rate; but his uncle would be
displeased; and this, thought was so sad that
Hugh cried himself to sleep. His uncle and aunt
were at church the next morning; and Hugh
could not forget the ginger-beer, or help watching
his uncle; so that, though he tried several times
to attend to the sermon, he knew nothing about
it when it was done. His uncle observed in the
churchyard that they must have had a fine ramble
the day before; but did not say anything about
pocket-money. Neither did he name a day for






THE CROFTON BOYS.


his nephews to visit him, though he said they
must come before the days grew much shorter.
So Hugh thought he had got off very well
thus far.
It is probable that the whole affair would have
passed over quietly, but that Tom Holt ate too
many plums on the present occasion. On Sunday
morning he was not well; and was so ill by the
evening, and all Monday, that he had to .be
regularly nursed; and when he left his bed he
was taken to Mrs. Watson's parlour-the comfort-
able, quiet place where invalid boys enjoyed
themselves. Poor Holt was. in very low spirits;
and Mrs. Watson was so kind that he could not
help telling her that he owed Hugh a shilling,
and he did not know how he should ever pay
it.
The wet, smeared lining of the pockets had told
Mrs. Watson already that there had been some
improper indulgence in good things; and when
she heard what part Lamb had played towards the
little boys, she thought it right to tell Mr. Tooke.
Mr. Tooke said nothing till Holt was in the school
again, which was on Thursday; and not then till
the little boys had said their lessons, at past eleven
o'clock. Then the master's awful voice was heard,
calling up before him Lamb, little Proctor, and
Holt. All three started, and turned red; so that
the school concluded them guilty before it was
known what they were charged with. Dale knew,
and he alone; and very sorry he was, for the






THE OROFTON BOYS.


intimacy between Hugh and him had grown very
close indeed since Saturday.
The master was considerate towards the younger
boys. He made Lamb tell the whole. Even when
the cowardly lad "bellowed" (as his schoolfellows
called his usual mode of crying) so that nothing
else could be heard, Mr. Tooke waited, rather than
question the other two. When the whole story
was extracted, in all its shamefulness, from Lamb's
own lips, the master expressed his disgust. He
said nothing about the money part of it-about
how Hugh was to be paid. He probably thought
it best for the boys to take the consequences of
their folly in losing their money. He handed the
little boys over to Mr. Carnaby to be caned-" To
make them remember," as he said; though they
themselves were pretty sure they would never
forget. Lamb was kept to be punished by the
master himself. Though Lamb knew he should
be severely flogged, and though he was the most
cowardly boy in the school, he did not suffer so
much as Hugh did in the prospect of being caned
-being punished at all.
It was not the pain. No. It was the being
punished in open school, and when he did not feel
that he deserved it. How should he know where
Lamb was taking him? How should he know
that the ginger-beer was to be paid for, and that
he was to pay? He felt himself injured enough
already; and now to be punished in addition! He
would have died on the spot for liberty to tell Mr.






THE CROFTON BOYS.


Tooke and everybody what he thought of the way
he was treated. What would his mother think!
It was well he thought of his mother. At the
first moment, the picture of home in his mind
nearly made him cry-the thing of all others he
most wished to avoid while so many eyes were on
him; but the remembrance of what his mother
expected of him-her look when she told him he
must not fail-gave him courage. Hard as it was
to be, as he believed, unjustly punished, it was
better than having done anything very wrong-
anything that he really could not have told his
mother.
Mr. Carnaby kept the little boys waiting, though
Holt was trembling very much, and still weak
from his illness. Suddenly, everybody started at
Mr. Tooke's voice, close at hand.
"Are these boys not caned yet, Mr. Carnaby ?"
No, sir;--I have not-I--"
"Have they been standing here all this while ?"
"Yes, sir. I have no cane, sir."
"I ordered them an immediate caning, Mr.
Carnaby, and not mental torture. School is up,"
he declared to the boys at large. "You may go-
you have been punished enough."
This was good news, and Hugh ran off, quite in
spirits, to play. He had set himself diligently to
learn to play, and would not be driven off; and
Dale had insisted on fair scope for him. He played
too well to be objected to any more.. They now
went to leap-frog; and when too hot to keep it up






THE OROFTON BOYS.


any longer, he and Dale mounted into the apple-
tree to talk, while they were cooling and expect-
ing the dinner-bell.
Something very. wonderful happened before
dinner. The gardener went down to the main
road, and seemed to be looking out. At last he
hailed the London coach. Hugh and Dale could
see from their perch. The coach stopped, the
gardener ran back, met Mr. Carnaby under the
chestnuts, relieved him of his portmanteau, and
helped him to mount the coach.
"Is he going ? Gone for good ?" passed from
mouth to mouth all over the playground.
"Gone for good," was the answer of those who
knew to a certainty.
Then the boys gave a shout of joy, in which the
little boys joined with all their might-Hugh
waving his cap in the apple-tree.
1. A wafer is a small piece of this purpose now, but is largely
dried paste, usually about the used as a seal on legal documents.
size of a threepenny bit, formerly 2. A small glass dish on the desk
much used for fastening up an containing wafers.
envelope. It is rarely used for 3. Seal up.









CHAPTER VII.
WHAT IS ONLY TO BE HAD AT HOME.
HUGH got on far better with his lessons as he
grew more intimate with Dale. It was not so
much that Dale helped him with his work (for
Dale thought every boy should make shift to do
his own business) as that he liked to talk about
his work, even with a younger boy, and so, as he
said, clear his head. A great deal that he said
was above Hugh's comprehension, and many of
his repetitions mere words; but there were
other matters which fixed Hugh's attention, and
proved to him that study might be interesting out of
school. When Dale had a theme' to write, the two
boys often Walked up and down the playground for
half an hour together, talking the subject over,
and telling of anything they had heard or read
upon it. Every week, almost every day now,
made a difference in Hugh's school life. He still
found his lessons very hard work, and was often in
great fear and pain about them; but he continually
perceived new light breaking in upon his mind;
his memory served him better; the little he had
learned came when he wanted it, instead of just a
minute too late. He rose in the morning with
less anxiety about the day, and when playing
could forget school.
There was no usher yet in Mr. Carnaby's place,
and all the boys said their lessons to Mr. Tooke






THE OROFTON BOYS.


himself, which Hugh liked very much when he
had got over the first fear. A writing-master came
from a distance twice a week, when the whole
school was at writing and arithmetic all the after-
noon, but every other lesson was said to the master
and this was likely to go on till Christmas, as the
new usher, of whom, it was said, Mr. Tooke thought
so highly as to choose to wait for him, could not
come before that time. Of course, with so much
upon his hands, Mr. Tooke had not a moment to
spare; and slow or idle boys were sent back to
their desks at the first trip or hesitation in their
lessons. Hugh was afraid at the outset that he
should be like poor Lamb, who never got a whole
lesson said during these three weeks, and he was
turned down sometimes, but not often enough to
depress him. When he could learn a lesson in ten
minutes, and say it in one, he felt himself really a
Crofton boy, and his heart grew light within him.
The class to which Hugh belonged was one day
standing waiting to be heard, when the master was.
giving a subject and directions for an English
theme to Dale's class. The subject was the
"Pleasures of Friendship." In a moment Hugh
thought of Damon and Pythias,2 and of David and
Jonathan,3 of the last of whom there was a picture
in Mrs. Watson's great Bible. He thought how
happy he had been since he had known Dale, and
his heart was in such a glow, he was sure he
could write a theme. He ran after Mr. Tooke
when school was over, and asked whether he






THE OROFTON BOYS.


might write a theme for Dale's class. When Mr.
Tooke found that he knew what was meant by
writing a theme, he said he might try, if he neg-
lected nothing for it, and wrote every word of it
himself, without consultation with any one.
Hugh scampered away to tell Dale that they
must not talk over this theme together, as they
were both to do it; and then, instead of playing,
he went to his desk and wrote upon his slate until
it was quite full. He had to borrow two slates
before he had written all he had to say. Phil
ruled his paper for him, but before he had copied
one page his neighbours wanted their slates back
again, said they must have them, and rubbed out
all he had written. Much of the little time he
had was lost in this way, and he grew wearied.
He thought at first that his theme would be very
beautiful, but he now began to doubt whether it
would be worth anything at all; and he was vexed
to have tired himself with doing what would only
make him laughed at. The first page was well
written out, but he had to write the latter part
directly from his head upon the paper, as the
slates were taken away, and he made mistakes.
He borrowed a penknife, and tried to scratch
out half a -line; but he only made a hole in the
paper, and was obliged to let the line stand. Then
he found he had strangely forgotten to put in
the chief thing of all-about friends telling one
another of their faults-though, on consideration,
he was not sure that this was one of the Pleasures





THE CROFTON BOYS.


of Friendship;" so, perhaps, it did not much
matter. But there were two blots, and he had left
out Jonathan's name, which had to be interlined.
Altogether, it had the appearance of a very bad
theme. Firth came and looked over his shoulder,
as he was gazing at it, and Firth offered to write
it out for him; and even thought it would be fair,
as he had nothing to do with the composition; but
Hugh could not think it would be fair, and said,
sighing, that his must take its chance. He did
not think he could have done a theme so very
badly.
Mr. Tooke beckoned him up with Dale's class,
when they carried up their themes, and, seeing
how red his face was, the master bade him not be
afraid. But how could he help being afraid ? The
themes were not read directly. It was Mr. Tooke's
practice to read them out of school hours. On this
occasion, judgment was given the last thing before
school broke up the next morning.
Hugh had never been more astonished in his
life. Mr. Tooke praised his theme very much,
and said it had surprised him. He did not mind
the blots and mistakes, which would, he said, have
been great faults in a copy-book, but were of less
consequence than other things in a theme. Time
and pains would correct slovenliness of that kind,
and the thoughts and language were good. Hugh
was almost out of his wits with delight; so nearly
so that he spoiled his own pleasure completely.
He could not keep his happiness to himself, or his





THE CROFTON BOYS.


vanity; for Hugh had a good deal of vanity-
more than he was aware of before this day. He
told several boys what Mr. Tooke had said, but he
soon found that would not do. Some were in-
different, but most laughed at him. Then he ran
to Mrs. Watson's parlour and knocked. Nobody
answered, for the room was empty; so Hugh
sought her in various places, and at last found her
in the kitchen, boiling some preserves.
What do you come here for ? This is no place
for you," said she, when the. maids tried in vain to
put Hugh out.
I only want to tell you one thing," cried
Hugh; and he repeated exactly what Mr. Tooke
had said of his theme. Mrs. Watson laughed, and
the maids laughed, and Hugh left them, angry
with them, but more angry with himself. They
did not care for him-nobody cared for him, he
said to himself; he longed for his mother's look
of approbation when he had done well, and Agnes'
pleasure, and even Susan's fondness and praise.
He sought Dale. Dale was in the midst of a
game, and had not a word or look to spare till it
was over. The boys would have admitted Hugh,
for he could now play as well as anybody; but he
was in no mood for play now. He climbed his
tree, and sat there, vexed with the thought of his
having carried his boastings into the kitchen, and
with his recollection of Mrs. Watson's laugh.
It often happened that Firth and Hugh met at
this tree, and it happened now. There was room






THE CROFTON BOYS. 83;
for both, and Firth mounted, and read for some
time. At last he seemed to be struck by Hugh's
restlessness and heavy sighs; and he asked
whether he had not got something to amuse him-
self with.
"No. I don't want to amuse myself," said
Hugh, stretching so as almost to throw himself
out of the tree.
Why, what's the matter ? Did not you comer
off well with your theme ? I heard somebody say
you were quite enough set up about it."
"Where is the use of doing a thing well, if
nobody cares about it?" said Hugh. "I don't
believe anybody at Crofton cares a bit about me--
cares whether I get on well or ill-except Dale.-
If I take pains and succeed, they only laugh at
me. There is no justice."
"Ah! you don't understand school and school-
boys yet," replied Firth. "To do a difficult lesson
well is a grand affair at home, and the whole house
knows of it. But it is the commonest thing in
the world here. If you learn to feel with these
boys, instead of expecting them to feel with you
(which they cannot possibly do), you will soon find
that they care for you accordingly."
"Nobody will ever understand what I mean
about justice," muttered Hugh.
Suppose," said Firth, while you.are complain-
ing of injustice in this way, somebody else should
be complaining in the same way of your injustice."'
"Nobody can-fairly," replied Hugh.






THE CROFTON BOYS.


"Do you see that poor fellow, skulking there
under the orchard-wall ?"
What, Holt ?"
Yes, Holt. I fancy the thought in his mind at
this moment is that you are the most unjust person
at Crofton."
"I! unjust!"
"Yes; so he thinks. When you first came, you.and
he were companions. You were glad to hear, by the
hour together, what he had to tell you about India,
and his voyages and travels. Now he feels himself
lonely and forsaken, while he sees you happy with
a friend. He thinks it hard that you should desert
him because he owes you a shilling, when he was
cheated quite as much as you."
"Because he owes me a shilling cried Hugh,
starting to his feet, "as if- "
Once more he had nearly fallen from his perch.
Firth caught him; and then asked him how Holt
should think otherwise than as he did, since Hugh
had been his constant companion up to that Satur-
day afternoon, and had hardly spoken to him
since.
Hugh protested that the shilling had nothing to
do with the matter; and he never meant to take
more than sixpence from Holt, because he thought
Lamb was the one who ought to pay the shilling.
The thing was, he did not, and could not, like
Holt half so well as Dale. He could not make a
friend of Holt, because he wanted spirit-he had -
no courage. What could he do ? He could not
pretend to be intimate with Holt when he did not
/ ;' .,-






THE OROFTON BOYS.


like him; and if he explained that the shilling had
nothing to do with the matter, he could not explain
how it really was, when the fault was in the boy's
character, and not in his having given any par-
ticular offence. What could he.do?
Firth thought he could only learn not to expect,
anywhere out of the bounds of home, what he
thought justice. He must, of course, try himself
to be just to everybody; but he must make up his
mind in school, as men have to do in the world, to
be misunderstood-to be wrongly valued; to be
blamed when he felt himself the injured one, and
praised when he knew he did not deserve it.
"But it is so hard," said Hugh.
"And what do people leave home for but to
learn hard lessons?"
Hugh nodded without speaking. Then he got
down, and ran to tell Holt that he did not want a
shilling from him, because he thought sixpence
would be fairer.
Holt was glad to hear this at first; but he pre-
sently said that it did not much matter, for that
he had no more chance of being able to pay six-
pence than a shilling. His parents were in India,
and his uncle never offered him any money. He
knew, indeed, that his uncle had none to spare; so
he did not dare to ask for pocket-money; and for
the hundredth time he sighed over his debt.
Hugh's frequent applications to Lamb for pay-
ment had caused an impression that he was fond
of money. It was not so; and yet the charge was
not unfair. Hugh was ready to give if properly






THE OROFTON BOYS.


asked; but he did not relish, and could not bear
with temper, the injustice of such a forced borrow-
ing as had stripped him of his half-crown. He
wanted his five shillings for presents for his family;
and for these reasons, and not because he was
miserly, he did not offer to excuse Holt's debt,
which it would have been more generous to have
done. Nobody could wish that he should excuse
Lamb's.
"When are you going to your uncle's ?" asked
Holt. "I suppose you are going some day before
Christmas."
"On Saturday, to stay till Sunday night," said
Hugh.
"And Proctor goes, too, I suppose ?"
"Yes, of course, Phil goes too."
Anybody else ? "
"We are each to take one friend, just for Satur-
day, to come home at night."
"Oh, then you will take me ? You said you
would."
"Did I ? That must have been a long time ago."
"But you did so-that,'whenever you went, you
would ask leave to take me."
"I don't remember any such thing. And I am
going to take Dale this time. I have promised
him."
Holt cried with vexation. Dale was always in
his -way. Hugh cared for nobody but Dale; but
Dale should not go to Mr. Shaw's till he had had
his turn. He had been promised first, and he
would go first. He would speak to Mrs. Watson,






THE GROFTON BOYS.


and get leave to go and tell Mr. Shaw, and then
he was sure Mr Shaw would let him go.


"THAT MUST HAVE BEEN A LONG TIME AGO."


Hugh was very uncomfortable. He really could
not remember having made this promise, but he
could not be sure that he had not. He asked






THE CROFTON BOYS.


Holt if he thought he should like to be in people's
way, to spoil the holiday by going where he was
not wished for; but this sort of remonstrance did
not comfort Holt at all. Hugh offered that he
should have the very next turn, if he would give
up now.
"I dare say! And when will that be? You
know on Sunday it will only want nineteen days
to the holidays, and you will not be going to your
uncle's again this half-year. A pretty way of put-
ting me off! "
Of course Mrs. Watson would not hear of Holt's
going to Mr. Shaw, to ask for an invitation for
Saturday. He was told he must wait till another
time. It was no great consolation to Holt that on
Sunday it would want only nineteen days to the
holidays, for he was to remain at Crofton. He
hoped to like the holidays better than school-days,
and to be petted by Mrs. Watson, and to sit by the
fire, instead of being forced into the playground
in all weathers; but still he could not look for-


ward to Christmas with
felt.


the glee which other boys.


1. An exercise in composition.
2. Da'-mon and Pyth'-i-as were
two inseparable friends. Damon
was condemned to death about
387 B.C. by Di-o-nys'-i-us of Sy-ra-
ouse' (a city of Sicily), who was a
great tyrant. He was given four
hours' leave of absence to go home
and say good-bye to his wife and
child. Pythias offered to become
his surety, and to die in his stead
if he did not come back according
to his promise. Damon was de-
layed on the way, but returned


just as the executioner was pre-
paring to put Pythias to death.
Dionysius was so leased with
this proof of friendship that he
forgave Damon, and the three
were friends ever after,
3. The friendship of David and
Jonathan is one of the most beau-
tiful of the Bible stories. (See
1 Samuel, xviii., v. 1; xix.; xx.;
xxiii., v. 16; and David's lamen-
tation when Jonathan was slain
by the Philistines, 2 Samuel, i.,,'
v. 17 to 27.)









CHAPTER VIII.
A LONG DAY.
HUGH, meantime, was counting the hours till
Saturday. Perhaps, if the truth were known, so
was Phil, though he was too old to acknowledge
such a longing.' But the climbing about the mill
-the play encouraged there by his uncle and the
men-his uncle's stories within doors, his aunt's
good dinners-the fireside, the picture-books, the
talk of home, altogether made up the greatest
treat of the half-year. Phil had plenty of ways of
passing the time. Hugh began a long letter home;
he meant to write half the letter before Saturday,
and then fill it up with an account of his visit to
his uncle's.
The days were passed, however, when Hugh had
the command of his leisure time, as on his arrival.
He had long since become too valuable in the play-
ground to be left to follow his own devices. As
the youngest boy, he was looked upon as a sort of
servant to the rest, when once it was found that
he was quick and clever. Either as scout,' mes-
senger, or in some such capacity, he was continu-
ally wanted; and often at times inconvenient to
himself. He then usually remembered what Mr.
Tooke had told him of his boy, when Tooke was
the youngest-how he bore things-not only being
put on the high wall, but being well worked in
the service of the older boys. Usually Hugh was






THE OROFTON BOYS.


obliging, but he could and did feel cross at times.
He was cross on this Friday-the day when he
was so anxious to write his letter before going to
his uncle's. His paper was ruled, and he had only
to run across the playground to borrow Firth's
penknife,2 and then nothing should delay his
letter.
In that run across the playground he was
stopped. He was wanted to collect clean snow for
the boys, who were bent on finishing their snow-
man while it would bind. He should be let off
when he had brought snow enough. But he knew
that by that time his fingers would be too stiff to
hold his pen, and he said he did not choose to stop
now. Upon this Lamb launched a snowball in his
face. Hugh grew angry-or, as his schoolfellows
said, insolent. Some stood between him and the
house, to prevent his getting home, while others
threatened to roll him in the snow till he yielded
full submission. Instead of yielding, Hugh made
for the orchard wall, scrambled up it, and stood for
the moment out of reach of his enemies. He
kicked down such a quantity of snow upon any
one who came near, that he held all at bay for
some little time. At last, however, he had dis-
posed of all the snow within his reach, and they
were pelting him thickly with snowballs.
It was not at any time very easy to stand
upright for long together upon this wall, as the
stones which capped it were rounded. Now, when
the coping-stones were slippery after the frost, and




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