• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Aunt Jane's companions
 Tommy in town
 Flora's friend
 The mistake
 Tommy escapes from the dungeon
 About clever boys
 At the rectory
 The school feast
 The Italian again
 Doubtful kindness
 How to build a house
 Welcome home
 Advertising
 Back Matter
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Tommy the adventurous
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087076/00001
 Material Information
Title: Tommy the adventurous
Alternate Title: Tommy the adventurous, the story of a brother & a sister
Story of a brother and a sister
Physical Description: 1,192, 32 p., 3 leaves of plates : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Cartwright, S. E
Copping, Harold, 1863-1932 ( Illustrator )
Blackie & Son
Publisher: Blackie and Son, Limited
Place of Publication: London ;
Glasgow ;
Dublin
Publication Date: 1898
 Subjects
Subject: Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Behavior -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Parent and child -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Aunts -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Interpersonal relations -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Imagination -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Thieves -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Curiosity -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1898   ( rbprov )
Juvenile literature -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1898
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Ireland -- Dublin
Scotland -- Glasgow
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by S.E. Cartwright ; with three illustrations by Harold Copping.
General Note: Illustrations signed by Harold Copping.
General Note: Engraved title page.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note: Pictorial front cover and spine.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087076
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002223509
notis - ALG3758
oclc - 259708632

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 1a
    Front Matter
        Page 2
    Frontispiece
        Page 3
    Title Page
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
    List of Illustrations
        Page 6
    Aunt Jane's companions
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Tommy in town
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 32a
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Flora's friend
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    The mistake
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Tommy escapes from the dungeon
        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
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
    About clever boys
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
    At the rectory
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
    The school feast
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 124a
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
    The Italian again
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
    Doubtful kindness
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
    How to build a house
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
    Welcome home
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
    Advertising
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
    Back Matter
        Page 225
    Back Cover
        Page 226
        Page 227
    Spine
        Page 228
Full Text









>- ~ / / /- / / / / / / / i /

NORWICH C'

SCHOOL BOARD. 1"


5 School




AWARDED TO


For regularity of attendance.
good conduct, and proficency.

GEORGE WHITE,

SYDNEY COZENS-HARDY,

*. ..\

-/--- / / / / / /7_ / //_ _/_\




IThe Baldwin Library
1iHr A ,o






















































































"A TALL STERN-LOOKING MAN SEIZED FLORA BY THE ARM

AND TOMMY BY THE COLLAR."


~








TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS







BY

S. E. CARTWRIGHT
Author of Such a Popular Girl", "Almost a Heroine", &c.


WITH THREB ILLUSTRATIONS BY HAROLD OOPPING


LONDON
BLACKIE & SON, LIMITED, 50 OLD BAILEY, E.C.
GLASGOW AND DUBLIN
1898














CONTENTS.


CHAP. Page
I. AUNT JANE'S CMPAIoNs, . 7

II. TMMY IN TOWN ............21

III. FLORA'S FRIEND, . . . 3

IV. THE MISTAKE, . . . .49

V. TOMMY ESCAPES FROM THE DUNGEON, ... 65

VI. ABOUT CLEVER BOYS, ..... .... .83

VII. AT THE RECTORY, . . .. .100

VIII. THE SCHOOL FEAT, . .. .. 117

IX. THE ITALIAN AGAI, . ... 134

X. DOUBTFUL KINDNESS, . .... .149

XI. How TO BUILD A HOUSE, . . 165

XII. WELOOME HOM, . . 180




















ILLUSTRATIONS.



Page
"A TALL STERN-LOOKING MAN SEIZED FLORA BY THE
ARM AND TOMMY BY THE COLLAR," Frontis. 61


"WITH A CRY OF TRIUMPH TOMMY RUSHED HEADLONG ON

THE THIEF" .............. 32


"IT'S ALL RIGHT,-HE'S GONE; FANCY IF HE'D COME
BACK AND CAUGHT US!" . . 124










-1




TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


CHAPTER L
AUNT JANE'S COMPANIONS.

BOY and girl were standing side by side on the
door-step of a country house, disconsolately
watching the back of a carriage that was fast
disappearing in the distance. They were feel-
ing unusually downcast, having just parted with their
parents for-as it seemed to them-the almost intermin-
able period of a month. However, even the depth of
low spirits brought about by this separation could not
long keep them silent.
They always come back again," ventured Flora, with
the hopefulness of seven.
"Ah! but this time they are crossing the sea. Very
likely they'll be shipwrecked," rejoined Tommy, his hope-
fulness subdued by an extra year of experience.
I thought it was only sailors who were shipwrecked,"
urged the little girl.
"You're a silly thing, that's what you are," said
Tommy, in such a tone of conviction that it left no room
for argument. "Of course, you can't know anything







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


about the sea," he continued, "when you haven't yet
begun to learn geography. Why, I dare say you don't
even know the difference between a bay and an isthmus!"
"I don't believe you do yourself!" exclaimed Flora
defiantly.
This abrupt statement happened to be perfectly true,
and Tommy thought it best to change the subject.
"After all, it's no good talking about lessons when we
have a holiday. We might as well be doing them," he
remarked with some sense. "Besides, we have to look
after Aunt Jane, as she is our visitor. You know Mama
particularly said we were to be companions to her. She
repeated it twice just before the carriage started."
"But how can we be companions to a grown-up per-
son ?" interrupted Flora.
"I dare say you can't, but I can," said Tommy con-
fidently. "You seem to forget," he added, "that I was
eight last week, and shall go to school and wear cloth
clothes at Christmas."
"Nurse says you won't find them nearly so comfortable
as sailor suits," interposed the little girl.
"What does Nurse know about it, indeed? Has she
ever worn cloth knickerbockers, or sailor suits either, I
should like to know?"
Poor Flora was silent, being now thoroughly puzzled.
Theoretically she knew that Nurse was always in the
right. And yet Tommy's argument seemed sound.
However, Tommy had often observed that though his
sister was rather slow at retorting to arguments, she
would return again and again to the same point until
she had thoroughly mastered the case. The only chance
of peace lay in an instant change of subject.







AUNT JANE S COMPANIONS.


"It doesn't seem as if we were obeying Mama's last
words," he remarked. "I should think Aunt Jane has
been by herself for at least a quarter of an hour. I'm
going to look after her."
"So am I!" cried Flora, suddenly losing all interest in
the question of clothes. And the two children ran in-
doors together.
Miss Jane York was an elderly lady, being aunt to the
children's father, at whose request she had consented to
leave her comfortable London house for a month and
mount guard over her young nephews and nieces during
their parents' absence. The invitation had fitted in well
with her plans, as she had arranged to have her house
painted that summer, which, under other circumstances,
would have necessitated a prolonged stay in sea-side lodg-
ings, where the cookery might have been indifferent and
the drainage doubtful.
Now, Oakdale Court was a thoroughly comfortable
country house in a beautiful neighbourhood, and it
would be a pleasant occupation to superintend the
training of Fred's and Mary's dear little children for a
few weeks. That was what poor Miss York said to her-
self. She had only seen the children now and then for
a few minutes in the drawing-room, and retained a pleas-
ing recollection of pink cheeks, downcast blue eyes, and
clean white muslin frocks. Besides, they had an excellent
nurse, and a most competent daily governess who took
charge of the two elder children during the whole morn-
ing. Consequently the responsibility did not seem ex-
cessive.
The bustle of saying good-bye to the travellers being
over, Miss York went straight to her room to rest. She







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


had travelled down from London the day before, and her
head was still aching from the effects of the railway jour-
ney. An hour's rest on the sofa before luncheon was
what she felt she required, and to ensure getting it with-
out any interruptions she prudently locked the door of
her bedroom. Determining to give herself every chance
of recovery, she did not even take a book, but lay with
closed eyes dreamily devising little plans for enter-
taining the dear children who had been left under her
charge.
In the afternoon, if sufficiently rested, she intended to
go for a drive, and it occurred to her that Tommy and
Flora would probably consider it a great treat to be
allowed to accompany her. She was a kind old lady,
and fully intended that the children should be so happy
for the next month as never once to miss their parents.
When she came to think it over, the poor little things
had looked rather downcast that morning, in spite of
being given a holiday to cheer them up.
Aunt Jane was not personally acquainted with many
children, but she had once read a beautiful poem about
a pet dog that pined away, refused food, and died when
its master went abroad, and it was not unnatural to
suppose that children were at least as affectionate as
dogs. Supposing anything of the sort happened to dear
chubby Tommy, or pretty golden-haired Flora, whilst
their parents were away! Aunt Jane's brow wrinkled
with anxiety.
The fate of the two little ones did not worry her so
much. She felt a sort of confidence that Nurse would
be able to curb their infant affections sufficiently to insist
upon their eating. At this moment a terrific noise in







AUNT JANE'S COMPANIONS.


the passage suddenly caused her to start up, trembling
with alarm.
"What is it?" she cried feebly. "Oh, dear! my poor
head! What is it?"
"It's us!" shouted Tommy, battering at the door for
admission; "it's only us coming to see how you are
getting on. And Flora was in such a hurry she caught
her toe in the mat and tumbled down. Didn't you hear
a bump She knocked her head against the wall and
dropped the vase she was bringing you."
What vase was she bringing me t I really can't hear
what you say through that door, wait a moment till I
open it." And Aunt Jane rose languidly from the sofa,
and began to straighten her cap in front of the looking-
glass.
"Oh, don't trouble!" rejoined Tommy; "I will make
you hear right enough." And putting his lips to the
keyhole he bawled: "It's all her own fault. I wanted
to carry it because she's too young, and she pushed me
away and ran upstairs in such a hurry that she tumbled
at the top. That's how it happened. And the water is
all spilt, and bits of broken china everywhere. She'll cut
her hands I expect, but she won't listen-"
"You haven't said it all!" interrupted a shrill voice
mingled with tears. "You haven't said that they were
my own flowers out of my very own garden, that I'd
picked for Aunt Jane. Better than any you've got, so
you needn't laugh at me. There!"
A loud shriek from Tommy irresistibly suggested the
idea that his sister was revenging her want of luck on
his person with some sharp instrument.
"It was only a little pinch," said Flora scornfully.







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


"No, I haven't a pin or a needle either! There now,
you can see!"
"Then your fingers are as sharp as pins," answered
Tommy, ostentatiously rubbing his arm as he heard Miss
York unlocking the door. "And you're a sneak too,"
he added in a lower voice. "Only sneaks pinch. Luke
says so-and he knows. He was at school eight years
before he came here."
"Papa said you were not to talk to the stable-boys,"
began Flora, just as Aunt Jane opened the door.
"Where is the broken vase ?" said the old lady. "No,
don't touch it, Tommy; you will only cut your fingers.
I will ring for the housemaid to come and sweep up the
bits. But, my dear children," she exclaimed, putting up
her eye-glass and inspecting the fragments more nearly,
"what was it you broke? Surely not one of the pieces
of Worcester china out of the drawing-room? Dear!
dear! how did you come to meddle with one of the
drawing-room ornaments? That was very naughty, you
know."
"We couldn't find anything else," said the boy ob-
stinately, "and the flowers were dying. If Flora hadn't
been so silly it would have been all right. Come on,"
he exclaimed, suddenly catching his sister's arm, "here
comes Nurse. We had better be off before she sees the
mess!" And in another moment the children were flying
headlong down the stairs.
After giving directions for the removal of the broken
china, and indulging in a few mournful laments over the
fate of the valuable vase, Miss York returned to her
room, and having carefully locked the door again lay
down upon her sofa. She had scarcely had time to







AUNT JANE'S COMPANIONS.


close her eyes and compose her mind to rest, when she
was roused up by the sound of muffled footsteps and a
gentle scratching on the door.
From sheer force of habit she was about to say "Come
in", when she luckily reflected that the housemaid never
begged for admission in this way. The bare idea of that
highly respectable servant crawling down the passage on
hands and knees,-as from faintly audible sounds she
guessed her present visitor was doing,-was ridiculous
in the extreme. Besides, from certain low murmurings
she soon learned that two persons were encamped on the
mat. In fact, there could be no reasonable doubt that
after an absence of about five minutes Tommy and Flora
had returned to the attack.
"Aunt Jane," whispered Tommy through the keyhole,
"we want to say something."
Meeting with no reply, he repeated this observation
several times in louder and louder tones.
Miss York lay perfectly still and silent, hoping that if
the children received no answer they would soon tire of
waiting and go away. This plan seemed to succeed, for
presently there was complete silence, broken only by an
occasional low scratching sound.
"Look there!" cried Tommy suddenly, quite forgetting
in his excitement that he had intended to whisper.
"Just look, Flora! Isn't it beautiful? And that's only
the beginning. As she's so sound asleep we'll scratch
all we meant to say on the outside of her door, and then
when she comes down to lunch she'll see it and know
what we-"
Miss York did not stay to hear more. Springing up,
she pulled open the door so quickly that both the chil-






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


dren fell forward on their faces. As for the neat brown
paint that she had vainly hoped to save, it was already
adorned with various wild flourishes and rudely-formed
letters.
Tommy recovered himself first, and rising to his feet
proceeded to explain his intentions and illustrate his
method of carrying them out.
"This is what I did it with," he began, exhibiting an
old pocket-knife with a broken blade. "And this is how
I did it," he continued, suddenly gouging a large piece
of paint off the door and offering it to Miss York for
inspection.
The poor old lady stood aghast. Without any clue to
the children's motive their action seemed a deliberate
outbreak of vice, bordering on insanity. She turned
despairingly to Flora, whose innocent blue eyes were
fixed on a pair of rusty scissors that she was holding in
a menacing attitude.
"You naughty children! You very naughty children!"
was all Aunt Jane could find to say.
"You don't understand," began Tommy. "You think
we scratched the door because we liked doing it. Well,
that wasn't the reason at all." He paused for a moment
to contemplate affectionately the lump of paint on the
point of his broken knife. "It was a message to you,"
he continued. "We couldn't get into your room or
make you hear, so we were going to write a sort of
letter to say that if you wanted us we were in the
garden-"
"We can't write it now, because we've said it," inter-
rupted Flora, looking regretfully at her scissors.
Tommy shook his head solemnly. "No, we can't







AUNT JANE'S COMPANIONS.


write the letter now," he repeated; "but," and his face
lighted up with a happy thought, "we'd better scratch
out what we've written!"
Before Miss York could interfere the door was scored
with half a dozen deep cuts, compared with which the
original injuries were a mere nothing.
"That'll do," cried Tommy, coolly shutting up his
knife, and taking not the slightest notice of his aunt's
shriek of dismay. "Nobody can read it now," he added
consolingly. "We don't want everybody to read our
letters to you-we like them to be secret."
Miss York was so bewildered by this explanation that
for a moment she stood speechless, pointing with a
trembling finger at the spoilt paint.
The children took advantage of her silence to run off
without further discussion.
"If you want us," cried Tommy from the bottom of
the stairs, "you can shout to us out of the window; we
are sure to hear."
Miss York returned to her room, and for the third
time composed herself to rest on the sofa. If there was
one thing more certain than another, it was that she had
no intention of shouting through the window, as her
nephew elegantly expressed it. She was only too thankful
to think that she had seen the last of the children for
the present.
"It's very hard," remarked Tommy, as he strolled
round the strawberry-bed--"it's very hard to-be a com-
panion to people who lock themselves into their bedrooms
and only come out to scold!"
"But we oughtn't to have hurt the paint," replied
Flora, who, now that her excitement was over, was






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


beginning to feel rather frightened at what she had
done.
"What's the good of saying that now?" inquired the
boy scornfully. "Besides, your scissors made bigger
scratches than my knife."
"Both points scratched," remarked Flora. In spite
of being rather frightened and repentant she could not
help feeling a little proud of having done exactly twice
as much damage as her brother.
"Only girls use scissors," observed Tommy, who had
been half-jealous all along of his sister's weapon; "and
I wonder what Nurse will say when she finds you've
taken them out of her workbox," he continued viciously.
"They are only her very old ones. She hardly ever
uses them," muttered Flora, feeling very aggrieved at
Tommy's remarks, as he had distinctly encouraged her
to take the scissors, and, in fact, first put the idea into
her head.
Tommy frequently did this sort of thing, for, though
in the main a kind-hearted boy, it must be admitted
that he was unnecessarily fond of teasing his younger
sister. Now, however, he saw that he had gone too far,
as poor Flora was puckering up her face and preparing
to cry.
"Oh, you silly girl!" he said, squeezing her hand
with rough kindliness. "It was only a joke, don't you
see? Nurse doesn't mind about these old scissors. I
dare say she has quite forgotten that she has any scissors
by this time. Just come along and see if there are some
strawberries left on these beds."
The children were well within their rights this time,
for when most of the strawberries had been picked, the
(M 329)






AUNT JANE'S COMPANIONS.


gardener removed the nets which were used to protect
the crop from the birds and allowed Tommy and Flora
to finish up the little fruit that remained. The search
after the scattered strawberries took them some time, and
their attention was too much absorbed for more talking.
"I do believe we've eaten them all," said Flora at last,
rising from her knees and wiping her juicy fingers on her
pinafore.
"Oh, I say!" exclaimed Tommy suddenly, "we've
forgotten all about Aunt Jane; and after Mama told me
so particularly to look after her whilst they were away;
and of course visitors ought to be given things first.
But I am afraid there are no first or last strawberries
now," he added, ruefully surveying the bed.
"Perhaps she doesn't like strawberries, as she's so
old," suggested Flora.
But this pleasing supposition was soon dispelled, as
both the children remembered seeing their mother send
off a box of early fruit as a present to their aunt, before
she left London.
There was a melancholy silence for about a minute,
and then Tommy said decidedly: "We must get her
some gooseberries. They are not quite ripe, but I think
they will do."
"How shall we get her to unlock the door again"
inquired Flora, as they ran off to carry out this idea.
"Oh, I've thought of all that," replied Tommy, whose
mind, it must be owned, was remarkably nimble. "It
won't do to go knocking again, she'll only think we've
come to disturb her. I've got a good plan; and goose-
berries are better for it, really, than strawberries, though
they aren't quite so nice to eat."
'/( (M329) B






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


All this time Aunt Jane was lying on the sofa in her
bedroom, trying to compose her shattered nerves and
rest her aching head. She closed her eyes and lay
quietly between sleeping and waking, just conscious of
the soft summer breeze that wafted the sweet scents of
the garden through the open window. It is true that
her enjoyment was slightly tinged by anxiety lest she
should catch cold; but the odour of the honeysuckle
was so delicious, and the effort of rising to close the
window so great, that she determined to risk it.
Aunt Jane never noticed that she had fallen asleep
until she began to dream. And her dream was not at all
a pleasant one. She fancied that she was working in a
coal-pit, when the roof began to give way. It all seemed
terribly real. She even felt the coal falling on her in
lumps, such as one puts on the fire, and in the midst of
her fright she had time to think how terribly the black
dust would dirty her white lace cap.
"I never will put on my best cap again to go down in
a coal-pit," she thought. "No, it's no use telling me that
the Lord Mayor orders it. If he wants to be smart he
can wear his cocked hat. Dear me! this is no joke!"
And indeed it was not. For at that moment there
was a loud shout of "Look out!" from the other miners,
followed by a tremendous fall of coal. Aunt Jane put
her hands over her face and screamed, feeling sure that
this time she could not possibly escape. And as she
screamed she woke.
"Now that was a very remarkable dream," observed
the old lady, lying back on the sofa cushions and looking
up with intense relief at the perfectly solid white ceiling
overhead. "Ah! I know what must have put such a







AUNT JANE'S COMPANIONS.


ridiculous thing into my head," she continued, as con-
sciousness gradually returned. Of course I read in the
papers yesterday how the Lord Mayor was getting up
a subscription for the people who were injured in that
dreadful mining accident. Well, happily it was only
a dream!"
But was it At that moment there was a real shout
of "Look out!" and a shower of hard objects fell all over
the room, one hitting Aunt Jane on the side of the nose.
She sat up, wondering if she could really be going mad.
But one glance on the floor explained it all. The carpet
was strewn, not with lumps of coal, but with hard green
gooseberries that had evidently been showered in through
the open window. Below on the gravel-path stood the
two children, holding a very dirty pocket-handkerchief,
into which they were plunging their hands, evidently
preparing for another throw.
Aunt Jane did not hesitate. She rang the bell and
gave some orders. In a very short space of time the
children were being led into the house, ignominiously
taken prisoners by the nursemaid.
"And a fine mess your dress is in, Miss Flora!" she
said. "And clean on this morning too! Nurse says
you are to come and have it changed at once. And
Master Tommy is to go to Miss York in her room."
Flora went off to the nursery rather envying her
brother, for she could not bear the fuss and trouble of
putting on clean frocks; and, besides, Nurse was sure to
have a good deal to say on the subject of the dirty one.
But perhaps after all Tommy had the more disagreeable
interview of the two. For when he found that Aunt
Jane had been a good deal hurt by the blow on her face,






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


and that the hard gooseberry had left quite a bruise on
her cheek, he felt heartily ashamed of his thoughtless-
ness. He was sensible enough to know that if the blow
had been on her eye the results might have been very
serious.
"We did not mean to hurt you a bit," he began;
" only to give you a sort of jump. And the gooseberries
aren't half bad, I've bitten several to try. You see, we
had finished the strawberries before we remembered that
you were a visitor, and ought to have things first."
Thank you for thinking of me," said Aunt Jane, who
was certainly a very kind old lady. And Tommy felt
more ashamed of himself than ever
To show his sorrow he insisted upon getting a can of
hot water and helping Miss York to bathe her cheek, to
which attentions she submitted cheerfully, although it is
probable that she would have preferred the assistance of
her maid.
"Shall you write and tell Papa about the goose-
berries?" inquired Tommy anxiously as this operation
was coming to an end.
"No, I don't wish to trouble your parents now that
they have gone abroad for a holiday," said Aunt Jane.
"But I know when they return they are sure to ask if
you have all been good children, and it would have been
a great pleasure to me to have given them both a truth-
ful and a pleasant answer."
"You shall be able to do so! You shall indeed!" cried
Tommy. "We won't do one troublesome thing all the
month they are away."
"I'm afraid that is expecting an impossibility," sighed
Aunt Jane. "But if you will do your best, and try to






TOMMY IN TOWN.


show a little consideration for other people, I shall be
quite contented."
Tommy promised faithfully that he would do his best,
and then at Miss York's request left her to try and con-
clude her much interrupted rest on the sofa.



CHAPTER II.
TOMMY IN TOWN.

AFTER what had occurred in the morning, Aunt Jane
must have been a very forgiving person to take
Tommy for a drive with her in the afternoon. But she
was quite determined to act kindly towards the children
whilst their parents were away; and Tommy's plump
cheeks and engagingly simple smile never failed to soften
people's hearts towards him. However, Miss York had
profited sufficiently by her experience of the morning
not to attempt taking both children out in the carriage.
If all went well, and the drive proved a success, Flora
might have her turn to-morrow. For the present she
was condemned to a quiet walk with the nursery party.
Tommy felt rather proud of sitting in the great open
carriage by the side of such a dignified old lady. He
sometimes went for drives with his mother in a little
pony-cart, and on one or two occasions he had been
squeezed into a corner of the wagonette, almost hidden
between the grown-up people. But now he was occupy-
ing the principal seat in the great open carriage that was
seldom used except for visitors, who were either too
grand or too infirm to climb higher. It was on beauti-







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


fully easy springs, and the cushioned-seat reminded
Tommy of a feather-bed. He wondered that his mother
so seldom drove in this delightful carriage, and preferred
rattling about everywhere in a tiny pony-cart. To be
sure, the pony really went quicker than the pair of fat
brown horses, who jogged along at the slowest of trots,
with their sleek sides shining like looking-glass in the sun.
Tommy glanced at his aunt, and then at himself. He
was sure they looked exactly like an old picture that
hung in the nursery, of the Queen and the Prince Consort
driving through Hyde Park. In the picture they were
bowing to the people on either side, and this Tommy
considered added greatly to the grace of their attitudes.
Almost before he thought about what he was doing he
made a low bow to an old man who was passing, who
immediately returned it in the most polite manner.
This was exceedingly gratifying. Tommy could not
resist bowing to the next person with exactly the same
result. It seemed to him after all not very difficult to
behave like a king or queen, and for the next few
minutes he continued to bow graciously to everybody
he met. A few people stared at him in surprise, but far
the greater number smiled and returned his salute.
"Who is that lady?" inquired Aunt Jane, turning
suddenly towards him. "I mean the one we have just
passed, who was nodding at you. Some friend of your
mother's, I suppose?"
Tommy said nothing, being somewhat ashamed of the
way in which he had been amusing himself. Fortunately
at that moment they were approaching the town of Tor-
bury, and Miss York became so absorbed in considering
at what shop she could buy a simple bonnet for wearing





TOMMY IN TOWN.


in the country that she forgot to pursue the subject any
further.
Torbury was several miles from Tommy's home, so
that a visit to it was something of an excitement.
Rather to Miss York's relief he did not wish to come
into the shops with her, being afraid that if he once got
inside a house he should miss some of the wonders that
seemed to be perpetually passing in the streets. As the
carriage was waiting in front of a large milliner's in the
chief street of the town, Tommy really saw a great deal
of life by merely sitting still and opening his eyes. In
the course of the first few minutes he counted that no
less than three policemen, four volunteers, and a monkey
on a barrel-organ went past within a few yards of him.
He could have touched the monkey by putting out his
hand; in fact the man very politely stopped close to the
carriage and played a little tune on the organ twice over.
When he had finished he waited for a moment, as if
expecting some applause. Tommy, who was always
anxious to be agreeable, gave him an encouraging smile,
and the man began the tune for the third time. When
it was at an end Tommy smiled again, but rather faintly,
as he was getting tired of the organ, and would have
been glad to turn away and look for fresh objects of
interest on the other side of the road. However, he felt
that it would be distinctly rude to turn his back on this
kind stranger who was taking so much trouble to amuse
him, so he sat patiently, trying not to look wearied of
the performance.
All at once the organ stopped. Tommy felt that this
was his opportunity, and that he must speak before the
tune began for the fourth time.







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


"Thank you for playing to me," he said, as gratefully
as he could. "The music was very nice indeed, but I
won't trouble you to stay here any longer. I daresay
you are busy."
To his surprise the man did not move away, but taking
off his ragged cap held it out towards the carriage, at the
same time speaking rapidly in a foreign language.
"Dear me, this is dreadful!" thought Tommy. "If
that man is an Italian-and his face is so brown I think
he must be-I shall never make him understand that I
don't want any more music. I wonder if Jones could
explain it to him."
He glanced up at the old coachman's broad back as
he sat half-asleep upon the box. Jones did not turn
round, never even having noticed that the organ was
playing close to the carriage. Tommy did not like to
call out to him, and was wondering what to do next,
when the Italian began to speak in very broken Eng-
lish.
"A penny," he said; "only one penny, one leetle
penny." And as the boy stared at him in astonishment
at the funny foreign accent, he continued beseechingly:
"One leetle penny. We are hongrie, vary hongrie."
Tommy turned scarlet as it occurred to him that this
was probably what the man had been waiting for at the
end of each tune. He put his hand in his pocket, and
drew out two dirty handkerchiefs, the broken knife, and
some string, but, as might have been expected, not the
smallest coin. He remembered, longingly, the money-box
on the corner of the nursery shelf, in which he kept all
his treasure, consisting of a half-crown and quite a heap
of pence and halfpence. But unfortunately a penny in






TOMMY IN TOWN.


his pocket would have been more useful than a bag of
gold at a distance.
"I'm so sorry, I haven't any money here. Really I
haven't," said Tommy apologetically, and much afraid
that the man would not believe him.
And indeed the poor Italian could scarcely believe
that this smartly-dressed little gentleman, sitting alone
in such a grand carriage, had nothing to give him.
"One leetle penny," he repeated, clasping his hands.
"Only one leetle penny for bread."
Tommy was so moved by this appeal that he felt he
must do something at once. "Wait a moment," he cried.
" I'll ask Aunt Jane for some money." And scrambling
out of the carriage he ran into the shop.
If the Italian did not quite understand his words, at all
events he could see that the boy meant kindly towards
him. He stood back against a wall and waited quietly
for Tommy's return.
Now the shop into which Tommy rushed in search of
his aunt happened to be a large millinery and dress-
making establishment, and it must be owned that he felt
terribly shy when the glass door slammed behind him,
and he found himself in a large show-room, surrounded
by a number of very smartly-dressed ladies. His shy-
ness turned to real terror when he suddenly noticed that
several of the gayest ladies had no heads. But just as
he was preparing to fly from such a horrible sight, he
made the soothing discovery that after all they were
only wire frames on which various new dresses were
being displayed. However, there were several alive
ladies in the room also, and one of them,-who looked
like a duchess at least, and wore such a stiff black silk






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


dress that she couldn't have tumbled down if she tried,-
came up to him and inquired what he wanted.
"Is Aunt Jane here?" he asked timidly.
"Aunt Jane?" repeated the lady in some bewilder-
ment.
"Yes, Aunt Jane. She went in at this door a long
time ago, but I can't see her here now." And Tommy
looked carefully round the room, as if he thought Miss
York might be hiding under some of the piles of rich
silk and brocade that lay scattered about on the tables.
"The carriage from Oakdale Court is waiting outside
the door," remarked a younger lady, advancing to join
in the discussion.
"Of course," said Tommy eagerly; "that's what we
came in. It's my papa's carriage, and Aunt Jane is
staying with us while he and Mama are away. But
Mama likes driving in the pony-trap best. She says it
goes quicker."
"I think I know who you are looking for now," said
the lady who resembled a duchess. "She is upstairs in
the millinery department. This young lady shall show
you the way."
"Oh, thanks! I can find it right enough," cried
Tommy; and anxious not to give any more trouble he
ran off up the stairs, and opened the first door he saw.
Exactly at that moment Miss York happened to be
standing in front of the looking-glass in the act of trying
on a new bonnet. She gave a violent start at the unex-
pected appearance of her impetuous little nephew, and
the lace bonnet catching in a glove-button was twitched
off her head, and hung suspended ridiculously from her
wrist. Now Miss York was an old lady who had a great






TOMMY IN TOWN.


regard for the proprieties of life, and it seemed to her
painfully shocking to be standing there before three
shop-women and a small boy, without any covering on
her head beyond a scanty twist of gray hairs. She col-
oured with confusion, and made a desperate effort to
release the entangled bonnet, at the same time threaten-
ing Tommy with instant punishment if he did not run
away at once.
It is needless to say that Tommy risked the punish-
ment and stayed. He had no intention of causing
annoyance, but he had never even imagined what Aunt
Jane would look like without a cap or a bonnet, and he
simply stood spell-bound before such an extraordinary
sight.
Go away, you very naughty child!" cried Aunt Jane,
tugging at the bonnet with the energy of despair.
"Allow me, madam," interposed one of the shop-
women, skilfully disentangling the lace and replacing
the bonnet on Miss York's head.
This act instantly restored the old lady's self-respect.
With her usual dignified manner she turned to Tommy,
-who was standing open-mouthed in the doorway,-
and inquired what was the reason of his "pursuing her
into the shop in this unheard-of manner ".
"I'm very sorry if you don't like it, Aunt Jane," said
Tommy, who dimly perceived that he had produced
rather a disturbance. "I only want a penny," he added
hurriedly; "only one penny, and I'll go away directly."
"A penny, indeed!" repeated Miss York. "What do
you want with a penny, I should like to know?" Kind
old lady though she was, she could not help feeling irri-
tated with the boy for putting her in such an undignified







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


position. She felt hot all over whenever she remembered
what an absurd figure she must have looked standing
bareheaded with her few gray hairs exposed to the piti-
less light of day. "Go back to the carriage at once,"
she said severely, "and sit there quietly until I come
out."
"Oh, but I can't go without a penny. I can't, really!"
shouted Tommy, running towards his aunt, and tugging
at her dress in great excitement. "There's a poor man
starving to death, and a monkey. At least, they are
both very hungry. They said so. It's quite true, though
I couldn't understand it all, because he was an Italian,
you know. They always are, Nurse says, unless they
are Germans. But he must be very hungry or he
wouldn't ask for bread; at least, I never do-only cake
and biscuits."
"I don't quite understand," interrupted Miss York.
"Is anybody in distress, do you say?" She instinctively
produced her purse as she spoke, for she could never
resist a tale of woe.
"Oh, thank you, thank you!" cried Tommy, who now
felt that his request was as good as granted. "Yes,
he's very hungry, he said so himself. Why, what's that
you've given me? It's not a penny, is it? Sixpence,
did you say? That will buy him a nice lot of bread,
won't it? But are you sure you will have enough left
to do your shopping?" he asked with an anxious after-
thought. "I shouldn't like to take all the money you've
got.'
Miss York could not help smiling, as she held up her
well-filled purse. Tommy gave one hurried look, and
feeling satisfied that he was not leaving his aunt in







TOMMY IN TOWN.


extreme poverty, he lost no time in running downstairs
with the much-prized sixpence tightly clasped in his
hand. But hardly had he disappeared from the room
than Miss York was calling to him to return. Receiving
no answer, she hurried to the window just in time to see
her nephew engaged in conversation with a peculiarly
shabby foreigner, whose swarthy face and tattered coat,
though possibly picturesque, had a disreputable look to
English eyes.
"Come back! Come back at once!" cried Aunt Jane,
leaning out of the window and raising her gentle voice
to the best of her ability. Oh, dear! He doesn't hear!
He is sure to catch small-pox or something, talking to
that dreadful man!" she cried, turning in great distress
to the sympathetic shopwoman at her side. "Can't one
of you go down and stop him!" she exclaimed vehemently.
"Think if anything happened to him! Colonel York's
eldest son, and such a dear child, though sadly thought-
less. And the newspapers full of fever cases!"
However, there was no need for any interference.
Tommy had caught sight of his aunt at the window,
and guessing the meaning of the words he could not
hear, he thought it prudent to cut short his interview
with the Italian, who went off down the street well
pleased with his sixpence, and smiling gratefully at the
little boy who had taken such trouble to get it for him.
After this adventure Miss York thought it safer to
take Tommy into all the shops with her, and it was not
until she had almost completed her purchases for the
day that she again left him in the carriage.
"I shall not be more than five minutes at the most,"
she said. "I am just going into that confectioner's at







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


the corner to get something. It will not be very amus-
ing, so you had better stay quietly here till I return."
Tommy guessed at once by something rather mysteri-
ous in his aunt's manner that she was going to buy
sugar-plums for them, and wanted to keep it a secret.
So he readily promised to sit very still, and not cause
her any anxiety by standing on the seats, or hanging
out over the sides of the carriage to see how the wheels
go round. Tommy was very fond of sweets, and would
not willingly have interfered with the purchase of them
by any misconduct on his part. Besides, he was really
grateful to Miss York for so quickly forgiving his rude
intrusion at the milliner's, and he firmly determined to
repay her by being a very good boy indeed.
For at least three minutes Tommy sat perfectly still,
amusing himself by admiring the beautiful array of fancy
cakes that stood in the confectioner's window. There
was one in particular, covered with pink and white
sugar, that made him feel positively hungry to look at.
It was not so large as some of the others, yet Tommy
liked it much the best. He was a trifle greedy, but at
the same time he had a considerable appreciation of
beauty, and liked things to look pretty as well as taste
nice. Then he turned his eyes to the shelf above, where
stood rows of glass jars, each one containing a different
kind of sweet.
"I wonder which she will choose," speculated Tommy.
"Of course I like butter-scotch best; while Flora al-
ways wants chocolate, and the little ones don't care
what it is so long as it's sweet. I don't believe they
know the difference. Nurse always likes them to have
soft things best, so that they can't choke- Hullol"







TOMMY IN TOWN.


This last word was exclaimed out loud. And no
wonder. As Tommy sat gazing absently at the shop-
window, he had distinctly seen a rough-looking man,
who was sauntering along the footpath, put his hand
quickly into the carriage as he passed and snatch out a
parcel.
"Hullo! That's not yours!" cried Tommy.
The man made no answer, but hurried on without
even turning his head. It was a critical moment. If
Tommy ran into the shop to tell Miss York what had
happened the man would probably disappear before he
came out, for after what had occurred there could be
no doubt that he was a thief. The parcel contained,
amongst other things, some lilac ribbon for Aunt Jane's
cap, which it had taken much time and trouble to get
in quite the right shade. It seemed too ungrateful to
lot this precious ribbon be lost while Aunt Jane was
busy buying sweets for them. Tommy determined that
he would save it, and without pausing to consider any
possible difficulties, set off racing down the pavement.
The thief instantly turned up a side street, and
quickened his pace.
On ran Tommy, panting so that he could scarcely
breathe. His cap had fallen off as he jumped out of the
carriage, and of course he could not spare the time to
stop and pick it up. This did not distress him much; a
fact of far greater importance was that the lace of his
Oxford shoe had come undone, and was trailing on the
ground. Once or twice he nearly fell over it, and the
shoe by degrees became so loosened that at last it actually
slipped off. However, wild with excitement, Tommy
ran on as if nothing had happened.






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


The thief probably felt little fear of being caught by
so young a boy. Still, he knew that if it ever occurred
to Tommy to call for help, which up to this time he had
never thought of doing, it might turn out an unpleasant
affair. After glancing round to make quite sure that there
were no other pursuers, the man suddenly plunged down
a dark alley between two rows of miserable houses. Then
he appeared to stumble and fall to the ground.
With a little cry of triumph Tommy rushed headlong
upon him, and was just seizing the coveted parcel when
the man, who had only been pretending to fall in order
to deceive, sprang to his feet and hit out savagely with
his fist, rolling the little boy over and over in the gutter.
Poor Tommy, blinded with mud, and quite out of breath
after his long run, was unable to rise, but continued to
cling convulsively to the end of the brown-paper parcel.
"Drop that!" growled the man roughly, "or it'll be
the worse for youl" accompanying his words with another
S blow.
Tommy dropped back, half-stupefied with pain and
fright. Only one idea remained in his poor battered
little head; namely, that he must save Aunt Jane's lilac
S ribbon from that dirty man.
Angered by the child's obstinate grasp, the thief raised
his foot, and was preparing to deal a kick with his heavy
boot, which would probably have silenced Tommy for
many a long day. But just at that moment he himself
received a tremendous blow on the back from a wild
tattered figure that darted out from under a low door-
way.
The friend who had come at such a timely moment
to Tommy's assistance was none other than the poor






















































1 ''''














M 32i)
"WITH A CRY OF TRIUMPH TOMMY RUSHED HEADLONG ON
THE THIEF."







TOMMY IN TOWN.


Italian, whose wife and children inhabited a miserable
lodging in this very alley. It so happened that he had
just hurried back to them, bringing some food bought
with the famous sixpence, when the noise of a struggle
brought him to the door. Apparently the Italian knew
nothing of the rules of fair fighting, or else he considered
that this was no occasion for standing on ceremony.
At all events, having once knocked his adversary down,
he continued to belabour him on the head and shoulders
with a stick, and even to dance on his prostrate body.
The monkey all the while clung to his master's shoulder,
jabbering wildly. The inhabitants of the wretched
houses poured out into the lane, and a crowd quickly
collected, which only dispersed at the approach of a
policeman.
All this time Tommy had been lying half-stunned in
the gutter. Though still conscious enough to hug the
brown-paper parcel, he did not know much of what was
going on, and when the policeman lifted him up and
propped him against the wall, he was quite unable to
explain what had happened.
"Them furriners are always at the bottom of all the
mischief," said the policeman, who was much puzzled by
the strange group before him.
The thief seized the opportunity to begin a long story,
explaining how the Italian and the little muddy boy
were accomplices, who had first stolen a parcel out of a
Shop, and then half-murdered him for trying to stop
them. Tommy was far too knocked about and stupefied
Sto contradict, and the Italian chattered angrily in his
own language, which nobody understood.
Then the policeman, fairly dismayed by so much con-
(329) 0







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


flicting evidence, said he should take them all three
into custody, and they could repeat their stories to the
magistrate. This suggestion had the merit of at once
reducing the party, for the thief, suddenly diving under
the arms of some of the spectators, disappeared down
the alley. Scarcely was he out of sight when the Italian
started off in the opposite direction.
The poor policeman was more bewildered than ever.
There remained nothing for it but to march Tommy off
to prison. He was not quite sure that he was doing
right; but, on the other hand, it seemed very probable
that Tommy was a thief. The boy was hatless, shoeless,
covered with mud, and clinging to a parcel through the
torn paper of which could be seen several articles that
evidently did not belong to him. It was really very
difficult for the policeman to decide rightly. But before
he had dragged Tommy very far the Italian again darted
down the lane, beckoning and gesticulating to an old
lady, who was following him as fast as she could.
"Aunt Jane!" cried Tommy, his voice suddenly return-
ing, "I've got it-it's quite safe! If the ribbon is a little
dirty, I couldn't help it-I couldn't, really!"
When Miss York came, bit by bit, to understand the
story, she clasped Tommy in her arms, and almost cried to
think of the risks he had run in defending her property.
Then she did not lose a moment in thanking the Italian,
and making him a handsome present in acknowledgment
of his timely help.
When she had come out of the confectioner's shop
and missed her nephew, she had been quite at a loss
what to do next. Jones had been sitting half-asleep
upon the box, and had never even noticed that the







FLORA'S FRIEND.


little boy had left the carriage. Miss York might have
searched for hours without finding Tommy if it had
not been for the ready wit of the Italian, who, finding
it impossible to make the policeman understand that
the muddy little boy was really a young gentleman
belonging to a grand carriage, had run off in search of
his friends, and almost dragged the old lady to the scene
of action.
The unfortunate policeman was most apologetic for his
mistake, and did his best to make up for it by carrying
Tommy carefully back in his arms to the carriage; for,
in addition to other injuries, he had stepped on a bit
of broken glass and cut his shoeless foot. Aunt Jane
followed behind, slowly picking her way down the muddy
back streets; and the Italian brought up the rear of the
procession with the monkey on his shoulder, and holding
the parcel, that had caused all the trouble, in his hand.




CHAPTER III.

FLORA'S FRIEND.

TOMMY was fit for nothing but to go to bed after the
adventures of the afternoon. It is true that he was
at first very anxious to stay up for tea, on finding that
Aunt Jane had actually bought the very pink-and-white
cake that he had so much admired in the confectioner's
window. She showed it to him in the carriage on the
way home, carefully wrapped up in silver paper; and as
he admired the beautiful sugar ornaments, he felt more







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


than ever glad that he had not allowed the thief to run
off with his kind aunt's lilac ribbon.
"You are sure the ribbon's not hurt?" he inquired
anxiously at least half a dozen times during the drive.
"It's quite safe, my dear," was Miss York's invariable
reply. Still, she carefully kept the parcel out of sight;
for as the paper cover had been torn half off, and the con-
tents bespattered all over with mud, it was not probable
that the lilac ribbon would be of much further use. But
she did not wish Tommy to be disappointed by discover-
ing that his efforts had been in vain.
Long before they reached home, however, the little
boy's head was aching so much that he forgot everything
else, and was only too glad when Nurse gave him a
basin of bread and milk, and tucked him up in bed
just as if he had been Gerald or the baby. All next
day he had to keep very quiet, on account of the cut
in his foot, which, though not serious, prevented his
putting on a boot.
At first he was rather proud of hobbling about the
house with his foot tied up in bandages, but when Flora
ran out to play in the garden after lessons, leaving him
indoors to amuse himself with a book, he certainly felt
very disconsolate. If the truth must be told, a book
was no great amusement to Tommy, who could not read
sufficiently well to enjoy it by himself. On the present
occasion he was listlessly turning over the leaves, looking
again and again at the few pictures, and wondering what
they were about, when the door quietly opened and Aunt
Jane walked into the school-room. She had a proposal
to make.
"In my young days," she said, "children were all







FLORA'S FRIEND.


taught to occupy themselves, and very much happier
they were for it. Now, can you or Flora knit "
"No," answered Tommy, somewhat surprised by this
question. "But of course boys never work."
"Oh, don't they, indeed !" said Aunt Jane. "Why,
I have known village schools where the boys knitted
whilst the girls sewed. There is no reason why boys
should be more idle and awkward than girls."
"I think I should like to try," began Tommy, with a
sudden recollection of how he used to enjoy working in
the nursery with a bit of cotton tied to a pin.
Miss York smilingly produced a large parcel-the very
one, indeed, that Tommy had rescued on the previous
day. The lilac ribbon had already been removed and
handed over to the maid, to be cleaned as well as might
be. There remained several large skeins of wool, in
various bright shades.
"I will begin to teach you at once," said Aunt Jane,
"and when Flora comes in she can learn if she wishes."
No sooner said than done. Tommy was a very atten-
tive pupil, and by luncheon-time he had learnt how to
make a stitch with tolerable ease and rapidity.
"And now what shall I make this afternoon?" he said
to his aunt whilst he ate his dinner, which he had down-
stairs in the middle of the day. Miss York liked the
company of one of the children at breakfast and luncheon,
although, since she had known them a little better, she
could not help feeling thankful that Flora still had her
meals in the nursery.
"Well," she replied thoughtfully, "of course there are
a great many useful things you can knit after a time,
such as mittens and comforters-"







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


Oh, but it would seem silly to make these now, in
the middle of summer!" he interrupted.
"They would be ready for the winter if you began
now," suggested Miss York
But Tommy evidently did not take to the idea. Like
many other people who have only just acquired an
accomplishment, he rather underrated its difficulties, and
it seemed to him that he could manufacture any garment
he chose in a very short time.
"How about woollen reins for playing horses?" sug-
gested Aunt Jane, rising to the occasion. "I have seen
children playing very nicely with them on the sands at
the seaside."
The little boy was immensely pleased at this idea.
"I will work at it all the afternoon," he said. "And I'll
make Flora work too, only she must learn how to make the
stitches first. And then when it's finished I'll harness
her and pretend she is a pony."
After luncheon Tommy was allowed to hop across the
garden, and sit working under the shade of a large tree.
It seemed very curious being out of doors with only a
bedroom slipper on his foot, and Nurse had some diffi-
culty in preventing the two little ones from knocking
up against it every moment. Gerald, who was a fat little
boy of four, never could understand that it hurt people
to be trodden on; and the baby was at an age when he
crawled, rolled, and tumbled over everything. However,
Tommy sat on the rug, working away most industriously,
and very proud he felt when he could show Nurse a
whole inch of knitting.
Flora's conduct was very disappointing. She looked
upon all kinds of work as only to be done at lesson-







FLORA'S FRIEND.


times; and having tried a few times and failed to make
a stitch, she impatiently threw away the wool and went
off to play on the lawn with Gerald.
"I sha'n't let you play with my reins if you don't help
to make them!" shouted Tommy from his rug under the
tree.
"I don't want to!" retorted Flora promptly. She felt
pretty sure that Tommy would tire of his new employ-
ment long before the reins were finished; and even if he
did not, the pleasure of contradicting was almost equal to
the possible joys of playing horses.
After a slight dispute of this kind Flora generally went
off and played with the little ones for a time, just to
impress upon Tommy the fact that she was quite inde-
pendent of him. But, to tell the truth, she punished
herself far more than her brother by this proceeding, for
Gerald only cared for very babyish games, and, besides,
would not do anything that she told him. For instance,
this particular afternoon, no sooner had Flora invented
a beautiful game, in which they had to pretend that the
lawn was sea and they were fishermen in a boat, than
Gerald insisted upon upsetting everything. First, he
said he must be captain and give the orders. Now this
was clearly impossible, as he was three years younger
than his sister. Then he ventured to say that the boat
could not possibly sail because it was only an old carriage-
rug. Of course Flora couldn't stand that, especially as it
happened to be true. She told Gerald so, tapping his
head with a stick to enforce the observation, and he most
ungratefully responded by a dismal howl of distress that
brought Nurse running to the spot.
"Really there's no peace with you, Miss Flora!" she






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


exclaimed angrily. She had been busy sewing under
the tree when disturbed by Gerald's cries, and in jumping
up her thimble, scissors, and needle-case had rolled off
her lap into the grass-a mishap calculated to make
anybody feel impatient. "There are young ladies I've
heard of," she continued, "who'd be a pleasure to have
in the nursery, they'd be such a help with the little ones.
I've known them play with the baby for an hour together,
let alone telling stories to their younger brothers and
sisters to keep them quiet, whilst one got through a bit of
work. Instead of that, it's nothing but worry when you
get with the little ones! I declare, they're as good as
gold when they're alone."
So saying, Nurse led off the still sobbing Gerald, and
Flora was left alone.
For a time the little girl stood still, pouting her lips,
tearing bits of grass to pieces in her fingers, and, in short,
exhibiting all the signs of an approaching fit of sulks.
She was ashamed to go back to Tommy after having so
proudly asserted that she could amuse herself better with-
out him. There was not much loft to do except hide her
discomfiture as best she could from the eyes of the party
under the tree.
Now, this part of the garden was only divided from
the fields by an iron railing, over which the children
could easily climb. Presently Flora was sauntering
along in the meadow, making a great pretence of collect-
ing a large bunch of flowers so that nobody should
suspect she was not perfectly happy. In reality she
was merely snatching off the first things that came to
hand, not caring what they were. The effect, as may be
imagined, was hardly satisfactory, and directly she had






FLORA'S FRIEND.


strayed far enough from the others not to be noticed, she
threw the ill-assorted bunch of dandelions, daisies, and
sorrel into the ditch. Then, after looking round to see
that she was not noticed, she ran quickly to a little gate,
opened it, and hid herself in the friendly shade of the
New Forest.
Some forty years before this the children's grandfather
had laid out a plantation within sight of his house to com-
memorate the birth of his eldest son, now Colonel York.
Some family friend, joking over the puny size of the
freshly-planted trees, had laughingly called it the New
Forest-a name that had stuck to the plantation ever
since. It was a very favourite resort of the children's
whenever the grass was dry enough to permit of their
crossing the field to reach it, and the name had long since
lost most of its absurdity. Indeed, to the children it
always seemed a very real forest, for often as they had
played in the corner nearest the house they very seldom
had time or courage to penetrate far into the shady depths,
where the brambles and ferns had grown into a tangled
mass under the tall trees.
Poor Flora, scolded by Nurse, and divided from the
other children by her own act, was just in the condition
of reckless ill-temper that inclines one to undertake
desperate adventures. It was not enough for her to
remain as usual just inside the wooden wicket-gate, where
the trees had been cleared away, and the sun shone merrily
down on the rabbit-cropped turf. That was no new
place; the children often played there for hours, whilst
the nurses sat sewing on a mossy bank. Nurse never
cared to go far into the wood; she said it was gloomy.
And so indeed it was, and for that very reason Flora







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


liked it this afternoon. So turning her back resolutely on
the sunshine, she plunged into the thickest part of the
undergrowth.
At first it was a dreadful struggle getting along at all,
the brambles seemed so extraordinarily anxious to pre-
vent her from pushing past them. Not content with
inflicting several rents on her pretty pink cotton frock,
they scratched her hands and face, so that at any other
time she would probably have turned back, in tears.
But now Flora's temper was thoroughly roused. She
felt as if the brambles were continuing the opposition
from which she had been suffering all the afternoon, and
the more they tore at her the harder she pushed and
struggled.
Gradually the ground became clearer as she advanced
further into the wood, and the dense mass of trees kept
out more and more of the sun. Even the brambles seemed
to shrink from growing in that chilly solitude. The ground
was bare except for a thick carpet of fir-spines, in which
no fern or grass cared to root. It was quite easy to walk
now, and Flora tried to believe that she had found a
delightful place and was enjoying herself immensely.
But in reality she almost regretted the loss of the
brambles. Struggling with them had occupied her
thoughts, and though they were not pleasant they were
rather companionable. There was something very
gloomy and almost alarming about walking on and on
through thousands of fir-trees, all exactly alike, with
their tall straight stems running up like pillars into the
dark green roof overhead. There were no birds or
squirrels to amuse her. Everything alive seemed to
have been left behind in the sunshine, outside the wood.







FLORA'S FRIEND.


A quarter of an hour passed; then half an hour. Flora
began to feel as if she had been in that wood the whole
afternoon. It seemed an endless time since she had left
the merry party upon the lawn. If she went back now
it would be nearly tea-time, and in the bustle of going in
and undressing Tommy would forget to tease her about
the knitting. Besides, they were to have the famous
pink-and-white sugar-cake for tea; that in itself would
attract all the attention.
As soon as Flora remembered the sugar-cake she deter-
mined to return home at once for fear it should be all
divided before her arrival. However, it is one thing to
decide to leave a wood and quite another thing to find
one's way out. After running up and down in several
directions, all of which looked exactly the same, it sud-
denly occurred to the little girl that she was lost.
Flora did not settle down quietly under an idea of this
kind. Without a moment's hesitation she began to scream.
Now this certainly seemed a most useless proceeding, as
she was apparently alone in the wood, and her voice
could not possibly reach as far as the garden. How-
ever, curiously enough, she had not screamed for more
than two or three minutes when a friend came to her
assistance.
It is true that his first appearance frightened her worse
than anything that had gone before. There was a kind
of shout, followed by much cracking and snapping of
small boughs. Then she saw something sliding rapidly
down the smooth stem of one of the tall fir-trees, and
just as she had redoubled her shrieks under the im-
pression that it was a brown bear descending to eat her,
a very dusty and untidy gentleman alighted upon his feet







TOMMY TRE ADVENTUROUS.


at her side. In his hand he held a stick with a little
net attached to one end.
Flora's screams stopped suddenly at this wonderful
sight. She stood staring at the stranger in absolute
silence.
"Are you hurt?" he asked, naturally rather surprised
at the loud shrieks of distress having stopped so com-
pletely on his appearance.
Still no answer, for Flora was much more shy than
Tommy, and though she longed to ask the stranger all
about that funny little net, she could not summon up
courage to speak a word.
"Do you want anything?" repeated the gentleman
twice; and then, as Flora still remained silent, he added:
"I really can't help you unless you tell me what is the
matter. If you don't want anything, it is no good my
waiting here."
Thinking that he was about to leave her again, Flora
puckered up her face and uttered a dismal wail.
Oh, don't cry," said the gentleman kindly. "I
won't leave you if you don't like it. But really you
must try to be a sensible little girl and explain what you
want to do."
He spoke so pleasantly that Flora's shyness soon melted
away, and she gave him a very detailed account of the
afternoon's proceedings.
"And now I suppose you want to go home before
Tommy eats all the sugar-cake I" he said, when the story
was finished.
Flora nodded her head, at the same time creeping a
few steps nearer, and confidentially taking his hand.
"Well, it won't do to leave you out in the wood all







FLORA'S FRIEND.


night, so perhaps we had better be starting home at
once," remarked the gentleman cheerfully, as he put his
net under his arm, and picking up a small case that was
lying at the foot of the tree, hung it across his shoulders
with a leather strap. "I should have liked an hour
more," he muttered to himself; "but still I have done
a very good afternoon's work."
"Why were you climbing a tree ?" asked Flora as they
walked along, her curiosity gradually getting the better
of her shyness.
"Why shouldn't I" said the stranger, laughing.
"Oh, I don't know. I thought only boys climbed
trees, not grown-up gentlemen," replied the little girl in
a puzzled tone. "And why did you take a fishing-net
with you?" she continued. "There can't be any fish up
there."
"How do you know that whales don't make nests in
fir-trees ?" he said solemnly. "You've heard of sea-eggs,
haven't you I Well, one always climbs trees to get eggs."
Flora grew very red. You are only laughing at me,
and I really wanted to know," she muttered.
"Yes, to be sure; it's a shame not to explain things
properly," said the gentleman good-naturedly. "I
remember I hated being crammed with nonsense when
I was a child. Well," he continued, "I was catching
moths to put in my collection. This is a famous wood
for moths. There is something on the bark of the trees
that they like, I suppose."
'But how do you prevent them from flying away?"
inquired the little girl.
Unfortunately I have to kill them," replied her friend.
"But I think, if it is properly done, the moths don't






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


suffer at all." Then he opened the case and showed her
a bottle in which was placed something that poisoned
moths and butterflies, so that they died without a struggle
directly they smelt it. "You must come and see my
collection some day," he added, seeing how much in-
terested she seemed.
"But where is your home ?" interposed Flora anxiously.
"I can walk quite two miles, and Tommy always says
he walked five once, but I don't think he really knows.
Besides, we are never allowed to go very far, because
of being back in time for tea."
"Well, my home just at present is at the rectory,"
replied the gentleman, so you won't have to walk very
far, or be late for your meals when you come to see-"
"But I thought Mr. Barnard lived at the rectory "
she interrupted.
"Exactly so. I am Mr. Barnard," answered the
stranger, laughing at her bewilderment. "You don't
understand that?" he added, seeing that she remained
silent.
Flora looked very confused. She did not understand
what he said, and what was more, she did not believe it
Mr. Barnard, she knew, was an old gentleman with white
hair. She saw him in church every Sunday, and could
likewise remember perfectly when he had christened
baby. Besides, she often met him on the road when she
was going for walks with Nurse. Altogether there was
no possibility of mistake.
"You don't seem to remember having seen me before?"
said the gentleman.
"No, I don't," blurted out Flora. "And I don't see
how you can be the rector either."






FLORA'S FRIEND.


"The rector No, I should think not!" and her friend
burst out laughing. "I am only the rector's son," he
continued; "and I remember you as a very small person
in a perambulator. Only I have been abroad for some
years since that."
"Then you aren't a rector inquired Flora, slowly
grasping the situation.
"No, indeed! I'm an engineer by trade," he replied
merrily. "But here we are at the edge of the wood.
Can you run home by yourself, or shall I take you back 1"
"Oh, take me back, please!" cried the little girl, hold-
ing his hand fast. She knew by experience that she
was not nearly so likely to be scolded by Nurse for being
late, if she returned under the protection of a stranger.
Besides, she wanted to exhibit her new friend to Tommy.
After all, Flora was not so very late, for by way of
giving Tommy a little extra treat, to make up for his
injuries, Nurse allowed the children to have tea on the
lawn this fine afternoon. It took a considerable time
to carry out tea-cups and spread rugs, so that everybody
could sit in a convenient manner round the pink-and-
white sugar-cake, which formed the centre of the feast.
The preparations were not quite complete when Flora
and her friend came in sight.
"Here you are!" shouted Tommy, hobbling across the
lawn towards them. He was longing to know where
Flora had been all this time, and who it was returning
with her.
The little girl did not keep him long in suspense.
"I was lost," she began directly, "and he came and
found me. He was in a tree in the New Forest, catching
moths with a fishing-net. And they are all dead now in






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


a bottle. It doesn't hurt them a bit. And he makes
engines-"
"Can you really?" interrupted Tommy excitedly.
"I've a little one that Papa gave me on my last birthday.
It goes by steam, and I've broke it, and we can't mend
it. But of course you'll know the way."
"I will do my best," said Mr. Barnard; "but I must
tell you at once that I never have made an engine. I'm
only a sort of soldier."
"Then why did you say you were an engineer if it
wasn't true?" inquired Flora severely.
"Well, you see, it is true, only you didn't understand
me," he said cheerfully. "There are different sorts of
engineers. I am the sort that the Queen sends about
with her armies to build bridges, and fight a little
between."
"Have you ever killed a man? "asked Tommy solemnly.
"Never."
The children looked a trifle disappointed. They
would have liked to hear how it was done. On the other
hand, it would have been a great responsibility to ask
almost a murderer to have a slice of pink-and-white
sugar-cake.
"Then you have never even been hurt yourself, I
suppose?" persisted Tommy.
"Oh, yes, I have," replied Mr. Barnard, quite glad to
be able to supply a few stirring details. "I was un-
conscious for nearly a week, and I still have a great
scar all across my forehead, as you can see."
The children looked at him with awe-struck admiration.
"How did it happen?" inquired Tommy breathlessly.
"Well, if you must know, a very awkward workman







THE MISTAKE.


dropped a big stone off the top of a wall when I was
walking underneath. Yes, that's the real truth," he
continued, laughing at the children's downcast faces.
"I wish I could tell you that it was a black man trying
to chop off my head with a huge sword, but unfortu-
nately the facts are much duller."
"Still, you know a lot of funny things, I dare say,"
said Tommy, "although you haven't killed anybody, or
even been properly wounded."
This being the opinion of both the children they
begged their new friend to stay to tea, which he did;
and Flora, as a token of peculiar favour, lent him her
own mug to drink out of. Nurse said that a gentleman
ought to have a proper tea-cup, but Mr. Barnard pro
fessed himself perfectly satisfied, and as he had the mug
filled three times, and ate two slices of cake, besides a
lot of bread and jam, it seems certain that he must have
enjoyed his tea.



CHAPTER IV.

THE MISTAKE.

FLORA," said Tommy a few days later, "I have a
plan."
"You always have," retorted the little girl, "but they
never come to anything."
"Oh, don't they though! Didn't I think of putting
a pillow on the top of the drawing-room door to fall on
Emily's head when she came to dust in the morning"
"Yes, and it fell on Papa's instead, when he came
(M$ 29) D







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


down early to look for a book. I don't call that much
of a plan."
"But I really do have some very good ones," pleaded
Tommy. "And, besides, you know you spoilt my best
one when we hid in the apple-house, and were going to
stay there all night and eat as many as we liked, only
you got frightened, and began to cry directly it became
dark."
"It wasn't the dark I minded," said Flora angrily;
"I am not a bit afraid of it at home. Only you said the
rats were coming to bite our toes."
"If you interrupt so often I shall never be able to tell
you what we are going to do. Oh, bother! There's
the bell to go to lessons." And Tommy began to walk
slowly off.
"Oh, I must know! Please tell me first!" cried his
little sister, running after him and tugging at his coat.
"No, I can't stop to talk now. I must go to lessons,"
answered Tommy virtuously. "If you hadn't been so
cross you would have heard all about it before." Then
seeing that Flora was preparing to make her disappoint-
ment known to the household in a loud roar, he added
hastily: "If you are good I'll tell you about it after
dinner. Come behind the holly hedge in the garden,
and I'll be waiting by the sweet peas."
Nursery dinner was apt to be a terribly long meal
when one was in a hurry to get out. Flora found it so
on this occasion, and she became so impatient when
Gerald asked for a second helping of rice pudding that
she could not resist slyly slapping his fat hand. As
Nurse saw her, she was punished by not being allowed
to leave the nursery until the other children were also







THE MISTAKE.


ready to go out, so that she gained nothing by her im-
patience.
It was always rather difficult for Flora to secure a
private interview with Tommy when Nurse was in the
garden. Long years of practice had rendered her skilful
in detecting when the children were plotting to run off
together and do mischief; for that, I am sorry to say, is
what Tommy's plans generally meant. However, the
opportunity came when Gerald, who was pretending to
have a tea-party all by himself in a corner of the lawn,
put a stone in his mouth, and choked so shockingly that
Nurse had to run to him and pat his back violently,
which took up all her attention.
Flora was watching intently to see if the stone went
up or down, when she felt a tug at her sleeve.
"Come here," whispered Tommy. "She's so taken
up with Gerald's chokes she won't notice anything."
Tommy had no intention of referring to his younger
brother's misfortunes in an unfeeling manner, but an
attack of choking in the nursery was no great novelty,
and was sure to end very dully in Nurse extracting the
object from the victim's mouth with her finger. If there
had been the faintest chance of a more eventful termina-
tion pure curiosity would have kept Tommy rooted to
the spot.
Well, what's your great plan V" inquired Flora breath-
lessly, when they were sheltered behind the holly hedge.
"Has it anything to do with gooseberries '"
"Much better than that!" cried Tommy. "We can
get into the gooseberry-bed any day. This is quite a
new thing. What do you say to going to tea with Mr.
Barnard to-morrow ?"






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


"Has he asked us Oh, what fun!" And Flora
clapped her hands with delight.
"Well, he hasn't exactly asked us again," admitted
Tommy, "but you know he said the other day he'd be
glad to see us whenever we liked to come and look at
his moths. So of course we can go when we like."
"Without asking anybody's leave?" said the little
girl, rather awe-struck by this audacious proposal.
"I'll tell you what. If we stop to ask everybody's
leave we shall never go at all!" exclaimed Tommy.
"Aunt Jane will say we are not wanted, and Nurse will
be afraid of our catching cold or getting our feet wet.
And they won't do more than scold a little when we
come back. I sha'n't mind that if we've had great fun
with Mr. Barnard first."
It sounded very delightful, and yet Flora could not
feel quite easy in her mind. She knew that it would be
impossible to thoroughly enjoy even tea with Mr. Bar-
nard if she was expecting all the time to be put to bed
in disgrace on her return. But it was no use trying to
make Tommy understand this feeling. When he had a
plan in his head he never would admit any objections to
it. All his plans seemed perfect until they turned out
failures, and then he never liked to be reminded of them
again. Just at present he was so full of paying a visit
to the rectory that it seemed the only thing worth living
for.
"Now don't you be a silly," he said, "and go and say
anything that will make Nurse guess what we're going
to do. You be very good at your dinner to-morrow, so
that you won't be kept in with the children. And then
directly you come into the garden we'll creep off. I







THE MISTAKE.


dare say it will take them most of the afternoon to guess
where we've gone to, and all that time we shall be play-
ing with Mr. Barnard. Now, promise to do exactly as
I tell you, or I'll run off by myself without waiting for
you."
Flora promised, because she could not bear to be left
behind. Whatever Tommy did she liked to do too,-
even if it frightened her.
On the following day Tommy, having finished his
dinner, politely held open the dining-room door for Aunt
Jane to pass out. He was dreadfully afraid she might
offer to walk about the garden with him until the nursery
dinner was finished, and the younger ones came out to
play. She sometimes did that on fine afternoons, and
usually Tommy was very proud of showing his aunt the
flowers, and telling her their different names. But to-
day he did not want anybody to interfere with him or
notice which way he went. Fortunately, Miss York
went straight to the drawing-room, as she was anxious
to finish writing a letter.
Tommy ran into the garden, and crouched down behind
the holly hedge, close to a row of sweet peas. It was
the place where he and Flora always hid when they
wanted to be out of sight of the windows, and she was
sure to look for him there. He waited impatiently for
what seemed a very long time, but nobody came.
"Bother Flora! Bother the nursery dinner! Bother
Gerald and Baby !" exclaimed Tommy. "I dare say the
silly little things are choking again, or something. I'll
just go off without Flora if she isn't quick."
But although he talked to himself in this desperate
way he did not attempt to move, for the expedition






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


seemed a little too formidable to be undertaken entirely
alone. So he passed the time as best he could in mak-
ing a sort of house out of the loose earth in the flower-
border; but as soon as he built it up it all slipped down
again, and excepting getting his hands very dirty he did
not do much. At last there was a sound of hurried
footsteps, and Flora came running round the corner
with a very red face. She gave a cry of delight when
she saw Tommy.
"Oh, I was afraid you would have gone!" she said,
throwing herself breathlessly on the ground. "Nurse
was called away, so I couldn't ask her if I might run out,
and I waited a long time, and at last, as she didn't come
back, I ran off without asking."
"And without your hat," remarked Tommy. "I sup-
pose you couldn't get it for yourself? You'll look very
funny running down the road with nothing on your
head."
"I couldn't help it," replied the little girl half-crying.
"If I had waited for Nurse to bring my hat you would
have gone without me."
"Well, there isn't any time for you to go back now,"
said Tommy. "I hope you won't get a sunstroke and fall
down dead like a man Mama told me about who didn't
wear a hat in hot weather. I dare say you won't," he
continued reassuringly, as his sister looked still more
inclined to cry at this gloomy prospect. "I'll tell you
what. I'll make a cap out of my pocket-handkerchief,
and then you'll be all right."
Certainly the cap would have looked better if Tommy
had not been in the habit of using his handkerchief as a
sort of bag in which he carried marbles, gooseberries,






THE MISTAKE.


and sometimes even rare specimens of caterpillars and
snails. But Flora did not notice the dirt much, as with
deep interest she watched her brother knotting the four
corners, so as to make it into the shape of a small round
basin.
"That'll do," he said, pulling it down over her ears
like a nightcap; "the sun won't hurt you now. It's
a pity you have such an old pinafore on,-and it's all
sticky too."
"We had jam-roll for dinner," explained Flora; "and
the jam was hot, and I dropped it--"
Well, never mind," interrupted Tommy; "I dare say
nobody will notice. You look all right. We must be
off before Nurse comes out. You creep after me, so that
our heads won't show."
Instead of running down the path to the end of the
garden, where there was a little gate on to the road,
Tommy chose to crawl the whole way on his hands and
knees between the rows of cabbages and beans. He was
closely followed by Flora, who imitated him exactly.
It was a much slower mode of progression than walking
down the garden path; but then it was so much more
exciting. The children quite felt as if they were escap-
ing from enemies, and as if some real danger might over-
take them if the tops of their heads were seen for a moment.
A bitter disappointment awaited them at the end of
the garden, where they found the little iron gate, out of
which they intended to go,.locked fast.
"Can Aunt Jane have guessed what we were going
to do, and had it shut up inquired Flora in a frightened
voice.
"Not she," said Tommy; "she didn't guess any more






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


than Nurse. I know what it is. I heard Papa telling
the gardener to put a padlock on the gate, because boys
have been getting into the garden and stealing goose-
berries. That's what it is."
"Yes; but how can we open it?" asked Flora, return-
ing to the root of the matter.
The boy looked grave. It would be terribly dull
to give up the expedition now that they had actually
started. He looked at the gate doubtfully. It was
not very high, but there were iron spikes along the top.
"I think we might climb over if you pushed me up,
and when I'm at the top I'll pull you," he said.
Flora was a brave little girl, and would never allow
herself to be beaten by her brother, although he was
a year older. First she supported him until he had
climbed high enough to catch hold of the spikes. He
was very heavy, and she had to push with her head as
well as her hands to get him up at all. Perhaps it was
rather lucky that she had not a proper hat on, or it
would certainly have been spoilt. And when it came to
Flora's turn to climb over the gate she had nobody to
ush her from behind, and very hard work she found it.
ut she struggled up valiantly, much encouraged by
Tommy's good advice from the other side, where he had
climbed down into the road. Unfortunately, just as
Flora was at the top of the gate he fancied that he
heard someone coming in search of them.
"Be quick! Do be quick!" he cried, "or we shall be
caught!" And poor Flora, in trying to hurry, missed
her footing, and would have fallen into the road and
been badly hurt, if her dress had not caught in one of
the sharp spikes, so that she hung suspended.







THE MISTAKE.


Oh, oh!" she gasped, "I can't move! Help me down,
unhook me!"
This was easier said than done, as standing on tiptoe
Tommy could not nearly reach the top of the gate.
He pushed at Flora's feet, but he could not lift her up
high enough to undo the frock. The poor little girl was
dreadfully frightened, besides being half-choked by hang-
ing in such an uncomfortable position. She begged her
brother to run back to the house and fetch Nurse to
release her, but Tommy could not make up his mind to
do this.
"If we get Nurse there'll be no more fun," he said.
"We shall just be punished and sent to bed directly
after tea."
"I would rather get down and be punished," sobbed
Flora, who felt that any change would be for the better.
But you would rather have a little fun first, wouldn't
you?" pleaded Tommy; and without waiting for any
reply he gave a last tug at her feet.
There was a loud rending noise! The frock had torn
right down from the waist to the hem, and with a little
scream Flora fell into the road on the top of Tommy.
Both of the children got up covered with dust, but except
for a few scratches, neither of them was much hurt.
"We must run at once, or somebody will find us.
Oh, come on! Never mind your frock; it looks all
right!" cried Tommy; and they both started off up the
road.
"I can't run any more," panted Flora, after a few
minutes. "I want to rest."
"We can't rest here," said Tommy, who was also
rather breathless. Somebody will see us and tell Nurse.






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


We'll get into the fields. I know there's a path to the
rectory across them."
"Do you know the way?" inquired Flora presently,
as they were sauntering through the fields cooling them-
selves after their run.
Of course; I know all the ways about here," returned
her brother loftily. I've been to the rectory often with
Mama."
"How often?" asked Flora. "I don't remember when
you went."
"Oh, well, I have been-more than once; and I've
often driven to the door when Mama has been calling
there, and sat in the carriage outside. I didn't care to
go in then," explained Tommy, "because they were all
so old, but now that our Mr. Barnard is there it will
be quite different."
In spite of the confidence with which Tommy spoke,
he was not really very sure of the right direction across
the fields, and it was rather a relief to him when, after
about half-an-hour's walking, they saw a gray stone house
among the trees.
"There it is!" he exclaimed. "Didn't I tell you I
knew the way?"
"Is that the rectory? It doesn't look like it," said
Flora doubtfully.
"Because you see the back of it from the fields, of
course," explained Tommy. "And you've only gone in
by the front door before."
"Sha'n't we go in at the front door to-day 7" she in-
quired.
Tommy did not answer. To say the truth, it was
rather weighing on his mind how they were to get into






THE MISTAKE.


the house. It requires a good deal of courage to walk
up to a front door by yourself and ring the bell if you
have never done it before. On the whole, he rather
hoped that they should see Mr. Barnard somewhere about
the garden, which would save them from having to ex-
plain their errand to a strange servant. Now that they
were actually in sight of the house, Tommy could not
help feeling acutely conscious that the brim of his straw
hat was almost off and his hands exceedingly grimy from
the earth with which he had been playing before they
started. However, he derived a little comfort from the
thought that he was tidy and clean compared with Flora
in her torn dress, soiled pinafore, and dirty handkerchief
cap.
The children walked on towards the house almost in
silence. They were both feeling rather shy now that
their journey was so nearly over. Straight in front of
them stood a gate leading from the fields into the garden.
They opened it, stopped for a minute to listen, then
walked a few steps further, and finally crouched down
behind a large rhododendron bush, which hid them from
the windows.
"You see I did know my way to the rectory right
enough," repeated Tommy, all the more defiantly because
of certain unpleasant doubts which would come into his
head. Of course it was the rectory; only he wished it
would look a little more like it. The house was so very
large and gray that it rather frightened him, and he
wished that he could see the other side, with which he
was more familiar. Above all things, he longed to catch
sight of Mr. Barnard, but though he looked in every
direction there was not a sign of the young man to be seen.






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


I'll tell you what," said Tommy, "he must be indoors
reading the newspaper perhaps, or writing letters like
Aunt Jane. I might peep in at one of the windows and
try to see him."
This seemed to both the children a decidedly easier
method of entering the house than ringing at the bell.
The windows of the lower rooms were about four feet
from the ground, so that with a little pushing from his
sister Tommy easily scrambled up, and seated himself
on the window-sill.
"Do you see him?" inquired Flora's eager voice from
below.
"Well, I'm not quite sure," Tommy hesitated. "There's
somebody there, but the room is so dark-"
"I'm sure I could see if you'd get down and let me
climb up," interrupted Flora impatiently. It was very
dull work standing on the lawn and receiving little frag-
ments of information from Tommy above.
"What's the use of fussing?" replied the boy. "You
couldn't tell who it was if you did get up here; nobody
could. You can't see anything but his back."
"Make him turn round then!" cried Flora, who was
skipping about excitedly. "Here, I know how," she
continued, picking up a stick that was lying on the
ground and tapping the window with it before Tommy
could interfere.
"Don't do that!" he began angrily. Then without any
warning he slid down from the window-sill, and ran behind
the rhododendron, which had previously sheltered them.
"What's the matter ?" said Flora, running after him.
"It isn't himl" gasped Tommy in an awe-struck
whisper. "It's an old man with a white beard."






THE MISTAKE.


"Perhaps it's the rector," suggested Flora hope
fully.
"The rector hasn't a beard, you silly! And it's all
your fault for knocking on the window in that stupid
way instead of keeping quiet!"
Tommy, being frightened, felt it a sort of comfort to
abuse his sister. But before the two children had time
to quarrel seriously, something so terrible happened that
it seemed like a realization of the very worst dreams
they had ever had.
A tall stern-looking man in black clothes suddenly
stalked round the rhododendron, and before the children
had time to cry out, much less run away, he seized Flora
by the arm, and Tommy by the collar of his coat. Then
without a word of explanation he marched them off to-
wards the house.
The children were far too frightened to make any
effort to escape. There was something about the silence
and sombre clothing of their captor which made Tommy
think of an executioner, and vaguely expect the appear-
ance of a beheading-block or gallows, round the next
corner. Flora was spared this terrible anticipation, as
she had never heard of the existence of such a person;
but she was dreadfully frightened all the same. It is
certain that if the children had only guessed that the
cross-looking man, who was holding them so tightly,
was only a fidgety old butler, who did not approve of
strangers prying about the place, they would not have
been half so terrified.
The little procession entered the house and crossed a
large, dark, stone-paved hall, where their footsteps echoed
as if they were walking in an empty church. This was






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


all so unusual and alarming that poor Flora's nerves
broke down, and she began to cry.
"Be quiet, can't you! Mr. Arnold will soon give you
something to cry about if you go on with that noise!"
said their guide, roughly shaking her by the arm.
It was the first time he had spoken, and his words were
far from reassuring. Flora's only reply was to cry a
little louder, and lean back with all her strength, so that
she had to be dragged like a sack.
At the end of the hall was an open door, through
which the man pushed his charges, whom he then let
loose, standing close to them, however, so that they
should not escape. The room was very large and dark,
being lined with high book-cases almost up to the ceiling.
Tommy recognized it as the same room he had looked
into through the window. He also knew again the old
gentleman with the long white beard, who was sitting
by the table, and he rightly concluded that this must be
Mr. Arnold.
"Now, what were you children doing in my garden "
asked the old gentleman sternly. "You know you had
no business there at all. Where do you come from?"
Then Tommy did a very wrong and foolish thing.
He remembered that in fairy stories, when boys wander
by mistake into ogre's castles, they never give their
real names and addresses on being questioned, but always
invent some long story to satisfactorily account for their
appearance. So he thought he would do the same, for-
getting that fairy stories were not intended as practical
guides to conduct.
"We are starving!" he began in a whining voice like
a professional beggar. "We haven't had anything to






THE MISTAKE.


eat for nearly a week. And we came to beg a crust of
bread; that's what we came for."
"Smith," said Mr. Arnold addressing his servant,
"does that little boy look as if he had not seen food for
several days ?"
"No, sir," replied the butler; "he doesn't, sir. It's
my belief he is not telling the truth, sir."
"Well, perhaps it wasn't a whole week," interposed
Tommy; "I can't quite remember. It may have been
yesterday we finished our last crumb, and then we found
some berries in the hedge this morning for our breakfast.
And we were told to come and beg at your house. The
gypsies said we were to. They beat us if we don't beg."
"Do you mean to say you belong to gypsies?" said
Mr. Arnold putting on his spectacles, and looking
critically at the chubby red-cheeked little boy before him.
"Yes, we run behind a caravan," continued Tommy,
inventing as he went on. "I don't think we are real
gypsies, though. I believe they stole us when we were
little. And they beat us and starve us; they are very
cruel people. They are sure to beat us if we don't get
back to the caravan by tea-time. So please may we go
now And he began to edge towards the door.
"Not so fast," said Mr. Arnold. The butler at once
seized Tommy by the collar and held him tightly.
"Now," said the old gentleman, "I don't think you are
speaking the truth, but I will send down to the village
and inquire if there are any gypsies in the neighbour-
hood. If you are telling me a falsehood I shall have you
punished. Smith, put these children in a room where
they cannot hurt anything, and lock the door for the
present."






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


At these words Tommy and Flora were led away down
a long passage. Presently Smith opened a door which
creaked on its hinges as if not very often used. "Now
you two young imps just stay in here quietly, and not
make any more noise, or it'll be the worse for you," he
said grimly.
"What's going to happen to us?" asked Tommy in a
trembling voice.
"That depends on what we find out about you,"
answered Smith. "I expect you are little liars, and very
likely thieves into the bargain, in which case prison will
be the best place for you."
"Oh, but we can't go to prison!" cried Tommy,
frightened beyond measure by this terrible threat. We
aren't gypsies really; we aren't the sort of children who
are sent to prison. We live at Oakdale Court. Colonel
York is our papa."
"Well, that's a good story if you never told one
before!" said Smith scornfully. "Colonel York's children
indeed! When your clothes are nothing better than a
bundle of rags, and you don't look as if you'd ever been
in a tub in your lives! Unless you make up your mind
to speak the truth when Mr. Arnold sends for you again,
you'll get such a punishment as you deserve." And
. striding out of the room, he slammed the door and locked
it behind him.






TOMMY ESCAPES FROM THE DUNGEON.


CHAPTER V.

TOMMY ESCAPES FROM THE DUNGEON.

IT was a most uninteresting little room in which Tommy
and Flora were shut up. There was no furniture in
it, not even a carpet on the floor; and although there
were several shelves round the walls, there was nothing
on them. Apparently it had once been used as a store-
room, but there was not a sign of a jam-pot or sugar-jar
to be seen now.
It seems sad to relate that the first thing the children
did when they found themselves alone was to quarrel
over whose act it was that had brought them into this
miserable situation.
"It's all your fault!" cried Tommy. "If you hadn't
knocked on the window with your silly stick the old
gentleman would never have seen us."
"And if you'd never made your stupid plan we
shouldn't have got into this dungeon at all!" retorted
Flora, who was sitting on the bare boards rubbing her
tear-stained face with her torn frock.
No wonder they want to send us to prison when you
look such a scarecrow!" observed Tommy bitterly.
The injustice of this reproach at first fairly took away
Flora's breath. Was it not Tommy who had urged her
to come on, assuring her that she looked all right in spite
of a torn dress and jam-stained pinafore And had he
not up to this moment encouraged her to believe that
she looked quite neat with a dirty knotted handkerchief
on her head in place of a hat ? It was too bad of him to
turn against her now.
(M329)






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


"And I don't look a bit worse than you do!" she
cried passionately. "You're just like a gutter-boy your-
self, with your nasty earthy hands, and your coat all
green from rolling on the grass, and-"
"Don't be silly! It's no good getting angry," inter-
rupted Tommy, who was conscious that his appearance
was not what it might have been. Also, he felt rather
guilty at having led his sister into such a terrible adven-
ture, and thought it best to change the subject before
she reminded him how much cause she had to complain.
"The great thing now is to escape," he remarked very
sensibly. "There are two ways out of this dungeon."
"I don't see them!" sobbed Flora.
"Why, the chimney of course, and the window!" cried
Tommy, who in spite of his distress could not help
being rather proud of his superior powers of observation.
"I shall try the window first," he continued, "and if we
can't get out of that we must try to crawl up the chimney.
I know that boys used to crawl up the chimneys when
they cleaned them a long time ago, so I suppose we can."
Theoretically nothing could be more simple than this
plan, only, unfortunately, in practice it was difficult to
get out of a window protected by iron bars which were
only a few inches apart. And when they put their
heads up the chimney, it looked so black and narrow
that escape that way was felt to be impossible. The
children were in despair.
"I wonder what he means to do to us," said Tommy
solemnly. "I think he must be a very cruel man, or he
wouldn't keep a regular dungeon with bars across the
window to shut people up in."
"Do you think he means to kill us?" whispered Flora.







TOMMY ESCAPES FROM THE DUNGEON.


"Oh, dear! I wish we were home again in the nursery.
I'll never run out on the road without Nurse any more
-never!"
"Perhaps you'll never be able to," remarked her
brother. "Perhaps he means to keep us here all our
lives, so that we shall never be able to go into his garden
again."
"What shall we have to eat?" inquired Flora anxiously.
"Bread and water, most likely," said Tommy, who
felt quite an authority on the treatment of prisoners.
"But perhaps he'll starve us," he continued, "and then
pretend that we died of an illness, so that he shouldn't
be punished."
Oh, we must get out! Do try and get out!" cried the
little girl, almost frantic with terror at this gloomy prospect.
"Don't make such a noise then, and I'll see what I
can do; only I'm sure it's no use," replied Tommy
despondently. He returned to the window and opened
it. Then he looked attentively at the thick bars. "That
one at the end seems rather bent," he said. "There
might be room to squeeze through there."
A moment later he gave a shout of joy, as with a
great effort he pushed his head between the bars.
"What is it like outside? Is it a long way down?
Can we jump?" cried Flora, who was dancing about the
room in a great state of excitement at the prospect of
being saved after all.
"It's rather high," replied Tommy, stretching his head
out as far as it would go. "A good deal higher than a
mantelpiece, I should think. But there are a lot of
shrubs underneath. If I could get through I would
climb down them."







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


But, unfortunately, the chief difficulty was to get
through. Try as he would Tommy could not get his
body forward; and, what was almost worse, he found it
impossible to draw his head back. "It seems to have
grown fatter since I squeezed between the bars!" he
exclaimed, struggling until his ears were quite red and
sore.
Shall you have to stay there always ?" inquired Flora
anxiously.
"I don't know. It seems like it!" cried Tommy with
growing terror. "No, it's no good dragging at my coat!"
for his sister was trying forcibly to extract him from his
painful position. "Leave go, I say! You hurt! And I
can't get out any way."
Overcome with the horror of his fate Tommy began to
cry. Flora was so alarmed by this sad sight that she
ran to the door of the room and began to kick it violently,
screaming for help at the top of her voice.
In another moment there was a frightful crash. Tho
iron bars, although they looked so strong, were only
fastened into a wooden window-sill which had become
rather rotten with age. While Tommy was struggling
with all his might, suddenly one of the bars against
which he was pushing gave way, and, unable to recover
his balance, out he fell.
Flora heard her brother's frightened cry as he fell, and
turned just in time to see the soles of his boots dis-
appearing out of the window. Almost frantic with
terror the poor little girl redoubled her shrieks for help,
beating and kicking the door with hands and feet, as if
by sheer force she hoped to break it open.
After what seemed a very long time heavy footsteps







TOMMY ESCAPES FROM THE DUNGEON.


were heard outside, and Smith slowly turned the key in
the lock.
How dare you make such a noise, you little good-for-
nothing brats!" he began. Then catching sight of the
open window and broken bar he stopped suddenly and
gave a loud whistle of astonishment. "Got out that
way, have you!" he exclaimed. "It's a chance if the
boy hasn't broken a leg or arm at least! Here, you had
better come with me;" and taking Flora's hand rather
more gently, he led her away to another part of the
house, and left her in charge of the old housekeeper.
For several minutes Flora was too frightened and
miserable to do anything but sob convulsively, but grad-
ually Mrs. Grey soothed her into a quieter state, and she
told the old woman the whole true history of Tommy's
plan, and how they had mistaken Mr. Arnold's house for
the rectory.
"But why did your brother say you belonged to
gypsies?" inquired Mrs. Grey, not knowing what to
believe.
"Oh, I don't know," said Flora. "I expect he was
only pretending. We often pretend things. Sometimes
I'm a little black pig, and he's the butcher and kills me
with a paper knife. That's in the winter, when we play
indoors."
"Well, I really believe you are telling me the truth
this time," said the housekeeper. "And Mr. Arnold has
sent down to the village, I know, to find out if there are
any gypsy caravans about. He'll be in a pretty way
over all this."
Mrs. Grey was quite right. Poor Mr. Arnold was in
a terrible fuss over the story that Smith brought him in







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


the library. He had not meant to do more than punish
the children by shutting them up for an hour, so that
they might be too frightened ever to come trespassing
in the garden again. And now he was very much afraid
that the boy might be badly hurt by his fall from the
window.
Without even waiting to put on a hat Mr. Arnold
accompanied Smith out into the garden. But in vain
the two old men searched the shrubbery round the
house. No little boy could they find. It was easy to
see where Tommy had fallen, because the iron bar
loosened at one end was still hanging from the window,
and beneath there was a laurel bush, with several small
twigs broken at the top, into which he had evidently
tumbled. For a long time Smith felt sure that he was
still hidden in that bush, and it was not until he had
searched it all over as carefully as if he had been looking
for a bird's nest that he became convinced the little boy
could not be there.
"Well, unless he has burrowed underground like a
mole I can't make out whatever has become of him,"
said the old butler. "But there, he can't have broken
his leg or he wouldn't have moved from the spot where
he fell." And this was all the consolation he could give
Mr. Arnold, who at last unwillingly relinquished the
search and went indoors again.
The next step was a consultation with Mrs. Grey, who
gave it as her opinion that Flora really spoke the truth.
"I washed her face and tidied her hair, sir," she said,
"and she's really a nice-looking little thing; and though
her clothes are shamefully torn and dirty they are of good
material. Besides, her linen is marked with a Y."







TOMMY ESCAPES FROM THE DUNGEON.


"Very well, then," said Mr. Arnold, "I will order the
carriage at once, and you must get ready to take the
child back to Oakdale Court and find out if there is any
truth in the story. I only wish we could find the boy.
But perhaps he has run home-if he is really Colonel
York's son, which I can scarcely believe."
In another quarter of an hour Flora was driving home
in a comfortable close carriage by the side of Mrs. Grey.
She asked once or twice where Tommy was, but on being
told by the housekeeper that she would probably find
him sitting in the nursery when she got back, she did
not trouble any more about him, but gave herself up to
the undivided pleasure of eating sweet biscuits, which
had been given her by the kind old woman.
But Tommy was not at home in the nursery; indeed,
his adventures were far from being at an end. When
the bar of the window against which he was leaning
suddenly gave way and he fell out, he gave a loud cry of
terror, firmly believing that he was going to be dashed
to pieces. But most fortunately, as we know, a large
laurel bush broke his fall, and he found himself lying
on his back in the middle of it, unhurt except for a few
scratches. With some little trouble he managed to dis-
entangle himself and slip down to the ground in safety.
His spirits rose as he realized that he had actually
made his escape. If Flora would only come to the
window now he might manage somehow to help her
down, and then they could both run away together.
He called her several times, but, as we know, the poor
little girl was making such a noise in kicking the door
and screaming for help, that she could hear nothing else.
And when Tommy presently heard a man's voice speak-






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


ing inside the room he guessed that someone had been
brought to the spot by Flora's cries.
"If we are both caught again it will be as bad as
ever," he thought; "I had better try and get away
whilst I can." He did not quite like leaving Flora with
the enemy, and yet it seemed really best to escape while
he could, and carry the news of their capture home.
Of course it was out of the question to leave the garden
by the way they had come in, as to do this Tommy would
have been obliged to cross the lawn, where he might
easily have been seen from the windows. So he crept
along under the shrubs in the opposite direction, keeping
as close as he could to the walls of the house, and hoping
that he would presently find some back door out into
the road. He went as fast as he could, knowing that
before long someone was sure to come out and search
for him under the window.
When he had gone about a dozen yards the shrub-
bery came to an end, but, peeping out from behind
a thick yew-tree, he could see a large wooden door
standing open, which evidently led into a stable-yard.
Tommy hardly knew what to do next. If he stayed
where he was the terrible Mr. Arnold would certainly
find him before long, while by crossing the stable-yard
he might very possibly see another way out. He at
last decided to try this course, although it required
some courage to leave his shelter and boldly walk into
this unknown land.
With a beating heart Tommy slipped quietly through
the great open door, and his first glance was across the
yard to see if there was any other way out. To his
great delight he saw another door on the opposite side,






TOMMY ESCAPES FROM THE DUNGEON. 73
which, though shut, looked as if it would open easily
with a latch. He was just going to dart across to it,
when his eyes fell on a large black dog lying outside his
kennel, apparently asleep in the sun. He was chained up,
but the kennel was so near the closed door that Tommy
thought that, if he woke up, he could probably reach
far enough to bite anyone passing through. Tommy
was not afraid of dogs that he knew; in fact the children
made a great pet of their old Dash at home. But a quiet
little brown spaniel that one has known all one's life is a
very different thing to a large black strange dog in some-
body else's stable-yard. On the whole it seemed best to
be careful.
It took Tommy several minutes creeping on tiptoe to
cross the yard noiselessly. At last he reached the closed
door, and his hand was actually on the latch when, with
a tremendous roar, the black dog sprang up, and, tugging
savagely at his chain, tried to reach the intruder. Tommy
rushed back out of his reach, and wondered what to do
next. To pass close by the kennel, where the dog con-
tinued to bark furiously, was clearly out of the question.
And yet there seemed to be no other way out.
While he was standing undecided in which direction
to turn, a loud voice came from inside the stable.
"Lie down, Watch, can't you!" shouted the unseen
man, who was probably a groom. "Stop that noise, or
I'll be out to you with a whip!" he continued angrily, as
the dog barked even louder than before.
Tommy was distracted with terror. It was a choice
between going on and being bitten, and staying where
he was to be caught and dragged back to prison. As he
looked round the stable-yard in despair, he noticed for






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


the first time a ladder leading up to the open door of a
loft. The next moment the terrified boy had climbed
up, and was crouching down behind a great heap of hay.
He was only just in time. Irritated by the constant
noise, the groom left his work and stepped out into
the yard.
"Go and lie down there!" he shouted. "Go in, or I'll
pretty soon make you!" And Tommy could hear the
crack of a whip, and the rattling of the dog's chain as,
growling sulkily, he went back to his kennel. "Whatever
can make old Watch so noisy this afternoon ?" muttered
the man. "Some tramps been about again, I suppose.
Wish I could just catch 'em. I'd loose the old dog, and
make 'em run pretty quick!"
Tommy shuddered at this awful threat as he lay cower-
ing behind the hay. As the door of the loft was open,
he could distinctly hear all that went on in the yard
below, and it was a great relief when the groom, with a
parting shout at Watch, went back into his saddle-room.
Then at last Tommy dared to sit up and look round
him. As long as the man was walking about outside he
had lain quite still, with the hay almost covering his face,
hardly liking even to breathe for fear of being heard.
There were no windows to the loft, but enough light
came through the open door to show the smooth wooden
floor and the great rafters of the sloping roof. The loft
was more than half full of hay and straw piled up in
great square heaps, which felt deliciously soft and springy
when one climbed upon them.
Altogether it was just the kind of place where Tommy
and Flora would have delighted to play for any length
of time, if they had found it under happier circumstances.






TOMMY ESCAPES FROM THE DUNGEON.


But one cannot play much by one's self, especially when
one is hungry and frightened. So, instead of climbing
on the tempting bundles of straw, and making nests in
soft heaps of hay, Tommy sat still, wondering when it
would be safe for him to come out from his hiding-place.
If he heard the groom leaving the yard, he had quite
made up his mind to get down the ladder as quietly as
possible and run back into the garden. Anything was
better than the chance of having that dreadful great dpg
loosed upon him; and perhaps by creeping along behind
the shrubs he might find some way out across the fields
that he had not noticed before.
After waiting for a long time, Tommy heard the groom
come whistling out of the saddle-room, and shut the door
behind him. This seemed rather hopeful, as if he did
not mean to return at once. Probably he was going
home to his tea, in which case he would be away for at
least half an hour, and, what was almost as important, he
would be too far off to notice if Watch began to bark
again.
It was, however, a dreadful shock to Tommy, just as he
was beginning to feel a little more cheerful, suddenly to
hear the ladder creaking under the weight of heavy foot-
steps. Evidently the groom was coming up to the loft,
and at any moment might discover the boy's hiding-place.
Tommy lay still and gave himself up for lost. However,
just as he was expecting the man to enter, there was a
loud slam, and the loft became dark.
At first Tommy could not make out what had happened,
but as he heard footsteps going down the ladder, and be-
coming fainter in the distance, it presently occurred to
him that the groom had only come up to shut the door






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


of the loft so that it should not swing in the wind. The
immediate danger was over, yet it cannot be said that
the prospect of escape was very hopeful.
When all was quiet outside Tommy crawled along the
floor, feeling his way on his hands and knees between the
bundles of hay. A faint glimmer of light came in round
the edge of the door, which guided him safely to the
place. In breathless anxiety he put up his hand and
felt carefully all over the rough wood. His worst fears
came true-there was no handle inside!
It was greatly to Tommy's credit that he did not sit
down and cry at this point. He probably would have
done so if a plan had not just then come into his head;
and, as we know, he was so fond of plans, that in the
excitement of carrying out a new one he almost forgot
his troubles.
He remembered that most doors of this kind only shut
with a latch and do not lock. By putting his eye to the
crack round the door he made sure that this was the case.
Now, it only remained to find something sufficiently long
and thin to push through, and the latch might be lifted
from the inside. The difficulty was to find the exact
instrument suited for the operation.
Tommy tried to remember what he had in his various
pockets, but as he filled them up with a fresh collection
of treasures every day, and Nurse with equal regularity
emptied them every evening, of course it was impossible
to be quite sure what he had in his possession at any
particular time. So, kneeling close up to the crack in







TOMMY ESCAPES FROM THE DUNGEON.


order to get all the light that was to be had, he emptied
everything out on to the floor.
Now, the contents of Tommy's pockets may have been
sometimes dirty-Nurse said they always were-but at
all events nobody could call them dull On the present
occasion he seemed to have a little of everything in
them except a pocket-handkerchief, for this, it may be
remembered, had been taking the place of Flora's hat all
the afternoon. But interesting as it was to examine an
addled thrush's egg or finger a lump of wet clay, proud
as one might feel of a partially dried mole-skin and half
a tallow candle, none of these much-prized objects seemed
quite to meet the requirements of the case. To be sure,
there was the broken knife, it being a companion from
which Tommy never willingly parted. But useful as it
was in many ways, a blade broken off to about an inch
long was not of much value in the present emergency.
When Tommy had emptied both his pockets without
finding what he wanted, he by no means gave up the
search. There are many other places besides those
ordained by the tailor in which a little boy with a taste
for making collections can stow away objects of an in-
teresting nature. Not to go into further details, Tommy
regarded his loose sailor blouse merely in the light of
an elastic pouch, capable of containing almost anything
that might be put into it.
Having felt all over this capacious receptacle, he pres-
ently drew out a piece of whalebone, about eight inches
long, which he had picked up on the nursery floor when







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


some dressmaking was going on. It is impossible to say
what vague instinct had led him to tuck away such an
unpromising-looking toy inside his blouse; but he gener-
ally went upon the principle that things always come in
useful some day. Certainly, upon the present occasion
the bit of whalebone proved the prudence of this habit.
Nothing could have been more exactly suited for the
task in hand, and after two or three efforts the latch
lifted and the door swung open.
Tommy gave a cry of horror-the ladder was no
longer there! The groom had evidently taken it away
after shutting the door of the loft.
This disappointment following on so many hopeful
efforts was too great to be borne patiently, and Tommy
shed a few bitter tears, which he, however, immediately
rubbed away with the back of a very dirty hand. But he
was a sensible little boy, and knew that it was no good
crying over things that could not be helped. He saw
at once that he could not get down from the loft without
a ladder. He had already had quite enough of jumping
for one day; besides, there were no shrubs in the yard
for him to fall on, but hard stone pavement, and it was
quite twice as high from the ground as the window had
been.
Of course, as the door was now open it was no longer
dark in the loft, so Tommy thought it a good oppor-
tunity for carefully examining every corner. To his
great astonishment he very soon came across a trap-door
in the floor which he had been too occupied to notice







TOMMY ESCAPES FROM THE DUNGEON.


before. There was an iron ring in it, which was evidently
meant for a handle. Tommy seized it with both hands,
and pulled so hard that the trap-door opened with a
jerk, and he fell on his back.
Scrambling to his feet he looked eagerly down the
hole. It was not very large, but still there was plenty
of room for a little boy to climb through, and he could
see projecting pieces of wood that were evidently in-
tended as rough steps. Tommy could not make out
clearly what there was below, but he guessed that it
probably led into the stables, and not daring to wait
any longer for fear the groom should return, he began
to climb down.
Two or three of the steps were missing towards the
bottom; however, it did not much matter, as by that
time he could see some straw underneath on which he
let himself fall, frightening an old white pony by whose
head he tumbled, so that it started back and nearly
broke its halter. Tommy was almost as much alarmed
as the pony, and lost no time in edging along the side
of the stall, keeping as far from its occupant's heels as
possible.
In another moment he had opened the stable door,-
and then suddenly shrank back in dismay.
An untidy little donkey-cart, full of rags, bottles,
and old boots, was. just entering the yard. Watch
sprang to the end of his chain barking furiously, but
the man who was leading the donkey took no notice
of the noise. Quietly leaving the cart in the middle of







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


the yard he walked off towards the house, carrying a
large empty sack under his arm. Tommy had seen rag-
and-bone carts before, and he easily guessed that the
man was going to the back-door to buy anything that
the cook would sell; and it was not likely that he would
be very long about it, as people of his profession are not
fond of waiting for their purchases to be examined.
A new plan came into Tommy's head. He ran out of
the stable, and climbing into the back of the donkey-cart
crawled under a large piece of sail-cloth that was spread
over some sacks, either to hide their contents or to keep
them dry in case of rain. Old Watch barked louder
than ever when he saw this proceeding, but as he could
not speak the ragman luckily never imagined what had
caused this fresh burst of indignation, but fancied that
the dog was still protesting against his presence in the
yard. He hurriedly put down his half-filled sack almost
on the top of Tommy, and then led the donkey out on to
the road, throwing a large stone at Watch as he passed
the kennel.
Of all the hiding-places Tommy had yet tried this was
much the most disagreeable. The rags smelt horribly,
and he was in danger of being suffocated every moment,
as the sacks shook about with the jolting of the rough
cart. He bore it as long as he could, until he thought
that they must have gone some distance from Mr.
Arnold's house. Then he wriggled as close as he could
to the back of the cart, and, seizing his opportunity
when the wheels were making a loud noise going







TOMMY ESCAPES FROM THE DUNGEON.


over some stones, he slipped gently down on to the
road
The ragman walked on, leading his donkey, without
noticing that anything had happened. But Tommy,
afraid that he might turn round, got into the ditch and
crouched down among the long grass and brambles. As
it was the summer there was no water in it, only some
slimy black mud, but this really seemed quite nice after
the contents of the cart.
The little boy lay quite still until the ragman was out
of sight. Then he slowly crawled out on the road, feel-
ing very stiff, hungry, and desolate. He had not the
least idea in which direction to go, for the children very
seldom went further from home than Nurse cared to
walk, and were much fonder of playing in the garden
than going on the roads.
Tommy was still wondering which way to turn when
he heard a horse trotting quickly towards him. He had
a dreadful idea that perhaps Mr. Arnold had found out
the direction of his flight, and was sending to fetch him
back. But just as he was preparing to again take refuge
in the ditch the horse came round the corner, and his
rider gave a loud shout of surprise.
It was Mr. Barnard. Flora's Mr. Barnard, as the
children had named him, so that there should be no
confusion with the old rector.
"Hullo, Tommy! What on earth are you doing out
here at this hour V" exclaimed the young man, pulling up
so suddenly that his horse nearly backed into the hedge.
(M329) F







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


"Where are all the others?" he continued; "Miss York ?
Nurse? And what have you been doing to your foot?"
Tommy looked down, and saw a little trickle of blood
coming out of his boot on to the dusty road. In climb-
ing down from the loft he had knocked his foot, and the
old cut-given by the bit of broken glass when he was
pursuing Aunt Jane's lilac ribbon-had begun to bleed
afresh, but in his terror and excitement he had not
noticed it before.
"I must have hurt it," he began. "We've been shut
up in a dungeon, and I'm so tired! Please take me home!"
Tommy tried hard to behave in a manly fashion,
worthy of the hero of so many adventures, but he could
not quite manage it; and it was a very tearful and
forlorn little boy that Mr. Barnard lifted up in front of
him.
"Never mind, we shall soon be home," said the young
man cheerfully. "Now, Tommy, you must manage to
hold on somehow while the horse canters. They'll be
pretty anxious about you at home, I expect; and, besides,
I want to get back to the rectory in time for dinner."
A quarter of an hour later Mr. Barnard was entering
Oakdale Court with what looked like a bundle of dirty
clothes in his arms. "I think he has gone to sleep," he
said, laying his burden in Nurse's lap. "I found him
crying in the road. He is only fit for bed now, that's
certain."
Poor Aunt Jane could not thank Mr. Barnard enough
for bringing back her nephew. Ever since Flora re-






ABOUT CLEVER BOYS.


turned about tea-time in Mr. Arnold's carriage the poor
old lady had been quite ill with anxiety. She had sent
servants to all the neighboring houses and farms seek-
ing for news of the missing boy, and as the evening came
on she had been spending all her time composing tele-
grams to Switzerland, in which she tried to break
Tommy's loss gently to his parents.
"Well, I mustn't stay any longer, or my parents will
be sending out to look for me," laughed Mr. Barnard.
"If you will allow me, Miss York, I will come over to-
morrow afternoon and see how you are all getting on.
I fancy those children ought to have a tale worth telling,
to judge by the look of Tommy's clothes."
Miss York assured him again and again that she
should be only too glad to see him whenever he could
come to Oakdale Court; and it was with considerable
difficulty that he at last cut short her profuse thanks,
and started home to his long-delayed dinner.



CHAPTER VI.

ABOUT CLEVER BOYS.

THE following afternoon, true to his word, Mr. Barnard
was sitting between the two children on the lawn
at Oakdale Court. Tommy was again a cripple, and
Nurse said he would not be able to wear a boot for at
least a week. Though a little depressed at this prospect






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


Tommy was full of conversation, and had just given
Mr. Barnard a detailed account of the whole of their
previous day's adventures.
Tommy's imagination was exceedingly lively, and he
frequently embellished a story until it was almost unre-
cognizable. However, on the present occasion he felt
that so many extraordinary things had really happened,
that it would be a perfect waste of time, as well as an
impossibility, to improve upon them. So he gave a
very correct version of the whole affair; and Flora, who
had no scruples about contradicting in the interests of
truth, did not feel obliged to interrupt him more than
once or twice.
Well, Tommy," said Mr. Barnard when the story
was quite finished, "do you really want to know my
opinion about yesterday's doings ?"
"Yes," replied the little boy, rather doubtfully.
Until that moment he had made sure that Flora's friend
would be on their side against Nurse, Aunt Jane, and all
the grown-up people who so severely condemned rash
plans of amusement. But at Mr. Barnard's words he
felt a certain misgiving.
You see, it's no good pretending to be friends if we
don't tell each other exactly what we really think," con-
tinued Mr. Barnard pleasantly. "And after what you've
told me yourself, I think you behaved very badly."
Tommy hung his head and grew very red. He had
not felt in the least ashamed when Nurse had scolded
him that morning; but it was a very different thing







ABOUT CLEVER BOYS.


to find that this gentleman,-who was a soldier, and
had been all over the world,-thought him in the
wrong.
"I dare say you consider yourself a very kind-hearted,
affectionate boy," continued Mr. Barnard. "And yet
for several hours yesterday you gave about ten people
dreadful trouble hunting for you; not to mention that
both your aunt and your nurse were, I am sure, suffer-
ing terribly from fright the whole time."
"Nurse couldn't eat any tea at all," interposed Flora.
"And I saw her crying, only she looked out of the
window and pretended she wasn't."
"Just what I expected," said Mr. Barnard. "And I
suppose you know that the reason your Aunt Jane had
to stay in bed to-day is, that she made herself quite ill
worrying about you yesterday. You may call what you
did only thoughtlessness; I call it selfishness."
"I didn't mean any harm," mumbled Tommy. "But
people are always stupid. They stop your doing things
directly they find out; or else they put it all off till next
week, or by and by. I don't want to do things by and
by. I want to do them directly I think of them."
"Nurse doesn't like his plans," explained Flora. "She
says they always mean mischief and tearing our clothes."
"I don't wish to spend the whole afternoon finding
fault," continued Mr. Barnard, "but I should like to
know why you told Mr. Arnold such a silly untruth
about your belonging to gypsies, and travelling in a
caravan."






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


Tommy looked rather foolish. He had no reason to
give that was worth mentioning.
"All the people in fairy tales do," he murmured.
"When the giant catches them they always tell stories."
"I am sorry for you if you have no better excuse
than that," remarked Mr. Barnard briskly; "because,
you see, it's all nonsense, and you know it. You have
no more right to go about telling stories because Jack
the Giant Killer did, than I have to chop off people's
heads if they happen to look like giants."
"Was Mr. Arnold a giant?" inquired Flora, who was
getting rather puzzled.
"No; certainly not. I dare say you children will be
surprised to hear that Mr. Arnold is a perfectly harmless
old gentleman."
"Then why did he shut us up in a dungeon with iron
bars, so that we couldn't get out?" interrupted the little
girl.
Mr. Barnard laughed. "Well, from all you have told
me," he said, "I feel sure it wasn't a real dungeon, but
only a store-room. And as for those terrible bars, they
were put to prevent thieves from getting in and steal-
ing the jam, not to stop boys and girls from getting
out."
"But why did he frown and seem so cross if he is
really good persisted Flora, only half satisfied with
this explanation.
"He is old, and has had a great many troubles," said
Mr. Barnard. "And when people are sad they some-






ABOUT CLEVER BOYS.


times shut themselves up at home and can't bear to be
disturbed. We ought to be sorry for him, really, living
all by himself with nobody to take care of him."
The children were silent, trying to take in this new
idea of their dreaded enemy.
"I dare say he didn't think Tommy looked very nice
with his nose pressed against the window," said Flora
presently.
Then I don't know what he can have thought of you,"
rejoined Tommy. "Your face was much dirtier than
mine, and Nurse says your dress is only fit to be torn
up for rags, and your-"
"Well, I expect there wasn't much to choose between
you," interposed Mr. Barnard soothingly. "Now," he
continued, in consequence of your silly trick yesterday,
it will be a whole week, at least, before you are both
able to spend the afternoon with me; for, of course, it
would be quite useless your coming until Tommy's foot
is better."
The children looked very downcast.
It's all because of Tommy's stupid plans," complained
Flora. "He thinks them so clever; I don't. They
always end by our being punished."
"If you are so sure they will turn out badly, why do
you follow him inquired Mr. Barnard.
"Because I like to see what's going to happen."
"Well, if yesterday's doings are an example of the
kind of thing that usually happens when Tommy has
a plan, I should prefer being left behind," remarked Mr.






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS


Barnard. "Do you know, Tommy rather reminds me
of a boy I knew very well, a long time ago."
"Will you make it a story, please ?" requested Flora.
Certainly, on one condition. You must both promise
not to try and do any of the new naughty things I tell
you about."
"Oh, no, we won't,' said Tommy confidently. "We
can think of quite enough naughty things of our
own."
"And I should like the boy's name to be Charlie, and
for him to be seven years old, because that's my age,"
added Flora.
"I'm sorry to disappoint you," said Mr. Barnard;
"but as it's a true story I can't help his name being
George, and his age about twelve."
"Oh, well, it doesn't matter," rejoined the little girl
cheerfully. But you will make him do a lot of amusing
things, won't you I"
"Whether his doings were amusing or not, you must
judge," said Mr. Barnard. "In the meantime you
interrupt me so often that I don't get a chance of telling
them."
"We won't speak again," cried both the children.
And they kept their resolution for at least three minutes.
"This boy George was an only child," began Mr.
Barnard. "I don't remember that he ever wanted
brothers and sisters. He was rather greedy, and liked
having everything to himself. And as he was used to
being alone, he had made up all his games for one person.







A13OUT CLEVER BOYS.


If children were invited to spend the day with him he
hardly knew what to do with them, and it generally
ended in their looking on while he played by himself.
He can't have been a very pleasant little boy, but his
parents thought him perfect. They were so fond of him
that they could not make up their minds to send him to
school at the same age as most little boys, but kept him
at home until he was almost twelve."
"Didn't he do any lessons ?" inquired Tommy eagerly.
"Yes; a gentleman used to come every morning to
teach him. But whenever George felt unusually idle he
used to get a headache about breakfast-time; not until
he had eaten as much as he wanted, though. And then
by the time his tutor came he would be lying on the
drawing-room sofa with his eyes shut, and there were no
lessons that day. Then at other times when he was
supposed to prepare his lessons alone in the evening, he
was very fond of going to his father and asking to be
shown how to do a sum or translate a bit of Latin. Now
his father was such a clever man that he dearly loved
books himself, and used to forget that telling George
exactly how to do his lessons was not the same thing as
letting him find out for himself. Very often the rector-
his father was rector of a country parish-would go on
translating page after page, while George just wrote
down all he said without taking the trouble to think for
a moment."
"I wish I could do that," murmured Tommy regret-
fully.







TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


"Well, it isn't such a good plan as it sounds," said
Mr. Barnard. "I happen to know that when George
at last went to school he had to begin at the beginning,
and learn everything over again, being put back in a
class with boys three or four years younger than himself,
to the disgust of the master and his own shame. For I
must tell you that George thought himself a wonderfully
clever boy, and his dear, good, unwise parents had
encouraged him in the belief. Now, his father, the rector,
as well as being fond of books, had rather scientific
tastes-"
"What's that?" interrupted Flora.
Mr. Barnard looked rather perplexed. He was not
accustomed telling stories to children, and found their
perpetual interruptions and demands for explanations
rather trying. "It means-well, I hardly know how to
explain what it means," he answered. "Perhaps it will
be simpler if I tell you what the rector used to do, and
then you will understand. Whenever he was not doing
things in the parish-"
"What sort of things ?" inquired Flora.
"Oh, going to the village school, or visiting sick people.
But if you stop me again I shall really forget what I was
going to say. Let me see. I was telling you about
the rector. He used to go out late at night, looking at
the stars through great telescopes, and then he would
shut himself up in his study for hours, reading difficult
books, and making calculations about planets and comets
and those sort of things. And his study was full of






ABOUT CLEVER BOYS.


queer instruments-electric batteries, which gave such
shocks that one had to be careful how one touched them;
and microscopes through which a flea looked as big as a
mouse; not to mention glass jars of all sorts and sizes.
Some of them held poisons, while others held powders
which made beautiful colours when they were burnt.
And then there were things that smelt dreadful, and
things that exploded when one didn't expect it."
"I should have liked to see all that," remarked Tommy
with a longing sigh.
"So did George," continued Mr. Barnard; "and as his
father was able to try so many curious experiments, he
was very fond of imitating him in a small way. Of course,
George was never allowed to touch the instruments and
chemicals, for fear of accidents. But I'll tell you the
kind of thing he used to do. He once was away on a
visit with his parents where he was allowed to stay up to
late dinner. I have told you that he was sadly spoilt.
Well, in the middle of dinner, instead of sitting quiet as
little boys should, he began to tell the lady next him
what a lot of scientific facts he knew about the different
gases in the atmosphere, and that kind of thing. And
then he offered to show her a little experiment-how the
force of the air would keep water from coming out of a
bottle if you turned it quickly upside-down. So he
turned the water-bottle upside-down, and made a flood
all over the clean table-cloth. That's a very clever boy
of yours,' remarked an old gentleman to the rector;
'only I should have begun by teaching him that water







TOMMY THI ADVENTUROUS.


always finds its own level.' And everybody laughed.
But George was never invited to that house again."
"Tell me some more things that he did," said Flora,
who found the story getting more interesting as the
accidents began.
"Another day," said Mr. Barnard, "several ladies came
to tea with his mother. George, as usual, was allowed
to sit in the drawing-room and talk as much as he liked.
Indeed his poor mother, blinded by her affection, began
to tell how quick he was with his lessons, and how he
was sure to grow up very clever and scientific, like his
father. Then George was encouraged to show the ladies
a specimen of his talents; so, after asking if they knew
the way to make an egg so strong that it couldn't be
broken, he got a raw egg from the kitchen and began to
explain how one might press as hard as one liked on
the two ends without breaking it. Perhaps his fingers
slipped; but at all events the egg suddenly smashed,
making a horrible mess on the carpet, and splashing over
a lady's dress. Everybody went away soon after that,
without waiting for more experiments."
"Did he ever get punished inquired Tommy with
sympathetic interest.
"Not half so often as he deserved," replied Mr. Barnard.
"Of course, as long as his parents thought him perfect,
nobody liked to interfere. However, sometimes he got
into a little trouble, as you will hear.
It was the autumn, and somebody had sent the rector
a haunch of venison, so he was giving a dinner-party to






ABOUT CLEVER BOYS.


several of the neighboring clergymen and their wives,
that they might all enjoy the gift together. George
didn't like venison, so he said he would have tea in the
school-room by himself, and he persuaded his mother to
order him all the things he liked best, such as a roast-
fowl, and tartlets made of strawberry-jam. Besides, he
intended to taste all the sweets as they came out of the
dining-room.
"But there was another reason as well as his dislike for
venison which prevented him from wanting to dine that
evening. For some time past he had been thinking over
a new invention for sweeping chimneys. He did not
mean to tell anyone about it until he was quite sure it
would work well, and he never could get a quiet time for
trying when there was nobody about to see him. But
now he felt sure that, in the fuss of preparing for the
dinner-party, nobody would have leisure to notice what
he was doing.
"So, just before dinner, when his parents were dressing
and the servants all busy, he slipped out to the poultry-
yard and caught an old duck, who was asleep in her
house. Then he wrapped the poor thing so tightly up
in his coat that she could not make a noise, and crept
quietly up the back-stairs to the top of the house, where
there was a trap-door leading on to the roof. Out he
got, although, of course, it was a forbidden place. I
suppose he thought that if his invention turned out
particularly clever, nobody would remember to scold
him for being disobedient. Then he looked for the






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


blackest chimney he could see, so as to give it a fair
trial; and taking the poor duck in his hands, he pushed
her down, thinking that her fluttering and struggles as
she fell would clean out all the soot."
"Did it?" cried both the children together.
"You shall hear. Of course, George was very anxious to
see the result of his experiment as soon as possible. So he
got back through the trap-door and ran downstairs. He
could hear a tremendous noise in the kitchen, so he went
there first. Everything was black; the soot was lying in
heaps on the floor, and sprinkled all over the table on
which the sweets were spread out. But the worst was
round the fireplace, where the cook was standing, looking
like a negress. At her feet lay broken the largest dish
of the best set of china, which she had dropped in her
fright. The venison had rolled off into a heap of soot in
the fender. The unfortunate cook was screaming with
terror as she looked at a dreadful black thing bobbing
up and down in the soup-tureen, into which it had fallen.
Two or three other servants were standing about, talk-
ing excitedly of earthquakes and gunpowder-plots.
Presently the poor duck flopped out of the soup-tureen,
and ran quacking all about the kitchen, leaving a long
sticky trail of wet soot behind her. At the same moment
the cook caught sight of George looking in at the door,
and she guessed what had happened."
"Was she angry inquired Flora.
"Furious; as well she might be," replied Mr. Barnard.
"She ran at George and shook him till he could hardly






ABOUT CLEVER BOYS.


stand. None of the others interfered; in fact, I believe
they were delighted to see the spoilt child getting pun-
ished at last."
"And did his father and mother find out?" asked
Tommy.
"Not that evening. So as not to make a fuss before
the visitors, the servants only said that the soot had come
down the kitchen chimney and spoilt all the dinner.
There was nothing fit to eat except the roast-chicken
and tartlets, which had already been carried up to the
school-room. So, of course, they had to be taken to the
dining-room for the visitors; and George crept off to bed
without any supper, for the cook said she would not give
him so much as a dry crust. And even his indulgent
parents were very vexed next day when they heard all
about it, and how the duck was so much hurt that it had
to be killed."
"Who killed it?" interrupted Tommy.
The cook cut off its head herself with the chopper, in
the back kitchen," replied Mr. Barnard promptly.
"You tell stories so nicely," remarked Flora. "You
remember all the things we want to know, which most
people think doesn't matter. Go on."
"Well, there isn't much more to say about that story,"
answered Mr. Barnard, "except that George was not
punished half so much as he deserved."
"I'm sorry for that," said Tommy. Next to hearing
about the bad deeds of surpassingly naughty boys, he
enjoyed being told of the terrible punishments they






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS,


received. "George ought to have been whipped," he
observed resentfully.
"I quite agree with you," answered Mr. Barnard,
"but you know he was a spoilt child. Now," he con-
tinued, looking at his watch, "I must go home in a few
minutes, so I can't possibly tell you everything George
did."
Tell us the worst thing, if you've only time for one,"
interrupted Tommy.
"Very well, I will tell you the one that got him into
the greatest trouble. I don't know that it was really so
bad as when he hurt the poor duck, or used to crush all
the butterflies he saw under the pretence that he was
catching them to make a collection. Not that he meant
to be cruel, only he never stopped to think whether he
was hurting animals or not. However, this was what
people always talk of as the worst thing he ever did."
"I hope it was very, very bad," murmured Tommy,
his face beaming with anticipation.
"If you won't interrupt me you shall hear," said Mr.
Barnard. "A few days before Christmas George had an
unusually clever idea for giving his parents and some
uncles and aunts a great treat on Christmas-day, when
they were going to have a family dinner at the rectory.
This dinner took place every year, and the old-fashioned
dining-room used to be decorated with holly and ever-
green, till it looked very festive. But it, unfortunately,
occurred to George that it would be a great improve-
ment if, instead of the table being lighted up by common






ABOUT CLEVER BOYS.


wax candles, they could burn some of those beautiful
red and blue lights that his father sometimes showed
him in the study. He wondered that nobody had
thought of the possibility of doing this before; only
grown-up people never did seem to have very good
ideas. However, George was quite satisfied that he
knew all about how to make the coloured fire himself
without consulting anybody. So one afternoon he
watched his father start out for a walk, and then quietly
went into the study to help himself to the materials
needed for making an illumination."
"I thought he wasn't allowed to go into the study
alone," began Flora.
"He was disobedient," replied Mr. Barnard. "Besides,
as I told you before, he meant to do such clover things
that nobody would scold him for being naughty. At all
events he did go into the study, and opened a great
cupboard full of shelves, on which stood rows and rows
of bottles and jars, with paper labels on them. He didn't
try to stop and read the labels, because he didn t know
the names of any of the things his father used. But he
was quite sure that he knew them by sight. When he
came to look the jars were more alike than he had
fancied, and it was rather difficult to distinguish between
them. However, there was not much time for hesitating,
as he was afraid that someone might find him in the study.
"So he took what seemed to be the jars he remem-
bered seeing his father use, and hurried up to his bed
room. Here he locked the door, and prepared to try a
(M329) G






TOMMY THE ADVENTUROUS.


few experiments in illuminating the room. First he
lighted a candle, and then he took up the jar containing
the powder that was to turn the flame red. He thought
he would try a little bit, and supposing after all it was
not the right stuff, there would still be time to run down
to the study and change it. Unfortunately, hardly had
he sprinkled a few grains in the candle than there was a
tremendous bang, and he fell flat on his back. It seems
that George had made a trifling mistake between the
jars, and brought the stuff that exploded instead of the
stuff that made colours."
"Did he change it?" asked Flora.
"No; there wasn't much chance of doing that when
it came to the point," replied Mr. Barnard. The jar had
burst into a thousand pieces, the room was full of nasty
black smoke, and George's hands were all bleeding, and
hurt him quite sufficiently to take away the least desire
to go on with his experiments. His only wish now was
to get out of the room as soon as possible. Most unluckily
he had locked the door, and in his hurry and fright he
tried to turn the key so violently that it got stuck in the
lock. His shouts and the noise of the explosion brought
some of the maids to the passage outside, but they were
not strong enough to break open the door, and could do
nothing but run up and down screaming wildly for
help."
"Was George burnt to death ?" inquired Tommy in an
awe-struck voice. The story seemed to be taking rather
an oppressively serious turn.




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